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Full text of "The book of Ser Marco Polo the Venetian, concerning the kingdoms and marvels of the East"















'AvSpa /xoL ej'veTTC, Mowo-a, ttoAvt/dottov, os /iaAa rroAAa 


IIoAAcSv 8' dvOpuiTTWv i8ev acrrea koi vo'ov lyvw. 

Odyssey, I. 

—"i am become a name; 

For always roaming with a hungry heart 
Much have I seen and known ; cities of men, 
And manners, climates, councils, governments, 
Myself not least, but honoured of them all." 





Dante, Purgatory, IV. 


Messer Marco Polo, with Messer Nicolo and Messer MalTco, returned from xxvi years' sojourn 
in the Orient, is denied entrance to the Ca' Polo. (See Int. p. 4.) 



















ROSS-SHIRE, September nth, 1902. 


Ed hda. noi si strano, 
Che quando ne ragiono 

r non trovo nessuno, 
Che I'abbia navicato, 
* * * 'A 
I.e parti del Levante, 

Lk dove sono tante 
Gemme di gran valute 

E di molta salute : 
E sono in quello giro 

Balsamo, e ambra, c tiro, 
E lo pepe, e lo legno 

Aloe, ch' b si degno, 
E spigo, e cardamomo, 

Giengiovo, e cennamomo ; 
E altre molte spezie, 

CiascuiisL in sua spezie, 
E migliore, e piu fina, 

E Sana in medicina. 
Appresso in questo loco 

Mise in assetto loco 
Li tigri, c li grifoni, 

Leofanti, e leoni 
Cammelli, e dragomene, 

Badalischi, e gene, 
E pantere, e castoro, 

Le formiche dell' oro, 
E tanti altri animali, 

Ch' io non so ben dir quali, 
Che son si divisati, 

E si dissomigliati 
Di corpo e di fazione, 

Di si fera ragione, 
E di si strana taglia, 

Ch'io non credo san faglia, 
Ch' alcun uomo vivente 

Potesse veramente 
Per lingua, o per scritture 

Recitar le figure 
Delle bestie, e gli uccelli . . . . 

-From // Tesoretto di Ser Brunetto Latini (circa mdcclx.). 
{^Florence, 1824, PP- 83 seqq^ 



Dedication iii 

Note by Miss Yule v 

Preface to Third Edition vii 

Preface to Second Edition xi 

Original Preface xxi 

Original Dedication xxv 

Memoir of Sir Henry Yule by Amy Frances Yule, 

L.A.SOC. Ant. Scot xxvii 

A Bibliography of Sir Henry Yule's Writings . . . Ixxv 

Synopsis of Contents Ixxxiii 

Explanatory List of Illustrations to vol. i xcvii 

Introductory Notices 1-144 

The Book of Marco Polo. 


I DESIRE to take this opportunity of recording my grateful 
sense of the unsparing labour, learning, and devotion, with 
which my father's valued friend, Professor Henri Cordier, has 
performed the difficult and delicate task which I entrusted to 
his loyal friendship. 

Apart from Professor Cordier's very special qualifications for 
the work, I feel sure that no other Editor could have been more 
entirely acceptable to my father. I can give him no higher 
praise than to say that he has laboured in Yule's own spirit. 

The slight Memoir which I have contributed (for which I 
accept all responsibility), attempts no more than a rough sketch 
of my father's character and career, but it will, I hope, serve 
to recall pleasantly his remarkable individuality to the few 
remaining who knew him in his prime, whilst it may also afford 
some idea of the man, and his work and environment, to those 
who had not that advantage. 


No one can be more conscious than myself of its many 
shortcomings, which I will not attempt to excuse. I can, 
however, honestly say that these have not been due to 
negligence, but are rather the blemishes almost inseparable 
from the fulfilment under the gloom of bereavement and amidst 
the pressure of other duties, of a task undertaken in more 
favourable circumstances. 

Nevertheless, in spite of all defects, I believe this sketch 
to be such a record as my father would himself have approved, 
and I know also that he would have chosen my hand to 
write it. 

In conclusion, I may note that the first edition of this 
work was dedicated to that very noble lady, the Queen (then 
Crown Princess) Margherita of Italy. In the second edition the 
Dedication was reproduced within brackets (as also the original 
preface), but net renewed. That precedent is again followed. 

I have, therefore, felt at liberty to associate the present 
edition of my father's work with the Name MURCHISON, 
which for more than a generation was the name most generally 
representative of British Science in Foreign Lands, as of 
Foreign Science in Britain. 

A. F. YULE. 


Little did I think, some thirty years ago, when I 
received a copy of the first edition of this grand work, 
that I should be one day entrusted with the difficult 
but glorious task of supervising the third edition. 
When the first edition of the Book of Ser Marco Polo 
reached "Far Cathay," it created quite a stir in the 
small circle of the learned foreigners, who then resided 
there, and became a starting-point for many researches, 
of which the results have been made use of partly in 
the second edition, and partly in the present. The 
Archimandrite Palladius and Dr. E. Bretschneider, 
at Peking, Alex. Wylie, at Shang-hai — friends of 
mine who have, alas ! passed away, with the exception 
of the Right Rev. Bishop G. E. Moule, of Hang-chau, 
the only survivor of this little group of hard-working 
scholars, — were the first to explore the Chinese sources 
of information which were to yield a rich harvest into 
their hands. 

When I returned home from China in 1876, I 
was introduced to Colonel Henry Yule, at the India 
Office, by our common friend, Dr. Reinhold Rost, and 
from that time we met frequently and kept up a 
correspondence which terminated only with the life of 
the great geographer, whose friend I had become. A 
new edition of the travels of Friar Odoric of Pordenone, 


our "mutual friend," in which Yule had taken the 
greatest interest, was dedicated by me to his memory. 
I knew that Yule contemplated a third edition of his 
Mafco Polo, and all will regret that time was not 
allowed to him to complete this labour of love, to see 
it published. If the duty of bringing out the new 
edition of Marco Polo has fallen on one who considers 
himself but an unworthy successor of the first illustrious 
commentator, it is fair to add that the work could not 
have been entrusted to a more respectful disciple. 
Many of our tastes were similar ; we had the same 
desire to seek the truth, the same earnest wish to 
be exact, perhaps the same sense of humour, and, 
what is necessary when writing on Marco Polo, 
certainly the same love for Venice and its history. 
Not only am I, with the late Charles Schefer, the 
founder and the editor of the Recueil de Voyages et de 
Documents pottr servir a PHistoire de la G dographie 
depuis le XIII ^ jusquct la fin du XVI' siecle, but I 
am also the successor, at the Ecole des langues 
Orientales Vivantes, of G. Pauthier, whose book on 
the Venetian Traveller is still valuable, so the mantle 
of the last two editors fell upon my shoulders. 

I therefore, gladly and thankfully, accepted Miss 
Amy Frances Yule's kind proposal to undertake the 
editorship of the third edition of the Book of Ser Marco 
Polo, and I wish to express here my gratitude to her 
for the great honour she has thus done me.* 

Unfortunately for his successor, Sir Henry 
Yule, evidently trusting to his own good memory, 
left but few notes. These are contained in an inter- 
leaved copy obligingly placed at my disposal by Miss 
Vule, but I luckily found assistance from various other 

Miss Yule has written the Memoir of her father and the new Dedication. 


quarters. The following works have proved of the 
greatest assistance to me : — The articles of General 
HouTUM-ScHiNDLER in \\\^ Joumal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, and the excellent books of Lord Curzon and of 
Major P. Molesworth Sykes on Persia, M. Grenard's 
account of DuTREUiLde Rhins' Mission to Central Asia, 
Bretschneider's and Palladius' remarkable papers on 
Mediaeval Travellers and Geography, and above all, the 
valuable books of the Hon. W. W. Rockhill on Tibet 
and Rubruck, to which the distinguished diplomatist, 
traveller, and scholar kindly added a list of notes 
of the greatest importance to me, for which I offer him 
.my hearty thanks. 

My thanks are also due to H.H. Prince Roland 
Bonaparte, who kindly gave me permission to reproduce 
some of the plates of his Recueil de Docu77i£nts de 
lEpoqjie Mongole^ to M. Leopold Delisle, the learned 
Principal Librarian of the Bibliotheque Nationale, who 
^ gave me the opportunity to. study the inventory made 
after the death of the Doge Marino F'aliero, to the 
Count de Semalle, formerly French Charge 
d' Affaires at Peking, who gave me for reproduction a 
number of photographs from his valuable personal 
collection, and last, not least, my old friend Comm. 
Nicol6 Barozzi, who continued to lend me the assistance 
which he had formerly rendered to Sir Henry Yule at 

Since the last edition was published, more than 
twenty-five years ago, Persia has been more thoroughly 
studied ; new routes have been explored in Central 
Asia, Karakorum has been fully described, and Western 
and South-Western China have been opened up to our 
knowledge in many directions. The results of these 
investigations form the main features of this new edition 
of Marco Polo. I have suppressed hardly any of Sir 


Henry Yule's notes and altered but few, doing so only 
when the light of recent information has proved him to 
be in error, but I have supplemented them by what, I 
hope, will be found useful, new information.* 

Before I take leave of the kind reader, I wish to 
thank sincerely Mr. John Murray for the courtesy and 
the care he has displayed while this edition was going 
through the press. 


Paris, ist of October, 1902. 

* Paragraphs which have been altered are marked thus + ; my own additions are 
placed between brackets [ ]. — H. C. 

'S.o'm strike gxjur jSatks -Qtt jrrlla <.<Wjtrtnevs, 
cifor toe ht toxat ivAa it xjaict globe " . . . . 

-The P' aerie Queene, I. xii. 42. 


The unexpected amount of favour bestowed on the 
former edition of this Work has been a great en- 
couragement to the Editor in preparing this second one. 

Not a few of the kind friends and correspondents 
who lent their aid before have continued it to the 
present revision. The contributions of Mr. A. Wylie 
of Shang-hai, whether as regards the amount of labour 
which they must have cost him, or the value of the 
result, demand above all others a grateful record here. 
Nor can I omit to name again with hearty acknowledg- 
ment Signor Comm. G. Berchet of Venice, the 
Rev. Dr. Caldwell, Colonel (now Major-General) 
R. Maclagan, R.E., Mr. D. Hanbury, F.R.S., Mr. 
Edward Thomas, F.R.S. (Corresponding Member of 
[the Institute), and Mr. R. H. Major. 

But besides these old names, not a few new ones 
[claim my thanks. 

The Baron F. von Richthofen, now President of 
[the Geographical Society of Berlin, a traveller who 
lot only has trodden many hundreds of miles in the 
ffootsteps of our Marco, but has perhaps travelled over 
[more of the Interior of China than Marco ever did, and 
I who carried to that survey high scientific accomplish- 


meats of which the Venetian had not even a rudimentary 
conception, has spontaneously opened his bountiful stores 
of new knowledge in my behalf. Mr. Ney Elias, 
who in 1872 traversed and mapped a line of upwards 
of 2000 miles through the almost unknown tracts of 
Western Mongolia, from the Gate in the Great Wall 
at Kalghan to the Russian frontier in the Altai, has 
done likewise.* To the Rev. G. Moule, of the Church 
Mission at Hang-chau, I owe a mass of interesting 
matter regarding that once great and splendid city, 
the KiNSAY of our Traveller, which has enabled me, 
I trust, to effect great improvement both in the Notes 
and in the Map, which illustrate that subject. And to 
the Rev. 'Carstairs Douglas, LL.D., of the English 
Presbyterian Mission at Amoy, I am scarcely less 
indebted. The learned Professor Bruun, of Odessa, 
whom I never have seen, and have little likelihood 
of ever seeing in this world, has aided me with zeal 
and cordiality like that of old friendship. To Mr. 
Arthur Burnell, Ph.D., of the Madras Civil Service, 
I am grateful for many valuable notes bearing on these 
and other geographical studies, and particularly for 
his generous communication of the drawing and photo- 
graph of the ancient Cross at St. Thomas's Mount, 
long before any publication of that subject was made 

* It would be ingratitude if this Preface contained no acknowledgment of the 
medals awarded to the writer, mainly for this work, by the Royal Geographical 
Society, and by the Geographical Society of Italy, the former under the Presidence of 
Sir Henry Rawlinson, the latter under that of the Commendatore C. Negri. Strongly 
as I feel the too generous appreciation of these labours implied in such awards, I 
confess to have been yet more deeply touched and gratified by practical evidence 
of the approval of the two distinguished Travellers mentioned above ; as shown by 
Baron von Richthofen in his spontaneous proposal to publish a German version of 
the book under his own ininiediate supervision (a project in abeyance, owing to 
circumstances beyond his or my control) ; by Mr. Ney Elias in the fact of his having 
carried these ponderous volumes with him on his solitary journey across the 
Mongolian wilds ! 



on bis own account. My brother officer, Major Oliver 
St. John, R.E., has favoured me with a variety of 
interesting remarks regarding the Persian chapters, 
and has assisted me with new data, very materially 
correcting the Itinerary Map in Kerman. 

Mr. Blochmann of the Calcutta Madrasa, Sir 
Douglas Forsyth, C.B., lately Envoy to Kashgar, M. 
de Mas Latrie, the Historian of Cyprus, Mr. Arthur 
Grote, Mr. Eugene Schuyler of the U.S. Legation 
at St. Petersburg, Dr. Bushell and Mr. W. F. Mayers, 
of H.M.'s Legation at Peking, Mr. G. Phillips of 
Fuchau, Madame Olga Fedtchenko, the widow of 
a great traveller too early lost to the world, Colonel 
Keatinge, V.C, C.S.L, Major-General Keyes, C.B., 
Dr. George Birdwood, Mr. Burgess, of Bombay, my 
old and valued friend Colonel W. H. Greathed, C.B., 
and the Master of Mediaeval Geography, M. D'Avezac 
himself, with others besides, have kindly lent assistance 
of one kind or another, several of them spontaneously, 
and the rest in prompt answer to my requests. 

Having always attached much importance to the 
matter of illustrations,* I feel greatly indebted to the 
liberal action of Mr. Murray in enabling me largely to 
increase their number in this edition. Though many 
are original, we have also borrowed a good many ; f 
a proceeding which seems to me entirely unobjectionable 
^when the engravings are truly illustrative of the text, 
[and not hackneyed. 

I regret the augmented bulk of the volumes. There 

* I am grateful to Mr. de KhanikoflF for his especial recognition of these in a 
|kindly review of the first edition in the Academy. 

t Especially from Lieutenant Garnier's book, mentioned further on ; the only 
fexisting source of illustration for many chapters of Polo. 


has been some excision, but the additions visibly and 
palpably preponderate. The truth is that since the 
completion of the first edition, just four years ago, 
large additions have been made to the stock of our 
knowledge bearing on the subjects of this Book ; and 
how these additions have continued to come in up to 
the last moment, may be seen in Appendix L,* which 
has had to undergo repeated interpolation after being 
put in type. Karakorum, for a brief space the seat 
of the widest empire the world has known, has been 
visited ; the ruins of Shang-tu, the " Xanadu of Cublay 
Khan," have been explored ; Pamir and Tangut have 
been penetrated from side to side ; the famous mountain 
Road of Shen-si has been traversed and described; 
the mysterious Caindu has been unveiled ; the publi- 
cation of my lamented friend Lieutenant Garnier's great 
work on the French Exploration of Indo-China has 
provided a mass of illustration of that Yun-nan for 
which but the other day Marco Polo was well-nigh 
the most recent authority. Nay, the last two years 
have thrown a promise of light even on what seemed 
the wildest of Marco's stories, and the bones of a 
veritable Rue from New Zealand lie on the table of 
Professor Owen's Cabinet ! 

M. Vivien de St. Martin, during the interval of 
which we have been speaking, has published a History 
of Geography. In treating of Marco Polo, he alludes 
to the first edition of this work, most evidently with 
no intention of disparagement, but speaks of it as 
merely a revision of Marsden's Book. The last thing 
I should allow myself to do would be to apply to a 

• [Merged into the notes of the present edition. — H. C] 


Geographer, whose works I hold in so much esteem, 
the disrespectful definition which the adage quoted 
in my former Preface * gives of the vir qui docet quod 
non sapit ; but I feel bound to say that on this occasion 
M. Vivien de St. Martin has permitted himself to 
pronounce on a matter with which he had not made 
himself acquainted ; for the perusal of the very first 
lines of the Preface (I will say nothing of the Book) 
would have shown him that such a notion was utterly 

In concluding these "forewords'* I am probably 
taking leave of Marco Polo.f the companion of many 
pleasant and some laborious hours, whilst I have been 
contemplating with him (" vo/^i a levante") that Orient 

in which I also had spent years not a few. 


And as the writer lingered over this conclusion, his 
thoughts wandered back in reverie to those many 
venerable libraries in which he had formerly made search 
for mediaeval copies of the Traveller's story ; and it 
seemed to him as if he sate in a recess of one of these 
with a manuscript before him which had never till then 
been examined with any care, and which he found with 
delight to contain passages that appear in no version of 
the Book hitherto known. It was written in clear Gothic 
text, and in the Old French tongue of the early 14th 
century. Was it possible that he had lighted on the long- 

* See page xxix. 

t Writing in Italy, perhaps I ought to write, according to too prevalent modem 
Italian custom, Polo Marco. I have already seen, and in the work of a writer of 
reputation, the Alexandrian geographer styled Tolomeo Claudia! and if this pre- 
posterous fashion should continue to spread, we shall in time have Tasso Torquato, 
Jonson Ben, Africa explored by Park Mungo, Asia conquered by Lane Tamer, 
Copperfield David by Dickens Charles, Homer Englished by Pope Alexander^ and 
the Roman history done into French from the orifnnal of Live Titel 


lost original of Ramusio's Version ? No ; it proved to be 
different. Instead of the tedious story of the northern 
wars, which occupies much of our Fourth Book, there 
were passages occurring in the later history of Ser Marco, 
some years after his release from the Genoese captivity. 
They appeared to contain strange anachronisms cer- 
tainly ; but we have often had occasion to remark on 
puzzles in the chronology of Marco's story ! * And in 
some respects they tended to justify our intimated 
suspicion that he was a man of deeper feelings and wider 
sympathies than the book of Rusticiano had allowed to 
appear.t Perhaps this time the Traveller had found an 
amanuensis whose faculties had not been stiffened by 
fifteen years of Malapaga ? | One of the most important 
passages ran thus : — 

'"'' Bien est voirs que, apres ce que Messires Marc Pol avoit pris fame et si 
estoit demourd plusours ans de sa vie a Venysse, il avint que mourut 
Messires Mafes qui oncles Monseignour Marc estoit : {et mourut ausi ses 
granz chiens mas tins qu' avoit amenei dou Catai,% et qui avoit non Bayan 
pour Pamour au bon chievetain Bayan Cent-iex) ; adonc riavoit oncques 
puis Messires Marc nullui, fors soft esclave Piere le Tartar, avecques lequel 
pouvoit penre soulas a s'entretettir de ses voiages et des choses dou Levant. 
Car la gent de Venysse si avoit de grant piesce moult anuy pris des loncs 
contes Monseignour Marc ; et quatid ledit Messires Marc issoit de Vuys sa 
m.eson ou Sain Grisostome, souloient li petit marmot es votes dariere-li courir 
en cryant Messer Marco Milion ! cont' a nu un busion ! que veult dire en 
Franqois '•Messires Marcs des millions di-nous Uft de vos gros mensonges.' 
En oultre, la Dame Donate fame anuyouse estoit, et de trop estroit esprit, et 
plainne de couvoitise.W Ansi avint que Messires Marc desiroit es voiages 
rantrer durement. 

" Si se partist de Venisse et chevaucha aux parties d Occident. Et detnoura 
mainz jours es contrees de Provence et de France et puys fist passaige aux 
Ysles de la trcmontaingne et s'en retourna par la Magne, si comme vous 
orrez cy-apres. Etfst-il escripre son voiage atout les devisements Ics contrees; 
mes de la France n^y parloit mie grantment pour ce que maintes genz la 
scevent apertetnent. Et pour ce en lairons ntant, et commencerons d'autres 
chosesy assavoir, de Bretaingne la Grant. 

• Introduction p. 24, ^nd passim in the notes. t Ibid., p. 112. 

X See Introduction, pp. j/, 57. § See Title of present volume. 

II Which quite agrees with the story of the document quoted at p. 77 ol 


(Ej) icbgse ton roiaumt it ^rttamgne la gruut. 

"^/ sachies que quand ten se part de Cales, et Fen nage XX ou XXX 
inilles ct trap p-ant mesaise, si treuve Ten une grandistne Ysle qui s'apelle 
Bretaingne la Grant. Elle est d une grant royne et ti en fait treuage d nulluy. 
Et ensevelissent lor mors, et ont monnoye de cJiartres et dor et d argent, et 
ardent pierres noyres, et vivent de inarchandises et d'ars, et ont toutes choses 
de vivre en grant habondance mais non pas d bon marchie. Et dest une Ysle 
de trap grant richesce, et li marinier de celle partie dient que dest li plus 
riches royaumes qui soit ou monde, et qu'il y a li mieudre marinier dou monde 
et li mieudre coursier et li mieudre chevalier {dins ne cJievauchent mais 
lone com Francois). Ausi ont-il trap bons homes d'armes et vaillans dure- 
ment {bien que maint rfy ait), et les dames et damoseles bonnes et loialles, et 
belles com lys souef florant. Et quoi vous en diroie-je f II y a citez et 
chasteau assez, et tant de fnarcheanz et si riches qui font venir tant d^avoir-de- 
poiz et de toute espece de marchandise qi^il tiest hons qui la veritd en sceust 
dire. Font venir d' Ynde et d'autres parties colon a grant plants, et font venir 
soye de Manzi et de Bangala, et font venir laine des ysles de la Mer Occeane 
et de toutes parties. Et si labourent maintz bouquerans et touailles et autres 
draps de colon et de laine et de soye. Encores sachies que ont vaines deader 
assez, et si en labourent trop soubtivement de tous hemois de chevalier, et de 
toutes choses besoignables a ostj ce sont espees et glaive et esperon et heaume 
et haches, et toute esphe darteillerie et de coutelerie, et en font grant gcuiigne 
et grant marchandise. Et en font si grant habondance que tout li mondes 
eny puet avoir et d bon marchie. 

€ncorc« cj icbisc bou ijot roinumt, et be tt iju'en bist ;|ttcsstres <#ttarc«. 

" Et sachies que tient icelle Royne la seigneurie de /"Ynde majeure et de 
Mutfili et de Bangala, et d'une moitie de Mien. Et moult est saige et noble 
dame et pourveans, si que est elle amee de chascun. Et avoit jadis tnari; et 
depuys qWil moiirut bien Xiv ans avoit ; adonc la royne sa fame I'ama tant 
que oncques puis ne se voult marier a nullui, pour V amour le prince son 
baron, anqois tnoult maine quoye vie. Et tient son royaume ausi bien ou 
miex que oncques le tindrent li roy si aioul. Mes ores en ce royaume li roy 
fiont guieres pooir, ains la poissance commence a trespasser d la menue gent, 
Et distrent aucun marinier de celes parties d Monseignour Marc que hui-et-le 
jour li royaumes soit auques abas tar di come je vous diroy. Car bien est vot7-A 
que ci-arrieres estoit ciz pueple de Bretaingne la Grant bonne et granz et loialle 
gent qui servoit Diex moult volontiers selonc lor usaigej et tuit li labour 
qu'il labcuroient et portoient a vendre estoient honnestement laboure, et dou 
greigneur vaillance, et chose pardurable ; et se vendoient d jouste pris sanz 
barguignier. En tant que se aiicuns labours portoit Pestanpille Bretaingne 
la Grant destoit regardei com pleges de bonne estoffe. Mes orendroit li 
labours tiest mie tousjourz si bons; et quand Fen achate pour un quintal 
pesant de toiles de colon, adonc, par trop souvent, si treuve Fen de chascun 
C pais de colon, bien xxx ou XL pois de piastre de gifs, ou de blanc 
VOL. I. ^ 


d^ Espaigne, ou de choses setJiblables. Et se Ven achate de canuneloz oic de 
tireteinne ou d' autre dras de laine^ cist ne durent mie, ains sont plain d''e)npoise, 
ou de glu et de balieures. 

'■'■ Et bien quHl est voirs que chascutts hons egalement doit de son cars servir 
son seigneur ou sa commune, pour aler en ost en tens de besoingne ; et bien 
que trestuit li autre royaume doccident tieiftgnent ce pour ordenance, ciz 
pueple de Bretaingne la Grant n^ en veult nullejnent, aitis si dient : ' Veez-lh: 
liavons nous pas la Msnche pour foss^ de nostre pourpris, et pourquoy nous 
penerons-nous pour nous faire homes darmes, ett lessiant nos gaaigms et 
nos soulaz ? Cela lairons aus soudaiers.' Or li preudhome e7ttre eulx moult 
scevent bien com Hex paroles sont nyaisesj mes si 07tt paour de lour en dire la 
verite pour ce que cuident desplaire as bourjois et d, la menue gent. 

'■'■Or je vous di sanz faille que, quand Messires Marcs Pols sceust ces 
choses, moult en at pitie de cestui pueple, et il li vint ci remembrance ce que 
avenu estoit, ou tens Monseignour Nicolas et Monseignour Mafe, ct Vore 
quand Alau, frire charnel dou Grant Sire Cublay, ala en ost seur Baudas, et 
pjint le Calife et sa maistre cite, atout son vaste tresor d^or et d'' argent, et 
Tamlre parolle que dist ledit Alau au Calife, com la escripte li Maistres 
Rusticiens ou chief de cestui livre* 

" Car sachies tout voirement que Messires Marc moult se deleitoit cL faire 
appert combien sont pareilles au font les condicions dcs diverses regions dou 
monde, et soloit-il clorre son discours si disant eft soti language de Venisse : 
' Sto mondo xe fato tondo, com uzoit dire mes oncles Mafe's.' 

" Ore vous lairons d. conter de ceste mature et retournerons d, parler de 
la Loy des genz de Bretaingne la Grant. 

Cs Ji«bm ica iib^rs^s txhixitt^ tit Ja gent ^rttaingne la ©rattt z\ be cc 

" // est voirs que li pueples est Crestiens, mes non pour le plus selonc la 
foy de VApostoille Rommain, ains tienfiettt le en mautalent assez. Seule- 
7ncnt il y en a aucun qui sont feoil du dit Apostoille et encore plus forment que 
li nostre prudho7ne de Venisse. Car qua7id dit li Rapes : ' Telle ou telle chose 
est noyre,' toute ladite gent si en jure : ' Noyrc est co7n poivre^ Et puis se 
dira li Rapes de la dite chose : ' Elle est bla7iche,' si en jure7-a toute ladite gent : 
*// est voirs qti'elle est blanche j bla7iche est co7/t noifsJ Et dist Messires 
Marc Pol : ' Nous n^avons 7iulle7nent ta7it de foy d, Venyse, ne li prudho77te 
de Florence non plus, co7n Pen puet savoir bien apertement dou livre 
Monseignour Dantes Aldiguiere, que fay congneu a Padoe le 77ieis7ne an que 
Messires Thibault de Cepoy d. Venisse estoii.\ Mes dest jouste77te7it ce que 
fay veu autre foiz prls le Gra7it Bacsi qui est co7n li Rapes des Ydres.' 

" Encore y a U7ie autre maniere de gent; ce sont de celz qui s'appellent 
filsoufcsj \ et si il disent : ' S'il y a Diex rien scavons nul, t/tes il est voirs 

* Vol. i. p. 64, and p. 67. 

+ I.e. 1306; see Introduction, pp. 6S-6g. 

X The form which Marco gives to this word was probably a reminiscence of the 
Oriental corruption /a/Yj-??/ It recalls to my mind a Hindu who was very fond of the 
word, and especially of applying it to certain of his fellow-servants. But as he used 
it, bara fat'/sii/—" great philosopher" — meant exactly the same as the modern slang 
" Artful Dodser" 1 


qt^il est tine certeinne cou ranee des choses laqtiex court devers le bien.^ Et 
fist Messires Marcs ; '■Encore la creance des Bacsi qui dysent que riy a ne 
Diex Eternel ne Juge des homes, ains il est une certeinne chose laquex 
s'apelle Kerma.'* 

" Une autre foiz avint que disoit un des filsoufes d, Monseignour Marc ; 
' Diex n^existe mie jeusqu'ores, aincois il se fait desorendroit^ Et fist encore 
Messires Marcs : ' Veez-la une autre foiz la creance des ydres, car dient que li 
seuz Diex est icil hons qui par force de ses vertuz et de son savoir tant fiour- 
chace que dliome il se face Diex firesentement. Et li Tartar Pappelent 
Borcan. Tiex Diex Sagamoni Borcan estoit, dou quel parte li livres Maistre 

'•''Encore ont une autre maniere de filsoufes, et dient-il: '• II n^est mie ne 
Diex ne Kerma ne courance vers le bien, ne Providence, ne Creerres, ne 
Sauvours, ne sainteti ne pechies ne conscience de pcchie, ne proyhre ne response 
a proyere, il n'est nulle riens fors que trop minime grain oii paillettes qui 
ont d, nom atosmes, et de tiex grains devient chose qui vive, et chose qui 
vive devient une certeinne creature qui demoure au rivaige de la Mer : et 
ceste creature devient poissons, et poissons devient lezars, et lezars devient 
blayriaus, et blayriaus devient gat-jnaimons, et gat-maimons devient hons 
sauvaiges qui inenjue char dhomes, et hons sauvaiges devient hotts 

'•'• Et dist Messires Marc: '' Ejicore une foiz, biaus sires, li Bacsi de 
Tebet et de Kescemir et li prestre de Seilan, qui si dient que tamie vivant 
dole trespasser par tons cez changes de vestemens ; si coin se treuve escript 
ou livre Maistre Rusticien que Sagamoni Borcan mourut iiij vint et\\\]foiz 
et tousjourz resuscita, et a chascune foiz dhine diverse maniere de beste, et 
cL la derreniere foyz mourut hons et devint diex, selonc ce qu^il dient.'X Et 
fist encore Messires Marc : ^ A moy pert-il trop estrange chose se juesques d, 
toutes les cre'ances des ydolastres deust deche'oir ceste grant z et saige nation. 
Ainsi peuent jouer Mi sire li filsoufe at out lour propre perte, mes a Vore 
quand tiex fantaisies se respanderont es joenes bacheliers et parmy la menue 
gent, celz averont pour toute Loy miinitxctmtts rt btbitmus, eras tnim mtrriiimttr ; 
et trop isnellement Pen raccomencera ladescentede teschiele, et d^home crest ien 
deviendra hons sauvaiges, et d^home sauvaige gat-maimons, et de gat-mai- 
mon blayriaus} Et fist encores Messires Marc : ' Maintes contr^es et pro- 
vinces et ysles et cite'z je Marc Pol ay veues et de maintes genz de maintes 
manieres ay les condicionz congneues, et je croy bien que il est plus assez 
dedens Vunivers que ce que li nostre prestre fiy songent. Et puet bien estre, 
biaus sires, que li mondes ria este's cree's a tons poinz com nous creiens, ains 
d^une sorte encore plus merveillouse. Mes cil ri atnenuise nullement nostre 
pensee de Diex et de sa majeste, ains la fait greingnour. Et con tree n^ay veue 
ou Dame Diex ne manifcste apertetitent les granz euvres de sa tout-poissante 
saigesse J gent n'ay congneue esquiex ne se fait sentir li fardels de pechie, et la 
besoingne de Phisicien des itialadies de tarme tiex com est nostre Seignours 
Jhesus Crist, Beni soyt son Non. Pensez doncques d eel qu'a dit uns de ses 

* See for the explanation of Karma, " the power that controls the universe," in 
the. doctrine of atheistic Buddhism, Hardy's Eastern Moimchism, p. 5. 
t Vol. ii. p. 316 (see also i. 348). 
:;: Vol. ii. pp. 318-319. 

VOL. I. b 2 


Apostres : ^q\\Xz tssc ^jvuicntcs apui bosmct ipsos ; et uns autres : Quonhun 
inulti psfitbo-proijliftiic tximnt; et uns autres: ^uob btntcnt in nobissimis 
bicbiis illusorcs . . . iicrntcs, iJbi tst ^jromtssio? et encores aus fiarolles 
que dist It Signours meismes: Dibctrgo nc lumen xjuob in it ts>\ tcncbrac sint.) 

(!rJinm;mt ^csstrrs <^ai-cs sc parttst be I'jisk be gvctaingne et be la proiitre 

xiue fist. 

'■'■ Et pom-qiioy vous en feroie-je lone contef Si print nef Messires Marcs 
et se partist e?t nageant vers la terre ferme. Or Messires Marc Pol moult 
ama eel roiaume de Bretaingne la grant pour son viex renon et s'ancienne 
franchise, etpour sa saige et bonne Royne {que Diex gart\ et pour les vtainz 
homes de vaillance et bons chaceours et les maintes bonnes et honnestes dames 
qui y estoient. Et sachies tout voirement que en estant delez le bort la nef et 
en esgardant aus roches blanches que fen par dariere-li lessoit, Messires Marc 
prieoit Diex, et disoit-il : ' Ha Sires Diex ay merci de cestuy vieix et noble 
royaumej fay -en pardurable fort ere sse de libertd et de joustice, et garde-le 
de tout meschief de dedens et de dehors j donne ci sa gent droit esprit pour 
ne pas Diex guerroyer de ses dons, ite de richesce ne de savoirj et co?t for te- 
les fermement en tafoy ' . . ." 

A loud Amen seemed to peal from without, and the 
awakened reader started to his feet. And lo ! it was the 
thunder of the winter-storm crashing among the many- 
tinted crags of Monte Pellegrino, — with the wind raging 
as it knows how to rage here in sight of the Isles of 
^olus, and the rain dashing on the glass as ruthlessly as 
it well could have done, if, instead of yEoHc Isles and 
many-tinted crags, the window had fronted a dearer 
shore beneath a northern sky, and looked across the grey 
Firth to the rain-blurred outline of the Lomond Hills. 

But I end, saying to Messer Marco's prayer, Amen. 

Palermo, ^ist December, 1874. 


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

Though at least one respectable English edition has 
appeared since Marsden's,t the latter has continued to be 
the standard edition, and maintains not only its reputation 
but its market value. It is indeed the work of a sagacious, 
learned, and right-minded man, which can never be spoken 
of otherwise than with respect. But since Marsden 
published his quarto (1818) vast stores of new know- 
ledge have become available in elucidation both of the 
contents of Marco Polo's book and of its literary history. 
The works of writers such as Klaproth, Abel Remusat, 
D'Avezac, Reinaud, Quatremere, Julien, I. J. Schmidt, 
Gildemeister, Ritter, Hammer- Purgstall, Erdmann, 
D'Ohsson, Defremery, Elliot, Erskine, and many more, 
which throw light directly or incidentally on Marco Polo, 
have, for the most part, appeared since then. Nor, as 
regards the literary history of the book, were any just views 
possible at a time when what may be called the Fontal 
MSS. (in French) were unpublished and unexamined. 

Besides the works which have thus occasionally or inci- 

Cathay and The Way Thither, being a Collection of Minor Medieval Notices of 
China. London, 1866. The necessities of the case have required the repetition in 
the present work of the substance of some notes already printed (but hardly published) 
in the other. 

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


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

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

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

• In the Quarterly Review for July, 1868. t M. Nicolas Khanikoff. 

X In the Preliminary Notices will be found new matter on the Personal and Family 
History of the Traveller, illustrated by Documents ; and a more elaborate attempt 
than I have seen elsewhere to classify and account for the different texts of the work, 
and to trace their mutual relation. 

As regards geographical elucidations, I may point to the explanation of the name 
Cheluchelan (i. p. 58), to the discussion of the route from Kerman to Hormuz, and 
the identification of the sites of Old Hormuz, of Cobinan and Dogana, the establish- 
ment of the position and continued existence of Keshvi, the note on Pein and 
Charchan, on Gog and Magog, on the geography of the route from Sindafu to Carajan, 
on Anin and Coloman, on Mutafili, Cail, and Ely. 

As regards historical illustrations, I would cite the notes regarding the Queens 


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

To none am I more indebted than to the Comm. 
GuGLiELMO Berchet, of Venice, for his ample, accurate, 
and generous assistance in furnishing me with Venetian 
documents, and in many other ways. Especial thanks 
are also due to Dr. William Lockhart, who has supplied 
the materials for some of the most valuable illustrations ; 
to Lieutenant Francis Garnier, of the French Navy, 
the gallant and accomplished leader (after the death of 
Captain Doudart de la Gr6e) of the memorable expedi- 

Bolgana and Coccuhin, on the Karaunahs, etc., en the title of King of Bengal 
applied to the K. of Biiniia, and those bearing upon the Malay and Abyssinian 

In the interpretation of outlandish phrases, I may refer to the notes on Ondaniqtie, 
Nona, Barguerlac, Argon, Sensin, Keshican, Toscaol, Bularguchi, Gat-patil, etc. 

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

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

" Vir qui docet quod non sapit 
Definitur Bestia ! " 

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

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


tion up the Mekong to Yun-nan ; to the Rev. Dr. 
Caldwell, of the S. P. G. Mission in Tinnevelly, for 
copious and valuable notes on Southern India ; to my 
friends Colonel Robert Maclagan, R.E., Sir Arthur 
Phayre, and Colonel Henry Man, for very valuable notes 
and other aid ; to Professor A. Schiefner, of St. 
Petersburg, for his courteous communication of very 
interesting: illustrations not otherwise accessible ; to 
Major-General Alexander Cunningham, of my own 
corps, for several valuable letters ; to my friends Dr. 
Thomas Oldham, Director of the Geological Survey 
of India, Mr. Daniel H anbury, F.R.S., Mr. Edward 
Thomas, Mr. James Fergusson, P\R.S., Sir Bartle 
Frere, and Dr. Hugh Cleghorn, for constant interest in 
the work and readiness to assist its progress ; to Mr. A. 
Wylie, the learned Agent of the B. and F. Bible Society 
at Shang-hai, for valuable help ; to the Hon. G. P. 
Marsh, U.S. Minister at the Court of Italy, for untiring 
kindness in the communication of his ample stores of 
knowledge, and of books. I have also to express my 
obligations to Comm. Nicol6 Barozzi, Director of the 
City Museum at Venice, and to Professor A. S. Minotto, 
of the same city ; to Professor Arminius VAmbery, 
the eminent traveller ; to Professor Fluckiger of Bern ; 
to the Rev. H. A. Jaeschke, of the Moravian Mission in 
British Tibet ; to Colonel Lewis Pelly, British Resident 
in the Persian Gulf; to Pandit Manphul, C.S.I, (for a 
most interesting communication on Badakhshan); to my 
brother officer, Major T. G. Montgomerie, R.E., of 
the Indian Trigonometrical Survey ; to Commendatore 
Negri, the indefatigable President of the Italian Geo- 
graphical Society ; to Dr. Zotenberg, of the Great Paris 
Library, and to M. Cn. Maunoir, Secretary-General 
of the Soci^t^ de G^ographie ; to Professor Henry 


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

Palermo, 31J/ December^ 1870. 

[Original Dedication.'] 


her royal highness, 

Princess of Piedmont, 









Until you raised dead monarchs from the mould 
And built again the domes of Xanadu, 
1 lay in evil case, and never knew 

The glamour of that ancient story told 

By good Ser Marco in his prison-hold. 
But now I sit upon a thrpne and view 
The Orient at my feet, and take of you 

And Marco tribute from the realms of old. 

If I am joyous, deem me not o'er bold ; 

If I am grateful, deem me not untrue ; 
For you have given me beauties to behold, 

Delight to win, and fancies to pursue, 
Fairer than all the jewelry and gold 

Of Kublai on his throne in Cambalu. 

E. C. B.\BER. 

20th July, 1S84. 


Henry Yule was the youngest son of Major William Yule, 
by his first wife, Elizabeth Paterson, and was born at Inveresk, 
in Midlothian, on ist May, 1820. He was named after an aunt 
who, like Miss Ferrier's immortal heroine, owned a man's name. 

On his father's side he came of a hardy agricultural 
stockji improved by a graft from that highly-cultured tree, 
-Rose of Kilravock.^ Through his mother, a somewhat prosaic 
jrson herself, he inherited strains from Huguenot and Highland 
icestry. There were recognisable traces of all these elements 

^ There is a vague tradition that these Yules descend from the same stock as the 

Scandinavian family of the same name, which gave Denmark several men of note, 

including the great naval hero Niels Juel. The portiaits of these old Danes offer a 

certain resemblance of type to those of their Scots namesakes, and Henry Yule liked 

to play with the idea, much in the same way that he took humorous pleasure in his 

reputed descent from Michael Scott, the Wizard ! (This tradition was more historical, 

however, and stood thus : Yule's great grandmother was a Scott of Ancrum, and the 

^Scotts of Ancrum had established their descent from Sir Michael Scott of Balwearie, 

eputed to be the Wizard. ) Be their origin what it may. Yule's forefathers had been 

ready settled on the Border hills for many generations, when in the time of James VI. 

Ithey migrated to the lower lands of East Lothian, where in the following reign they 

lleld the old fortalice of Fentoun Tower of Nisbet of Dirleton. When Charles IL 

[empowered his Lord Lyon to issue certificates of arms (in place of the Lyon records 

Iremoved and lost at sea by the Cromwellian Government), these Yules were among 

Ithose who took cut confirmation of arms, and the original document is still in the 

Dssession of the head of the family. 

Though Yules of sorts are still to be found in Scotland, the present writer is the 

jnly member of the Fentoun Tower family now left in the countiy, and of the few 

^remaining out of it most are to be found in the Army List. 

^ The literary taste which marked William Yule probably came to him from his 

randfather, the Rev. James Rose, Episcopal Minister of Udny, in Aberdeenshire. 

imes Rose, a non-jurant (/.if. one who refused to acknowledge allegiance to the 

lanoverian King), was a man of devout, large, and tolerant mind, as shown by writings 

ill extant. His father, John Rose, was the younger son of the I4lh Hugh of Kil- 

ivock. He married Margaret Udny of Udny, and was induced by her to sell his 

tpleasant Ross-shire property and invest the proceeds in her own bleak Buchan. 

iWhen George Yule (about 1759) brought home Elizabeth Rose as his wife, the popular 

Heeling against the Episcopal Church was so strong and bitter in Lothian, that all the 

Imen of the family — themselves Presbyterians — accompanied Mrs. Yule as a bodyguard 

ton the occasion of her first attendance at the Episcopal place of worship. Years after, 

|when dissensions had arisen in the Church of Scotland, Elizabeth Yule succoured and 

iprotected some of the dissident Presbyterian ministers from their persecutors. 


in Henry Yule, and as \yas well said by one of his oldest friends : 
" He was one of those curious racial compounds one finds on 
the east side of Scotland, in whom the hard Teutonic grit is 
sweetened by the artistic spirit of the more genial Celt."^ His 
father, an officer of the Bengal army (born 1764, died 1839)^ 
was a man of cultivated tastes and enlightened mind, a good 
Persian and Arabic scholar, and possessed of much miscellaneous 
Oriental learning. During the latter years of his career in India, 
he served successively as Assistant Resident at the (then 
independent) courts of Lucknow^ and Delhi. In the latter 
office his chief was the noble Ouchterlony. William Yule, 
together with his younger brother Udny,*" returned home in 
1806, "A recollection of their voyage was that they hailed an 
outward bound ship, somewhere off the Cape, through the 
trumpet : ' What news ? ' Answer : ' The King's mad, and 
Humfrey's beat Mendoza' (two celebrated prize-fighters and 
often matched). ' Nothing more ? ' * Yes, Bonapartj's made 
his Mother King of Holland ! ' 

" Before his retirement, William Yule was offered the Lieut.- 
Governorship of St. Helena. Two of the detailed privileges of 
the office were residence at Longwood (afterwards the house of 
Napoleon), and the use of a certain number of the Company's 
slaves. Major Yule, who was a strong supporter of the anti- 
slavery cause till its triumph in 1834, often recalled both of these 
offers with amusement." '^ 

2 General Collinson in Royal Engineers' Journal, ist Feb. 1890. The gifted author 
of this excellent sketch himself passed away on 22nd April 1902. 

* The grave thoughtful face of William Yule was conspicuous in the picture of a 
Durbar (by an Italian artist, but not Zoffany), which long hung on the walls of the 
Nawab's palace at Lucknow. This picture disappeared during the Mutiny of 1857. 

^Colonel Udny Yule, C.B. "When he joined, his usual nomem.nd cognomen 
puzzled the staff-sergeant at Fort-William, and after much boggling on the cadet 
parade, the name was called out Whirly Wheel, which produced no reply, till some 
oneat a venture shouted, 'sick in hospital.'" {Athenccum, 2i,'Cn.'&cp.. 1881.) The ship 
which took Udny Yule to India was burnt at sea. After keeping himself afloat for several 
hours in the water, he was rescued by a passing ship and taken back to the Mauritius, 
whence, having lost everything but his cadetship, he made a fresh start for India, 
where he and William for many years had a common purse. Colonel Udny Yule com- 
manded a brigade at the Siege of Cornelis (181 1), which gave us Java, and afterwards 
acted as Resident under Sir Stamford Raflles. Forty-five years after the retrocession 
of Java, Henry Yule found the memory of his uncle still cherished there. 

^ Article on the Oriental Section of the British Museum Library in Athenceum, 
24th Sept. 1881. Major Yule's Oriental Library was presented by his sons to the 
British Museum a few years after his death. 


William Yule was a man of generous chivalrous nature, who 
took large views of life, apt to be unfairly stigmatised as Radical 
in the narrow Tory reaction that prevailed in Scotland during 
the early years of the 19th centuryJ Devoid of literary 
ambition, he wrote much for his private pleasure, and his know- 
ledge and library (rich in Persian and Arabic MSS.) were 
always placed freely at the service of his friends and corre- 
spondents, some of whom, such as Major C. Stewart and Mr. 
William Erskine, were more given to publication than himself 
He never travelled without a little 8vo MS. of Hafiz, which 
often lay under his pillow. Major Yule's only printed work 
was a lithographed edition of the Apothegms of 'Ali, the son of 
Abu Talib, in the Arabic, with an old Persian version and an 
English translation interpolated by himself "This was pri- 
vately issued in 1832, when the Duchesse d'Angouleme was 
living at Edinburgh, and the little work was inscribed to her, 
with whom an accident of neighbourhood and her kindness to 
the Major's youngest child had brought him into relations of 

Henry Yule's childhood was mainly spent at Inveresk. He 
used to say that his earliest recollection was sitting with the 
little cousin, who long after became his wife, on the doorstep 
of her father's house in George Street, Edinburgh (now the 
Northern Club), listening to the performance of a passing piper. 
There was another episode which he recalled with humorous 
satisfaction. Fired by his father's tales of the jungle. Yule 
(then about six years old) proceeded to improvise an elephant 
pit in the back garden, only too successfully, for soon, with 
\ mingled terror and delight, he saw his uncle John ® fall headlong 
into the snare. He lost his mother before he was eight, and almost 
his only remembrance of her was the circumstance of her having 
given him a little lantern to light him home on winter nights 
from his first school. On Sundays it was the Major's custom 

' It may be amusing to note that he was considered an ahuost dangerous person be- 
cause he read the Scotsman newspaper ! 

8 Atkethfum, 24th Sept. i88i. A gold chain given by the last Dauphiness is in 
the writer's possession. 

' Dr. John Yule (b. 176- d. 1827), a kindly old servant. He was one of the earliest 
corresponding members of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and the author of 
some botanical tracts. 


to lend his children, as a picture-book, a folio Arabic translation 
of the Four Gospels, printed at Rome in 1591, which contained 
excellent illustrations from Italian originals.^" Of the pictures 
in this volume Yule seems never to have tired. The last 
page bore a MS. note in Latin to the effect that the volume 
had been read in the Chaldaean Desert by Georgius Strachanus, 
Milnensis, Scotus, who long remained unidentified, not to say 
mythical, in Yule's mind. But George Strachan never passed 
from his memory, and having ultimately run him to earth, Yule, 
sixty years later, published the results in an interesting 

Two or three years after his wife's death. Major Yule 
removed to Edinburgh, and established himself in Regent's 
Terrace, on the face of the Calton Hill.^^ This continued to be 
Yule's home until his father's death, shortly before he went to 
India. " Here he learned to love the wide scenes of sea and 
land spread out around that hill — a love he never lost, at 
home or far away. And long years after, with beautiful 
Sicilian hills before him and a lovely sea, he writes words of 
fond recollection of the bleak Fife hills, and the grey Firth of 
Forth." 13 

Yule now followed his elder brother, Robert, to the famous 
High School, and in the summer holidays the two made ex- 

^^ According to Brunet, by Lucas Pennis after Antonio Tempesta. 

^^ Concerning some little-known Travellers in the East. Asiatic Quarterly, 
vol. V. (1888). 

^^ William Yule died in 1839, and rests with his parents, brothers, and many others 
of his kindred, in the ruined chancel of the ancient Norman Church of St. Andrew, 
at Gulane, which had been granted to the Yule family as a place of burial by the 
Nisbets of Dirleton, in remembrance of the old kindly feeling subsisting for genera- 
tions between them and their tacksmen in Fentoun Tower. Though few know its 
history, a fragrant memorial of this wise and kindly scholar is still conspicuous in 
Edinburgh. The magnificent wall-flower that has, for seventy summers, been a glory 
of the Caslle rock, was originally all sown by the patient hand of Major Yule, the self- 
sowing of each subsequent year, of course, increasing the extent of bloom. Lest the 
extraordinarily severe spring of 1895 should have killed off much of the old stock, 
another (but much more limited) sowing on the northern face of the rock was in that 
year made by his grand-daughter, the present writer, with the sanction and active 
personal help of the lamented General (then Colonel) Andrew Wauchope of Niddrie 
Marischal. In Scotland, where the memory of this noble soldier is so greatly 
revered, some may like to know this little fact. May the wall-flower of the Castle 
rock long flourish a fragrant memorial of two faithful soldiers and true-hearted 

^'Obituary notice of Yule, by Gen. R. Maclagan, R.E. Proceedings, R.G.S. 


peditions to the West Highlands, the Lakes of Cumberland, and 
elsewhere. Major Yule chose his boys to have every reasonable 
indulgence and advantage, and when the British Association, in 
1834, held its first Edinburgh meeting, Henry received a mem- 
ber's ticket So, too, when the passing of the Reform Bill was 
celebrated in the same year by a great banquet, at which Lord 
Grey and other prominent politicians were present, Henry was 
sent to the dinner, probably the youngest guest there.^* 

At this time the intention was that Henry should go to 
Cambridge (where his name was, indeed, entered), and after 
taking his degree study for the Bar. With this view he was, in 
1833, sent to Waith, near Ripon, to be coached by the Rev. 
H. P. Hamilton, author of a well-known treatise. On Conic 
Sections, and afterwards Dean of Salisbury. At his tutor's 
hospitable rectory Yule met many notabilities of the day. One 
of them was Professor Sedgwick. 

There was rumoured at this time the discovery of the first 

mown (?) fossil monkey, but its tail was missing. " Depend 

ipon it, Daniel O'Conell's got hold of it ! " said ' Adam ' briskly.^^ 

'ule was very happy with Mr. Hamilton and his kind wife, but 

on his tutor's removal to Cambridge other arrangements became 

^necessary, and in 1835 he was transferred to the care of the Rev. 

[ames Challis, rector of Papworth St. Everard, a place which 

'had little to recommend it except a dulness which made 

wading almost a necessity." ^^ Mr. Challis had at this time two 

)ther resident pupils, who both, in most diverse ways, attained 

listinction in the Church. These were John Mason Neale, the 

future eminent ecclesiologist and founder of the devoted Angli- 

m Sisterhood of St. Margaret, and Harv^ey Goodwin, long 

ifterwards the studious and large-minded Bishop of Carlisle. 

""ith the latter, Yule remained on terms of cordial friendship to 

le end of his life. Looking back through more than fifty years 

^o these boyish days, Bishop Goodwin wrote that Yule then 

'showed much more liking for Greek plays and for German 

than for mathematics, though he had considerable geometrical 

" This was the famous " Grey Dinner," of wliich The Shepherd made grim fun 
the Nodes. 

^' Probably the specimen from South America, of which an account was published 

^* Rawnsley, Memoir of Harvey Goodhvin, Bishop of Carlisle. 


ingenuity." ^^ On one occasion, having solved a problem that 
puzzled Goodwin, Yule thus discriminated the attainments of 
the three pupils : " The difference between you and me is this : 
You like it and can't do it ; I don't like it and can do it. Neale 
neither likes it nor can do it." Not bad criticism for a boy of 

On Mr. Challis being appointed Plumerian Professor at 
Cambridge, in the spring of 1836, Yule had to leave him, owing 
to want of room at the Observatory, and he became for a time, 
a most dreary time, he said, a student at University College, 

By this time Yule had made up his mind that not London 
and the Law, but India and the Army should be his choice, and 
accordingly in Feb. 1837 he joined the East India Company's 
Military College at Addiscombe. From Addiscombe he passed 
out, in December 1838, at the head of the cadets of his term 
(taking the prize sword 1^), and having been duly appointed to 
the Bengal Engineers, proceeded early in 1839 to the Head- 
quarters of the Royal Engineers at Chatham, where, according 
to custom, he was enrolled as a " local and temporary Ensign." 
For such was then the invidious designation at Chatham of the 
young Engineer officers of the Indian army, who ranked as full 
lieutenants in their own Service, from the time of leaving 
Addiscombe.^'' Yule once audaciously tackled the formidable 
Pasley on this very grievance. The venerable Director, after a 
minute's pondering, replied : " Well, I don't remember what the 
reason was, but I have no doubt {staccato) it . . . was ... a 
very . . . good reason." ^^ 

"When Yule appeared among us at Chatham in 1839," said 
his friend Collinson, "he at once took a prominent place in our 
little Society by his slightly advanced age [he was then i8|], 
but more by his strong character. . . . His earlier education . . . 
gave him a better classical knowledge than most of us possessed; 

^"^ '* Biog. Sketch of Yule, by C. Trotter, Proceedings, R.S.E. vol. xvii. 

^® After leaving the army, Yule always used this sword when wearing uniform. 

2" The Engineer cadets remained at Addiscombe a term ( = 6 months) longer than 
the Artillery cadets, and as the latter were ordinarily gazetted full lieutenants six 
months after passing out, unfair seniority was obviated by the Engineers receiving the 
same rank on passing out of Addiscombe. 

'^ Yule, in Memoir 0/ General Becker. 


then he had the reserve and self-possession characteristic of his 
race ; but though he took small part in the games and other 
recreations of our time, his knowledge, his native humour, and 
his good comradeship, and especially his strong sense of right 
and wrong, made him both admired and respected. . . . Yule was 
not a scientific engineer, though he had a good general knowledge 
of the different branches of his profession ; his natural capacity 
lay rather in varied knowledge, combined with a strong under- 
standing and an excellent memory, and also a peculiar power as 
a draughtsman, which proved of great value in after life. . . . 
Those were nearly the last days of the old regifne, of the 
orthodox double sap and cylindrical pontoons, when Pasley's 
genius had been leading to new ideas, and when Lintorn 
Jimmons' power, G. Leach's energj^, W. Jervois' skill, and 
L. Tylden's talent were developing under the wise example of 
Henry Harness." ^^ 

In the Royal Engineer mess of those days (the present 
anteroom), the portrait of Henry Yule now faces that of his first 
chief. Sir Henry Harness. General Collinson said that the 
pictures appeared to eye each other as if the subjects were 
continuing one of those friendly disputes in which they so often 

It was in this room that Yule, Becher, Collinson, and other 
young R.E.'s, profiting by the temporary absence of the austere 
Colonel Pasley, acted some plays, including Pizarro. Yule bore 
the humble part of one of the Peruvian Mob in this performance, 
of which he has left a droll account.-* 

On the completion of his year at Chatham, Yule prepared to 
sail for India, but first went to take leave of his relative. General 
White. An accident prolonged his stay, and before he left he 
had proposed to and been refused by his cousin Annie. This 
occurrence, his first check, seems to have cast rather a gloom 
over his start for India. He went by the then newly-opened 
Overland Route, visiting Portugal, stopping at Gibraltar to see 

"^ Collinson's Memoir of Yule in R.E. Journal. 

^ The picture was subscribed for by his brother officers in the corps, and painted 
in 1880 by T. B. Wirgman. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881. A 
reproduction of the artist's etching from it forms the frontispiece of this volume. 

^ In Memoir of Gen. John Becher, 

VOL, I, C 


his cousin, Major (afterwards General) Patrick Yule, R.E>'' He 
was under orders " to stop at Aden (then recently acquired), to 
report on the water supply, and to deliver a set of meteorological 
and magnetic instruments for starting an observatory there. 
The overland journey then really meant so ; tramping across 
the desert to Suez with camels and Arabs, a proceeding not 
conducive to the preservation of delicate instruments ; and on 
arriving at Aden he found that the intended observer was dead, 
the observatory not commenced, and the instruments all broken. 
There was thus nothing left for him but to go on at once" 
to Calcutta,^'' where he arrived at the end of 1 840. 

His first service lay in the then wild Khasia Hills, whither he 
was detached for the purpose of devising means for the trans- 
port of the local coal to the plains. In spite of the depressing 
character of the climate (Cherrapunjee boasts the highest 
rainfall on record), Yule thoroughly enjoyed himself, and 
always looked back with special pleasure on the time 
he spent here. He was unsuccessful in the object of his 
mission, the obstacles to cheap transport offered by the dense 
forests and mighty precipices proving insurmountable, but he 
gathered a wealth of interesting observations on the country and 
people, a very primitive Mongolian race, which he subsequently 
embodied in two excellent and most interesting papers (the first 
he ever published).^^ 

In the following year, 1842, Yule was transferred to the 

25 General Patrick Yule (b. 1795, d. 1873) was a thorough soldier, with the repute 
of being a rigid disciplinarian. He was a man of distinguished presence, and great charm 
of manner to those whom he liked, which were by no means all. The present writer 
holds him in affectionate remembrance, and owes to early correspondence with 
him much of the information embodied in preceding notes. He served on the 
Canadian Boundary Commission of 1817, and on the Commission of National Defence 
of 1859, was prominent in the Ordnance Survey, and successively Commanding R.E. 
in Malta and Scotland. He was Engineer to Sir C. Fellows' Expedition, which gave 
the nation the Lycian Marbles, and while Commanding R.E. in Edinburgh, was 
largely instrumental in rescuing St. Margaret's Chapel in the Castle from desecration 
and oblivion. He was a thorough Scot, and never willingly tolerated the designation 
N.B. on even a letter. He had cultivated tastes, and under a somewhat austere 
exterior he had a most tender heart. When already past sixty, he made a singularly 
happy marriage to a truly good woman, who thoroughly appreciated him. He was 
the author of several Memoirs on professional subjects. He rests in St. Andrew's, 

^ Collinson's Memoir of Yule. 

^ Notes on the Iron of the Khasia Hills and Notes on the Khasia Hills and People, 
both in Journal of the R. Asiatic Society of Bengal, vols. xi. and xiii, 


irrigation canals of the north-west with head-quarters at 
Kurnaul. Here he had for chief Captain (afterwards General 
Sir William) Baker, who became his dearest and most steadfast 
friend. Early in 1843 Yule had his first experience of field 
service. The death without heir of the Khytul Rajah, followed 
by the refusal of his family to surrender the place to the native 
troops sent to receive it, obliged Government to send a larger 
force against it, and the canal officers were ordered to join this. 
Yule was detailed to serve under Captain Robert Napier (after- 
wards F.-M. Lord Napier of Magdala). Their immediate duty 
was to mark out the route for a night march of the troops, 
barring access to all side roads, and neither officer having then 
had any experience of war, they performed the duty " with all the 
elaborate care of novices." Suddenly there was an alarm, a light 
detected, and a night attack awaited, when the danger resolved 
itself into Clerk Sahib's khansamah with welcome hot coffee ! ^ 
Their hopes were disappointed, there was no fighting, and the 
Fort of Khytul was found deserted by the enemy. It " was a 
strange scene of confusion — all the paraphernalia and accumula- 
tion of odds and ends of a wealthy native family lying about 
and inviting loot. I remember one beautiful crutch-stick of 
ebony with two rams' heads in jade. I took it and sent it in to 
the political authority, intending to buy it when sold. There 
was a sale, but my stick never appeared. Somebody had a 
more developed taste in jade. . . . Amid the general rummage 
that was going on, an officer of British Infantry had been put 
over a part of the palace supposed to contain treasure, and they 
— officers and all — .were helping themselves. Henry Lawrence 
was one of the politicals under George Clerk. When the news 
of this affair came to him I was present. It was in a white 
marble loggia in the palace, where was a white marble chair or 
throne on a basement. Lawrence was sitting on this throne in 
great excitement. He wore an Afghan choga, a sort of dressing- 
gown garment, and this, and his thin locks, and thin beard were 

® Mr. (afterwards Sir) George Clerk, Political Officer with the expedition. Was 
twice Governor of Bombay and once Governor of the Cape : " A diplomatist of the 
true English stamp — undaunted in difficulties and resolute to maintain the honour of 
his country." (Sir H. B. Edwardes, Life of Henry Lawreme, i. 267). He died in 

VOL. L C 2 


streaming in the wind. He always dwells in my memory as a 
sort of pythoness on her tripod under the afflatus." ^^ 

During his Indian service, Yule had renewed and continued 
by letters his suit to Miss White, and persistency prevailing at 
last, he soon after the conclusion of the Khytul affair applied for 
leave to go home to be married. He sailed from Bombay in 
May, 1843, and in September of the same year was married, at 
Bath, to the gifted and large-hearted woman who, to the end, re- 
mained the strongest and happiest influence in his life.^*^ 

Yule sailed for India with his wife in November 1843. The 
next two years were employed chiefly in irrigation work, and do 
not call for special note. They were very happy years, except 
in the one circumstance that the climate having seriously 
affected his wife's health, and she having been brought to death's 
door, partly by illness, but still more by the drastic medical 
treatment of those days, she was imperatively ordered back to 
England by the doctors, who forbade her return to India. 

Having seen her on board ship, Yule returned to duty on the 
canals. The close of that year, December, 1845, brought some 
variety to his work, as the outbreak of the first Sikh War called 
nearly all the canal officers into the field. " They went up to 
the front by long marches, passing through no stations, and 
quite unable to obtain any news of what had occurred, though 
on the 2 1 St December the guns of Ferozshah were distinctly heard 
in their camp at Pehoa, at a distance of 11 5 miles south-east from 
the field, and some days later they came successively on the 
fields of Moodkee and of Ferozshah itself, with all the recent 
traces of battle. When the party of irrigation officers reached 
head-quarters, the arrangements for attacking the Sikh army in 
its entrenchments at Sobraon were beginning (though suspended 
till weeks later for the arrival of the tardy siege guns), and the 
opposed forces were lying in sight of each other." ^^ 

Yule's share in this campaign was limited to the sufficiently 
arduous task of bridging the Sutlej for the advance of the 
British army. It is characteristic of the man that for this 

^ Note by Yule, communicated by him to Mr R. B. Smith and printed by the 
latter in Life of Lord Lawrence. 

^ And when Hearing his own end, it was to her that his thoughts turned most 

^ Yule and Maclagan's Memoir of Sir W. Baker, 


reason he always abstained from wearing his medal for the 
Sutlej campaign. 

His elder brother, Robert Yule, then in the i6th Lancers, took 
part in that magnificent charge of his regiment at the battle of 
Aliwal (Jan. 28, 1846) which the Great Duke is said to have 
pronounced unsurpassed in history. From particulars gleaned 
from his brother and others present in the action, Henry Yule 
prepared a spirited sketch of the episode, which was afterwards 
published as a coloured lithograph by M'Lean (Haymarket). 

At the close of the war, Yule succeeded his friend Strachey 
as Executive Engineer of the northern division of the Ganges 
Canal, with his head-quarters at Roorkce, " the division which, 
being nearest the hills and crossed by intermittent torrents of 
great breadth and great volume when in flood, includes the most 
important and interesting engineering works." ^^ 

At Roorkee were the extensive engineering workshops 
connected with the canal. Yule soon became so accustomed 
to the din as to be undisturbed by the noise, but the un- 
punctuality and carelessness of the native workmen sorely tried 
his patience, of which Nature had endowed him with but a 
small reserve. Vexed with himself for letting temper so often 
get the better of him, Yule's conscientious mind devised a 
characteristic remedy. Each time that he lost his temper, he 
transferred a fine of two rupees (then about five shillings) from 
his right to his left pocket. When about to leave Roorkee, he 
devoted this accumulation of self-imposed fines to the erection 
of a sun-dial, to teach the natives the value of time. The late 
Sir James Caird, who told this legend of Roorkee as he heard it 
there in 1880, used to add, with a humorous twinkle of his 
kindly eyes, "It was a very handsome dial.''^^ 

From September, 1845, to March, 1847, Yule was much 
occupied intermittently, in addition to his professional work, by 
service on a Committee appointed by Government " to investi- 
gate the causes of the unhealthiness which has existed at 
Kurnal, and other portions of the country along the line of 
the Delhi Canal," and further, to report "whether an injurious 

^^ Maclagan's Memoir of Yule, P.R.G.S., Feb. 1890. 

^ On hearing this, Yule said to him, " Your story is quite correct except in one 
particular ; you understated the amount of the fine." 


effect on the health of the people of the Doab is, or is not, 
likely to be produced by the contemplated Ganges Canal." 

" A very elaborate investigation was made by the Committee, 
directed principally to ascertaining what relation subsisted 
between certain physical conditions of the different districts, and 
the liability of their inhabitants to miasmatic fevers." The 
principal conclusion of the Committee was, " that in the extensive 
epidemic of 1843, when Kurnaul suffered so seriously . . . the 
greater part of the evils observed had not been the necessary 
and unavoidable results of canal irrigation, but were due to 
interference with the natural drainage of the country, to the 
saturation of stiff and retentive soils, and to natural dis- 
advantages of site, enhanced by excess of moisture. As regarded 
the Ganges Canal, they were of opinion that, with due attention 
to drainage, improvement rather than injury to the general 
health might be expected to follow the introduction of canal 
irrigation."^* In an unpublished note written about 1889, Yule 
records his ultimate opinion as follows : " At this day, and after 
the large experience afforded by the Ganges Canal, I feel sure 
that a verdict so favourable to the sanitary results of canal 
irrigation would not be given." Still the fact remains that 
the Ganges Canal has been the source of unspeakable blessings 
to an immense population. 

The Second Sikh War saw Yule again with the army in 
the field, and on 13th Jan. 1849, he was present at the dismal 
* Victory ' of Chillianwallah, of which his most vivid recollection 
seemed to be the sudden apparition of Henry Lawrence, fresh 
from London, but still clad in the legendary Afghan cloak. 

On the conclusion of the Punjab campaign. Yule, whose 
health had suffered, took furlough and went home to his wife. 
For the next three years they resided chiefly in Scotland, 
though paying occasional visits to the Continent, and about 1850 
Yule bought a house in Edinburgh. There he wrote " The 
African Squadron vindicated" (a pamphlet which was after- 
wards re-published in French), translated Schiller's Kampf 
mit dent Drachen into English verse, delivered Lectures 
on Fortification at the, now long defunct, Scottish Naval and 
Military Academy, wrote on Tibet for his friend Blackwood's 

Yule and Maclagan's Memoir of Baker. 


Magazine, attended the 1850 Edinburgh Meeting of the British 
Association, wrote his excellent lines, " On the Loss of the 
Birkenhead" and commenced his first serious study of Marco 
Polo (by whose wondrous tale, however, he had already been 
captivated as a boy in his father's library — in Marsden's edition 
probably). But the most noteworthy literary result of these 
happy years was that really fascinating volume, entitled Fortifi- 
cation for Officers of the Army and Students of Military History y 
a work that has remained unique of its kind. This was published 
by Blackwood in 185 1, and seven years later received the 
honour of (unauthorised) translation into French. Yule also 
occupied himself a good deal at this time with the practice 
of photography, a pursuit to which he never after reverted. 

In the spring of 1852, Yule made an interesting little semi- 
professional tour in company with a brother officer, his accom- 
plished friend, Major R. B. Smith. Beginning with Kelso, " the 
only one of the Teviotdale Abbeys which I had not as yet 
seen," they made their way leisurely through the north of 
England, examining with impartial care abbeys and cathedrals, 
factories, brick-yards, foundries, timber-yards, docks, and rail- 
way works. On this occasion Yule, contrary to his custom, 
kept a journal, and a few excerpts may be given here, as afford- 
ing some notion of his casual talk to those who did not know 

At Berwick-on-Tweed he notes the old ramparts of the 
town : " These, erected in Elizabeth's time, are 'interesting as 
being, I believe, the only existing sample in England of the 
bastioned system of the i6th century. . . . The outline of the 
works seems perfect enough, though both earth and stone work 
are in great disrepair. The bastions are large with obtuse 
angles, square orillons, and double flanks originally casemated, 
and most of them crowned with cavaliers." On the way to 
Durham, " much amused by the discussions of two passengers, 
one a smooth-spoken, semi-clerical looking person ; the other a 
brusque well-to-do attorney with a Northumbrian burr. Sub- 
ject, among others. Protection, The Attorney all for 'cheap 
bread ' — ' You wouldn't rob the poor man of his loaf,' and so 
forth. ' You must go with the stgheam, sir, you must go with 
the stgheam.' ' I never did, Mr Thompson, and I never will,' said 
the other in an oily manner, singularly inconsistent with the 

xl Memoir of sir henry yule 1S52. 

sentiment." At Durham they dined with a dignitary of the 
Church, and Yule was roasted by being placed with his back to 
an enormous fire. "Coals are cheap at Durham," he notes 
feelingly, adding, " The party we found as heavy as any Edin- 
burgh one. Smith, indeed, evidently has had little experience 
of really stupid Edinburgh parties, for he had never met with 
anything approaching to this before." (Happy Smith!) But 
thanks to the kindness and hospitality of the astronomer, Mr. 
Chevalier, and his gifted daughter, they had a delightful visit to 
beautiful Durham, and came away full of admiration for the 
(then newly established) University, and its grand locale. They 
went on to stay with an uncle by marriage of Yule's, in York- 
shire. At dinner he was asked by his host to explain Foucault's 
pendulum experiment. " I endeavoured to explain it somewhat, 
I hope, to the satisfaction of his doubts, but not at all to that of 
Mr G. M., who most resolutely declined to take in any elucida- 
tion, coming at last to the conclusion that he entirely differed 
with me as to what North meant, and that it was useless to 
argue until we could agree about that ! " They went next to 
Leeds, to visit Kirkstall Abbey, "a mediaeval fossil, curiously 
embedded among the squalid brickwork and chimney stalks of 
a manufacturing suburb. Having established ourselves at the 
hotel, we went to deliver a letter to Mr. Hope, the official 
assignee, a very handsome, aristocratic-looking gentleman, who 
seemed as much out of place at Leeds as the Abbey." At 
Leeds they visited the flax mills of Messrs. Marshall, " a firm 
noted for the conscientious care they take of their workpeople 
. . . We mounted on the roof of the building, which is covered 
with grass, and formerly was actually grazed by a few sheep, 
until the repeated inconvenience of their tumbling through the 
glass domes put a stop to this." They next visited some tile 
and brickworks on land belonging to a friend. " The owner of 
the tile works, a well-to-do burgher, and the apparent model of 
a West Riding Radical, received us in rather a dubious way : 
* There are a many people has come and brought introductions, 
and looked at all my works, and then gone and set up for them- 
selves close by. Now des you mean to say that you be really 
come all the way from Bengal ? ' ' Yes, indeed we have, and we 
are going all the way back again, though we didn't exactly come 
from there to look at your brickworks.' 'Then you're not in 


the brick-making line, are you ? ' ' Why we've had a good deal 
to do with making bricks, and may have again ; but we'll engage 
that if we set up for ourselves, it shall be ten thousand miles 
from you.' This seemed in some degree to set his mind 
at rest. . . ." 

"A dismal day, with occasional showers, prevented our 
seeing Sheffield to advantage. On the whole, however, it is 
more cheerful and has more of a country-town look than Leeds 
— a place utterly without beauty of aspect. At Leeds you have 
vast barrack-like factories, with their usual suburbs of squalid 
rows of brick cottages, and everywhere the tall spiracles of the 
steam, which seems the pervading power of the place. Every- 
thing there is machinery — the machine is the intelligent agent, it 
would seem, the man its slave, standing by to tend it and pick 
up a broken thread now and then. At Sheffield . . . you might 
go through most of the streets without knowing anything of the 
kind was going on. And steam here, instead of being a ruler, 
is a drudge, turning a grindstone or rolling out a bar of steel, 
but all the accuracy and skill of hand is the Man's. J^nd con- 
sequently there was, we thought, a healthier aspect about the 
men engaged. None of the Rodgers remain who founded the 
firm in my father's time. I saw some pairs of his scissors in the 
show-room still kept under the name of Persian scissors," ^' 

From Sheffield Yule and his friend proceeded to Boston, 
"where there is the most exquisite church tower I have ever 
seen," and thence to Lincoln, Peterborough, and Ely, ending 
their tour at Cambridge, where Yule spent a few delightful 

In the autumn the great Duke of Wellington died, and 
Yule witnessed the historic pageant of his funeral. His furlough 
was now nearly expired, and early in December he again 
embarked for India, leaving his wife and only child, of a few 

^ It would appear that Major Yule had presented the Rodgers with some speci- 
mens of Indian scissors, probably as suggestions in developing that field of export. 
Scissors of elaborate design, usually damascened or gilt, used to form a most important 
item in every set of Oriental writing implements. Even long after adhesive envelopes 
had become common in European Turkey, their use was considered over familiar, if 
not actually disrespectful, for formal letters, and there was a particular traditional 
knack in cutting and folding the special envelope for each missive, which was included 
in the instruction given by every competent Khoja, as the present writer well remem- 
bers in the quiet years that ended with the disasters of 1877. 


weeks old, behind him. Some verses dated " Christmas Day 
near the Equator," show how much he felt the separation. 

Shortly after his return to Bengal, Yule received orders to 
proceed to Aracan, and to examine and report upon the passes 
between Aracan and Burma, as also to improve communications 
and select suitable sites for fortified posts to hold the same. 
These orders came to Yule quite unexpectedly late one Saturday 
evening, but he completed all preparations and started at day- 
break on the following Monday, 24th Jan. 1853. 

From Calcutta to Khyook Phyoo, Yule proceeded by steamer, 
and thence up the river in the Tickler gunboat to Krenggyuen. 
" Our course lay through a wilderness of wooded islands (50 to 
200 feet high) and bays, sailing when we could, anchoring when 
neither wind nor tide served . . . slow progress up the river. 
More and more like the creeks and lagoons of the Niger or a 
Guiana river rather than anything I looked for in India. The 
densest tree jungle covers the shore down into the water. For 
miles no sign of human habitation, but now and then at rare 
intervals one sees a patch of hillside rudely cleared, with the 
bare stems of the burnt trees still standing. . . , Sometimes, too, 
a dark tunnel-like creek runs back beneath the thick vault of 
jungle, and from it silently steals out a slim canoe, manned by 
two or three wild-looking Mugs or Kyens (people of the Hills), 
driving it rapidly along with their short paddles held vertically, 
exactly like those of the Red men on the American rivers." 

At the military post of Bokhyong, near Krenggyuen, he 
notes (5th Feb.) that "Captain Munro, the adjutant, can 
scarcely believe that I was present at the Duke of Wellington's 
funeral, of which he read but a few days ago in the newspapers, and 
here am I, one of the spectators, a guest in this wild spot among 
the mountains — 2\ months since I left England." 

Yule's journal of his arduous wanderings in these border 
wilds is full of interest, but want of space forbids further 
quotation. From a note on the fly-leaf it appears that from the 
time of quitting the gun-boat at Krenggyuen to his arrival at 
Toungoop he covered about 240 miles on foot, and that under 
immense difificulties, even as to food. He commemorated his 
tribulations in some cheery humorous verse, but ultimately fell 
seriously ill of the local fever, aided doubtless by previous 
exposure and privation. His servants successively fell ill, 


some died and others had to be sent back, food supplies 
failed, and the route through those dense forests was uncertain ; 
yet under all difficulties he seems never to have grumbled or 
lost heart. And when things were nearly at the worst. Yule 
restored the spirits of his local escort by improvising a 
wappenshaw, with a Sheffield gardener's knife, which he happened 
to have with him, for prize ! When at last Yule emerged 
from the wilds and on 25th March marched into Prome, he 
was taken for his own ghost ! " Found Fraser (of the Engineers) 
in a rambling phoongyee house, just under the great gilt pagoda. 
I went up to him announcing myself, and his astonishment was 
so great that he would scarcely shake hands ! " It was on this 
occasion at Prome that Yule first met his future chief Captain 
Phayre — " a very young-looking man — very cordial," a descrip- 
tion no less applicable to General Sir Arthur Phayre at the age 
of seventy ! 

After some further wanderings, Yule embarked at Sandong, 
and returned by water, touching at Kyook Phyoo and Akyab, to 
Calcutta, which he reached on ist May — his birthday. 

The next four months were spent in hard work at Calcutta. 
In August, Yule received orders to proceed to Singapore, and 
embarked on the 29th. His duty was to report on the defences 
of the Straits Settlements, with a view to their improvement. 
Yule's recommendations were sanctioned by Government, but 
his journal bears witness to the prevalence then, as since, of the 
penny-wise-pound-foolish system in our administration. On all 
sides he was met by difficulties in obtaining sites for batteries, 
etc., for which heavy compensation was demanded, when by the 
exercise of reasonable foresight, the same might have been 
secured earlier at a nominal price. 

Yule's journal contains a very bright and pleasing picture of 
Singapore, where he found that the "majority of the European 
population "were evidently, from their tongues, from benorth 
the Tweed, a circumstance which seems to be true of four-fifths 
of the Singaporeans. Indeed, if I taught geography, I should 
be inclined to class Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, and Singapore 
together as the four chief towns of Scotland." 

Work on the defences kept Yule in Singapore and its 
neighbourhood until the end of November, when he embarked 
for Bengal. On his return to Calcutta, Yule was appointed 


Deputy Consulting Engineer for Railways at Head-quarters. 
In this post he had for chief his old friend Baker, who had 
in 1 85 1 been appointed by the Governor-General, Lord 
Dalhousie, Consulting Engineer for Railways to Government. 
The office owed its existence to the recently initiated great 
experiment of railway construction under Government 

The subject was new to Yule, " and therefore called for hard 
and anxious labour. He, however, turned his strong sense and 
unbiased view to the general question of railway communication 
in India, with the result that he became a vigorous supporter of 
the idea of narrow gauge and cheap lines in the parts of that 
country outside of the main trunk lines of traffic." ^ 

The influence of Yule, and that of his intimate friends and 
ultimate successors in office, Colonels R. Strachey and Dickens, 
led to the adoption of the narrow (metre) gauge over a great 
part of India. Of this matter more will be said further on ; it is 
sufficient at this stage to note that it was occupying Yule's 
thoughts, and that he had already taken up the position in this 
question that he thereafter maintained through life. The office 
of Consulting Engineer to Government for Railways ultimately 
developed into the great Department of Public Works. 

As related by Yule, whilst Baker "held this appointment, 
Lord Dalhousie was in the habit of making use of his advice in 
a great variety of matters connected with Public Works projects 
and questions, but which had nothing to do with guaranteed 
railways, there being at that time no officer attached to the 
Government of India, whose proper duty it was to deal with 
such questions. In August, 1854, the Government of India sent 
home to the Court of Directors a despatch and a series of 
minutes by the Governor-General and his Council, in which the 
constitution of the Public Works Department as a separate 
branch of administration, both in the local governments and the 
government of India itself, was urged on a detailed plan." 

In this communication Lord Dalhousie stated his desire to 
appoint Major Baker to the projected office of Secretary for the 
Department of Public Works. In the spring of 1855 these re- 
commendations were carried out by the creation of the Depart- 

Colliiison's Memoir of Yule, Royal Engineer J ottntal. 


ment, with Baker as Secretary and Yule as Under Secretary for 
Public Works. 

Meanwhile Yule's services were called to a very different 
field, but without his vacating his new appointment, which he was 
allowed to retain. Not long after the conclusion of the second 
Burmese War, the King of Burma sent a friendly mission to the 
Governor-General, and in 1855 a return Embassy was despatched 
to the Court of Ava, under Colonel Arthur Phayre, with Henry 
Yule as Secretary, an appointment the latter owed as much to 
Lord Dalhousie's personal wish as to Phayre's good-will. The 
result of this employment was Yule's first geographical book, 
a large volume entitled Missioti to the Court of Ava in 1855, 
originally printed in India, but subsequently re-issued in an 
embellished form at home (see over leaf). To the end of his 
life, Yule looked back to this " social progress up the Irawady, 
with its many quaint and pleasant memories, as to a bright and 
joyous holiday." ^^ It was a delight to him to work under 
Phayre, whose noble and lovable character he had already 
learned to appreciate two years before in Pegu. Then, too, 
Yule has spoken of the intense relief it was to escape from 
the monotonous scenery and depressing conditions of official 
life in Bengal (Resort to Simla was the exception, not the rule, in 
these days !) to the cheerfulness and unconstraint of Burma, 
with its fine landscapes and merry-hearted population. "It was 
such a relief to find natives who would laugh at a joke," he once 
remarked in the writer's presence to the lamented E. C. Baber, 
who replied that he had experienced exactly the same sense of 
relief in passing from India to China. 

Yule's work on Burma was largely illustrated by his own 
sketches. One of these represents the King's reception of the 
Embassy, and another, the King on his throne. The originals 
were executed by Yule's ready pencil, surreptitiously within his 
cocked hat, during the audience. 

From the latter sketch Yule had a small oil-painting 
executed under his direction by a German artist, then resident 
in Calcutta, which he gave to Lord Dalhousie.^ 

^ Extract from Preface to Ava, edition of 1858. 

^ The present whereabouts of this picture is unknown to the writer. It was lent 
to Yule in 1889 hy Lord Dalhousie's surviving daughter (for whom he had strong 


The Government of India marked their approval of the 
Embassy by an unusual concession. Each of the members of the 
mission received a souvenir of the expedition. To Yule was given 
a very beautiful and elaborately chased small bowl, of nearly 
pure gold, bearing the signs of the Zodiac in relief.^^ 

On his return to Calcutta, Yule threw himself heart and soul 
into the work of his new appointment in the Public Works 
Department. The nature of his work, the novelty and variety 
of the projects and problems with which this new branch of the 
service had to deal, brought Yule into constant, and eventually 
very intimate association with Lord Dalhousie, whom he accom- 
panied on some of his tours of inspection. The two men 
thoroughly appreciated each other, and, from first to last, Yule 
experienced the greatest kindness from Lord Dalhousie. In this 
intimacy, no doubt the fact of being what French soldiers call pays 
added something to the warmth of their mutual regard : their fore- 
fathers came from the same azrt, and neither was unmindful of the 
circumstance. It is much to be regretted that Yule preserved no 
sketch of Lord Dalhousie,nor written record of his intercourse with 
him, but the following lines show some part of what he thought : 
At this time [1849] there appears upon the scene that vigorous 
and masterful spirit, whose arrival to take up the government of 
India had been greeted by events so inauspicious. No doubt 
from the beginning the Governor-General was desirous to let it 
be understood that although new to India he was, and meant to 
be, master ; . . . Lord Dalhousie was by no means averse to 
frank dissent, provided m tJie manner it was never forgotten that 
he was Governor-General. Like his great predecessor Lord 
Wellesley, he was jealous of all familiarity and resented it. . . . 
The general sentiment of those who worked under that ava^ 
avSpwv was one of strong and admiring affection . . . and we 
doubt if a Governor-General ever embarked on the Hoogly amid 
deeper feeling than attended him who, shattered by sorrow and 

regard and much sympathy), and was returned to her early in 1890, but is not named 
in the catalogue of Lady Susan's effects, sold at Edinburgh in 1898 after her death. 
At that sale the present writer had the satisfaction of securing for reverent preser- 
vation the watch used throughout his career by the great Marquess. 

^ Now in the writer's possession. It was for many years on exhibition in the 
Edinburgh and South Kensington Museums, 

Age, 35-37. RETURN TO INDIA— THE MUTINY xlvii 

physical suffering, but erect and undaunted, quitted Calcutta on 
the 6th March 1856."*° * 

His successor was Lord Canning, whose confidence in Yule 
and personal regard for him became as marked as his prede- 

In the autumn of 1856, Yule took leave and came home. 
Much of his time while in England was occupied with making 
arrangements for the production of an improved edition of his 
book on Burma, which so far had been a mere government re- 
port. These were completed to his satisfaction, and on the eve of 
returning to India, he wrote to his publishers *^ that the correction 
of the proof sheets and general supervision of the publication had 
been undertaken by his friend the Rev. W. D. Maclagan, formerly 
an officer of the Madras army (and now Archbishop of York). 

Whilst in England, Yule had renewed his intimacy with his old 
friend Colonel Robert Napier, then also on furlough, a visitor 
whose kindly sympathetic presence always brought special 
pleasure also to Yule's wife and child. One result of this in- 
tercourse was that the friends decided to return together to 
India. Accordingly they sailed from Marseilles towards the 
end of April, and at Aden were met by the astounding news of 
the outbreak of the Mutiny. 

On his arrival in Calcutta Yule, who retained his appointment 
of Under Secretary to Government, found his work indefinitely 
increased. Every available officer was called into the field, and 
Yule's principal centre of activity was shifted to the great for- 
tress of Allahabad, forming the principal base of operations 
against the rebels. Not only had he to strengthen or create 
defences at Allahabad and elsewhere, but on Yule devolved the 
principal burden of improvising accommodation for the European 
troops then pouring into India, which ultimately meant provid- 
ing for an army of 100,000 men. His task was made the more 
difficult by the long-standing chronic friction, then and long 
after, existing between the officers of the Queen's and the Com- 
pany's services. But in a far more important matter he was 
always fortunate. As he subsequently recorded in a Note for 
Government : " Through all consciousness of mistakes and short- 

*' Article by Yule on Lord Lawrence, Quarterly Review for April, \\ 
■♦1 Messrs. Smith & Elder. 

xlviii MEMOIR OF SIR HENRY YULE 1857-58. 

comings, I have felt that I had the confidence of those whom I 
served, a feeHng which has lightened many a weight." 

It was at Allahabad that Yule, in the intervals of more serious 
work, put the last touches to his Burma book. The preface of the 
English edition is dated, "Fortress of Allahabad, Oct, 3, 1857," 
and contains a passage instinct with the emotions of the time. 
After recalling the "joyous holiday" on the Irawady, he goes 
on: "But for ourselves, standing here on the margin of these 
rivers, which a few weeks ago were red with the blood of our 
murdered brothers and sisters, and straining the ear to catch the 
echo of our avenging artillery, it is difficult to turn the mind to 
what seem dreams of past days of peace and security ; and 
memory itself grows dim in the attempt to repass the gulf 
which the last few months has interposed between the present 
and the time to which this narrative refers." ^^ 

When he wrote these lines, the first relief had just taken 
place, and the second defence of Lucknow was beginning. The 
end of the month saw Sir Colin Campbell's advance to the 
second — the real — relief of Lucknow. Of Sir Colin, Yule wrote 
and spoke with warm regard : " Sir Colin was delightful, and 
when in a good humour and at his best, always reminded me 
very much, both in manner and talk, of the General {i.e. General 
White, his wife's father). The voice was just the same and the 

*2 Preface to Narrative of a Mission to the Court of Ava. Before these words 
were written, Yule had had the sorrow of losing his elder brother Robert, who had 
fallen in action before Delhi (19th June, 1857), whilst in command of his regiment, 
the 9th Lancers. Robert Abercromby Yule (born 1817) was a very noble character 
and a fine soldier. He had served with distinction in the campaigns in Afghani- 
stan and the Sikh Wars, and was the author of an excellent brief treatise 
on Cavalry Tactics. He had a ready pencil and a happy turn for graceful 
verse. In prose his charming little allegorical tale for children, entitled The While 
Rhododendron, is as pure and graceful as the flower whose name it bears. Like both 
Lis brothers, he was at once chivalrous and devout, modest, impulsive, and impetuous. 
No officer was more beloved by his men than Robert Yule, and when some one met 
them carrying back his covered body from the field and enquired of the sergeant : 
•* Who have you got there?" the reply was : " Colonel Yule, and better have lost 
half the regiment, sir." It was in the chivalrous efibrt to extricate some exposed 
guns that he fell. Some one told afterwards that when asked to go to the rescue, he 
turned in the saddle, looked back wistfully on his regiment, well knowing the cost of 
such an enterprise, then gave the order to advance and charge. " No stone marks the 
spot where Yule went down, but no stone is needed to commemorate his valour" 
(Archibald Forbes, in Daily News, 8th Feb. 1876). At the time of his death Colonel 
R. A. Yule had been recommended for the C.B. His eldest son. Colonel J. H. 
Yule, C.B., distinguished himself in several recent campaigns (on the Burma-Chinese 
frontier J in Tirah, and South Africa). 

Age, 37-38. LORD CLYDE— SIR W. BAKER xlix 

quiet gentle manner, with its underlying keen dry humour. 
But then if you did happen to offend Sir Colin, it was like 
treading on crackers, which was not our General's way." 

When Lucknow had been relieved, besieged, reduced, and 
finally remodelled by the grand Roads and Demolitions Scheme 
of his friend Napier, the latter came down to Allahabad, and he 
and Yule sought diversion in playing quoits and skittles, the 
only occasion on which either of them is known to have evinced 
any liking for games. 

Before this time Yule had succeeded his friend Baker as 
de facto Secretary to Government for Public Works, and on 
Baker's retirement in 1858, Yule was formally appointed his 
successor.*^ Baker and Yule had, throughout their association, 
worked in perfect unison, and the very differences in their char- 
acters enhanced the value of their co-operation ; the special 
qualities of each friend mutually strengthened and completed 
each other. Yule's was by far the more original and creative 
mind. Baker's the more precise and, at least in a professional 
sense, the more highly-trained organ. In chi\alrous sense of 
honour, devotion to duty, and natural generosity, the men stood 
equal ; but while Yule was by nature impatient and irritable, and 
liable, until long past middle age, to occasional sudden bursts of 
uncontrollable anger, generally followed by periods of black 
depression and almost absolute silence,** Baker was the very 
reverse. Partly by natural temperament, but also certainly by 
severe self-discipline, his manner was invincibly placid and his 
temper imperturbable.*^ Yet none was more tenacious in main- 
taining whatever he judged right. 

Baker, whilst large-minded in great matters, Wcis extremely 
conventional in small ones, and Yule must sometimes have tried 
his feelings in this respect. The particulars of one such tragic 
occurrence have survived. Yule, who was colour-blind,*" and in 

^ Baker went home in November, 1857, but did not retire until the following year. 

** Nothing was more worthy of respect in Yule's fine character than the energy 
and success with which he mastered his natural temperament in the last ten years of 
his life, when few would have guessed his original fiery disposition. 

^ Not without cause did Sir J. P. Grant officially record that " to his imperturb- 
able temper the Government of India owed much." 

^ Yule's colour-blindness was one of the cases in which Dalton, the original 

investigator of this optical defect, took special interest. At a later date (1859) he 

sent Yule, through Professor Wilson, skeins of coloured silks to name. Yule's elder 

brother Robert had the same peculiarity of sight, and it was also present in two earlier 

VOL. I. d 


early life whimsically obstinate in maintaining his own view of 
colours, had selected some cloth for trousers undeterred by his 
tailor's timid remonstrance of " Not quite your usual taste, sir." 
The result was that the Under-Secretary to Government startled 
official Calcutta by appearing in brilliant claret - coloured 
raiment. Baker remonstrated : " Claret-colour ! Nonsense, 
my trousers are silver grey," said Yule, and entirely declined to be 
convinced. " I think I did convince him at last," said Baker with 
some pride, when long after telling the story to the present writer. 
" And then he gave them up ? " " Oh, no," said Sir William 
ruefully, " he wore those claret - coloured trousers to the very 
end." That episode probably belonged to the Dalhousie period. 

When Yule resumed work in the Secretariat at Calcutta at 
the close of the Mutiny, the inevitable arrears of work were 
enormous. This may be the proper place to notice more fully 
his action with respect to the choice of gauge for Indian rail- 
ways already adverted to in brief As we have seen, his own 
convictions led to the adoption of the metre gauge over a great 
part of India. This policy had great disadvantages not at first 
foreseen, and has since been greatly modified. In justice 
to Yule, however, it should be remembered that the con- 
ditions and requirements of India have largely altered, alike 
through the extraordinary growth of the Indian export, 
especially the grain, trade, and the development of new 
necessities for Imperial defence. These new features, however, 
did but accentuate defects inherent in the system, but which 
only prolonged practical experience made fully apparent. 

At the outset the supporters of the narrow gauge seemed to 
have the stronger position, as they were able to show that the 
cost was much less, the rails employed being only about frds the 
weight of those required by the broad gauge, and many other 
subsidiary expenses also proportionally less. On the other 

and two later generations of their mother's family — making five generations in all. 
But in no case did it pass from parent to child, always passing in these examples, by a 
sort of Knight's move, from uncle to nephew. Another peculiarity of Yule's more 
difficult to describe was the instinctive association of certain architectural forms or 
images with the days of the week. He once, and once only (in 1843), met another 
person, a lady who was a perfect stranger, with the same peculiarity. About 187S-79 
lie contributed some notes on this obscure subject to one of the newspapers, in connec- 
tion with the researches of Mr. Francis Gallon, on Visualisation, but the particulars 
are not now accessible. 


hand, as time passed and practical experience gained, 
its opponents were able to make an even stronger case 
against the narrow gauge. The initial expenses were un- 
doubtedly less, but the durability was also less. Thus much 
of the original saving was lost in the greater cost of 
maintenance, whilst the small carrying capacity of the rolling 
stock and loss of time and labour in shifting goods at every 
break of gauge, were further serious causes of waste, which the 
internal commercial development of India daily made more 
apparent. Strategic needs also were clamant against the 
dangers of the narrow gauge in any general scheme of Indian 
defence. Yule's connection with the Public Works Department 
had long ceased ere the question of the gauges reached its most 
acute stage, but his interest and indirect participation in the 
conflict survived. In this matter a certain parental tenderness 
for a scheme which he had helped to originate, combined with 
his warm friendship for some of the principal supporters of the 
narrow gauge, seem to have influenced his views more than he 
himself was aware. Certainly his judgment in this matter 
was not impartial, although, as always in his case, it was 
absolutely sincere and not consciously biased. 

In reference to Yule's services in the period following the 
Mutiny, Lord Canning's subsequent Minute of 1862 may here 
be fitly quoted. In this the Governor-General writes : " I have 
long ago recorded my opinion of the value of his services in 1858 
and 1859, when with a crippled and overtaxed staff of Engineer 
officers, many of them young and inexperienced, the G.-G. 
had to provide rapidly for the accommodation of a vast English 
army, often in districts hitherto little known, and in which the 
authority of the Government was barely established, and always 
under circumstances of difficulty and urgency. I desire to 
repeat that the Queen's army in India was then greatly indebted 
to Lieut.-Colonel Yule's judgment, earnestness, and ability ; and 
this to an extent very imperfectly understood by many of the 
officers who held commands in that army. 

" Of the manner in which the more usual duties of his office 
have been discharged it is unnecessary for me to speak. It is, I 
believe, known and appreciated as well by the Home Govern- 
ment as by the Governor-General in Council." 

In the spring of 1859 Yule felt the urgent need of a rest, and 
VOL. I. d 2 


took the, at that time, most unusual step of coming home on 
three months' leave, which as the voyage then occupied a 
month each way, left him only one month at home. He was 
accompanied by his elder brother George, who had not been out 
of India for thirty years. The visit home of the two brothers 
was as bright and pleasant as it was brief, but does not call for 
further notice. 

In i860, Yule's health having again suffered, he took short 
leave to Java. His journal of this tour is very interesting, but 
space does not admit of quotation here. He embodied some of 
the results of his observations in a lecture he delivered on his 
return to Calcutta. 

During these latter years of his service in India, Yule owed 
much happiness to the appreciative friendship of Lord Canning 
and the ready sympathy of Lady Canning. If he shared their tours 
in an official capacity, the intercourse was much more than official. 
The noble character of Lady Canning won from Yule such whole- 
hearted chivalrous devotion as, probably, he felt for no other friend 
save, perhaps in after days. Sir Bartle Frere. And when her 
health failed, it was to Yule's special care that Lord Canning 
entrusted his wife during a tour in the Hills. Lady Canning 
was known to be very homesick, and one day as the party came 
in sight of some ilexes (the evergreen oak). Yule sought to 
cheer her by calling out pleasantly ; " Look, Lady Canning ! 
There are oaks I " " No, no, Yule, noi oaks," cried Sir C. B. 
"They are (solemnly) IBEXES." "No, no^ Ibexes, Sir C, you 

mean SiLEXES," cried Capt. , the A.D.C. ; Lady Canning 

and Yule the while almost choking with laughter. 

On another and later occasion, when the Governor-General's 
camp was peculiarly dull and stagnant, every one yawning and 
grumbling, Yule effected a temporary diversion by pretending to 
tap the telegraph wires, and circulating through camp, what pur- 
ported to be, the usual telegraphic abstract of news brought 
to Bombay by the latest English mail. The news was of the 
most astounding character, with just enough air of probability, in 
minor details, to pass muster with a dull reader. The effect was 
all he could wish — or rather more — and there was a general 
flutter in the camp. Of course the Governor-General and one or 
two others were in the secret, and mightily relished the diversion. 
But this pleasant and cheering intercourse was drawing to its 


mournful close. On her way back from Darjeeling, in November, 
1 86 1, Lady Canning (not then in Yule's care) was unavoidably 
exposed to the malaria of a specially unhealthy season. A few 
days' illness followed, and on i8th November, 1861, she passed 
calmly to 

" That remaining rest where night and tears are o'er." *' 

It was to Yule that Lord Canning turned in the first anguish 
of his loss, and on this faithful friend devolved the sad privilege 
of preparing her last resting-place. This may be told in the 
touching words of Lord Canning's letter to his only sister, written 
on the day of Lady Canning's burial, in the private garden at 
Barrackpoor *^ : — 

" The funeral is over, and my own darling lies buried in 
a spot which I am sure she would have chosen of all others, . . . 
From the grave can be seen the embanked walk leading from the 
house to the river's edge, which she made as a landing-place 
three years ago, and from within 3 or 4 paces of the grave 
there is a glimpse of the terrace-garden and its balustrades, 
which she made near the house, and of the part of the grounds 
with which she most occupied herself. ... I left Calcutta 
yesterday . . . and on arriving here, went to look at the precise 
spot chosen for the grave. I could see by the clear full moon 
. . . that it was exactly right. Yule was there superintending 
the workmen, and before daylight this morning a solid masonry 
vault had been completely finished. 

" Bowie [Military Secretary] and Yule have done all this for 
me. It has all been settled since my poor darling died. She 
liked Yule, They used to discuss together her projects of im- 
provement for this place, architecture, gardening, the Cawnpore 
monument, etc., and they generally agreed. He knew her 
tastes well. ..." 

The coffin, brought on a gun-carriage from Calcutta, " was 
carried by twelve soldiers of the 6th Regiment (Queen's), the 
A.D.C.'s bearing the pall. There were no hired men or ordinary 
funeral attendants of any kind at any part of the ceremony, and 
no lookers-on. . . . Yule was the only person not of the house- 

*^ From Yule's verses on her grave. 

^ Lord Canning to Lady Clanricarde : Letter dated Barrackpoor, 19th Nov. i86i, 
7 A.M., printed n Two Noble Lives, by A. J. C. Hare, and here reproduced by Mr. 
Hare's permission. 


hold staff. Had others who had asked " to attend " been allowed 
to do so, the numbers would have been far too large. 

" On coming near the end of the terrace walk I saw that the 
turf between the walk and the grave, and for several yards all 
round the grave, was strewed thick with palm branches and 
bright fresh-gathered flowers — quite a thick carpet. It was a 
little matter, but so exactly what she would have thought of" ^^ 

And, therefore. Yule thought of this for her ! He also 
recorded the scene two days later in some graceful and touching 
lines, privately printed, from which the following may be 
quoted : 

" When night lowered black, and the circling shroud 
Of storm rolled near, and stout hearts learned dismay ; 
Not Hers ! To her tried Lord a Light and Stay 
Even in the Earthquake and the palpable cloud 
Of those dark months ; and when a fickle crowd 
Panted for blood and pelted wrath and scorn 
On him she loved, her courage never stooped : 
But when the clouds were driven, and the day 
Poured Hope and glorious Sunshine, she who had borne, 
The night with such strong Heart, withered and drooped, 
Our queenly lily, and smiling passed away. 
Now ! let no fouling touch profane her clay. 
Nor odious pomps and funeral tinsels mar 
Our grief. But from our England's cannon car 
Let England's soldiers bear her to the tomb 
Prepared byjoving hands. Before her bier 
Scatter victorious palms ; let Rose's bloom 
Carpet its passage . . . ." 

Yule's deep sympathy in this time of sorrow strengthened 
the friendship Lord Canning had long felt for him, and when 
the time approached for the Governor-General to vacate his high 
office, he invited Yule, who was very weary of India, to accom- 
pany him home, where his influence would secure Yule congenial 
employment. Yule's weariness of India at this time was 
extreme. Moreover, after serving under such leaders as Lord 
Dalhousie and Lord Canning, and winning their full confidence 
and friendship, it was almost repugnant to him to begin afresh 
with new men and probably new measures, with which he might 

■"■ Lord Canning's letter to Lady Clanricarde. He gave to Yule Lady Canning's 
own silver drinking-cup, which she had constantly used. It is carefully treasured, 
with other Canning and Dalhousie relics, by the present writer. 


not be in accord. Indeed, some little clouds were already 
visible on the horizon. In these circumstances, it is not surpris- 
ing that Yule, under an impulse of lassitude and impatience, 
when accepting Lord Canning's offer, also ' burnt his boats ' by 
sending in his resignation of the service. This decision Yule 
took against the earnest advice of his anxious and devoted wife, 
and for a time the results justified all her misgivings. She knew 
well, from past experience, how soon Yule wearied in the absence 
of compulsory employment. And in the event of the life in 
England not suiting him, for even Lord Canning's good-will 
might not secure perfectly congenial employment for his talents, 
she knew well that his health and spirits would be seriously 
affected. She, therefore, with affectionate solicitude, urged that 
he should adopt the course previously followed by his friend 
Baker, that is, come home on furlough, and only send in his 
resignation after he saw clearly what his prospects of home 
employment were, and what he himself wished in the matter. 
Lord Canning and Yule left Calcutta late in March, 1862 ; at 
Malta they parted never to meet again in this world. Lord 
Canning proceeded to England, and Yule joined his wife and 
child in Rome. Only a few weeks later, at Florence, came as a 
thunderclap the announcement of Lord Canning's unexpected 
death in London, on 17th June. Well does the present writer 
remember the day that fatal news came, and Yule's deep 
anguish, not assuredly for the loss of his prospects, but for the 
loss of a most noble and magnanimous friend, a statesman whose 
true greatness was, both then and since, most imperfectly realised 
by the country for which he had worn himself out.^ Shortly 
after Yule went to England,^^ where he was cordially received by 
Lord Canning's representatives, who gave him a touching re- 

*" Many years later Yule wrote of Lord Canning as follows : " He had his defects, 
no doubt. He had not at first that entire grasp of the situation that was wanted at 
such a time of crisis. But there is a virtue which in these days seems unknown to 
Parliamentary statesmen in England — Magnanimity. Lord Canning was an English 
statesman, and he was surpassingly magnanimous. There is another virtue which in 
Holy Writ is taken as the t}'pe and sum of all righteousness — ^Justice — and he was 
eminently just. The misuse of special powers granted early in the Mutiny called for 
Lord Canning's interference, and the consequence was a flood of savage abuse ; the 
violence and bitterness of which it is now hard to realise." (^Quarterly Review, April, 
1883, p. 306.) 

" During the next ten years Yule continued to visit London annually for two or 
three months in the spring or early summer. 


membrance of his lost friend, in the shape of the silver travelling 
candlesticks, which had habitually stood on Lord Canning's 
writing-table.^^ But his offer to write Lord Canning's Life had 
no result, as the relatives, following the then recent example of the 
Hastings family, in the case of another great Governor-General, 
refused to revive discussion by the publication of any Memoir. 

Nor did Yule find any suitable opening for employment in 
England, so after two or three months spent in visiting old 
friends, he rejoined his family in the Black Forest, where he 
sought occupation in renewing his knowledge of German. But 
it must be confessed that his mood both then and for long after 
was neither happy nor wholesome. The winter of 1862 was spent 
somewhat listlessly, partly in Germany and partly at the Hotel 
des Bergues, Geneva, where his old acquaintance Colonel 
Tronchin was hospitably ready to open all doors. The pictur- 
esque figure of John Ruskin also flits across the scene at this 
time. But Yule was unoccupied and restless, and could neither 
enjoy Mr. Ruskin's criticism of his sketches nor the kindly 
hospitality of his Genevan hosts. Early in 1863 he made another 
fruitless visit to London, where he remained four or five months, 
but found no opening. Though unproductive of work, this year 
brought Yule official recognition of his services in the shape of 
the C.B., for which Lord Canning had long before recommended 

On rejoining his wife and child at Mornex in Savoy, Yule 
found the health of the former seriously impaired. During his 
absence, the kind and able English Doctor at Geneva had felt 
obliged to inform Mrs. Yule that she was suffering from disease 
of the heart, and that her life might end suddenly at any 
moment. Unwilling to add to Yule's anxieties, she made all 
necessary arrangements, but did not communicate this intel- 
ligence until he had done all he wished and returned, when she 
broke it to him very gently. Up to this year Mrs. Yule, though not 
strong and often ailing, had not allowed herself to be considered 

"2 Now in the writer's possession. They appear in the well-known portrait of 
Lord Canning reading a despatch. 

^2 Lord Canning's recommendation had been mislaid, and the India Office was 
disposed to ignore it. It was Lord Canning's old friend and Eton chum, Lord 
Granville, who obtained this tardy justice for Yule, instigated thereto by that most 
faithful friend, Sir Roderick Murchison. 


an invalid, but from this date doctor's orders left her no choice in 
the matter.^* 

About this time, Yule took in hand the first of his studies of 
mediaeval travellers. His translation of the Travels of Friar 
Jordanus was probably commenced earlier ; it was completed 
during the leisurely journey by carriage between Chambery and 
Turin, and the Dedication to Sir Bartle Frere written during a 
brief halt at Genoa, from which place it is dated. Travelling 
slowly and ^Dleasantly by vetturino along the Riviera di Levante, 
the family came to Spezzia, then little more than a quiet village. 
A chance encounter with agreeable residents disposed Yule 
favourably towards the place, and a few days later he opened 
negotiations for land to build a house ! Most fortunately for 
himself and all concerned these fell through, and the family 
continued their journey to Tuscany, and settled for the winter 
in a long rambling house, with pleasant garden, at Pisa, where 
Yule was able to continue with advantage his researches into 
mediaeval travel in the East. He paid frequent visits to 
Florence, where he had many pleasant acquaintances, not least 
among them Charles Lever (" Harry Lorrequer "), with whom 
acquaintance ripened into warm and enduring friendship. At 
Florence he also made the acquaintance of the celebrated 
Marchese Gino Capponi, and of many other Italian men of 
letters. To this winter of 1863-64 belongs also the com- 
mencement of a lasting friendship with the illustrious Italian 
historian, Villari, at that time holding an appointment at 
Pisa. Another agreeable acquaintance, though less intimate, 
was formed with John Ball, the well-known President of the 
Alpine Club, then resident at Pisa, and with many others, among 
whom the name of a very cultivated German scholar, H. Meyer, 
specially recurs to memory. 

" I cannot let the mention of this time of lonely sickness and trial pass without 
recording here my deep gratitude to our dear and honoured friend, John Raskin. As 
my dear mother stood on the threshold between life and death at Mornex that sad 
spring, he was untiring in all kindly oflSces of friendship. It was her old friend, 
Principal A. J. Scott (then eminent, now forgotten), who sent him to call. He came 
to see us daily when possible, sometimes bringing MSS. of Rossetti and others to read 
aloud (and who could equal his reading ?), and when she was too ill for this, or himself 
absent, he would send not only books and flowers to brighten the bare rooms of the 
hillside inn (then very primitive), but his own best treasures of Turner and W. Hunt, 
drawings and illuminated missals. It was an anxious solace ; and though most grate- 
fully enjoyed, these treasures were never long retained. 


In the spring of 1864, Yule took a spacious and delightful old 
villa, situated in the highest part of the Bagni di Lucca/^ and 
commanding lovely views over the surrounding chestnut-clad 
hills and winding river. 

Here he wrote much of what ultimately took form in 
Cathay, and the Way Thither. It was this summer, too, that 
Yule commenced his investigations among the Venetian 
archives, and also visited the province of Friuli in pursuit of 
materials for the history of one of his old travellers^ the Beato 
Odorico. At Verona — then still Austrian — he had the amusing 
experience of being arrested for sketching too near the fortifica- 
tions. However, his captors had all the usual Austrian bonhomie 
and courtesy, and Yule experienced no real inconvenience. He 
was much more disturbed when, a day or two later, the old 
mother of one of his Venetian acquaintances insisted on em- 
bracing him on account of his supposed likeness to Garibaldi ! 

As winter approached, a warmer climate became necessary 
for Mrs. Yule, and the family proceeded to Sicily, landing at 
Messina in Octobsr, 1864. From this point. Yule made a very 
interesting excursion to the then little known group of the 
Lipari Islands, in the company of that eminent geologist, the 
late Robert Mallet, F.R.S., a most agreeable companion. 

On Martinmas Day, the Yules reached the beautiful capital 
of Sicily, Palermo, which, though they knew it not, was to be 
their home — a very happy one — for nearly eleven years. 

During the ensuing, winter and spring, Yule continued the 
preparation of Cathay, but his appetite for work not being 
satisfied by this, he, when in London in 1865, volunteered to 
make an Index to the third decade of the Journal of the Royal 
Geographical Society, in exchange for a set of such volumes as he 
did not possess. That was long before any Index Society 
existed ; but Yule had special and very strong views of his own 
as to what an Index should be, and he spared no labour to 
realise his ideal.^*^ This proved a heavier task than he had 
anticipated, and he ■ got very weary before the Index was 

^ Villa Mansi, nearly opposite the old Ducal Palace. With its private chapel, it 
formed three sides of a small place or court. 

"* He also at all times spared no pains to enforce that ideal on other index-makers, 
who were not always grateful for his sound doctrine I 


In the spring of 1866, Cathay and the Way Thither appeared, 
and at once took the high place which it has ever since 
retained. In the autumn of the same year Yule's attention was 
momentarily turned in a very different direction by a local 
insurrection, followed by severe reprisals, and the bombardment 
of Palermo by the Italian Fleet. His sick wife was for some 
time under rifle as well as shell fire ; but cheerfully remarking 
that " every bullet has its billet," she remained perfectly serene 
and undisturbed. It was the year of the last war with Austria, 
and also of the suppression of the Monastic Orders in Sicily ; 
two events which probably helped to produce the outbreak, 
of which Yule contributed an account to The Times, and sub- 
sequently a more detailed one to the Quarterly Review?"^ 

Yule had no more predilection for the J^Ionastic Orders than 
most of his countrymen, but his sense of justice was shocked by 
the cruel incidence of the measure in many cases, and also by the 
harshness with which both it and the punishment of suspected 
insurgents was carried out. Cholera was prevalent in Italy that 
year, but Sicily, which had maintained stringent quarantine, 
entirely escaped until large bodies of troops were landed to quell 
the insurrection, when a devastating epidemic immediately ensued, 
and re-appeared in 1867. In after years, when serving on the 
Army Sanitary Committee at the India Office, Yule more than 
once quoted this experience as indicating that quarantine restric- 
tions may, in some cases, have more value than British medical 
authority is usually willing to admit. 

In 1867, on his return from London, Yule commenced sys- 
tematic work on his long projected new edition of the Travels of 
Marco Polo. It was apparently in this year that the scheme 
; first took definite form, but it had long been latent in his mind. 
The Public Libraries of Palermo afforded him much good 
material, whilst occasional visits to the Libraries of Venice, 
Florence, Paris, and London, opened other sources. But his most 
important channel of supply came from his very extensive private 
I correspondence, extending to nearly all parts of Europe and many 
centres in Asia. His work brought him many new and valued 
friends, indeed too many to mention, but amongst whom, as 

^ He saw a good deal of the outbreak when taking small comforts to a friend, 
the Commandant of the Military School, who was captured and imprisoned by the 


belonging specially to this period, three honoured names must be 
recalled here : Commendatore (afterwards Baron) Cristo- 
FORO Negri, the large-hearted Founder and First President of 
the Geographical Society of Italy, from whom Yule received 
his first public recognition as a geographer, Commendatore 
GUGLIELMO Berchet (affectionately nicknamed il Bello e 
Buono), ever generous in learned help, who became a most 
dear and honoured friend, and the Hon. GEORGE P. MARSH, 
U.S. Envoy to the Court of Italy, a man, both as scholar and 
friend, unequalled in his nation, perhaps almost unique anywhere. 

Those who only knew Yule in later years, may like some 
account of his daily life at this time. It was his custom to rise fairly 
early ; in summer he sometimes went to bathe in the sea,^^ or for 
a walk before breakfast ; more usually he would write until break- 
fast, which he preferred to have alone. After breakfast he looked 
through his notebooks, and before ten o'clock was usually walking 
rapidly to the library where his work lay. He would work there 
until two or three o'clock, when he returned home, read the 
Times, answered letters, received or paid visits, and then resumed 
work on his book, which he often continued long after the rest of 
the household were sleeping. Of course his family saw but little 
of him under these circumstances, but when he had got a chapter 
of Marco into shape, or struck out some newdiscovery of interest, 
he would carry it to his wife to read. She always took great 
interest in his work, and he had great faith in her literary instinct 
as a sound as well as sympathetic critic. 

The first fruits of Yule's Polo studies took the form of a 
review of Pauthier's edition of Marco Polo, contributed to the 
Quarterly Review in 1868. 

In 1870 the great work itself appeared, and received prompt 
generous recognition by the grant of the very beautiful gold 
medal of the Geographical Society of Italy,^^ followed in 1 872 by 
the award of the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical 
Society, while the Geographical and Asiatic Societies of Paris, 
the Geographical Societies of Italy and Berlin, the Academy of 
Bologna, and other learned bodies, enrolled him as an Honorary 

^ After 1869 he discontinued sea-bathing. 

" This was Yule's first geographical honour, but he had been elected into the 
Athenjeum Club, under " Rule II. ," in January, 1867. 



Reverting to 1 869, we may note that Yule, when passing 
through Paris early in the spring, became acquainted, through 
his friend M. Charles Maunoir, with the admirable work of ex- 
ploration lately performed by Lieut. Francis Gamier of the 
French Na\y. It was a time of much political excitement in 
France, the eve of the famous Plebiscite, and the importance of 
Garnier's work was not then recognised by his countrymen. 
Yule saw its value, and on arrival in London went straight to 
Sir Roderick Murchison, laid the facts before him, and suggested 
that no other traveller of the year had so good a claim to one of 
the two gold medals of the R.G.S. as this French naval Lieu- 
tenant. Sir Roderick was propitious, and accordingly in May 
the Patron's medal was assigned to Gamier, who was touchingly 
grateful to Yule ; whilst the French Minister of Marine marked 
his appreciation of Yule's good offices by presenting him with 
the magnificent volumes commemorating the expedition.^ 

Yule was in Paris in 1871, immediately after the suppression 
of the Commune, and his letters gave interesting accounts of the 
extraordinary state of affairs then prevailing. In August, he 
served as President of the Geographical Section of the British 
Association at its Edinburgh meeting. 

On his return to Palermo, he devoted himself specially to the 
geography of the Oxus region, and the result appeared next year 
in his introduction and notes to Wood's Journey. Soon after his 
return to Palermo, he became greatly interested in the plans, 
about which he was consulted, of an English church, the gift to the 
English community of two of its oldest members, Messrs Ingham 
and Whitaker. Yule's share in the enterprise gradually expanded, 
until he became a sort of volunteer clerk of the works, to the 
great benefit of his health, as this occupation during the next 
three years, whilst adding to his interests, also kept him longer in 
the open air than would otherwise hav-e been the case. It was a 
real misfortune to Yule (and one of which he was himself at 
times conscious) that he had no taste for any out-of-door pursuits, 
neither for any form of natural science, nor for gardening, nor for 

^ Gamier took a distinguished part in the Defence of Paris in 1S70-71, after which 
he resumed his naval service in the East, where he was killed in action. His last 
letter to Yule contained the simple announcement " /aipfis Hanoi " a modest terse- 
ness of statement worthy of the best naval traditions. 


any kind of sport nor games. Nor did he willingly ride.^^ He 
was always restless away from his books. There can be no 
doubt that want of sufficient air and exercise, reacting on an im- 
paired liver, had much to do with Yule's unsatisfactory state of 
health and frequent extreme depression. There was no lack of 
agreeable and intelligent society at Palermo (society that the 
present writer recalls with cordial regard), to which every winter 
brought pleasant temporary additions, both English and foreign, 
the best of whom generally sought Yule's acquaintance. Old 
friends too were not wanting ; many found their way to Palermo, 
and when such came, he was willing to show them hospitality 
and to take them excursions, and occasionally enjoyed these. 
But though the beautiful city and surrounding country were 
full of charm and interest, Yule was too much pre-occupied 
by his own special engrossing pursuits ever really to get the 
good of his surroundings, of which indeed he often seemed only 
half conscious. 

By this time Yule had obtained, without ever having sought 
it, a distinct and, in some respects, quite unique position in 
geographical science. Although his Essay on the Geography of 
the Oxus Region (1872) received comparatively little public 
attention at home, it had yet made its mark once for all,"'^ and 
from this time, if not earlier. Yule's high authority in all questions 
of Central Asian geography was generally recognised. He had 
long ere this, almost unconsciously, laid the broad foundations 
of that "Yule metliod," of which Baron von Richthofen has 
written so eloquently, declaring that not only in his own land, 
" but also in the literatures of France, Italy, Germany, and other 
countries, the powerful stimulating influence of the Yule method 
is visible."*'^ More than one writer has indeed boldly com- 

6| One year the present writer, at her mother's desire, induced him to take walks ot 
10 to 12 miles with her, but interesting and lovely as the scenery was, he soon wearied 
for his writing-table (even bringing his work with him), and thus little permanent good 
was effected. And it was just the same afterwards in Scotland, where an old High- 
land gillie, describing his experience of the Yule brothers, said : *' I was liking to 
take out Sir George, for he takes the time to enjoy the hills, but (plaintively), the 
Kornel is no good, for he's just as restless as a water-wagtail ! " If there be any inal 
de rdcriloh-e corresponding to inal du pays, Yule certainly had it. 

62 The Russian Government in 1873 paid the same work the very practical com- 
pliment of circulating it largely amongst their officers in Central Asia. 

f'^' " Auch in den Literaturcn von Frankrcich, Italicn, Deutschland und anderc 
Landern isl der machtig treibende Einfluss der Yuleschen Melhode, welclie 


pared Central Asia before Yule to Central Africa before 
Livingstone ! 

Yule had wrought from sheer love of the work and without 
expectation of public recognition, and it was therefore a great 
surprise as well as gratification to him, to find that the demand 
for his Marco Polo was such as to justify the appearance of a 
second edition only a few years after the first. The preparation 
of this enlarged edition, with much other miscellaneous work 
(see subjoined bibliography), and the superintendence of the 
building of the church already named, kept him fully occupied 
for the next three years. 

Amongst the parerga and miscellaneous occupations of Yule's 
leisure hours in the period 1869-74, may be mentioned an inter- 
esting correspondence with Professor W. W. Skeat on the subject 
of William of Palerne and Sicilian examples of the Werwolf; 
the skilful "analysis and exposure of Klaproth's false geography ; ®* 
the purchase and despatch of Sicilian seeds and young trees 
for use in the Punjab, at the request of the Indian Forestry 
Department ; translations (prepared for friends) of tracts on the 
cultivation of Sumach and the collection of Manna as practised 
in Sicily ; also a number of small services rendered to the 
South Kensington Museum, at the request of the late Sir 
Henry Cole. These latter included obtaining Italian and 
Sicilian bibliographic contributions to the Science and Art 
Department's Catalogue of Books on ^r/, selecting architectural 
subjects to be photographed ; ^ negotiating the purchase of the 
original drawings illustrative of Padre B. Gravina's great work 
on the Cathedral of Monreale ; and superintending the execution 
of a copy in mosaic of the large mosaic picture (in the Norman 
Palatine Chapel, Palermo,) of the Entry of our Lord into 

In the spring of 1875, just after the publication of the second 

\vissenschaflliche Grundiichkeit mit anmatbender Fonn verbindet, bemerkbar." 
( Verhandlungen der Gesdlschaft fiir Erdkunde zu Berlin, Band XVII. Xo. 2.) 

" This subject is too lengthy for more than cursory allusion here, but the patient 
analytic skill and keen venatic instinct with which Yule not only proved the forgery 

of the alleged Travels of Gecrg Ludivig von (that had been already established 

by Lord Strangford, whose last effort it was, and Sir Henrj- Rawlinson), but step by 
step traced it home to the arch-culprit Klaproth, was nothing less than masterly. 

^ This is probably the origin of the odd misstatement as to Yule occupjing himself 
at Palermo with photography, made in the delightful Reminiscences of the late 
Colonel Balcarres Ramsay. Yule never attempted photography after 1852. 


edition of Marco Polo, Yule had to mourn the loss of his noble 
wife. He was absent from Sicily at the time, but returned a few 
hours after her death on 30th April. She had suffered for many 
years from a severe form of heart disease, but her end was 
perfect peace. She was laid to rest, amid touching tokens of 
both public and private sympathy, in the beautiful camposanto 
on Monte Pellegrino. What her loss was to Yule only his 
oldest and closest friends were in a position to realise. Long 
years of suffering had impaired neither the soundness of her 
judgment nor the sweetness, and even gaiety, of her happy, 
unselfish disposition. And in spirit, as even in appearance, she 
retained to the very last much of the radiance of her youth. 
Nor were her intellectual gifts less remarkable. Few who had 
once conversed with her ever forgot her, and certainly no one 
who had once known her intimately ever ceased to love her.^*' 

Shortly after this calamity. Yule removed to London, and on 
the retirement of his old friend. Sir William Baker, from the 
India Council early that autumn, Lord Salisbury at once selected 
him for the vacant seat. Nothing would ever have made 
him a party-man, but he always followed Lord Salisbury with 
conviction, and worked under him with steady confidence. 

In 1877 Yule married, as his second wife, the daughter of an 
old friend,^^ a very amiable woman twenty years his junior, who 
made him very happy until her untimely death in 1881. From 
the time of his joining the India Council, his duties at the India 
Office of course occupied a great part of his time, but he also 
continued to do an immense amount of miscellaneous literary 
work, as may be seen by reference to the subjoined bibliography, 

^ She was a woman of fine intellect and wide reading ; a skilful musician, who also 
sang well, and a good amateur artist in the style of Aug. Delacroix (of whom she was 
a favourite pupil). Of PVench and Italian she had a thorough and literary mastery, 
and how well she knew her own language is shown by the sound and pure English of 
a story she published in early life, under the pseudonym of Max Lyle [Fair Oaks, or 
The Experiences of Arnold Osborne, M.D., 2 vols., 1856). My mother was partly 
of Highland descent on both sides, and many of her fine qualities were very character- 
istic of that race. Before her marriage she took an active part in many good works, 
and herself originated the useful School for the Blind at Bath, in a room which she 
hired with her pocket-money, where she and her friend Miss Elwin taught such of 
the blind poor as they could gather together. 

In the tablet which he erected to her memory in the family burial-place of St. 
Andrew's, Gulane, her husband described her thus : — " A woman singular in endow- 
ments, in suffering, and in faith ; to whom to live was Christ, to die was gain." 

^^ Mary Wilhelmina, daughter of F. Skipwith, Esq., B.C.S. 


(itself probably incomplete). In Council he invariably " showed 
his strong determination to endeavour to deal with questions on 
their own merits and not only by custom and precedent."^ 
Amongst subjects in which he took a strong line of his own in 
the discussions of the Council, may be specially instanced his 
action in the matter of the cotton duties (in which he defended 
native Indian manufactures as against hostile Manchester 
interests) ; the Vernacular Press Act, the necessity for which he 
fully recognised ; and the retention of Kandahar, for which he 
recorded his vote in a strong minute. In all these three cases, 
which are typical of many others, his opinion was overruled, but 
having been carefully and deliberately formed, it remained un- 
affected by defeat. 

In all matters connected with Central Asian affairs, Yule's 
opinion always carried great weight ; some of his most com- 
petent colleagues indeed preferred his authority in this field to 
that of even Sir Henry Rawlinson, possibly for the reason given 
by Sir M. Grant Duff, who has epigrammatically described the 
latter as good in Council but dangerous in counsel.^^ 

Yule's courageous independence and habit of looking at all 
public questions by the simple light of what appeared to him 
right, yet without fads or doctrinairism, earned for him the 
respect of the successive Secretaries of State under whom he 
served, and the warm regard and confidence of his other 
colleagues. The value attached to his services in Council 
was sufficiently shown by the fact that when the period of ten 
years (for which members are usually appointed), was about to 
expire. Lord Hartington (now Duke of Devonshire), caused 
Yule's appointment to be renewed for life, under a special Act of 
Parliament passed for this purpose in 1885. 

His work as a member of the Army Sanitary Committee, 
brought him into communication with Miss Florence Nightingale, 
a privilege which he greatly valued and enjoyed, though he used 
to say : " She is worse than a Royal Commission to answer, and, 
in the most gracious charming manner possible, immediately 
finds out all I don't know ! " Indeed his devotion to the 
" Lady-in-Chief " was scarcely less complete than Kinglake's. 

VOL. I, 

"^ Collinson's Memoir of Yule. 

*^ See Notes from a Diary, 1888-91. 


In 1880, Yule was appointed to the Board of Visitors of the 
Government Indian Engineering College at Cooper's Hill, a 
post which added to his sphere of interests without materially 
increasing his work. In 1882, he was much gratified by being 
named an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of 
Scotland, more especially as it was to fill one of the two vacancies 
created by the deaths of Thomas Carlyle and Dean Stanley. 

Yule had been President of the Hakluyt Society from 1877, 
and in 1885 was elected President also of the Royal Asiatic 
Society. He would probably also have been President of the 
Royal Geographical Society, but for an untoward incident. 
Mention has already been made of his constant determina- 
tion to judge all questions by the simple touchstone of what he 
believed to be right, irrespective of personal considerations. It 
was in pursuance of these principles that, at the cost of great 
pain to himself and some misrepresentation, he in 1878 
sundered his long connection with the Royal Geographical 
Society, by resigning his seat on their Council, solely in 
consequence of their adoption of what he considered a wrong 
policy. This severance occurred just when it was intended to 
propose him as President. Some years later, at the personal 
request of the late Lord Aberdare, a President in all respects 
worthy of the best traditions of that great Society, Yule 
consented to rejoin the Council, which he re-entered as a Vice- 

In 1883, the University of Edinburgh celebrated its Ter- 
centenary, when Yule was selected as one of the recipients 
of the honorary degree of LL.D. His letters from Edinburgh, 
on this occasion, give a very pleasant and amusing account 
of the festivity and of the celebrities he met. Nor did he omit 
to chronicle the envious glances cast, as he alleged, by some 
British men of science on the splendours of foreign Academic 
attire, on the yellow robes of the Sorbonne, and the Palms 
of the Institute of France ! Pasteur was, he wrote, the one 
most enthusiastically acclaimed of all who received degrees. 

I think it was about the same time that M. Renan was 
in England, and called upon Sir Henry Maine, Yule, and others 
at the India Office. On meeting just after, the colleagues 
compared notes as to their distinguished but unwieldy visitor. 
"It seems that le style tiest pas I'hoimne mime in this instance," 


quoth " Ancient Law " to " Marco Polo." And here it may be 
remarked that Yule so completely identified himself with his 
favourite traveller that he frequently signed contributions to the 
public press as MARCUS Paulus Venetus or M.P.V. His 
more intimate friends also gave him the same sobriquet, and 
once, when calling on his old friend, Dr. John Brown (the 
beloved chronicler oi Rab and his Friends), he was introduced by 
Dr. John to some lion-hunting American visitors as " our Marco 
Polo." The visitors evidently took the statement in a literal 
sense, and scrutinised Yule closely.''^'' 

In 1886 Yule published his delightful Anglo-Indian Glossary, 
with the whimsical but felicitous sub-title of Hobson-Jobson (the 
name given by the rank and file of the British Army in India 
to the religious festival in celebration of Hassan and Husain). 

This Glossary was an abiding interest to both Yule and the 
present writer. Contributions of illustrative quotations came 
from most diverse and unexpected sources, and the arrival 
of each new word or happy quotation was quite an event, and 
gave such pleasure to the recipients as can only be fully understood 
by those who have shared in such pursuits. The volume was 
dedicated in affecting terms to his elder brother, Sir George 
Yule, who, unhappily, did not survive to see it completed. 

In July 1885, the two brothers had taken the last of many 
happy journeys together, proceeding to Cornwall and the Scilly 
Isles. A few months later, on 13th January 1886, the end came 
suddenly to the elder, from the effects of an accident at his own 

It may be doubted if Yule ever really got over the shock of 
this loss, though he went on with his work as usual, and served 
that year as a Royal Commissioner on the occasion of the 
Indian and Colonial Exhibition of 1886. 

From 1878, when an accidental chill laid the foundations of 
an exhausting, though happily quite painless, malady, Yule's 
strength had gradually failed, although for several years longer 
his general health and energies still appeared unimpaired to a 
casual observer. The condition of public affairs also, in some 

™ The identification was not limited to Yule, for when travelling in Russia many 
years ago, the present writer was introduced by an absent-minded Russian savant to 
his colleagues as Mademoiselle Marco Paulovna ! 

" See Note on Sir George Yule's career at the end of this Memoir. 

VOL. I, e 2 



degree, affected his health injuriously. The general trend of 
political events from 1880 to 1886 caused him deep anxiety and 
distress, and his righteous wrath at what he considered the 
betrayal of his country's honour in the cases of Frere, of Gordon, 
and of Ireland, found strong, and, in a noble sense, passionate 
expression in both prose and verse. He was never in any sense 
a party man, but he often called himself " one of Mr. Gladstone's 
converts," i.e. one whom Gladstonian methods had compelled to 
break with liberal tradition and prepossessions. 

Nothing better expresses Yule's feeling in the period referred 
to than the following letter, written in reference to the R. E. 
Gordon Memorial,''^ but of much wider application : " Will you 
allow me an inch or two of space to say to my brother officers, 
' Have nothing to do with the proposed Gordon Memorial.' 

" That glorious -memory is in no danger of perishing and 
needs no memorial. Sackcloth and silence are what it suggests 
to those who have guided the action of England ; and English- 
men must bear the responsibility for that action and share its 
shame. It is too early for atoning memorials ; nor is it possible 
for those who take part in them to dissociate themselves from 
a repulsive hypocrisy. 

" Let every one who would fain bestow something in honour 
of the great victim, do, in silence, some act of help to our soldiers 
or their families, or to others who are poor and suffering. 

" In later days our survivors or successors may look back 
with softened sorrow and pride to the part which men of our 
corps have played in these passing events, and Charles Gordon 
far in the front of all ; and then they may set up our little 
tablets, or what not — not to preserve the memory of our heroes, 
but to maintain the integrity of our own record of the illustrious 

Happily Yule lived to see the beginning of better times for 
his country. One of the first indications of that national 
awakening was the right spirit in which the public, for the most 
part, received Lord Wolseley's stirring appeal at the close of 
1888, and Yule was so much struck by the parallelism between 
Lord Wolseley's warning and some words of his own contained 

"Addressed to the Editor, Royal En^ncers' Journal, who did not, however, 
publish it. 


in the pseudo-Polo fragment (see above, end of Preface), that he 
sent Lord Wolseley the very last copy of the 1875 edition of 
Marco Polo, with a vigorous expression of his sentiments. 

That was probably Yule's last utterance on a public question. 
The sands of life were now running low, and in the spring of 1 889, 
he felt it right to resign his seat on the India Council, to which 
he had been appointed for life. On this occasion Lord Cross, then 
Secretary of State for India, successfully urged his acceptance of 
the K.C.S.I., which Yule had refused several years before. 

In the House of Lords, Viscount Cross subsequently referred 
to his resignation in the following terms. He said : " A 
vacancy on the Council had unfortunately occurred through the 
resignation from ill-health of Sir Henry Yule, whose presence on 
the Council had been of enormous advantage to the natives of 
the country. A man of more kindly disposition, thorough 
intelligence, high-minded, upright, honourable character, he 
believed did not exist ; and he would like to bear testimony 
to the estimation in which he was held, and to the services 
which he had rendered in the office he had so long filled." ^^ 

This year the Hakluyt Society published the concluding 
volume of Yule's last work of importance, the Diary of Sir 
William Hedges. He had for several years been collecting 
materials for a full memoir of his great predecessor in the 
domain of historical geography, the illustrious Rennell.^* This 
work was well advanced as to preliminaries, but was not 
sufficiently developed for early publication at the time of Yule's 
death, and ere it could be completed its place had been taken by 
a later enterprise. 

During the summer of 1889, Yule occupied much of his 
leisure by collecting and revising for re-issue many of his miscel- 
laneous writings. Although not able to do much at a time, 
this desultory work kept him occupied and interested, and gave 
him much pleasure during many months. It was, however, 
never completed. Yule went to the seaside for a few weeks 

^ Debate of 27th August, 1889, as reported in The Times of 28th August. 

'* Yule had published a brief but very interesting Memoir of Major Rennell in 
the R. E. Journal in 188 1. He was extremely proud of the circumstance that 
Rennell's survnving grand-daughter presented to him a beautiful wax medallion 
portrait of the great geographer. This wonderfully life-like presentment was 
bequeathed by Yule to his friend Sir Joseph Hooker, who presented it to the Royal 


in the early summer, and subsequently many pleasant days 
were spent by him among the Surrey hills, as the guest of 
his old friends Sir Joseph and Lady Hooker. Of their 
constant and unwearied kindness, he always spoke with most 
affectionate gratitude. That autumn he took a great diclike to the 
English climate ; he hankered after sunshine, and formed many 
plans, eager though indefinite, for wintering at Cintra, a place 
whose perfect beauty had fascinated him in early youth. But 
increasing weakness made a journey to Portugal, or even the 
South of France, an alternative of which he also spoke, very in- 
expedient, if not absolutely impracticable. Moreover, he would 
certainly have missed abroad the many friends and multifarious 
interests which still surrounded him at home. He continued to 
take drives, and occasionally called on friends, up to the end of 
November, and it was not until the middle of December that 
increasing weakness obliged him to take to his bed. He was 
still, however, able to enjoy seeing his friends — some to the very 
end, and he had a constant stream of visitors, mostly old friends, 
but also a few newer ones, who were scarcely less welcome. He 
also kept up his correspondence to the last, three attached 
brother R.E.'s, General Collinson, General Maclagan, and Major 
W. Broadfoot, taking it in turn with the present writer to act as 
his amanuensis. 

On Friday, 27th December, Yule received a telegram from 
Paris, announcing his nomination that day as Corresponding 
Member of the Institute of France (Acad^mie des Inscriptions), 
one of the few distinctions of any kind of which it can still be 
said that it has at no time lost any of its exalted dignity. 

An honour of a different kind that came about the same time, 
and was scarcely less prized by him, was a very beautiful letter of 
farewell and benediction from Miss Florence Nightingale,^^ 
which he kept under his pillow and read many times. On the 
28th, he dictated to the present writer his acknowledgment, 
also by telegraph, of the great honour done him by the Institute. 
The message was in the following words : " Reddo gratias, 

^* Knowing his veneration for that noble lady, I had written to tell her of his con- 
dition, and to ask her to give him this last pleasure of a few words. The response 
was such as few but herself could write. This letter was not to be found after my 
father's death, and I can only conjecture that it must either have been given away by 
himself (which is most improbable), or was appropriated by some unauthorised outsider. 


Illustrissimi Domini, ob honorestanto nimios quanto immeritos ! 
Mihi robora deficiunt, vita collabitur, accipiatis voluntatem pro 
facto. Cum corde pleno et gratissimo moriturus vos, Illustrissimi 
Domini, saluto. YULE." 

Sunday, 29th December, was a day of the most dense black 
fog, and he felt its oppression, but was much cheered by a 
visit from his ever faithful friend, Collinson, who, with his usual 
unselfishness, came to him that day at very great personal 

On Monday, 30th December, the day was clearer, and Henry 
Yule awoke much refreshed, and in a peculiarly happy and even 
cheerful frame of mind. He said he felt so comfortable. He 
spoke of his intended book, and bade his daughter write about 
the inevitable delay to his publisher : " Go and write to John 
Murray," were indeed his last words to her. During the morn- 
ing he saw some friends and relations, but as noon approached 
his strength flagged, and after a period of unconsciousness, he 
passed peacefully away in the presence of his daughter and of 
an old friend, who had come from Edinburgh to see him, but 
arrived too late for recognition. Almost at the same time 
that Yule fell asleep, his "stately message,""^ was being read 
under the great Dome in Paris. Some two hours after Yule had 
passed away, F.-M. Lord Napier of Magdala, called on an 
errand of friendship, and at his desire was admitted to see the 
last of his early friend. When Lord Napier came out, he said to 
the present writer, in his own reflective way : " He looks as if he 
had just settled to some great work." With these suggestive 
words of the great soldier, who was so soon, alas, to follow his old 
friend to the work of another world, this sketch may fitly close. 

The following excellent verses (of unknown authorship) on 
Yule's death, subsequently appeared in the Academy : ^^ 

•' ' Moriturus vos saluto ' 
Breathes his last the dying scholar — 
Tireless student, brilliant writer ; 
He ' salutes his age ' and journeys 
To the Undiscovered Country. 

'« So Sir M. E. Grant Duff well calls it. 
" Academy, 29th March, 1890. 


"There await him with warm welcome 
All the heroes of old Story — 
The Venetians, the Ck Polo, 
Marco, Nicolo, Mafifeo, 
Odoric of Pordenone, 
Ibn Batuta, MarignoUi, 
Benedict de Goes — ' Seeking 
Lost Cathay and finding Heaven.' 
Many more whose lives he cherished 
With the piety of learning ; 
Fading i-ecords, buried pages, 
P'ailing lights and fires forgotten, ' 
By his energy recovered, 
By his eloquence re-kindled. 
' Moriturus vos saluto ' 
Breathes his last the dying scholar, 
And the far off ages answer : 
Imtnortales te salutant. D. M." 

The same idea had been previously embodied, in very 
felicitous language, by the late General Sir William Lockhart, 
in a letter w^hich that noble soldier addressed to the present 
writer a few days after Yule's death. And Yule himself would 
have taken pleasure in the idea of those meetings with his old 
travellers, which seemed so certain to his surviving friends.''^ 

He rests in the old cemetery at Tunbridge Wells, with his 
second wife, as he had directed. A great gathering of friends 
attended the first part of the burial service which was held in 
London on 3rd January, 1890. Amongst those present were 
witnesses of every stage of his career, from his boyish days at the 
High School of Edinburgh downwards. His daughter, of course, 
was there, led by the faithful, peerless friend who was so soon 
to follow him into the Undiscovered Country.''* She and his 
youngest nephew, with two cousins and a few old friends, followed 
his remains over the snow to the graveside. The epitaph subse- 
quently inscribed on the tomb was penned by Yule himself, 
but is by no means representative of his powers in a kind of 
composition in which he had so often excelled in the service of 
others. As a composer of epitaphs and other monumental 
inscriptions few of our time have surpassed, if any have equalled 
him, in his best efforts. 

'^ He was much pleased, I remember, by a letter he once received from a kindly 
Franciscan friar, who wrote : " You may rest assured that the Beato Odorico will not 
forget all you have done for him." 

^' F.-M. Lord Napier of Magdala, died 14th January, 1890. 


George Udny Yule, bom at Inveresk in 1813, passed through Haileybury 
into the Bengal Civil Service, which he entered at the age of 18 years. For 
twenty-five years his work lay in Eastern Bengal. He gradually became 
known to the Government for his activity and good sense, but won a far 
wider reputation as a mighty hunter, alike with hog-spear and double 
barrel. By 1856 the roll of his slain tigers exceeded four hundred, some of 
them of special fame ; after that he continued sla>nng his tigers, but 
ceased to count them. For some years he and a few friends used 
annually to visit the plains of the Brahmaputra, near the Garrow Hills — an 
entirely virgin country then, and swarming with large game. Yule used to 
describe his once seeing seven rhinoceroses at once on the great plain, 
besides herds of wild buffalo and deer of several kinds. One of the party 
started the theory that Noah's Ark had been shipwrecked there ! In those 
days George Yule was the only man to whom the Maharajah of Nepaul, Sir 
Jung Bahadur, conceded leave to shoot within his frontier. 

Yule was first called from his useful obscurity in 1856. The year before, 
the Sonthals in insurrection disturbed the long unbroken peace of the Delta. 
These were a numerous non-Aryan, uncivilised, but industrious race, driven 
wild by local mismanagement, and the oppressions of Hindoo usurers acting 
through the regulation courts. After the suppression of their rising. Yule 
was selected by Sir F. Halliday, who knew his man, to be Commissioner of 
the Bhagulpoor Division, containing some six million souls, and embracing 
the hill country of the Sonthals. He obtained sanction to a code for the 
latter, which removed these people entirely from the Court system, and its 
tribe of leeches, and abolished all intermediaries between the Sahib and the 
Son thai peasant. Through these measures, and his personal influence, 
aided by picked assistants, he was able to effect, with extraordinary 
rapidity, not only their entire pacification, but such a beneficial change in 
their material condition, that they have risen from a state of barbarous 
penury to comparative prosperity and comfort. 

George Yule was thus engaged when the Mutiny broke out, and it 
soon made itself felt in the districts under him. To its suppression within 
his limits, he addressed himself with characteristic vigour. Thoroughly 
trusted by every class — by his Government, by those under him, by planters 
and by Zemindars— he organised a little force, comprising a small detach- 
ment of the 5th Regiment, a party of British sailors, mounted volunteers 
from the districts, etc., and of this he became practically the captain. 
Elephants were collected from all quarters to spare the legs of his infantry 
and sailors ; while dog-carts were turned into limbers for the small three- 
pounders of the seamen. And with this little army George Yule scoured 
the Trans-Gangetic districts, leading it against bodies of the Mutineers, 
routing them upon more than one occasion, and out-manoeuvring them by 

• This notice includes the greater part of an article written by my father, and published in the St. 
fames' Gazette of i8th January, 1886, but I have added other details from personal recollection and 
other sources. — A. F. V. " 



his astonishing marches, till he succeeded in driving them across the 
Nepaul frontier. No part of Bengal was at any time in such danger, and 
nowhere was the danger more speedily and completely averted. 

After this Yule served for two or three years as Chief Commissioner of 
Oudh, where in 1862 he married Miss Pemberton, the daughter of a very 
able father, and the niece of Sir Donald MacLeod, of honoured and beloved 
memory. Then for four or five years he was Resident at Hyderabad, where 
he won the enduring friendship of Sir Salar Jung. " Everywhere he showed 
the same characteristic firm but benignant justice. Everywhere he gained 
the lasting attachment of all with whom he had intimate dealings— except 
tigers and scoundrels." 

Many years later, indignant at the then apparently supine attitude of the 
British Government in the matter of the Abyssinian captives, George Yule 
wrote a letter (necessarily published without his name, as he was then on the 
Governor-General's Council), to the editor of an influential Indian paper, 
proposing a private expedition should be organised for their delivery from 
King Theodore, and inviting the editor (Dr. George Smith) to open a list of 
subscriptions in his paper for this purpose, to which Yule offered to contribute 
;^20oo by way of beginning. Although impracticable in itself, it is probable 
that, as in other cases, the existence of such a project may have helped to 
force the Government into action. The particulars of the above incident 
were printed by Dr. Smith in his Memoir of the Rev. John Wilson, but are 
given here from memory. 

From Hyderabad he was promoted in 1867 to the Governor- General's 
Council, but his health broke down under the sedentary life, and he retired 
and came home in 1869. 

After some years of country life in Scotland, where he bought a small 
property, he settled near his brother in London, where he was a principal 
instrument in enabling Sir George Birdwood to establish the celebration of 
Primrose Day (for he also was "one of Mr. Gladstone's converts"). Sir 
George Y'ule never sought ' London Society ' or public employment, but in 
1877 he was offered and refused the post of Financial Adviser to the Khedive 
under the Dual control. When his feelings were stirred he made useful 
contributions to the public press, which, after his escape from official 
trammels, were always signed. The very last of these {St. James' Gazette., 
24th February 1885) was a spirited protest against the snub administered by 
the late Lord Derby, as Secretary of State, to the Colonies, when they had 
generously offered assistance in the Soudan campaign. He lived a quiet, 
happy, and useful life in London, where he was the friend and unwearied 
helper of all who needed help. He found his chief interests in books and 
flowers, and in giving others pleasure. Of rare unselfishness and sweet 
nature, single in mind and motive, fearing God and knowing no other fear, 
he was regarded by a large number of people with admiring affection. He 
met his death by a fall on the frosty pavement at his door, in the very act of 
doing a kindness. An interesting sketch of Sir George Yule's Indian career, 
by one who knew him thoroughly, is to be found in Sir Edward Braddon's 
Thirty Years of Shikar. An account of his share in the origin of Primrose 
Day appeared in the St. Jamas' Gazette during 1891. 



1842 Notes on the Iron of the Kasia 
Hills, {/our. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, 
XI., Part II. July-Dec. 1842. pp. 


Reprinted in Proceedings of the 
Museum of Economic Geology, 1852. 
1844 Notes on the Kasia Hills and 
People. By Lieut. H. Yule. [Jeur. 
Asiatic Soc. Bengal, XII. Part 
II. July-Dec. 1844, pp. 612- 

1846 A Canal Act of the Emperor Akbar, 
with some notes and remarks on 
the History of the Western Jumna 
Canals. By Lieut. Yule. (Jour. 
Asiatic Society Bengal, XV. 1846, 
pp. 213-223.) 

1850 The African Squadron vindicated. 

By Lieut. H. Yule. Second 
Edition. London, J. Ridgway, 
1850, 8vo, pp. 41. 

Had several editions. Reprinted 
in the Colonial Magazine of ilarch, 

L'Escadre Africaine vengee. Par le 

lieutenant H. Yule. Traduit 
du Colonial Magazine de Mars, 
1850. (Revue Coloniale, Mai, 

1851 Fortification for Officers of the Army 

and Students of Military History, 
with Illustrations and Notes. By 
Lieut. H. Yule, Blackwood, 
MDCCCLI. 8vo, pp. xxii.-2io. 
(There had been a pre\nous edition 
privately printed.) 

La Fortification mise a la portee des 

Officiers de I'Armee et des per- 
sonnes qui se livrent ^ I'etude de 
I'histoire militaire (avec Atlas). 
Par H. Vule. Traduit de I'Anglais 
par ^L Sapia, Chef de Bataillon 

d'Arlillerie de Marine et M. 
Masselin, Capitaine du Genie. Paris, 
J. Correard, 1858, 8vo, pp. iii.-263, 
and Atlas. 

1 85 1 The Loss of the Birkeuhecui (Verses). 

(Edinburgh Courant, Dec. 1 85 1.) 

Republished in Henley's Lyra 
Heroica, a Book of Verse for Boys. 
London, D. Nutt, 1890. 

1852 Tibet. (Blacknvood' s Edinburgh 

Magazine, 1852.) 

1856 Narrative of Major Phayre's Mission 

to the Cotirt of Ava, with Notices 
of the Country, Government, and 
People. Compiled by Capt. H. 
Yule. Printed for submission to 
the Government of India. Calcutta, 
J. Thomas, .... 1856, 4to, pp. 
xxix. + I f. n. ch. p. 1. er. -f- 
PP- 315 + PP- cxiv. -t- pp. 
IT. and pp. 70. 

The last pp. iv. -70 contain : 
Notes on the Geoloj^ical features 
of the banks of the River Irawadee 
and on the Country north of the 
Amarapoora, by Thomas Oldham. 
.... Calcutta, 1856. 

A Narrative of the Mission sent by 

the Governor-General of India to 
the Court of Ava in 1855, with 
Notices of the Country, Government, 
and People. By Capt. H. Yule. 
With Numerous Illustrations. 
London, Smith, Elder & Co., 
1858, 4to. 

1857 On the Gec^raphy of Burma and its 

Tributary States, in illustration of 
a New Map of those Regions. 
(Journal, H.G.S., XXVII. 1857, 
pp. 54-108.) 

Notes on the Geography of Burma, 

in illustration of a Map of that 

* This list is based on the excellent preliminary List compiled by E. Delmar Morgan, published in the 
Scottish Geographical Magazine, vol. vi., pp. 97-98, but the present compilers have much more than 
doubled the number of entries. It is, however, known to be still incomplete, and any one able to add to 
the list, will greatly oblige the compilers by sending additions to the Publisher. — A. F. T. 



Country. [Proceedhigs R. 6^.^.,vol.i. 
1857, pp. 269-273.) 
1857 An Account of the Ancient Buddhist 
Remains at Pagan on the Iravvadi. 
By Capt. H. Yule. (/our. Asiatic 
Society, Bengal, XXVI. 1857, pp. 

1 86 1 A few notes on Antiquities near 

Jubbulpoor. By Lieut. -Co!. H. 
Yule. {/otirnal Asiatic Society, 
Bengal, XXX. 1861, pp. 211-215.) 

Memorandum on the Countries 

between Thibet, Yunan, and 
Burmah. By the Very Rev. 
Thomine D'Mazure {sic), com- 
municated by Lieut. -Col. A. P. 
Phayre (with notes and a comment 
by Lieut.-Col. II. Yule). With a 
Map of the N. E. Frontier, prepared 
in the Office of the Surveyor-Gen. 
of India, Calcutta, Aug. 1861. 
{four. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, XXX. 
1 86 1, pp. 367-383.) 

1862 Notes of a brief Visit to some of the 

Indian Remains in Java. By 
Lieut.-Col. H. Yule. {/our. Asiatic 
Society, Bengal, XXXI. 1862, pp. 
Sketches of Java. A Lecture de- 
livered at the Meeting of the 
Bethune Society, Calcutta, 13th 
Feb. 1862. 

Fragments of Unprofessional Papers 

gathered from an Engineer's port- 
folio after twenty-three years 
of service. Calcutta, 1862. 

Ten copies printed for private 

1863 Mirabilia descripta. The Wonders 

of the East. By Friar Jordanus, of 
the Order of Preachers and Bishop 
of Columbum in India the Greater 
{ci7-ca 1330). Translated from the 

Latin original, as published at 
Paris in 1839, in the Recueil de 

Voyages et de Mhnoires, of the 
Society of Geography, with the 
addition of a Commentary, by 
Col. H. Yule, London. 

Printed for the Hakluyt Society, 
M.DCCC.LXIII, 8vo, p. iv.-xvii.- 

Report on the Passes between Arakan 

and Burma [written in 1853]. {Papers 
on Indian Civil Engineering, vol. i. 
Roorkee. ) 
1866 Notices of Cathay. {Proceedings, 
P.G.S.yX. 1866, pp. 270-278.) _ 

Cathay and the Way Thither, being 

a Collection of Mediaeval Notices of 
China. Translated and Edited by 
Col. H, Yule With a Pre- 

liminary Essay on the Intercourse 

between China and the Western 
Nations previous to the Discovery 
of the Cape route. London, 
printed for the Hakluyt Society. 
M.DCCC.LXVI. 2 vols. 8vo. 

1866 The Insurrection at Palermo. 
{Times, 29th Sep., 1866.) 

Lake People. ( Tke Athenceum, No. 

2042, 15th Dec. 1866, p. 804.) 

Letter dated Palermo, 3rd Dec. 

1 067 General Index to the third ten 
Volumes of the Journal of the 
Royal Geographical Society. Com- 
piled by Col. H. Yule. London, 
John Murray, M.DCCCLXVII, 
8vo, pp. 228. 

A Week's Republic at Palermo. 

{Quarterly Review, '^z.n. 1867.) 

On the Cultivation of Sumach {Rhus 

coriaria), in the Vicinity of Colli, 
near Palermo. By Prof. Inzenga. 
Translated by Col. H. Yule. 
Communicated by Dr. Cleghorn. 
From the Trans. Bot. Society, 
vol. ix., 1867-68, ppt. 8vo, p. 15. 
Original first published in the 
Annali di Agricoltura Siciliana, 
redatti per P Istituzionc del Principe 
di Castehiuovo. Palermo, 1852. 
1868 Marco Polo and his Recent Editors. 
{Quarterly Review, vol. 125, July 
and Oct. 1868, pp. 133 and 166.) 

1870 An Endeavour to Elucidate Rashi- 

duddin's Geographical Notices of 
India. {Jotirnal R. Asiatic Society, 
N.S. iv. 1870, pp. 340-356.) 

Some Account of the Senbyu 

Pagoda at Mengiin, near the 
Burmese Capital, in a Memorandum 
by Capt. E. H. Sladen, Political 
Agent at Mandale ; with Remarks 
on the Subject, by Col. H. Yule. 
{Ibid. pp. 406-429.) 

Notes on Analogies of Manners 

between the Indo-Chinese and 
the Races of the Malay Archipelago. 
{Report Fortieth Meeting British 
Association, Liverpool, Sept. 1870, 
p. 178.) 

1 87 1 The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the 

Venetian, Concerning the Kingdoms 
and Marvels of the East. Newly 
translated and edited with notes. 
By C(>1. H. Yule. In two volumes. 
With Maps and other Illustrations. 
London, John Murray, 1871, 2 vols. 

The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the* 

Venetian, concerning the Kingdoms 
and Marvels of the East. Newly 
translated and edited, with Notes, 
Maps, and other Illustrations. By 


Col. H. Yule. Second edition. 
London, John Murray, 1875, 2 
vols. 8vo. 

1871 Address by Col. H. Yule. {Report 
Forty-First Meeting- British As- 
sociation, Edinburgh, Aug. 187 1, 
pp. 162-174.) 

1S72 A Journey to the Source of the River 
Oxus. By Captain John Wood, 
Indian Navy. New edition, edited 
by his Son. With an Essay on 
the Geography of the Valley of the 
Oxus. By Col. H. Yule. With 
maps. London, John Murray, 
1872. In-8, pp. XC.-280. 

Papers connected with the Upper 

Oxus Regions. (Journal, xlii. 

1872, pp. 438-481.) 

Letter [on Yule's edition of Wood's 

Ojcus\ {Ocean Highways, Feb. 
1874, p. 475.) 
Palermo, 9th Jan. 1874. 

1873 Letter [about the route of M. Polo 

through Southern Kerman]. {Ocerm 
Highways, March, 1873, p. 385.) 
Palermo, nth Jan. 1873. 

Oq Northern Sumatra and especially 

Achin. {Ocean Highways, Aug. 

1873, pp. 177-183.) 

Notes on Hwen Thsang's Account 

of the Principalities of Tokharistan, 
in which some pre\dous Geographical 
Identifications are reconsidered. 
{Jour. Royal Asiatic Society, N.S. 
vi. 1873, pp. 92-120 and p. 

1874 Francis Gamier (In Memoriam). 

{Ocean Highways, pp. 487-491.) 
March, 1874. 

Remarks on Mr. Phillips's Paper 

[Notices of Southern Mangi]. {Jour- 
nal, XLIV. 1874, pp. 103-112.) 
Palermo, 22nd Feb. 1874. 

[Sir Frederic Goldsmid's] " Tele- 

graph and Travel." {Geographical 
Magazine, April, 1874, p. 34 ; 
Oct. 1874, pp. 300-303.) 

Geographical Notes on the Basins of 

the Oxus and the Zarafshan. By 
the late Alexis Fedchenko. {Geog. 
Mag., May, 1874, pp. 46-54.) 

[Mr. Ashton Dilke on the Valley of 

the Ili.] {Geog. Mag.,]vint, 1874, 
P- 1 230 

Palermo, 16th May, 1874. 

The Atlas Sinensis and other Sinen- 

siana. {Geog. Mag., ist July, 1847, 
pp. 147-148.) 

Letter [on Belasaghim]. {Geog. Mag., 

1st July, 1874, p. 167 ; Ibid, ist 
Sept. 1874, p. 254.) 

Palermo, 17th June, 1874; 8th 
Aug. 1874- 

1874 Bala Sagun and Karakorum. By 

Eugene Schuyler. With note by 
Col. Yule. {Geog. Mag., ist Dec. 

1874, p. 389.) 

M. Khanikoft's Identifications of 

Names in Clavijo. {Ibid. pp. 389- 

390- ) 

1875 Notes [to the translation by Eugene 

Schuyler of Palladius's version of 
The Journey of the Chinese Travel- 
ler, Chang Fe-hui\. {Geog. Mag., 
1st Jan. 1875, pp. 7-1 1). 

Some Unscientific Notes on the 

History of Plants. {Geog. Mag., 
ist Feb. 1875, pp. 49-51- ) 

Trade Routes to Western China. 

{Geog. Mag., April, 1875, pp. 

Gr-rden of Transmigrated Souls 

[Friar Odoric]. {Geog. Mag., ist 
May, 1875, pp. 137-138.) 

A Glance at the Results of the Ex- 

pedition to Hissar. By Herr P. 
Lerch. {Geog. Mag., ist Nov. 

1875. PP- 334-339-) 

Kathay or Cathay. {Johnson's 

American Cyclopcedia.) 

Achfn. {Encycl. Brit. 9th edition, 

1875, I. pp. 95-97- ) 

Afghanistan. {Ibid. pp. 227-741.) 

Andaman Islands. {Ibid. II. 1875, 

pp. II-I3-) 

India [Ancient]. (Map No. 31, 1874, 

in An Atlas of Ancient Geography, 
edited by William Smith and George 
Grave. London, John Murray, 


1876 Mongolia, the Tangut Country, and 

the Solitudes of Northern Tibet, 
being ,1 Narrative of Three Years' 
Travel in Eastern High Asia. By 
Lieut. -Col. N. Prejevalsky, of the 
Russian Staff^ Corps ; Mem. of the 
Imp. Russ. Geog. Soc. Translated 
by E. Delmar Morgan, F.R.G.S. 
With Introduction and Notes by 
Col. H. Yule. With Maps and 
Illustrations. London, Sampson 
Low, 1876, 8vo. 

Tibet . . . Edited by C. R. Mark- 

ham. Notice of. {Times, 1876, 


Eastern Persia. Letter. {The 

Athenceum, No. 2559, nth Nov. 

Review of H. HowortKs History of 

the Mongols, Part I. ( The Athen- 
ceum. No. 2560, i8th Nov. 1876, 
pp. 654-656. ) Correspondence. 
{Ibid. No. 2561, 25th Nov. 1876.) 

Review of T. E. Gordon's Roof of 

the World. {The Academy, 15th 
July, 1876, pp. 49-50- ) 


1876 Cambodia. (Encycl. Brit. IV. 1876, 

pp. 723-726.) 

1877 Champa. {Geog. Mag., ist March, 

1877, pp. 66-67.) 

Article written for the Encycl. 
Brit. 9th edition, but omitted for 
reasons which the writer did not 
clearly understand. 

• Quid, si Mundus evolvatur? {Spec- 
tator, 24th March, 1877.) 

Written in 1875. — Signed Mar- 

■ On Louis de Backer's V Extreme- 
Orient au Moyen - Age. ( The 
Athenceum, No. 2598, nth Aug. 
1877, PP- 174-175-) 

On P. Dabry de Thiersant's Catholi- 

cisme e7i Chine. {The Athenatim, 
No. 2599, 1 8th Aug. 1877, pp. 209- 

Review of Thomas de Quincey, His 

Lifeattd Writings. ByH.A. Page. 
{Times, 27th Aug. 1877.) 

Companions of Faust. Letter on 

the Claims of P, Castaldi. ( Times, 
Sept. 1877.) 

1878 The late Col. T. G. Montgomerie, 

R.E. (Bengal). {R. E. Journal, 
April, 1878.) 8vo, pp. 8. 

Mr. Henry M. Stanley and the Royal 

Geographical Society ; being the 
Record of a Protest. By Col. 
PI. Yule and H. M. Hyndman 
B.A., F.R.G.S. London: Bickers 
and Son, 1878, 8vo, pp. 48 

Review of -5z<rwa, Past and Present ; 

with Personal Reminiscences of the 
Country. By Lieut. -Gen. Albert 
Fytche. {The Athenceum, No. 
2634, 20th April, 1878, pp. 499- 

Kayal. {The Athenceum, No. 2634, 

20th April, 1878, p. 515.) 
Letter dated April, 1878. 

Missions in Southern India. (Letter 

to Pall Mall Gazette, 20th June, 

Mr. Stanley and his Letters of 1875. 

(Letter to Pall Mall Gazette, 30th 
Jan. 1878.) 

Review oi Richthofen^ s China, Bd. I. 

{The Academy, 13th April, 1878, 
pp. 315-316.) 
— - — [A foreshadowing of the Phono- 
graph.] {The Athenceum, No. 
2636, 4th May, 1878.) 

1879 A Memorial of the Life and Services 

of Maj.-Gen. W. W. II. Greathed, 
C.B., Royal Engineers (Bengal), 
(1826-1878). Compiled by a P^iend 
and Brother Officer. London, 
printed for private circulation, 
1879, 8vo, pp. 57. 


1879 Review of Gaur: its Ruins and 

Inscriptions. By John Henry 
Ravenshaw. ( The Athenceum, No. 
2672, nth Jan. 1879, pp. 42-44.) 

Wellington College. (Letter to Pall 

Mall Gazette, 14th April, 1879.) 

Dr. Holub's Travels. {The 

Athenceum, No. 2710, 4tli Oct. 
1879, pp. 436-437-) 

Letter to Comm. Berchet, dated 

2nd Dec. 1878. {Archivio Veneto 
XVII. 1879. pp. 360-362.) 

Regarding some documents dis- 
covered by the Ab. Cav. V. Zanetti. 

Gaur. {Encyclop. Brit. X. 1879, 

pp. 112-I16.) 

Ghazni. {Ibid. pp. 559-562.) 

• Gilgit. {Ibid. pp. 596-599-) 

Singular Coincidences. 

Athenceum, No. 2719, 6th 
1 879-) 

1880 [Brief Obituary Notice of] General 

W. C. Macleod. {Pall Mall Gazette, 
loth April, 1880.) 

[Obituary Notice of] Gen. W. C. 

Macleod. {Proc. R. Geog. Soc, 
June, 1880.) 

An Ode in Brown Pig, Suggested 

by reading Mr. Lang's Ballades in 
Blue China. [Signed Marcus 
Paulus Venetus.] {St. James' 
Gazette, 17th July, 1880.) 

Notes on Analogies of Manners be- 

tween the Indo-Chinese Races and 
the Races of the Indian Archipel- 
ago. By Col. Yule {Jourti. 
Anthrop. Inst, of Great Britain 
and Ireland, vol. ix., 1880, pp. 

Sketches of Asia in the Thirteenth 

Century and of Marco Polo's 
~ delivered at Royal 

Institute, i8th Nov. 



with slight 
modification, was also delivered 
on other occasions both before and 
after. Doubtful if ever fully reported. 
Dr. Holub's Collections. ( The 
Athenceum, No. 2724, loth Jan. 

Prof. Max M tiller's Paper at the 
Royal Asiatic Society. {Tlie 
Athenceum, No. 2731, 28th Feb. 
1880, p. 285.) 

The Temple of Buddha Gaya. 
(Review of Dr. Rafendraldla Mitrds 
Buddha Gaya.) {Sat. Rev., 27th 
March, 1870.) 

Mr. Gladstone and Count Karoiyi. 
(Letter to The Examiner, 22nd 
May, 1880, signed Tristram 


1880 Stiipa of Barhut. [Review of 
Cunningham's work.] 
{Sat. Rev., 5th June, 1880.) 

From Africa : Southampton, Fifth 

October, 1880. 

[Verses to Sir Bartle Frere.] 
{Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 
Nov. 1880.) 

Review of H. Haworth's History of 

the Mongols, Part II. {The 
AtlientEitm, No. 2762, 2nd Oct. 
1880, pp. 425-427.) 

Verboten ist, a Rhineland Rhapsody. 

(Printed for private circulation 
only. ) 

Hindu-Kiish. {Encyclop. Brit. XI. 

1880, pp. 837-839.) 

The River of Golden Sand, the 

Narrative of a Journey through 
China and Eastern Tibet to Burmah, 
With Illustrations and ten Maps 
from Original Survevs. By Capt. 
W. Gill, Royal Engineers. With 
an Introductory Essay. By Col. H. 
Yule, London, John Murray, 
. . . 1880, 2 vols. 8vo, pp. 95-420, 


The River of Golden Sand : Being 

the Narrative of a Journey through 
China and Eastern Tibet to Burmah. 
By the late Capt. W. Gill, R.E. 
Condensed by Edward Colborne 
Baber, Chinese Secretary to H.M.'s 
Legation at Peking. Edited, with 
a Memoir and Introductory Essav, 
by Col. H, Yule. With 

Portrait, Map,, and Woodcuts. 
London, John Murray, 1883, 8vo., 
pp. 141-332. 

Memoir of Captain W. Gill, R.E., 

and Introductory Essay as prefixed 
to the New Edition of the " River of 
Golden Sand." By Col. H. Yule. 
London, John Murray, . . . 1884, 
8vo, [Paged 19- 141.] 
1881 [Notice on William Yule] in 
Persian Manuscripts in the British 
Museum. By Sir F. J. Goldsmid. 

{The Athenaum, No. 2813, 24th 
Sept. 1 88 1, pp. 401-403.) 

II Beato Odorico di Pordenone, ed i 

suoi Viaggi : Cenni dettati dal Col. 
Enrico Yule, quando s'inaugurava in 
Pordenone il Busto di Odorico il 
giorno, 23° Settembre, MDCCC- 
LXXXI, 8vo. pp. 8. 

Ilwen T'sang. {Encyclop. Brit. 

XII. 1881, pp. 418-419.) 

Ibn Batuta. {Ibid. pp. 607-609.) 

Kafiristan. {Ibid. XIII. 1881, pp. 


Major James Rennell, F.R.S., of the 

Bengal Engineers. [Reprinted from 

the Royal Engitieer^ JournaI\, Svc, 
pp. 16. 

(Dated 7th Dec. iSSl.) 

1881 Notice of Sir William E. Baker. 

{St. James' Gazette, 2j\h Dec. 

Parallels [Matthew Arnold and de 

Barros]. {The Athemzum, No. 
2790, i6th April, 1881, pp. 536.) 

1882 Memoir of Gen. Sir William 

Erskine Baker, K.C.B., Royal 
Engineers (Bengal). Compiled by 
two old friends, brother officers 
and pupils. London. Printed for 
private circulation, 1882, 8vo., 
pp. 67. 

By H. Y [ule] and R. M. [Gen. 
R. Slaclagan]. 

Etymological Notes. {The Athen- 

ceum. No. 2837, llth March, 1882; 

No. 2840, 1st April, 1882, p. 413.) 
Lhasa. {Etuyclop. Brit. XIV, 1882, 

pp. 496-503- ) 
IFadono. { The Athenau/n, No. 2846, 

13th May, 1882, p. 602.) 

Dr. John 15rown. {The Athenarum, 

No. 2847, 20th May, 1882, pp. 635- 

A Manuscript of Marco Polo. ( Tha 

Athemeum, No. 2851, 17th June, 
1882, pp. 765-766.) 

[About Baron Nordenskiold's 
Facsimile Edition.] 

Re\-iew of Ancient India as described 

by Ktesias the Knidian, etc. By 
J. W. M'Crindle. {The Athemeum, 
No. 2860, igih Aug. 1882, pp. 

The Silver Coinage of Thibet. (Re- 

view of Terrien de Lacouperie's 
Paper. ) ( The Academy ^ 19th Aug. 
1882, pp 140-141.) 

Review of The Indian Balhara and 

the Arabian Intercourse with India. 
By Edward Thomas. {The 
Athenaum, No. 2866, 30th Sept. 
1882, pp. 428-429.) 

The Expedition of Professor Palmer, 

Capt. Gill, and Lieut. Charrington. 
(Letter in The Times, i6th Oct. 

Obituary Notice of Dr. Arthur 

Bumell. {Times, 20th Oct. 1882.) 

Capt. William Gill, R.E. [Notice 

oO- {The Times, 31st Oct. 1882.) 
See supra, first col. of this page. 

Notes on the Oldest Records of the 

Sea Route to China from Western 
Asia. By Col. Yule. Proc. 
of the Royal Geographical Society, 
and Monthly Record of Geography^ 
Nov. No. 1882, 8vo. 

Proceedings, N.S. IV. 1882, pp. 



649-660. Read at the Geographical 
Section, Brit. Assoc, Soulhamplon 
Meeting, augmented and revised by 
the author. 

Lord Lawrence. [Review of Life 
of Lord Lawrence. By R. Bos- 
worth Smith.] {Quarterly Review, 
vol. 155, April, 1883, pp. 289- 

Review of Across ChrysL By A. R. 
Colquhoun. {The Athencetim, No. 
2900, 26th May, 1883, pp. 663-665.) 

La Terra del Fuoco e Carlo Darwin. 
(Extractfrom Letter published by the 
FanfuUa, Rome 2nd June, 1883.) 

How was the Trireme rowed ? { 7/ie 
Academy, 6th Oct. 1883, p. 237.) 

Across ChrysL {The Athenceum, 
No. 2922, 27th Oct. 1883.) 

Political Fellowship in the India 
Council. (Letter in The Times, 
1 5th Dec. 1 883. ) [Heading was not 

Maldive Islands. {Encyclop. Brit. 
XV. 18S3, pp. 327-332.) 

Mandeviile. {Ibid. pp. 473-475-) 

A Sketch of the Career of Gen. 
John Reid Becher, C.B., Royal 
Engineers (Bengal). __ By an old 
friend and brother otticer. Printed 
for private circulation, 1884, 8vo, 
pp. 40. 

Rue Quills. {The Academy, No. 
620, 22nd March, 1884, pp. 204- 
205.) Reprinted in present ed. of 
Marco Polo, vol. ii. p. 596. 

Lord Canning. (Letter in The 
Times, 2nd April, 1884.) 

Sir Bartle Frere [Letter respecting 
Memorial of]. {St. James' Gazette, 
27th July, 1884.) 

Odoric. {Encyclop. Brit. XVIII. 
1884, pp. 728-729.) 

Ormus. {Ibid. pp. 856-858.) 

Memorials of Gen. Sir Edward 
Harris Greathed, K.C. B. Com- 
piled by the late Lieut. -Gen. Alex. 
Cunningham Robertson, C.P. 
Printed for private circulation. 
(With a prefatory notice of the 
compiler.) London, Harrison & 
Sons, . . . 1885, 8vo, pp. 95. 

The Prefatory Notice of Gen. 
A. C. Robertson is by II. Yule, 
June, 1885, p. iii.-viii. 

Anglo-Indianisms. (Letter in the 
St. James' Gazette, 30th July, 1885.) 

Obituary Notice of Col. Grant 
Allan, Madras Army. {From the 
Army and Navy Gazette, 22nd 
Aug. 1885.) 

Shameless Advertisements. (Letter 
in The Times, 28th Oct. 1885.) 

1886 Marco Polo. {Encyclop. Brit. XIX. 

1885, pp. 404-409.) 

Prester John. {Ibid. pp. 714-718.) 

— ~ Brief Notice of Sir Edward Clive 

Bayley. Pages ix.-xiv. [Prefixed 
to The History of India as told 
by its own Historians: Gujarat. 
By the late Sir Edward Clive Bay- 
ley.] London, Allen, 1886, 8vo. 

Sir George Udny Yule. In 

Memoriam. {St. James" Gazette, 
i8thjan. 1886.) 

Cacothanasia. [Political Verse, 

Signed M-qviv 'AEIAE {St. James' 
Gazette, ist Feb. 1886.) 

William Kay, D.D. [Notice of]. 

(Letter to The Guardian, 3rd Feb. 

Col. George Thomson, C.B., R.E. 

{Royal Ettgineers' Journal, 1886.) 

Col. George Thomson, C.B. [Note]. 

{St. James' Gazette, i6th Feb. 

Hidden Virtues [A Satire on W. E. 

Gladstone]. (Letter to the St. James' 

Gazette, 21st March, 1886. Signed . 
M. P. V.) 
Burma, Past and Present. {Qtcart. 

Rev. vol. 162, Jan. and April, 1886, 

pp. 210-238.) 
Errors of Facts, in two well-known 


{The Athenceum, No. 3059, 12th 

June, 1886, p. 788.) 
[Obituary Notice of] Lieut. -Gen. 

Sir Arthur Phayre, C.B., K.C.S.I., 

G.C.M.G. {Proc. R.G.S., N.S. 

1886, VIII. pp. 103-112.) 

" Lines suggested by a Portrait in 

the Millais Exhibition." 

Privately printed and (though 
never published) widely circulated. . 
These powerful verses on Gladstone 
are those several times referred to 
by Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff, in 
his published Diaries. 

Introductory Remarks on The Rock- 
Cut Caves and Statues of Bamian. 
By Capt. the Hon. M. G. Talbot. 
{Journ. R. As. Soc. N.S. XVIII. 
1886, pp. 323-329-) 

Opening Address. {Ibid. pp. i.-v. ) 

Opening Address. {Ibid. xix. pp. 


Hobson-Jobsoniana. By H. Yule 

{Asiatic Quarterly Review, vol. i. . 
1886, pp. 1 19-140.) 

HOBSON-JOBSON : Being a Glossary 

of Anglo- Indian Colloquial Words 
and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms ; 
etymological, historical, geographi- 
cal, and discursive. By Col. H. 
Yule, and the late Arthur Coke 


Burnell, Ph.D., CLE., author of 
" The Elements of South Indian 
Palaeography," etc., London, John 
Murray, 1886. (All rights reserved), 
8vo, p. xliii.-87o. Preface, etc. 

A new edition is in preparation 
under the editorship of Mr. William 
Crooke ( 1902). 

1886 John Bunyan. (Letter in St. Jame^ 
Gazette, circa 31st Dec. 1886. 
Signed M. P. V.) 

Rennell. {Ettcyclop. Brit. XX. 1886, 

pp. 398-401.) 

Rubruquis [Ibid. XXI. 1886, pp. 46- 

18S7 Lieut. -Gen. W. A. Crommelen, 

C.B., R.E. {Royal Engineers' 

Journal, 1887.) 
[Obituary Notice] Col. Sir J. U. 

Bateman Champain. [Times, and 

Feb. 1887). 
"Pulping Public Records." (Notes 

and Queries, 19th March, 1887.) 

A Filial Remonstrance (Political 

Verses). Signed M. P. V. {St. 
James' Gazette, 8th Aug. 1887.) 

Memoir of Major-Gen. J. T. Boileau, 

R.E., F.R.S. By C. R. Low, LN., 
F. R. G. S. With a Preface by Col. H. 
Yule, C.B., London, Allen, 1887. 

The Diary of William Hedges, Esq. 

(afterwards Sir William Hedges), 
during his Agency in Bengal ; as 
well as on his voyage out and return 
overland (168 1 -1687). Transcribed 
for the Press, with Introductory 
Notes, etc., by R. Barlow, Esq., 
and illustrated by copious extracts 
from unpublished records, etc., by 
Col. H. Yule. Pub. for Hakluyt 
Society. London, 1887- 1 889, 3 
vols. 8vo. 

1888 Concerning some little known 
Travellers in the East. {Asiatic 
Quarterly Review, V. 1888, pp. 


No. I. — George Strachan. 

Concerning some little known 

Travellers in the East. {Asiatic 
Quarterly Review, VI. 1888, pp. 

No. II. — William, Earl of Den- 
bigh ; Sir Henry Skipwith ; and 

Notes on the St. James's of the 6th 

Jan. [A Budget of Miscellaneous 
interesting criticism.] (Letter to 
St. Janus' Gazette, 9th Jan. 18S8.) 

Deflections of the Nile. (Letter in 

The Times, 15th Oct. 18S8.) 

The History of the Pitt Diamond, 

being an excerpt from Documentary 
Contributions to a Biography of 
VOL. I. 

Thomas Pitt, prepared for issue [in 
Hedges' Diary] by the Hakluyt 
Society. London, 1888, 8vo. pp. 23. 
Fifty Copies printed for private 
1889 The Remains of Pagan. By H. 
Yule. {Triibner's Record, 3rd ser. 
vol. i. pt. i. 1889, p. 2.) 

To introduce notes by Dr. E. 

A Coincident Idiom. By 11. Yule. 

{Triibner's Record, 3rd ser. vol. i. 
pt. iii. pp. 84-85.) 

The Indian Congress [a Disclaimer]. 

(Letter to The Times, istjan. 1889.) 
— — Arrowsmith, the Friend of Thomas 
Poole. (Letter in The Academy, 
9th Feb. 1889, p. 96.) 
Biographies of Sir Henry Yule. 

Colonel Sir Henry Yule, K.C.S.I., 

C.B., LL.D., R.E. By General 
'Robert Maclagan, R.E. {Proceed. 
Roy. Geog. Soc. XII. 1890, pp. 

Colonel Sir Henry Yule, K.C.S.I., 

C.B., LL.D., R.E., etc. (With a 
Portrait). By E. Delmar Morgan. 
{Scottish Geographical Magazine, 
VI. 1890, pp. 93-98.) Contains a 
very good Biblic^raphy. 

— - Col. Sir H. Yule, R. E. , C. B. , K. C. S . I. , 
by Maj.-Gen. T. B. Collinson, 
R.E., Royal Engineers' Journal, 
March, 1890. [This is the best of 
the Notices of Yule which appeared 
at the time of his death.] 

Sir Henry Yule, K. C.S.I , C.B., 

LL.D., R.E., by E. H. Giglioli. 
Roma, 1890, ppt. 8vo, pp. 8. 

Estratto dal BoUettino della 
Society Geografica Italiana, Marzo, 

Sir Henry Yule. By J. S. C[otton]. 

{The Academy, nth Jan. 1890, No. 
923, pp. 26-27. ) 

Sir Henry Yule. {The Athemeum, 

No. 3245, 4th Jan. 1900, p. 17 ; 
No. 3246, nth Jan. p. 53; No. 
3247, 1 8th Jan. p. 88.) 

In Memoriam. Sir Henry Yule. 

By D. M. {The Academy, 29th 
March, 1890, p. 222.) 

See end of Memoir in present 

Le Colonel Sir Henry Yule. Par M. 

Henri Cordier. Extrait du_/<7«A-Ma/ 
Asiatique. Paris, Imprimerie 
nationale, MDCCCXC, in-8, pp. 

The same. Bulletin de la Soci^ti de 

G^ographie. Par M. Henri Cordier. 
1890, 8vo, pp. 4. 
Meeting 17th Jan. 1890. 



1889 Baron F. von Richthofen. ( Ver- 
handlungeti der Gesellschaft fur 
Erdkunde zu Berlitt, xvii. 2.) 

■ Colonel Sir Henry Yule, R.E., C.B., 

K. C.S.I. Memoir by General R. 
Ms.Q.\\,Jotirn. R. A sialic Society, 

Memoir of Colonel Sir Henry Yule, 

R.E., C.B., K.C.S.L, LL.D., etc. 
By Coutts Trotter. (Proceedi ''gs of 
the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 
1 89 1, p. xliii. to p. Ivi.) 

1889 Sir Henry Yule (1820-1889). By 
Coutts Trotter. {Diet, of National 
Biography, Ixiii. pp. 405-407.) 

1903 Memoir of Colonel Sir Henry Yule, 
R.E., C.B., K.C.S.I., Corn Inst. 
France, by his daughter. Amy 
Frances Yule, L.A.Soc. Ant. Scot., 
etc. Written for third edition of 
Yule's Marco Polo. Reprinted for 
private circulation only. 




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

Ramusio's Statements / 

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

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

Journeys of the Polo Family 8 

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

III. The Polo Family. Personal Hi.story of the Travel- 
lers TILL their final RETURN FROM THE EAST . IJ 

§ 13. Alleged origin of the Polos. 14. Claims to Nobility. 15. The 
Elder Marco Polo. 16. Nicolo and Maffeo Polo commence their 
Travels. 17. Their intercourse with Kublai Kaan. 18. Their 
return home, and Marco's appearance on the scene. 19. Second 
Journey of the Polo Brothers, accompanied by Marco. (See App. 
L. I.) 20. Marco's Employment by Kublai Kaan; and his 
Journeys. 21. Circumstances of the departure of the Polos 
from the Kaan's Court. 22. They pass by Persia to Venice. 
Their relations there. 
VOL. I. ^"'' / 2 



IV. Digression concerning the Mansion of the Polo 

Family at S. Giovanni Grisostomo . ... 26 

§ 23. Probable period of their estal)lishment at S. Giovanni Grisostomo. 
24. Relics of the Casa Polo in the Corte Sabbionera. 24a. Re- 
cent corroboration as to traditional site of the Casa Polo. 

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

§ 25. Arrangement of the Rowers in Medijeval Galleys ; a separate Oar 
to every Man. 26. Change of System in 1 6th Century. 27. Some 
detailsof 13th-century Galleys. 28. Fighting Arrangements. 29. 
Crew of a Galley and Staff of a Fleet. 30. Music and miscel- 
laneous particulars. 

VI. The Jealousies and Naval Wars of Venice and 
Genoa. Lamba Doria's Expedition to the Adriatic ; 
Battle of Curzola; and Imprisonment of Marco 
Polo by the Genoese 41 

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

VII. Rusticiano or Rustichello of Pisa, Marco Polo's 
Fellow-Prisoner at Genoa, the Scribe who wrote 
DOWN THE Travels 53 

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

VIII. Notices of Marco Polo's History after the Termina- ? 
TioN of his Imprisonment at Genoa .... ^64. 

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

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

WAS FIRST written 80 

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



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

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

XI. Some Estimate of the Character of Polo and His 

Book .... 104 

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

XII. Contemporary Recognition of Polo and his Book . ji6 

§ 75. How far was there diffusion of his Book in his own day ? 76. Con- 
temporary References to Polo. T, de Cepoy ; Pipino ; Jacopo 
d'Acqui ; Giov. Villani. 77. Pietro d'Abano ; Jean le Long of 
Ypres. 78. Curious borrowings from Polo in the Romance of 
Bauduin de Sebourc. 78 bis. Chaucer and Marco Polo. 

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

ledge . i2g 

§ 79. Tardy operation, and causes thereof. 80. General characteristics 
of Mediaeval Cosmography. 81. Roger Bacon as a Geographer. 
82. Arab Geography. 83. Marino Sanudd the Elder. 84. The 
Catalan Map of 1 375, the most complete mediaeval embodiment 
of Polo's Geography. 85. Fra Mauro's Map. Confusions in 
Cartography of the i6th Century from the endeavour to combine 
new and old information. 86. Gradual disappearance of Polo's 
nomenclature. 87. Alleged introduction of Block-printed Books 
into Europe by Marco Polo in connexion with the fiction of the 
irivention of Printing by Castaldi of Feltre. 88. Frequent 
opportunities for such introduction in the Age following Polo's. 

XIV. Explanations regarding the Basis adopted for the 

Present Translation 141 

% 89. Texts followed by Marsden and by Pauthier. 90. Eclectic Forma- 
tion of the English Text of this Translation. 91. Mode of render- 
ing Proper Names. 





Preliminary Address of Rusticiano of Pisa . . i 


I. — How THE Two Brothers Polo set forth from Con- 
stantinople TO traverse the World ... 2 

Notes. — 1. Chronology. 2. " The Great Sea" The Port of Soldaia. 

II. — How THE Two Brothers went on bs:yond Soldaia . 4 

Notes. — l. Site and Ruins of Sarai. 2. City of Bolghar. ^. Alau 
Lord of the Levant {i.e. Hulaku). 4. Ucaca on the Volga. 
5. River Tiger i. 

III. — How THE Two Brothers, after crossing a Desert, 


CERTAIN Envoys there 9 

Notes. — i. ^' Bocara a City of Persia." 2. The Great Kaans 

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


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

THE Great Kaan 11 

VI,— How the Great Kaan asked all about the manners 
OF THE Christians, and particularly about the 
Pope of Rome 12 

Note. — Apostoille. The name Tartar. 

VII. — How the Great Kaan sent the two Brothers as 

his Envoys to the Pope 13 

Notes. — i. The Great KaatH s Letter. 2. The Seven Arts. 3. Re- 
ligious Indiffei-ence of the Mongol Princes. 

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

Bearing his Orders in their behalf. . ... 15 
Notes.— I. The Tabled. 2. The Port of Ay as. 

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

AND thence 10 Venice 17 

Notes. — i. Names of the deceased Pope and of the Legate. 2. Negro- 
pont. 3. Mark^s age. 

X. — How THE Two Brothers again departed from 
Venice, on their Way back to the Great Kaan, 
and took avith them Mark, the Son of Messer 
NicoLO 19 

Note. — Oil fro tn the Holy Sepulchre. 


Chap. Page 

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

Mark along with them 20 

Note. — Pope Gregory X. and his Election. 

XII. — How the Two Brothers presented themselves 


Notes. — i. William of Tripoli. 2. Powers conceded to Missionary 
Friars. 3. Bundukddr and his Invasion of Armenia ; his 
character. 4. The Templars in Cilician Armenia. 

XIII. — How Messer Nicolo and Messer M.\ffeo Polo, 


OF THE Great Kaan 25 

Note. — The City of Kemenfu, Summer Residence of Kiibldi. 

XIV.— How Messer Nicolo and Messer Maffeo Polo and 
Marco presented themselves before the Great 
Kaan 26 

Notes. — i. Verbal. 2. *' Vostre Homme." 
XV.— How the Lord sent Mark on an Embassy of his 27 

Notes. — l. The four Characters learned by Marco, what? 2. 
Ramusids addition. 3. Nature of Marco's employment. 

XVI. — How Mark returned from the Mission whereon 

he had been sent 30 

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

their Way 31 

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

XVIII.— How THE Two Brothers and Messer Marco took 
Leave of the Great Kaan, and returned to their 
OWN Country 34 

Notes. — l. Mongol Royal Messengers. 2. Mongol communication 
with the King of England. 3. Mediaval Ships of China. 
4. Passage from China to Sumatra. 5. Mortality among 
the party. 6. The Lady Cocachin in Persian History. 
1, Death of the Kaan. 8. The Princess of Manzi. 


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

I. — Here the Book begins ; and first it speaks of 
THE Lesser Hermenia 41 

Notes. — i. Little Armenia. 2. Meaning of Chzs\.&iM3i. 3. Sick- 
liness of Cilician Coast. 4. The phrase "fra terre." 


Chap. P^cb 

II.— Concerning THE Province OF TuRCOMANiA . . •. 43 

Notes. — I. Brutality of the people. 2. Application of name 'Ymco- 
mania. Turcotnan Hordes. 

III.— Description of the Greater Hermenia ... 45 

Notes. — i. Erzingan. Buckrams, w/iat were they ? 2. Erzrtun. 

3. Baiburt. 4. Ararat. 5. Oil wells of Baku. 

IV.— Of Georgiania and the Kings thereof ... 50 
Notes. — i. Georgian Kings. 2. The Georgians. 3. The Iron 
Gates and Wall of Alexander. 4. Box forests. £. Gos- 
haivks. 6. Fish Miracle. 7. Sea of Ghel or Ghelan. 
Names ending in -an. 8. Names of the Caspian, and 
navigation thereon. 9. Fish in the Caspiaii. 

v.— Of the Kingdom of Mausul 60 

Notes. — l. Atabeks of Mosul. 2. Nestorian and Jacobite 
Christiatis. 3. Mosolins. 4. The Kurds. 5. Mush and 

VI.— Of the Great City of Baudas, and how it was taken 63 
Notes. — \. Baudas, or Baghdad. 2. Island of Kish. 3. Basra. 

4. Baldachins and other silk textures ; Animal patterns. 

5. 6, Huldk^s Expedition. 7. llie Death of the Khalif 
Mosta'sim. 8. Froissart. 

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

the Christians in his Land 68 

Notes. — i. Chronology. 2. "^j Regisles e/ i-^j Casses." 

VIII.— How THE Christians were in great dismay because 

OF what the Calif had said . . . . . .70 

Note. — The word " cralantur." 

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

THE Christians 71 

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

THE Mountain to move 72 

Note. — The Mountain Miracle. 

XI.— Of the Noble City of Tauris 74 

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

XII.— Of the Monastery of Saint Barsamo on the Borders 

OF Tauris yy 

Note. — The Monastery of Barsauma. 

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

OF THE Three Kings 78 

Notes. — i. Kald! Atishparastdn. 2. The Three Kings. 

XIV.— How the Three Kings returned to their own 

Country 79 

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


Chap. Page 

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


Notes. — i. Tlu Eight Kingdoms. 2. Export of Horses, and Prices. 
3. Persian Brigands. 4. Persian wine. 

XVI.— Concerning the Great City of Yasdi .... 88 

Notes. — i. Yezd. 2. Yezd to Kerman. The Woods spoken of . 
XVII.— Concerning the Kingdom of Kerman .... 90 

Notes. — i. City and Province of Kerman. 2. Turquoises. 3. On- 
danique or Indian Steel. 4. Manufactures of Kerman. 
5. Falcons. 
XVIII.— Of the City of Camadi and its Ruins; also 

touching the Carauna Robbers 97 

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

XIX.— OF THE Descent to the City of Hormos . . .107 

Notes. — i. Site of Old Hormuz and Geography of the roitte from 
Kerman to Hormuz. 2. Dates and Fish Diet. 3. Stitched 
Vessels. " One rudder," why noticed as peculiar. 4. Great 
heat at Hormuz. 5. The Simum. 6. History of Hormuz, 
and Polo's Ruonudan A com at. 7. Second Koiiti between 
Hormuz atid Kerman. 

XX. — Of the Wearisome and Desert Road that has 

NOW TO BE Travelled 123 

Notes. — l. Kerman to Kubendn. 2. Desert of Lut. 3. Subter- 
raneous Canals. 

XXI.— Concerning the City of Cobinan and the things 

that are made there 125 

Notes. — i. Kuh-Bandn. 2. Production of Tuttd. 

XXII.— Of a certain Desert that continues for eight 

days' Journey 127 

Notes. — l. Deserts of Khorasan. 2. T'/i*; Arbre Sol ^?r Arbre Sec. 

XXIII. — Concerning the Old Man of the Mountain . . 139 

Note. — The Assassins, Hashtshin, or Muldhidah. 

XXIV. — How THE Old Man used to train his Assassins . 142 

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

XXV.— How the Old Man came by His End . . . .145 
Note. — History of the apparent Destruction of the Sect by Huldku ; 
its survival to the present time. Castles of Alamut and 

XXVI.— Concerning the City of Sapurgan . . 149 

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

XXVII.— Of the City of Balc 151 

Notes. — i. Balkh. 2. Country meant by "Do^pins.. -^ Lions in the 
Oxus Valley. 


Chap. - p^^,j 

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

THE Province of Casem 153 

Notes. — i. Talikan. 2. Mines of Rock-salt. 3. Eihnological char- 
acteristics. 4. Kislini. 5. Porcupines. 6. Cave dwellings. 
7. Old and Nezv Capitals of Badakhshan. 

XXIX.— Of the Province of Badashan 157 

Notes.— I. Dialects of Badakhshan. Alexandrian lineage of the 
Princes. 2, Badakhshan and the Balas Ruby. 3. Azure 
Mines. 4. Horses of Badakhshan. 5. Naked Barley. 6. 
Wild sheep. 7. Scenery of Badakhshan. 8. Repeated devas- 
tation of the Countiy from War. 9. Amplitude of feminine 

XXX. — Of the Province of Pashai 164 

Note. — On the country intended by this name. 
XXXI.— Of the Province of Keshimur 166 

Notes. — i. Kashmir language. 2. Kashmir Conjurers, (See 
App. L. 2.) 3. Importance of Kashmir in Histoty of Budd- 
hism. 4. Character of the People. 5. Vicissitudes of Budd- 
hism in Kashmir. 6. Buddhist practice as to slaughter of 
animals. 7. Coral. 

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

Pamier . 170 

Notes.— I. The Upper Oxus and Wakhan. The title ^ono. (See 
App. L. 3.) 2, The Plateati of Pamir. (See App. L. 4 and 
5.) The Great Wild Sheep. Fire at great altitudes, t^. Bolor. 

XXXIII. — Of the Kingdom of Cascar i8o 

Note. — Kashgar. 

XXXIV.— Of THE Great City OF Samarcan . . . .183 

Notes. — i. Christians in Samarkand. 2. Chagatai's relation to 
Kubldi mis-stated. 3. The Miracle of the Stone. 

XXXV.— Of THE Province OF Yarcan 187 

Note. — Yarkand. Gottre prevalent there. 

XXXVI.— Of a Province called Cotan 188 

Notes. — l. Government. 2. "Adoration of Mahommet." t,. Khotati. 

XXXVII.— Of THE Province OF Pein 191 

Notes. — i. Position of Pein [A.^^^. L. 6.) 2. The Yyx or Jade. 3. 
Temporary marriages. 

XXXVIII.— Of THE Province OF Charchan 194 

Note. — Position of Charchan and Lop. 

XXXIX.— Of THE City of Lop, and the Great Desert . .196 

Notes. — l. Geographical discrepancy. 2. Superstitions as to 
Deserts : their wide diffusion. The Sound of Drums on cer- 
tain sandy acclivities. 3. Sha-chau to Lob-nor. 


Chap. Page 

XL.— Concerning the Great Province of Tangut . ., 203 

Notes. — i. Tangut. 2. Buddhism encountered here. 3. Kabnak 
superstition, the " Heaven's Ram." 4. Chinese customs de- 
scribed here. ^. Mongol disposal of the Dead. 6. Superstitious 
practice of avoiding to carry out the dead by the house-door ; 
its wide diffusion. 

XLI.— Of the Province of Camul 209 

Notes. — i. Kamtil. 2. Character of the people. 3. Shameless 
custom. 4. Parallel. 

XLI I.— Of the Province of Chingintalas . . . .212 

Notes.— i. The Country intended. 2. Ondanique. 3. Asbestos 
Mountain. 4. The four elements. 5 a7id 6. The Story of 
the Salamander. Asbestos fabrics. 

XLIIL— Of THE Province OF SuKCHUR .... 217 

Notes. — i. Explanatory. 2. The City of Suhchau. t^. Rhubarb 
count ly. 4. Poisonous pasture. 

XLIV. — Of the City OF Campichu 219 

Notes. — l. The City of Kanchau. 2. Recumbent Buddhas. 3. 
Buddhist Days of Special Worship. 4. Matrimonial Customs. 
5. Textual. 

XLV. — Of the City of Etzina 223 

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

XLVL— Of the City of Caracoron 226 

Notes. — i. Karakorum. 2. Tartar. 3. Chorcha. 4. Prester John. 

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

OF THE Tartars . 238 

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

XLVIIL— How Chinghis mustered his People to march 

against Prester John . . . . . 240 

XLIX.— How Prester John marched to meet Chinghis . 241 
Notes. — i. Plain of Tanduc. 2. Divination by Twigs and Arrozvs. 

L.— The Battle between Chinghis Kaan and Prester 

John. Death of Chinghis 244 

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

LL— Of those who did Reign after Chinghis Kaan, 

AND OF the Customs of the Tartars . . 245 

Notes. — l. Origin of the Cambuscan of Chaucer. 2. Historical 
Errors. 3. The Place of Sepulture of Chinghiz. 4. Barbar- 
ous Funeral Superstition. 

LIL— Concerning THE Customs OF THE Tartars . -251 

Notes. — l. Tartar Huts. 2. Tartar Waggons. 3. Pharaoh's 
Rat. 4. Chastity of the Women. 5. Polygamy a^ui Marriage 


Chap. P^gb 

LIII. — Concerning THE God OF THE Tartars . . . 256 

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

LIV. — Concerning the Tartar Customs of War . . 260 

Notes. — l. Tartar Arms. 2. The Decimal Division of their 
Troops. 3. Textual. 4. Blood-drinking. 5. Kurut, or 
Tartar Curd. 6. The Mongol military rapidity and terror- 
ism. 7. Corruption of their Nomade simplicity. 

LV.— Concerning the Administering of Justice among 

the Tartars 266 

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

LVI. — Sundry Particulars on the Plain beyond Cara- 

coRON 269 

Notes. — l. Texttial. 2. Bargu, the Mecrit, the Reindeer, and 
Chase of Waterfowl. 3. The bird Barguerlac, the Syrr- 
haptes. 4. Gerfalcons. 

LVI I. — Of the Kingdom of Erguiul, and Province of 

SiNju , 274 

Notes. — l. Erguiul. 2. Siningfu. 3. The Yak. 4. The Musk 
Deer. 5. Reeves^ s Pheasant. 

LVIII. — Of THE Kingdom OF Egrigaia 281 

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

LIX.— Concerning the Province of Tenduc, and the 

Descendants of Prester John . . . .284 

Notes. — i. The name and place Tenduc. King George. 2. Standing 
Marriage Compact. The title Gurgan. 3. Azure. 4. The 
^ijrOTJ' Argon a«^ Guasmul. 7"/^.? Dungens. 5. The Rampart 
of Gog and Magog. 6. Tartary cloths. 7. Siuen-hwafu. 

LX.— Concerning the Kaan's Palace of Chagannor . 296 

Notes. — i. Palace. 2. The word Stsnes. 3 Chagan-nor. 4. The 
five species of Crane described by Polo. 5. The word Gator. 

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

there 298 

Notes. — l. Two Roads. 2. Chandu, properly Shangtu. 3. Leopards. 
4, The Bamboo Palace. Uses of the Bamboo. 5. KMld€s 
Annual Migration to Shangtu. 6. The White Horses. The 
Oirad Tribe. 7. The Mare's Milk Festival. 8. Weather Con- 
juring. 9. Ascription of Cannibalism to Tibetans, etc. 10. 
The term Bacsi. 11. Magical Feats ascribed to the Lamas, 
12. Lamas. 13. Vast extent of Lama Convents. 14. Married 
Lamas. 15. Brati. 16. I^atarins. 17. The Ascetics called 
Sensin. 18. Textual. 16. l^ao-sze Idols. 




Chap. Pagb 

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

AND OF HIS Great Puissance 331 

Note. — Eulogies of Kubldi. 

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

TO the Great Kaan Cublay 332 

Notes. — i. Chrotwlogy. 2. Kubld€s Age. 3. His Wars. 4. 
Nayan and his true relationship to KMldi. 

III. — How the Great Kaan MARCHED against Nayan . 335 

Note. — Addition from Ramusio. 

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

Nayan ... 336 

Notes. — l. The word Bretesche. 2. Explanatory. 3. The 
Nakkdra. 4. Parallel Passages. 5. Verbal. 6. The Story 
of Nayan. (See App. L. 7.) 

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

Death 343 

Notes. — i. The Shedding of Royal blood avoided. 2. Ckorcka, 
Kaoli^ Barskul, Sikintinju. 3. Jews in China. 

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

Cambaluc 348 

Note. — Passage from Ramusio respecting the Kaatis vinos of 
Religion. Remarks. 

VII. — How THE Kaan rewarded the Valour of his 

Captains 350 

Notes.— I. Parallel from Sanang Setun. 2. The Golden Horwrary 
Tablets or Paizah of the Mongols. 3. Umbrellas. 4. The 
Gerfalcon Tablets. 

VIII.— Concerning the Person of the Gre.\t Kaan . . 356 

Notes.— I. Colour of his Eyes. 2. His Wives. 3. The Kungurat 
Tribe. Competitive Examination in Beauty. 

IX.— Concerning the Great Kaan's Sons . . . .359 

Notes.— I. Kubldts intended Heir. 2. His other Sons. 

X. — Concerning the Palace of the Great Kaan . . 362 

Notes.— I. Palace Wall. 2. The word ^2x05^. 3. Torvers. 4. 
Arsenals of the Palace. 5. The Gates. 6. Various Readings. 
7. Barracks. 8. Wide diffusion of the kind of Palace here 
described. 9. Parallel description. 10. *^ Divine" Park. 11. 
Modem account of the Lake, etc. 12. " Roze de I'acur." 13. 
The Green Mount. 14, Textual. 15. Bridge. 


Chap. Page 

XI. — Concerning the City of Cambaluc .... 374 
Notes — i. Ch7'onology, etc., of Peking. 2. The City Wall. 3. 

Changes i7i the Extent of the City . 4. Its ground flan. 5. 

Aspect. 6. Public Towers. 7. Addition from Raniusio. 

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

Keshican 379 

Note. — 77^^ ^^rw Quescican. 

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

High Feasts 381 

Notes. — l. Order of the Tables. 2. The word "^ exma^Q. 3. The 
Buffet of Liquors. 4. The superstition of the Threshold. 5. 
Chinese Etiquettes. 6. Jugglers at the Banquet. 

XIV. — Concerning the Great Fp:ast held by the Grand 

Kaan every year on his Birthday . . . 386 
Notes. — i. The Chinese Year. 2. "Beaten Gold," 3. Texttial. 
Festal changes of costume. 4. Festivals. 

XV. — Of the Great Festival which the Kaan holds on 

New Year's Day 390 

Notes. — i. The White Month. 2. Mystic value of the number 9. 
3. Elephants at Peking. 4. Adoration of Tablets. K'o-tow. 

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


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

XVII. — How the Great Kaan enjoineth his People to 

SUPPLY him with Game 396 

Note. — Parallel Passage. 

XVIII.— Of the Lions and Leopards and Wolves that the 

Kaan keeps for the Chase 397 

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

XIX.— Concerning the Two Brothers who have charge 

OF THE Kaan's Hounds 400 

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

XX.— How the Emperor goes on a Hunting Expedi- 
tion 402 

Notes. — i. Direction of the 7 our. 2. Hawking Establishments, 
3. The word Toskdiil. 4. The word Bularguchi. 5. 
KubldVs Litter. 6. Kachar Modun. 7. The Kaan^s Great 
Tents. 8. llie Sable and Ermine. 9. PMs de la Croix, 

XXL— How THE Great Kaan, on returning from his 
Hunting Expedition, holds a Great Court and 

Entertainment 410 

Note. — This chapter peculiar to the 2iid Type of MSS. 


Chap. Pack 

XXII.— Concerning the City of Cambaluc, and its Great 

Traffic and Population 412 

Notes. — i. Suburbs of Peking. 2. The word Yoxi'd2s:o, 

XXIII.— [Concerning the Oppressions of Achmath the 
Bailo, and the Plot that was formed against 
Him] 415 

Notes. — i. Chapter peculiar to Ramusio. 2. Ktibldi's Adminis- 
tration. Tlu Rise of Ahmad. 3. The term Bailo. 4. 
The Conspiracy against Ahmad as related by Gaubil from the 
Chinese. 5. Marcd s presence cmd upright conduct commemor- 
ated in the Chinese Annals. The Kaaris prejudice against 

XXIV.— How THE Great Kaan causeth the Bark of Trees, 
made into something like Paper, to pass for 
Money over all his Country .... 423 

Note. — Chinese Paper Currency. 

XXV.— Concerning the Twelve Barons who are set over 

all the Affairs of the Great Kaan . . . 430 

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

XXVI.— How THE Kaan's Posts and Runners are sped 

through many Lands and Provinces . . 433 

Notes. — i. Textual. 2. The word Yam. 3. Gor-emment 
Hostelries. 4. Digression from Ramusio. 5. Posts Extra- 
ordinary. 6. Discipline of the Posts. 7. Antiquity of 
Posts in China, etc. 

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




Note. — Kubldt's remissions, and justice. 

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

BY THE Highways 440 

Note. — Kubld^s Avenues. 

XXIX.— Concerning the Rice-Wine drunk by the People 
OF Cathay 


Note. — Rice-wine. 

XXX.— Concerning the Black Stones that are dug in 

Cathay, and are burnt for Fuel . . . 442 

Note. — Distribution and Consumption of Coal in China. 

XXXI. — How THE Great Kaan causes Stores of Corn to 
be made, to help his People withal in time of 
Dearth 443 

Note.— r-i^ Chinese Public Gratmries. 

XXXII. — Of the Charity of the Emperor to the Poor . 444 

Note. — Buddhist influence, and Chinese Charities. 


Chap. Page 

XXXIII. — [Concerning the Astrologers in the City of 

Cambaluc] 446 

Notes. — i. The word Tacuin. — The Chinese Almanacs. The 
Observatory. 2. The Chinese and Mongol Cycle. 

XXXIV. — [Concerning the Religion of the Cathayans ; 
their views as to the soul ; and their 
Customs] 456 

Notes. — i. Textual. 2, Do. 3. Exceptions to the general charge 
of Irreligion brought against the Chinese. 4. Politeness. 
5. Filial Piety. 6. Pocket Spitoons. 



To face Title . . Portr.\it of Sir Henry Yule. From the Painting by Mr. 

T. B. Wirgman, in the Royal Engineers' Mess House at 

Illuminated Title, with Medallion representing the Polos 

Arriving at Venice after 26 years' absence, and being 

refused admittance to the Family Mansion ; as related by 

Ramusio, p. 4 of Introductory Essay. Drawn by Signor 

QuiNTO Cenni, No. 7 Via Solferino, Milan ; from a Design 

by the Editor. 
,, page I. Doorway of the House of Marco Polo in the Corte Sab- 

bionera at Venice (see p. zy). Woodcut from a drawing by 

Signor L. Rosso, Venice. 
,, ,, 26. Ccrte del Mi I tone, \enice. 

„ ,, 2S. Malibran Theatre, Venice. 

,, ,, 30. Entrance to the Corte del Milione, Venice. From photographs 

taken for the present editor, by Signor Naya. 
,, ,, 42. Figures from St. Sabba's, sent to Venice. From a photograph of 

Signor Naya. 
,, ,, 50. Church of San Matteo, at Genoa. 
, , , , 62. Palazzo di S. Giorgio, at Genoa. 

,, ,, 68. Miracle of S. Lorenzo. From the Painting by V. Carpaccio. 

,, ,, 70. FACSiMiLEof the Will of Marco Polo, preserved in St. Mark's 

Library. Lithographed from a photograph specially taken by 

Bertani at Venice. 
„ „ y4. Pavement in front of S. Lorenzo. 

,, ,, 76. Mosaic Portrait of Marco Polo, at Genoa. 

,, ,, 7<?. The Pseudo Marco Polo at Canton. 

„ ,, 80. Porcelain Incense-Bumer, from the Louvre. 

.. ,, 82. Temple of 500 Genii, at Canton, after a drawing by Felix 

,, ,, J 08. Probable %-iew of Marco Polo's own Geography : a Map of 

the World, formed as far as possible from the Traveller's own 

data. Drawn by the Editor. 
,, ,, 134. Part of the Catalan Map of 1375. 

VOL. I, '"^^ g 


7o face page I. Marco Polo's Itineraries, No. I. Western Asia. This includes 

also "Sketch showing the chief Monarchies of Asia, in the 

latter part of the 13th century." 

TMap illustrating the geographical position of the City of Sarai. 

,, >) 4- I rian of part of the remains of the same city. Reduced from a 

I Russian plan published by M. Grigorieff. 
,, „ 29 & 30. Reduced Facsimile of the Buddhist Inscription of the 
Mongol Era, on the Archway at Kiu-YONG KWAN in the 
Pass of Nan-k'au, north-west of Peking, showing the characters 
in use under the Mongol Dynasty. Photogravure from the 
Recueil des documetits de PEpoque Mo7igole, by H.H. Prince 
Roland Bonaparte. See an Article by Mr. Wyhe in the 
J. R. A. S.for 1870,/. 14. 
/-Plan of Ayas, the Laias of Polo. From an Admiralty Chart. 

„ ,, 41.-! Plan of position of DilAwar, the supposed site of the Dilavar 

I of Polo. Ext. from a Survey by Lt. -Col. D. G. Robinson, R.E. 

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

and Hormuz. 

„ ,, 178. Marco Polo's Itineraries, No. HI. Regions on and near the 

Upper Oxus. 

,, ,, 305. Heading, in the old Chinese seal-character, of an Inscription 
on a Memorial raised by Kublai Kaan to a Buddhist Eccles- 
iastic, in the vicinity of his summer-palace at Shangtu in 
Mongolia. Reduced from a facsimile obtained on the spot by 
Dr. S. W. Bushell, 1872, and by him lent to the Editor. 

,, ,, 319. The Cho-Khang. The grand Temple of Buddha at Lhasa, 

from The Journey to Lhasa, by Sarat Chandra Das, by kind 
permission of the Royal Geographical Society. 

,, ,, 352. ^^ Tabled Or de Comtnandement ;" the Paiza of the Mongols, 

from a specimen found in Siberia. Reduced to one-half the scale 
of the original, from an engraving in a paper by I. J. Schmidt 
ill the Bulletin de la Classe Historico-Philologique de I'Acad. 
Imp. des Sciences, St.-Petersbourg, tom. iv. No. 9. 

,, ,, 355. Second Example of a Mongol Pai'za with superscription in the 

Uighiir character, found near the Dnieper River, 1845. From 
Trans, of the Oriental Section, Imp. Soc. of Archeology of St. 
Petersburg, vol. v. The Inscription on this runs: '^ By the 
strength of Eternal Heaven, and thanks to Its Great Power, 
the Man who obeys not the order of Abdullah shall be guilty, 
shall die." 

,,■ ,, 376. Plan of Peking as it is, and as it was about A. D. 1290. 

,, ,, 426. Bank-note of the Ming Dynasty, on one-half the scale of the 

original. Reduced from a genuine note in the possession of 
the British Museum. Was brought back from Peking after the 
siege of the Legations in 1900. 

,, ,, 448. Mongol " Compendium Instrument." 

,, ,, 450. Mongol Armillary Sphere. 

,, ,, 452. Observatory Terrace. 

, , , , 454. Observatory Instruments of the Jesuits. All these from photo- 

graphs kindly lent to the present Editor by Count de Semall6. 

„ last page Marco Polo's Itineraries. No. IV. Eastern Asia. This 

includes also Sketch Map of the Ruins of Shangtu, after 
Dr. Bushell ; and Enlarged Sketch of the Passage of the 
Hwang-ho or Karamoran on the road to Si-ngan fu (see vol. ii. 
pp. 25-27) from the data of Baron von Richthofeu, 



Introductory Notices. 

Page X. A Medi/EVal Ship. 
,, xxvi. Coat of Arms of Sir Henry Yule. 
„ 7. Arms of the Polo family, according to Priuli. 

,, 8. Arms of the Polo family, according to Marco Barbaro. (See p. 7, note.) 

,, 7j. Autograph of Hethum or Hayton I. King of (Cicilian) Armenia ; copied 
from Codice Diplomatico del Sacro Mil Hare Or dine Gerosolemitano, I. 
135. The signature is attached to a French document without date, 
granting the King's Daughter "Damoiselle Femie" (Euphemia) in 
marriage to Sire Juhan, son of the Lady of Sayete (Sidon). The words 
run : Thagdvor Haiivetz (" Rex Armenorum"), followed by the King's 
cypher or monograpi ; but the initial letter is absent, probably worn off 
the original document. 
,, 18. The PiAZZETTA at Venice in the 14th century. From a portion of the 
Frontispiece Miniature of the MS. of Marco Polo in the Bodleian. 
(Borrowed from the National Miscellany, published by J. H. Parker, 
Oxford, for 1853-55; ^nd see Street's Brick and Marble, etc, 1855, 
pp. 150-151.) [See vol. ii. IV 529.] 
„ zg. Three extracts from Maps of Venice, showing the site of the Ca' Polo 
at three different periods, (i) From the great woodcut Map or View 
of Venice, dated 1500, and commonly called Albert Diirer's. (2) 
From a Plan by Cav. Ludovico Ughi, 1729. (3) From the Modern 
Official Plan of the City. 

„ 34. Diagram of arrangement of oars in galleys. 

,, jj. Extract from a fresco by Spinello Aretini, in the Municipal Palace at 
Siena, representing a Galley-fight (perhaps imaginary) between 
the Venetians and the fleet of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, 
and illustrating the arrangements of mediseval galleys. Drawn from 
a very dim and imperfect photograph, after personal study of the 
original, by the Editor. 

,, J7. Extract firom a picture by DomenicoJIintoretto in the Ducal Palace at 
Venice, representing the same Galley-fight. After an engraving in 
the Theatrum Venetum. 

,, 4g Marco Polo's Galley going into action at Curzola. Drawn by 
Signor Q. Cenni, from a design by the Editor. 

,, 50. Map to illustrate the Sea-fight at Curzola, where Marco Polo was 
taken prisoner. 

„ 57. Seal of the Pisan Prisoners in Genoa, after the battle of Meloria 
(1284). From Manni, Osservazioni Storiche sopra Sigilli Antichi, 
torn. xiL Engraved by T. Adeney. 

„ 7j. Ti.e Convent and Church of S. Lorenzo, the burial-place of Marco 
Polo, as it existed in the 15th century. From the Map of 1500 (see 
above). Engraved by the same. 

,, 7<?. Arms of the Trevisan family, according to Priuli. 

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

VOL. I, 



Page 3. Remains of the Castle of Soldaia or Sudak, After Dubois de MontpereiiXy 
Voyage autour du Caucase, Atlas, 3d s. PI. 64. 
7. Ruins of BOLGHAR. After Demidoff, Voyage dans la Russie Miridionale, 

PI- 75- 

15. The Great Kaan delivering a Golden Tablet to the two elder Polos. 
From a miniature in the Livre des Merveilies du Monde (Fr. 2810) in 
the Library at Paris, fol. 3 verso. 

16. Castle of Ayas. Aiier Lang; lots. Voyage en Cilicie. 
18. Plan of Acre as it was when lost (a.d. 1291). Reduced and translated 

from the contemporary plan in the Secreta Fidelium Crticis of \iarino 

Sanudo the Elder, engraved in Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, vol. ii. 
21. Portrait of Pope Gregory X. After J. B. de Cavalcriis Pontificuvi 

Romanonim Effigies, etc. Romae, 1580. 
37. Ancient Chinese War Vessel. From the Chinese Encyclopedia called 

San-Thsai'Thou-Hoei, in the Paris Library. 

Book First. 

Page 42. Coin of King Hetum I. and Queen Isabel of Cilician Armenia. From 
an original in the British Museum. Engraved by Adeney. 

48. Castle of Baiburt. After Texier, L'Armc'nie, PI. 3. 

51. Mediaeval Georgian Fortress. From a drawing by Padre Cristoforo 
Di Castelli of the Theatine Mission, made in 1634, and now in the 
Communal Library at Palermo. The name of the place has been eaten 
away, and I have not yet been able to ascertain it. 

55. View of Derbend. After a cut from a drawing by M. Moynet in the 
Toiir dii Alonde, vol. i. 

61. Coin of Badruddin Lolo of Mosul (a.ii. 620). After Marsden's Nuinis- 
mata Orientalia, No. 164. By Adeney. 

76. GhAzan Khan's Mosque at Tabriz. Borrowed from Fergussot^s History 
of Architecture. 

95. Kashmir Scarf with animals, etc. After photograph from the scarf in 

the Indian Museum. 
100. Humped Oxen from the Assyrian Sculptures at Kouyunjik. From Rawlin- 

son's Ancient Monarchies. 
102. Portrait of a Hazara. From a Photograph, kindly taken for the purpose, 
by M.-Gen. C. P. Keyes, C.B., Commanding the Panjab Frontier Force. 
116-118. Illustrations of the use of the double rudder in the Middle Ages. 
7 figures, viz., No. I, The Navicello of Giotto in the Porch of 
St. Peter's. From East lake'' s H. of Painting; Nos. 2 and 3, from 
Pertz, Scriptores, torn, xviii. after a Genoese Chronicle ; No. 4, Sketch 
from fresco of Spinello Aretini at Siena ; No. 5, Seal of Port of 
Winchelsea, from Sussex Archaological Collections, vol. i. 1848 ; 
No. 6, Sculpture on Leaning Tower at Pisa, after Jal, Archiologie 
Navale; No. 7, from the Monument of Peter Martyr, the persecutor of 
the Lombard Patarini, in the Church of St. Eustorgius at Milan, after 
Le Tombe ed i Monumenti J llusiri d'' Italia, Mil. 1822-23. 



From a miniature in the Prose Romance of Alexander, in the Brit. 

Museum MS. called the Shrewsbury Book (Reg. xv. e. 6). 
„ 137. The ChinAr or Oriental Plane, viz., that called the Tree of Godfrey of 

Boulogne at Bnyukdere, near Constantinople. Borrowed from Le 

Monde Vigital of Figuier. 
,, 147. Portrait of H. H. Agha Khan Mehelati, late representative of the 

Old Man of the Mountain. From a photograph by Messrs. Shep- 
herd and Bourne. 
,, 159. Ancient Silver Patera of debased Greek Art, formerly in the possession 

of the Princes of Badakhshan, now in the India Museum. 
,, 167. Ancient Buddhist Temple at Pandrethan in Kashmir. Borrowed from 

Fergussoji s History of Architecture. 
,, 176. Horns of the Oy/S POL/, or Great Sheep of Pamir. Drawn by the 

Editor from the specimen belonging to the Royal Asiatic Society. 
„ 177. Figure of the O^/S POLI, or Great Sheep of Pamir. From a drawing by 

Mr. Severtsof in a Russian pubUcation. 
„ 180. Head of a native of Kashgar. After Verchaguine. From the Tour du 

„ 181. View of Kashgar. From Mr. R. Shcrafs Tariary. 
„ 184. View of Samarkand. From a Sketch by Mr. D. Ivanoff, engraved in a 

Russian Illustrated Paper (kindly sent by Mr. I. to the editor). 
„ 221. Colossal Figure ; Buddha entering Nirvana. Sketched by the Editor 

at Pagan in Burma. 
,, 222. Great Lama Monastery, viz., that at Jehol. After Staunton^ s Narrative 

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

Joumcd of the Royal Zoologiccd Socitty. 
,, 229. The Situation of Karakorum. 
„ 230. Entrance to the Erdeni Tso, Great Temple. From Marcel Monnier's 

Tour d^Asie, by kind permission of M. Plon. 
„ 244. Death of Chinghiz Khan. From a Miniature in the Livre des Meroeilles. 
„ 253. Dressing up a Tent, from Marcel Monnier's Tottr d'Asie, by kind 

permission of M. Plon. 
,, 255. Mediaeval Tartar Huts and Waggons. Drawn by Sig. Quinto Cenni, 

on a design compiled by the Editor from the descriptions of mediaeval 

and later travellers. 
., 258. Tartar Idols and KuMis Chum. Drawn by the Editor after data in 

Pallas and Zaleski ( Vie des Steppes JCirghiz). 
„ 273. The SYRRHAPTES PALLASII ; Bargherlac of Marco Polo. From a 

plate by Wolf in the Ibis for April, i86a 
, , 280. Reeves's Pheasant. After an engraving in Woo^s Illustrated Natural 

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

Wall of China. Borrowed from Dr. Pennies Peking and the Pekingese. 
„ 307. A Pavilion at Yuen-Ming- Yuen, to illustrate the probable style of Kublai 

Kaan's Summer Palace. Borrowed from Michies Siberian Overland 

,, 317. Chinese Conjuring Extraordinary. Extracted from an engraving in 

Edward Meltori s Zeldzaame Reisen, c\.c. Amsterdam, 1702. 
, , 320. A Monastery of Lamas. Borrowed from the Tour du Monde. 
,, 326. A Tibetan Bacsi. Sketched from the life by the Editor. 


Book Second. — Part First. 

Page 340. Nakkaras. From a Chinese original in the Lois des Empereurs 

Mandchotis {Thai-Thsing-Hoei-Tien-Thou), in the Paris Library. 
341. Nakkaras. After one of the illustrations in Blochmann's edition of the 

352. Seljukian Coin, with the LiON and the Sun (a.h. 640). M.\.&x Marsde7i' s 

Numismata Orietttalia, No. 98. Engraved by Adeney. 
355. Sculptured Gerfalcon from the Gate of Iconium. Copied from 

Hammer's Falknerklee. 
357. Portrait of the Great Kaan KublAi. From a Chinese engraving in 

the Encyclopaedia called San-Thsai-Thou-Hoei ; in the Paris Library. 
367. Ideal Plan of the Ancient Palaces of the Mongol Emperors at KJianbaligh, 

according to Dr. Bretschneider. 
369. Palace at Khan-baligh. From the Livre des Merveilles. 
369. The Winter Palace at Peking. Borrowed from Fergussoiis History 

of A rch itedure. 
371. View of the "Green Mount." From a photograph kindly lent to 

the present Editor by Count de Semall^. 
373. The Yilan cKeng. From a photograph kindly lent to the present Editor 

by Count de Semall^. 
376. South Gate of the "Imperial City "at Peking. From an original 

sketch belonging to the late Dr. W. Lockhart. 
399. The BOrgiJt Eagle. After Atkinson^ s Oriental and Western Siberia. 
409. The Tents of the Emperor K'ien-lung. From a drawing in the Stauntoii 

Collection in the British Museum. 
413. Plain of Cambaluc ; the City in the distance ; from the hills on the 

north-west. From a photograph. Borrowed from Dr. Rennie's Peking. 
458. The Great Temple of Heaven at Peking. From Michie's Siberian 

Overland Route. 
463. INIarble Archway erected under the Mongol Dynasty at Kiu-Yong 

Kwan in the Nan-k'au Pass, N.W. of Peking. From a photograph in 

the possession of the present Editor. 





jjoorway ot the House ot Marco I'olo in the Corte babbionera, at Venice, 

[To /ace p. I. 



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

Ramusio's Statements. 

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

; , i-r/- , • of Polo's 

sive s^enerations were it not for the difficult questions Book, and 

" , personal 

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

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



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

his earliest ^ ^ 

biographer, countrvman, the celebrated John Baptist Ramusio, 

His account _ "^ _ •' ^ 

ofPoio. His essay abounds in what we now know to be errors 
.of detail, but, prepared as it was when traditions of the Tra- 
veller were still rife in Venice, a genuine thread runs through 
it which could never have been spun in later days, and its 
presentation seems to me an essential element in any full 
discourse upon the subject. 

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

" Of all that I have named, Ptolemy, as the latest, possessed the greatest 
extent of knowledge. Thus, towards the North, his knowledge carries 
him beyond the Caspian, and he is aware of its being shut in all round 
like a lake, — a fact which was unknown in the days of Strabo and Pliny, 
though the Romans were already lords of the world. But though his know- 
ledge extends so far, a tract of 15 degrees beyond that sea he can describe 
only as Terra Incognita ; and towards the South he is fain to apply the 
same character to all beyond the Equinoxial. In these unknown regions, 
as regards the South, the first to make discoveries have been the Portu- 
guese captains of our own age ; but as regards the North and North- 
East the discoverer was the Magnifico Messer Marco Polo, an honoured 
nobleman of Venice, nearly 300 years since, as may be read more fully in 
his own Book. And in truth it makes one marvel to consider the immense 
extent of the journeys made, first by the Father and Uncle of the said 
Messer Marco, when they proceeded continually towards the East-North- 
East, all the way to the Court of the Great Can and the Emperor of the 
Tartars ; and afterwards again by the three of them when, on their return 
homeward, they traversed the Eastern and Indian Seas. Nor is that all, 
for one marvels also how the aforesaid gentleman was able to give such 
an orderly description of all that he had seen ; seeing that such an accom- 
plishment was possessed by very few in his day, and he had had a large 
part of his nurture among those uncultivated Tartars, without any regular 
training in the art of composition. His Book indeed, owing to the endless 
errors and inaccuracies that had crept into it, had come for many years 
to be regarded as fabulous j and the opinion prevailed that the names of 
cities and provinces contained therein were all fictitious and imaginary, 
without any ground in fact, or were (I might rather say) mere dreams. 

* The Preface is dated Venice, 7th July, 1553. Fracastorius died in the same 
year, and Ramusio erected a statue of him at Padua. Ramusio himself died in 
July, 1557. 


3. "Howbeit, during the last hundred years, persons acquainted with 
Persia have begun to recognise the existence of Cathay. The 
voyages of the Portuguese also towards the North-East, beyond vindicates 
the Golden Chersonese, have brought to knowledge many cities |^phy^**^ 
and provinces of India, and many islands likewise, with those 
very names which our Author applies to them ; and again, on reaching 
the Land of China, they have ascertained from the people of that region 
(as we are told by Sign. John de Barros, a Portuguese gentleman, in his 
Geography) that Canton, one of the chief cities of that kingdom, is in 30!° 
of latitude, with the coast running N.E. and S.W. ; that after a distance of 
275 leagues the said coast turns towards the N.W. ; and that there are 
three provinces along the sea-board, Mangi, Zanton, and Quinzai, the last 
of which is the principal city and the King's Residence, standing in 46° of 
latitude. .A.nd proceeding yet further the coast attains to 50°.* Seeing 
then how many particulars are in our day becoming known of that part 
of the world concerning which Messer Marco has written, I have deemed 
it reasonable to publish his book, with the aid of several copies written 
(as I judge) more than 200 years ago, in a perfectly accurate form, and 
one vastly more faithful than that in which it has been heretofore read. 
And thus the world shall not lose the fruit that may be gathered from so 
much diligence and industry expended upon so honourable a branch of 

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

" And often in my own mind, comparing the land explorations of these 
oiu: Venetian gentlemen with the sea explorations of the aforesaid Signor 
Don Christopher, I have asked myself which of the two were 
really the more marvellous. And if patriotic prejudice delude compares 
me not, methinks good reason might be adduced for setting the columbus. 
land journey above the sea voyage. Consider only what a 
height of courage was needed to undertake and carry through so difficult 
an enterprise, over a route of such desperate length and hardship, 
whereon it was sometimes necessary to carry food for the supply of man 
and beast, not for days only but for months together. Columbus, on the 
other hand, going by sea, readily carried with him all necessary provision ; 
and after a voyage of some 30 or 40 days was conveyed by the wind 
whither he desired to go, whilst the Venetians again took a whole year's 
time to pass all those great deserts and mighty rivers. Indeed that the 
difficult)' of travelling to Cathay was so much greater than that of reach- 
ing the New World, and the route so much longer and more perilous, may 
be gathered from the fact that, since those gentlemen twice made this 

* The Geography of De Barros, from which this is quoted, has never been 
printed. I can find nothing corresponding to this passage in the Decades. 


journey, no one from Europe has dared to repeat it,* whereas in the very 
year following the discovery of the Western Indies many ships imme- 
diately retraced the voyage thither, and up to the present day continue to 
do so, habitually and in countless numbers. Indeed those regions are 
now so well known, and so thronged by commerce, that the traffic between 
Italy, Spain, and England is not greater." 

5. Ramusio goes on to explain the light regarding the first 
part or prologue of Marco Polo's book that he had derived 
Recounts a from a reccnt piece of luck which had made him 

tradition of . . i-.i 

the travel, partially acquamted with the geography of Abulfeda, 
to Venice, and to make a running commentary on the whole 
of the preliminary narrative until the final return of the 
travellers to Venice : — 

" And when they got thither the same fate befel them as befel Ulysses, 
who, when he returned, after his twenty years' wanderings, to his native 
Ithaca, was recognized by nobody. Thus also [those three gentlemen 
who had been so many years absent from their native city were recog- 
nized by none of their kinsfolk, who were under the firm belief that they 
had all been dead for many a year past, as indeed had been reported. 
Through the long duration and the hardships of their journeys, and 
through the many worries and anxieties that they had undergone, they 
were quite changed in aspect, and had got a certain indescribable smack 
of the Tartar both in air and accent, having indeed all but forgotten their 
Venetian tongue. Their clothes too were coarse and shabby, and of a 
Tartar cut. They proceeded on their arrival to their house in this city in 
the confine of St. John Chrysostom, where you may see it to this day. 
The house, which was in those days a very lofty and handsome palazzo, 
is now known by the name of the Corte del Millioni for a reason that I 
will tell you presently. Going thither they found it occupied by some of 
their relatives, and they had the greatest difficulty in making the latter , 
understand who they should be. For these good people, seeing them to 
be in countenance so unlike what they used to be, and in dress so shabby, 
flatly refused to believe that they were those very gentlemen of the Ca' 
Polo whom,t|iey had been looking upon for ever so many years as among 
the dead.t -/ So these three gentlemen,— this is a story/l have often heard - 
when I was a youngster from the illustrious Messer Gasparo Malpiero, r 
a gentleman of very great age, and a Senator of eminent virtue and ' 
integrity, whose house was on the Canal of Santa Marina, exactly at the ^ 1^ 
corner over the mouth of the Rio di S. Giovanni Chrisostomo, and just '-'^ 
midway among the buildings of the aforesaid Corte del Millioni, and he 
said he had heard the story from his own father and grandfather, and 
from other old men among the neighbours, — the three gentlemen, I say, 
devised a scheme by which they should at once bring about their recog- 

* A grievous error of Ramusio' s. 

t See the decorated title-page of this volume for an attempt to realise the scene. 


nition by their relatives, and secure the honourable notice of the whole 
city ; and this was it : — 

"They invited a number of their kindred to an entertainment, which 
they took care to have prepared with great state and splendour in that 
house of theirs ; and when the hour arrived for sitting down to table they 
came forth of their chamber all three clothed in crimson satin, fashioned in 
long robes reaching to the ground such as people in those days wore 
within doors. And when water for the hands had been served, and the 
guests were set, they took off those robes and put on others of crimson 
damask, whilst the first suits were by their orders cut up and divided 
among the servants. Then after partaking of some of the dishes they went 
out again and came back in robes of crimson velvet, and when they had 
again taken their seats, the second suits were divided as before. When 
dinner was over they did the like with the robes of velvet, after they had put 
on dresses of the ordinary fashion worn by the rest of the company.* 
These proceedings caused much wonder and amazement among the guests. 
But when the cloth had been drawn, and all the servants had been ordered 
to retire from the dining hall, Messer Marco, as the youngest of the three, 
rose from table, and, going into another chamber, brought forth the 
three shabby dresses of coarse stuff which they had worn when they first 
arrived. Straightway they took sharp knives and began to rip up some of 
the seams and welts, and to take out of them jewels of the greatest value in 
vast quantities, such as rubies, sapphires, carbuncles, diamonds and emeralds, 
which had all been stitched up in those dresses in so artful a fashion that 
nobody could have suspected the fact. For when they took leave of 
the Great Can they had changed all the wealth that he had bestowed upon 
them into this mass of rubies, emeralds, and other jewels, being well aware 
of the impossibility of carrying with them so great an amount in gold over 
a journey of such extreme length and difficulty. Now this exhibition of 
such a huge treasure of jewels and precious stones, all tumbled out upon 
the table, threw the guests into fresh amazement, insomuch that they 
seemed quite bewildered and dumbfounded. And now they recognized that 
in spite of all former doubts these were in truth those honoured and worthy 
gentlemen of the Ca' Polo that they claini^ to be ; and so all paid them 
the greatest honour and reverence. -^A«4' when the story got wind in 
Venice, straightway the whole city, gentle and simple, flocked to the house 
to embrace them, and to make much of them, with every conceivable 
demonstration of affection and respect. On Messer Maflfio, who was the 
eldest, they conferred the honours of an office that was of great dignity in 
those days ; whilst the young men came daily to visit and converse with the 
ever pol'ite and gracious Messer Marco, and to ask him questions about 
Cathay and the Great Can, all which he answered with such kindly courtesy 
that every man felt himself in a manner his debtor. And as it happened 
that in the story, which he was constantly called on to repeat, of the 
magnificence of the Gjsat Can, he would speak of his revenues as 
/ * -" ■- ^ • 

At first sight this fantastic tradition seems to have little verisimilitude ; but 
when we regard it in the light of genuine Mongol custom, such as is quoted from 
Rubruquis, at p. 389 of this volume, we shall be disposed to look on the whole story 
with respect. 


amounting to ten or fifteen millions of' gold ; and in like manner, when 
recounting other instances of great wealth in those parts, would always 
make use of the term millions^ so they gave him the nickname of Messer 
Marco Millioni : a thing which I have noted also in the Public Books of 
this Republic where mention is made of him.* The Court of his House, 
too, at S. Giovanni Chrisostomo, has always from that time been popularly 
known as the Court of the Millioni.'^ 

6. " Not many months after the^rrival of the travellers at Venice, news 
came that Lampa Doria, Captain of the Genoese Fleet, had advanced 
with 70 galleys to the Island cf Curzola, upon which orders were issued by 
the Prince of the Most Illustrious Signory for the arming of 90 galleys with 
_ all the expedition possible, and Messer Marco Polo for his valour 

Recounts , 

Marco's cap- was put m charge of one of these. So he with the others, under 
Genoese'^^ the Command of the Most Illustrious Messer Andrea Dan- 
DOLO, Procurator of St. Mark's, as Captain General, a very 
brave and worthy gentleman, set out in search of the Genoese Fleet. They 
fought on the September feast of Our Lady, and, as is the common hazard 
of war, our fleet was beaten, and Polo was made prisoner. For, having 
pressed on in the vanguard of the attack, and fighting with high and 
worthy courage in defence of his country and his kindred, he did not receive 
due support, and being wounded, he was taken, along with Dandolo, and 
immediately put in irons and sent to Genoa. 

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

"To this day the Genoese for the most part write what they have to 
write in that language, for there is no possibility of expressing their natural 
dialect with the pen.t Thus then it came to pass that the Book was put 
forth at first by Messer Marco in Latin ; but as many copies were taken, 
and as it was rendered into our vulgar tongue, all Italy became filled with it, 
so much was this story desired and run after. ' 

* This curious statement is confirmed by a passage in the records of the Great 
Council, which, on a late visit to Venice, I was enabled to extract, through an 
obliging communication from Professor Minotto. (See below, p. 67.) 

t This rather preposterous skit at the Genoese dialect naturally excites a remon- 
strance from the Abate Spotorno. [Ston'a Letteraria della Liguria, II. 217.) 


7. "The captivity of Messer Marco greatly disturbed the minds of 
Messer Maffio and his father Messer Nicolo. They had decided, whilst 
still on their travels, that Marco should marr}- as soon as they Ramusio's 
should get to Venice ; but now they found themselves in this jiScos° 
unlucky pass, with so much wealth and nobody to inherit it. ^^'^"°" 
Fearing that Marco's imprisonment might endure for many riage. 
years, or, worse still, that he might not live to quit it (for many assured 
them that numbers of Venetian prisoners had been kept in Genoa a 
score of years before obtaining liberty) ; seeing too no prospect of being 
able to ransom him,— a thing which they had attempted often and by various 
channels, — they took counsel together, and came to the conclusion that 
Messer Nicolo, who, old as he was, was still hale and Angorous, should take 
to himself a new wife. This he did ; and at the end of four years he found 
himself the father of three sons, Stefano, Maffio, and Giovanni. Not many 
years after, Messer Marco aforesaid, through the great favour that he had 
acquired in the eyes of the first gentlemen of Genoa, and indeed of 
the whole city, was discharged from prison and set free. Returning home 
he found that his father had in the meantime had those three other sons. 
Instead of taking this amiss, wise and discreet man that he was, he agreed 
also to take a wife of his own. He did so accordingly, but he never had 
any son, only two girls, one called Moreta and the other Fantina. 

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

8. "As regards the after duration of this noble and worthy family, I 

* Jackdaws, I believe, in spite of some doubt from the imbecility of ordinary 
dictionaries in such matters. 

They are under this name made the object of a similitude by /^■^•^''^^^ 

Dante (surely a most unhappy one) in reference to the resplendent ^^^Jkk: . -X 

spirits flitting on the celestial stairs in the sphere of Saturn : — / S ^ ^ •^ \ 

" E come per lo natural costume F^-^;^ ^!! ^^ ' .'^Vk I 

Le Pole insieme, al cominciar del giomo, r -S ^== =^| ' "^^ I 

Si muovono a s<aldar le fredde piume : I - . . '." ^ y , > L • ' 7 

Poi altre vanno vii senza ritomo, I.- •H-.'^'^g \- / 

Altre rivolgon se, onde son mosse, V J^k. ' "^^^^^B^ 

Ed altre roteando fan soggiomo." — Parad. XXI. 34. V^^i^^ "■ ^ S- — ^ 

There is some difference among authorities as to the details of V." : ;^^Btr^^ 
the Polo blazon. According to a MS. concerning the genealogies \ • " '^. / 
of Venetian families written by Marco Barbaro in 1566, and of \ • • • / 

which there is a copy in the Museo CiNaco, the field '\% gules, the bend \/ 

or. And this I have followed in the cut. But a note bj- S. Stefani Arms of the P0I0.1 

1 [This coat of arms is reproduced from the Genealogies of Priuli, Archivio di Stato, 
Vcn-cc— H. C) 


find that Messer Andrea Polo of San Felice had three sons, the first of 

whom was Messer Marco, the second Maffio, the third Nicolo. 

Ramusio's -pj-jg j^q jg^gj ^ere those who went to Constantinople first, and 

account of •, t 

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

" Such has been the history of this noble family of the Ca' Polo, which 
lasted as we see till the year of our Redemption 141 7, in which year died 
childless Marco Polo, the last of the five sons of Maffeo, and so it came to 
an end. Such be the chances and changes of human affairs ! " 

Arms of the Ca' Polo. 

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

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

Christendom had recovered from the alarm into which it had 

of Venice, with which I have been favoured since the cut was made, informs me that 
a fine I5th-cenlury MS. in his possession gives the field as argent, with no bend, 
and the three birds sable with beaks ^</t-'J-, disposed thus *^*. 

* Marco Antonio Trevisano was elected Doge, ^lli June, 1553, but died on the 
31st of May following. We do not here notice Ramusio's numerous errors, which will 
be corrected in the sequel. [See p. 7^.] 


been thrown some 18 years before when the Tartar cata- 
clysm had threatened to engulph it. The Tartars state of the 
themselves were already becoming an object of curi- Levant 
osity rather than of fear, and soon became an object of hope, as 
a possible help against the old Mahomedan foe. The frail 
Latin throne in Constantinople was still standing, but tottering 
to its fall. The successors of the Crusaders still held the Coast 
of Syria from Antioch to Jaffa, though a deadlier brood of 
enemies than they had yet encountered was now coming to 
maturity in the Dynasty of the Mamelukes, which had one 
foot firmly planted in Cairo, the other in Damascus. The 
jealousies of the commercial republics of Italy were daily waxing 
greater. The position of Genoese trade on the coasts of the 
Aegean was greatly depressed, through the predominance which 
Venice had acquired there by her part in the expulsion of the 
Greek Emperors, and which won for the Doge the lofty style of 
Lord of Three-Eighths of the Empire of Romania. But Genoa 
was biding her time for an early revenge, and year by year her 
naval strength and skill were increasing. Both these republics 
held possessions and establishments in the ports of Syria, which 
were often the scene of sanguinary conflicts between their 
citizens. Alexandria was still largely frequented in the 
intervals of war as the great emporium of Indian wares, but the 
facilities afforded by the Mongol conquerors who now held the 
whole tract from the Persian Gulf to the shores of the Caspian 
and of the Black Sea, or nearly so, were beginning to give a 
great advantage to the caravan routes which debouched at the 
ports of Cilician Armenia in the Mediterranean and at Trebizond 
on the Euxine. Tana (or Azov) had not as yet become the 
outlet of a similar traffic ; the Venetians had apparently 
frequented to some extent the coast of the Crimea for local 
trade, but their rivals appear to have Taeen in great measure 
excluded from this commerce, and the Genoese establishments 
which so long flourished on that coast, are first heard of some 
years after a Greek dynasty was again in possession of 

10. In Asia and Eastern Europe scarcely, a dog might bark 
without Mongol leave, from the borders of Poland and the Gulf 

* See Hcyd, Le ColonU Cotntiurciali degli Italiani, etc., passim. 
VOL. I. k 


of Scanderoon to the Amur and the Yellow Sea. The 
The various vast empire which Chinghiz had conquered still owned 
sovefdgn- a nominally supreme head in the Great Kaan,* but 
and Eastern practically it was splitting up into several great monar- 
""^"^^^ chies under the descendants of the four sons of Chinghiz^ 
Juji, Chaghatai, Okkodai, and Tuli ; and wars on a vast scale 
were already brewing between them, Hulaku, third son of 
Tuli, and brother of two Great Kaans, Mangku and Kubldi, had 
become practically independent as ruler of Persia, Babylonia, 
Mesopotamia, and Armenia, though he and his sons, and his 
sons' sons, continued to stamp the name of the Great Kaan 
upon their coins, and to use the Chinese seals of state which he 
bestowed upon them. The Seljukian Sultans of Jconium, 
whose dominion bore the proud title of Rum (Rome), were now 
but the struggling bondsmen of the Ilkhans. The Armenian 

* We endeavour to preserve throughout the book the distinction at was made 
in the age ol the Mongol Empire between Khan and Kadn (/^L^ and tlV as 

written by Arabic and Persian authors). The former may be rendered Lord, and 
was apph'ed generally to Tartar chiefs whether sovereign or not ; it has since become 
in Persia, and especially in Afghanistan, a sort of " Esq.," and in India is now a 
common affix in the names of (Musulman) Hindustanis of all classes ; in Turkey 
alone it has been reserved for the Sultan, Kadn, again, appears to be a form of 
Khdkdn, the Xaydvo^ of the Byzantine historians, and was the peculiar title of the 
supreme sovereign of the Mongols; the Mongol princes of Persia, Chaghatai, etc., 
were entitled only to the former affix (Kh^n), though Kadn and Kkakdn are sometimes 
applied to them in adulation. Polo always writes Kaajt as applied to the Great 
Khan, and does not, I think, use Khan in any form, styling the subordinate princes 
by their name only, as Argon, Alau, etc. llkhan was a special title assumed by 
Hulaku and his successors in Persia ; it is said to he compounded from a word //, 
signifying tribe or nation. The relation between Khdtt and Khakdn seems to be 
probably that the latter signifies " Khdn of Khdns,^^ Lord of Lords. Chinghiz, it is 
said, did not take the higher title ; it was first assumed by his son Okkodai, But 
there are doubts about this, (See Quatremire's Rashid, pp. lo seqq., and Pavet de 
Courieilh, Diet. Turk- Oriental.) The tendency of swelling titles is always to 
degenerate, and when the value of Khan had sunk, a new form, Khdn-khdndn, was 
devised at the Court of Delhi, and applied to one of the high officers of state, 

[Mr, Rockhill writes {Rubruck, p, io8, note) : "The title Khan, though of very 
great antiquity, was only used by the Turks after A,D, 560, at which time the use of 
the word Khatun came in use for the wives of the Khan, who himself was termed 
llkhan. The older title of ,S'/ia«-j}'« did not, however, completely disappear among 
them, for Albiruni says that in his time the chief of the Ghuz Turks, or Turkomans, 
still bore the title oi Jenuyeh, which Sir Henry Rawlinson {Proc. R. G. S., v. 15) 
takes to be the same word as that transcribed Shan-yil by the Chinese (see CKien 
Han shu, Bk. 94, and Chou shu, Bk. 50, 2), Although the word Khakhan occurs 
in Menander's account of the embassy of Zemarchus, the earliest mention I have 
found of it in a Western writer is in the Chronicon of Albericus Trium Fontiuni, 
where (571), under the year 1239, he uses it in the form Cacamis." — Cf, Terrien de 
Lacotiperie, Khan, Khakan, and other Tartar Titles. Lond,, Dec, 1888. — H, C] 


Hayton in his Cilician Kingdom had pledged a more frank 
allegiance to the Tartar, the enemy of his Moslem enemies. 

Barka, son of Juji, the first ruling prince of the House of 
Chinghiz to turn Mahomedan, reigned on the steppes of the 
Volga, where a standing camp, which eventually became a 
great city under the name of Sarai, had been established by 
his brother and predecessor Batu. 

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

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

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

II. For about three centuries the Northern provinces of 
China had been detached from native rule, and subject to 
foreign dynasties; first to the Khitan, a people from 
the basin of the Sungari River, and supposed (but 
doubtfully) to have been akin to the Tunguses, whose rule 
subsisted for 200 years, and originated the name of Khitai, 
Khata, or Cathay, by which for nearly 1000 years China 
has been known to the nations of Inner Asia, and to those 

"China is a sea that salts all the rivers that flow into it"—/'. Parrmin in 
Litt. Edif. XXIV. 58. 

VOL. I. h 2 


whose acquaintance with it was got by that channel.* The 
Khitan, whose dynasty is known in Chinese history as the 
Liao or "Iron," had been displaced in 1123 by the Churches 
or Niu-chen, another race of Eastern Tartary, of the same 
blood as the modern Manchus, whose Emperors in their 
brief period of prosperity were known by the Chinese name 
of T3i\-Km, by the Mongol name of the Altun Kaans, both 
signifying "Golden." Already in the lifetime of Chinghiz 
himself the northern Provinces of China Proper, including 
their capital, known as Chung-tu or Yen-King, now Peking, 
had been wrenched from them, and the conquest of the dynasty 
was completed by Chinghiz's successor Okkodai in 1234. 

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

12. In India the most powerful sovereign was the Sultan 

of Delhi, Nassir-uddin Mahmud of the Turki House of Iltit- 

mish;+ but, though both Sind and Bengal acknow- 

India, r -n • i t i • 

and ledged his supremacy, no part of Penmsular India 

had yet been invaded, and throughout the long period 
of our Traveller's residence in the East the Kings of Delhi 
had their hands too full, owing to the incessant incursions 
of the Mongols -across the Indus, to venture on extensive 
campaigning in the south. Hence the Dravidian Kingdoms 
of Southern India were as yet untouched by foreign conquest, 
and the accumulated gold of ages lay in their temples and 
treasuries, an easy prey for the coming invader. 

In the Indo-Chinese Peninsula and the Eastern Islands 
a variety of kingdoms and dynasties were expanding and 
contracting, of which we have at best but dim and shifting 
glimpses. That they were advanced in wealth and art, far 

* E.g., the Russians still call it Khitai. The pair of names, Khitai and 
Machiyi, or Cathay and China, is analogous to the other pair, Seres and Sinae. 
Seres was the name of the great nation in the far East as known by land, Sinae as 
known by sea ; and they were often supposed to be diverse, just as Cathay and 
China were afterwards. 

t There has been much doubt about the true form of this name. Iltitmish is 
that sanctioned by Mr. Blochmann (see Pioc. As. Soc. Bengal, 1870, p. 181). 


beyond what the present state of those regions would suggest, 
is attested by vast and magnificent remains of Architecture, 
nearly all dating, so far as dates can be ascertained, from 
the 1 2th to the 14th centuries (that epoch during which an 
architectural afflatus seems to have descended on the human 
race), and which are found at intervals over both the Indo- 
Chinese continent and the Islands, as at Pagan in Burma, 
at Ayuthia in Siam, at Angkor in Kamboja, at Borobodor 
and Brambanan in Java. All these remains are deeply 
marked by Hindu influence, and, at the same time, by strong 
peculiarities, both generic and individual. 

Autograph of Hayton, King of Armenia, circa A.V. 1243. 

" . . . t fax SO qni ustts Ittttts saimt f crmes t tstsilis ci abnns cscrit I'tscrit 
ht natxt nmitt bermoU e sagcll it turtrt cent |renb»nt . . . ." 

III. The Polo Family. Personal History of the Travellers 
DOWN to their final Return from the East. 

13. In days when History and Genealogy were allowed to 
draw largely on the imagination for the origines of states and 
families, it was set down by one Venetian Antiquary 

• Alleeed 

that among the companions of King Venetus, or of orig&of 
Prince Antenor of Troy, when they settled on the ' "^ 
northern shores of the Adriatic, there was one LUCIUS POLUS, 
who became the progenitor of our Traveller's Family ;♦ whilst 
another deduces it from PAOLO the first Doge t (Paulus Lucas 
Anafestus of Heraclea, A.D. 696). 

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

t Campidoglio Veneto of Cappellari (MS. in SL Mark's Lib.), quoting "the Venetian 
Annals of Giulio Faroldi." 


More trustworthy traditions, recorded among the Family 
Histories of Venice,- but still no more it is believed than 
traditions, represent the Family of Polo as having come from 
Sebenico in Dalmatia, in the nth century,* Before the end of 
the century they had taken seats in the Great Council of 
the Republic ; for the name of Domenico Polo is said to be 
subscribed to a grant of 1094, that of Pietro Polo to an act 
of the time of the Doge Domenico Michiele in 11 22, and that of 
a Domenico Polo to an acquittance granted by the Doge 
Domenico Morosini and his Council in ii53.t 

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

Two branches of the Polo Family were then recognized, 
distinguished by the confini or Parishes in which they lived, as 
Polo of S. Geremia, and Polo of S. Felice. Andrea Polo of 
S. Felice was the father of three sons, Marco, NiCOLO, and 
Maffeo. And Nicolo was the Father of our Marco. 

14. Till quite recently it had never been precisely ascer- 
tained whether the immediate family of our Traveller belonged 
to the Nobles of Venice properly so called, who had 
be styled seats in the Great Council and were enrolled in the 
Libro d'Oro. Ramusio indeed styles our Marco Nobile 
and Magnifico, and Rusticiano, the actual scribe of the 
Traveller's recollections, calls him ^' safes et noble citaiens de 
Venece," but Ramusio's accuracy and Rusticiano's precision were 
scarcely to be depended on. Very recently, however, since the 
subject has been discussed with accomplished students of the 
Venice Archives, proofs have been found establishing Marco's 
personal claim to nobility, inasmuch as both in judicial decisions 
and in official resolutions of the Great Council, he is designated 
Nobilis Vir, a formula which would never have been used in such 
documents (I am assured) had he not been technically noble. J 

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

t Cappellari, M.S., 2iadi Barbaro. In the same century we find (1125, 1 195) indi- 
cations of Polos at Torcello, and of others (1160) at Equileo, and (1179, 1206) Lido 
Maggiore ; in 1154a Marco Polo of Rialto. Contemporary with these is a family of 
Polos (1139, 1 183, 1 193, 1201) at Chioggia (Documents atid Lists of Doctiments 
from various Archives at Venice). 

X See Appendix C, Nos. 4, 5, and 16. It was supposed that an autograph of 
Marco as member of the Great Council had been discovered, but this proves to be a 


15. Of the three sons of Andrea Poio of S. Felice, Marco 
seems to have been the eldest, and Maffeo the youngest* 
They were all engaged in commerce, and apparently j^j^cothe 
in a partnership, which to some extent held good even ^''^'^• 
when the two younger had been many years absent in the 
Far East.f Marco seems to have been established for a time 
at Constantinople,:!: and also to have had a house (no doubt of 
business) at Soldaia, in the Crimea, where his son and daughter, 
Nicolo and Maroca by name, were living in 1280. This year is 
the date of the Elder Marco's Will, executed at Venice, and 
when he was " weighed down by bodily ailment." Whether he 
survived for any length of time we do not know. 

16. Nicolo Polo, the second of the Brothers, had two legi- 
timate sons, Marco, the Author of our Book, born in I254,§ 
and Maffeo, of whose place in the family we shall Nicolo and 
have a few words to say presently. The story opens, ^^e^^tSS" 
as we have said, in 1260, when we find the two '"""^'^ 
brothers, Nicolo and Maffeo the Elder, at Constantinople. 
How long they had been absent from Venice we are not dis- 
tinctly told. Nicolo had left his wife there behind him ; 
Maffeo apparently was a bachelor. In the year named they 
started on a trading venture to the Crimea, whence a succes- 
sion of openings and chances, recounted in the Introductor}'^ 
chapters of Marco's work, carried them far north along the 
Volga, and thence first to Bokhara, and then to the Court 
of the Great Kaan Kublai in the Far East, on or within the 
borders of Cathay. That a great and civilized country so 
called existed in the extremity of Asia had already been 
reported in Europe by the Friars Piano Carpini (1246) and 
William Rubruquis (1253), who had not indeed reached its 

mistake, as will be explained further on (see p. 7^, note). In those days the demarcation 
between Patrician and non-Palrician at Venice, where all classes shared in commerce, 
all were (generally speaking) of one race, and where there were neither castles, domains, 
nor trains of horsemen, formed no wide gulf. Still it is interesting to establish the 
verity of the old tradition of Marco's technical nobility. 

* Marco's seniority rests only on the assertion of Ramusio, who also calls Maffeo 
older than Nicolo. But in Marco the Elder's Will these two are always (3 times) 
specified as " Nicolaus et Mai hens." 

t This seems implied in the Elder Marco's Will (1280) : ^^ Item de bonis qtue me 
habere contingunt de fraterna Compagnia a suprascriptis Nicolao et Malheo Paulo" etc. 

X In his Will he terms himself " Ego Marcus Polo quondam de Constantinopoli." 

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


frontiers, but had met with its people at the Court of the 
Great Kaan in Mongolia ; whilst the latter of the two with 
characteristic acumen had seen that they were identical with 
the Seres of classic fame. 

17. Kublai had never before fallen in with European 
gentlemen. He was delighted with these Venetians, listened 
Their inter- '^^^^ strong interest to all that they had to tell him 
K^bui^"^ of the Latin world, and determined to send them 
Kaan. back as his ambassadors to the Pope, accompanied 
by an officer of his own Court. His letters to the Pope, as the 
Polos represent them, were mainly to desire the despatch of a 
large body of educated missionaries to convert his people to 
Christianity. It is not likely that religious motives influenced 
Kubldi in this, but he probably desired religious aid in 
softening and civilizing his rude kinsmen of the Steppes, and 
judged, from what he saw in the Venetians and heard from 
them, that Europe could afford such aid of a higher quality 
than the degenerate Oriental Christians with whom he was 
familiar, or the Tibetan Lamas on whom his patronage event- 
ually devolved when Rome so deplorably failed to meet his 

18. The Brothers arrived at Acre in April,* 1269, and 
found that no Pope existed, for Clement IV. was dead the 
Their return year bcfore, and no new election had taken place. 

home, and r- i t t • i i • 

Marco's ap- ^o they Went home to Venice to see how thmgs 

pearance on 

the scene. stood there after their absence of so many years. 

The wife of Nicolo was no longer among the living, 
but he found his son Marco a fine lad of fifteen. 

The best and most authentic MSS. tell us no more than 
this. But one class of copies, consisting of the Latin version 
made by our Traveller's contemporary, Francesco Pipino, and 
of the numerous editions based indirectly upon it, represents 
that Nicolo had left Venice when Marco was as yet unborn, 
and consequently had never seen him till his return from the 
East in i26g.-f 

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

+ Pipino's version runs : " Invenit Dominus Nicolaus Paulus uxorem suam esse de- 
functam, quae in recessu siio fuit praegnans. Invenitque filium, Marcum nomine, qui 
jam annos xv. habebat aetatis, qui post discessum ipsius de Venetiis natus fuerat de uxore 


We have mentioned that Nicolo Polo had another legiti- 
mate son, by name Maffeo, and him we infer to have been 
younger than Marco, because he is named last {Marcus et 
Matkeiis) in the Testament of their uncle Marco the Elder. 
We do not know if they were by the same mother. They 
could not have been so if we are right in supposing Maffeo 
to have been the younger, and if Pipino's version of the 
history be genuine. If however we reject the latter, as I 
incline to do, no ground remains for supposing that Nicolo 
went to the East much before we find him there viz., in 1260, 
and Maffeo may have been born of the same mother during the 
interval between 1254 and 1260. If on the other hand Pipino's 
version be held to, we must suppose that Maffeo (who is 
named by his uncle in 1280, during his father's second absence 
in the East) was born of a marriage contracted during Nicolo's 
residence at home after his first journey, a residence which 
lasted from 1269 to 127 1.* 

sua praefata." To this Ramusio adds the further particular that the mother died 
in gi\'ing birth to Mark. 

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

Lazari prints : " Messer Nicol6 trovo che la sua donna era morta, e n'era 
rimasto un fanciuUo di dodici anni per nome Marco, che il padre noti avea veduto mai, 
perchi non era ancor nato quando egli parti." These words have no equivalent in 
the French Texts, but are taken from one of the Italian MSS. in the Maglia- 
becchian Library, and are I suspect also interpolated. The dodici is pure error 
(see p. 21 infra). 

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

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



19. The Papal interregnum was the longest known, at 
least since the dark ages. Those two years passed, and -yet 

The Piazzetta at Venice. (From the Bodleian MS. of Polo.) 

the Cardinals at Viterbo had come to no agreement. The 
Second brothers were unwilling to let the Great Kaan think 
the"poio°^ them faithless, and perhaps they hankered after the 
acc°ompanied virgltt field of Speculation that they had discovered ; 
by Marco. gQ jj^gy started again for the East, taking young 
Mark with them. At Acre they took counsel with an 
eminent churchman, Tedaldo (or Tebaldo) ViSCONTi, Arch- 


deacon of Liege, whom the Book represents to have been 
Legate in Syria, and who in any case was a personage of 
much gravity and influence. From him they got letters to 
authenticate the causes of the miscarriage of their mission, 
and started for the further East But they were still at the 
port of i\yas on the Gulf of Scanderoon, which was then 
becoming one of the chief points of arrival and departure for 
the inland trade of Asia, when they were overtaken by the 
news that a Pope was at last elected, and that the choice had 
fallen upon their friend Archdeacon Tedaldo. They imme- 
diately returned to Acre, and at last were able to execute the 
Kaan's commission, and to obtain a reply. But instead of the 
hundred able teachers of science and religion whom Kublai 
is said to have asked for, the new Pope, Gregory X., could 
supply but two Dominicans; and these lost heart and drew 
back when they had barely taken the first step of the journey. 

Judging from certain indications we conceive it probable 
that the three Venetians, whose second start from Acre took 
place about November 1271, proceeded by Ayas and Sivas, and 
then by Mardin, Mosul, and Baghdad, to Hormuz at the mouth 
of the Persian Gulf, with the view of going on by sea, but that 
some obstacle arose which compelled them to abandon this 
project and turn north again from Hormuz.* They then 

* [Major Sykes, in his remarkable book on Persia, ch. xxiii. pp. 262-263, does not 
share Sir Henry Yule's opinion r^[arding this itinerary, and he writes : 

"To return to our travellers, who started on their second great journey in 127 1, 
Sir Henry Vule, in his introduction,^ makes them travel via Sivas to Mosul and 
Baghdad, and thence by sea to Hormuz, and this is the itinerary shown on his sketch 
map. This view I am unwilling to accept for more than one reason. In the first 
place, if, with Colonel Yule, we suppose that Ser Marco visited Baghdad, is it not 
unlikely that he should term the River Volga the Tigris,^ and yet leave the river of 
Baghdad nameless? It may be urged that Marco believed the legend of the re- 
appearance of the Volga in Kurdistan, but yet, if the text be read with care and the 
character of the traveller be taken into account, this error is scarcely expUcable in 
any other way, than that he was never there. 

" Again, he gives no description of the striking buildings of Baudas, as he terms 
it, but this is nothing to the inaccuracy of his supposed onward journey. To quote 
the text, ' A very great river flows through the city, .... and merchants descend 
some eighteen days from Baudas, and then come to a certain city called Kisi,^ where 
|they enter the Sea of India.' Siuely Marco, had he travelled down the Persian Gulf, 
[would never have given this description of the route, which is so untrue as to point 

1 Page 19. 

2 Vide Yule, vol. i- p. 5. It is noticeable that John of Pian de Carpine, who travelled 1245 to 
£1247, names it correctly. 
t * The modem name is Keis, an island lying off Linga. 


traversed successively Kerman and Khorasan, Balkh and 
Badakhshan, whence they ascended the Panja or upper Oxus to 
the Plateau of Pamir, a route not known to have been since 
followed by any European traveller except Benedict Goes, till 
the spirited expedition of Lieutenant John Wood of the Indian 
Navy in 1838* Crossing the Pamir highlands the travellers 
descended upon Kashgar, whence they proceeded by Yarkand 
and Khotan, and the vicinity of Lake Lob, and eventually 
across the Great Gobi Desert to Tangut, the name then applied 
by Mongols and Persians to territory at the extreme North-west 
of China, both within and without the Wall. Skirting the 

to the conclusion that it was vague information given by some merchant whom he 
met in the course of his wanderings. 

" Finally, apart from the fact that Baghdad, since its fall, was rather off the main 
caravan route, Marco so evidently travels east from Yezd and thence south to 
Hormuz, that unless his journey be described backwards, which is highly improbable, 
it is only possible to arrive at one conclusion, namely, that the Venetians entered 
Persia near Tabriz, and travelled to Sultania, Kashan, and Yezd. Thence they pro- 
ceeded to Kerman and Hormuz, where, probably fearing the sea voyage, owing to 
the manifest unseaworthiness of the ships, which he describes as ' wretched 
affairs,' the Khorasan route was finally adopted. Hormuz, in this case, was not 
visited again until the return from China, when it seems probable tha the same route 
was retraced to Tabriz, where their charge, the Lady Kokachin, 'moult bele dame 
et avenant,' was married to Ghazan Khan, the son of her fiance Arghun. It remains 
to add that Sir Henry Yule may have finally accepted this View in part, as in the 
plate showing Probable View of Marco Polo's own Geography,^ the itinerary is not 
shown as running to Baghdad." 

I may be allowed to answer that when Marco Polo started for the East , Baghdad 
was not rather off the main caravan route. The fall of Baghdad was not immediately 
followed by its decay, and we have proof of its prosperity at the beginning of the 
14th century. Tauris had not yet the importance it had reached when the Polos 
visited it on their return journey. We have the will of the Venetian Pietro Viglioni, 
dated from Tauris, loth December, 1264 {Archiv. Veneto, xxvi. 161-165), which 
shows that he was but a pioneer. It was only under Arghun Khan (1284-1291) that 
Tauris became the great market for foreign, especially Genoese, merchants, as Marco 
Polo remarks on his return journey ; with Ghazan and the new city built by that 
prince, Tauris reached a very high degree of prosperity, and was then really the chief 
emporium on the route from Europe to Persia and the far East. Sir Henry Yule 
had not changed his views, and if in the plate showing Probable View of Alarco Polo^s 
own Geography, the itinerary is not shown as running to Baghdad, it is mere neglect 
on the part of the draughtsman. — H. C] 

* It is stated by Neumann that this most estimable traveller once intended to have 
devoted a special work to the elucidation of Marco's chapters on the Oxus Provinces, 
and it is much to be regretted that this intention was never fulfilled. Pamir has 
been explored more extensively and deliberately, whilst this book was going through 
the press, by Colonel Gordon, and other officers, detached from Sir Douglas Forsyth's 
Mission. [We have made use of the information given by these officers and by more 
recent travellers. — H. C] 

1 Vol. i. p. //o (Introduction). 


northern frontier of China they at last reached the presence of 
the Kaan, who was at his usual summer retreat at Kai-ping fu, 
near the base of the Khingan Mountains, and nearly lOO miles 
north of the Great Wall at Kalgan. If there be no mistake in 
the time (three years and a half) ascribed to this journey in all 
the existing texts, the travellers did not reach the Court till 
about May of 1275.* 

20. Kublai received the Venetians with great cordiality, 
and took kindly to young Mark, who must have been by this 
time one-and-twenty. The foenne Bacheler, as the ^, 

. Marcos 

story calls him, applied himself to the acquisition of ^^°^'°' 
the languages and written characters in chief use ^*^ : ^nd 

•-> *-> his journeys. 

among the multifarious nationalities included in the 
Kaan's Court and administration ; and Kublai after a time, 
seeing his discretion and abilitj% began to employ him in the 
public service. M. Pauthier has found a record in the Chinese 
Annals of the Mongol Dynasty, which states that in the year 
1277, a certain PoLO was nominated a second-class com- 
missioner or agent attached to the Privy Council, a passage 
which we are happy to believe to refer to our young traveller.f 

His first mission apparently was that which carried him 
through the provinces of Shan-si, Shen-si, and Sze-ch'wan, and 
the wild country on the East of Tibet, to the remote province of 
Yun-nan, called by the Mongols Karajang, and which had been 
partially conquered by an army under Kublai himself in 1253, 
before his accession to the throne.:!: Mark, during his stay at 
court, had obser\^ed the Kaan's delight in hearing of strange 
countries, their marvels, manners, and oddities, and had heard 

• Half a year eailier, if we suppose the three years and a half to count from 
Venice rather than Acre. But at that season (November) Kublai would not have 
been at Kai-ping fa (otherwise Shang-tu). 

t PcuUhier, p. ix., and p. 361. 

% That this was Marco's first mission is positively stated in the Ramusian edition ; 
and though this may be only an editor's gloss it seems well-founded. The French 
texts say only that the Great Kaan, " I'envoia en un message en une terre ou bien 
avoit vj. mois de chemin." The traveller's actual Itinerar)- affords to Vochan 
(Yung-ch'ang), on the frontier of Burma, 147 days' journey, which with halts might 
well be reckoned six months in round estimate. And we are enabled by various 
circumstances to fix the date of the Yun-nan journey between 1277 and 12S0. The 
former limit is determined by Polo's account of the battle with the Burmese, near 
Vochan, which took place according to the Chinese Annals in 1277. The latter is 
fixed by his mention of Kiiblai's son, Mangalai, as governing at Kenjanfa (Si-ngan fn), 
a prince who died in 12S0. (See vol. ii. pp. 24, 31, also 64, 80.) 


his Majesty's frank expressions of disgust at the stupidity of his 
commissioners when they could speak of nothing but the official 
business on which they had been sent. Profiting by these 
observations, he took care to store his memory or his note-books 
with all curious facts that were likely to interest Kiibldi, and 
related them with vivacity on his return to Court. This first 
journey, which led him through a region which is still very 
nearly a terra incognita, and in which there existed and still 
exists, among the deep valleys of the Great Rivers flowing down 
from Eastern Tibet, and in the rugged mountain ranges 
bordering Yun-nan and Kwei-chau, a vast Ethnological Garden, 
as it were, of tribes of various race and in every stage of 
uncivilisation, afforded him an acquaintance with many strange 
products and eccentric traits of manners, wherewith to delight 
the Emperor, 

Mark rose rapidly in favour, and often served Kubldi again 
on distant missions, as well as in domestic administration, but 
we gather few details as to his employments. At one time we 
know that he held for three years the government of the great 
city of Yang-chau, though we need not try to magnify this ofifice, 
as some commentators have done, into the viceroyalty of one of 
the great provinces of the Empire ; on another occasion we 
find him with his uncle Maffeo, passing a year at Kan-chau in 
Tangut ; again, it would appear, visiting Kara Korum, the old 
capital of the Kaans in Mongolia ; on another occasion in 
Champa or Southern Cochin China ; and again, or perhaps as a 
part of the last expedition, on a mission to the Indian Seas, 
when he appears to have visited several of the southern states of 
India. We are not informed whether his father and uncle 
shared in such employments ; * and the story of their services 
rendered to the Kaan in promoting the capture of the city of 
Siang-yang, by the construction of powerful engines of attack, is 
too much perplexed by difficulties of chronology to be cited 
with confidence. Anyhow they were gathering wealth, and 
after years of exile they began to dread what might follow old 
KubMi's death, and longed to carry their gear and their own 
grey heads safe home to the Lagoons. The aged Emperor 

* Excepting in the doubtful case of Kan-chau, where one reading says that the 
three Polos were there on business of their own not necessary to mention, and 
another, that only Maffeo and Marco were there, " ^m l^^aiion." 


growled refusal to all their hints, and but for a happy chance we 
should have lost our mediaeval Herodotus. 

21. Arghiin Khan of Persia, Kublai's great-nephew, had 
in 1286 lost his favourite wife the Khatun Bulughan ; and, 
mourning her sorely, took steps to fulfil her dying cirtnim- 

• • 1 1 1 1 111 r-iii 11 stances of 

iniunction that her place should be filled only by a theDepar- 

■' . •' ■^ tureofthe 

lady of her own kin, the Mongol Tribe of Bavaut. Poiosfrom 

^ 1,1, theKaan's 

Ambassadors were despatched to the Court of Kaan- Cou«- 
baligh to seek such a bride. The message was courteously 
received, and the choice fell on the lady Kokachin, a maiden 
of ly," moult bele dame et avenant." The overland road from 
Peking to Tabriz was not only of portentous length for such a 
tender charge, but was imperilled by war, so the envoys desired 
to return by sea. Tartars in general were strangers to all 
navigation ; and the envoys, much taken with the Venetians, 
and eager to profit by their experience, especially as Marco had 
just then returned from his Indian mission, begged the Kaan as 
a favour to send the three Firinghis in their company. He 
consented with reluctance, but, having done so, fitted the party 
out nobly for the voyage, charging the Polos with friendly 
messages for the potentates of Europe, including the King of 
England. They appear to have sailed from the port of Zayton 
(as the Westerns called T'swan-chau or Chin-cheu in Fo-kien) 
in the beginning of 1292. It was an ill-starred voyage, involving 
long detentions on the coast of Sumatra, and in the South of 
India, to which, however, we are indebted for some of the best 
chapters in the book ; and two years or upwards passed before 
they arrived at their destination in Persia.* The three hardy 

* Persian history seems to fix the arrival of the lady Kokachin in the North of 
Persia to the winter of 1293-1294. The voyage to Sumatra occupied three months (vol. 
i. p. 34) ; they were five months detained there (ii. 292) ; and the remainder of the 
voyage extended to eighteen more (i. 35), — twenty-six months in all. 

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

I have been unable to trace Hammer's authority (not Wassaf I find), which 


Venetians survived all perils, and so did the lady, who had come 
to look on them with filial regard ; but two of the three envoys, 
and a vast proportion of the suite, had perished by the way.* 
Arghun Khan too had been dead even before they quitted 
China ; t his brother Kaikhatu reigned in his stead ; and his son 
Ghdzdn succeeded to the lady's hand. We are told by one who 
knew both the princes well that Arghun was one of the hand- 
somest men of his time, whilst Ghazdn was, among all his host, 
one of the most insignificant in appearance. But in other 
respects the lady's change was for the better, Ghazan had some 
of the highest qualities of a soldier, a legislator and a king, 
adorned by many and varied accomplishments ; though his reign 
was too short for the full development of his fame. 

22. The princess, whose enjoyment of her royalty was brief, 
wept as she took leave of the kindly and noble Venetians. 
They went on to Tabriz, and after a long halt there proceeded 
They pass homewards, reaching Venice, according to all the texts 

by Persia 

to Venice, somc time m 1 295. J 

tions there. We havc related Ramusio's interesting tradition, 

like a bit out of the Arabian Nights, of the reception that the 
Travellers met with from their relations, and of the means that 
they took to establish their position with those relations, and 

perhaps gives the precise date of the Lady's arrival in Persia (see ittfra, p. 38). 
From his narrative, however [Gesch. der Ilchane, ii. 20), March 1294 is perhaps too 
late a date. But the five months' stoppage in Sumatra must have been in the 
S.W. Monsoon ; and if the arrival in Persia is put earlier, Polo's numbers can 
scarcely be held to. Or, the eighteen months mentioned at vol. i. p. 35, must include 
the five months' stoppage. We may then suppose that they reached Hormuz about 
November 1293, and Ghazdn's camp a month or two later. 

* The French text which forms the basis of my translation says that, excluding 
mariners, there were 600 souls, out of whom only 8 survived. The older MS. which 
I quote as G. T., makes the number 18, a fact that I had overlooked till the sheets 
were printed off. 

t Died 1 2th March, 1291. 

% All dates are found so corrupt that even in this one I do not feel absolute con- 
fidence. Marco in dictating the book is aware that Ghazan had attained the throne of 
Persia (see vol. i. p. 36, and ii. pp. 50 and 477), an event which did not occur till 
October, 1295. The date assigned to it, however, by Marco (ii. 477) is 1294, or the 
year before that assigned to the return home. 

The travellers may have stopped some time at Constantinople on their way, or even 
may have visited the northern shores of the Black Sea ; otherwise, indeed, how did 
Marco acquire his knowledge of that Sea (ii. 486-488) and of events in Kipchak (ii. 496 
seqq.)'i If 1296 was the date of return, moreover, the six-and- twenty years assigned 
in the preamble as the period of Marco's absence (p. 2) would be nearer accuracy. 
For he left Venice in the spring or summer of 127 1. 


with Venetian society.* Of the relations, Marco the Elder had 
probably been long dead ; f Maffeo the brother of our Marco 
was alive, and we hear also of a cousin {consanguineus) Felice 
Polo, and his wife Fiordelisa, without being able to fix their 
precise position in the family. We know also that Nicolo, who 
died before the end of the century, left behind him two illegiti- 
mate sons, Stefano and Zannino. It is not unlikely that these 
were born from some connection entered into during the long 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Particulars of money due to him from his partnership with Donato Grasso, now 
of Justinople {Capo d'Istria), 1200 lire in all. (Fifty-two lire due by said partner- 
ship to Angelo di Tumba of S. Severo. ) 

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

To his son Nicolo lie bequeaths a silver-wrought girdle of vermilion silk, two 
silver spoons, a silver cup witliout cover (or saucer? sine cembalo), his desk, two 
pairs of sheets, a velvet quilt, a counterpane, a feather-bed — all on the same con- 
ditions as above, and to remain with the trustees till his son returns to Venice. 

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

VOL. L % 


residence of the Polos in Cathay, though naturally their presence 
in the travelling company is not commemorated in Marco's 

IV. Digression concerning the Mansion of the Polo Family 

AT Venice. 

23. We have seen that Ramusio places . the scene of the 
story recently alluded to at the mansion in the parish of 
S. Giovanni Grisostomo, the court of which was known in 
his time as the Corte del Millioni ; and indeed he speaks of 
Probable ^he Travcllcrs as at once on their arrival resorting 
thei°es°Ib- to that mansion as their family residence. Ramusio's 
sf'c^ovanni details have so often proved erroneous that I should 
Grisostomo. ^^^ ^^^ surpriscd if this also should be a mistake. 
At least we find (so far as I can learn) no previous intimation 
that the family were connected with that locality. The grand- 
father Andrea is styled of San Felice. The will of Maffeo 
Polo the. younger, made in 1300, which we shall give hereafter 
in abstract, appears to be the first document that connects the 
family with S. Giovanni Grisostomo. It indeed styles the 
testator's father " the late Nicole Paulo of the confine of 
St. John Chrysostom," but that only shows what is not dis- 
puted, that the Travellers after their return from the East 
settled in this locality. And the same will appears to indicate 
a surviving connexion with S. Felice, for the priests and clerks 
who drew it up and witness it are all of the church of S. Felice, 
and it is to the parson of S. Felice and his successor that Maffeo 
bequeaths an annuity to procure their prayers for the souls of 

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

From same source lOO lire to his natural son Antony. 

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

Gives freedom to all his slaves and handmaidens. 

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

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





his father, his mother, and himself, though after the successor 
the annuity is to pass on the same condition to the senior 
priest of S. Giovanni Grisostomo. Marco Polo the Elder is 
in his will described as of S. Severo, as is also his sister-in- 
law Fiordelisa, and the document contains no reference to 
S. Giovanni. On the whole therefore it seems probable that 
the Palazzo in the latter parish was purchased by the Tra- 
vellers after their return from the East.* 

24. The Court which was known in the i6th century as the 
Corte del Millioni has been generally understood to be that now- 
known as the Corte Sabbionera, and here is still pointed jj^,j^ ^^ ^j,^ 
out a relic of Marco Polo's mansion. [Indeed it is f^^orte "* 
called now (1899) Corle del Milione ; see p. jo.— H. C] Sabbionera. 
M. Pauthier's edition is embellished with a good engraving 
which purports to represent the House of Marco Polo. But 
he has been misled. His engraving in fact exhibits, at 
least as the prominent feature, an embellished representation 
of a small house which exists on the west side of the Sabbionera, 
and which had at one time perhaps that pointed style of 
architecture which his engraving shows, though its present 
decoration is paltry and unreal. But it is on the 7iorth side 
of the Court, and on the foundations now occupied by the 
Malibran theatre, that Venetian tradition and the investigations 
of Venetian antiquaries concur in indicating the site of the 
Casa Polo. At the end of the i6th century a great fire 
destroyed the Palazzo,f and under the description of " an old 

' Marco Barbaro's story related at p. 23 speaks of the Ca' Million as built by the 

From a list of parchments existing in the archives of the Casa di Ricavero, or Great 
Poor House, at Venice, Comni. Berchet obtained the following indication : — 

''^ No. 94. Marco Galetti invests Marco Polo S. ^Nicolo with the ownership of his 
possessions (beni) in S. Giovanni Grisostomo ; 10 September, 1319; drawn up by the 
Notary Nicolo, priest of S. Canciano." 

This document would perhaps have thrown light on the matter, but unfortunately 
recent search by several parties has failed to trace it. [The document has been dis- 
covered since : see vol. ii., Calendar, No. 6. — H. C] 

+ "Sua casa che era posta nel confin di S. Giovanni Chrisostomo, che horfh 

Tanno s'abbrugio totalmente, con gran danno di molti." (Doglionl, Hist. Venetiana, 
Ven. 1598, pp. 161-162.) 

" 1596. 7 Nov. Senaio (Arsenal .... ix c. 159 t). 

" Essendo conveniente usar qualche ricognizione a quelli della maestranza del- 
1' Arsenal nostro, che prontamente sono concorsi all' incendio occorso ultimamente a 
S. Zuane Grizostomo nelli stabeli detti di Ca' Milion dove per la relazion fatta nell 
collegio nostro dalli patroni di esso Arsenal lianno nell' estinguere il foco prestato 
(^ni buon servitio. . . ." — (Comm. by Cav. Cecchetti through Comm. Berchet) 
VOL. L 12 


mansion ruined from the foundation " it passed into the hands 
of one Stefano Vecchia, who sold it in 1678 to Giovanni 
Carlo Grimani. He built on the site of the ruins a theatre 
which was in its day one of the largest in Italy, and was 
called the Theatre of S. Giovanni Grisostomo ; afterwards 
the Teatro Emeronitio. When modernized in our own day the 
proprietors gave it the name of Malibran, in honour of that 
famous singer, and this it still bears.* 

[In 1881, the year of the Venice International Geographical 
Congress, a Tablet was put up on the Theatre with the 
following inscription : — 







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

Other remains of Byzantine sculpture, which are probably 

* See a paper by G. C. (the Engineer Giovanni Casoni) in Teatro Emeronitio^ 
Almanacco per FAnno 1835. 

t This Cross is engraved by Mr. Ruskin in vol. ii. of the Stones of Venice : see 
p. 139, and PL xi. Fig. 4. 

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

One Illustration of this volume, p. /, shows the archway in the Corte Sabbionera, 
and also the decorations of the soffit, 



The site of the ' '^ ''^ 


Fig. A. 

From the Durer Map 

A. D. 1300. 

Fig. B. 
From Map by Ludovico Ughi- 
A.D. 1729. Scale I to 2300. 


fragments of the decoration of the same mansion, are found 
imbedded in the walls of neighbouring houses.* It is im- 
possible to determine anything further as to the form or 
extent of the house of the time of the Polos, but some slight 
idea of its appearance about the year 1500 may be seen in 
the extract (fig a) which we give from the famous pictorial 
map of Venice attributed erroneously to Albert Diirer. The 
state of the buildings in the last century is shown in (fig. B) an 
extract from the fine Map of Ughi ; and their present condition 
in one (fig. c) reduced from the Modern Official Map of the 

[Coming from the Church of S. G. Grisostomo to enter the 
calle del Teatro on the left and the passage {Sottoportico) 
leading to the Corte del Milione, one has in front of him a 
building with a door of the epoch of the Renaissance ; it was 
the office of the provveditori of silk ; on the architrave are 
engraved the words : 


and below, above the door, is the Tablet which] in the year 
1827 the Abate Zenier caused to be put up with this inscription : — 




24«. I believe that of late years some doubts have been 

thrown on the tradition of the site indicated as that of the 

Casa Polo, though I am not aware of the grounds of 

Recent cor- ' " o 

roboration g^,]^ doubts. But a document recently discovered 

as to the tra- •' 

of'the Casa ^^ Vcnice by Comm. Barozzi, one of a series relating 
^''^°- to the testamentary estate of Marco Polo, goes far 

to confirm the tradition. This is the copy of a technical defini- 
tion of two pieces of house property adjoining the property of 
Marco Polo and his brother Stephen, which were sold to 
Marco Polo by his wife Donataf in June 1321. Though the 
definition is not decisive, from the rarity of topographical re- 
ferences and absence of points of the compass, the description 

* See Riiskin, iii. 320. 

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

Entrance to the Corte del Milione, Venice. 

[ To face p. 30. 


of Donata's tenements as standing on the Rio (presumably that 
of S. Giovanni Grisostomo) on one side, opening by certain 
porticoes and stairs on the other to the Court and common 
alley leading to the Church of S. Giovanni Grisostomo, and 
abutting in two places on the Ca' Polo, the property of her 
husband and Stefano, will apply perfectly to a building occupy- 
ing the western portion of the area on which now stands the 
Theatre, and perhaps forming the western side of a Court of 
which Casa Polo formed the other three sides.* 

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

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

25. And before entering on this new phase of the Traveller's 
biography it may not be without interest that we say Arrange- 
something regarding the equipment of those galleys RowerelS* 
which are so prominent in the mediaeval history of the caiie^ta 
Mediterranean."!- T^^^°^ 

Eschewing that " Serbonian Bog, where armies "^ 
whole have sunk" of Books and Commentators, the theory 
of the classification of the Biremes and Triremes of the 
Ancients, we can at least assert on secure grounds that in 
medicBval armament, up to the middle of the i6th century or 
thereabouts, the characteristic distinction of galleys of different 
calibres, so far as such differences existed, was based on the 
number of rowers that sat on one bench pulling each his separate 
oar, but through one portella or rowlock-port.X And to the classes 

* See Appendix C, No. 16. 

t I regret not to have had access to JaFs learned memoirs {ArchMogie Navmle, 
Paris, 1S39) whilst writing this section, nor since, except for a hasty look at his Essay 
on the difficult subject of the oar arrangements. I see that he rejects so great a 
number of oars as I deduce from the statements of Sanudo and others, and that he 
regards a large number of the rowers as supplementary. 

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

^2 Introduction 

of galleys so distinguished the Italians, of the later Middle Age 
at least, did certainly apply, rightly or wrongly, the classical 
terms o^Bifevie, Trireme, and Quinguereme, in the sense of galleys 
having two men and two oars to a bench, three men and three 
oars to a bench, and five men and five oars to a bench.* 

That this was the mediaeval arrangement is very certain 
from the details afforded by Marino Sanudo the Elder, con- 
firmed by later writers and by works of art. Previous to 
1290, Sanudo tells us, almost all the galleys that went to the 
Levant had but two oars and men to a bench ; but as it had 
been found that three oars and men to a bench could be em- 
ployed with great advantage, after that date nearly all galleys 
adopted this arrangement, which was called ai Terzaruoli.^ 

Moreover experiments made by the Venetians in 13 16 had 
shown that four rowers to a bench could be employed still more 
advantageously. And where the galleys could be used on 
inland waters, and could be made more bulky, Sanudo would 
even recommend five to a bench, or have gangs of rowers on two 
decks with either three or four men to the bench on each 

26. This system of grouping the oars, and putting only one 
man to an oar, continued down to the i6th century, during the 
Chan eof ^''^^ half of which Came in the more modern system of 
fhe'iTh" using great oars, equally spaced, and requiring from 
century. f-Q^j. ^q sevcn men each to ply them, in the manner 
which endured till late in the last century, when galleys became 
altogether obsolete. Captain Pantero Pantera, the author of a 
work on Naval Tactics (1616), says he had heard, from veterans 

* See Coronelli, Atlante Veneio, I. 139, 140. Marino Sanudo the Elder, though 
not using the term trireme, says it was well understood from ancient authors that the 
Romans employed their rowers ikree to a bench (p. 59). 

t " Ad terzarolos " (Secreta Fidelium Cruets, p. 57). The Catalan Worthy, 
Ramon de Muntaner, indeed constantly denounces the practice of manning all the 
galleys with terzariwli, or tersols, as his term is. But his reason is that these thirds- 
men were taken from the oar when crossbowmen were wanted, to act in that capacity, 
and as such they were good for nothing ; the crossbowmen, he insists, should be men 
specially enlisted for that service and kept to that. He would have some 10 or 20 
per cent, only of the fleet built very light and manned in threes. He does not seem 
to have contemplated oars three-banked, and crossbowmen besides, as Sanudo does. 
(See below ; and Muntaner, pp. 288, 323, 525, etc.) 

In Sanudo we have a glimpse worth noting of the word soldiers advancing towards 
the modern sense ; he expresses a strong preference for soldati (viz. paid soldiers) over 
crusaders (viz. volunteers), p. 74. 


who had commanded galleys equipped in the antiquated fashion, 
that three men to a bench, with separate oars, answered better 
than three men to one great oar, but four men to one great oar 
(he says) were certainly more efficient than four men with 
separate oars. The new-fashioned great oars, he tells us, were 
styled Remi di Scaloccio, the old grouped oars Remi a Zenzile, — 
terms the etymology of which I cannot explain.* 

It may be doubted whether the four-banked and five-banked 
galleys, of which Marino Sanudo speaks, really then came into 
practical use. A great five-banked galley on this system, built 
in 1529 in the Venice Arsenal by Vettor Fausto, was the 
subject of so much talk and excitement, that it must evidently 
have been something quite new and unheard off So late as 
1567 indeed the King of Spain built at Barcelona a galley of 
thirty-six benches to the side, and seven men to the bench, with 
a separate oar to each in the old fashion. But it proved a 
failure. % 

Down to the introduction of the great oars the usual system 
appears to have been three oars to a bench for the larger galleys, 
and two oars for lighter ones. The fuste or lighter galleys of 
the Venetians, even to about the middle of the i6th century, had 
their oars in pairs from the stern to the mast, and single oars 
only from the mast forward. § 

27. Returning then to the three-banked and two-banked 
galleys of the latter part of the 13th century, the number of 
benches on each side seems to have run from twenty- ^^^ deuiis 
five to twenty-eight, at least as I interpret Sanudo's ^Jjj^^''' 
calculations. The lOO-oared vessels often mentioned <^^i«>'*- 
e.g. by Muntaner, p. 419). were probably two-banked vessels 
with twenty- five benches to a side. 

The galleys were very narrow, only 15J feet in beam.(| 

* n Armata NavaU, Roma, 1616, pp. 1 50-1 51. 

t See a work to which I am indebted for a good deal of light and information, the 
Engineer Giovanni Casoni's Essay: ^' Dei Navigli Poliremi usati tielia Marina dagli 
Antichi Vetuziani," in " Esercitazioni delF Ateneo Veneio," vol. ii. p. 338. This 
^! eat Qtiinquerenie, as it was styled, is stated to have been struck by a fire-arrow, and 
blown up, in Januaiy 1570. 

+ Pant era, p. 22. 

§ Lazarus Bayfitis de Re Navali Veicm/n, in Gronovii Thesaurus, Yen. 1737, vol. 
xi. p. 581. This writer also speaks of the Quinquereme mentioned above (p. 577)- 
Marintis Santitius, p. 65. 
















a ^ 









a ^^ 






• r-t 






But to give room for the play of the oars and the passage of the 

fighting-men, &c., this width was 
largely augmented by an opera-morta, 
or outrigger deck, projecting much 
beyond the ship's sides and sup- 
ported by timber brackets.* I do 
not find it stated how great this pro- 
jection was in the mediaeval galleys, 
but in those of the 17th century it 
was on each side as much as |ths of 
the true beam. And if it was as 
great in the 1 3th-century galleys the 
total width between the false gunnels 
would be about 22;| feet. 
In the centre line of the deck ran, the whole length of the 
vessel, a raised gangway called the corsia'iox passage clear of the 

The benches were arranged as in this diagram. The part of 
the bench next the gunnel was at right angles to it, but the 
other two-thirds of the bench were thrown forward obliquely. 
a, by c, indicate the position of the three rowers. The shortest 
oar a was called Terlicchio, the middle one b Posiiccio, the long 
oar c Piainero.\ 

I do not find any information as to how the oars worked on 
the gunnels. The Siena fresco (see p. jj) appears to show 
them attached by loops and pins, which is the usual practice in 
boats of the Mediterranean now. In the cut from D. 
Tintoretto (p. j/) the groups of oars protrude through regular 
ports in the bulwarks, but this probably represents the use of a 
later day. In any case the oars of each bench must have 
worked in very close proximity. Sanudo states the length of 
the galleys of his time (1300- 1 3 20) as 117 feet. This was 
doubtless length of keel, for that is specified ( " da ruoda a 
ruoda " ) in other Venetian measurements, but the whole oar 
space could scarcely have been so much, and with twenty-eight 
benches to a side there could not have been more than 4 feet 

* See the woodcuts opposite and at p. J7 ; also Pantera, p. 46 (who is here, how- 
ever, speaking of the great-oared galleys), and CoronelH, i. 140. 

t Casoni, p. 324. He obtains these particulars from a manuscript work of the 
1 6th century by Cristoforo Canale. 




gunnel-space to each bench. And as one of the objects of the 
grouping of the oars was to allow room between the benches for 
the action of cross-bowmen, &c., it is plain that the rowlock 
space for the three oars must have been very much compressed.* 

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

Some elucidation of the arrangements that we have tried to 
describe will be found in our cuts. That at p. jj is from a draw- 
ing, by the aid of a very imperfect photograph, of part of one of 
the frescoes of Spinello Aretini in the Municipal Palace at 
Siena, representing a victory of the Venetians over the Emperor 
Frederick Barbarossa's fleet, commanded by his son Otho, in ii 76; 
but no doubt the galleys, &c., are of the artist's own age, the 

* Signor Casoni (p. 324) expresses his belief that no galley of the 14th century 
had more than icx) oars. I differ from him with hesitation, and still more as I find 
M. Jal agrees in this view. I will state the grounds on which I came to a different 
conclusion. (l) Marino Sanudo assigns 180 rowers for a galley equipped at 
Terzaruoli {t^. 75). This seemed to imply something near 180 oars, for I do not find 
any allusion to reliefs being provided. In the French galleys of the i8th century there 
were no reliefs except in this way, that in long runs without urgency only half the oars 
were pulled. (See Mdm. cCun Protestant condamni mix Galcres, etc., Reimprimes, 
Paris, 1865, p. 447.) If four men to a bench were to 'be employed, then Sanudo 
seems to calculate for his smaller galleys 220 men actually rowing (see pp. 75-78). 
This seems to assume 55 benches, i.e., 28 on one side and 27 on the other, which 
with 3-banked oars would give 165 rowers. (2) Casoni himself refers to Pietro 
Martire d'Anghieria's account of a Great Galley of Venice in which he was sent 
ambassador to Egypt from the Spanish Court in 1503. The crew amounted to 200, 
of whom 150 were for working the sails and oars, that being the number of oars in each 
galley, one man to each oar and three to each bench. Casoni assumes that this 
vessel must have been much larger than the galleys of the 14th century ; but, however 
that may have been, Sanudo to his galley assigns the larger crew of 250, of whom 
almost exactly the same proportion (180) were rowers. And in \hc galeazza described 
by Pietro Martire the oars were used only as an occasional auxiliary. (See his Legationis 
Babyloniccc Libri Tres, appended to his 3 Decads concerning the New World; Basil. 
I533> f- 77 'ver.) (3) The galleys of the i8th century, with their great oars 50 feet 
long pulled by six or seven men each, had 25 benches to the side, and only 4*6" 
(French) gunnel-space to each oar. (See Alt^in. cTun Protest., p. 434.) I imagine that 
a smaller space would suffice for the 3 light oars of the mediaeval system, so that this 
need scarcely be a difficulty in the face of the preceding evidence. Note also the 
three hundred rowers in Joinville's description quoted at p. 40. The great galleys of 
the Malay Sultan of Achin in 1621 had, according to Beaulieu, from 700 to 800 
rowers, but I do not know on what system. 

t Marinus Sanutius, p. 78. These titles occur also in the Documenti cTAinore 
of Fr. Barberino referred to at p. 117 of this volume : — 

" Convienti qui manieri 
Portolatti e prodieri 
E presti galeotti 
Aver, e foiti e dotiJ. 



middle of the 14th century.* In this we see plainly the 
projecting opera-ntorta, and the rowers sitting two to a bench, 
each with his oar, for these are two-banked. We can also dis- 
cern the Latin rudder on the quarter. (See this volume, p. 1 19.) 
In a picture in the Uffizj, at Florence, of about the same date, by 
Pietro Laurato (it is in the corridor near the entrance), may be 
seen a small figure of a galley with the oars also very distinctly 
coupled. f Casoni has engraved, after Cristoforo Canale, a 
pictorial plan of a Venetian trireme of the i6th centur}^ which 
shows the arrangement of the oars in triplets very plainly. 

The following cut has been sketched from an engraving of a 

Part of a Sea Fight, after Dom. Tintoretto. 

picture by Domenico Tintoretto in the Doge's palace, repre- 
senting, I believe, the same action (real or imaginary) as 
Spinello's fresco, but with the costume and construction of 
a later date. It shows, however, very plainly, the projecting 
opera-inorta, and the arrangement of the oars in fours, issuing 
through row-ports in high bulwarks. 

28. Midships in the mediaeval galley a» castle was erected, of 

* Spinello's works, according toVasari, extended from 1 334 till late in the century. 
A religious picture of his at Siena is assigned to 1385, so the frescoes may probably 
be of about the same period. Of the battle represented I can find no record. 

t Engraved in Jal, i. 330 ; with other mediaeval illustrations of the same points. 


the width of the ship, and some 20 feet in length; its platform 

being elevated sufficiently to allow of free passage 

arrange- Under it and over the benches. At the bow was the 

inents. . . - , , i .. 

battery, consistmg of mangonels (see vol, n. p. 
161 seqq^ and great cross-bows with winding gear,* whilst 
there were shot-portsf for smaller cross-bows along the gunnels 
in the intervals between the benches. Some of the larger galleys 
had openings to admit horses at the stern, which were closed 
and caulked for the voyage, being under water when the vessel 
was at sea.| 

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

Sanudo says the toil of rowing in the galleys was excessive, 
almost unendurable. Yet it seems to have been performed by 
freely-enlisted men, and therefore it was probably less severe 
than that of the great-oared galleys of more recent times, 

* To these Casoni adds Sifoni for discharging Greek fire ; but this he seems to 
take from the Greek treatise of the Emperor Leo. Though I have introduced Greek 
fire in the cut at p. ^9, I doubt if there is evidence of its use by the Italians in the 
thirteenth century. Joinville describes it like something strange and new. 

In after days the artillery occupied the same position, at the bow of the 

Great beams, hung like battering rams, are mentioned by Sanudo, as well as iron 
crow's-feet with fire attached, to shoot among the rigging, and jars of quick-lime and 
soft soap to fling in the eyes of the enemy. The lime is said to have been used by 
Doria against the Venetians at Curzola [infra, p. 48), and seems to have been a 
usual provision. Francesco Barberini specifies among the stores for his galley : — 
" Calcina, con lancioni, Pece, pietre, e ronconi " (p. 259.) And Christine de Pisan, 
in her Faiz dii Sage Roy Charles (V. of France), explains also the use of the soap : 
^^ Item, on doit avoir pluseurs vaisseaulx legiers a rompre, corame poz plains de chauls 
ou pouldre, et gecter dedens ; et, par ce, seront comme avuglez, au brisier des poz. 
Item, on doit avoir autres/^3 de niol savon et gecter es nefzs des adversaires, et quant 
les vaisseaulx brisent, le savon est glissant, si ne se peuent en piez soustenir et 
chi6ent en I'eaue " (pt. ii. ch. 38). 

t Balistarice, whence no doubt Balistrada and our Balustrade. Wedgwood's 
etymology is far-fetched. And in his new edition (1872), though he has shifted his 
ground, he has not got nearer the truth. 

X Sanutius, p. 53 ; Joinville, p. 40 ; Muntaner, 316, 403. 

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


which it was found impracticable to work by free enlistment, or 
otherwise than by slaves under the most cruel driving.* I 
am not well enough read to say that war-galleys were never 
rowed by slaves in the Middle Ages, but the only doubtful 
allusion to such a class that I have met with is in one passage of 
Muntaner, where he says, describing the Neapolitan and Catalan 
fleets drawing together for action, that the gangs of the galleys 
had to toil like "forcats" (p. 313). Indeed, as regards Venice 
at least, convict rowers are stated to have been first introduced 
in 1549, previous to which the gangs were of galeotti 

29. We have already mentioned that Sanudo requires for his 
three-banked galley a ship's company of 250 men. cSkyMd 
They are distributed as follows : — li^t"*^* 

Cotnito or Master 



Caulkers .... 

In charge of stores and arms 

Orderlies 2 

Cook I 

Arblasteers .... 50 

Rowers 180 


This does not include the Sopracomito^ or Gentleman-Commander, 
who was expected to be valens hmno et probtis, a soldier and a 
gentleman, fit to be consulted on occasion by the captain- 
general. In the Venetian fleet he was generally a 

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

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

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

* See the Protestant, cited above, p. 441, et seqq. 

t Vetiezia e le stte Lagune, ii. 53. J Alar. Santtt. p. 75. 

§ Mar. Sannt., p. 30. 



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

4 Commissaries of Stores ; 

2 Commissaries over the Arms ; 

3 Physicians ; 
3 Surgeons ; 

5 Master Engineers and Carpenters ; 

15 Master Smiths ; 
12 Master Fletchers ; 
5 Cuirass men and Helmet-makers ; 
1 5 Oar-makers and Shaft-makers ; 
10 Stone cutters for stone shot ; 
10 Master Arblast-makers ; 
20 Musicians ; 
20 Orderlies, &c. 

30. The musicians formed an important part of the equip- 
ment. Sanudo says that in going into action every vessel should 

make the greatest possible display of colours ; gon- 
otherpar- falons and broad banners should float from stem to 

stern, and gay pennons all along the bulwarks ; whilst 
it was impossible to have too much of noisy music, of pipes, 
trumpets, kettle-drums, and what not, to put heart into the crew 
and strike fear into the enemy.* 

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

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

The galleys, which were very low in the water,§ could not 
keep the sea in rough weather, and in winter they never 
willingly kept the sea at night, however fair the weather might 

* The Catalan Admiral Roger de Loria, advancing at daybreak to attack the 
Proven9al Fleet of Charles of Naples (1283) in the harbour of Malta, " did a thing 
which should be reckoned to him rather as an act of madness," says Muntaner, 
" than of reason. He said, ' God forbid that I should attack them, all asleep as they 
are ! Let the trumpets and nacaires sound to awaken them, and I will tarry till they 
be ready for action. No man shall have it to say, if I beat them, that it was by 
catching them asleep.'" {Mtmt, p. 287.) It is what Nelson might have done ! 

The Turkish admiral Sidi 'All, about to engage a Portuguese squadron in the 
Straits of Ilormuz, in 1553, describes the Franks as " dressing their vessels with flags 
and coming on." (_/. As. ix. 70.) 

+ A cross pait'e, is one with the extremities broadened out into feet as it were. 

t Page SO. 

§ The galley at p. ^9 is somewhat too high ; and I believe it should have had no 


be. Yet Sanudo mentions that he had been with armed galleys 
to Sluys in Flanders. 

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

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


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

31. Jealousies, too chafacteristic of the Italian communities, 
were, in the case of the three great trading republics of Venice, 
Genoa, and Pisa, aggravated by commercial rivalries, q^^^-^^„ 
whilst, between the two first of those states, and also {^^"out" 
between the two last, the bitterness of such feelings J*^^^,^' 
ad been augmenting during the whole course of the R«p«''1'<^ 
13th century .J 

The brilliant part played by Venice in the conquest of 
Constantinople (1204), and the preponderance'' she thus 
acquired on the Greek shores, stimulated her arrogance and 
the resentment of her rivals. The three states no longer stood 
on a level as bidders for the shifting favour of the Emperor of 
the East. By treaty, not only was Venice established as the 
most important ally of the empire and as mistress of a large 
fraction of its territory, but all members of nations at war with 
her were prohibited from entering its limits. Though the 
Genoese colonies continued to exist, they stood at a great 

See Mimtaner, passim, e.g. 271, 286, 315, 349. t Ibid. 346. 

In this part of these notices I am repeatedly indebted to Heyd. (See supa, p. g.) 
VOL. I, A 


disadvantage, where their rivals were so predominant and en- 
joyed exemption from duties, to which the Genoese remained 
subject. Hence jealousies and resentments reached a climax in 
the Levantine settlements, and this colonial exacerbation re- 
acted on the mother States. 

A dispute which broke out at Acre in 1255 came to a head 
in a war which lasted for years, and was felt all over Syria. It 
began in a quarrel about a very old church called St. Sabba's, 
which stood on the common boundary of the Venetian and 
Genoese estates in Acre,* and this flame was blown by other un- 
lucky occurrences. Acre suffered grievously.^ Venice at this 
time generally kept the upper hand, beating Genoa by land and 
sea, and driving her from Acre altogether.-;- Four ancient porphyry 
figures from St. Sabba's were sent in triumph to Venice, and 
with their strange devices still stand at the exterior corner of 
St. Mark's, towards the Ducal Palace.J 

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

The energy and capacity of the Genoese seemed to rise with 

* On or close to the Hill called Monjoie ; see the plan from Marino Sanudo at 
p. 18. 

t " Throughout that year there were not less than 40 machines all at work upon 
the city of Acre, battering its houses and its towers, and smashing and overthrowing 
everything within their range. There were at least ten of those engines that shot 
stones so big and heavy that they weighed a good 1500 lbs. by the weight of Cham- 
pagne ; insomuch that nearly all the towers and forts of Acre were destroyed, and 
only the religious houses were left. And there were slain in this same war good 
20,ocx> men on the two sides, but chiefly of Genoese and Spaniards." (Lettre dejean 
Pierre Sarrasin, in MicheVs /oinville, p. 308. ) 

+ The origin of these columns is, however, somewhat uncertain. [See Cicogna, 

I- P- 379] 

§ In 1262, when a Venetian squadron was taken by the Greek fleet in alliance 
with the Genoese, the whole of the survivors of the captive crews were blinded by 
order of Palaeologus. (Roman, ii. 272.) 


Figures from St., sent to Venice. 

[ To face p. 42. 


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

32. Truces were made and renewed, but the old fire still 
smouldered. In the spring of 1294 it broke into flame, in 
consequence of the seizure in the Grecian seas of three 
Genoese vessels by a Venetian fleet This led to an BayofA>-as 
action with a Genoese convoy which sought redress. 
The fight took place off Ayas in the Gulf of Scanderoon,* and 
though the Genoese were inferior in strength by one-third they 
gained a signal victory, capturing all but three of the Venetian 
galleys, with rich cargoes, including that of Marco Basilio (or 
Basegio), the commodore. 

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

" ' Off they've slunk ! and left us nothing ; 

We shall get nor prize nor praise ; 

Nothing save those crazy timbers 

Only fit to make a blaze.' " 

So they advance carelessly — 

" On they come I But lo their blunder ! 
When our lads start up anon, 
Breaking out like unchained lions, 
\W'\\h a roar, ' Fall on ! Fall on ! '" t 

* See pp. 16, 41, and Plan of Ayas at beginning of Bk. I. 
t See Archivio Storico Italiano, Appendice, torn. iv. 

Niente m resta a prender 
Se tu> li corpi de It legni : 

Pretjri som senza difender; 
De bruxar som tutt degni ! 

Conn? li/om aproximai 

Queii si Uvan lantor 
Coino Uon descaenai 

Tuti criando " Alor ! Alor ! ' 

This A/<fr! Alor! ("Up, Boys, and at 'em"), or something similar, appears to 
have been the usual war-cry of both parties. So a triunpel-like poem of the 
VOL. I. k 2 


After relating the battle and the thoroughness of the victory, 
ending in the conflagration of five-and-twenty captured galleys, 
the poet concludes by an admonition to the enemy to moderate 
his pride and curb his arrogant tongue, harping on the obnoxious 
epithet/(?m/(^r^;ir/, which seems to have galled the Genoese.* 
He concludes : — 

" Nor can I at all remember 
Ever to have heard the story 
Of a fight wherein the Victors 
Reaped so rich a meed of glory ! " f 

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

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

Troubadour warrior Bertram de Born, whom Dante found in such evil plight below 
(xxviii. 118 seqq.), in which he sings with extraordinary spirit the joys of war : — 

"I« us iw S{\\t tan no m'a eabor 
JHanjars, ni bsaxt, ni iiovinir, 
Cum a quant aug rriftar, Alor ! 
g'ainbaa la part^ ; tt aug aentc 

ffiabals )ooxiz :pcv I'ombratQt. . . ." 
" I tell you a zest far before 

Aught of slumber, or drink, or of food, 
I sn.itch when the shouts of Alor 

Ring from both sides : and out of the wood 
Comes the neighing of steeds dimly seen. . . ." 

In a galley fight at Tyre in 1258, according to a Latin narrative, the Genoese shout 
" Ad arma, ad arma ! ad ipsos, ad ipsos!" The cry of the Venetians before engaging 
the Greeks is represented by Martino da Canale, in his old French, as '^ or d. yaus ! 
or ayaus !" that of the Genoese on another occasion as Aur! Atir ! and this last ig 
the shout of the Catalans also in Ramon de Muntaner. ( Villemain, Litt. du Moyen 
■^S^y !• 99 > Archiv. Star. Ital. viii. 364, 506 ; Periz, Script, xviii. 239 ; Muntaner, 
269, 287.) Recently in a Sicilian newspaper, narrating an act of gallant and 
successful reprisal (only too rare) by country folk on a body of the brigands who are 
such a scourge to parts of the island, I read that the honest men in charging the 
villains raised a shout of '■^ Ad iddi! Ad iddi! " 

* A phrase curiously identical, with a similar sequence, is attributed to an 
Austrian General at the battle of Skalitz in 1866. {StoffePs Letters,) 

T • E no me posso aregordar 

Dalcuno roiiianzo 7'erfadi 
Dcnde oyse uncha cointar 

AlcuH trium/o si sobri ! 
J Stella in Muratori, xvii. 984, § Dandulo, Ibid. xii. 404-405. 


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

33. In 1298 the Genoese made elaborate preparations for a 
great blow at the enemy, and fitted out a powerful fleet which 
they placed under the command of Lamba Doria, a ijimhz. Do- 
younger brother of Uberto of that illustrious house, dftfoifr<fthe 
under whom he had served fourteen years before in the ^'^'^"*=- 
great rout of the Pisans at Meloria. 

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

" Now, as astern Otranto bears, 

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

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

Or entrant con gran vigor. 

En De sperando aver triumpho, 
Qveli zerchando inter lo Gorfo 
Chi menazeram zercha lor '. 

And in the next verse note the pure Scotch use of the word bra : — 

Sichi da Otranto se patHtn 
Quella bra compagnia. 
Per assar in Ihavonia, 
D'Avosto a vinte nove di. 


place, the Genoese took and burned.* Thus they were engaged 
when word came that the Venetian fleet was in sight. 

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

" Beat up for aliens ? We indeed ? 

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

Of one of the Venetian galleys, probably in the fleet which 
sailed under Dandolo's immediate command, went Marco Polo 
as Sopracomito or Gentleman-Commander. | 

* The island of Curzola now counts about 4000 inhabitants ; the town half the 
number. It was probably reckoned a dependency of Venice at this time. The King 
of Hungary had renounced his claims on the Dalmatian coasts by treaty in 1244. 
{Romanin, ii. 235.) The gallant defence of the place against the Algerines in 1571 
won for Curzola from the Venetian Senate the honourable title in all documents of 
fedelissima. {Patotis Adriatic, I. 47.) 

Ma si si gran colmo avea 
Perchi andava mendigando 

No, 711(1 piil ! ajamo omi nostrar 
Destri, valenti, e avisti, 
Che mai par de lor «' o visti 

In tuti officj de mar. 

Per terra de Lombardia 

Peccunia, gente a sodif 

Pone mente tu che t'odi 

Se noi tegnamo guesta via ? 

X In July 1294, a Council of Thirty decreed that galleys should be equipped by 

the richest families in proportion to their wealth. Among the families held to equip 

one galley each, or one galley among two or more, in this list, is the Ca' Polo. But 

this was before the return of the travellers from the East, and just after the battle of 

Ayas. {Romanin, ii. 332 ; this author misdates Ayas, however.) When a levy was 

required in Venice for any expedition the heads of each contrada divided the male 

inhabitants, between the ages of twenty and sixty, into groups of twelve each, called 

duodene. The dice were thrown to decide who should go first on service. He who 

went received five lire a month from the State, and one lira from each of his colleagues in 



34. It was on the aftern(X)n of Saturday the 6th September 
that the Genoese saw the Venetian fleet approaching, J^^^ pj^^^^ 
but, as sunset was not far off, both sides tacitly agreed ^^^^^hoiheJ 
to defer the engagement* atCurzoia. 

The Genoese would appear to have occupied a position near 
the eastern end of the Island of Curzola, with the Peninsula 
of Sabbioncello behind them, and Meleda on their left, whilst 
the Venetians advanced along the south side of Curzola. (See 
map on p. 50). 

According to Venetian accounts the Genoese were staggered 
at the sight of the Venetian armaments, and sent more than 
once to seek terms, offering finally to surrender galleys and 
munitions of war, if the crews were allowed to depart. This 
is an improbable story, and that of the Genoese ballad seems 
more like truth. Doria, it says, held a council of his captains 
in the evening at which they all voted for attack, whilst the 
Venetians, with that overweening sense of superiority which at 
this time is reflected in their own annals as distinctly as in those 
of their enemies, kept scout-v^essels out to watch that the 
Genoese fleet, which they looked on as already their own, did 
not steal away in the darkness. A vain imagination, says the 
poet : — 

" Blind error of vainglorious men 

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

the duodena. Hence his pay was sixteen /ire a month, about 2s. a day in silver value, 
if these were Nre at grossi, or is. ^d. if /ire dei picco/i. (See Romanin, ii. 393-394.) 

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

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

" Lo di de Domenga era 
Passa prima en I'ora bona 
Stormezam fin provo nona 
Con bataio forte e fera." 

Now the 7th September, 1298, fell on a Sunday. 

T Ma li pensavant grande error 

Che in/uga sejussem tuti tnetiii 
Che de si ionzi eram 7'egnui 
Per cerchali a casa lor. 


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

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

the morning sun in their eyes. They made the attack, 

The Vene- i • 1 • • • ^-1 

tiansde- and With great impetuosity, capturing ten Genoese 
Marco Polo gal ley s ; but they pressed on too wildly, and some of 
their vessels ran aground. One of their galleys too, 
being taken, was cleared of her crew and turned against the 
Venetians. These incidents caused confusion among the 
assailants ; the Genoese, who had begun to give way, took fresh 
heart, formed a close column, and advanced boldly through the 
Venetian line, already in disorder. The sun had begun to 
decline when there appeared on the Venetian flank the fifteen 
or sixteen missing galleys of Doria's fleet, and fell upon it with 
fresh force. This decided the action. The Genoese gained 
a complete victory, capturing all but a few of the Venetian 
galleys, and including the flagship with Dandolo. The Genoese 
themselves lost heavily, especially in the early part of the action, 
and Lamba Doria's eldest son Octavian is said to have fallen on 
board his father's vessel.* The number of prisoners taken was 
over 7000, and among these was Marco Polo.t 

The prisoners, even of the highest rank, appear to have been 
chained. Dandolo, in despair at his defeat, and at the prospect 
of being carried captive into Genoa, refused food, and ended by 
dashing his head against a bench. | A Genoese account asserts 

* "Note here that the Genoese generally, commonly, and by nature, are the most 
covetous of Men, and the Love of Gain spurs them to every Crime. Yet are they 
deemed also the most valiant Men in the \\'orld. Such an one was Lampa, of that 
very Doria family, a man of an high Courage truly. For when he was engaged in a 
Sea-Fight against the Venetians, and was standing on the Poop of his (jalley, his Son, 
fighting valiantly at the Forecastle, was shot by an Arrow in the Breast, and fell 
wounded to the Death ; a Mishap whereat his Comrades were sorely shaken, and 
Fear came upon the whole Ship's Company. But Lampa, hot with the Spirit of 
Battle, and more mindful of his Country's Service and his own Glory than of his Son, 
ran forward to the spot, loftily rebuked the agitated Crowd, and ordered his Son's Body 
to be cast into the Deep, telling them for their Comfort that the Land could never 
have afforded his Boy a nobler Tomb. And then, renewing the Fight more fiercely 
than ever, he achieved the Victory." {Benventi/o of Ii/iola, in Comment, on Dante, 
in Miiratori, Antiq. i. II46. ) 

(" Yet like an English General will I die, 

And all the Ocean make my spacious Grave ; 
Women and Cowards on the Land may lie, 
The Sea's the Tomh that's proper for the Brave ! " — Annus Mirabilis.) 

t The particulars of the battle are gathered from Ferrettis Vicentinus, in Mural, 
ix. 985 seqq. ; And. Dandulo, in xii. 407-408; Navagiero, in xxiii. 1009- loio; an! 
the Genoese Poem as before. 

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



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that a noble funeral was given him after the arrival of the fleet 
at Genoa, which took place on the evening of the i6th October.* 
It was received with great rejoicing, and the City voted the 
annual presentation of a pallium of gold brocade to the altar of 
the Virgin in the Church of St. Matthew, on every 8th of 
September, the Madonna's day, on the eve of which the Battle 
had been won. To the admiral himself a Palace was decreed. 
It still stands, opposite the Church of St. Matthew, though it has 
passed from the possession of the Family. On the striped 
marble facades, both of the Church and of the Palace, inscriptions 
of that age, in excellent preservation, still commemorate Lamba's 

Scene of the Battle of Curzola. 

achievement.f Malik al Mansur, the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt, 

* For the funeral, a MS. of Cibo Recco quoted hy Jacopo Doria in La Chiesa di 
San Matteo descritta, etc., Genova, i860, p. 26. For the date of arrival the poem so 

often quoted : — 

' ' De Oitover, a zoia, a seze di 
Lo nostro ostel, con gran festa 
Kn nostro porto, a or di sesta 
Domine De restitui. '' 

t S. Matteo was built by Martin Doria in 1125, but pulled down and rebuilt by 
the family in a slightly different position in 1278. On this occasion is recorded a 
remarkable anticipation of the feats of American engineering : "As there was an 
ancient and very fine picture of Christ upon the apse of the Church, it was thouglit a 
great pity that so fine a work should be destroyed. And so they contrived an 
ingenious method by which the apse bodily was transported without injury, picture 
and all, for a distance of 25 ells, and firmly set upon the foundations where it now 
exists." (Jacopo de Varaginc in Mttratori, vol. ix. 36.) 

Church of San Matteo, Genoa. 

{To /dee />. JO. 


as an enemy of Venice, sent a complimentary letter to Doria 
accompanied by costly presents.* 

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

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

The inscription on S. Matteo regarding the battle is as follows : — " Ad Honoretn 
DeietBeate Virginis Marie Anno MCCLXXXXVIII Die Dominica VII Septem- 
bris iste Angehis capitis fuit in Gulfo Venetiaruvi in Civitate Scttrsole et ibidem f nit 
prelium Galearum LXXVI Januensium cum Galeis LXXXXVI Veneciartim. 
Capte fuernnt LXXXIIII per Nobilem Virtim Dominum Lattibam Aurie Capi- 
taneum et Armiratum tunc Comunis et Populi Janue cum omnibus existentibus in 
eisdtm, de quihus conduxit Janue homines vivos carceratos VII cccc et Galeas XVIII, 
reliquas LX VI fecit cutnburi in dicto Gulfo Veneciarum. Qui obiit Sagotie I, 
MCCCXXIII." It is not clear to what the Attgelus refers. 

* Rainpoldi, Ann. Mtcsulm. ix. 217. \ Jacopo Doria, p. 280. 

X Murat. xxiii. loio. I learn from a Genoese gentleman, through my friend 
Professor Henry Giglioli (to whose kindness I owe the transcript of the inscription just 
given), that a faint tradition exists as to the place of our traveller's imprisonment. 
It is alleged to have been a massive building, standing between the Grazie and the 
Mole, and bearing the name of the Malapaga, which is now a barrack for Doganieri, 
but continued till comparatively recent times to be used as a civil prison. "It is 
certain," says my informant, "that men of fame in arms who had fallen into the 
power of the Genoese were imprisoned there, and among others is recorded the name 
of the Corsican Giudice dalla Rocca and Lord of Cinarca, who died there in 1312 ; " 
a date so near that of Marco's imprisonment as to give some interest to the hypothesis, 
slender as are its grounds. Another Genoese, however, indicates as the scene of 
Marco's captivity certain old prisons near the Old Arsenal, in a site still known as the 
Vico degli Schiavi. (Celesia, Dante in Liguria, 1 865, p. 43.) [Was not the place of 
Polo's captivity the basement of the Palazzo del Capitan del Popolo, afterwards Palazzo 
del Comune al Mare, where the Customs (Dogana) had their office, and from the 15th 
centurj- the Casa or Palazzo di S. Giorgio?— W. C.J 


36. Howsoever they may have been treated, here was Marco 
Polo one of those many thousand prisoners in Genoa ; and here, 
Marco Polo before long, he appears to have made acquaintance 

in prison ... 

dictates his With a man of literary propensities, whose destiny had 
Rusticiano brought him into the like plight, by name RUSTICIANO 

of Pisa. i o 

Release of or RusTlCHELLO of Pisa. It was this person perhaps 

Venetian ^ 1 i 1 

prisoners. who persuaded the Traveller to defer no longer the 
reduction to writing of his notable experiences ; but in any case 
it was he who wrote down those experiences at Marco's dictation ; 
it is he therefore to whom we owe the preservation of this record, 
and possibly even that of the Traveller's very memory. This 
makes the Genoese imprisonment so important an episode in 
Polo's biography. 

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

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

These terms were perfectly honourable to Venice, being 
absolutely equal and reciprocal ; from which one is apt to 
conclude that the damage to the City of the Sea was rather to 
her pride than to her power ; the success of Genoa, in fact, 
having been followed up by no systematic attack upon Vene- 
tian commerce.* Among the terms was the mutual release of 
prisoners on a day to be fixed by Visconti after the completion 
of all formalities. This day is not recorded, but as the Treaty 
was ratified by the Doge of Venice on the 1st July, and the latest 
extant document connected with the formalities appears to be 
dated i8th July, we may believe that before the end of August 

* The Treaty and some subsidiary documents are printed in the Genoese Liber 
Jurium, forming a part of the Monumenta Historiae Patriae, published at Turin. 
(See Lib. Jur. II. 344, seqq.) Muratori in his Annals has followed John Villani 
(Bk. VIII. ch. 27) in representing the terms as highly unfavourable to Venice. But 
for this there is no foundation in the documents. And the terms are stated with 
sub.startial accuracy in Navagiero. [Mural. Script, xxiii. loii.) 



Marco Polo was restored to the family mansion in S. Giovanni 

37. Something further requires to be said before quitting this 
event in our Traveller's life. For we confess that a critical reader 
may have some justification in asking what evidence Grounds on 
there is that Marco Polo ever fought at Curzola, and story of 
ever was carried a prisoner to Genoa from that unfor- capture at 


tunate action ? rests. 

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

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

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

Let us then turn to the words which close Rusticiano's 
preamble (see post, p. 2) : — " Lequel (Messire Marc) puis demo- 
rant en le charthre de Jene, fist retraire toutes cestes chouses a 
Messire Rustacians de Pise que en celle meissme charthre estoit, 
au tens qu'il avoit 1298 anz que Tezu eut vesqui." These words 
are at least thoroughly consi-stent with Marco's capture at 
Curzola, as regards both the position in which they present him, 
and the year in which he is thus presented. 

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

• Paulin Paris, Les Manuscrits Francois de la Bibliothique du Roi, ii. 355. 


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

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

This statement regarding the capture of Marco at the Battle of 
Ayas is one which cannot be true, for we know that he did not 
reach Venice till 1295, travelling from Persia by way of 
Trebizond and the Bosphorus, whilst the Battle of Ayas of which 
we have purposely given some detail, was fought in May, 1 294. 

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

t There is another MS. of the Imago Mundi at Turin, which has been printed in 
the Monumenta. The passage about Polo in that copy differs widely in wording, 
is much shorter, and contains no date. But it relates his capture as having taken 
place at La Glaza, which I think there can be no doubt is also intended for Ayas 
(sometimes called Giazza), a place which in fact is called Glaza in three of the MSS. of 
which various readings are given in the edition of the Soci6t^ de Geographic (p. 535). 


The date MCCLXXXXVI assigned to it in the preceding extract 
has given rise to some unprofitable discussion. Could that date 
be accepted, no doubt it would enable us also to accept this, the 
sole statement from the Traveller's own age of the circumstances 
which brought him into a Genoese prison ; it would enable us to 
place that imprisonment within a few months of his return from 
the East, and to extend its duration to three years, points which 
would thus accord better with the general tenor of Ramusio's 
tradition than the capture of Curzola. But the matter is not 
open to such a solution. The date of the Battle of Ayas is not 
more doubtful than that of the Battle of the Nile. It is 
clearly stated by several independent chroniclers, and is 
carefully established in the Ballad that we have quoted above.* 
We shall see repeatedly in the course of this Book how uncertain 
are the transcriptions of dates in Roman numerals, and in the 
present case the LXXXXVI is as certainly a mistake for LXXXXIV 
as is Boniface VI. in the same quotation a mistake for 
Boniface VIII. 

But though we cannot accept the statement that Polo was 
taken prisoner at Ayas, in the spring of 1294, we may accept the 
passage as evidence from a contemporary source that he was 
taken prisoner in some sea-fight with the Genoese, and thus admit 
it in corroboration of the Ramusian Tradition of his capture in 
a sea-fight at Curzola in 1 298, which is perfectly consistent with 
all other facts in our possession. 


Prisoner at Genoa, the Scribe who wrote down the 
Travels. ^ 

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

The relations between Genoa and Pisa had long been so 

" E per meio esse are^ordenti 
De si grande scacho mato 
Correa mille duxenti 
Zonio ge navaHta e qvatro." 

The Armenian Prince Hayton or Hethum has put it under 1293. (See Langtois, Mim. 
iur Ics Relations de Gents avec In Petite- Arm4nie.') 


hostile that it was only too natural in 1298 to find a Pisan in 
Rusticiano ^^^ ^^^^ °^ Gcnoa. An unhappy multitude of such 
prUonerfrom P^soners had bccn carried thither fourteen years before, 
Meioria. ^^^ ^j-^g survivors still lingered there in vastly dwindled 
numbers. In the summer of 1284 was fought the battle from 
which Pisa had to date the commencement of her long decay. In 
July of that year the Pisans, at a time when the Genoese had no 
fleet in their own immediate waters, had advanced to the very 
port of Genoa and shot their defiance into the proud city in the 
form of silver-headed arrows, and stones belted with scarlet* 
They had to pay dearly for this insult. The Genoese, recalling 
their cruisers, speedily mustered a fleet of eighty-eight galleys, 
which were placed under the command of another of that 
illustrious House of Doria, the Scipios of Genoa as they have 
been called, Uberto, the elder brother of Lamba. Lamba him- 
self with his six sons, and another brother, was in the fleet, 
whilst the whole number of Dorias who fought in the ensuing 
action amounted to 250, most of them on board one great galley 
bearing the name of the family patron, St. Matthew, f 

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

* B. Marangone, Croniche delta C. di Pisa, in Renim Hal, Script, of Tartini, 
Florence, 1748, i. 563 ; Dal Borgo, Dissert, sopra VIstoria Pisana, ii. 287. 

t The list of the whole number is preserved in the Doria archives, and has been 
published by Sign. Jacopo D'Oria. Many of the Baptismal names are curious, and 
show how far sponsors wandered from the Church Calendar. Assan, Aiton, Turco, 
Soldan seem to come of the constant interest in the East. Alaoiie, a name which 
remained in the family for several generations, I had thought certainly borrowed from 
the fierce conqueror of the Khalif {infra, p. 63). But as one Alaone, present at this 
battle, had a son also there, he must surely have been christened before the fame of 
Ilulaku could have reached Genoa. (See La Chiesa di S. Malteo, pp. 250, seqq.) 

In documents of the kingdom of Jerusalem there are names still more anomalous, 
e.g., Gualterius Baff'umeth, Joannes Mahomet. (See Cod. Dipt, del Sac. Milit. Ord. 
Gerosol. I. 2-3, 62.) 



Genova!" Many noble ladies of Pisa went in large companies 
on foot to Genoa to seek their husbands or kinsmen : " And when 
they made enquiry of the Keepers of the Prisons, the reply 
would be, ' Yesterday there died thirty of them, to-day there 
have died forty ; all of whom we have cast into the sea ; and so 
it is daily.' " * 

A body of prisoners so numerous and important naturally 
exerted themselves in the cause of peace, and through their efforts, 
after many months of ne- 
gotiation, a formal peace was 
signed (15th April, 1288)- 
But through the influence, as 
was alleged, of Count Ugo- 
lino (Dante's) who was then 
in power at Pisa, the peace 
became abortive ; war almost 
immediately recommenced, 
and the prisoners had no re- 
lease.! And, when the 6000 
or 7000 Venetians were 
thrown into the prisons of 
Genoa in October 1 298, they 
would find there the scanty surviving remnant of the 
Pisan Prisoners of Meloria, and would gather from them dismal 
forebodings of the fate before them. 

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

We have seen Ramusio's representation of the kindness 
shown to Marco during his imprisonment by a certain Genoese 
gentleman who also assisted him to reduce his travels to writing. 
We may be certain that this Genoese gentleman is only a dis- 
torted image of Rusticiano, the Pisan prisoner in the gaol of 

Seal of the Pisan Prisoners. 

* Memorial. Potest at. Regiens. in iMuratori, viii. 1162. 

t See Fragm. Hist. Pisan. in Mtiraiori, xxiv. 651, seqq. ; and Caffaro, id. vj. 
5S8, 594-595. The cut in the text represents a striking memorial of those Pisan 
Prisoners, which perhaps still survives, but which at any rate existed last century in 
a collection at Lucca. It is the seal of the prisoners as a body corporate : Sigillum 
Universitatis Carcekatorum Pisanorum Janue detentorum, and was 
doubtless used in their negotiations for peace with the Genoese Commissioners. It 
represents two of the prisoners imploring the Madonna, Patron of the Duomo at Pisa. 
It is from J/(7««/, Osserv. Stor. sopra Sigilli Antichi, etc., Firenze, 1739, torn, xii- 
The seal is also engraved in Dal Borgo, op. cit. ii. 316. 

VOL. I. / 


Genoa, whose name and part in the history of his hero's book 
Ramusio so strangely ignores. Yet patriotic Genoese writers in 
our own times have striven to determine the identity of this 
their imaginary countryman ! * 

39. Who, then, was Rusticiano, or, as the name actually is 
read in the oldest type of MS., " Messire Rustacians de Pise"? 
Rusticiano, Our knowledge of him is but scanty. Still some- 

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

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

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

But those prose authors who wrote under the imaginary names of 

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

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

In the great Paris Library and elsewhere there are manuscript 
volumes containing the stories of the Round Table abridged and 
somewhat clumsily combined from the various Prose Romances 
of that cycle, such as Sir Tristan, Lancelot, Palamedes, Giron le 
Courtois, &c., which had been composed, it would seem, by 
various Anglo-French gentlemen at the court of Henry III., 
styled, or styling themselves, Gasses le Blunt, Luces du Gast, 

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

1 1 quote from Galignani's ed. of Prose Works, v. 712. This has " Rusticien de 
Puise." In this view of the fictitious character of the names of Rusticien and the 
rest, Sir Walter seems to have been following Ritson, as I gather from a quotation in 
Dunlop's II. of Fiction. {Liebrechf s German Version, p. 63.) 


Robert de Borron, and Hdlis de Borron. And these abridg- 
ments or recasts are professedly the work of Le Maistre Rusticien 
de Pise. Several of them were printed at Paris in the end of 
the 15 th and beginning of the i6th centuries as the works of 
Rusticien de Pise ; and as the preambles and the like, especially 
in the form presented in those printed editions, appear to be due 
sometimes to the original composers (as Robert and Helis de 
Borron) and sometimes to Rusticien de Pise the recaster, there 
would seem to have been a good deal of confusion made in 
regard to their respective personalities. 

From a preamble to one of those compilations which un- 
doubtedly belongs to Rustician, and which we shall quote at 
length by and bye, we learn that Master Rustician " translated " 
(or perhaps transferred T) his compilation from a book belonging 
to King Edward of England, at the time when that prince went 
beyond seas to recover the Holy Sepulchre. Now Prince 
Edward started for the Holy Land in 1270, spent the winter of 
that year in Sicily, and arrived in Palestine in May 1271. He 
quitted it again in August, 1272, and passed again by Sicily, 
where in January, 1273, he heard of his father's death and his own 
consequent accession. Paulin Paris supposes that Rustician 
was attached to the Sicilian Court of Charles of Anjou, and that 
Edward "may have deposited with that king the Romances 
of the Round Table, of which all the world was talking, but the 
manuscripts of which were still very rare, especially those of the 
work of Helye de Borron * . . . . whether by order, or only 
with permission of the King of Sicily, our Rustician made 
haste to read, abridge, and re-arrange the whole, and when 
Edward returned to Sicily he recovered possession of the 
book from which the indefatigable Pisan had extracted the 

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

• Giron I* Cotirtois, and the conclusion of Tristan. 
VOL. I. / 2 


might, therefore, conjecture that Rustician himself had accom- 
panied Prince Edward to Syria.* 

40. Rustician's Hterary work appears from the extracts and 
remarks of Paulin Paris to be that of an industrious simple 
Character of man, without mcthod or much judgment. "The haste 
Romance with which he worked is too perceptible ; the adven- 
tions. tures are told without connection ; you find long stories 

of Tristan followed by adventures of his father Meliadus." 
For the latter derangement of historical sequence we find a 
quaint and ingenuous apology offered in Rustician's epilogue to 
Giron le Courtois : — 

" Cy fine le Maistre Rusticien de Pise son conte en louant et regraciant le 
P^re le Filz et le Saint Esperit, et ung mesme Dieu, Filz de la Benoiste 
Vierge Marie, de ce qu'il m'a done grace, sens, force, et memoire, temps et 
lieu, de me mener k fin de si haulte et si noble mati^re come ceste-cy dont j'ay 
traicte les faiz et proesses recitez' et recordez k mon livre. Et se aucun me 
demandoit pour quoy j'ay parle de Tristan avant que de son pere le Roy 
Meliadus, le respons que ma matiere n'estoist pas congneue. Car je ne puis 
pas scavoir tout, ne mettre toutes mes paroles par ordre. Et ainsi fine mon 
conte. Amen." t 

In a passage of these compilations the Emperor Charlemagne 
is asked whether in his judgment King Meliadus or his son 
Tristan were the better man ? The Emperor's answer is : "I 
should say that the King Meliadus was the better man, and I 
will tell you why I say so. As far as I can see, everything that 
Tristan did was done for Love, and his great feats would never 
have been done but under the constraint of Love, which was his 

* The passage runs thus as quoted (from the preamble of the Meliadics — I suspect 
in one of the old printed editions) : — 

" Aussi Luces du Gau (Gas) translata en langue Fran9oise une partie de I'Hystoire 
de Monseigneur Tristan, et moins assez qu'il ne deust. Moult comraen9a bien son 
livre et si ny mist tout les faicts de Tristan, ains la greigneur partie. Apres s'en 
entremist Messire Gasse le Blond, qui estoit parent au Roy Henry, et divisa I'Hystoire 
de Lancelot du Lac, et d'autre chose ne parla il mye grandement en son livre, 
Messire Robert de Borron s'en entremist et Helye de Borron, par la priere du dit 
Robert de Borron, et pource que compaignofts feusmes cC amies longiiemcnt, je com- 
niencay mon livre," etc. {Liebrechf s Dunlop, p. 80.) If this passage be authentic 
it would set beyond doubt the age of the de Borrons and the other writers of Anglo- 
French Round Table Romances, who are placed by the Hist. Littiraire de la France, 
and apparently by Fr. Michel, under Henry II. I have no means of pursuing the 
matter, and have preferred to follow Paulin Paris, who places them under Henry 
IH. I notice, moreover, that the Hist. Lift. (xv. p. 498) puts not only the de Borrons 
but Rustician himself under Henry II. ; and, as the last view is certainly an error, 
the first is probably so too. 

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


spur and goad. Now that never can be said of King Meliadus ! 
For what deeds he did, he did them not by dint of Love, but 
by dint of his strong right arm. Purely out of his own good- 
ness he did good, and not by constraint of Love." " It will be 
seen," remarks on this Paulin Paris, "that we are here a long 
way removed from the ordinary principles of Round Table 
Romances. And one thing besides will be manifest, viz., that 
Rusticien de Pise was no Frenchman ! " * 

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

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

41. A question may still occur to an attentive reader as to 
the identity of this Romance-compiler Rusticien de Pise with 
the Messire Rustacians de Pise, of a solitary' MS. of uenjjt.of 
Polo's work (though the oldest and most authentic), comliS"*^ 
a name which appears in other copies as Rusta Pisan^ feiio«^°'°^ 
Rasta Pysan, RusticJulus Civis Pisanus, Rustico, Restazio P'^'^oner. 
da Pisa, Stazio da Pisa, and who is stated in the preamble to 
have acted as the Traveller's scribe at Genoa. 

M. Pauthier indeed J asserts that the French of the MS. 
Romances of Rusticien de Pise is of the same barbarous character 
as that of the early French MS. of Polo's Book to w^hich we have 
just alluded, and which we shall show to be the nearest present- 
ation of the work as originally dictated by the Traveller. The 
language of the latter MS. is so peculiar that this would be 
almost perfect evidence of the identity of the writers, if it were 
really the fact. A cursory inspection which I have made of two 
of those MSS. in Paris, and the extracts which I have given 

* MSS. Frati^ois, iii. 60-61. t Ibid. 56-59. 

X Introd. pp. lxxxvi.-vii. note. 


and am about to give, do not, however, by any means support 
M. Pauthier's view. Nor would that view be consistent with 
the judgment of so competent an authority as Paulin Paris, 
impHed in his calling Rustician a nom recommandable in old 
French literature, and his speaking of him as "versed in the 
secrets of the French Romance Tongue." * In fact the difference 
of language in the two cases would really be a difficulty in the 
way of identification, if there were room for doubt. This, how- 
ever, Paulin Paris seems to have excluded finally, by calling 
attention to the peculiar formula of preamble which is common 
to the Book of Marco Polo and to one of the Romance compila- 
tions of Rusticien de Pise. 

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

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

" Certainly," Paulin Paris observes, " there is a singular 

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

t Seignors Enperaor, C Kois, Dux C- Marquois, Cuens, Chevaliers t Bargions 
[for Borgiois] C totUes gens qe uoles sauoir les deiierses jenerasions des homes, C les 
deuersit^s des deuerses region dou monde, si prennis cestui litireXi le feites lire C 
chi troueris toutes les grandismes meruoilles" etc. 

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

Palazzo Ui S. Giorgio, Genoa. 

[To /one p. 62. 


analogy between these two prefaces. And it must be re- 
marked that the formula is not an ordinary one with translators, 
compilers, or authors of the 13th and 14th centuries. Perhaps 
you would not find a single other example of it" * 

This seems to place beyond question the identity of the 
Romance-compiler of Prince Edward's suite in 1270, and the 
Prisoner of Genoa in 1298. 

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

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

Respecting him we have only to add that the peace 
between Genoa and Venice was speedily followed by a 
treaty between Genoa and Pisa. On the 31st July, 1299, a 
truce for twenty-five years was signed between those two 

* Jour. As. as above. 

t See Liebrechfs Dunlop, p. 77 ; and MSS. Francois, II. 349, 353. The 
alleged gift to Rustician is also put forth by D'lsraeli the Elder in his Amenities 0/ 
Literature, 1841, I. p. 103. 

t E.g. Geronimo, Girolamo ; and garofalo, garofano ; Cristoforo, Cristovalo ; 
gonfalone, gonfanone, etc. 

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


Republics. It was a very different matter from that between 
Genoa and Venice, and contained much that was humihating 
and detrimental to Pisa. But it embraced the release of 
prisoners; and those of Meloria, reduced it is said to less 
than one tithe of their original number, had their liberty 
at last Among the prisoners then released no doubt Rustician 
was one. But we hear of him no more. 

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

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

Marco's . . 

Father CaptlVlty. 

Will of his' We have seen that he would probably reach Venice 

Maffeo. in the course of August, 1299. Whether he found his 
aged father alive is not known ; but we know at least that a year 
later (31st August, 1300) Messer Nicolo was no longer in life. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also leaves her the interest from 1000 lire of his funds in Public Debt (? de nieis 
imprestitis) to provide for her till she marries. After her marriage this 1000 lire and 
its interest shall go to his male heir if he has one, and failing that to his brother 


testator's brother Marco, who is made inheritor of the bulk of 
the property, failing the possible birth of a son. I have already 
indicated some conjectural deductions from this document. I 
may add that the terms of the second clause, as quoted in the 
note, seem to me to throw considerable doubt on the genealogy 
which bestows a large family of sons upon this brother Maffeo. 
If he lived to have such a family it seems improbable that the 
draft which he thus left in the hands of a notary, to be converted 
into a Will in the event of his death (a curious example of the 
validity attaching to all acts of notaries in those days), should 
never have been superseded, but should actually have been so 
converted after his death, as the existence of the parchment 

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

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

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

' 9. To his uncle Giordano Tre\4sano 200 lire. To Marco de Tumba loa 
To FiordeKsa, wife of Felix Polo, loo. To Maroca, the daughter of the late 
Pietro Trevisano, living at Negropont, 100. To Agnes, wife of Pietro Lion, 100 ; 
and to Francis, son of the late Pietro Tre\-isano, in Negropont, loa 

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Should the whole amount of his property between cash and goods not amount 
to 10,000 lire (though he believes he has fully as much), his bequests are to be ratably 
diminished, except those to his own children which he does not wish diminished. 
Should any legatee die before receiving the bequest, its amount shall fall to the 
Testator's heir male, and failing such, the half to go to Marco or his male heir, and 
the other half to be distributed for the good of the souls aforesaid. 

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


seems to prove. But for this circumstance we might suppose 
the Marcolino mentioned in the ensuing paragraph to have 
been a son of the younger Maffeo. 

Messer Maffeo, the uncle, was, we see, alive at this time. 
We do not know the year of his death. But it is alluded to 
by Friar Pipino in the Preamble to his Translation of the 
Book, supposed to have been executed about 1315-1320; and 
we learn from a document in the Venetian archives (see p. 
77) that it must have been previous to 13 18, and subsequent 
to February 1309, the date of his last Will. The Will itself 
is not known to be extant, but from the reference to it in this 
document we learn that he left ICX)0 lire of public debt* {? im- 
prestitoruiii) to a certain Marco Polo, called Marcolino. The 
relationship of this Marco to old Maffeo is not stated, but we 
may suspect him to have been an illegitimate son. [Marcolino 
was a son of Nicolo, son of Marco the Elder ; see vol. ii.. 
Calendar, No. 6. — H. C] 

44. In 1302 occurs what was at first supposed to be a glimpse of 
Marco as a citizen, slight and quaint enough ; being a resolution 
Documen- on the Books of the Great Council to exempt the 

tary notices i • i 

of Polo at respectable Marco Polo from the penalty mcurred 

this time. , , . ... 

Thesobri- by him on account of the omission to have his water- 

quet of _ _ 

Miiione. pipe duly inspected. But since our Marco's claims to 
the designation of Nobilis Vir have been established, there is a 
doubt whether the providus vir or prud'-homme here spoken of 
may not have been rather his namesake Marco Polo of 
Cannareggio or S. Geremia, of whose existence we learn 
from another entry of the same year.f It is, however, possible 

* According to Ronianiu (I. 321) the lira dei grossi was also called Lira 
dimprestidi, and if the lire here are to be so taken, the sum will be 10,000 ducats, 
the largest amount by far that occurs in any of these Polo documents, unless, indeed, 
the 1000 lire in § 5 of Maffeo Junior's Will be the like ; but I have some doubt if 
such lire are intended in cither case. 

t "(Resolved) That grace be granted to the respectable Marco Paulo, relieving 
him of the penalty he has incurred for neglecting to have his water-pipe examined, 
seeing that he was ignorant of the order on that subject." (See Appendix C. No. j.) 
The other reference, to M. Polo, of S. Geremia, runs as follows : — 

\_MCCCII. indie. XV. die VII F. Macii q fiat grd GUilld aurifici q ipe absolvat 
a pena t qua dicit icurisse p uno spolono sibi iueto veuiedo de Mestre ppe doinU Mad 
Pauli de Canareglo ui descenderat ad bibendu.'\ 

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


that Marco the Traveller was called to the Great Council after 
the date of the document in question. 

We have seen that the Traveller, and after him his House 
and his Book, acquired from his contemporaries the surname, or 
nickname rather, of // Milione. Different writers have given 
different explanations of the origin of this name ; some, beginning 
with his contemporary Fra Jacopo d'Acqui {supra, p. 5^), 
ascribing it to the family's having brought home a fortune of a 
million of lire, in fact to their being jnillionaires. This is the 
explanation followed by Sansovino, Marco Barbaro, Coronelli, 
and others.* More far-fetched is that of Fontanini, who 
supposes the name to have been given to the Book as 
containing a great number of stories, like the Cento Novelle or 
the Thousand and One Nights I But there can be no doubt 
that Ramusio's is the true, as it is the natural, explanation ; 
and that the name was bestowed on Marco by the young wits of 
his native city, because of his frequent use of a word which 
appears to have been then unusual, in his attempts to convey 
an idea of the vast wealth and magnificence of the Kaan's 
Treasury and Courtf Ramusio has told us {supra, p. 6) that 
he had seen Marco styled by this sobriquet in the Books of the 
Signory ; and it is pleasant to be able to confirm this by the 
next document which we cite. This is an extract from the 
Books of the Great Council under loth April, 1305, condoning 
the offence of a certain Bonocio of Mestre in smuggling wine, 
for whose penalty one of the sureties had been the NOBILIS ViR 
Marchus Paulo Milioni.J 

It is alleged that long after our Traveller's death there was 
always, in the Venetian Masques, one individual who assumed 
the character of Marco Milioni, and told Munchausenlike stories 

* Samoviiw, Venesia, Cittil Nobilissimae Singolare, Descritta, etc., Ven. 1581, f. 
236 V. ; Barbaro, Alb^ ; Coronelli, Atlante Veneto, I. 19. 

t The word Alillio occurs several times in the Chronicle of the Doge Andrea 
Dandolo, who wrote about 1342 ; and Milton occurs at least once (besides the appli- 
cation of the term to Polo) in the History of Giovanni Villani ; viz. when he speaks 
of the TreasuT)- of A\'ignon : — " diciotto milioni di fiorini d'oro ec. che ogni milione 
i vtille migliaja di fiorini d" oro la valuta." (xi. 20, § I ; Ditcange, and Vocab. Univ. 
Ital.). But the definition, thought necessary by Villani, in itself points to the use 
of the word as rare. Domilion occurs in the estimated value of houses at Venice in 
1367, recorded in the Cronaca Ma^na in St. Mark's Library, (Romanin, III. 385). 

X " Also ; that Pardon be granted to Bonocio of Mestre for that 152 lire in which 
he stood condemned by the Captains of the Posts, on account of wine smuggled by 
him, in such wise : to wit, that he was to pay the said fine in 4 years by annual 


to divert the vulgar. Such, if this be true, was the honour of our 
prophet among the populace of his own country.* 

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

This Prince, brother of Philip the Fair, in 1301 had married 
Catharine, daughter and heiress of Philip de Courtenay, titular 
Polo's reia- Emperor of Constantinople, and on the strength of 
TWbauit^de ^^'^ marriage had at a later date set up his own claim 
Cepoy. ^Q |-|^g Empire of the East. To this he was prompted 
by Pope Clement V., who in the beginning of 1306 wrote to 
Venice, stimulating that Government to take part in the enter- 
prise. In the same year, Charles and his wife sent as their envoys 
to Venice, in connection with this matter, a noble knight called 
Thibault de Cepoy, along with an ecclesiastic of Chartres 
called Pierre le Riche, and these two succeeded in executing a 
treaty of alliance with Venice, of which the original, dated 14th 
December, 1306, exists at Paris. Thibault de Cepoy eventu- 
ally went on to Greece with a squadron of Venetian Galleys, 
but accomplished nothing of moment, and returned to his 
master in i3io.-|- 

During the stay of Thibault at Venice he seems to have 
made acquaintance with Marco Polo, and to have received from 
him a copy of his Book. This is recorded in a curious note 
which appears on two existing MSS. of Polo's Book, viz., that 

instalments of one fourth, to be retrenched from the pay due to him on his journey in 
the suite of our ambassadors, with assurance that anything then remaining deficient 
of his instalments should be made good by himself or his securities. And his securities 
are the Nobles Pietro Morosini and Marco Paulo Milion." Under Miliou is 
written in an ancient hand " mortuus.^' (See Appendix C, No. 4.) 

* Humboldt tells this [Examen, II. 221), sWtgxng Jacopo cCAcqui as authority; 
and Libri {H. des Sciences Alathimatiques, II. 149), quoting Doglioni, Historia 
Veneziana. But neither authority bears out the citations. The story seems really 
to come from Amoretti's commentary on the Voyage du Cap. L. F. Maldonado, 
Plaisance, 1812, p. 67. Amoretti quotes as authority Pignoria, Degli Dei Antichi. 

An odd revival of this old libel was mentioned to me recently by Mr. George 
Mofiatt. When he was at school it was common among the boys to express incredulity 
by the phrase : " Oh, what a Marco Polo ! " 

t Thibault, according to Ducange, was in 1307 named Grand Master of the 
Arblasteers of France ; and Buchon says his portrait is at Versailles among the 
Admirals (No. 1 170). Ramon de Muntaner fell in with the Seigneur de Cepoy in 
Greece, and speaks of him as " but a Captain of the Wind, as his Master was King 
of the Wind." (See Ducange, H. de V Empire de Const, sous les Emp. Francois, 
Venice ed. 1729, pp. 109, no; Buchon, Chroniques Etrangires, pp. Iv. 467-470.) 


of the Paris Library (10,270 or Fr. 5649), and that of Bern, 
which is substantially identical in its text with the former, and is, 
as I believe, a copy of it.* The note runs as follows : — 

" Here you have the Book of which My Lord Thiebault, Knight and 
Lord of Cepoy, (whom may God assoil !) requested a copy from Sire 
>L\RC Pol, Burgess and Resident of the City of Venice. And the said Sire 
Marc Pol, being a very honourable Person, of high character and respect in 
many countries, because of his desire that what he had witnessed should be 
known throughout the World, and also for the honour and reverence he bore 
to the most excellent and puissant Prince my Lord Charles, Son of the 
King of France and Count of Valois, gave and presented to the aforesaid 
Lord of Cepoy the first copy (that was taken) of his said Book after he had 
made the same. And very pleasing it was to him that his Book should be 
carried to the noble country of France and there made known by so worthy 
a gentleman. And from that copy which the said Messire Thibault, Sire de 
Cepoy above-named, did carry into France, Messire John, who was his eldest 
son and is the present Sire de Cepoy,! after his Father's decease did have a 
copy made, and that very first copy that was made of the Book after its 
being carried into France he did present to his very dear and dread Lord 
Monseigneur de Valois. Thereafter he gave copies of it to such of his 
friends as asked for them. 

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

Of the bearings of this memorandum on the literary historj'' 
of Polo's Book we shall speak in a following section. 

46. When Marco married we have not been able to ascertain, 

but it was no doubt early in the 14th century, for in 1324, we 

find that he had two married daughters besides one un- „. 

o His mar- 

married. His wife's Christian name was Donata, but ^l^\. 

of her family we have as yet found no assurance. I all^mer-^"''^" 

suspect, however, that her name may have been *^^^'" 

Loredano {yide infra, p. 77). 

Under 1311 we find a document which is of considerable in- 

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

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


terest, because it is the only one yet discovered which exhibits 
Marco under the aspect of a practical trader. It is the judgment 
of the Court of Requests upon a suit brought by the Noble 
Marco Polo of the parish of S. Giovanni Grisostomo against 
one Paulo Girardo of S. Apollinare. It appears that Marco had 
entrusted to the latter as a commission agent for sale, on an 
agreement for half profits, a pound and a half of musk, priced at 
six lire of grossi (about 22/. \os. in value of silver) the pound. 
Girardo had sold half-a-pound at that rate, and the remaining 
pound which he brought back was deficient of a saggio, or, one- 
sixth of an ounce, but he had accounted for neither the sale nor 
the deficiency. Hence Marco sues him for three lire of Grossi, 
the price of the half-pound sold, and for twenty grossi as the 
value of the saggio. And the Judges cast the defendant in the 
amount with costs, and the penalty of imprisonment in the 
common gaol of Venice if the amounts were not paid within a 
suitable term.* 

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

47. We catch sight of our Traveller only once more. It is 
Marco °^ ^^^ 9^^ °^ January, 1324; he is labouring with 

Win an^^^' disease, under which he is sinking day by day ; and he 
Death. j^g^g ggj^^ fQj. Giovanni Giustiniani, Priest of S. Proculo 
and Notary, to make his Last Will and Testament. It runs 
thus : — 

" In the Name of the Eternal God Amen ! 

" In the year from the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 1323, on the 

* The document is given in Appendix C, No. 5. It was found by Comm. 
Barozzi, the Director of the Museo Civico, when he had most kindly accompanied me 
to aid in the search for certain other documents in the archives of the Casa di 
Ricovero, or Poor House of Venice. These archives contain a great mass of testa- 
mentary and other documents, wliich probably have come into that singular depository 
in connection with bequests to public charities. « 

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


9th day of the month of January, in the first half of the 7th Indiction,* at 

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

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

" WTiereby I constitute as my Trustees Donata my beloved wife, and 
my dear daughters Fantina, Bellela, and MORETA,t in order that after 
my decease they may execute the dispositions and bequests which I am 
about to make herein. 

'• First of all : I will and direct that the proper Tithe be paid. J And over 
and above the said tithe I direct that 2000 lire of Venice denari be dis- 
tributed as follows : § 

" Viz., 20 soldi of Venice grossi to the Monastery of St. Lawrence where 

I desire to be buried. 

* The L^al Year at Venice b^an on the ist of March. And 1324 was 7th of 
the Indiction. Hence the date is, according to the modem Calendar, 1324. 

+ Marsden says of Moreta and Fantina, the only daughters named by Ramasio, 
that these may be thought rather familiar term? of endearment than baptismal names. 
This is a mistake however. Fantina is from one of the parochial saints of Venice, 
S. Fantino, and the male name was borne by sundry Venetians, among others by a 
son of Henry Dandolo's. Moreta is perhaps a variation of Maroca, which seems to 
have been a family name among the Polos. We find also the male name of Bellela, 
written Bdkllo, Bellero, Belktto. 

X The Decinia went to the Bishop of Castello (eventually converted into Patriarch 
of Venice) to di^^de between himself, the Clergy, the Church, and the Poor. It 
became a source of much bad feeling, which came to a head after the plague of 1348, 
%vhen some families had to pay the tenth three times within a very short space. The 
existing Bishop agreed to a composition, but his successor Paolo Foscari (1367) 
claimed that on the death of everj- citizen an exact inventory should be made, and a 
fall tithe levied. The Signorj' fought hard with the Bishop, but he fled to the Papal 
Court and refused all concession. After his death in 1376 a composition was made 
for 5500 ducats yearly. {Romanin, II. 406; III. 161, 165.) 

§ There is a difficulty about estimating the value of these sums from the varietj- of 
Venice pounds or lire. Thus the Lira dei piccoli was reckoned 3 to the ducat or 
zecchin, the Lira ai grossi 2 to the ducat, but the Lira da grossi or Lira dimprestidi 
was equal to 10 ducats, or (allowing for higher value of silver then) about 3/. 15^. ; 
a little more than the equivalent of the then Pound sterling. This last money is 
specified in some oi the bequests, as in the 20 soldi (or I lira) to St. Lorenzo, and in 
the annuity of 8 lire to Polo's wife ; but it seems doubtful what money is meant when 
libra only or libra denarioriim venetortim is used. And this doubt is not new. 
Gallicciolli relates that in 1232 Giacomo ^Menotto left to the Church of S. Cassiano 
as an annuity libras denariorum venetorum quatuor. TUl 1427 the church received • 
the income as of lire dei piccoli, but on bringing a suit on the subject it was adjudged 
that lire ai grossi vteie to be understood. {Delle Mem. Vemt. Ant. II. 18.) This 
>'0T\, however, cuts both ways, and does not decide our doubt. 



"Also 300 lire of Venice denari to my sister-in-law Ysabeta QuiRiNO,* 
that she owes me. 

"Also 40 soldi to each of the Monasteries and Hospitals all the way from 
Grado to Capo d'Argine.t 

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

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

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

"Also I release Peter the Tartar, my servant, from all bondage, as com- 
pletely as I pray God to release mine own soul from all sin and guilt. And 
I also remit him whatever he may have gained by work at his own house ; 
and over and above I bequeath him 100 lire of Venice denari.§ 

* The form of the name Ysabeta aptly illustrates the transition that seems so 
strange from Elizabeth into the Isabel that the Spaniards made of it. 

t I.e. the extent of what was properly called the Dogado, all along the Lagoons 
from Grado on the extreme east to Capo d'Argine (Cavarzere at the mouth of the 
Adige) on the extreme west. 

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

390- ) 

§ A few years after Ser Marco's death (1328) we find the Great Council granting 
to this Peter the rights of a natural Venetian, as having been a long time at Venice, 
and well-conducted, (See App. C, Calendar of Documents, No. 13.) This might give 
some additional colour to M. Pauthier's supposition that this Peter the Tartar was a 
faithful servant who had accompanied Messer Marco from the East 30 years before. 
But yet the supposition is probably unfounded. Slavery and slave-trade were very 
prevalent at Venice in the Middle Ages, and V. Lazari, a writer who examined a 
great many records connected therewith, found that by far the greater number of 
slaves were described as Tartars. There does not seem to be any clear information 
as to how they were imported, but probably from the factories on the Black Sea, 
especially Tana after its establishment. 

A tax of S ducats per head was set on the export of slaves in 1379, and as the 
revenue so received under the Doge Tommaso Mocenigo (1414-1423) amounted 
(so says Lazari) to 50,000 ducats, the startling conclusion is that 10,000 slaves yearly 
were exported ! This it is difficult to accept. The slaves were chiefly employed in 
domestic service, and the records indicate the women to have been about twice as 
numerous as the men. The highest price recorded is 87 ducats paid for a Russian 
girl sold in 1429. All the higher prices are for young women ; a significant circum- 
stance. With the existence of this system we may safely connect the extraordinary 
frequence of mention of illegitimate children in Venetian wills and genealogies. (See 
Lazari, Del Traffico degli Schiavi in Venezia, etc. , in Aliscellanea di Storia Italiana, 
I. 463 seqq.) In 1308 the Khan Toktai of Kipchak (see Polo, II. 496), hearing that 
the Genoese and other Franks were in the habit of carrying off Tartar children to sell, 


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

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

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

" And if any one shall presume to infringe or violate this Will, may he 
incui the malediction of God Almighty, and abide bound under the anathema 
of the 318 Fathers ; and farthermore he shall forfeit to my Trustees afore- 
said five pounds of gold ; t and so let this my Testament abide in force. 
The signature of the above named Messer Marco Paulo who gave instruc- 
tions for this deed. 

" + I Peter Grifon, Priest, Witness. 

"* I Humfrey Barberi, Witness. 

" t I John Giustiniani, Priest of S. Proculo, and Notary, 

have completed and authenticated (this testament)." i 

sent a force against Caffa, which was occupied without resistance, the people taking 
refuge in their ships. The Khan also seized the Genoese property in Sarai. {Heyd. 
II. 27.) 

* *^ Stracium et onine capud niassaridorum" ', in Scotch phrase ^' napery and 
plenishing." A Venetian statute of 1242 prescribes that a bequest oi massariticum 
shall be held to carry to the legatee all articles of common family use except those of 
gold and silver plate or jeweller's work. (See Ducange, sub voce.) Stracci is still used 
technically in Venice for "household linen." 

t In the original aureas libras quinque. According to Marino Sanudo the 
Younger (Vite dei Dogi in Muratori^ xxii. 521) this should be pounds or lire of 
aureole, the name of a silver coin struck by and named after the Doge Aurio 
Maslropietro (1178-1192) : " Ancora fu fatta una Moneta d'argento che si chiamava 
Aureola per la casata del Doge ; i quella Moneta che i Xotai de Venezia nuttevatio 
di pena sot to i loro instrumenti." But this was a vulgar error. An example of the 
penalty of 5 pounds of gold is quoted from a decree of 960 ; and the penalty is 
sometimes Expressed '^^ auri purissimi librae 5." A coin called the lira d'oro or 
redonda is alleged to have been in use before the ducat was introduced. (See 
Gallicciolli, II. 16.) But another authority seems to identify the lira a oro with the 
lira dei grossi. (See Zanetli, Nuova Race, delle Morute b'c. d' Italia, \TJ<i. I. 

% We give a photographic reduction of the original document. This, 

and the other two Polo Wills already quoted, had come into the possession of 

the Noble Filippo Balbi, and were by him presented in our own time to the St. 

' llf ^^ Library. They are all on parchment, in writing of that age, and have been 

;xially examined and declared to be originals. They were first published by 

VOL. I. m 


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

48. He was buried, no doubt, according to his declared wish, 
Place of in the Church of S. Lorenzo; and indeed Sansovino 

Sepulture. , . , - . _ , . _ 

Professed bcars testimony to the fact m a confused notice of our 

Portraits of rr-. , , , -n i 

Polo. 1 raveller.-]- But there does not seem to have been any 

monument to Marco, though the sarcophagus which had been 
erected to his father Nicolo, by his own filial care, existed till near 
the end of the i6th century in the porch or corridor leading 
to the old Church of S. Lorenzo, and bore the inscription : 
"Sepultura Domini Nicolai Paulo de contrata S. 
lOANNIS GrisOSTEMI." The church was renewed from its 
foundations in 1592, and then, probably, the sarcophagus was 
cast aside and lost, and with it all certainty as to the position 
of the tomb.j 

Cicogna, Iscrizioni Veneziane, III. 489-493. We give Marco's in the original 
language, line for line with the facsimile, in Appendix C. 

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

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

t " Under the angiporta (of S. Lorenzo) [see plate] is buried that Marco Polo sur- 
named Milione, who wrote the Travels in the New World, and who was the first 
before Christopher Columbus to discover new countries. No faith was put in him 
because of the extravagant things that he recounted ; but in the days of our Fathers 
Columbus augmented belief in him, by discovering that part of the world which 
eminent men had heretofore judged to be uninhabited." {Venezia .... Descritta, 
etc., f. 23 V.) Marco Barbaro attests the same inscription in his Genealogies (copy 
in Museo Civico at Venice). 

X Cicogna t II. 385. 



There is no portrait of Marco Polo in existence with any claim 
to authenticity. The quaint figure which we give in the Biblio- 
graphy^ vol. ii, p. 555, extracted from the earliest printed edition 
of his book, can certainly make no such pretension. The oldest 
one after this is probably a picture in the collection of Monsignor 
Badia at Rome, of which I am now able, by the owner's courtesy, 
to give a copy. It is set down in the catalogue to Titian, but 
is probably a work of 1600, or thereabouts, to which the aspect 
and costume belong. It is inscribed '^Marcus Polvs Venetvs 
Totivs Or bis et Indie Peregrator Primus^ Its history unfortunately 
cannot be traced, but I believe it came from a collection at 

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

Urbino. A marble statue was erected in his honour by a family 
at Venice in the 17th century, and is still to be seen in the 
Palazzo Morosini-Gattemburg in the Campo S. Stefano in that 
city. The medallion portrait on the wall of the Saladello Sctido 
in the ducal palace, and which was engraved in Bettoni's 
"Collection of Portraits of Illustrious Italians," is a work of 
imagination painted by Francesco Griselini in 1761.* From 
this, however, was taken the medal by Fabris, which was struck 
in 1847 in honour of the last meeting of the Italian Congress© 
Scientifico ; and from the medal again is copied, I believe, the 
elegant woodcut which adorns the introduction to M. Pauthier's 

Lazari, xxxi. 

VOL. I. 

7n 2 


edition, though without any information as to its history. A 
handsome bust, by Augusto Gamba, has lately been placed 
among the illustrious Venetians in the inner arcade of the Ducal 
Palace.* There is also a mosaic portrait of Polo, opposite the 
similar portrait of Columbus in the Municipio at Genoa. 

49. From the short series of documents recently alluded to,*!* 
we gather all that we know of the remaining history of Marco 
Further Polo's immediate family. We have seen in his will an 
thePok)°^ indication that the two elder daughters, Fantina and 
Family. Bellcla, were married before his death. In 1333 we 
find the youngest, Moreta, also a married woman, and Bellela 
deceased. In 1336 we find that their mother Donata had died 
in the interval. We learn, too, that Fantina's husband was 
Marco Bragadino, and Moreta's, Ranuzzo Dolfino.| The 
name of Bellela's husband does not appear. 

Fantina's husband is probably the Marco Bragadino, son of 
Pietro, who in 1346 is mentioned to have been sent as 
Provveditore-Generale to act against the Patriarch of Acqui- 
leia.§ And in 1379 we find Donna Fantina herself, pre- 
sumably in widowhood, assessed as a resident of S. Giovanni 
Grisostomo, on the Estimo or forced loan for the Genoese war, 
at 1300 lire, whilst Pietro Bragadino of the same parish — her son 
as I imagine — is assessed at 1500 //r^. || [See vol. ii., Calendar.'] 

The documents show a few other incidents which may be 
briefly noted. In 1326 we have the record of a charge against 
one Zanino Grioni for insulting Donna Moreta in the Campo 
of San Vitale ; a misdemeanour punished by the Council of 
Forty with two months' imprisonment. 

* In the first edition I noticed briefly a statement that had reached me from China 
that, in the Temple at Canton vulgarly called "of the 500 gods," there is a foreign 
figure which from the name attached had been supposed to represent Marco Polo ! 
From what I have heard from Mr. Wylie, a very competent authority, this is 
nonsense. The temple contains 500 figures of Arhans or Buddhist saints, and one of 
these attracts attention from having a hat like a sailor's straw hat. Mr. Wylie had 
not remarked the name. [A model of this figure was exhibited at Venice at the 
international Geographical Congress, in 188 1. I give a reproduction of this figure 
and of the Temple of 500 Genii {Fa I.uni Sze) at Canton, from drawings by Felix 
Regamey made after photographs sent to me by my late friend, M, Camille Imbauh 
Huart, French Consul at Canton. — H. C] 

t These documents are noted in Appendix C, Nos. 9-12, 14, 17, 18. 

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

§ Caplellari (see p. 77, J) under Bragadino. \\ Ibid, and Gallicciolli, II. 146. 




Mosaic Portrait of Marco Polo at Genoa. 

[ Jo /ace p. 76. 


In March, 1328, Marco Polo, called Marcolino, of St. John 
Chrysostom (see p. 66), represents before the Domini Advo- 
catores of the Republic that certain iinprestita that had belonged 
to the late Maffeo Polo the Elder, had been alienated and trans- 
ferred in May, 13 18, by the late Marco Polo of St. John Chry- 
sostom and since his death by his heirs, without regard to the 
rights of the said Marcolino, to whom the said Messer Maffeo 
had bequeathed 1000 lire by his will executed on 6th February, 
1308 {i.e. 1309). The Advocatores find that the transfer was 
to that extent unjust and improper, and they order that to the 
same extent it should be revoked and annulled. Two months 
later the Lady Donata makes rather an unpleasant figure before 
the Council of Forty, It would seem that on the claim of 
Messer Bertuccio Quirino a mandate of sequestration had been 
issued by the Court of Requests affecting certain articles in the 
Ca' Polo ; including two bags of money which had been tied and 
sealed, but left in custody of the Lady Donata. The sum so 
sealed was about 80 lire of grossi (300/. in silver value), but 
when opened only 45 lire and 22 grossi (about 170/.) were found 
therein, and the Lady was accused of abstracting the balance 
nan bono viodo. Probably she acted, as ladies sometimes do, on 
a strong sense of her own rights, and a weak sense of the claims 
of law. But the Council pronounced against her, ordering 
restitution, and a fine of 200 lire over and above "«/ ceteris 
iranseat in exemplum." * 

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

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

The /ire of the fine are not specified ; but probably ai grossi, which would be = 
37/. I05. ; not, we hope, dei grossi ! 

t Yet, if the family were so wealthy as tradition represents, it is strange that 
Marco's brother ^Iafieo, after receiving a share of his father's property, should have 
possessed barely 10,000 lire, probably equivalent to 5000 ducats at most (See p. 
6), supra.) 

t An Agnes Loredano, Abbess of S. Maria delle Vergini, died in 1397. (Cicogna, 
V. 91 and 629.) The interval of 61 years makes it somewhat improbable that it 
should be the same. 



Respecting the further history of the family there is nothing- 
certain, nor can we give unhesitating faith to Ramusio's state- 
ment that the last male descendant of the Polos of S. Giovanni 
Grisostomo was Marco, who died Castellano of Verona in 1417 
(according to others, 141 8, or 1425),* and that the family 
property then passed to Maria (or Anna^ as she is styled in a 
MS. statement furnished to me from Venice), who was married 
in 1 40 1 to Benedetto Cornaro, and again in 1414 to Azzo 
Trevisan. Her descendant in the fourth generation by the latter 
was Marc Antonio Trevisano,! who was chosen Doge in 1553. 

Arms of the Trevisan family. 

The genealogy recorded by Marco Barbaro, as drawn up 
from documents by Ramusio, makes the Castellano of Verona a 
grandson of our Marco by a son Maffeo, whom we may safely 
pronounce not to have existed, and makes Maria the daughter of 
Maffeo, Marco's brother — that is to say, makes a lady marry in 
1414 and have children, whose father was born in 1271 at the 
very latest ! The genealogy is given in several other ways, but 
as I have satisfied myself that they all (except perhaps this of 
Barbaro's, which we see to be otherwise erroneous) confound to- 
gether the two distinct families of Polo of S. Geremia and Polo 
of S. Giov. Grisostomo, I reserve my faith, and abstain from 
presenting them. Assuming that the Marco or Marcolino Polo, 
spoken of in the preceding page, was a near relation (as is 

* In the Museo Civico (No. 2271 of the Cicogna collection) there is a commission 
addressed by the Doge Michiel Steno in \i,o'i,'' NobiliViro Marcho PMth,'\\o\\\\\\:^\:m.g 
him Podesta of Aroslica (a Castello of the Vicentino). This is probably the same Marco. 

t The descent runs: (i) Azzo = Maria Polo; (2) Febo, Ca'ptain at Padua; 
(3) Zaccaria, Senator ; (4) Domenico, Procurator of St. Mark's ; (5) Marc' Antonio, 
'Doge. (Cappellari, Campidoglio Veiicto, MS. St. Mark's Lib.). 

Marc' Antonio nolebat ducari and after election desired to renounce. His friends 
persuaded him to retain office, but he lived scarcely a year after. {Cicogna, lY. 566,) 
[Seep. <?.] 

The I\eudo -Marco Polo at Canton. \,To/ace p. 7S. 


probable, though perhaps an illegitimate one), he is the only male 
descendant of old Andrea of San Felice whom we can indicate as 
having survived Marco himself; and from a study of the links in 
the professed genealogies I think it not unlikely that both Marco 
the Castellano of Verona and Maria Trevisan belonged to the 
branch of S. Geremia.* [See vol. ii., App. C, p. 510.] 

[49. bis. — It is interesting to note some of the reliqucs left 
by our traveller. 

I. The unfortunate Doge of Venice, Marino Faliero, seems to 
have possessed many souvenirs of Marco Polo, and among them 
two manuscripts, one in the handwriting of his celebrated fellow- 
citizen (?), and one adorned with miniatures. M. Julius von 
Schlosser has reprinted {Die dltesten Medaillen und die Antike, 
Bd. XVIII., Jahrb. d. Kunsthist. Sainnil. d. Allerhochsten 
Kaiserhauses, Vienna, 1897, pp. 42-43) from the Biilletitio di arti, 
industrie e curiosita veneziane, III., 1880-81, p. ioi,t the inventory 
of the curiosities kept in the " Red Chamber " of Marino Faliero's 
palace in the Parish of the SS. Apostles ; we give the following 
abstract of it : — 

Anno ab incarnacione domini nostri Jesu Christi 1351° indictione sexta 

* In Appendix B will be found tabulated all the facts that seem to be positively 
ascertained as to the Polo genealc^es. 

In the Venetian archives occurs a procuration executed by the Doge in favour of 
the Nobilis Vir Ser Marco Paulo that he may present himself before the king of 
Sicily ; under date, Venice 9th November, 1342. And some years later we have in 
the Sicilian Archives an order by King Lewis of Sicily, directed to the Maestri 
Procuratori of Messina, which grants to Marco Poi.o of Venice, on account of 
services rendered to the king's court, the privilege of free import and export at the 
port of Messina, without payment of customs of goods to the amount annually of 20 
ounces. Dated in Catania 13th January, 1346(1347?). 

For the former notice I am indebted to the courtesy of Signer B. Cecchetti of the 
Venetian Archives, who cites it as "transcribed in the Commemor. IV. p. 5" ; for 
the latter to that of the Abate Carini of the Reale Archivio at Palermo ; it is in 
Archivio della Regia Cancellaria 1343- 1357, f- 58. 

The mission of this Marco Polo is mentioned also in a rescript of the Sicilian 
king Peter II., dated Messina, 14th November, 1340, in reference to certain claims 
of Venice, about which the said Marco appeared as the Doge's ambassador. This is 
printed in F. Testa, £>e Vitd et Reims Gestis Fedeiici II., SicilicB Regis, Panormi, 
1775, pp. 267 secjq. The Sicilian Antiquary Rosario Gregorio identifies the Envoy 
with our Marco, dead long before. (See Oj>ere scelte del Canon Ros. Gregorio, 
Palermo, 1845, 3za ediz., p. 352.) 

It is possible that this Marco, who from the latter notice seems to have been 
engaged in mercantile affairs, may have been the Marcolino above mentioned, but 
it is perhaps on the whole more probable that this nobilis vir is the Marco spoken of 
in the note at p. 7^. 

t La CoUezione del Doge Marin Faliero e i Tesori di Marco Polo, pp. 98-103. I 
have seen this article. — H. C. 


mensis aprilis. Inuentarium rerum qui sunt in camera rubea domi 
habitationis clarissimi domini Marini Faletro de confinio SS. 
Apostolorum, scriptum per me Jobannem, presbiterum, dicte ecclesie. 

Item alia capsaleta cum ogiis auri et argenti, inter quos unum anulum 
con inscriptione que dicit : Ciuble Can Marco Polo, et unum torques cum 
multis animalibus Tartarorum sculptis, que res donum dedit predictus 
Marcus cuidam Faletrorum. 

Itetn 2 capsalete de corio albo cum variis rebus auri et argenti, quas 
habuit praedictus Marcus a Barbarorum rege. 

Item I ensem mirabilem, qui habet 3 enses simul, quem habuit in suis 
itineribus praedictus MARCUS. 

Itetn I tenturam de pannis indicis, quam habuit praedictus MARCUS. 
Item de itineribus Marci praedicti liber in corio albo cum multis figuris. 
Item aliud volumen quod vocatur de locis init'abilibus Tartarorum^ 
scriptum matiu praedicti Marci. 

II. There is kept at the Louvre, in the very valuable 
collection of China Ware given by M. Ernest Grandiclier, a white 
porcelain incense-burner said to come from Marco Polo. This 
incense-burner, which belonged to Baron Davillier, who received 
it, as a present, from one of the keepers of the Treasury of 
St, Mark's at Venice, is an octagonal ting from the Fo-kien 
province, and of the time of the Sung Dynasty. By the kind 
permission of M. P. Grandidier, we reproduce it from PI. II. 
6, of the Ceramique chinoise, Paris, 1894, published by this 
learned amateur. — H. C] 

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


50. The Book itself consists essentially of Two Parts. 
First, of a Prologue, as it is termed, the only part which is 
General actual pcrsonal narrative, and which relates, in a very 
wha^t"the ° interesting but far too brief manner, the circumstances 
tl'ins.''""' which led the two elder Polos to the Kaan's Court, 
and those of their second journey with Mark, and of their return 
to Persia through the Indian Seas. Secondly, of a long series of 
chapters of very unequal length, descriptive of notable sights and 
products, of curious manners and remarkable events, relating to 
the different nations and states of Asia, but, above all, to the 

Porcelain Incense-Bumer, from the Louvre. 

Vfo/ace p. So. 


Emperor Kubldi, his court, wars, and administration. A series 
of chapters near the close treats in a verbose and monotonous 
manner of sundry wars that took place between the various 
branches of the House of Chinghiz in the latter half of the 1 3th 
century. This last series is either omitted or greatly curtailed in 
all the copies and versions except one ; a circumstance perfectly 
accounted for by the absence of interest as well as value in the 
bulk of these chapters. Indeed, desirous though I have been to 
give the Traveller's work complete, and sharing the dislike that 
every man who uses books must bear to abridgments, I have 
felt that it would be sheer v/aste and dead-weight to print these 
chapters in full. 

This second and main portion of the Work is in its oldest 
forms undivided, the chapters running on consecutively to the 
end.* In some very early Italian or Venetian version, which 
Friar Pipino translated into Latin, it was divided into three 
Books, and this convenient division has generally been adhered 
to. We have adopted M. Pauthier's suggestion in making 
the final series of chapters, chiefly historical, into a Fourth. 

51. As regards the language in which Marco's Book was first 
committed to writing, we have seen that Ramusio assumed, 
somewhat arbitrarily, that it was Latin : Marsden , 

•' ' ' Language 

supposed it to have been the Venetian dialect ; Bal- "[/^In^, 
delli Boni first showed, in his elaborate edition ^°^^- 
(Florence, 1827), by arguments that have been illustrated 
and corroborated by learned men since, that it was French. 

That the work was originally written in some Italian dialect 
was a natural presumption, and slight contemporary evidence 
can be alleged in its favour; for Fra Pipino, in the Latin 
version of the work, executed whilst Marco still lived, describes 
his task as a translation de vulgari. And in one M^ copy of 
the same Friar Pipino's Chronicle, existing in the library at 
Modena, he refers to the said version as made " ex vulgari 
idiomate Lombardico." But though it may seem improbable 
that at so early a date a Latin version should have been made 
at second hand, I believe this to have been the case, and that 
some internal evidence also is traceable that Pipino translated 
not from the original but from an Italian version of the original. 

* 232 chapters in the oldest French which we quote as the Geographic Text (or 
G. T.), 200 in Pauthier's Text, 183 in the Crusca Italian. - ' 


The oldest MS. (it is supposed) in any Italian dialect is one 
in the Magliabecchian Library at Florence, which is known in 
Italy as L'Oitima, on account of the purity of its Tuscan, and as 
Delia Crusca from its being one of the authorities cited by that 
body in their Vocabulary.* It bears on its face the following 
note in Italian : — 

" This Book called the Navigation of Messer Marco Polo, a noble 
Citizen of Venice, was written in Florence by Michael Ormanni my great 
grandfather by the Mother's side, who died in the Year of Grace One 
Thousand Three Hundred and Nine ; and my mother brought it into our 
Family of Del Riccio, and it belongs to me Pier del Riccio and to my 
Brother; 1452." 

As far as I can learn, the age which this note implies is 
considered to be supported by the character of the MS. itselff 
If it be accepted, the latter is a performance going back to 
within eleven years at most of the first dictation of the Travels. 
At first sight, therefore, this would rather argue that the original 
had been written in pure Tuscan. But when Baldelli came to 
prepare it for the press he found manifest indications of its 
being a Translation from the French. Some of these he has 
noted ; others have followed up the same line of comparison. 
We give some detailed examples in a note.J 

* The MS. has been printed by Baldelli as above, and again by Bartoli in 1863. 

t This is somewhat peculiar. I traced a few lines of it, which with Del Riccio's 
note were given in facsimile in the First Edition. 

% The Crusca is cited from Bartoli's edition. 

French idioms are frequent, as I'uomo for the French on ; qttattro-vmti instead of 
oltanta ; etc. 

We have at p. 35, " Questo piano i molto cavo," which is nonsense, but is 
explained by reference to the French (G. T. ) " Voz di qt^ il est celle plaingne mout 
chaue" {chaude). 

The bread in Kerman is bitter, says the G. T. '^ for ce que Ceive hi est amer," 
because the water there is bitter. The Crusca mistakes the last word and renders 
(p. 40) "<? questi i per lo mare che vi viene.^' 

^^ Sachids de voir qe endi*tm&n\.\exs,'" know for a tiuth that whilst , by some 

misunderstanding of the last word becomes (p. 129) " Sappiate di vero sanza 

^^ Mis de sel ioxi'i-W. monoie" — "They make money of salt," becomes (p. 168) 
" tnafannole da loro," sel being taken for a pronoun, whilst in another place set 
is transferred bodily without translation. 

" Chevoil,'" "hair" of the old French, appears in the Tuscan (p. 20) as cavagli, 
"horses." — "Za Grant Provence Jereraus," the great general province, appears 
(p. 68) as a province whose proper name is lenaraus. lu describing Kiibhii's 
expedition against Mien or Burma, Polo has a story of his calling on the Jugglers at 
bis court to undertake the job, promising them a Captain and other help, " Cheveiiain 



52. The French Text that we have been quoting, published 
by the Geographical Society of Paris in 1824, affords on the 
other hand the strongest corresponding proof that it is q,j p^g„^,j 
an original and not a Translation. Rude as is the u'^e/by' 
language of the manuscript (Fr. 11 16, formerly No. de^c^e?-*'^ 
7367, of Paris Library), it is, in the correctness of the ^p^'^' 
proper names, and the intelligible exhibition of the itineraries, 
much superior to any form of the Work previously published. 

The language is very peculiar. We are obliged to call it 
French, but it is not " Frenche of Paris." "Its style," says 
Paulin Paris, " is about as like that of good French 
authors of the age, as in our day the natural accent of 
a German, an Englishman, or an Italian, is like that of a 
citizen of Paris or Blois." The author is at war with all the 
practices of French grammar ; subject and object, numbers, 
moods, and tenses, are in consummate confusion. Even 
readers of his own day must at times have been fain to 
guess his meaning. Italian words are constantly introduced, 
either quite in the crude or rudely Gallicized.* And words 

et aide." This has fairly puzzled the Tuscan, who converts these (p. 186) into two 
Tartar tribes, ^' quegli d' Aide e quegli di Caveita." 

So also we have lievre for hare transferred without change ; lait, milk, appearing 
2&laido instead ol latte ; tris, rendered as " three" ; b»e, "mud," Italianised as btioi, 
"oxen," and so forth. Finally, in various places when Polo is explaining Oriental 
terms we find in the Tuscan MS. " cioe a dire in Francesco." 

The blunders mentioned are intelligible enough as in a version ^Ti^wj the French ; 
but in the description of the Indian pearl-fishery we have a startling one not so easy 
to account for. The French says, " the divers gather the sea-oysters {hostrige de 
Mer), and in these the pearls are found." This appears in the Tuscan in the 
extraordinary form that the divers catch those fishes called Herrings (Aringhe), and 
in those Herrings are found the Pearls ! 

* As examples of these Italianisms : " Et ont del olio de la lanpe dau sepolchro de 
Crist " ; '^V Angel ven en vision pour mesaj'es de Deu h un Veschevo qe viout estoient 
home de sante vite"; "i? certes il estoit bien beizongno"; "«« trap caut ne trop 
fredo"; "/a crense" {credei.zx) % "remort" for noise (rumore)', "invemo"; 
"jorno"; "dementique" (dinienticato') ; "enferme" for sickly; "leign" {Jegno); 
"devisee" (dcvizia); "ammalaide" (ammalato), etc. etc. 

Professor Bianconi points out that there are also traces of Venetian dialect, as Pare 
ioi pere; Mojer for wife ; Zabater, cobbler ; cazaor, huntsman, etc. 

I have not been able to learn to what extent books in this kind of mixed language 
are extant. I have observed one, a romance in verse called Alacaire {Altfranzbsische 
Gedichte aus Venez. Handschriften, von Adolf Mussafia, Wien, 1864), the language 
of which is not unlike this jargon of Rustician's, e.g. : — 

" ' Dama,' fait-il, ' molto me poso merviler 
* De ves enfant quant le fi batecer 

De un signo qe le vi sor la spal'a droiturer 
Qe non ait nul se no filz d'inperer.'" — (p. 41) 


also, we may add, sometimes slip in which appear to be 
purely Oriental, just as is apt to happen with Anglo-Indians 
in these days.* All this is perfectly consistent with the 
supposition that we have in this MS. a copy at least of 
the original words as written down by Rusticiano a Tuscan, 
from the dictation of Marco an Orientalized Venetian, in 
French, a language foreign to both. 

But the character of the language as French is not its only 
peculiarity. There is in the style, apart from grammar or 
vocabulary, a rude angularity, a rough dramatism like that 
of oral narrative ; there is a want of proportion in the style 
of different parts, now over curt, now diffuse and wordy, with 
at times even a hammering reiteration ; a constant recurrence of 
pet colloquial phrases (in which, however, other literary works 
of the age partake) ; a frequent change in the spelling of the 
same proper names, even when recurring within a few lines, 
as if caught by ear only ; a literal following to and fro of the 
hesitations of the narrator ; a more general use of the third 
person in speaking of the Traveller, but an occasional lapse 
into the first. All these characteristics are strikingly indicative 
of the unrevised product of dictation, and many of them would 
necessarily disappear either in translation or in a revised copy. 

Of changes in representing the same proper name, take as 
an example that of the Kaan of Persia whom Polo calls 
Quiacatu (Kaikhatu), but also Acatu, Catu, and the like. 

As an example of the literal following of dictation take the 
following : — 

" Let us leave Rosia, and I will tell you about the Great Sea (the Euxine), 
and what provinces and nations lie round about it, all in detail ; and we will 

begin with Constantinople^ First, however, I should tell you about a 

province, etc. . , . There is nothing more worth mentioning, so I will 
speak of other subjects, — but there is one thing more to tell you about 
Rosia that I had forgotten. . . . Now then let us speak of the Great 
Sea as I was about to do. To be sure many merchants and others have 

* As examples of such Orientalisms : Bomts, "ebony," and calainanz, "pencases," 
seem to represent the Persian abnus and kalamdhn ; the dead are mourned by les 
meres et les Araines, the Harems ; in speaking of the land of the Ismaelites or 
Assassins, called Mulhete, i.e. the Arabic Muldhidah, "Heretics," he explains this 
term as meaning "des Aram" {Hardm, "the reprobate"). Speaking of the 
Viceroys of Chinese Provinces, we are told that they rendered their accounts yearly 
to the Safators of the Great Kaan. This is certainly an Oriental word. Sir II. 
Rawlinsonhas suggested that it stands for dafdtir (" registers or public books"), pi. of 
daftar. This seems probable, and in that case the true reading may have been dafators. 


been here, but still there are many again who know nothing about it, so it 
will be well to include it in our Book. We will do so then, and let us begin 
first with the Strait of Constantinople 

"At the Straits leading into the Great Sea, on the West Side, there is a 

hill called the Faro. But since beginning on this matter I have changed 

my mind, because so many people know all about it, so we will not put it in 
our description but go on to something else." (See vol. ii. p. 487 seqq^ 

And so on. 

As a specimen of tautology and hammering reiteration the 
following can scarcely be surpassed. The Traveller is speaking 
of the Chughi, i.e. the Indian Jogis : — 

" And there are among them certain devotees, called Chughi ; these are 
longer-lived than the other people, for they live from 150 to 200 years ; and 
yet they are so hale of body that they can go and come wheresoever they 
please, and do all the service needed for their monastery or their idols, and 
do it just as well as if they were younger ; and that comes of the great 
abstinence that they practise, in eating little food and only what is whole- 
some ; for they use to eat rice and milk more than anything else. And 
again I tell you that these Chughi who live such a long time as I have told 
you, do also eat what I am going to tell you, and you will think it a great 
matter. For I tell you that they take quicksilver and sulphur, and mix them 
together, and make a drink of them, and then they drink this, and they 
say that it adds to their life ; and in fact they do live much longer for it ; 
and I tell you that they do this twice every month. And let me tell you 
that these people use this drink from their infancy in order to live longer, 
and without fail those who live so long as I have told you use this drink 
of sulphur and quicksilver." (See G. T. p. 213.) 

Such talk as this does not survive the solvent of translation ; 
and we may be certain that we have here the nearest approach 
to the Traveller's reminiscences as they were taken down from his 
lips in the prison of Genoa. 

53. Another circumstance, heretofore I believe unnoticed, is 
in itself enough to demonstrate the Geographic Text to be the 
source of all other versions of the Work. It is this. Conclusive 

-,...., f proof that 

In reviewmg the various classes or types of texts theoid 
of Polo's Book, which we shall hereafter attempt to dis- b the source 

• . , . , . r ,- of all the 

criminate, there are certain proper names which we find others, 
in the different texts to take very different forms, each class 
adhering in the main to one particular form. 

Thus the names of the Mongol ladies introduced at pp. 32 and 
36 of this volume, which are in proper Oriental form Bulughdn 
and Kukdchin, appear in the class of MSS. which Pauthier has 
followed as Bolgara and Cogatra ; in the MSS. of Pipino's 


version, and those founded on it, including Ramusio, the names 
appear in the correcter forms Bolgana or Balgmia and Cogacin. 
Now all the forms Bolgana, Balgana, Bolgara, and Cogatra, 
Cocacin appear in the Geographic Text. 

Kaikhdtu Kaan appears in the Pauthier MSS. as Chiato, in 
the Pipinian as Acatu, in the Ramusian as Chiacato. All tJiree 
forms, Chiato, Achatu, and Quiacatu are found in the Geographic- 

The city of Koh-banan appears in the Pauthier MSS. as 
Cabanant, in the Pipinian and Ramusian editions as Cobinam or 
Cobinan. Both forms are found in the Geographic Text. 

The city of the Great Kaan (Khanbalig) is called in the 
Pauthier MSS. Cambaluc, in the Pipinian and Ramusian less 
correctly Cambalu. Both forms appear in the Geographic Text. 

The aboriginal People on the Burmese Frontier who received 
from the Western officers of the Mongols the Persian name 
(translated from that applied by the Chinese) of Zardanddn, or 
Gold-Teeth, appear in the Pauthier MSS. most accurately as 
Zardandan, but in the Pipinian as Ardandan (still further 
corrupted in some copies into Arcladam). Now both forms 
are found in the Geographic Text. Other examples might be 
given, but these I think may suffice to prove that this Text was 
the common source of both classes. 

In considering the question of the French original too we must 
remember what has been already said regarding Rusticien de 
Pise and his other French writings ; and we shall find hereafter 
an express testimony borne in the next generation that Marco's 
Book was composed in vulgari Gallico. 

54. But, after all, the circumstantial evidence that has been 
adduced from the texts themselves is the most conclusive. We 
Greatly have then every reason to believe both that the work 

diffused em- . . , , , . . _, , 

pioymentof was wHttcn m P rcuch, and that an existmg rrench 

French in . -. . .... 

that age. Text is a close representation of it as ongmally com- 
mitted to paper. And that being so we may cite some 
circumstances to show that the use of French or quasi-French for 
the purpose was not a fact of a very unusual or surprising nature. 
The French language had at that time almost as wide, perhaps 
relatively a wider, diffusion than it has now. It was still spoken 
at the Court of England, and still used by many English writers, 
of whom the authors or translators of the Round Table 


Romances at Henr>^ III.'s Court are examples* In 1249 
Alexander III. King of Scotland, at his coronation spoke in 
Latin and French; and in 1291 the English Chancellor address- 
ing the Scotch Parliament did so in French. At certain of the 
Oxford Colleges as late as 1328 it was an order that the students 
should converse colloquio latino vel saltern gallico.\ Late in the 
same century Gower had not ceased to use French, composing 
many poems in it, though apologizing for his want of skill 
therein : — 

" Et si jeo nai de Francois la faconde 

• • • « 

Jeo suis Englois ; si quier par tiele voie 
Estre excuse." X 

Indeed down to nearly 1385, boys in the English grammar- 
schools were taught to construe their Latin lessons into French.§ 
St. Francis of Assisi is said by some of his biographers to have 
had his original name changed to Francesco because of his early 
mastery of that language as a qualification for commerce. 
French had been the prevalent tongue of the Crusaders, and was 
that of the numerous Frank Courts which they established in the 
East, including Jerusalem and the states of the Syrian coast, 
Cyprus, Constantinople during the reign of the Courtenays, and 
the principalities of the Morea. The Catalan soldier and 
chronicler Ramon de Muntaner tells us that it was commonly 
said of the Morean chivalry that they spoke as good French as 
at Paris.ll Quasi-French at least was still spoken half a century 
later by the numerous Christians settled at Aleppo, as John 
Marignolli testifies ; H and if we may trust Sir John Maundevile 
the Soldan of Egypt himself and four of his chief Lords " spak 
Frensche righte zvel!"** Ghazan Kaan, the accomplished 
Mongol Sovereign of Persia, to whom our Traveller conveyed a 

* Luces du Gast, one of the first of these, introduces himself thus : — " Je Luces, 
Chevaliers et Sires du Chastel du Gast, voisins prochain de Salebieres, comme 
chevaliers amoureus enprens a translater du Latin en Fran5ois une partie de cette 
estoire, non mie pour ce que je sache gramment de Fran9ois, ainz apartient plus ma 
langue et ma parleure a la maniere de I'Engleterre que k celle de France, comme eel 
qui fu en Engleterre nez, mais tele est ma volentez et mon proposement, que je en 
langue fran^oise le translaterai." {Hist. Lilt, de La France, xv. 494.) 

t Hist. Litt. de la France, xv, 500. + Ibid. 508. 

§ Tyrwhitt's Essay on Lang., etc., of Chaucer, p. xxii. (Moxon's Ed. 1852.) 

II Chroniques Etrangeres, p. 502. 

IT " Loquuntur linguam quasi Gallicam, scilicet quasi de Cipro." (See Cathay, 
P- 332) •• Page 138. 


bride from Cambaluc, is said by the historian Rashiduddin to 
have known something of the Frank tongue, probably French.* 
Nay, if we may trust the author of the Romance of Richard 
CcEur-de-Lion, French was in his day the language of still higher 
spheres ! -j- 

Nor was Polo's case an exceptional one even among writers 
on the East who were not Frenchmen. Maundevile himself tells 
us that he put his book first " out of Latyn into Frensche," and 
then out of French into English.^ The History of the East 
which the Armenian Prince and Monk Hayton dictated to 
Nicolas Faulcon at Poictiers in 1307 was taken down in French. 
There are many other instances of the employment of French 
by foreign, and especially by Italian authors of that age. The 
Latin chronicle of the Benedictine Amato of Monte Cassino was 
translated into French early in the 13th century by another 
monk of the same abbey, at the particular desire of the Count of 
Militree (or Malta), " Pour ce quHl set lire et entendre fransoize et 
sen delittey § Martino da Canale, a countryman and contem- 
porary of Polo's, during the absence of the latter in the East 
wrote a Chronicle of Venice in the same language, as a reason 
for which he alleges its general popularity.|| The like does the 
most notable example of all, Brunetto Latini, Dante's master, 
who wrote in French his encyclopaedic and once highly popular 
work Li Tresor^ Other examples might be given, but in fact 

* Hammer's Jlchan, II. 148. 

t After the capture of Acre, Richard orders 60,000 Saracen prisoners to be 
executed : — 

They sayde : ' Sevnyors, tuez, tuez ! 
' Spares hem nought ! Behedith these ! ' 
Kyng Rychard herde the Aungelys voys, 
And thankyd God, and the Holy Croys." 
— Weber, II. 144. 

Note that, from the rhyme, the Angelic French was apparently pronounced 
" Too-eese! 7'oo-eese!" 

X [Refer to the edition of Mr. George F. Warner, 1889, for the Roxburghe Club, 
and to my own paper in the Tooting Poo, Vol. II., No. 4, regarding the compilation 
published under the name of Maundeville. Also App. L. 13 — H. C] 

§ U Ystoire de li Normand, etc., edited by M. ChampoUion-Figeac, Paris, 1835, 
p. V. 

II ^^ Force que lengiie Frenceise cort parmi le monde, et est la plus dehtable d. lire 
et h oir que nule autre, me sui-je entremis de translater Pancien estoire des Veneciens 
de Latin en Franceis.'^ (Archiv. Stor. Ital. viii. 268.) 

'i^^ Et se auams demandoit por quoi cist livres est escriz en Romans, selonc le langage 
des Francois, puisque nos somes Ytaliens, je diroie que ce est por. ij. raisons : Pwie, 
car nos somes en France ; et r autre porce que la parleure est plus delitable et plus 
commune d. toutes gens," (Li Livres dou Tresor, p. 3.) 

' They wer brought out off the toun, 
Save twenty, he heeld to raunsoun. 
They wer led into the place ful evene : 
Tker they herden A iitigeles off H evene : 


such illustration is superfluous when we consider that Rusticiano 
himself was a compiler of French Romances. 

But why the language of the Book as we see it in the 
Geographic Text should be so much more rude, inaccurate, and 
Italianized than that of Rusticiano's other writings, is a question 
to which I can suggest no reply quite satisfactory to myself. Is 
it possible that we have in it a literal representation of Polo's 
own language in dictating the stor}', — a rough draft which it 
was intended afterwards to reduce to better form, and which was 
so reduced (after a fashion) in French copies of another type, 
regarding which we shall have to speak presently ? * And, if this 
be the true answer, why should Polo have used a French jargon 
in which to tell his story ? Is it possible that his own mother 
Venetian, such as he had carried to the East with him and 
brought back again, was so little intelligible to Rusticiano that 
French of some kind was the handiest medium of communication 
between the two? I have known an Englishman and a 
Hollander driven to converse in Malay ; Chinese Christians of 
different provinces are said sometimes to take to English as the 
readiest means of intercommunication ; and the same is said 
even of Irish-speaking Irishmen from remote parts of the 

It is worthy of remark how many notable narratives of the 
Middle Ages have been dictated instead of being written by 
their authors, and that in cases where it is impossible to ascribe 
this to ignorance of writing. The Armenian Hayton, though 
evidently a well-read man, possibly could not write in Roman 
characters. But Joinville is an illustrious example. And the 
narratives of four of the most famous Mediaeval Travellers f 
seem to have been drawn from them by a kind of pressure, and 
committed to paper by other hands. I have elsewhere remarked 
this as indicating how little diffused was literary ambition or 
vanity ; but it would perhaps be more correct to ascribe it to that 
intense dislike which is still seen on the shores of the Mediter- 

* It is, however, not improbable that Rusticiano's hasty and abbreviated original 
was extended by a scribe who knew next to nothing of French ; otherwise it is hard 
to accoimt for such forms as perlinage (pelerinage), peseries (espiceries), proque (see 
voL ii. p. 370), oisi (G. T. p. 208), thochere (toucher), etc. (See Biofuani, 2nd 
Mem. pp. 30-32.) 

t Polo, Friar Odoric, Nicole Conti, Ibn Batuta. 

VOL, I, n 


ranean to the use of pen and ink. On certain of those shores at 
least there is scarcely any inconvenience that the majority of 
respectable and good-natured people will not tolerate — incon- 
venience to their neighbours be it understood — rather than put 
pen to paper for the purpose of preventing it. 

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

55. In treating of the various Texts of Polo's Book we must 
FourPrin. Heccssarily go into somc irksome detail. 
ofrlJt^^^^ Those Texts that have come down to us may be 

ffthVceo- classified under Four principal Types. 
^o\7^r' °' I- The First Type is that of the Geographic Text 

French. ^|- ^y|-^j(,]^ ^yg have already said so much. This is found 
nowhere complete except in the unique MS. of the Paris Library, 
to which it is stated to have come from the old Library of the 
French Kings at Blois. But the Italian Crusca, and the old 
Latin version (No. 3195 of the Paris Library) published with the 
Geographic Text, are evidently derived entirely from it, though 
both are considerably abridged. It is also demonstrable that 
neither of these copies has been translated from the other, for 
each has passages which the other omits, but that both have 
been taken, the one as a copy more or less loose, the other as a 
translation, from an intermediate Italian copy.* A special 

* In the following citations, the Geographic Text (G. T.) is quoted by page from 
the printed edition (1824) ; the Latin published in the same volume (G. L.) also by 
page ; the Crusca, as before, from Bartoli's edition of 1863. References in parentheses 
are to the present translation : — 

A. Passages showing the G. L. to be a translation from the Italian, and derived from 
the same Italian text as the Crusca. 

(I. 43). II hi so laborent le soiiran tapis dou monde. 
. . E quivi si fanno i sovraiii tappeti del mondo. 

. . Et ibi fiunt soriani et tapeti pulcriores de mundo. 

(I. 69). Et adonc le calif mande par tuit les cristiez . . . 
que en sa tere estoient. 
. . Ora mando lo aliffo per tutti gli Cristiani ch^ erano 

di !'i. 
. . Or misit califus pro Christianis qui erant ultra fluvium 

(the last words being cle.arly a misunderstanding 
of the Italian dild.). 


















difference lies in the fact that the Latin version is divided into 
three Books, whilst the Crusca has no such division. I shall 
show in a tabular form ^\iQ filiation of the texts which these facts 
seem to demonstrate (see Appendix G). 

There are other Italian MSS. of this type, some of which 
show signs of having been derived independently from the 
French;* but I have not been able to examine any of them 
with the care needful to make specific deductions regarding 






(II. 313). 






(I. 158)- 








(IL 119. 





, , 

Ont sosimain (sesamum) de coi il font le olio. 

Hanno sosimai onde fanno 1' olio. 

Habent turpes mantis (taking sosimani for sozze mani 

"Dirty hands"!). 
Cacciare e uccellare v' e lo migliore del mondo. 
Et est ibi optimum caciare et ucellare. 
Adonc treuve .... une Provence qe est encore de le 

confin dou Mangi. 
L' uomo truova una Pro^•incia cK i chiamata ancora 

delle confine de' Mangi. 
Invenit unam Provinciam qtiae vacatur Anchota de 

confinibus Mangi. 
Les dames portent as jambes et es braces, braciaus 

d'or et d'arjent de grandisme vailance. 
Le donne portano alle braccia e allegambe bracciali (foro 

e d'ariento di gran valuta. 
Dominse Goxxxm part ant adbrachia et adgambas brazalia 

de aura et de argento magni valoris. 

B. Passages showing additiatially the errors, or other peculiarities of a translaiioti 
from a French original, comment to the Italian and the Latin. 


















(I. 97.) 

(L no). 

(I. 50). 

Est celle plaingne mout chatie (cbaade). 

Questo piano e molto cavo. 

Ista planities est multum cava. 

Avent por ce que I'eive hi est amer. 

E questo e per lo mare che vi viene. 

Istud est propter mare quod est ibi. 

Un roi qi est apeles par tout tens Davit Melic, que veut 

a dir enfransais Davit RoL 
Uno re il quale si chiama sempre David Melic, cio h a 

dire infrancesco David Re. 
Rex qui semper vocatur David Mellic, quod sonat in 
gallico David Rex. 
These passages, and many more that might be quoted, seem to me to demonstrate 
(i) that the Latin and the Crusca have had a common original, and (2) that this 
original was an Italian version from the French. 

* Thus the Pucci MS. at Florence, in the passage regarding the Golden King 
(vol. ii. p. 17) which begins in G. T. ^'^ Leqtiel fist f aire jadis im rois qe fu apellis 
le Roi Dor," renders " Lo quale fu fare Jaddis utio re," a mistake which is not in the 
Crusca nor in the Latin, and seems to imply derivation from the French directly, or by 
some other channel {Baldelli Boni). 

VOL. I. n 2 

Crusca, 20 
G.L. 312 


56. II. The next Type is that of the French MSS. on which 
M. Pauthier's Text is based, and for which he claims the highest 
Second; authority, as having had the mature revision and 
modelled sanction of the Traveller. There are, as far as I know, 


Text, foi- five MSS. which may be classed together under this 

lowed by i-i/-^t-i»tm t-. 

Pauthier. type, three m the Great Fans Library, one at Bern, and 
one in the Bodleian. 

The high claims made by Pauthier on behalf of this class of 
MSS. (on the first three of which his Text is formed) rest mainly 
upon the kind of certificate which two of them bear regarding 
the presentation of a copy by Marco Polo to Thibault de Cepoy, 
which we have already quoted {supra, p. 6g). This certificate is 
held by Pauthier to imply that the original of the copies which 
bear it, and of those having a general correspondence with them, 
had the special seal of Marco's revision and approval. To 
some considerable extent their character is corroborative of such 
a claim, but they are far from having the perfection which 
Pauthier attributes to them, and which leads him into many 

It is not possible to interpret rigidly the bearing of this so- 
called certificate, as if no copies had previously been taken of 
any form of the Book ; nor can we allow it to impugn the 
authenticity of the Geographic Text, which demonstratively 
represents an older original, and has been (as we have seen) the 
parent of all other versions, including some very old ones, 
Italian and Latin, which certainly owe nothing to this revision. 

The first idea apparently entertained by d'Avezac and 
Paulin Paris was that the Geographic Text was itself the 
copy given to the Sieur de Cepoy, and that the differences in 
the copies of the class which we describe as Type II. merely 
resulted from the modifications which would naturally arise in 
the process of transcription into purer French. But closer 
examination showed the differences to be too great and too 
marked to admit of this explanation. These differences consist 
not only in the conversion of the rude, obscure, and half Italian 
language of the original into good French of the period. There 
is also very considerable curtailment, generally of tautology, but 
also extending often to circumstances of substantial interest ; 
whilst we observe the omission of a few notably erroneous 
statements or expressions ; and a few insertions of small im- 


portance. None of the MSS. of this class contain more than a 
few of the historical chapters which we have formed into Book 


The only addition of any magnitude is that chapter which 
in our translation forms chapter xxi. of Book II. It will be 
seen that it contains no new facts, but is only a tedious recapitu- 
lation of circumstances already stated, though scattered over 
several chapters. There are a few minor additions. I have not 
thought it worth while to collect them systematically here, but 
two or three examples are given in a note.* 

There are also one or two corrections of erroneous statements 
in the G. T. which seem not to be accidental and to indicate 
some attempt at revision. Thus a notable error in the account of 
Aden, which seems to conceive of the Red Sea as a river, 
disappears in Pauthier's MSS. A and B.f And we find in 
these MSS. one or two interesting names preserved which are 
not found in the older TexlJ 

But on the other hand this class of MSS. contains many 
erroneous readings of names, either adopting the worse of two 
forms occurring in the G. T. or originating blunders of its 

* In the Prologue (vol. L p. 34) this class of MSS. alone names the King of 

In the accoont of the Battle with Nayan (i. p. 337) this class alone speaks of the 
two-stringed instruments which the Tartars played whilst awaiting the signal for 
battle. But the circumstance appears elsewhere in the G. T. (p. 250). 

In the chapter on Malabar (vol. il. p. 390), it is said that the ships which go 
with cargoes towards Alexandria are not one-tenth of those that go to the further 
East. This is not in the older French. 

In the chapter on Coilun (ii. p. 375), we have a notice of the Columbine ginger 
so celebrated in the Middle Ages, which is also absent from the older text. 

t See vol. ii. p. 439. It is, however, remarkable that a like mistake is made 
about the Persian Gulf (see i. 63, 64). Perhaps Polo thought in Persian, in which 
the word darya means either sea or a large river. The same habit and the ambiguity 
of the Persian sher led him probably to his confusion of lions and tigers (see L 397). 

X Such are Pasciai -Z>/r and Ariora Kesciemur (i. p. 98.) 

§ Thus the MSS. of this type have elected the erroneous readings Bolgura, 
Cogaira, Chiato, Cabanant, etc., instead of the correcter Bolgana, Cocacin, Quiacaiu, 
Cobitian, where the G. T. presents both (supra, p. 86). They read Esatiar for the 
correct Etzitta ; Chascun for Casvin ; Achalet for Acbalec ; Sardansu for Sindafu , 
Kay ten, Kayton, Sarcon for Zaiton or Caitoft ; Soucat for Locac ; Fake for Ferlec, and 
so on, the worse instead of the better. They make the Mer Occeaue into Mer Occidetit ; 
the wild asses [cisnes) of the Kerman Desert into wild geese {oes) ; the escoillez of 
Bengal (ii. p. 115) into escoliers ; the giraffes of Africa into giraffes, or cloves, 
etc., etc 


M. Pauthier lays great stress on the character of these MSS. 
as the sole authentic form of the work, from their claim to have 
been specially revised by Marco Polo. It is evident, however, 
from what has been said, that this revision can have been only a 
very careless and superficial one, and must have been done in 
great measure by deputy, being almost entirely confined to 
curtailment and to the improvement of the expression, and that 
it is by no means such as to allow an editor to dispense with a 
careful study of the Older Text. 

57, There is another curious circumstance about the MSS. of 
this type, viz., that they clearly divide into two distinct recensions, 
The Bern ^^ which both have so many peculiarities and errors in 
tto Others common that they must necessarily have been both 
daSo/thi's derived from one modification of the original text, 
Type- whilst at the same time there are such differences 

between the two as cannot be set down to the accidents of tran- 
scription. Pauthier's MSS. A and J5 (Nos. 16 and 15 of the 
List in App. F) form one of these subdivisions : his C (No. 
17 of List), Bern (No. 56), and Oxford (No. 6), the other. 
Between A and B the differences are only such as seem 
constantly to have arisen from the whims of transcribers or 
their dialectic peculiarities. But between A and B on the one 
side, and C on the other, the differences are much greater. The 
readings of proper names in C are often superior, sometimes 
worse ; but in the latter half of the work especially it contains a 
number of substantial passages * which are to be found in the 
G. T., but are altogether absent from the MSS. A and B ; whilst 
in one case at least (the history of the Siege of Saianfu, vol. ii. 
p. 159) it diverges considerably from the G. T. as well diS from A 
and B.f 

I gather from the facts that the MS. C represents an older 
form of the work than A and B. I should judge that the latter 
had been derived from that older form, but intentionally modified 
from it. And as it is the MS. C, with its copy at Bern, that 
alone presents the certificate of derivation from the Book given 

* There are about five-and-thirty such passages altogether. 

t The Bern MS. I have satisfied myself is an actual copy of the Paris 
MS. C. 

The Oxford MS. closely resembles both, but I have not made the comparison 
minutely enough to say if it is an exact copy of either. 


to the Sieur de Cepoy, there can be no doubt that it is the true 
representative of that recension. 

58. III. The next Type of Text is that found in Friar 
Pipino's Latin version. It is the type of which MSS. are by 
far the most numerous. In it condensation and curtail- Third; 

Friar Pi- 

ment are carried a good deal further than in Type 11. pino's Latin. 
The work is also divided into three Books. But this division does 
not seem to have originated with Pipino, as we find it in the 
ruder and perhaps older Latin version of which we have already 
spoken under Type I. And we have demonstrated that this 
ruder Latin is a translation from an Italian copy. It is probable 
therefore that an Italian version similarly divided was the 
common source of what we call the Geographic Latin and of 
Pipino's more condensed version.* 

Pipino's version appears to have been executed in the later 
years of Polo's life.f But I can see no ground for the idea enter- 
tained by Baldelli-Boni and Professor Bianconi that it was 
executed with Polo's cognizance and retouched by him. 

59. The absence of effective publication in the Middle 
Ages led to a curious complication of translation and The Latin 
retranslation. Thus the Latin version published by °*t^^5^i^„ 
Gryn^us in the Novus Orbis (Basle, 1532) is different ^t fifth hand, 
from Pipino's, and yet clearly traceable to it as a base. In fact it 

* The following comparison will also show that these two Latin versions have 
probably had a common source, such as is here su^ested. 

At the end of the Prologue the Geographic Text reads simply : — 

" Or puis que je voz ai contez tot le fat dou prolegue ensi con voz aves ol, adonc 
(commencerai) le Livre." 

Whilst the Geographic Latin has : — 

" Postquam recitaviimis et dixivtus facta et condictiones monim, itinerum et ea 
quae nobis contigerunt per vias, incipiemus dicere ea quae indimus. Et prime dicemus 
de Minore Hermenia'^ 

And Pipino : — 

" Narratiotte facta tiostri itineris, nutu ad ea narranda quae vidimus accedamus. 
Primo atitem Armeniam Minoreni describemus breviter." 

t Friar Francesco Pipino of Bologna, a Dominican, is known also as the author 
of a lengthy chronicle from the time of the Frank Kings down to 1314 ; of a Latin 
Translation of the French History of the Conquest of the Holy Land, by Bernard the 
Treasurer ; and of a short Itinerary of a Pilgrimage to Palestine in 1320. Extracts 
from the Chronicle, and the version of Bernard, are printed in Muratori's Collection. 
As Pipino states himself to have executed the translation of Polo by order of his 
Superiors, it is probable that the task was set him at a general chapter of the order 
which was held at Bologna in 1315. (See Muratori, IX. 583; and Qu^tif Script. 
Ord. Praed. I. 539). We do not know why Ramusio assigned the translation specific- 
ally to 1320, but he may have had grounds. 


is a retranslation into Latin from some version (Marsden thinks 
the printed Portuguese one) of Pipino. It introduces many 
minor modifications, omitting specific statements of numbers and 
values, generalizing the names and descriptions of specific animals, 
exhibiting frequent sciolism and self-sufificiency in modifying 
statements which the Editor disbelieved.* It is therefore 
utterly worthless as a Text, and it is curious that Andreas Miiller, 
who in the 17th century devoted himself to the careful editing of 
Polo, should have made so unfortunate a choice as to reproduce 
this fifth-hand Translation. I may add that the French editions 
published in the middle of the i6th century are translations from 
Grynaeus. Hence they complete this curious and vicious circle 
of translation : French— Italian — Pipino's Latin — Portuguese? 
— Grynaeus's Latin — French ! f 

60. IV. We now come to a Type of Text which deviates 
largely from any of those hitherto spoken of, and the history 
Fourth ; and true character of which are involved in a cloud of 

Ramusio's j-rc i ttt- t l 

Italian. ditticulty. We mean that Italian version prepared 
for the press by G. B. Ramusio, with most interesting, though, 
as we have seen, not always accurate preliminary dissertations, 
and published at Venice two years after his death, in the second 
volume of the N avigationi e Viaggi.\ 

The peculiarities of this version are very remarkable. 
Ramusio seems to imply that he used as one basis at least the 
Latin of Pipino ; and many circumstances, such as the division 
into Books, the absence of the terminal historical chapters and of 

* See Bianconi, ist Mem. 29 seqq. 

t C. Dickens somewhere narrates the history of the equivalents for a sovereign 
as changed and rechanged at every frontier on a continental tour. The final equiva- 
lent received at Dover on his return vi^as some 12 or 13 shillings ; a fair parallel to 
the comparative value of the first and last copies in the circle of translation. 

X The Ramusios were a family of note in literature for several generations. 
Paolo, the father of Gian Batlista, came originally from Rimini to Venice in 1458, 
and had a great repute as a jurist, besides being a litterateur of some eminence, as 
was also his younger brother Girolamo. G. B. Ramusio was born at Treviso in 1485, 
and early entered the public service. In 1533 he became one of the Secretaries of 
the Council of X. He was especially devoted to geographical studies, and had a 
school for such studies in his house. He retired eventually from public duties, and 
lived at his Villa Ramusia, near Padua. He died in the latter city, loth July, 1557, 
but was buried at Venice in the Church of S. Maria dell' Orto. There was a portrait 
of him by Paul Veronese in the Hall of the Great Council, but it perished in the 
fire of 1577 ; and that which is now seen in the Sala dello Scudo is, like the com- 
panion portrait of Marco Polo, imaginary. Paolo Ramusio, his son, was the author 
of the well-known History of the Capture of Constantinople. {Cicogiia, II. 310 seqq.) 


those about the Magi, and the form of many proper names, 
confirm this. But also many additional circumstances and 
anecdotes are introduced, many of the names assume a new 
shape, and the whole style is more copious and literary in 
character than in any other form of the work. 

Whilst seme of the changes or interpolations seem to carry 
us further from the truth, others contain facts of Asiatic nature 
or history, as well as of Polo's own experiences, which it is 
extremely difficult to ascribe to any hand but the Traveller's 
own. This was the view taken by Baldelli, Klaproth, and 
Neumann ; * but Hugh Murray, Lazari, and Bartoli regard the 
changes as interpolations by another hand ; and Lazari is rash 
enough to ascribe the whole to a rifacimento of Ramusio's own 
age, asserting it to contain interpolations not merely from Polo's 
own contemporary Hayton, but also from travellers of later 
centuries, such as Conti, Barbosa, and Pigafetta. The grounds 
for these last assertions have not been cited, nor can I trace them. 
But I admit to a certain extent indications of modern tampering 
with the text, especially in cases where proper names seem to 
have been identified and more modern forms substituted. In 
days, however, where an Editor's duties Were ill understood, this 
was natural. 

61. Thus we find substituted for the Bastra (or Bascra) of the 
older texts the more modem and incorrect Balsora, dear to 
memories of the Arabian Nights ; among the provinces 
of Persia we have Spaan (Ispahan) where older texts tampering^ 
read Istanit ; for Cormos we have Ormus ; for Herminia 
and Laias, Armenia and Giazza ; Couldm for the older Coilum ; 
Socotera for Scotra. With these changes may be classed the 
chapter-headings, which are undisguisedly modern, and probably 
Ramusio's own. In some other cases this editorial spirit has 
been over-meddlesome and has gone astray. Thus Malabar is 
substituted wrongly for Maabar in one place, and by a grosser 
error for Dalivar in another. The age of young Marco, at the 
time of his father's first return to Venice, has been arbitrarily 
altered from 15 to 19, in order to correspond with a date which 
is itself erroneous. Thus also Polo is made to describe Ormus 

The old French texts were unknown in Marsden's time. Hence this question 
did not present itself to him. 


as on an Island, contrary to the old texts and to the fact ; for 
the city of Hormuz was not transferred to the island, afterwards 
so famous, till some years after Polo's return from the East. It is 
probably also the editor who in the notice of the oil-springs of 
Caucasus (i, p. 46) has substituted camel-loads for ship-loads, in 
ignorance that the site of those alluded to was probably Baku on 
the Caspian, 

Other erroneous statements, such as the introduction of win- 
dow-glass as one of the embellishments of the palace at Cam- 
baluc, are probably due only to accidental misunderstanding. 

62. Of circumstances certainly genuine, which are peculiar to 
this edition of Polo's work, and which it is difficult to assign to 
Genuine ^'^X °"^ ^^^ himself, we may note the specification of 
peraikr"to ^^^ woods east of Yezd as composed of date trees (vol. 
Ramusio. j pp_ 88-89); the Unmistakable allusion to the sub- 
terranean irrigation channels of Persia (p. 123); the accurate ex- 
planation of the term Mulehet applied to the sect of Assassins 
(pp. 139-142) ; the mention of the Lake (Sirikul ?) on the plateau 
of Pamer, of the wolves that prey on the wild sheep, and of the 
piles of wild rams' horns used as landmarks in the snow (pp. 171- 
177). To the description of the Tibetan Yak, which is in all the 
texts, Ramusio's version alone adds a fact probably not recorded 
again till the present century, viz., that it is the practice to cross 
the Yak with the common cow (p. 274). Ramusio alone notices 
the prevalence of goitre at Yarkand, confirmed by recent 
travellers (i. p. 187); the vermilion seal of the Great Kaan 
imprinted on the paper-currency, which may be seen in our plate 
of a Chinese note (p. 426) ; the variation in Chinese dialects (ii. 
p. 236) ; the division of the hulls of junks into water-tight com- 
partments (ii. p. 249) ; the introduction into China from Egypt of 
the art of refining sugar (ii. p. 226). Ramusio's account of the 
position of the city of Sindafu (Ch'eng-tu fu) encompassed and 
intersected by many branches of a great river (ii. p. 40), is much 
more just than that in the old text, which speaks of but one 
river through the middle of the city. The intelligent notices of 
the Kaan's charities as originated by his adoption of "idolatry" 
or Buddhism; of the astrological superstitionsof the Chinese, and 
of the manners and character of the latter nation, are found in 
Ramusio alone. To whom but Marco himself, or one of his 
party, can we refer the brief but vivid picture of the delicious 


atmosphere and scenery of the Badakhshan plateaux (i. p. 158), 
and of the benefit that Messer Marco's health derived from a 
visit to them ? In this version alone again we have an account 
of the oppressions exercised by Kubldi's Mahomedan Minister 
Ahmad, telling how the Cathayans rose against him and murdered 
him, with the addition that Messer Marco was on the spot when 
all this happened. Now not only is the whole story in sub- 
stantial accordance with the Chinese Annals, even to the name 
of the chief conspirator,* but those annals also tell of the cour- 
ageous frankness of "Polo, assessor of the Privy Council," in 
opening the Kaan's eyes to the truth. 

Many more such examples might be adduced, but these will 
suffice. It is true that many of the passages peculiar to the 
Ramusian version, and indeed the whole version, show a freer 
utterance and more of a literary faculty than we should attribute 
to Polo, judging from the earlier texts. It is possible, however^ 
that this may be almost, if not entirely, due to the fact that the 
version is the result of a double translation, and probably of an 
editorial fusion of several documents ; processes in which angu- 
larities of expression would be dissolved.-f- 

* Wangcfuif in the Chinese Annals ; Vatuhu in Ramusio. I assume that Polo's 
yamhu was pronounced as in English ; for in Venetian the ch very often has that 
sound. But I confess that I can adduce no other instance in Ramusio where I 
suppose it to have this sound, except in the initial sound of Chinchitalas and twice 
in Choiach (see 11. 364). 

Professor Bianconi, who has treated the questions connected with the Texts of 
Polo with honest enthusiasm and laborious detail, will admit nothing genuine in the 
Ramusian interpolations beyond the preservation of some oral traditions of Polo's 
supplementary recollections. But such a theory is out of the question in face of a 
chapter like that on Ahmad. 

t Old Purchas appears to have greatly relished Ramusio's comparative lucidity : 
"I found (says he) this Booke translated by Master Hakluyt out of the Latine {i.e. 
among Hakluyt's MS. collections). But where the blind leade the blind both fall : 
as here the corrupt Latine could not but yeeld a corruption of truth in English. 
Ramusio, Secretarie to the Decemviri in Venice, found a better Copie and published 
the same, whence you have the worke in manner new : so renewed, that I have found 
the Proverbe true, that it is better to pull downe an old house and to build it anew, 
then to repaire it ; as I also should have done, had I knowne that which in fhe event 
I found. The Latine is Latten, compared to Ramusids Gold. And hee which 
hath the Latine hath but Marco Polo's carkasse or not so much, but a few bones, 
yea, sometimes stones rather then bones ; things divers, averse, adverse, perverted 
in manner, disjoynted in manner, beyond beliefe. I have scene some Authors 
maymed, but never any so mangled and so mingled, so present and so absent, 
as this vulgar Latitu of Marco Polo ; not so like himselfe, as the Three Polo's were 

at their returne to Venice, where none knew them Much are wee beholden 

to Ramusio, for restoring this Pole and Load-starre of Asia, out of that mirie poole 
or puddle in which he lay drouned." (III. p. 65.) 


63. Though difficulties will certainly remain,* the most 

probable explanation of the origin of this text seems to me to be 

. some such hypothesis as the following : — I suppose that 

of the Polo in his latter years added with his own hand 

sources of 

the Ramu- Supplementary notes and reminiscences, marg-inallv or 

sian Version. . ' o y 

otherwise, to a copy of his book ; that these, perhaps in 
his lifetime, more probably after his death, were digested and 
translated into Latin ; f and that Ramusio, or some friend of 
his, in retranslating and fusing them with Pipino's version for 
the Navigationi^ made those minor modifications in names and 
other matters which we have already noticed. The mere facts of 
digestion from memoranda and double translation would account 
for a good deal of unintentional corruption. 

That more than one version was employed in the composition 
of Ramusio's edition we have curious proof in at least one 
passage of the latter. We have pointed out at p. 410 of this 
volume a curious example of misunderstanding of the old French 

* Of these difficulties the following are some of the more prominent : — 

1. The mention of the death of Kiiblai (see note 7, p. 38 of this volume), whilst 
throughout the book Polo speaks of Kiiblai as if still reigning. 

2. Mr Hugh Murray objects that whilst in the old texts Polo appears to look on 
Kiiblai with reverence as a faultless Prince, in the Ramusian we find passages of an 
opposite tendency, as in the chapter about Ahmad. 

3. The same editor points to the manner in which one of the Ramusian additions 
represents the traveller to have visited the Palace of the Chinese Kings at Kinsay, 
which he conceives to be inconsistent with Marco's position as an official of the 
Mongol Government. (See vol. ii. p. 208. ) 

If we could conceive the Ramusian additions to have been originally notes written 
by old Maffeo Polo on his nephew's book, this hypothesis would remove almost all 

One passage in Ramusio seems to bear a reference to the date at which these 
interpolated notes were amalgamated with the original. In the chapter on .Samarkand 
(i. p. 191) the conversion of the Prince Chagatai is said in the old texts to have 
occurred " not a great while ago " {il ne a encore grament de tens). But in Ramusio 
the supposed event is fixed at "one hundred and twenty-five years since." This 
number could not have been uttered with reference to 1298, the year of the dictation 
at Genoa, nor to any year of Polo's own life. Hence it is probable that the original 
note contained a date or definite term which was altered by the compiler to suit the 
date of his own compilation, some time in the 14th century. 

t In the first edition of Ranr.usio the preface contained the following passage, 
which is omitted from the succeeding editions ; but as even the first edition was 
issued after Ramusio's own death, I do not see that any stress can be laid on this : 

" A copy of the Book of Marco Polo, as it was originally written in Latin, marvel- 
lously old, and perhaps directly copied from the original as it came from M. Marco s 
own hand, has been often consulted by me and compared with that which we now 
publish, having been lent me by a nobleman of this city, belonging to the Ca' 


Text, a passage in which the term Roi des Pelaines, or " King 
of Furs," is applied to the Sable, and which in the Crusca has 
been converted into an imaginary Tartar phrase Leroide pelaviey 
or as Pipino makes it Rondes (another indication that Pipino's 
Version and the Crusca passed through a common medium). 
But Ramusio exhibits both the true reading and the perversion : 
" E li Tartari la chiamano Regina delle pelli " (there is the true 
reading), " E gli animali si chiamano Rondes " (and there the 
perverted one). 

We may further remark that Ramusio's version betrays 
indications that one of its bases either was in the Venetian 
dialect, or had passed through that dialect ; for a good many 
of the names appear in Venetian forms, e.g., substituting the 
z for the sound of ch, j\ or soft g, as in Goza, Zorzania, 
Zagatay, Gonza (for Giogiu), Quenzanfu, Coiganzu, Tapinzu, 
Zipangu, Ziamba. 

64. To sum up. It is, I think, beyond reasonable dispute 
that we have, in what we call the Geographic Text, as nearly as 
may be an exact transcript of the Traveller's words as summary in 
originally taken d^wn in the prison of Genoa. We TStof" 
have again in the MSS. of the second type an edition ^°'°- 
pruned and refined, probably under instructions from Marco 
Polo, but not with any critical exactness. And lastly, I believe, 
that we have, imbedded in the Ramusian edition, the supple- 
mentary recollections of the Traveller, noted down at a later 
period of his life, but perplexed by repeated translation, 
compilation, and editorial mishandling. 

And the most important remaining problem in regard to the 
text of Polo's work is the discovery of the. supplemental manu- 
script from which Ramusio derived those passages which are 
found only in his edition. It is possible that it may still 
exist, but no trace of it in anything like completeness has yet 
been found ; though when my task was all but done I dis- 
covered a small part of the Ramusian peculiarities in a MS. at 

* For a moment I thought I had been lucky enough to light on a part of the 
missing original of Ramusio in the Barberini Library at Rome. A fragment of a 
Venetian version in that library (No. 56 in our list of MSS. ) bore on the fly-leaf the 
title "Alcutii primi capi del Libra di S. Marco Polo, copiati doll esemplare manc- 
scritto di PAOLO RANNUSIO.''' But it proved to be of no importance. One 
brief passage of those which have been thought peculiar to Ramusio; \-iz., th? 


65. Whilst upon this subject of manuscripts of our Author, 
I will give some particulars regarding a very curious one, con- 
taining a version in the Irish language. 

This remarkable document is found in the Book of Lismore, 
belonging to the Duke of Devonshire. That magnificent book. 
Notice of a ^^6^7 Written on vellum of the largest size, was 
Ve"s°ionof^^ discovercd in 1814, enclosed in a wooden box, along 
Polo- with a superb crozier, on opening a closed door- 

way in the castle of Lismore. It contained Lives of the Saints, 
the (Romance) History of Charlemagne, the History of the 
Lombards, histories and tales of Irish wars, etc., etc., and among 
the other matter this version of Marco Polo. A full account of 
the Book and its mutilations will be found in O' Curry's Lectures 
on the MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History^ p. 196 seqq., 
Dublin, 1 86 1. The Book of Lismore was written about 1460 for 

reference to the Martyrdom of St. Blaize at Sebaste (see p. 43 of this volume), is 
found also in the Geographic Latin. 

It was pointed out by Lazari, that another passage (vol. i. p. 60) of those other- 
wise peculiar to Ramusio, is found in a somewhat abridged Latin version in a MS. 
which belonged to the late eminent antiquary Emanuel Cicogna. (See List in Appendix 
F, No. 35.) This fact induced me when at Venice in 1870 to examine the MS. 
throughout, and, though I could give little time to it, the result was very curious. 

I find that this MS. contains, not one only, but at least seven of the passages 
otherwise peculiar to Ramusio, and must have been one of the elements that went to 
the formation of his text. Yet of his more important interpolations, such as the 
chapter on Ahmad's oppressions and the additional matter on the City of Kinsay, 
there is no indication. The seven passages alluded to are as follows ; the words 
corresponding to Ramusian peculiarities are in italics, the references are to my own 

1. In the chapter on Georgia : 

"Mare quod dicitur Gheluchelan z/^/^^^CC^" . . . 

"Est ejus stricta via et dubia. Ab una parte est mare quod dixi de ABACU 
et ab alia nemora invia," etc. (See I. p. 59, note 8.) 

2. " Et ibi optimi austures dicti A VIGV (i. 50). 

3. After the chapter on Mosul is another short chapter, already alluded to : 

'■'■ Prope hanc civitatem [est) alia provincia dicta MUS e MEREDIEN in qtiA 
nascitur tnagtia quantitas bombacis, et hie fiuiit bocharini et alia intilta, et sunt mer- 
catores homines et artiste." (See i. p. 60.) 

4. In the chapter on Tarcan (for Carcan, i.e. Varkand) : 

' ' Et maior pars horum habent umtm ex pedibus grossum et habent gosum in 
guld ; et est hie fertilis contracta." (See i. p. 187.) 

5. In the Desert of Lop : 

^^ Homines trasseuntes appendant bestiis suis capanullas \i.e. campanellas] ut ipsas 
senciant et ne deviare possint" (i. p. 197.) 

6. ''Q,\z.gz.ViXiox, quod sonat in Latino STAGNUM ALBUM." (i. p. 296.) 

7. " Et in medio hujus viridarii est palacium sive logia, tota super coluinpnas. 
Et in summitate cujuslibet columncB est draco inagnus circundans totani columpnam, 
et hie substinet eorum cohoperturam cutn ore et pedibus ; et est cohopcrtura tota de 
cannis hoc modo," etc. (See i. p. 299.) 


Finghin MacCarthy and his wife Catharine Fitzgerald, daughter 
of Gerald, Eighth Earl of Desmond. 

The date of the Translation of Polo is not known, but it may 
be supposed to have been executed about the above date, prob- 
ably in the Monastery of Lismore (county of Waterford). 

From the extracts that have been translated for me, it is 
obvious that the version was made, with an astounding freedom 
certainly, from Friar Francesco Pipino's Latin. 

Both beginning and end are missing. But what remains 
opens thus ; compare it with Friar Pipino's real prologue as 
we give it in the Appendix ! * 

" rtisuib T T^Airfci) nd cd-cbn fi. b4i b*Tc4 insuj 4n4)b)'c r^n Firer ifi 

C4t;1)ii n)'C4t)ii • ^^ eoluc ta ]f tiAbllbenUjb Ttuntirc) 441111 . b'uri )4"[i 
■cu 4tnb4^ n4 iTiAi^e ucut; icuni^i-c -^i^ nile4bo2 'coclo'6 ^cvXa. 

" Kings and chieftains of that city. There was then in the city a 

princely Friar in the habit of St. Francis, named Franciscus, who was versed 
in many languages. He was brought to the place where those nobles were, 
and they requested of him to translate the book from the Tartar (!) into the 
Latin language. ' It is an abomination to me,' said he, ' to devote my mind 
or labour to works of Idolatry and Irreligion.' They entreated him again. 
'It shall be done,' said he; 'for though it be an irreligious narrative that 
is related therein, yet the things are miracles of the True God ; and every 
one who hears this much against the Holy Faith shall pray fervently for 
their conversion. And he who will not pray shall waste the vigour of 
his body to convert them.' I am not in dread of this Book of Marcus, 
for there is no lie in it. My eyes beheld him bringing the relics of the 
holy Church with him, and he left [his testimony], whilst tasting of death, 
that it was true. And Marcus was a devout man. What is there in it, 
then, but that Franciscus translated this Book of Marcus from the Tartar 
into Latin ; and the years of the Lord at that time were fifteen years, 
two score, two hundred, and one thousand " (1255). 

It then describes Armein Bee (Little Armenia), Armein Mor 
(Great Armenia), Musul, Taurisius, Persida, Camandt, and so 
forth. The last chapter is that on Abaschia : — 

" Ab.\SCHIA also is an extensive country, under the government of Seven 

* My valued friend Sir Arthur Phayre made known to me the passage in O^ Curry s 
Lectures. I then procured the extracts and further particulars from Mr. J. Long, Irish 
Transcriber and Translator in Dublin, who took them from the Transcript of the Book 
of Lismore, in the possession of the Royal Irish Academy. [Cf. Aiiecdota Oxoniensia. 
Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismare, edited with a translation . ... by 
Whitley Stokes, Oxford, 1890. — Marco Polo forms fo. 79 a, i— fo. 89 b, 2, of the MS., 
and is described pp. xxii.-xxiv. of Mr. Whitley Stokes' Book, who has since published 
the Text in the Zeit. f Celtische Philol. (See Bibliography, vol. ii. p. 573.)— H. C] 


Kings, four of whom worship the true God, and each of them wears a golden 
cross on the forehead ; and they are vaHant in battle, having been brought 
up fighting against the Gentiles of the other three kings, who are Unbelievers 
and Idolaters. And the kingdom of Adp:n ; a Soudan rules over them. 

"The king-of Abaschia once took a notion to make a pilgrimage to the 
Sepulchre of Jesus. 'Not at all,' said his nobles and warriors to him,*' for 
we should be afraid lest the infidels through whose territories you would 
have to pass, should kill you. There is a Holy Bishop with you,' said 
they ; 'send him to the Sepulchre of Jesus, and much gold with him'" 

The rest is wanting. 

XL Some Estimate of the Character of Polo and his Book, 

^. That Marco Polo has been so universally recognised as 
the King of Mediaeval Travellers is due rather to the width of 
Grounds of ^^^ expcHence, the vast compass of his journeys, and 
fmlnence^' ^^e romantic nature of his personal history, than to 
m'^drivai transcendent superiority of character or capacity, 
travellers. -pj^g generation immediately preceding his own 

has bequeathed to us, in the Report of the Franciscan 
Friar William de Rubruquis,* on the Mission with which 

* M. d'Avezac has refuted the common supposition that this admirable traveller 
was a native of Brabant. 

The form Rubruquis of the name of the traveller William de Rubruk has been 
habitually used in this book, perhaps without sufficient consideration, but it is the 
most familiar in England, from its use by Hakluyt and Purchas. The former, who 
first published the narrative, professedly printed from an imperfect MS. belonging to 
the Lord Lumley, which does not seem to be now known. But all the MSS. collated 
by Messrs. Francisque-Michel and Wright, in preparing their edition of the Traveller, 
call him simply Willelmus de Rubruc or Rubruk. 

Some old authors, apparently without the slightest ground, having called him 
Risbroucke and the like, it came to be assumed that he was a native of Ruysbroeck, 
a place in South Brabant. 

But there is a place still called Rubrouck in French Flanders. This is a commune 
containing about 1500 inhabitants, belonging to the Canton of Cassel and arrondisse- 
ment of IJazebrouck, in the Department du Nord. And we may take for granted, 
till facts are alleged against it, that this was the place from which the envoy of St. 
Lewis drew his origin. Many documents of the Middle Ages, referring expressly to 
this place Rubrouck, exist in the Library of St. Omer, and a detailed notice of them 
has iDcen published by M, Edm. Coussemaker, of Lille. Several of these documents 
refer to persons bearing the same name as the Traveller, e.g., in 1190, Thierry de 
Rubrouc ; in 1202 and 1221, Gauthier du Rubrouc ; in 1250, Jean du Rubrouc ; and 
in 1258, Woutermann de Rubrouc, It is reasonable to suppose that Friar William 
was of the same stock. See Bulletin de la Soc. de G^ographie, 2nd vol. for 1868, 
pp. 569-570, in which there are som? remarks OO the subject by M. d'Avezac ; and 


St. Lewis charged him to the Tartar Courts, the narrative of 
one great journey, which, in its rich detail, its vivid pictures, 
its acuteness of observation and strong good sense, seems to me 
to form a Book of Travels of much higher claims than any one 
series of Polo's chapters ; a book, indeed, which has never had 
justice done to it, for it has few superiors in the whole Library 
of Travel. 

Enthusiastic Biographers, beginning with Ramusio, have 
placed Polo on the same platform with Columbus. But 
where has our Venetian Traveller left behind him any trace of 
the genius and lofty enthusiasm, the ardent and justified pre- 
visions which mark the great Admiral as one of the lights of 
the human race ? * It is a juster praise that the spur which his 
Book eventually gave to geographical studies, and the beacons 
which it hung out at the Eastern extremities of the Earth 
helped to guide the aims, though scarcely to kindle the fire, 
of the greater son of the rival Republic. His work was at 

I am indebted to the kind courtesy of that eminent geographer himself for the indica- 
tion of this reference and the main facts, as I had lost a note of my own on the 

It seems a somewhat complex question whether a native even of French Flanders 
at that time should be necessarily claimable as a Frenchman ;* but no doubt on this 
point is alluded to by M. d'Avezac, so he probably had good ground for that assump- 
tion. [See also Yule's article in the Eiuydopadia Britannica, and RockkilTs Rubruck, 
Int., p. XXXV. — H. C] 

That cross-grained Orientalist, I. J. Schmidt, on several occasions speaks con- 
temptuously of this veracious and delightful traveller, whose evidence goes in the 
teeth of some of his crotchets. But I am glad to find that Professor Peschel takes a 
view similar to that expressed in the text : " The narrative of Ruysbroek [Rubruquis], 
almost immaculate in its freedom from fabulous insertions, may be indicated on 
account of its truth to nature as the greatest gec^aphical masterpiece of the Middle 
Ages." {Gesch. der Erdktinde, 1865, p. 151.) 

* High as Marco's name deserves to be set, his place is not beside the writer of 
such burning words as these addressed to Ferdinand and Isabella : " From the most 
tender age I went to sea, and to this day I have continued to do so. Whosoever devotes 
himself to this craft must desire to know the secrets of Nature here below. For 40 
years now have I thus been engaged, and wherever man has sailed hitherto on the 
face of the sea, thither have I sailed also. I have been in constant relation with men 
of learning, whether ecclesiastic or secular, Latins and Greeks, Jews and Moors, and 
men of many a sect besides. To accomplish this my longing (to know the Secrets of 
the World) I found the Lord favourable to my purposes ; it is He who hath given me 
the needful disposition and understanding. He bestowed upon me abundantly the 
knowledge of seamanship : and of Astronomy He gave me enough to work withal, 
and so with Geometry and Arithmetic. .... In the days of my youth I studied 

* The County of Flanders was at this time in large part a fief of the French Crown. (See 
Natalis de IVailly, notes to Joinville, p. 376.) But that would not much affect the question either 
one way or the other. 

VOL. I. 


least a link in the Providential chain which at last dragged 
the New World to light* 

6y. Surely Marco's real, indisputable, and, in their kind, 
unique claims to glory may suffice ! He was the first Tra- 
HJstrue velUv to tvace a route across the whole lonntude 

claims to _ ... . 

glory. of Asia, naming and describing kingdom after king- 

dom which he had seen with his own eyes; the Deserts of 
Persia, the flo'cvering plateaux and wild gorges of Badakh- 
SHAN, the jade-bearing rivers of Khotan, the MONGOLIAN 
Steppes, cradle of the power that had so lately threatened to 
swallow up Christendom, the new and brilliant Court that had 
been established at Cambaluc : The first Traveller to reveal 

works of all kinds, history, chronicles, philosophy, and other arts, and to apprehend 
these the Lord opened my understanding. Under His manifest guidance I navigated 
hence to the Indies ; for it was the Lord who gave me the will to accomplish that 
task, and it was in the ardour of that will that I came before your Highnesses. All 
those who heard of my project scouted and derided it ; all the acquirements I have 
mentioned stood me in no stead ; and if in your Highnesses, and in you alone, Faith 
and Constancy endured, to Whom are due the Lights that have enlightened you as 
well as me, but to the Holy Spirit?" (Quoted in Humboldt's Examen Critique, I. 

* Libri, however, speaks too strongly when he says : " The finest of all the 
results due to the influence of Marco Polo is that of having stirred Columbus to the 
discovery of the New World. Columbus, jealous of Polo's laurels, spent his life in 
preparing means to get to that Zipangu of which the Venetian traveller had told such 
great things ; his desire was to reach China by sailing westward, and in his way he 
fell in with America." {H. des Sciences Mathim. etc. II. 150.) 

The fact seems to be that Columbus knew of Polo's revelations only at second 
hand, from the letters of the Florentine Paolo Toscanelli and the like ; and I cannot 
find that he ever refers to Polo by name. [How deep was the interest taken by 
Colombus in Marco Polo's travels is shown by the numerous marginal notes of the 
Admiral in the printed copy of the latin version of Pipino kept at the Bib. Colombina 
at Seville. See Appendix H. p. 558.— H. C] Though to the day of his death he was 
full of imaginations about Zipangu and the land of the Great Kaan as being in 
immediate proximity to his discoveries, these were but accidents of his great theory. 
It was the intense conviction he had acquired of the absolute smallness of the Earth, 
of the vast extension of Asia eastward, and of the consequent narrowness of the Western 
Ocean, on which his life's project was based. This conviction he seems to have 
derived chiefly from the works of Cardinal Pierre d'Aiily. But the latter borrowed 
his collected arguments from Roger Bacon, who has stated them, erroneous as they 
are, very forcibly in his Opus Majtis (p. 137), as Humboldt has noticed in his Examen 
(vol. i. p. 64). The Spanish historian Mariana makes a strange jumble of the alleged 
guides of Columbus, saying that some ascribed his convictions to "the information 
given by one Marco Polo, a Florentine Physician I" ("como "otros dizen, por aviso 
que le dio un cierto Marco Polo, Medico Florentin ;" Hist, de Espana, lib. xxvi. 
cap 3). Toscanelli is called by Columbus Maestro Paulo, which seems to have led 
to this mistake ; see Sign. G. Uzielli, in Boll, delta Soc. Geog. Ital. IX. p. 119. [Also 
by the same : Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli iniziatore delta scoperia d' America, Flor- 
ence, 1892 ; Toscanelli, No. i ; l^oscamlli, Vol. V. of the Raccolla Colombiana, 
1894. --H. C] 


China in all its wealth and vastness, its mighty rivers, its huge 
cities, its rich mamifactures, its swarming population, the incon- 
ceivably vast fleets that quickened its seas and its inland waters ; 
to tell us of the nations on its borders with all their eccentricities 
of manners and worship ; of TiBET with its sordid devotees ; oj 
Burma with its golden pagodas and their tinkling crowns ; 
of Laos, of Siam, of Cochin China, of Japan, the Eastern 
Thtde, with its rosy pearls and golden-roofed palaces ; the first 
to speak of that Museum of Beauty and Wonder, still so imper- 
fectly ransacked, the INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO, source of those 
aromatics then so highly prized and whose origin was so dark ; 
of Java the Pearl of Islands ; of SUMATRA with its many 
kings, its strange costly products, and its cannibal races ; of the 
naked savages of NiCOBAR and ANDAMAN; of CEYLON 
the Isle of Gems with its Sacred Mountain and its Tomb of 
Adam; of INDIA THE GREAT, not as a dream-land of Alex- 
andrian fables, but as a country seen and partially explored, with 
its virtuous Brahmans, its obscene ascetics, its diamonds and the 
strange tales of their acquisition, its sea-beds of pearl, and its 
powerful sun ; the first in mediceval times to give any distinct 
account of the secluded Christian Empire of ABYSSINIA, and 
the semi- Christian Island of SOCOTRA/ to speak, though indeed 
dimly, of Zangibar with its negroes and its ivory, and of the 
vast and distant MADAGASCAR, bordering on the Dark Ocean oj 
the South, with its Rue and other monstrosities ; and, in a 
remotely opposite region, of Siberia and the ARCTIC OcEAN, 
of dog-sledges, white bears, and reindeer-riding Tunguses. 

That all this rich catalogue of discoveries should belong to 
the revelations of one Man and one Book is surely ample 
ground enough to account for and to justify the Author's 
high place in the roll of Fame, and there can be no need 
to exaggerate his greatness, or to invest him with imaginary 

68. What manner of man was Ser Marco? It is a question 
hard to answer. Some critics cry out against per- ^^ personal 
sonal detail in books of Travel ; but as regards him ^'''b^uT 
who would not welcome a little more egotism ! In *^^'^' 
his Book impersonality is carried to excess ; and we are often 

* " C'est diminuer Texpiession d'un eloge que de I'exagcrer."' {Humboldt, Exainen, 
III. 13.) 

VOL. L 2 


driven to discern by indirect and doubtful indications alone, 
whether he is speaking of a place from personal knowledge or 
only from hearsay. In truth, though there are delightful 
exceptions, and nearly every part of the book suggests inter- 
esting questions, a desperate meagreness and baldness does 
extend over considerable tracts of the story. In fact his book 
reminds us sometimes of his own description of Khorasan : — 
" On chevauche par beans plains et belles costieres, la oil il a moult 

beaus herbages et bonne pasture et fruis assez Et aucune 

fois y ireuve I' en un desert de soixante milles ou de mains, esquels 
desers ne treuve I'en point d'eaue ; niais la convient porter a 

Still, some shadowy image of the man may be seen in the 
Book ; a practical man, brave, shrewd, prudent, keen in affairs, 
and never losing his interest in mercantile details, very fond of 
the chase, sparing of speech ; with a deep wondering respect for 
Saints, even though they be Pagan Saints, and their asceticism, 
but a contempt for Patarins and such like, whose consciences 
would not run in customary grooves, and on his own part a keen 
appreciation of the World's pomps and vanities. See, on the 
one hand, his undisguised admiration of the hard life and long 
fastings of Sakya Muni ; and on the other how enthusiastic he 
gets in speaking of the great Kaan's command of the good 
things of the world, but above all of his matchless oppor- 
tunities of sport ! * 

Of humour there are hardly any signs in his Book. His 
almost solitary joke (I know but one more, and it pertains to the 
ovK dvqKovTo) occurs in speaking of the Kaan's paper-money 
when he observes that Kubldi might be said to have the true 
Philosopher's Stone, for he made his money at pleasure out of 
the bark of Trees.f Even the oddest eccentricities of out- 
landish tribes scarcely seem to disturb his gravity; as when 
he relates in his brief way of the people called Gold-Teeth on 
the frontier of Burma, that ludicrous custom which Mr. Tylor 
has so well illustrated under the name of the Couvade. There 
is more savour of laughter in the few lines of a Greek Epic, 
which relate precisely the same custom of a people on the 
Euxine : — '" 

• See vol. ii, p. 318, and vol. i. p. 404. t Vol. i. p. 423. 


"In the Tibarenian Land 

When some good woman bears her lord a babe, 
'Tis he is swathed and groaning put to bed ; 
Whilst she, arising, tends his baths, and serves 
Nice possets for her husband in the straw.''* 

69. Of scientific notions, such as we find in the unvera- 
cious Maundevile, we have no trace in truthful Marco. The 
former, "lying: with a circumstance," tells us boldly 

' J '=> _ _•' Absence of 

that he was in ^^° of South Latitude ; thQ latter is scientific 

"^^ notions. 

full of wonder that some of the Indian Islands 
where he had been lay so far to the south that you lost sight 
of the Pole-star. When it rises again on his horizon he esti- 
mates the Latitude by the Pole-star's being so many cubits 
high. So the gallant Baber speaks of the sun having mounted 
spear-high when the onset of battle began at Paniput Such 
expressions convey no notion at all to such as have had their 
ideas sophisticated by angular perceptions of altitude, but 
similar expressions are common among Orientals,f and indeed 
I have heard them from educated Englishmen. In another 
place Marco states regarding certain islands in the Northern 
Ocean that they lie so very far to the north that in going 
thither one actually leaves the Pole-star a trifle behind towards 
the south ; a statement to which we know only one parallel, 
to wit, in the voyage of that adventurous Dutch skipper who 
told Master Moxon, King Charles II.'s Hydrographer, that he 
had sailed two degrees beyond the Pole ! 

70. The Book, however, is full of bearings and distances, 
and I have thought it worth while to construct a map from its 
indications, in order to get some approximation to 

Polo's own idea of the face of that world which stmctedon 

Polo's data. 

he had traversed so extensively. There are three 
allusions to maps in the course of his work (II. 245, 312, 424). 

In his own bearings, at least on land journeys, he usually 
carries us along a great general traverse line, without much 
caring about small changes of direction. Thus on the great 
outward journey from the frontier of Persia to that of China 
the line runs almost continuously '■^ entre Levant et Grec" or 
E.N.E. In his journey from Cambaluc or Peking to Mien or 

* Vol. ii. p. 85, and Apollonius Rhodius, Argonaut. II. 1012. 
t Chinese Observers record the length of Comets' tails by cubits 1 


Burma, it is always Ponent or W. ; and in that from Peking to 
Zayton in Fo-kien, the port of embarkation for India, it is 
Sceloc or S.E. The line of bearings in which he deviates most 
widely from truth is that of the cities on the Arabian Coast 
from Aden to Hormuz, which he makes to run steadily vers 
Maistre or N.W., a conception which it has not been very easy 
to realise on the map.* 

71. In the early part of the Book we are told that Marco 
acquired several of the languages current in the Mongol 
Singular Empire, and no less than four written characters, 
of Polo in We have discussed what these are likely to have 

regard to .. r>s 11 • i-ii •• 

China; His- been (1. pp. 28-29), and have given a decided opinion 

toricalinac , J^, . ^ r \ t, • , ... 

curacies. that Chincse was not one of them. Besides intrinsic 
improbability, and positive indications of Marco's ignorance 
of Chinese, in no respect is his book so defective as in regard 
to Chinese manners and peculiarities. The Great Wall is 
never mentioned, though we have shown reason for believing 
that it was in his mind when one passage of his book was 
dictated.f The use of Tea, though he travelled through the 

* The map, perhaps, gives too favourable an idea of Marco's geographical con- 
ceptions. For in such a construction much has to be supplied for which there are no 
data, and that is apt to take mould from modern knowledge. Just as in the book 
illustrations of ninety years ago we find that Princesses of Abyssinia, damsels of Otaheite, 
and Beauties of Mary Stuart's Court have all somehow a savour of the high waists, 
low foreheads, and tight garments of 1810. 

We are told that Prince Pedro of Portugal in 1426 received from the Signory of 
Venice a map which was supposed to be either an original or a copy of one by Marco 
Polo's own hand. {Major's P. Henry, p. 62.) There is no evidence to justify any 
absolute expression of disbelief ; and if any map-maker with the spirit of the author 
of the Carta Catalana then dwelt in Venice, Polo certainly could not have gone to 
his grave uncatechised. But I should suspect the map to have been a copy of the 
old one that existed in the Sala dello Scudo of the Ducal Palace. 

The maps now to be seen painted on the walls of that Hall, and on which Polo's 
route is marked, are not of any great interest. But in the middle of the 15th 
century there was an old Descriptio Orbis sive Mappamiindus in the Hall, and when 
the apartment was renewed n 1459 a decree of the Senate ordered that such a map 
should be repainted on the new walls. This also perished by a fire in 1483. On the 
motion of Ramusio, in the next century, four new maps were painted. These had 
become dingy and ragged, when, in 1762, the Doge Marco Foscarini caused them to 
be renewed by the painter Francesco Grisellini. He professed to have adhered 
closely to the old maps, but he certainly did not, as Morelli testifies. Eastern Asia 
looks as if based on a work of Ramusio's age, but Western Asia is of undoubtedly 
modern character. (See Opereiti di lacopo Morelli, Ven. 1820, I. 299.) 

t " Humboldt confirms the opinion I have more than once expressed that too 
much must not be inferred from the silence of authors. He adduces three important 
and perfectly undeniable matters of fact, as to which no evidence is to be found where 
it would be most anticipated : In the archives of Barcelona no trace of the triumphal 


Tea districts of Fo-kien, is never mentioned ; * the compressed 
feet of the women and the employment of the fishing cor- 
morant (both mentioned by Friar Odoric, the contemporary 
of his later years), artificial egg-hatching, printing of books 
(though the notice of this art seems positively challenged in 
his account of paper-money), besides a score of remarkable 
arts and customs which one would have expected to recur to 
his memory, are never alluded to. Neither does he speak of 
the great characteristic of the Chinese writing. It is difficult 
to account for these omissions, especially considering the 
comparative fulness with which he treats the manners of the 
Tartars and of the Southern Hindoos ; but the impression re- 
mains that his associations in China were chiefly with foreigners. 
Wherever the place he speaks of had a Tartar or Persian 
name he uses that rather than the Chinese one. Thus Cathay, 
Cambaluc, Pulisanghin, Tangut, Ckagannor, Saianfu, Ken- 
j'anfu, Tenduc, Acbalec, Carajan, Zardandan, Z ay ton, Kemenfu, 
Brius, Caramoran, Chorcha, Juju, are all Mongol, Turki, or 
Persian forms, though all have Chinese equivalents. j- 

In reference to the then recent history of Asia, Marco is 
often inaccurate, eg. in his account of the death of Chinghiz, 
in the list of his successors, and in his statement of the relation- 

entry of Columbus into that city ; in Marco Polo no allusion to the Chinese Wall ; in 
the archives of Portugal nothing about the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci in the service 
of that crown." {Varnhagen v. Ense, quoted by Hayward, Essays, 2nd Ser. I. 36.) 
See regarding the Chinese Wall the remarks referred to above, at p. 292 of this 

* [It is a strange fact that Polo never mentions the use of Tea in China, although 
he travelled through the Tea districts in Fu Kien, and tea was then as generally 
drunk by the Chinese as it is now. It is mentioned more than four centuries earlier 
by the Mohammedan merchant Soleyman, who visited China about the middle of 
the 9th century. He states (Reinaud, Relation des Voyages fails par les Arabes et 
les Persons dans Vlnde et h. la Chine, 1845, !• 4°): "The people of China are 
accustomed to use as a beverage an infusion of a plant, which they call sakh, and 
the leaves of which are aromatic and of a bitter taste. It is considered very whole- 
some. This plant (the leaves) is sold in all the cities of the empire." (Bretschneider, 
Hist. Bot. Disc. I. p. 5.)— H. C] 

t It is probable that Persian, which had long been the language of Turanian 
courts, was also the common tongue of foreigners at that of the Mongols. Puli- 
sanghin and Zardanddn, in the preceding list, are pure Persian. So are several of 
the Oriental phrases noted at p. 84. See also notes on Ondaniqtie and Vemique 
at pp. 93 and 384 of this volume, on Tacuin at p. 448, and a note at p. 9J supra. 
The narratives of Odoric, and others of the early travellers to Cathay, afford cor- 
roborative examples. Lord Stanley of Alderley, in one of his contributions to the 
Hakluyt Series, has given evidence from experience that Chinese Mahomedans still 
preserve the knowledge of numerous Persian words. 


ship between notable members of that House * But the most 
perplexing knot in the whole book lies in the interesting 
account which he gives of the Siege of Sayanfu or Siang-yang, 
during the subjugation of Southern China by Kublai. I have 
entered on this matter in the notes (vol. ii, p. 167), and will 
only say here that M. Pauthier's solution of the difficulty is no 
solution, being absolutely inconsistent with the story as told 
by Marco himself, and that I see none ; though I have so 
much faith in Marco's veracity that I am loath to believe that 
the facts admit of no reconciliation. 

Our faint attempt to appreciate some of Marco's qualities, 
as gathered from his work, will seem far below the very high 
estimates that have been pronounced, not only by some who 
have delighted rather to enlarge upon his frame than to make 
themselves acquainted with his work,f but also by persons 
whose studies and opinions have been worthy of all respect. 
Our estimate, however, does not abate a jot of our intense 
interest in his Book and affection for his memory. And we 
have a strong feeling that, owing partly to his reticence, and 
partly to the great disadvantages under which the Book was 
committed to writing, we have in it a singularly imperfect 
image of the Man. 

72. A question naturally suggests itself, how far Polo's 
Was Polo's riarrative, at least in its expression, was modified by 
riau'^af^'* passing under the pen of a professed litterateur 
the'sidbe of somewhat humble claims, such as Rusticiano 
Rusticiano? ^^g_ 'pj^g ^^^^ jg j^q|. ^ singular one, and in our 

own day the ill-judged use of such assistance has been fatal 
to the reputation of an adventurous Traveller. 

* Compare these errors with like errors of Herodotus, e.g.y regarding the con- 
spiracy of the False Smerdis. (See Rawlinson's Introduction, p. 55.) There is a curious 
parallel between the two also in the supposed occasional use of Oriental state records, 
as in Herodotus's. accounts of the revenues of the satrapies, and of the army of Xerxes, 
and in Marco Polo's account of Kinsay, and of the Kaan's revenues. (Vol. ii 
pp. 185, 216.) 

t An example is seen in the voluminous Annali Mtisulmani of G. B. Rampoldi, 
Milan, 1825. This writer speaks of the Travels of Marco Polo with his brother and 
uncle ; declares that he visited Tipango {sic), Java, Ceylon, and the Maldives, col- 
lected all the geographical notions of his age, traversed the two peninsulas of the 
Indies, examined the islands of Socotra, Madagascar, Sofala, and traversed with 
philosophic eye the regions of Zanguebar, Abyssinia, Nubia, and Egypt ! and so forth 
(ix. 174). And whilst Malte-Brun bestows on Marco the sounding and ridiculous 
title of '■'the Humboldt of the \yh cent my," he shows little real acquaintance with 
his Book. (See his Prc'cis, ed. of 1836, I. 551 seijq.) 


We have, however, already expressed our own view that in 
the Geographic Text we have the nearest possible approach 
to a photographic impression of Marco's oral narrative. If 
there be an exception to this we should seek it in the descrip- 
tions of battles, in which we find the narrator to fall constantly 
into a certain vein of bombastic commonplaces, which look 
like the stock phrases of a professed romancer, and which 
indeed have a strong resemblance to the actual phraseology 
of certain metrical romances.* Whether this feature be due 
to Rusticiano I cannot say, but I have not been able to trace 
anything of the same character in a cursory inspection of 
some of his romance-compilations. Still one finds it im- 
possible to conceive of our sober and reticent Messer Marco 
pacing the floor of his Genoese dungeon, and seven times over 
rolling out this magniloquent bombast, with sufficient delibera- 
tion to be overtaken by the pen of the faithful amanuensis ! 

73. On the other hand, though Marco, who had left home 
at fifteen years of age, naturally shows very few signs of read- 
ing, there are indications that he had read romances, ^3^.^.3 
especially those dealing with the fabulous adven- t^^^t^' 
tures of Alexander. Alexandrian 


To these he refers explicitly or tacitly in his ^^^p'^ 
notices of the Irongate and of Gog and Magog, in his allu- 
sions to the marriage of Alexander with Darius's daughter, 
and to the battle between those two heroes, and in his repeated 
mention of the Arbre Sol or Arbre Sec on the Khorasan 

The key to these allusions is to be found in that Legen- 
dary History of Alexander, entirely distinct from the true 
history' of the Macedonian Conqueror, which in great measure 
took the place of the latter in the imagination of East and 
West for more than a thousand years. This fabulous history' 
is believed to be of Graeco-Egyptian origin, and in its earliest 
extant compiled form, in the Greek of the Pseudo-Callisthenes, 
can be traced back to at least about A.D. 200. From the Greek 
its marvels spread eastward at an early date ; some part at 
least of their matter was known to Moses of Chorene, in the 

* See for example vol. i. p. 338, and note 4 at p. 341 ; also vol. ii. p. 103. The 
descriptions in the style referred to recur in all seven times ; but most of them (which 
are in Uook IV. ) have been omitted in this translation. 


5th century ;* they were translated into Armenian, Arabic, 
Hebrew, and Syriac ; and were reproduced in the verses of 
Firdusi and various other Persian Poets ; spreading eventually 
even to the Indian Archipelago, and finding utterance in 
Malay and Siamese. At an early date they had been ren- 
dered into Latin by Julius Valerius ; but this work had prob- 
ably been lost sight of, and it was in the loth century that 
they were re-imported from Byzantium to Italy by the Arch- 
priest Leo, who had gone as Envoy to the Eastern Capital 
from John Duke of Campania.f Romantic histories on this 
foundation, in verse and prose, became diffused in all the 
languages of Western Europe, from Spain to Scandinavia, 
rivalling in popularity the romantic cycles of the Round Table 
or of Charlemagne. Nor did this popularity cease till the 
l6th century was well advanced. 

The heads of most of the Mediaeval Travellers were 
crammed with these fables as genuine history.^ And by the 
help of that community of legend on this subject which they 
found wherever Mahomedan literature had spread, Alexander 
Magnus was to be traced everywhere in Asia. Friar Odoric 
found Tana, near Bombay, to be the veritable City of King 
Porus ; John Marignolli's vainglory led him to imitate King 
Alexander in setting up a marble column "in the corner of 
the world over against Paradise," i.e. somewhere on the coast 
of Travancore ; whilst Sir John Maundevile, with a cheaper 
ambition, borrowed wonders from the Travels of Alexander 
to adorn his own. Nay, even in after days, when the Portu- 
guese stumbled with amazement on those vast ruins in Cam- 
boja, which have so lately beconie familiar to us through the 
works of Mouhot, Thomson, ,and Garnier, they ascribed them 
to Alexander. § 

Prominent in all these stories is the tale of Alexander's 
shutting up a score of impure nations, at the head of which 
were Gog and Magog, within a barrier of impassable moun- 

* [On the subject of Moses of Chorene and his works, I must refer to the clever 
researches of the late Auguste Carri^re, Professor of Armenian at the Ecole des 
Langues Orientales. — H.C.] 

t Zacher, Forschun^en zur Critik, ^c, der Alexandersage, Halle, 1867, p. 108. 

X Even so sagacious a man as Roger Bacon quotes the fabulous letter of Alexander 
to Aristotle as authentic. {Opus Ma/us, p. 137.) 

§y. As. sir. VI. torn, xviii. p. 352. 


tains, there to await the latter days ; a legend with which the 
disturbed mind of Europe not unnaturally connected that 
cataclysm of unheard-of Pagans that seemed about to deluge 
Christendom in the first half of the 13th century. In 
these stories also the beautiful Roxana, who becomes the 
bride of Alexander, is Darius's daughter, bequeathed to his 
arms by the dying monarch. Conspicuous among them again 
is the Legend of the Oracular Trees of the Sun and Moon, 
which with audible voice foretell the place and manner of 
Alexander's death. With this Alexandrian legend some of 
the later forms of the story had mixed up one of Christian 
origin about the Dry Tree, LArbre Sec. And they had also 
adopted the Oriental story of the Land of Darkness and the 
mode of escape from it, which Polo relates at p. 484 of vol. ii. 
74. We have seen in the most probable interpretation of 
the nickname Milioni that Polo's popular reputation in his 
lifetime was of a questionable kind ; and a contem- injustice 
porary chronicler, already quoted, has told us how on poIo. sin- 

gular modem 

his death-bed the Traveller was begged by anxious instance. 
friends to retract his extraordinary stories.* A little later one 
who copied the Book ^^ per passare tempo e malinconia" says 
frankly that he puts no faith in itf Sir Thomas Brown is 
content " to carry a wary eye " in reading " Paulus Venetus " ; 
but others of our countrymen in the last century express 
strong doubts whether he ever was in Tartary or China.J 
Marden's edition might well have extinguished the last sparks 
of scepticism.^ Hammer meant praise in calling Polo ^'' der 
Vater orientalischer Hodogetik" in spite of the uncouthness of 

* See passage from Jacopo d'Acqui, supra, p. J4. 

t It is the transcriber of one of the Florence MSS. who appends this terminal 
note, worthy of Mrs. Nickleby :— " Here ends the Book of Messer M. P. of Venice, 
written with mine own hand by me Amalio Bonaguisi when Podestk of Cierreto Guidi, 
to get rid of time and ennui. The contents seem to me incredible things, not lies 
so much as miracles ; and it may be all very true what he says, but I don't believe 
it ; though to be sure throughout the world very different things are found in different 
countries. But these things, it has seemed to me in copying, are entertaining enough, 
but not things to believe or put any faith in ; that at least is my opinion. And I 
finished copying this at Cierreto aforesaid, 1 2th November, A.D. 1392." 

X Vulgar Errors, Bk. I. ch. viii. ; Astkys Voyages, IV. 583. 

§ A few years before Marsden's publication, the Historical branch of the R. S. of 
Science at Gottingen appears to have put forth as the subject of a prize Essay the 
Geography of the Travels of Carpini, Rubruquis, and especially of Marco Polo. (See 
L. of M. Polo, by Zurla, in Collezione di Vite e Ritralii cCIllustri Italiani. Pad. 


the eulogy. But another grave German writer, ten years 
after Marsden's pubHcation, put forth in a serious book that 
the whole story was a clumsy imposture ! * 

XII. Contemporary Recognition of Polo and his Book. 

75- But we must return for a little to Polo's own times. 
,^ , Ramusio states, as we have seen, that immediately 

How far ^ ' j 

w^ there after the first commission of Polo's narrative to writing 

diffusion of _ ° 

hi^ ^°°V" (in Latin as he imagined), many copies of it were made, 
it was translated into the vulgar tongue, and in a few 
months all Italy was full of it. 

The few facts that we can collect do not justify this view of 
the rapid and diffused renown of the Traveller and his Book. 
The number of MSS. of the latter dating from the 14th century 
is no doubt considerable, but a large proportion of these are of 
Pipino's condensed Latin Translation, which was not put forth, 
if we can trust Ramusio, till 1320, and certainly not much earlier. 
The whole number of MSS. in various languages that we have 
been able to register, amounts to about eighty. I find it 
difficult to obtain statistical data as to the comparative number 
of copies of different works existing in manuscript. With 

* See Stddtewesen des Mittelalters, by K. D. Hullmami, Bonn, 1829, vol. iv. 

After speaking of the Missions of Pope Innocent IV. and St. Lewis, this author 
sketches the Travels of the Polos, and then proceeds: — "Such are the clumsily 
compiled contents of this ecclesiastical fiction {^Kirchengeschichtlichen Dichtung) 
disguised as a Book of Travels, a thing devised generally in the spirit of the age, 
but specially in the interests of the Clergy and of Trade. . . . This compiler's 
aim was analogous to that of the inventor of the Song of Roland, to kindle 
enthusiasm for the conversion of the Mongols, and so to facilitate commerce through 
their dominions. . . . Assuredly the Poll never got further than Great Bucharia, 
which was then reached by many Italian Travellers. What they have related 
of the regions of the Mongol Empire lying further east consists merely of recol- 
lections of the bazaar and travel-talk of traders from those countries ; whilst the 
notices of India, Persia, Arabia, and Ethiopia, are borrowed from Arabic Works. 
The compiler no doubt carries his audacity in fiction a long way, when he makes 
his hero Marcus assert that he had been seventeen years in Kiibldi's service," etc. 
etc. (pp. 360-362). 

In the French edition of MuIcoIttHs History of Persia (W. 141), Marco is styled 
"pritre Venelien" ! I do not know whether this is di'.e to Sir John or to the 

[Polo is also called "a Venetian Priest," in a note, vol. i., p. 409, of the original 
edition of London, 181 5, 2 vols., 4to. — II. C] 


Dante's great Poem, of which there are reckoned close upon 500 
MSS.,* comparison would be inappropriate. But of the Travels 
of Friar Odoric, a poor work indeed beside Marco Polo's, I 
reckoned thirty-nine MSS., and could now add at least three 
more to the list. [I described seventy -three in my edition of 
Odoric. — H. C] Also I find that of the nearly contemporary work 
of Brunetto Latini, the Tresor, a sort of condensed Encyclopaedia 
of knowledge, but a work which one would scarcely have expected 
to approach the popularity of Polo's Book, the Editor enumerates 
some fifty MSS. And from the great frequency with which one 
encounters in Catalogues both MSS. and early printed editions 
of Sir John Maundevile, I should suppose that the lying wonders 
of our English Knight had a far greater popularity and more 
extensive diffusion than the veracious and more sober marvels of 
Polo.f To Southern Italy Polo's popularity certainly does not 
seem at any time to have extended. I cannot learn that any 
MS. of his Book exists in any Library of the late Kingdom of 
Naples or in Sicily.J 

Dante, who lived for twenty-three years after Marco's work 

* See Ferrazzi, Manuele Daniesca, Bassano, 1865, p. 729. 

t In Quaritch's catalogue for Nov. 1870 there is only one old edition of Polo; 
there are nine of Maunde\'ile. In 1839 there were nineteen MSS. of the latter 
author catalogued in the British Museum Library-. There are now only six of Marco 
Polo. At least twenty-five editions of Maunde\dle and only five of Polo were 
printed in the 15th century. 

% I have made personal enquiry at the National Libraries of Naples and Palermo, 
at the Communal Library in the latter city, and at the Benedictine Libraries of Monte 
Cassino, Monreale, S. Martino, and Catania. 

In the 15th century, when Polo's book had become more generally difiused 
we find three copies of it in the Catalogue of the Library of Charles VI. of France, 
made at the Louvtc in 1423, by order of the Duke of Bedford. 

The estimates of value are curious. They are in sols parisis, which we shall not 
estimate very wrongly at a shilling each : — 

"No. 295. Item. Marcus Paulus ; en ung cahier escript de lettre formie, en 
fran^ois, d deux coulombes. Conimt. on Of- fo. * deux freres prescheurs,' et 

ou derrenier ' que sa arrieres.' X. s. p. 

• • • 

" No. 334. Item. Marcus Paulus. Convert de drap d'or. Men escript 6* enlumin^, 
de lettre de forme enfranfois, d. deux coulombes. Commt. ou ii*-fol. ; ' il fut 

Roys,' (5^ ou derrenier ' propremen,' i deux fermouers de laton. XV. s. p. 

• « • 

" No. 336. Item. Marcus Paulus ; non enlumin^, escript en fraiicois, de lettre de 
forme. Commt. ou ii^ fo. 'vocata moult grant,' &^ ou derrenier 'ileq dist iL' 
Convert de cuir blanc, a deux fermouers de laton. XII. s. p." 

[^Invent aire de la Bibliotheque du Roi Charles VI., etCi 
Paris, Societe des Bibliophiles, 1867.) 


was written, and who touches so many things in the seen and 
unseen Worlds, never alludes to Polo, nor I think to anything 
that can be connected with his Book. I believe that no mention 
of Cathay occurs in the Divina Commedia. That distant region 
is indeed mentioned more than once in the poems of a humbler 
contemporary, Francesco da Barberino, but there is nothing in 
his allusions besides this name to suggest any knowledge of 
Polo's work.* 

Neither can I discover any trace of Polo or his work in that 
of his contemporary and countryman, Marino Sanudo the Elder, 
though this worthy is well acquainted with the somewhat later 
work of Hayton, and many of the subjects which he touches in 
his own book would seem to challenge a reference to Marco's 

76. Of contemporary or nearly contemporary references to 
„ our Traveller by name, the following are all that I can 

Contempo- •' ' o 

rary refer- produce, and none of them are new. 

ences to '^ ' 

^°'°- First there is the notice regarding his presentation 

of his book to Thibault de Cepoy, of which we need say no more 
{supra^ p. 68). 

Next there is the Preface to Friar Pipino's Translation, which 
we give at length in the Appendix (E) to these notices. The 
phraseology of this appears to imply that Marco was still alive, 
and this agrees with the date assigned to the work by Ramusio. 

* See Del Reggitnento e de' Costumi delle donne di Alesser Francesco da Barberino , 
Roma, 1815, pp. 166 and 271. The latter passage runs thus, on Slavery : — 

" E fu indutta prima da N06, 
E fu cagion lo vin, perche si egge : 
Ch' egli e un paese, dove 
Son molti servi in parte di Cathay : 
Che per questa cagione 
Hanno a nimico il vino, 
E non ne beon, ne vogHon vedere. " 

The author was born the year before Dante (1264), and though he lived to 1348 it 
is probable that the poems in question were written in his earlier years. Cathay wf.s 
no doubt known by dim repute long before the final return of the Polos, both through 
the original journey of Nicolo and Maffeo, and by information gathered by the 
Missionary Friars. Indeed, in 1278 Pope Nicolas III., in consequence of informa- 
tion said to have come from Abaka Khan of Persia, that Kiibldi was a baptised 
Christian, sent a party of Franciscans with a long letter to the Kaan Quobley, as he is 
termed. They never seem to have reached their destination. And in 1289 Nicolas IV. 
entrusted a similar mission to Friar John of Monte Corvino, which eventually led to 
very tangible results. Neither of the Papal letters, however, mentions Cathay. (See 
Mosheim, App. pp. 76 and 94. ) 


Pipino was also the author of a Chronicle, of which a part was 
printed by Muratori, and this contains chapters on the Tartar 
wars, the destruction of the Old Man of the Mountain, etc., 
derived from Polo. A passage not printed by Muratori has 
been extracted by Prof Bianconi from a MS. of this Chronicle 
in the Modena Library, and runs as follows : — 

" The matters which follow, concerning the magnificence of the Tartar 
Emperors, whom in their language they call Chain as we have said, are 
related by Marcus Paulus the Venetian in a certain Book of his which has 
been translated by me into Latin out of the Lombardic Vernacular. 
Ha\ing gained the notice of the Emperor himself and become attached 
to his service, he passed nearly 27 years in the Tartar countries."* 

Again we have that mention of Marco by Friar Jacopo 
d'Acqui, which we have quoted in connection with his capture by 
the Genoese, at p. 5^\ And the Florentine historian Giovanni 
VlLLANI,J when alluding to the Tartars, says : — 

" Let him who would make full acquaintance with their history examine 
the book of Friar Hayton, Lord of Colcos in Armenia, which he made at 
the instance of Pope Clement V., and also the Book called Milione which 
|Was made by Messer Marco Polo of Venice, who tells much about their 
)wer and dominion, ha\'ing spent a long time among them. And so let 
quit the Tartars and return to our subject, the History of FIorence."§ 

yj. Lastly, we learn from a curious passage in a medical 
%ork by PiETRO OF Abano, a celebrated physician and philo 
sopher, and a man of Polo's own generation, that he 
was personally acquainted with the Traveller. In a tempo^ 
discussion on the old notion of the non-habitability of "^^""""^ 
the Equatorial regions, which Pietro controverts, he says:|i 

* See Muratori, IX. 583, seqq. ; Biamoni, Mem. I. p. 37. 

t This Friar makes a strange hotch-potch of what he had read, e.g. : " The Tartars, 
when they came out of the mountains, made them a king, s\z., the son of Prester 
John, who is thus vulgarly termed Vetulus de la Montagna!''^ {Mon. Hist. Patr. 
Script. III. 1557.) 

+ G. Villani died in the great plague of 1348. But his book was begun soon after 
Marco's was written, for he states that it was the sight of the memorials of greatness 
which he witnessed at Rome, during the Jubilee of 1300, that put it into his head to 
write the history of the rising glories of Florence, and that he b^an the work after 
his return home. (Bk. VIII. ch. 36.) § Book V. ch. 29. 

II Petri Apottensis Medici ac Philosophi Celeberrimi, Conciliator, Venice, 1521, 
^o\. 97. Peter was born in 1250 at Abano, near Padua, and was Professor of 
Medicine at the University in the latter city. He twice fell into the claws of the 
Unholy Office, and only escaped them by death in 1316. 


" In the country of the ZiNGHi there is seen a star as big as a sack. 

I know a man who has seen it, and he 
told me it had a faint Hght like a piece 
of a cloud, and is always in the south.* 
I have been told of this and other 
matters by Marco the Venetian, the 
most extensive traveller and the most 
diligent inquirer whom I have ever 
known. He saw this same star under 
the Antarctic ; he described it as 
having a great tail, and drew a figure 
Star at the Antarctic as sketched of it thus. He also told me that he 
by Marco Polo (t). saw the Antarctic Pole at an altitude 

above the earth apparently equal to the 
length of a soldier's lance, whilst the Arctic Pole was as much below the 
horizon. 'Tis from that place, he says, that they export to us camphor, 
lign-aloes, and brazil. He says the heat there is intense, and the habita- 
tions few. And these things he witnessed in a certain island at which he 
arrived by Sea. He tells me also that there are (wild ?) men there, and 
also certain very great rams that have very coarse and stiff wool just like 
the bristles of our pigs.^'J 

In addition to these five I know no other contem- 
porary references to Polo, nor indeed any other within 
the 14th century, though such there must surely be, excepting in 
a Chronicle written after the middle of that century by JOHN of 

* The great Magellanic cloud ? In the account of Vincent Yanez Pinzon's Voyage 
to the S.W. in 1499 as given in Ramusio (III. 15) after Pietro Martire d'Anghieria, 
it is said: — "Taking the astrolabe in hand, and ascertaining the Antarctic Pole, 
they did not see any star like our Pole Star ; but they related that they saw another 
manner of stars very different from ours, and which they could not clearly discern 
because of a certain dimness which diffused itself about those stars, and obstructed 
th.e view of them." Also the Kachh mariners told Lieutenant Leech that midway to 
Zanzibar there was a town (?) called Marethee, where the North Pole Star sinks 
below the horizon, and they steer by a fixed clotid in the heavens. (Bombay Govt. 
Selections, No. XV. N.S. p. 215.) 

The great Magellan cloud is mentioned by an old Arab writer as a white blotch 
at the foot of Canopus, visible in the Tehama along the Red Sea, but not in 
Nejd or 'Irak. Humboldt, in quoting this, calculates that in a.d. looo the 
Great Magellan would have been visible at Aden some degrees above the horizon. 
{Examen, V. 235.) 

t [It is curious that this figure is almost exactly that which among oriental carpets 
is called a "cloud." I have heard the term so applied by Vincent Robinson. It 
often appears in old Persian carpets, and also in Chinese designs. Mr. Purdon Clarke 
tells me it is called nebula in heraldry; it is also called in Chinese by a term signifying 
cloud ; in Persian, by a term which he called silen-i-khitai, but of this I can make 
nothing.— iT/5'. Note by Vi//e.] 

X This passage contains points that are omitted in Polo's book, besides the draw- 
ing implied to be from Marco's own hand ! The island is of course Sumatra. The 
animal is perhaps the peculiar Sumatran wild-goat, figured by Marsden, the hair 
of which on the back is "coarse and strong, almost like bristles." {Sumatra, p. 115.) 


Ypres, Abbot of St. Bertin, otherwise known as Friar John the 
Long, and himself a person of xoxy high merit in the history of 
Travel, as a precursor of the Ramusios, Hakluyts and Purchases, 
for he collected together and translated (when needful) into 
French all of the most valuable works of Eastern Travel and 
Geography produced in the age immediately preceding his own.* 
In his Chronicle the Abbot speaks at some length of the 
adventures of the Polo Family, concluding with a passage to 
which we have already had occasion to refer : 

"And so Messers Nicolaus and Maffeus, with certain Tartars, were 
sent a second time to these parts ; but Marcus Pauli was retained by the 
Emperor and employed in his military service, abiding with him for a 
space of 27 years. And the Cham, on account of his ability despatched 
him upon affairs of his to various parts of Tartary and India and the 
Islands, on which journeys he beheld many of the marvels of those regions. 
And concerning these he afterwards composed a book in the French ver- 
nacular, which said Book of Mar\'els, with others of the same kind, we do 
possess." {Thesaur. Nov. Anecdot. III. 747.) 

J^). There is, however, a notable work which is ascribed to a 
rather early date in the 14th century, and which, though it 
contains no reference to Polo by name, shows a thorough 
acquaintance with his book, and borrows themes largely from it. 
This is the poetical Romance of Bauduin de Sebourc, Curious 

. . borrowings 

an exceedmgly clever and vivacious production, par- fromPoio 
taking largely of that bantering, half- mocking Romance of 
spirit which is, I believe, characteristic of many of the Sebourc 

* A splendid example of Abbot John's Collection is the Livre des Merveilles of the 
Great French Library (No. 18 in our A pp. F.). This contains Polo, Odoric, William 
of Boldensel, the Book of the Estate of the Great Kaan by the Archbishop of 
Soltania, Maundevile, Hayton, and Ricold of Montecroce, of which all but Polo and 
Maundevile are French versions by this excellent Long John. A list of the Polo 
miniatures is given in Aj>p. F. of this Edition, p. 527. 

It is a question for which there is sufficient ground, whether the Persian Historians 
Rashiduddin and \Yassaf, one or other or both, did not derive certain information 
that appears in their histories, from Marco Polo personally, he having spent many 
months in Persia, and at the Court of Tabriz, when either or both may have been 
there. Such passages as that about the Cotton-trees of Guzerat (vol. ii. p. 393, and 
note), those about the horse trade with Maabar (id. p. 340, and note), about the brother- 
kings of that country (id. p. 331), about the naked savages of Necuveram (id. 
p. 306), about the wild people of Sumatra calling themselves subjects of the Great Kaan 
(id. pp. 285, 292, 293, 299), have so strong a resemblance to parallel passages in one 
or both of the above historians, as given in the first and third volumes of Elliot, that 
the probability, at least, of the Persian writers having derived their information from 
Polo might be fairly maintained. 

VOL. I. p 


later mediaeval French Romances.* Bauduin is a knight who, 
after a very wild and loose youth, goes through an extraordinary 
series of adventures, displaying great faith and courage, and 
eventually becomes King of Jerusalem. I will cite some of the 
traits evidently derived from our Traveller, which I have met 
with in a short examination of this curious work. 

Bauduin, embarked on a dromond in the Indian Sea, is 
wrecked in the territory of Baudas, and near a city called Falise, 
which stands on the River of Baudas. The people of this city 
were an unbelieving race. 

" II ne creoient Dieu, Mahon, n^ Tervogant, - 
Ydole, cruchefis, deable, ne tirant." P. 300. 

Their only belief was this, that when a man died a great fire 

should be made beside his tomb, in which should be burned all 

his clothes, arms, and necessary furniture, whilst his horse 

and servant should be put to death, and then the dead man 

would have the benefit of all these useful properties in the other 

world. f Moreover, if it was the king that died — 

" Se li rois de la terre i aloit trespassant, 
* * * * * 

Si fasoit-on tuer, .viij. jour en un tenant, 

Tout chiaus c'on encontroit par la chite passant, 

Pour tenir compaingnie leur segnor soffisant. 

Telle estoit le creanche ou pais dont je cant ! "J P. 301. 

Baudin arrives when the king has been dead three days, and 
through dread of this custom all the people of the city are shut 
up in their houses. He enters an inn, and helps himself to a 
vast repast, having been fasting for three days. He is then 
seized and carried before the king, Polibans by name. We 
might have quoted this prince at p. Sy as an instance of the 
diffusion of the French tongue : 

" Polibans sot Fransois, car on le doctrina : 
j. renoies de Franche. vij. ans i demora, 
Qui li aprist Fransois, si que bel en parla." P. 309. 

* Li Romans de Bauduin de Sebourc 11 I« Roy de Jhirusalem ; I'otme du 
XlVe Siecle ; Valenciennes, 1841. 2 vols. 8vo. I was indebted to two references 
of M. Pauthier's for knowledge of the existence of this work. He cites the legends 
of the Mountain, and of the Stone of the Saracens from an abstract, but does not 
seem to have consulted the work itself, nor to have been aware of the extent of its 
borrowings from Marco Polo. M. Genin, from whose account Pauthier quotes, 
ascribes the poem to an early date after the death of Philip the Fair (1314). See 
Pauthier, pp. 57, 58, and 140. 

+ See Polo, vol. i. p. 204, and vol. ii. p. 191. % See Polo, vol. i. p. 246. 


Bauduin exclaims against their barbarous belief, and declares 
the Christian doctrine to the king, who acknowledges good 
points in it, but concludes : 

"Vassaus, dist Polibans, k le chi^re bardie, 
Jk ne crerrai vou D ieux, a nul jour de ma vie ; 
Ne vostre Loy ne vaut una pomme pourie ! " P. 31 1. 

Bauduin proposes to prove his Faith by fighting the prince, him- 
self unarmed, the latter with all his arms. The prince agrees, 
but is rather dismayed at Bauduin's confidence, and desires his 
followers, in case of his own death, to bum with him horses, 
armour, etc., asking at the same time which of them would con- 
sent to bum along with him, in order to be his companions in 
the other world : 

" Lk en i ot. ij°. dont cascuns s'escria : 

" Nous morons volentiers, quant vo corps mort sara I "* P. 313. 

Bauduin's prayer for help is miraculously granted ; Polibans is 
beaten, and converted by a vision. He tells Bauduin that in 
his neighbourhood, beyond Baudas— 

"ou. V. liewes, ou. vi. 
Che un felles prinches, orgoellieus et despis ; 
De la Rouge- Montaingne est Prinches et Marchis. 
Or vous dirai comment il a ses gens nouris : 

Je vous di que chius Roys a fait un Paradis 
Tant noble et gratieus, et plain de tels deliis, 

* ♦ ♦ ♦ * 

Car en che Paradis est un riex establis, 
Qui se partist en trois, en che noble pourpris : 
En I'un coert li clares, d'espises bien garnis ; 
Et en I'autre li mies, qui les a resouffis ; 
Et li vins di pieument i queurt par droit avis — 

♦ * » * * 

II n'i vente, ne gele. Che lies est de samis, 
De riches dras de soie, bien ouvres k devis. 
Et aveukes tout che que je chi vous devis, 
I a. ij' puchelles qui moult ont cler les vis, 
Carolans et tresquans, menans gales et ris. 
Et si est li dieuesse, dame et suppellatis. 
Qui doctrine les autres et en fais et en dis, 
Celle est la fiUe au Roy c'on dist des Haus-AssisP^ Pp. 319-320, 

* See Polo, vol. ii. p. 339. 

t See Polo, vol. i. p. 140. Hashishi has got altered into Ham Assis. 
VOL. r. p2 


This Lady Ivorine, the Old Man's daughter, is described among 
other points as having — 

" Les lex vairs com faucons, nobles et agentis."* P. 320. 

The King of the Mountain collects all the young male 
children of the country, and has them brought up for nine or ten 
years : 

" Dedens un lieu oscur : Ik les met-on toudis 
Aveukes males bestes ; kiens, et cas, et soris, 
Culo^res, et lisaerdes, escorpions petis. 
Lk endroit ne peut nuls avoir joie, n€ ris." Pp. 320-321. 

And after this dreary life they are shown the Paradise, and told 
that such shall be their portion if they do their Lord's behest. 

" S'il disoit k son homme : ' Va-t-ent droit k Paris ; 
Si me fier d'un coutel le Roy de Saint Denis, 
Jamais n'aresteroit, ne par nuit ne par dis, 
S'aroit tue le Roy, vo'iant tous ches marchis ; 
Et deuist estre k fources traines et mal mis.'" P. 321. 

Baud u in determines to see this Paradise and the lovely 
Ivorine. The road led by Baudas : 

" Or avoit k che tamps, se I'istoire ne ment. 
En le chit de Baudas Kristiens jusqu' k cent ; 
Qui manonent illoec par treu d'argent. 
Que cascuns cristiens au Roy-Calife rent. 

Li peres du Calife, qui regna longement, 
Ama les Crestiens, et Dieu primi^rement : 
* * * « ♦ 

Et lor fist establir. j. monstier noble et gent, 

Ou Crestien faisoient faire lor sacrement. 

Une mout noble pi6re lor donna proprement, 

Ou on avoit pose Mahon moult longement." t P. 322. 

The story is, in fact, that which Marco relates of Samar- 
kand.! The Caliph dies. His son hates the Christians. His 
people complain of the toleration of the Christians and 
their minister ; but he says his father had pledged him not 
to interfere, and he dared not forswear himself If, without 

Sec vol. i. p. 358, nute. t See vol. i. p. 189, note 2. 

t Vol. i. pp. 183-186. 


doing so, he could do them an ill turn, he would gladly. The 
people then suggest their claim to the stone : 

" Or leur donna vos peres, dont che fu mesprisons. 
Ceste pierre, biaus Sire, Crestiens demandons : 
II ne le porront rendre, pour vrai le vous disons, 
Si li monstiers n'est mis et par pitches et par mens ; 
Et s'il estoit desfais, jamais ne le larons 
Refaire chi-endroit. Ensement averons 
Faites et acomplies nostres ententions." P. 324- 

The Caliph accordingly sends for Maistre Thumas, the 
Priest of the Christians, and tells him the stone must be 
given up : 

" II a. c. ans ut plus c'on i mist k solas 
Mahon, le nostra Dieu : dont che n'est mie estas 
Que li vous monstiers soit fais de nostre hamas ! " P. 324. 

Master Thomas, in great trouble, collects his flock, mounts the 
pulpit, and announces the calamity. Bauduin and his convert 
Polibans then arrive. Bauduin recommends confession, fasting, 
and prayer. They follow his advice, and on the third day the 
miracle occurs : 

" L'escripture le dist, qui nous achertefie 
Que le pierre Mahon,qui ou mur fut fiquie, 
Sali hors du piler, coi que nul vous en die. 
Droit enmi le monstier, c'onques ne fut brisie. 
Et demoura li traus, dont le piere ert widie. 
Sans piere est sans quailliel, k cascune partie ; 
Chou deseure soustient, par divine maistrie. 
Tout en air proprement, n'el tenes k falie. 

Encore le voit-on en ichelle partie : 
Qui croire ne m'en voelt, si voist ; car je Ten prie ! " P. 327. 

The Caliph comes to see, and declares it to be the Devil's doing. 
Seeing Polibans, who is his cousin, he hails him, but Polibans 
draws back, avowing his Christian faith. The Caliph in a rage 
has him off to prison. Bauduin becomes very ill, and has to 
sell his horse and arms. His disease is so offensive that he 
is thrust out of his hostel, and in his wretchedness sitting on 
a stone he still avows his faith, and confesses that even then 
he has not received his deserts. He goes to beg in the Christian 


quarter, and no one gives to him ; but still his faith and love to 
God hold out : 

" Ensement Bauduins chelle rue cherqua, 
Tant qu'k .j. chavetier Bauduins s'arresta, 
Qui chavates cousoit ; son pain en garigna : 
Jones fu et plaisans, apertement ouvra. 
Bauduins le regarde, c'onques mot ne parla." P. 334. 

The cobler is charitable, gives him bread, shoes, and a grey coat 
that was a foot too short. He then asks Bauduin if he will not 
learn his trade ; but that is too much for the knightly stomach : 

" Et Bauduins respont, li preus et li membrus : 
J'ameroie trop miex que je fuisse pendus ! " P. 335. 

The Caliph now in his Council expresses his vexation about the 
miracle, and says he does not know how to disprove the faith of 
the Christians. A very sage old Saracen who knew Hebrew, 
and Latin, and some thirty languages, makes a suggestion, 
which is, in fact, that about the moving of the Mountain, as 
related by Marco Polo.* Master Thomas is sent for again, 
and told that they must transport the high mountain of Thir 
to the valley of Joaquin, which lies to the westward. He goes 
away in new despair and causes his clerk to sonner le clocke 
for his people. Whilst they are weeping and wailing in the 
church, a voice is heard desiring them to seek a certain holy 
man who is at the good cobler's, and to do him honour. God 
at his prayer will do a miracle. They go in procession to 
Bauduin, who thinks they are mocking him. They treat him 
as a saint, and strive to touch his old coat. At last he consents 
to pray along with the whole congregation. 

The Caliph is in his palace with his princes, taking his ease 
at a window. Suddenly he starts up exclaiming : 

" ' Seignour, par Mahoumet que j'aoure et tieng chier, 
Le Mont de Thir enportent le deable d'enfeir ! ' 
Li Califes s't^crie : ' Seignour, franc palasin, 
Voi^s le Mont de Thir qui ch'est mis au chemin ! 
Vds-le-lk tout en air, par mon Dieu Apolin ; 
Jk bientost le verrons ens ou val Joaquin ! '" P. 345. 

The Caliph is converted, releases Polibans, and is baptised, 

* Vol. i. pp. 68 seqq. The virtuous cobler is not left out, but is made to play 
second fiddle to the hero Bauduin. 


taking the name of Bauduin, to whom he expresses his 
fear of the Viex de la Montagne with his Hauts-Assis, 
telling anew the story of the Assassin's Paradise, and so 
enlarges on the beauty of Ivorine that Bauduin is smitten, 
and his love heals his malady. Toleration is not learned 
however : 

" Bauduins, li Califes, fist baptisier sa gent, 
Et qui ne voilt Dieu crore, li teste on li pourfent ! " P- 350. 

The Caliph gives up his kingdom to Bauduin, proposing 
to follow him to the Wars of Syria. And Bauduin presents the 
Kingdom to the Cobler. 

Bauduin, the Caliph, and Prince Polibans then proceed to 
visit the Mountain of the Old Man. The Caliph professes to 
him that they want help against Godfrey of Bouillon. The 
Viex says he does not give a bouton for Godfrey ; he will send 
one of his Hauts-Assis straight to his tent, and give him a great 
knife of steel between yf^ et poutnon ! 

After dinner they go out and witness the feat of devotion 
which we have quoted elsewhere.* They then see the Paradise 
and the lovely Ivorine, with whose beauty Bauduin is struck 
dumb. The lady had never smiled before ; now she declares 
that he for whom she had long waited was come. Bauduin 
exclaims : 

"'Madame, fu-jou chou qui sui le vous soubgis?' 
Quant la puchelle I'ot, lors li geta. j. ris ; 
Et li dist : ' Bauduins, vous estes mes amis ! '" Pp. 362-363. 

The Old One is vexed, but speaks pleasantly to his daughter, 
who replies with frightfully bad language, and declares herself 
to be a Christian. The father calls out to the Caliph to kill 
her. The Caliph pulls out a big knife and gives him a blow 
that nearly cuts him in two. The amiable Ivorine says she 
will go with Bauduin : / 

" ' Se mes p^res est mors, n'en donne. j. paresis ! ' " P. 364. 

We need not follow the story further, as I did not trace 

beyond this point any distinct derivation from our Traveller, 
with the exception of that allusion to the incombustible cover- 

* Vol. i. p. 144. 


ing of the napkin of St. Veronica, which I have quoted at 
p. 2x6 of this volume. But including this, here are at least 
seven different themes borrowed from Marco Polo's book, on 
which to be sure his poetical contemporary plays the most 
extraordinary variations. 

[78 bis. — In the third volume of The Complete Works of 
Geoffrey Chaucer^ Oxford, 1894, the Rev. Walter W. Skeat gives 
(pp. 372 seqq^ an Account of the Sources of the 
and Marco Canterbury Tales. Regarding The Squieres Tales, he 
says that one of his sources was the Travels of Marco ; 
Mr. Keighley in his Tales and Popular Fictions, published in 
1834, at p. ^6, distinctly derives Chaucer's Tale from the 
travels of Marco Polo. {Skeat, I c, p. 463, note.) I cannot quote 
all the arguments given by the Rev. W. W. Skeat to support his 
theory, pp. 463-477- 

Regarding the opinion of Professor Skeat of Chaucer's in- 
debtedness to Marco Polo, cf. Marco Polo and the Squire's Tale, 
by Professor John Matthews Manly, vol. xi. of the Publications 
of the Modern Language Association of America, 1896, pp. 349- 
362. Mr. Manly says (p. 360) : " It seems clear, upon reviewing 
the whole problem, that if Chaucer used Marco Polo's narrative, 
he either carelessly or intentionally confused all the features of 
the setting that could possibly be confused, and retained not a 
single really characteristic trait of any person, place or event. 
It is only by twisting everything that any part of Chaucer's 
story can be brought into relation with any part of Polo's. To 
do this might be allowable, if any rational explanation could 
be given for Chaucer's supposed treatment of his ' author,' or 
if there were any scarcity of sources from which Chaucer might 
have obtained as much information about Tartary as he seems 
really to have possessed ; but such an explanation would be 
difficult to devise, and there is no such scarcity. Any one of 
half a dozen accessible accounts could be distorted into almost 
if not quite as great resemblance to \\\q Squire's Tale as Marco 
Polo's can." 

Mr. A. W. Pollard, in his edition of The Squire's Tale 
(Lond., 1899) writes : "A very able paper, by Prof J. M. Manly, 
demonstrates the needlessness of Prof Skeat's theory, which 
has introduced fresh complications into an already complicated 
story. My own belief is that, though we may illustrate the 


Squire's Tale from these old accounts of Tartary, and especially 
from Marco Polo, because he has been so well edited by Colonel 
Yule, there is verj' little probability that Chaucer consulted any 
of them. It is much more likely that he found these details 
where he found more important parts of his story, i.e. in some 
lost romance. But if we must suppose that he provided his 
own local colour, we have no right to pin him down to using 
Marco Polo to the exclusion of other accessible authorities." 
Mr. Pollard adds in a note (p. xiii.) : "There are some features 
in these narratives, e.g. the account of the gorgeous dresses worn 
at the Kaan's feast, which Chaucer with his love of colour could 
hardly have helped reproducing if he had known them." — H. C.J 

XIII. Nature of Polo's Influence on Geographicai 

79. Marco Polo contributed such a vast amount of new 
facts to the knowledge of the Earth's surface, that r~ , 

° ' rardy opera 

one might have expected his book to have had a ^"^"^ 
sudden effect upon the Science of Geography : but ''"^reot 
no such result occurred speedily, nor was its beneficial effect 
of any long duration. 

No doubt several causes contributed to the slowness of its 
action upon the notions of Cosmographers, of which the unreal 
character attributed to the Book, as a collection of romantic 
marvels rather than of geographical and historical facts, may 
have been one, as Santarem urges. But the essential causes 
were no doubt the imperfect nature of publication before the 
invention of the press ; the traditional character which clogged 
geography as well as all other branches of knowledge in the 
Middle Ages ; and the entire absence of scientific principle in 
what passed for geography, so that there was no organ com- 
petent to the assimilation of a large mass of new knowledge. 

Of the action of the first cause no examples can be more 
striking than we find in the false conception of the Caspian 
as a gulf of the Ocean, entertained by Strabo, and the opposite 
error in regard to the Indian Sea held by Ptolemy, who regards 
it as an enclosed basin, when we contrast these with the correct 


ideas on both subjects possessed by Herodotus. The later 
Geographers no doubt knew his statements, but did not appre- 
ciate them, probably from not possessing the evidence on which 
they were based. 

80. As regards the second cause alleged, we may say that 
down nearly to the middle of the 15th century cosmographers, 
General char- as a rulc, made scarcely any attempt to reform their 
of Mediaeval maps by any elaborate search for new matter, or by 

phy, lights that might be collected from recent travellers. 

Their world was in its outline that handed down by the tradi- 
tions of their craft, as sanctioned by some Father of the Church, 
such as Orosius or Isidore, as sprinkled with a combination of 
classical and mediaeval legend ; Solinus being the great authority 
for the former. Almost universally the earth's surface is re- 
presented as filling the greater part of a circular disk, rounded by 
the ocean ; a fashion that already existed in the time of 
Aristotle and was ridiculed by him.* No dogma of false 
geography was more persistent or more pernicious than this. 
Jerusalem occupies the central point, because it was found 
written in the Prophet Ezekiel : " Haec dicit Dominus Deus : 
Ista est Jerusalem^ in medio gentium /^i'^/z eam^ et in circuitu ejus 
terras ;"-f a declaration supposed to be corroborated by the 
Psalmist's expression, regarded as prophetic of the death of 
Our Lord : " Deus autem, Rex noster, ante secula operatus est 
salutem in medio Terrae " (Ps. Ixxiii. \2).\ The Terrestrial 

* "They draw nowadays the map of the world in a laughable manner, for they 
draw the inhabited earth as a circle ; but this is impossible, both from what we see 
and from reason." {Meteorolog. Lib. II. cap. 5.) Cf. Herodotus, iv. 36. 

t In Dante's Cosmography, Jerusalem is the centre of our olKovfiivrj, whilst the 
Mount of Purgatory occupies the middle of the Antipodal hemisphere : — 

" Come ci6 sia, se'I vuoi poter pensare, 
Dentro raccolto immagina Sion 
Con questo monte in su la terra stare, 
Si, ch' ambodue hann' un solo orrizon 

E diversi emisperi " 

—Purs;. IV. 67. 

J The belief, with this latter ground of it, is alluded to in curious verses by 
Jacopo Alighieri, Dante's son : — 
" E ntolti f^an Profeti 

E per la Santa /ede 
Cristiana ancor si vede 
Che' t suo principio Crista 
Nel suo mezzo conquisto 
Per cuiprese morte 
E vi pose la sorte." 

— {Rime Antiche Toscane, III. 9.) 

Though the general meaning of the second couplet is obvious, the expression il 

Filosofi e Poeti 
Fanno il colco dell' Emme 
Dov' e Gerusalemme ; 
Se le loro scritture 
Hanno vere figure : 


Paradise was represented as occupying the extreme East, because 
it was found in Genesis that the Lord planted a garden east 
ward in Eden.* Gog and Magog were set in the far north 01 
north-east, because it was said again in Ezekiel : " Ecce Ego 
super te. Gog Principem capitis Mosoch et Thiibal . . . ei ascendere 
tefaciam de lateribus Aquilonis" whilst probably the topography 
of those mysterious nationalities was completed by a girdle of 
mountains out of the Alexandrian Fables. The loose and 
scanty nomenclature was mainly borrowed from Pliny or Mela 
through such Fathers as we have named ; whilst vacant spaces 
were occupied by Amazons, Arimaspians, and the realm of 
Prester John. A favourite representation of the inhabited earth 

was this (-y) ; a great O enclosing a T, which thus divides the 

circle in three parts ; the greater or half-circle being Asia, the 
two quarter circles Europe and Africa.f These Maps were 
kno\v*n to St. Augustine.^ 

81. Even Ptolemy seems to have been almost unknown; 
and indeed had his Geography been studied it might, with all 
its errors, have tended to some greater endeavours 
alter accuracy. Roger Bacon, whilst lamenting the Bacon as a 
exceeding deficiency of geographical knowledge in the 
Latin world, and purposing to essay an exacter distribution of 
countries, says he will not attempt to do so by latitude and 
longitude, for that is a system of which the Latins have learned 

colco deir Emnie, "the couch of the M," is pozzhng. The best solution that occurs 
to me is this : In looking at the world map of Marino Sanudo, noticed on p. ijj, 
as engraved by Bongars in the Gesta Dei per Francos, you find geometrical lines laid 
down, connecting the N.E., N.W., S.E., and S.W. points, and thus forming a 
square inscribed in the circular disk of the Earth, with its diagonals passing through 
the Central Zion. The eye easily discerns in these a great M inscribed in the circle, 
with its middle angular point at Jerusalem. Geni-asius of Tilbury (with some con- 
fusion in his mind between tropic and equinoxial, like that which Pliny makes in 
speaking of the Indian Mons Malleus) says that " some are of opinion that the Centre 
is in the place where the Lord spoke to the woman of Samaria at the well, 
for there, at the summer solstice, the noonday sun descends perpendicularly into the 
water of the well, casting no shadow ; a thing which the philosophers say occurs at 
Syene" ! {Otia Imperialia, by Liebrecht, p. i.) 

* This circumstance does not, however, show in the Vulgate. 

t " Veggiamo in prima in geceial la terra 
Come risiede e come il mar la sena. 

Un T dentro ad un O mostra il disegno 
Come Lq tre parti fii diviso il Mondo, 
E la superiore e il maggior regno 
Che qtiasi piglia la metk del tondo. 

De Civ. Dei, xvi. 17, quoted by Peschel, 92 

Asia chiamata : il gambo ritto e segno 
Che parte il terzo nome dal secondo 
Affrica dico da Europa : il mare 
Mediterran tra esse in mezzo appare." 

— La S/era, di F. L&xiardo di Sta^ 
Dati, Lib. iiL St. 11. 


nothing. He himself, whilst still somewhat burdened by the 
authoritative dicta of " saints and sages " of past times, ven- 
tures at least to criticise some of the latter, such as Pliny and 
Ptolemy, and declares his intention to have recourse to the in- 
formation of those who have travelled most extensively over the 
Earth's surface. And judging from the good use he makes, in 
his description of the northern parts of the world, of the Travels 
of Rubruquis, whom he had known and questioned, besides dili- 
gently studying his narrative,* we might have expected much in 
Geography from this great man, had similar materials been 
available to him for other parts of the earth. He did attempt a 
map with mathematical determination of places, but it has not 
been preserved.^ 

It may be said with general truth that the world-maps 
current up to the end of the 1 3th century had more analogy to 
the mythical cosmography of the Hindus than to any thing 
properly geographical. Both, no doubt, were originally based in 
the main on real features. In the Hindu cosmography these 
genuine features are symmetrised as in a kaleidoscope ; in the 
European cartography they are squeezed together in a manner 
that one can only compare to a pig in brawn. Here and there 
some feature strangely compressed and distorted is just 
recognisable. A splendid example of this kind of map is that 
famous one at Hereford, executed about A.D. 1275, of which a 
facsimile has lately been published, accompanied by a highly 
meritorious illustrative Essay .J 

82. Among the Arabs many able men, from the early days 
of Isldm, took an interest in Geography, and devoted labour to 
geographical compilations, in which they often made use of their 
own observations, of the itineraries of travellers, and of other 
fresh knowledge. But somehow or other their maps were always 
far behind their books. Though they appear to have had an 
early translation of Ptolemy, and elaborate Tables of Latitudes 
and Longitudes form a prominent feature in many of their 
geographical treatises, there appears to be no Arabic map in 

• opus Majus, Venice ed. pp. 142, segq. 

t Peschel, p. 195. This had escaped me. 

+ By the Rev. W. L. Bevan, M.A., and the Rev. H. W. Phillott, M.A. In 
Asia, they point out, the only name showing any recognition of modern knowledge is 


existence, laid down with meridians and parallels ; whilst all of 
their best known maps are on the old system of the circular disk. 
This apparent incapacity for map-making appears to have acted 
as a heavy drag and bar upon progress in Geography among the 
Arabs, notwithstanding its early promise among them, and in 
spite of the application to its furtherance of the great intellects 
of some (such as Abu Rihan al-Biruni), and of the indefatigable 
spirit of travel and omnivorous curiosity of others (such as 

83. Some distinct trace of acquaintance with the Arabian 
Geography is to be found in the World-Map of Marino Sanudo 
the Elder, constructed between 1300 and 1320; and 

this may be regarded as an exceptionally favourable Sanudothe 
specimen of the cosmography in vogue, for the author 
was a diligent investigator and compiler, who evidently took a 
considerable interest in geographical questions, and had a strong 
enjoyment and appreciation of a map.* Nor is the map in 
question without some result of these characteristics. His 
representation of Europe, Northern Africa, Syria, Asia Minor, 
Arabia and its two gulfs, is a fair approximation to general facts ; 
his collected knowledge has enabled him to locate, with more or 
less of general truth, Georgia, the Iron Gates, Cathay, the Plain 
of Moghan, Euphrates and Tigris, Persia, Bagdad, Kais, Aden 
(though on the wrong side of the Red Sea), Abyssinia {Habesk), 
Zangibar {Zinz), Jidda (Zede), etc. But after all the traditional 
forms are too strong for him. Jerusalem is still the centre of the 
disk of the habitable earth, so that the distance is as great from 
Syria to Gades in the extreme West, as from Syria to the India 
Interior of Prester John which terminates the extreme East. 
And Africa beyond the Arabian Gulf is carried, according to the 
Arabian modification of Ptolemy's misconception, far to the east- 
ward until it almost meets the prominent shores of India. 

84. The first genuine mediaeval attempt at a geographical 
construction that I know of, absolutely free from the traditional 
idola, is the Map of the known World from the Portulano 

His work, Liber Secretortim Fidelium Crucis, intended to stimulate a new 
Crusade, lias three capital maps, besides that of the World, one of which, translated, 
but otherwise in facsimile, is given at p. 18 of this volume. But besides these maps, 
he gives, in a tabular form of parallel columns, the reigning sovereigns in Europe and 
-'Lsia connected with his historical retrospect, just on the plan presented in Sir Harris 
Nicolas's Chronology of History. 


Mediceo (in the Laurentian Library), of which an extract is 
engraved in the atlas of BaldelH-Boni's Polo. 1 need not 
The Catalan descHbe it, howcver, because I cannot satisfy myself 
Map of 1375, ^|^J^|. j^ makes much use of Polo's contributions, and 

the most ' 

me'dfivai ^^^ facts have been embodied in a more ambitious 
ofPofo?^"' work of the next generation, the celebrated Catalan 
Geography. ^^^ of 1375 in the great Library of Paris. This also, 
but on a larger scale and in a more comprehensive manner, is 
an honest endeavour to represent the known world on the basis 
of collected facts, casting aside all theories pseudo-scientific or 
pseudo-theological ; and a very remarkable work it is. In this 
map it seems to me Marco Polo's influence, I will not say on 
geography, but on map-making, is seen to the greatest advan- 
tage. His Book is the basis of the Map as regards Central 
and Further Asia, and partially as regards India. His names 
are often sadly perverted, and it is not always easy to under- 
stand the view that the compiler took of his itineraries. Still 
we have Cathay admirably placed in the true position of China, 
as a great Empire filling the south-east of Asia. The Eastern 
Peninsula of India is indeed absent altogether, but the Peninr 
sula of Hither India is for the first time in the History of 
Geography represented with a fair approximation to its correct 
form and position,* and Sumatra also {Jaua) is not badly 
placed. Carajan, Vocian, Mien, and Bangala, are located with 
a happy conception of their relation to Cathay and to India. 
Many details in India foreign to Polo's book,f and some in 
Cathay (as well as in Turkestan and Siberia, which have been 
entirely derived from other sources) have been embodied 
in the Map. But the study of his Book has, I conceive, been 
essentially the basis of those great portions which I have 
specified, and the additional matter has not been in mass 
sufficient to perplex the compiler. Hence we really see 

* I do not see that al-I5iruni deserves the credit in this respect assigned to him 
by Professor Peschel, so far as one can judge from the data given by Sprenger 
(Peschel, p. 128; Post unci Reise-Rotiten, 81-82.) 

t For example, Dclli, which Polo does not name ; Diogil (Deogfr) ; on the 
Coromandel coast Setemelti, which I take to L-e a clerical error for Sclte-TempH, the 
Seven Pagodas; round the Gulf of Cambay we have Cambelum (Kambayat), 
Cociiitaya (Kokan-Tana, see vol. ii. p. 396), Goga, Baroche, Neniala (Anharwahi), 
and to the north Moltan. Below Multan are Hocibekh and Bargelidoa, two puzzles. 
The former is, I think, Uch-baligh, showing that part of the information was from 
Perso- Mongol sources. 


that the Tra- 
bequeathed a 

he Far East in 
las Catalan de 
:onclusion that 
drawn almost 
n ofpartof the 

nt indications 
' now that the 

y Confusions 

d not ^^- 

fU, ^f the i6th 

^^^l- century, 

at inn fromt^e 

dllOIl endeavour 

ncrra *° combine 
"& * ** new and old 
J i.L information. 

Mauro (1459), 

action of facts 

es a consider- 

the Catalan 

t of discovery 

if all attempts 

5,vas most un- 

(t combinations 

I regarding the 

,,; Great Kaan's 

ated its inde- 

and the new 

'ten applied to any 

of the illustrious 
■ignory with a copy 
Major's P. Henry, 

icy of the circular 

_^f>8). The following 

^^<^confusion in verbal 

- "• *' lemy's Tables have 

md the Seres, and 

e \qtundam'\ Marco 


Mediceo (in th 
engraved in \.\ 

The Catalan ^eSCril 

&fst^^^' that il 

complete \^■^ f^f 

mediseyal ^^^ *'^'- 

embodiment ^Trr^rh- « 

of Polo's WOFK I 

Geography. jyj^p ^ 

but on a larger 
an honest endee 
of collected fac 
map it seems tc 
geography, but 
tage. His Boo 
and Further As 
are often sadly 
stand the view 
we have Cathay 
as a great Empi 
Peninsula of In 
sula of Hither 
Geography repr 
form and posit 
placed. Carajai 
a happy conce) 
Many details ii 
Cathay (as well 
entirely derive* 
in the Map. Bi 
essentially the 
specified, and 
sufficient to p 

* I do not see th 
by Professor Pesche 
{Peschel, p. 128 ; Poi 

t For example, 
Coromandel coast Se. 
Seven Pagodas ; ro 
Cocintaya (Kokan-T 
and to the north Mot 
The former is, I thi 
Parse- Mongol source 


in this Map something Hke the idea of Asia that the Tra- 
veller himself would have presented, had he bequeathed a 
Map to us. 

[Some years ago, I made a special study of the Far East in 
the Catalan Map. {L Extreme- Orient dans P Atlas Catalan de 
Charles V., Paris, 1895), and I have come to the conclusion that 
the cartographer's knowledge of Eastern Asia is drawn almost 
entirely from Marco Polo. We give a reproduction of part of the 
Catalan Map.— H. C] 

85. In the following age we find more frequent indications 
that Polo's book was diffused and read. And now that the 
spirit of discovery began to stir, it was apparently confUsions 
regarded in a juster light as a Book of Facts, and not ^p^-^f 
as a mere Romman du Grant Kaan* But in fact ^^t^^ 
this age produced new supplies of crude information en^vour 
in greater abundance than the knowledge of geogra- ne^^dota 
phers was prepared to digest or co-ordinate, and the "^°"°*"°°- 
consequence is that the magnificent Work of Era Mauro (1459), 
though the result of immense labour in the collection of facts 
and the endeavour to combine them, really gives a consider- 
ably less accurate idea of Asia than that which the Catalan 
Map had afforded.f 

And when at a still later date the great burst of discovery 
eastward and westward took effect, the results of all attempts 
to combine the new knowledge with the old was most un- 
happy. The first and crudest forms of such combinations 
attempted to realise the ideas of Columbus regarding the 
identity of his discoveries with the regions of the Great Kaan's 
dominion; J but even after America had vindicated its inde- 
pendent position on the surface of the globe, and the new 

* I see it stated by competent authority that Romman is often applied to any 
prose composition in a Romance language. 

In or about 1426, Prince Pedro of Portugal, the elder brother of the illustrious 
Prince Henry, being on a visit to Venice, was presented by the Signor)' with a copy 
of Marco Polo's book, together with a map already alluded to. (Major's P. Henry, 
pp. 61, 62.) 

t This is partly due also to Era Mauro's reversion to the fancy of the circular 
disk limiting the inhabited portion of the earth. 

X An early graphic instance of this is Ruysch's famous map ( 150S). The following 
extract of a work printed as late as 1533 is an example of the like confusion in verbal 
description : "The Territories which are beyond the limits of Rolemy's Tables have 
not yet been described on certain authority. Behind the Sinae and the Seres, and 
beyond 180° of East Longitude, many countries were discovered by one \£tundarn\ Marco 


knowledge of the Portuguese had introduced China where 
the Catalan Map of the 14th century had presented Cathay, 
the latter country, with the whole of Polo's nomenclature, was 
shoved away to the north, forming a separate system.* Hence- 
forward the influence of Polo's work on maps was simply 
injurious ; and when to his nomenclature was added a 
sprinkling of Ptolemy's, as was usual throughout the 16th century, 
the result was a most extraordinary hotch-potch, conveying no 
approximation to any consistent representation of facts. 

Thus, in a map of I522,-|- running the eye along the north 
of Europe and Asia from West to East, we find the following 
succession of names : Groenlandia, or Greenland, as a great 
peninsula overlapping that of Norvegia and Suecia ; Livonia, 
Plescovia and Moscovia, Tartaria bounded on the South by 
Scithia extra Imaum, and on the East, by the Rivers Ochardes 
and Bautisis (out of Ptolemy), which are made to flow into 
the Arctic Sea. South of these are Aureacithis and Asmirea 
(Ptolemy's Atixaciiis and Asinircea), and Serica Regio. Then 
following the northern coast Balor Regio,\ Judei Clatisi, i.e. 
the Ten Tribes who are constantly associated or confounded 
with the Shut-up Nations of Gog and Magog. These impinge 
upon the River PoHsacus, flowing into the Northern Ocean in 
Lat. 75°, but which is in fact no other than Polo's Puli- 
sanghinl\ Immediately south of this is Tholomon Provincia 
(Polo's again), and on the coast Tangut, Cathaya, the Rivers 

Polo a Venetian and others, and the sea-coasts of those countries have now recently again 
been explored by Columbus the Genoese and Amerigo Vespucci in navigating the 
Western Ocean. ... To this part (of Asia) belong the territory called that of the 
Bachalaos [or Codfish, Newfoundland], Florida, the Desert of Lop, Tangut, Cathay, 
the realm of Mexico (wherein is the vast city of Temistitan, built in the middle of a 
great lake, but which the older travellers styled Quinsay), besides Paria, Uraba, 
and the countries of the Canihals." [Joannis Schoneri Carolostadtii Opuscnhitn 
Geogr., quoted by Humboldt, Exainen, V. 171, 172.) 

* In Robert Parke's Dedication of his Translation of Mendoza's, London, ist of 
January, 1589, he identifies China and Japan with the regions of which Pauliis Venetus 
and Sir John Mandeuill "wrote long agoe." — MS. Note by Yule. 

t " Totius Europae et Asiae Tabula Geographica, Auctore Thoma D. Aucuparto. 
Edita Argentorati, mdxxii." Copied in Witsen. 

X This strange association of Balor (i.e., Bolor, that name of so many odd 
vicissitudes, see pp. 178-179 infra) with the shut-up Israelites must be traced to a 
passage which Athanasius Kircher quotes from P. Abraham Pizol (qu. Peritsol ?) : 
" Regnum, inquit, Belor magnum et excelsuni nittiis,juxta omnes illos qui scripserunt 
Ilistoricos. Sunt in eo Juddcipluriwi incltisi, et illud in latere Orientali et Boreali,'* 
etc. {China Illustrata, p. 49.) § Vol. ii. p. I. 



Caramordn and Oman (a misreading of Polo's Quian), Quinsay 
and Mangi. 

86. The Maps of Mercator (1587) and Magini (1597) are 
similar in character, but more elaborate, introducing China as 
a separate system. Such indeed also is Blaeu's Map Gradual 

, , ... disappear- 

(1663) excepting that Ptolemy s contributions are anceof 

reduced to one or two. menclamre. 

In Sanson's Map (1659) the data of Polo and the mediaeval 
Travellers are more cautiously handled, but a new element 
of confusion is introduced in the form of numerous features 
derived from Edrisi. 

It is scarcely worth while to follow the matter further. 
With the increase of knowledge of Northern Asia from the 
Russian side, and that of China from the Maps of Martini, 
followed by the surveys of the Jesuits, and with the real 
science brought to bear on Asiatic Geography by such men 
as De risle and D'Anville, mere traditional nomenclature 
gradually disappeared. And the task which the study of 
Polo has provided for the geographers of later days has 
been chiefly that of determining the true localities that his 
book describes under obsolete or corrupted 

[My late illustrious friend, Baron A. E. Nordenskiold, who has 
devoted much time and labour to the study of Marco Polo (see 
his Periplus, Stockholm, 1897), and published a facsimile edition 
of one of the French MSS. kept in the Stockholm Royal Library 
(see vol. ii. Bibliography, p. 570), has given to The Geographical 
Journal for April, 1 899, pp. 396-406, a paper on The Influence of 
the " Travels of Marco Polo " on facobo Gasialdi's Maps of Asia. 
He writes (p. 398) that as far as he knows, none " of the many 
learned men who have devoted their attention to the discoveries 
of Marco Polo, have been able to refer to any maps in which 
all or almost all those places mentioned by Marco Polo are given. 
All friends of the history of geography will therefore be glad 
to hear that such an atlas from the middle of the sixteenth 
century really does exist, viz. Gastaldi's ' Prima, seconda e terza 
parte dell Asia.' " All the names of places in Ramusio's Marco 
Polo are introduced in the maps of Asia of Jacobo Gastaldi 
(1561). Cf. Periplus, liv., Iv., and Ivi. 

I may refer to what both Yule and myself say supra of the 
Catalan Map.— H. C] 

VOL. L q 


87. Before concluding, it may be desirable to say a few 
words on the subject of important knowledge other than 
Alleged in- geographical, which various persons have supposed 
of°Bbck°" that Marco Polo must have introduced from Eastern 
ef Asia to Europe. 

byNtoco^^ Respecting the mariner's compass and gunpowder 

^°'°" I shall say nothing, as no one now, I believe, imagines 

Marco to have had anything to do with their introduction. 
But from a highly respectable source in recent years we have 
seen the introduction of Block-printing into Europe connected 
with the name of our Traveller. The circumstances are stated 
as follows : * 

" In the beginning of the 15th century a man named Pamphilo Castaldi, of 
Feltre .... was employed by the Seignory or Government of the Republic, 
to engross deeds and public edicts of various kinds .... the initial letters 
at the commencement of the writing being usually ornamented with red 
ink, or illuminated in gold and colours 

" According to Sansovino, certain stamps or types had been invented 
some time previously by Pietro di Natah, Bishop of Aquiloea.t These 
were made at Murano of glass, and were used to stamp or print the outline 
of the large initial letters of public documents, which were afterwards 
filled up by hand. . . . Pamphilo Castaldi improved on these glass types, 
by having others made of wood or metal, and having seen several Chinese 
books which the famous traveller Marco Polo had brought from China, 
and of which the entire text was printed with wooden blocks, he caused 
moveable wooden types to be made, each type containing a single letter ; 
and with these he printed several broadsides and single leaves, at Venice, 
in the year 1426. Some of these single sheets are said to be preserved 
among the archives at Feltre. . . . 

"The tradition continues that John Faust, of Mayence .... became 
acquainted with Castaldi, and passed some time with him, at his Scrip- 
torium, ... at Feltre ;" 

and in short developed from the knowledge so acquired the 
great invention of printing. Mr, Curzon goes on to say that 

* A short Account of Libraries of Italy, by the Hon. R. Curzon (the late Lord 
delaZouche); in Bibliog. and Hist. Miscellanies; Philobiblon Society, vol. i, 1854, 
pp. 6. seqq. 

t P. dei Natali was Bishop of Equilio, a city of the Venetian Lagoons, in the 
latter part of the 14th century. (See Ughelli, Italia Sacra, X. 87. ) There is no ground 
whatever for connecting him with these inventions. The story of the glass types 
appears to rest entirely and solely on one obscure passage of Sansovino, who says 
that under the Doge Marco Corner (1365-1367) : '' certe Natale Veneto lascid un libra 
delta materie delle forme da gitistar intorno alle lettere, ed ilmodo di for marie di veiro." 
There is absolutely nothing more. Some kind of stencilling seems indicated. 



Panfilo Castaldi was bom in 1398, and died in 1490, and 
that he gives the story as he found it in an article written 
by Dr. Jacopo Facen, of Feltre, in a (Venetian?) newspaper 
called // Gondoliere, No. 103, of 27th December, 1843. 

In a later paper Mr. Curzon thus recurs to the subject :* 

"Though none of the early block-books have dates affixed to them, 
many of them are with reason supposed to be more ancient than any 
books printed with moveable types. Their resemblance to Chinese block- 
books is so exact, that they would almost seem to be copied from the 
books commonly used in China. The impressions are taken off" on one 
side of the paper only, and in binding, both the Chinese, and ancient Ger- 
man, or Dutch block-books, the blank sides of the pages are placed opposite 
each otJier, and sometimes pasted together .... The impressions are 
not taken off with printer's ink, but with a brown paint or colour, of a 
much thinner description, more in the nature of Indian ink, as we call it, 
which is used in printing Chinese books. Altogether the German and 
Oriental block-books are so precisely alike, in almost every respect, that 

. we must suppose that the process of printing then must have been 
copied from ancient Chinese specimens, brought from thatcountry by some 
early travellers, whose names have not been handed down to our times." 

The writer then refers to the tradition about Guttemberg (so it is 
stated on this occasion, not Faust) having learned Castaldi's art, 
etc., mentioning a circumstance which he supposes to indicate 
that Guttemberg had relations with Venice ; and appears to 
assent to the probability of the story of the art having been 
founded on specimens brought home by Marco Polo. 

This story was in recent years diligently propagated in 
Northern Italy, and resulted in the erection at Feltre of a 
public statue of Panfilo Castaldi, bearing this inscription (besides 
others of like tenor) : — 

" To Panfilo Castaldi the illustrious Inventor of Movable 
Printing Types, Italy renders this Tribute of Honour^ 
too long deferred^ 

In the first edition of this book I devoted a special note to 
the exposure of the worthlessness of the evidence for this story .f 
This note was, with the present Essay, translated and published 
at Venice by Comm. Berchet, but this challenge to the supporters 

• History of Printing in China and Europe, in Philobiblon, vol. vi. p. 23. 
t See Appendix L. in First Edition. 

VOL. I. q2 

t4o Introduction 

of the patriotic romance, so far as I have heard, brought none of 
them into the lists in its defence. 

But since Castaldi has got his statue from the printers of 
Lombardy, would it not be mere equity that the mariners of 
Spain should set up a statue at Huelva to the Pilot Alonzo 
Sanchez of that port, who, according to Spanish historians, 
after discovering the New World, died in the house of Columbus 
at Terceira, and left the crafty Genoese to appropriate his 
journals, and rob him of his fame ? 

Seriously ; if anybody in Feltre cares for the real repu- 
tation of his native city, let him do his best to have that 
preposterous and discreditable fiction removed from the base 
of the statue. If Castaldi has deserved a statue on other and 
truer grounds let him stand ; if not, let him be burnt into honest 
lime ! I imagine that the original story that attracted Mr. Curzon 
was more jeu d esprit than anything else ; but that the author, 
finding what a stone he had set rolling, did not venture to 

88. Mr. Curzon's own observations, which I have italicised 
about the resemblance of the two systems are, however, very 
Frequent Striking, and seem clearly to indicate the derivation 
mues for ^^ ^^^ ^""^ ffom China. But I should suppose that in 
dicdon'^n the tradition, if there ever was any genuine tradition 
foH^f^fng of the kind at Feltre (a circumstance worthy of all 
Polos. doubt), the name of Marco Polo was introduced merely 

because it was so prominent a name in Eastern Travel. The 
fact has been generally overlooked and forgotten * that, for 
many years in the course of the 14th century, not only were 
missionaries of the Roman Church and Houses of the Franciscan 
Order established in the chief cities of China, but a regular 
trade was carried on overland between Italy and China, by 
way of Tana (or Azov), Astracan, Otrar and Kamul, insomuch 
that instructions for the Italian merchant following that route 
form the two first chapters in the Mercantile Handbook of 
Balducci Pegolotti {circa i34o).-|- Many a traveller besides 
Marco Polo might therefore have brought home the block- 
books. And this is the less to be ascribed to him because 

* Ramusio himself appears to have been entirely unconscious of it, vide supra, 

V' 3- 

t This subject has been fully treated in Cathay and the Way Thither, 


he SO curiously omits to speak of the art of printing, when his 
subject seems absolutely to challenge its description. 

XIV. Explanations regarding the Basis adopted for the 
PRESENT Translation. 

89. It remains to say a few words regarding the basis 
adopted for our English version of the Traveller's record. 

Ramusio's recension w^as that which Marsden selected for 
translation. But at the date of his most meritorious publica- 
tion nothing was known of the real literary history of 

Text fol- 

Polo's Book, and no one was aware of the peculiar lowed by 


value and originality of the French manuscript texts, and by 
nor had Marsden seen any of them. A translation 
from one of those texts is a translation at first hand ; a trans- 
lation from Ramusio's Italian is, as far as I can judge, the 
translation of a translated compilation from two or more 
translations, and therefore, whatever be the merits of its 
matter, inevitably carries us far away from the spirit and 
style of the original narrator. M. Pauthier, I think, did well 
in adopting for the text of his edition the MSS. which I have 
classed as of the second Type, the more as there had hitherto 
been no publication from those texts. But editing a text in the 
original language, and translating, are tasks substantially different 
in their demands. 

90. It will be clear from what has been said in the preceding 
pages that I should not regard as a fair or full representation of 

P Polo's Work, a version on which the Geographic Text 

did not exercise a material influence. But to adopt fonStlonof 
that Text, with all its awkwardnesses and tautologies, Text of this 
as the absolute subject of translation, would have been 
a mistake. What I have done has been, in the first instance, 
to translate from Pauthier's Text. The process of abridgment 
in this text, however it came about, has been on the whole 
judiciously executed, getting rid of the intolerable prolixities of 
manner which belong to many parts of the Original Dictation, 
but as a general rule preserving the matter. Having translated 
this, — not always from the Text adopted by Pauthier himself, 


but with the exercise of my own judgment on the various 
readings which that Editor lays before us, — I then compared 
the translation with the Geographic Text, and transferred from 
the latter not only all items of real substance that had been 
omitted, but also all expressions of special interest and character, 
and occasionally a greater fulness of phraseology where conden- 
sation in Pauthier's text seemed to have been carried too far. 
And finally I introduced between brackets everything peculiar 
to Ramusio's version that seemed to me to have a just claim to 
be reckoned authentic, and that could be so introduced with- 
out harshness or mutilation. Many passages from the same 
source which were of interest in themselves, but failed to meet 
one or other of these conditions, have been given in the 

91. As regards the reading of proper names and foreign 
words, in which there is so much variation in the different MSS. 
Mode of ^^^ editions, I have done my best to select what 
proper'"^ Seemed to be the true reading from the G. T. and 
names. Pauthier's three MSS., only in some rare instances 

transgressing this limit. 

Where the MSS. in the repetition of a name afforded a choice 
of forms, I have selected that which came nearest the real name 
when known. Thus the G. T. affords Baldasciain, Badascian, 
Badasciain, Badausiani^ Balasian. I adopt Badascian, or in 
English spelling Badashan, because it is closest to the real 
name Badakhshan. Another place appears as COBINAN, 
Cabanat, Cobian. I adopt the first because it is the truest ex- 
pression of the real name Koh-bendn. In chapters 23, 24 of 
Book I., we have in the G. T. Asisim, Asciscin, Asescin, and in 
Pauthier's MSS. Hasisins, Harsisins, etc. I adopt ASCISCIN, 
or in English spelling ASHlSiilN, for the same reason as before. 

* This "eclectic formation of the English text," as I have called it for brevity 
in the marginal rubric, has been disapproved by Mr. de Khanikoff, a critic worthy of 
high respect. But I must repeat that the duties of a translator, and of the Editor of 
an original text, at least where the various recensions bear so peculiar a relation to 
each other as in this case, are essentially different ; and that, on reconsidering the 
matter after an interval of four or five years, the plan which I have adopted, whatever 
be the faults of execution, still commends itself to me as the only appropriate one. 

Let Mr. de Khanikoff consider what course he would adopt if he were about to 
publish Marco Polo in Russian. I feel certain that with whatever theory he might 
set out, before his task should be concluded he would have arrived practically at the 
same system that I have adopted. 


So with Creinan, Crerman, Crermain, QuERMAN, Anglice 
Kerman ; Cormos, HORMOS, and many more * 

In two or three cases I have adopted a reading which I can- 
not show literatim in any authority, but because such a form 
appears to be the just resultant from the variety of readings 
which are presented ; as in surveying one takes the mean of a 
number of observations when no one can claim an absolute 

Polo's proper names, even in the French Texts, are in the 
main formed on an Italian fashion of spelling.f I see no object 
in preserving such spelling in an English book, so after selecting 
the best reading of the name I express it in English spelling, 
printing Badashan, Pashai, Kerman, instead of Badascian, Pasciai, 
Querman, and so on. 

And when a little trouble has been taken to ascertain the 
true form and force of Polo's spelling of Oriental names and 
technical expressions, it will be found that they are in the main 
as accurate as Italian lips and orthography will admit, and not 
justly liable either to those disparaging epithets^ or to those 
exegetical distortions which have been too often applied to them. 
Thus, for example, Cocacin, Ghel or Ghelan, Tonocain, Cobinan, 
Ondanique, Barguerlac, Argon, Sensin, Quescican, Toscaol, 
Bularguci, Zardandan, Anin, Caugigu, Colotnan, Gauenispola, 
Mutfili, Avarian, Choiach, are not, it will be seen, the ignorant 
blunderings which the interpretations affixed by some commen- 
tators would imply them to be, but are, on the contrary, all but 
perfectly accurate utterances of the names and words intended. 

* In Polo's diction C frequently represents II., e.g., Cormos — ^ovmva.', Camadi 
probably = Hamadi ; Caagiu probably = Hochau ; Cacianfu = Hochangfu, and so on- 
This is perhaps attributable to Rusticiano's Tuscan ear. A true Pisan will absolutely 
contort his features in the intensity of his efforts to aspirate sufficiently the letter C. 
Filippo Villani, speaking of the famous Aguto (Sir J. Hawkwood), says his name in 
English was Kauchmivole. (Murat. Script, xiv. 746.) 

+ In the Venetian dialect ch and j are often sounded as in English, not as in 
Italian. Some traces of such pronunciation I think there are, as in Coja, Carajan, 
and in the Chinese name Vatuhu (occurring only in Ramusio, supra, p. gg). But the 
scribe of the original work being a Tuscan, the spelling is in the main Tuscan. The 
sound of the Qu is, however, French, as in Quescican, Quinsai, except perhaps in the 
case of Qiienianfu, for a reason given in vol. ii. p. 29. 

% For example, that enthusiastic student of mediaeval Gec^aphy, Joachim 
Lelewel, speaks of Polo's "gibberish" (k baragouinage du Venitien) with special 
reference to such names as Zayton and Kinsay, whilst we now know that these names 
were in universal use by all foreigners in China, and no more deserve to be called 
gibberish than Bocca-Tigris, Leghorn, Ratisbon, or Buda. 



The -tcheou (of French writers), -choo, -chow^ or -chau * of 
EngHsh writers, which so frequently forms the terminal part in 
the names of Chinese cities, is almost invariably rendered by 
Polo as -giu. This has frequently in the MSS., and constantly 
in the printed editions, been converted into -gui^ and thence into 
-guy. This is on the whole the most constant canon of Polo's 
geographical orthography, and holds in Caagiu (Ho-chau), 
Singiu (Sining-chau), Cui-giu (Kwei-chau), Sin-giu (T'sining- 
chau), Pi-giu (Pei-chau), Coigangiu (Hwaingan-chau), Si-giu 
(Si-chau), Ti-giu (Tai-chau), Tin-giu (Tung-chau), Yan-giu 
(Yang-chau), Sin-giu (Chin-chau), Cai-giu (Kwa-chau), ChingJii- 
giu (Chang-chau), Su-giu (Su-chau), Vu-giu (Wu-chau), and 
perhaps a few more. In one or two instances only (as 
Sinda-ciu, Caiciu') he has -ciu instead of -giu. 

The chapter-headings I have generally taken from 
Panthier's Text, but they are no essential part of the original 
work, and they have been slightly modified or enlarged where it 
seemed desirable. 

"^chijlbl I &n the ^-.tbcn nigh vtt ^janli, 
%a tuhich I incanc mj) tuntric dxrixrsc ia icnb ; 
IJcrc the mitinc (Shcte, nrtti ticai-c xxif tuitb the ^anb, 
"SThc tohkh -Aioxt ia fagrlg to be kcnb, 
(^nb sfcmcth saf« from storms that man oftnb. 

Wcitxt ehc mg ^tthXt garkc a tohilf mag stag, 
^iU mtrg SBgni) anb gMeathcr tall her thence afaiag." 

—The Faerie Queene, I. xii. i. 

* I am quite sensible of the diffidence with which any outsider should touch any 
question of Chinese language or orthography. A Chinese scholar and missionary 
(Mr. Moule) objects to my spelling chau, whilst he, I see, uses chow. I imagine we 
mean the same sound, according to the spelling which I try to use throughout the 
book. Dr. C. Douglas, another missionary scholar, writes chau 


,,«.«^'^""!„„."""""""ii,„„„il,!'" ' • 




Great Princes, Emperors, and Kings, Dukes and 
Marquises, Counts, Knights, and Burgesses ! and People 
of all degrees who desire to get knowledge of the 
various races of mankind and of the diversities of the 
sundry regions of the World, take this Book and cause 
it to be read to you. For ye shall find therein all 
kinds of wonderful things, and the divers histories of 
the Great Hermenia, and of Persia, and of the Land 
of the Tartars, and of India, and of many another 
country of which our Book doth speak, particularly and 
in regular succession, according to the description of 
Messer Marco Polo, a wise and noble citizen of Venice, 
as he saw them with his own eyes. Some things 
indeed there be therein which he beheld not ; but these 
he heard from men of credit and veracity. And we 
shall set down things seen as seen, and things heard 
as heard only, so that no jot of falsehood may mar the 
truth of our Book, and that all who shall read it or hear 
it read may put full faith in the truth of all its contents. 

For let me tell you that since our Lord God did 
mould with his hands our first Father Adam, even until 
this day, never hath there been Christian, or Pagan, or 
VOL. I. A 


Tartar, or Indian, or any man of any nation, who in 
his own person hath had so much knowledge and 
experience of the divers parts of the World and its 
Wonders as hath had this Messer Marco ! And for 
that reason he bethought himself that it would be a 
very great pity did he not cause to be put in writing 
all the- great marvels that he had seen, or on sure 
information heard of, so that other people who had not 
these advantages might, by his Book, get such know- 
ledge. And I may tell you that in acquiring this know- 
ledge he spent in those various parts of the World good 
six-and-twenty years. Now, being thereafter an inmate 
of the Prison at Genoa, he caused Messer Rusticiano 
of Pisa, who was in the said Prison likewise, to reduce 
the whole to writing; and this befell in the year 1298 
from the birth of Jesus. 


How THE Two Brothers Polo set forth from Constantinople 


It came to pass in the year of Christ 1260, when 
Baldwin was reigning at Constantinople,^ that Messer 
Nicolas Polo, the father of my lord Mark, and Messer 
Maffeo Polo, the brother of Messer Nicolas, were at 
the said city of Constantinople, whither they had gone 
from Venice with their merchants' wares. Now these 
two Brethren, men singularly noble, wise, and provident, 
took counsel together to cross the Greatp:r Sea on a 
venture of trade ; so they laid in a store of jewels and 
set forth from Constantinople, crossing the Sea to 

Chap. I. 


Note i. — Baldwin II. (de Courtenay), the last Latin Emperor of Constantinople, 
reigned from 1237 to 1261, when he was expelled by Michael Palaeolc^us. 

The date in the text is, as we see, that of the Brothers' voyage across the Black 
Sea. It stands 1250 in all the.chief texts. But the figure is certainly wrong. We 
shall see that, wlien the Brothers return to Venice in 1269, they find Mark, who, 
according to Ramusio's version, was born after their departure, a lad of fifteen. 
Hence, if we rely on Ramusio, they must have left Venice about 1253-54. And we 
shall see also that they reached the Volga in 1261. Hence their start from Con- 
stantinople may well have occurred in 1 260, and this I have adopted as the most 
probable correction. Where they spent the interval between 1254 (if they really left 
Venice so early) and 1260, nowhere appears. But as their brother, Mark the Elder, 
in his Will styles himself " ivhilom of Constantinople" their headquarters were 
probablv there. 

Note 2. — In the Middle Ages the Euxine was frequently called Mare Magnum 
or Majtts. Thus Chaucer :— 

"In the Crete See, 
At many a noble Armee hadde he be." 

The term Black Sea (J/ar<f Maiiriim v. Nigrum) was, however, in use, and 
Abulfeda says it was general in his day. That name has been alleged to appear as 
rarly as the loth century, in the form S/coret^^, "The Dark Sea" ; but an examina- 
tion of the passage cited, from Constantine Porphyrogenitus, shows that it refers 
rather to the Baltic, whilst that author elsewhere calls the Euxine simply Pontus. 
{Reinaud's Ahulf I. 38 ; Const. Porph. De Adm. Imp. c. 31, c. 42.) 

-•- Sodaya, Soldaia, or Soldachia, called bv Orientals Stiddk, stands on the S.E, 
VOL. I. ^ ^ 


coast of the Crimea, west of Kaffa. It had belonged to the Greek Empire, and had 
a considerable Greek population. After the P'rank conquest of 1204 it apparently 
fell to Trebizond. It was taken by the Mongols in 1223 for the first time, and a 
second time in 1239, and during that century was the great port of intercourse with 
what is now Russia. At an uncertain date, but about the middle of the century, the 
Venetians established a factory there, which in 1287 became the seat of a consul. In 
1323 we find Pope John XXII. complaining to Uzbek Khan of Sarai that the 
Christians had been ejected from Soldaia and their churches turned intc mosques. 
Ibn Batuta, who alludes to this strife, counts Sudak as one of the four great ports of 
the World. The Genoese got Soldaia in 1365 and built strong defences, still to be 
seen. Kaffa, with a good anchorage, in the 14th century, and later on Tana, took the 
place of Soldaia as chief emporium in South Russia. Some of the Arab Geographers 
call the Sea of Azov the Sea of Sudak. 

The Elder Marco Polo in his Will (1280) bequeaths to the Franciscan P'riars of the 
place a house of his in Soldachia, reserving life occupation to his own son and daughter, 
then residing in it. Probably this establishment already existed when the two 
Brothers went thither. [Ehe de Lapri/iiandaie, passim ; Gold. Horde, 87 ; Mosheiin, 
App. 148 ; Ibn Bat. I. 28, II. 414 ; Calltay, 231-33 ; Heyd, II. passim.) 


How THE Two Brothers went on beyond Soldaia. 

Having stayed a while at Soldaia, they considered the 
matter, and thought it well to extend their journey 
further. So they set forth from Soldaia and travelled 
till they came to the Court of a certain Tartar Prince, 
Barca Kaan by name, whose residences were at Sara ' 
and at Bolgara [and who was esteemed one of the 
most liberal and courteous Princes that ever was among 
the Tartars.]- This Barca was delighted at the arrival 
of the Two Brothers, and treated them with great 
honour; so they presented to him the whole of the 
jewels that they had brought with them. The Prince 
was highly pleased with these, and accepted the offering 
most graciously, causing the Brothers to receive at least 
twice its value. 

After they had spent a twelvemonth at the court of 
this Prince there broke out a great war between Barca 


To face Prologue .Chap. 2 

North of the AKHTUBA Branch of the VO LGA 

-1 I u 

3Tie E-gglisKMile 

S Furlongs 

,-<. , '^Jraa:s ofdmslructions 
\ of sorts 

'^ '-:.■ .BarroM-i 

1' Dams 

■^^Z-Traces ofGxnah 

Lit.i'r.a-aenfddei.Palermo . ' 

I To face p. 4. 


and Alau, the Lord of the Tartars of the Le\^nt, and 
great hosts were mustered on either side.^ 

But in the end Barca, the Lord of the Tartars of the 
Ponent, was defeated, though on both sides there was great 
slaughter. And by reason of this war no one could travel 
without peril of being taken ; thus it was at least on the 
road by which the Brothers had come, though there was 
no obstacle to their travelling forward. So the Brothers, 
finding they could not retrace their steps, determined to 
go forward. Quitting Bolgara, therefore, they proceeded 
to a city called Ucaca, which was at the extremity of 
the kingdom of the Lord of the Ponent ; * and thence de- 
parting again, and passing the great River Tigris, they 
travelled across a Desert which extended for seventeen 
days' journey, and wherein they found neither town nor 
village, falling in only with the tents of Tartars occupied 
with their cattle at pasture.^ 

Note I. — •- Barka Khan, third son of Jiiji, the first-born of Chinghiz, ruled the OVtis 
of Juji and Empire of Kipchak (Southern Russia) from 1257 to 1265. lie was the 
first Musulman sovereign of his race. His chief residence was at SarAI (Sara of the 
text), a city founded by his brother and predecessor Batii, on the banks of the Akhtuba 
branch of the A'olga. In the next century Ibn Batuta descrilies Sarai as a very hand- 
some and populous cit)', so large that it made half a day's journey to ride through it. 
The inhabitants were Mongols, Aas (or Alans), Kipchaks, Circassians, Russians, and 
Greeks, besides the foreign Moslem merchants, who had a walled quarter. Another 
Mahomedan traveller of the same century sa\-s the city itself was not walled, but, 
" The Khan's Palace was a great edifice surmounted by a golden crescent weighing 
two kan tars oi Egypt, and encompassed by a wall flanked with towers," etc. Pope 
John XXII., on the 26th Februarj- 1322, defined the limits of the new Bishopric of 
Kaflfa, which were Sarai to the east and Varna to the west. 

Sarai became the seat of both a Latin and a Russian metropolitan, and of more 
than one Franciscan convent. It was destroyed by Timur on his second invasion of 
Kipchak (1395-6), and extinguished by the Russians a century later. It is the scene 
of Chaucer's half-told tale of Cambuscan : — 

"At Sarra, in the Londe of Tartarie, 
There dwelt a King that werried Russie." 

[ " MesaUk-al-ahsar (285, 287), says Sarai, meaning 'the Palace,' was founded by 
Bereke, brother of Batu. It stood in a salty plain, and was without walls, though the 
palace had walls flanked by towers. The town was large, had markets, madrasas 
—and baths. It is usually identified with Selitrennoye Gorodok, about 70 miles above 
Astrakhan." {Rockhill, Rttbntck, p. 260, note.) — H. C] 

Several sites exhibiting extensive ruins near the banks of the Akhtuba have 
been identified with Sarai ; two in particular. One of these is not far from the great 


elbow of the Volga at Tzaritzyn : the other much lower down, at Selitrennoye Gorodok 
or Saltpetre-Town, not far above Astrakhan. 

The upper site exhibits by far the most extensive traces of former population, and 
is declared unhesitatingly to be the sole site of Sarai by M. Gregorieff, who carried on 
excavations among the remains for four years, though with what precise results I have 
not been able to learn. The most dense part of the remains, consisting of mounds 
and earth-works, traces of walls, buildings, cisterns, dams, and innumerable canals, 
extends for about 7j miles in the vicinity of the town of Tzarev, but a tract 
of 66 miles in length and 300 miles in circuit, commencing from near the head of the 
Akhtuba, presents remains of like character, though of less density, marking the 
ground occupied by the villages which encircled the capital. About 2^ miles to the 
N.W. of Tzarev a vast mass of such remains, surrounded by the traces of a brick 
rampart, points out the presumable position of the Imperial Palace. 

M. Gregorieff appears to admit no alternative. Yet it seems certain that the 
indications of Abulfeda, Pegolotti, and others, with regard to the position of the 
capital in the early part of the 14th century, are not consistent with a site so far from 
the Caspian. Moreover, F. H. Miiller states that the site near Tzarev is known to 
the Tartars as the "Sarai of Janibek Khan" (13411357). Now it is worthy of note 
that in the coinage of Janibek we repeatedly find as the place of mintage. New Sarai. 
Arabshah in his History of Timur states that ()}, years had elapsed from the foundation 
to the destruction of Sarai. But it must have been at least 140 years since the 
foandation of P.atu's city. Is it not possible, therefore, that both the sites which we 
have mentioned were successively occupied by the Mongol capital ; that the original 
Sarai of Batu was at Selitrennoye Gorodok, and that the New Sarai of Janibek was 
established by him, or by his father Uzbeg in his latter days, on the upper Akhtuba ? 
Pegolotti having carried bis merchant from Tana (Azov) to Gittarchan (Astrakhan), 
takes him one day by river to Sara, and from Sara to Saracanco, also by river, eight 
days more. {Cathay, p. 287.) In the work quoted I have taken Saracanco for 
Saraichik, on the Yaik. But it was possibly the Upper or New Sarai on the 
Akhtuba. Ibn Batota, marching on the frozen river, reached Sarai in three d .ys 
from Astrakhan. This could not have been at Tzarev, 200 miles off. 

In corroboration {quantum valeat) of my suggestion that there must have been 
two Sarais near the Volga, Professor Bruun of Odessa points to the fact that Fra 
Mauro's map presents two cities of Sarai on the Akhtuba ; only the Sarai of Janibeg 
is with him no longer New Sarai, but Great Sarai. 

The use of the latter name suggests the possibility that in the Saracanco of 
Pegolotti the latter half of the name may be the Mongol AYmk " Great." (See Pavet 
de Courteille, p. 439.) 

Professor Bruun also draws attention to the impossibility of Ibn Batuta's travelling 
from Astrakhan to Tzarev in three days, an argument which had already occurred 
to me and been inserted above. 

[The Empire of Kipchak founded after the Mongol Conquest of 1224, included 
also parts of Siberia and Khwarizm ; it survived nominally until 1502. — H. C] 

(Four Years of Archccological Researches atnojig the Ruins of Sarai ^\xi Russian] by 
M. Gregorieff [who appears to have also published a pamphlet specially on the site, 
but this has not been available] ; Historisch-geographische Darstellung des Strom- 
systems der Wolga, von Ferd. Heinr. Miiller, Berlin, 1839, 568-577 ; Ibn. Bat. II. 
447; Not. et Extrai/s, XIII. i. 286 ; Pallas, Voyages ; Cathay, 231, etc. ; Erdmann, 
Numi Asiatici, pp. ■>f)2 seqq ; Arabs. I. p. 381.) 

Note 2. — Boi.ghar, our author's Bolgara, was the capital of the region some- 
times called Great Bulgaria, by Abulfeda Inner Bulgaria, and stood a few miles (rom 
the left bank of the Volga, in latitude about 54° 54', and 90 miles below Kazan. The old 
Arab writers regarded it as nearly the limit of the habitable world, and told wonders 
of the cold, the brief summer nights, and the fossil ivory tliat was found in its vicinity. 
This was exported, and with peltry, wax, honey, hazel-nuts, and Russia leather, 

Chap. II. BOLGilAR 7 

formed the staple articles of trade. The last item derived from Bolghar the name 
which it still bears all over Asia. (See Bk. II. ch. xvi., and Note.) Bolghar ieems 
to have been the northern limit of Arab travel, and was visited by the curious (by Ibn 
Batuta among others) in order to witness the phenomena of the short summer night, 
as tourists now visit Hanimerfest to witness its entire absence. 

Russian chroniclers speak of an earlier capital of the Bulgarian kingdom, 
Brakhimof, near the mouth of the Kama, destroyed by Andrew, Grand Duke of 
Rostof and Snsdal, about 1160 ; and this may have been the city referred to in the 
earlier Arabic accounts. The fullest of these is by Ibn Fozlan, who accompanied an 
embassy from the Court of Baghdad to Bolghar, in A.D. 921. The King and people 
had about this time been converted to Islam, having pre\-iously, as it would seem, pro- 
fessed Christianity. Nevertheless, a Mahomedan writer of the 14th century says the 
people had then long renounced Islam for the worship of the Cross. {Not. et Exir. 
XIII. i. 270.) 

Ruins of Bolghar. 

Bolghar was first captured by the Mongols in 1225. It seems to have perished 
early in the 15th centur)-, after which Kazan practically took its place. Its position 
is still marked by a village called Bolgari, where ruins of Mahomedan character 
remain, and where coins and inscriptions have been found. Coins of the Kings of 
Bolghar, struck in the loth century, have been described by Fraehn, as well as coins 
of the Mongol period struck at Bolghar. Its latest known coin is of A.H. 818 (a.d. 
1415-16). A history of Bolghar was written in the first half of the 12th century by 
Yakub Ibn Noman, Kadlii of the city, but this is not known to be extant. 

Fraehn shows ground for belie\-ing the people to have been a mixture of Fins, 
Slavs, and Turks. Nicephorus Gregoras supposes that they took their name from the 
great river on which they dwelt (BoA^a). 

[" The ruins [of Bolghar]," says Bretschneider, in his Medueval Researches, published 
in 1888, vol. ii. p. 82, "still exist, and have been the subject of learned investigation 
by several Russian scholars. These remains are found on the spot where now the 
village Uspenskoye, called also Bolgarskoye (Bolgari), stands, in the district of Spask, 
province of Kazan. This village is about 4 English miles distant from the Volga, 
east of it, and 83 miles from Kazan." Part of the Bulgars removed to the 
Balkans ; others remained in their native ciuntry on the shores of the Azov Sea, and 
were subjugated by the Khazars. At the banning of ihe 9th centurj-, they 
marched northwards to the Volga and the Kama, and established the kingdom of 
Great Bulgaria. Their chief city, Bolghar, was on the bank of the Volga, but the 
river runs now to the west ; as the Kama also underwent a change in its course, it is 
possible that formerly Bolghar was built at the junction of the two rivers. (Cf. Redtis, 


Europe rtisse, p, 761.) The Bulgars were converted to Islam in 922. Their country 
was first invaded by the Mongols under Subutai in 1223 ; this General conquered it 
in 1236, the capital was destroyed the following year, and the country annexed to 
the kingdom of Kipchak. Bolghar was again destroyed in 1391 by Tamerlan. In 
1438, Ulugh Mohammed, cousin of Toka Timur, younger son of Juji, transformed 
this country into the khanate of Kazan, which survived till 1552. It had probably 
been the capital of the Golden Horde before Sarai. 

With reference to the early Christianity of the Bulgarians, to which Yule refers 
in his note, the Laurentian Chronicle (A.D. 1229), quoted by Shpilevsky, adduces 
evidence to show that in the Great City, i.e. Bulgar, there were Russian Christians and 
a Christian cemetery, and the death of a Bulgarian Christian martyr is related in the 
same chronicle as well as in the Nikon, Tver, and Tatischef annals in which his name 
is given, (Cf. Shpilevsky, Anc. (owns and other Bulgaro- Tartar monuments, Kazan, 
1877, p. 158^1?^.; EockhilPs Rubrtick, Hakl. Soc. p. 121, note.) — H. C] 

The severe and lasting winter is spoken of by Ibn Fozlan and other old writers in 
terms that seem to point to a modern mitigation of climate. It is remarkable, too, 
that Ibn Fozlan speaks of the aurora as of very frequent occurrence, which is not now 
the case in that latitude. We may suspect this frequency to have been connected 
with the greater cold indicated, and perhaps with a different position of the magnetic 
pole. Ibn Fozlan's account of the aurora is very striking : — " Shortly before sunset 
the horizon became all very ruddy, and at the same time I heard sounds in the upper 
air, with a dull rustling. I looked up and beheld sweeping over me a fire-red cloud, 
from which these sounds issued, and in it movements, as it were, of men and horses ; 
the men grasping bows, lances, and swords. This I saw, or thought I saw. Then 
there appeared a white cloud of like aspect ; in it also I beheld armed horsemen, and 
these rushed against the former as one squadron of horse charges another. We were 
so terrified at this that we turned with humble prayer to the Almighty, whereupon the 
natives about us wondered and broke into loud laughter. We, however, continued 
to gaze, seeing how one cloud charged the other, remained confused with it a while, 
and then sundered again. These movements lasted deep into the night, and then all 

{Fraehn, Ueber die Wolga Bulgaren, Petersb. 1832 ; Gold. Horde, 8, 9, 423-424; 
Not. et Extr. II. 541 ; Ibn Bat. II. 398 ; Biischings Mag. V. 492 ; Erdmatm, 
NumiAsiat. I. 315-318, 333-334. 520-535 J Niceph. Gregoras, II. 2, 2.) 

Note 3. — Alau is Polo's representation of the name of Hulakii, brother of the 
Great Kaans Mangu and Kublai and founder of the Mongol dynasty in Persia. In 
the Mongol pronunciation guttural and palatal consonants are apt to be elided, hence 
this spelling. The same name is written by Pope Alexander IV., in addressing the 
Khan, Olao, by Pachymeres and Gregoras XaXai) and XaXaoO, by Hayton Haolon, 
by Ibn Batuta Huldiin, as well as in a letter of Hulaku"s own, as given by 

The war in question is related in Rashfduddin's history, and by Polo himself 
towards the end of the work. It began in the summer of 1262, and ended about 
eight months later. Hence the Polos must have reached Barka's Court in 1261. 

Marco always applies to the Mongol Khans of Persia the title of " Lords of the 
East" {Levant), and to the Khans of Kipchak that of " Lords of the West " {Ponent). 
We use the term Levant still with a similar specific application, and in another form 
Anatolia. I think it best to preserve the terms Levant and Ponent when used in this 

[Robert Parke in his translation out of Spanish of Mendoza, The Historie of the 
great and mightie kingdome of China . . . London, printed by I. Wolfe for Edward 
White, 1 588, uses the word Ponent : ' ' You shall understande that this mightie 
kingdome is the Orientalest part of all Asia, and his next neighbour towards the 
/'<?«(?«^ is the kingdome of Quachinchina ... (p. 2)." — II. C] 

Note 4. — Ucaca or Ukek was a town on the right bcnk of the Volga, nearly 

Chap. III. UCACA 9 

equidistant between Sarai and Bolghar, and about six miles south of the modern 
Saratov, where a village called Uwek still exists. Ukek is not mentioned before 
the Mongol domination, and is supposed to have been of Mongol foundation, as the 
name Ukek is said in Mongol to signify a dam of hurdles. The city is mentioned by 
Abulfeda as marking the extremity of " the empire of the Barka Tartars," and Ibn 
Batuta speaks of it as " one day distant from the hills of the Russians." Polo there- 
fore means that it was the frontier of the Ponent towards Russia. Ukek was the site 
of a Franciscan convent in the 14th century ; it is mentioned several times in the 
campaigns of Timur, and was destroyed by his army. It is not mentioned under the 
form Ukek after this, but appears as Uwek and Uwesh in Russian documents of the 
l6th century. Perhaps this was always the Slavonic form, for it already is written 
U^iech ( = Uwek) in Wadding's r4th century catalogue of convents. Anthony 
Jenkinson, in Hakluyt, gives an observation of its latitude, as Oweke ^'^x" i^o'), and 
Christopher Burrough, in the same collection, gives a description of it as Oueak, and 
the latitude as 51° 30' (some 7' too much). In his time (1579) there were the re- 
mains of a "verj'faire stone castle" and city, with old tombs exhibiting sculptures 
and inscriptions. All these have long vanished. Burrough was told by the Russians 
that the town " was swallowed into the earth by the justice of God, for the wicked- 
nesse of the people that inhabited the same." Lepechin in 1769 found nothing 
remaining but part of an earthen rampart and some underground vaults of larger 
bricks, which the people dug out for use. He speaks of coins and other relics as 
frequent, and the like have been found more recently. Coins with Mongol- Arab in- 
scription-, struck at Ukek by Tuktugai Khan in 1306, have been described by Fraehn 
and Erdmann. 

(Fraehn, Ueber die ehemalige Along. Stadt Ukek, etc., Petersb. 1835; Gold. 
Horde; Ibn Bat. II. 414; Abul/eda, in Biisching, V. 365; Ann. Minomin, sub 
anno 1400 ; Petis de la Croix, II. 355, 383, 388 ; Hakluyt, ed. 1809, I. 375 and 472 ; 
Lepechin, Tagebuch der Reise, etc., I. 235-237 ; Rockhill, Rubntck, 120-121, note 2.) 

Note 5. — The great River Tigeri or Tigris is the Volga, as Pauthier rightly 
shows. It receives the same name from the Monk Pascal of Vittoria in 1338. 
(Cathay, p. 234.) Perhaps this arose out of some legend that the Tigris was a 
reappearance of the same river. The ecclesiastical historian, Nicephorus Callistus, 
appears to imply that the Tigris coming from Paradise flows under the Caspian to 
emerge in Kurdistan. (See IX. 19.) 

The "17 days" applies to one stretch of desert. The whole journey from Ukek 
Bokhara would take some 60 days at least. Ibn Batuta is 58 days from Sarai to 
Bokhara, and of the last section he says, "we entered the desert which extends 
between Khwarizm and Bokhara, and which has an extent of 18 days^ jounuy." 
(III. 19.) 


How THE Two Brothers, after crossing a desert, came to the 
City of Bocar.\, and fell in with certain Envoys i here. 

After they had passed the desert, they arrived at a 
very great and noble city called Bocara, the territory 
of which belonged to a king whose name was Barac, 

lO . MARCO POLO Prol. 

and is also called Bocara. The city is the best in all 
Persia.^ And when they had got thither, they found 
they could neither proceed further forward nor yet turn 
back again ; wherefore they abode in that city of Bocara 
for three years. And whilst they were sojourning in 
that city, there came from Alau, Lord of the Levant, 
Envoys on their way to the Court of the Great Kaan, 
the Lord of all the Tartars in the world. And when 
the Envoys beheld the Two Brothers they were amazed, 
for they had never before seen Latins in that part of 
the world. And they said to the Brothers: "Gentle- 
men, if ye will take our counsel, ye will find great 
honour and profit shall come thereof." So they replied 
that they would be right glad to learn how. "In 
truth," said the Envoys, "the Great Kaan hath never 
seen any Latins, and he hath a great desire so to do. 
Wherefore, if ye will keep us company to his Court, ye 
may depend upon it that he will be right glad to see 
you, and will treat you with great honour and liberality ; 
whilst in our company ye shall travel with perfect 
security, and need fear to be molested by nobody." ^ 

Note i. — Hayton also calls Bokhara a city of Persia, and I sec Vambery says 
that, up till the conquest by Chinghiz, Bokhara, Samarkand, Balkh, etc., were con- 
sidered to belong to Persia. {Travels, p. 377.)- The first Mongolian governor of 
Bokhara was Buka Bosha. 

King Barac is Borrak Khan, great-grandson of Cliagatai, and sovereign of the 
Ulus of Chagatai, from 1264 to 1270. The Polos, no doubt, reached Bokhara 
before 1264, but Borrak must have been sovereign some time before they left it. 

Note 2. — The language of the envoys seems rather to imply that they were 
the Great Kaan's own people returning from the Court of Hulaku. And Rashid 
mentions that Sartak, the Kaan's ambassador to ITulaku, returned from Persia in the 
year that the latter prince died. It may have been his party that the Venetians 
joined, for the year almost certainly was the same, viz. 1265. If so, another of the 
party was Bayan, afterwards the greatest of Kublai's captains, and much celebrated 
in the sequel of this book. (See Erdinanns Temttdschin, p. 214.) 

Marsden justly notes that Marco habitually speaks of Latins, never of Franks. 
Yet I suspect his own mental expression was Farangi. 



How THE Two Brothers took the Envoys' counsel, and went 
TO THE Court of the Great Kaan. 

So when the Two Brothers had made their arrangements, 
they set out on their travels, in company with the Envoys, 
and journeyed for a whole year, going northward and 
north-eastward, before they reached the Court of that 
Prince. And on their journey they saw many marvels of 
divers and sundry kinds, but of these we shall say nothing 
at present, because Messer Mark, who has likewise seen 
them all, will give you a full account of them in the Book 
which follows. 


How the Two Brothers arrived at the Court of the 
Great Kaan. 

When the Two Brothers got to the Great Kaan, he re- 
ceived them with great honour and hospitality, and showed 
much pleasure at their visit, asking them a great number 
of questions. First, he asked about the emperors, how 
they maintained their dignity, and administered justice in 
their dominions ; and how they went forth to battle, and 
so forth. And then he asked the like questions about the 
kings and princes and other potentates. 

12 MARCO POLO Prol. 


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

And then he inquired about the Pope and the Church, 
and about all that is done at Rome, and all the customs of 
the Latins. And the Two Brothers told him the truth in 
all its particulars, with order and good sense, like sensible 
men as they were ; and this they were able to do as they 
knew the Tartar language well.^ 

Note i. — The word generally used for Pope in the original is Apostoille 
{Aposlolicus), the usual French expression of that age. 

It is remarkable that for the most part the text edited by Pauthier has the 
correcter Oriental form Tatar, instead of the usual Tartar, Tattar is the word used 
by Yvo of Narbonne, in the curious letter given by Matthew Paris under 1243. 

We are often told that Tai-tar is a vulgar European error. It is in any case a 
very old one ; nor does it seem to be of European origin, but rather Armenian ; * 
tliough the suggestion of Tartarus may have given it readier currency in Europe. 
Russian writers, or rather writers who have been in Russia, sometimes try to force on 
us a specific limitation of the word Tartar to a certain class of Oriental Turkish race, 
to whom the Russians appropriate the name. But there is no just ground for this. 
Tatar is used by Oriental writers of Polo's age exactly as Tartar was then, and is 
still, used in Western Europe, as a generic title for the Turanian hosts who followed 
Chinghiz and his successors. But I believe the name in this sense was unknown to 
Western Asia before the time of Chinghiz. And General Cunningham must over- 
look this when he connects the Tdtariya coins, mentioned by Arab geographers of 
the 9th century, with "the Scythic or Tatar princes who ruled in Kabul" in the 
beginning of our era. Tartars on the Indian frontier in those centuries are surely 
to be classed with the Frenchmen whom Brennus led to Rome, or the Scotchmen 
who fought against Agricola. 

tee/. As. s<;i. V. torn. xi. p. 20^. 



How THE Great Kaan sent the Two Brothers as his Envoys to 

THE Pope. 

When that Prince, whose name was Cublay Kaan, Lord 
of the Tartars all over the earth, and of all the kingdoms 
and provinces and territories of that vast quarter of the 
world, had heard all that the Brothers had to tell him 
about the ways of the Latins, he was greatly pleased, 
and he took it into his head that he would send them 
on an Embassy to the Pope. So he urgently desired 
them to undertake this mission along with one of his 
Barons ; and they replied that they would gladly exe- 
cute all his commands as those of their Sovereign Lord. 
Then the Prince sent to summon to his presence one of 
his Barons whose name was Cogatal, and desired him 
to get ready, for it was proposed to send him to the 
Pope along with the Two Brothers. The Baron replied 
that he would execute the Lord's commands to the best 
of his ability. 

After this the Prince caused letters from himself to the 
Pope to be indited in the Tartar tongue,^ and committed 
them to the Two Brothers and to that Baron of his own, 
and charged them with what he wished them to say to 
the Pope. Now the contents of the letter were to this 
purport : He begged that the Pope would send as many as 
an hundred persons of our Christian faith ; intelligent men, 
acquainted with the Seven Arts,^ well qualified to enter 
into controversy, and able clearly to prove by force of 
argument to idolaters and other kinds of folk, that the 
Law of Christ was best, and that all other religions were 
false and naught ; and that if they would prove this, he 
and all under him would become Christians and the 

14 MARCO POLO Prol. 

Church's liegemen. Finally he charged his Envoys to 
bring back to him some Oil of the Lamp which burns on 
the Sepulchre of our Lord at Jerusalem.^ 

NoTB I. — •- The appearance of the Great Kaan's letter may be illustrated by two 
letters on so-called Corean paper preserved in the French archives ; one from 
Arghun Khan of Persia (1289), brought by Buscarel, and the other from his son 
Oljaitu (May, 1305), to Philip the Fair. These are both in the Mongol language, and 
according to Abel Remusat and other authorities, in the Uighiir character, the parent 
of the present Mongol writing. Facsimiles of the letters are given in Remusat's 
paper on intercourse with Mongol Princes, in Mini, de VAcad. des Inscript. vols. vii. 
and viii., reproductions in J. B Chabot's Hist, de Afar Jabalaha III., Paris, 1895, 
and preferably in Prince Roland Bonaparte's beautiful Documents Alotjgois, PI. XIV., 
and we give samples of the two in vol. ii.* 

Note 2.- — -"The Seven Arts," from a date reaching back nearly to classical times, 
and down through the Middle Ages, expressed the whole circle of a liberal education, 
and it is to these Seven Arts that the degrees in arts were understood to apply. 
They were divided into the Triviiim of Rhetoric, Logic, and Grammar, and the 
Qiiadrivium o{ K.x\\!mat\\c, Astronomy, Music, and Geometry. The 38th epistle of 
Seneca was in many MSS. (according to Lipsius) entitled "Z. Annaei Senecae Liber 
de Septem Artibus liberalibiis." I do not find, however, that Seneca there mentions 
categorically more than five, viz., Grammar, Geometry, Music, Astronomy, and 
Arithmetic. Li the 5th century we find the Seven Arts to form the successive 
subjects of the last seven books of the work of Martianus Capella, much used in the 
schools during the early Middle Ages. The Seven Arts will be found enumerated in 
the verses of Tzetzes {Chil. XI. 525), and allusions to them in the mediaeval 
romances are endless. Thus, in one of the " Gestes d'Alexandre," a chapter is 
headed " Coimnent Aristotle aprent a Alixandre les Sept Arts." In the tale of the 
Seven Wise Masters, Diocletian selects that number of tutors for his son, each to 
instruct him in one of the Seven Arts. In the romance of Erec and Efteide we have 
a dress on which the fairies had portrayed the Seven Arts {Franc. Michel, Kecherches, 
etc. II. 82) ; in the Koinafi de Mahonviiet the young impostor is master of all the 
seven. There is one mediaeval poem called the Mai-riage of the Seven Arts, and 
another called the Battle of the Seven Arts. (See also Dante, Convito, Trat. II. c. 
14 ; Not. et Ex. V,, 491 setjq.) 

Note 3. — The Chinghizide Princes were eminently liberal^or indifferent — in 
religion ; and even after they became Mahomedan, which, however, the Eastern 
branch never did, they were rarely and only by brief fits persecutors. Hence there 
was scarcely one of the non-Mahomedan Khans of whose conversion to Christianity 
there were not stories spread. The first rumours of Chinghiz in the West were as of 
a Christian conqueror ; tales may l)e found of the Christianity of Chagatai, Hulaku, 
Abaka, Arghun, Baidu, Ghazan, Sartak, Kuyuk, Mangu, Kublai, and one or two of 
the latter's successors in China, all pro[)ably false, with one or two doubtful 

* See plates with gjj. xvij. of Hk. IV. See also the Uighi'ir character in the second Patza, 
Pk. n. ch. vii. 

Chap. VIII. 



The Great Kaan delivering a Golden Tablet to the Brothers. From a miniature of the 14th century. 


How THE Great Kaan gave them a Tablet of Gold, bearing his 


When the Prince had charged them with all his commis- 
sion, he caused to be given them a Tablet of Gold, on 
which was inscribed that the three Ambassadors should 
be supplied with everything needful in all the countries 
through which they should pass — with horses, with escorts, 
and, in short, with whatever they should require. And 
when they had made all needful preparations, the three 
Ambassadors took their leave of the Emperor and set 

When they had travelled I know not how many days, 
the Tartar Baron fell sick, so that he could not ride, and 
being very ill, and unable to proceed further, he halted at 
a certain city. So the Two Brothers judged it best that 
they should leave him behind and proceed to carry out 
their commission ; and, as he was well content that they 




should do so, they continued their journey. And I can 
assure you, that whithersoever they went they were 
honourably provided with whatever they stood in need 
of, or chose to command. And this was owing to that 
Tablet of Authority from the Lord which they carried 
with them.^ 

So they travelled on and on until they arrived at Layas 
in Hermenia, a journey which occupied them, I assure you, 
for three years. •^ It took them so long because they could 
not always proceed, being stopped sometimes by snow, or 
by heavy rains falling, or by great torrents which they 
found in an impassable state. 

Note i. — On these Tablets, see a note under Bk. II. ch. vii. 

Note 2. — Ayas, called also Ayacio, Aiazzo, Giazza, (jlaza, La Jazza, and Layas, 
occupied the site of ancient Aegae, and was the chief port of Cilician Armenia, on the 
Gulf of Scanderoon. Aegae had been in the 5th century a place of trade with the 
West, and the seat of a bishopric, as we learn from the romantic but incomplete 

Caslle of Ayas, 


story of Mary, the noble slave-girl, told by Gibbon (ch. 33). As Ayas it became in the 
latter part of the 13th century one of the chief places for the shipment of Asiatic wares 
arriving through Tabriz, and was much frequented by the vessels of the Italian 
Republics. The Venetians had a Bailo resident there. 
Ayas is the Leyes of Chaucer's Knight, — 

(" At Leyes was he and at Satalie") — 

and the Layas of Froissart. (Bk. III. ch. xxii.) The Gulf of Layas is described in the 
xix. Canto of Ariosto, where Mafisa and Astolfo find on its shores a country of 
barbarous Amazons : — 

" Fatto e '1 porto a sembranza d' una luna," etc. 

Marino Sanuto says of it : " Laiacio has a haven, and a shoal in front of it that we 
might rather call a reef, and to this shoal the hawsers of vessels are moored whilst the 
anchors are laid out towards the land." (II. IV. ch. xxvi. ) 

The present Ayas is a wretched village of some 15 huts, occupied by about 600 
Turkmans, and standing inside the ruined walls of the castle. This castle, which is 
still in good condition, was built by the Armenian kings, and restored by Sultan 
Suleiman ; it was constructed from the remains of the ancient city ; fragments of old 
columns are embedded in its walls of cut stone. It formerly communicated by a 
causeway with an advanced work on an island before the harbour. The ruins of the 
city occupy a large space. (Langlois, V. en Cilicie, pp. 429-31 ; see also Beaiiforfs 
Karamania, near the end.) A plan of Ayas will be found at the b^inning of Bk. I. 
— H. Y. and H. C. 


How THE Two Brothers came to the city of Acre. 

They departed from Layas and came to Acre, arriving 

there in the month of April, in the year of Christ 1269, 

and then they learned that the Pope was dead. And when 

they found that the Pope was dead (his name was Pope 

* *),^ they went to a certain wise Churchman who was 

Legate for the whole kingdom of Egypt, and a man of 

great authority, by name Theobald of Piacenza, and 

told him of the mission on which they were come. When 

the Legate heard their story, he was greatly surprised, and 

deemed the thing to be of great honour and advantage 

for the whole of Christendom. So his answer to the two 

Ambassador Brothers was this : " Gentlemen, ye see that 
VOL. 1. R 




the Pope is dead ; wherefore ye must needs have patience 
until a new Pope be made, and then shall ye be able to 
execute your charge." Seeing well enough that what the 
Legate said was just, they observed : " But while the 
Pope is a-making, we may as well go to Venice and visit 
our households." So they departed from Acre and went 



^CRE AS /T WAS WH£IV LOST ( A .D . \29\) . 


to Negropont, and from Negropont they continued their 
voyage to Venice." On their arrival there, Messer 
Nicolas found that his wife was dead, and that she 
had left behind her a son of fifteen years of age, whose 
name was Makco ; and 'tis of him that this Book tells.^ 
The Two Brothers abode at Venice a couple of years, 
tarrying until a Pope should be made. 

Note i. — The deceased Pope's nam-e is omitted both in the Geog. Text and in 
Pauthier's, clearly because neither Rusticiano nor Polo remembered it. It is supplied 
correctly in the Crusca Italian as Clement, and in Ramusio as Clement IV. 

It is not clear that llicohald, though generally adopted, is the ecclesiastic's proper 
name. It appears in different MSS. as Tea Id (d. T.), Ceabo for Teaho (P.aulhier), 
Odoaldo (Crusca), and in the Riccardian as Thehaldus de Vice-comililnis de Placeitiia, 


which corresponds to Kamusio's version. Most of the ecclesiastical clironiclers call 
him Tedaldus, some Thealdus. Tedaldo is a real name, occurring in Boccaccio. (Day 
iii. Novel 7.) 

Note 2. — After the expulsion of the Venetians from Constantinople, Negropont 
was the centre of their influence in Romania. On the final return of the travellers 
they again take Negropont on their way. [It was one of the ports on the route from 
Venice to Constantinople, Tana, Trebizond. — H. C] 

Note 3. — The edition of the Soc. de Geographie makes Mark's age twelve, but I 
have verified from inspection the fact noticed by Pauthier that the manuscript has 
distinctly xv. like all the other old texts. In Ramusio it is nineteen, but this is doubt- 
less an arbitrary correction to suit the mistaken date (1250) assigned for the departure 
of the father from Constantinople. 

There is nothing in the old French texts to justify the usual statement that Marco 
was born after the departure of his father from Venice. All that the G. T. says is : 
" Meser Nicolau treuve que sa fame estoit morte, et les remes un filz de xv. anz que 
avoit k nom Marc," and Pauthier's text is to the same effect. Ramusio, indeed, has :. 
" M. Nicolo trovo, che sua mc^lie era morta, la quale nella sua partita have^•a partorito 
un figliuolo," and the other versions that are based on Pipino's seem all to have like 


How THE Two Brothers again departed from Venice, on their 


When the Two Brothers had tarried as lon^as I have told 
you, and saw that never a Pope was made, they said that 
their return to the Great Kaan must be put ofif no longer. 
So they set out from Venice, taking Mark along with 
them, and went straight back to Acre, where they found 
the Legate of whom we have spoken. They had a good 
deal of discourse with him concerning the matter, and 
asked his permission to go to Jerusalem to get some Oil 
from the Lamp on the Sepulchre, to carry with them to the 
Great Kaan, as he had enjoined.^ The Leoate orivine 
them leave, they went from Acre to Jerusalem and got 
some of the Oil and then returned to Acre, and went to 
the Legate and said to him : " As we see no siorn of a 


20 MARCO POLO Prol. 

Pope's being made, we desire to return to the Great 
Kaan ; for we have already tarried long, and there has 
been more than enough delay." To which the Legate 
replied : " Since 'tis your wish to go back, I am well con- 
tent." Wherefore he caused letters to be written for 
delivery to the Great Kaan, bearing testimony that the 
Two Brothers had come in all good faith to accomplish 
his charge, but that as there was no Pope they had been 
unable to do so. 

Note i. — In a Pilgrimage of date apparently earlier than this, the Pilgrim says of 
the Sepulchre : " The Lamp which had been placed by His head (when He lay there) 
still burns on the same spot day and night. We took a blessing from it {i.e. ap- 
parently took some of the oil as a beneficent memorial), and replaced it." {Itineraritiin 
Antonini Placentini in BoUandists, Ma}', vol. ii. p. xx. ) 

["Five great oil lamps," says Daniel, the Russian Hegoumene, 1106-1107 
{Itiniraires russes en Orient, trad, pour la Soc. de I'Orient l^atin, par Mme. B. de 
Khitrowo, Geneva, 1889, p. 13), " burning continually night and day, are hung in the 
Sepulchre of Our Lord."— H. C] 


How THE Two Brothers set out from Acre, and Mark along 


When the Two Brothers had received the Legate's 
letters, they set forth from Acre to return to the Grand 
Kaan, and got as far as Layas. But shortly after their 
arrival there they had news that the Legate aforesaid was 
chosen Pope, taking the name of Pope Gregory of 
Piacenza ; news which the Two Brothers were very glad 
indeed to hear. And presently there reached them at 
Layas a message from the Legate, now the Pope, desiring 
them, on the part of the Apostolic See, not to proceed 
further on their journey, but to return to him inconti- 
nently. And what shall I tell you? The King of 



Hermenia caused a galley to be got ready for the Two 
Ambassador Brothers, and despatched them to the Pope 
at Acre.^ 

Note i.— The tiealh of Tope Clement IV, occurred on St Andrew's Day (29th 
November), 1268 ; the electioa of Tedaldo or Tebaldo of Piacenza, a member of the 
Visconti family, and Archdeacon of Liege, did not take place till ist September, 1271, 
owing to the factions among the 

cardinals. And it is said that 
some of them, anxious only to 
get away, voted for Theobald 
in full belief that he was dead. 
The conclave, in its inability 
to agree, had named a com- 
mittee of six with full powers 
which the same day elected 
Theoljald, on the recommenda- 
tion of the Cardinal Bishop of 
Portus (John de Toleto, said, in 
spite of his name, to have been 
an Englishman). This facetious 
dignitary had su^ested that the 
roof should be taken off the 
Palace at Viterbo where they 
sat, to allow the divine influences 
to descend more freely on their 
counsels {</uia mt/twuut ad ttos 
per tot tecta ingredi). According 
to some, these doggerel verses, 
current on the occasion, were 
extemporised by Cardinal John 
in the pious exuberance of his 

Portrait of Pope Gregory- X. 

" Papatus munus tulit Archidiaconus unus 
Quem Patrem Patrum fecit discordia Fratrum. 

The Archdeacon, a man of great weight of character, in consequence of differences 
with his Bishop (of Liege), who was a disorderly liver, had gone to the Holy Land, 
and during his stay there he contracted great intimacy with Prince Edward of 
England (Edward I.). Some authors, e.g. John Villani (VIII. 39), say that he was 
L^ate in SjTia ; others, as Rainaldus, deny this ; but Polo's statement, and the 
authority which the Archdeacon took on himself in writing to the Kaan, seem to 
show that he had some such position. 

He took the name of Gregory' X., and lefore his departure from Acre, preached a 
moving sermon on the text, " If I forget thee, O Jeritsakin,''^ etc. Prince Edward 
fitted him out for his voyage. 

Gregory reigned barely four years, dying at Arezzo loth January, 1276. His 
character stood high to the last, and some of the Northern Martyrologies enrolled Lim 
among the saints, but there has never been canonisation by Rome. The people of 
Arezzo used to celebrate his anniversary with torch-light gatherings at his tomb, and 
plenty of miracles were alleged to have occurred there. The tomb still stands in the 

2 2 MARCO POLO Frol. 

Duonio at Arczzo, a handsome work by Maryaritone, an artist in all branches, who 
was the Pope's contemporary. There is an engraving of it in Goimelli, Mon. Sepolc. 
di Toscana. 

{Fra Pipino in Miiraiori, IX. 700 ; Rainaldi Annal. III. 252 seqq. ; Wadding, 
sub. an. 1217 : Bollandisls, loth January; Falatii, Gesia Pontif. Roiiiatt. vol. iii., and 
Fasti Car dinalmin, I. 463, etc.) 


How THE Two Brothers presented themselves before the 

NEW Pope. 

And when they had been thus honourably conducted to 
Acre they proceeded to the presence of the Pope, and 
paid their respects to him with humble reverence. He 
received them with great honour and satisfaction, and 
gave them his blessing. He then appointed two Friars of 
the Order of Preachers to accompany them to the Great 
Kaan, and to do whatever might be required of them. 
These were unquestionably as learned Churchmen as were 
to be found in the Province at that day — one being called 
Friar Nicolas of Vicenza, and the other Friar William of 
Tripoli.^ He delivered to them also proper credentials, 
and letters in reply to the Great Kaan's messages [and 
gave them authority to ordain priests and bishops, and to 
bestow every kind of absolution, as if given by himself 
in proper person ; sending by them also many fine vfessels 
of crystal as presents to the Great Kaan].^ So when 
they had got all that was needful, they took leave of the 
Pope, receiving his benediction ; and the four set out 
together from Acre, and went to Layas, accompanied 
always by Messer Nicolas's son Marco. 

Now, about the time that they reached Layas, Ben- 
docquedar, the Soldan of Babylon, invaded Hermenia 
with a great host of Saracens, and ravaged the country, 


SO that our Envoys ran a great peril of being taken or 
slain.^ And when the Preaching Friars saw this they 
were greatly frightened, and said that go they never 
would. So they made over to Messer Nicolas and 
Messer Maffeo all their credentials and documents, and 
took their leave, departing in company with the Master 
of the Temple.* 

Note i. — Friar William, of Tripoli, of the Dominican convent at Acre, appears 
to have ser\'ed there as early as 1250. [lie was bom circa 1220, at Tripoli, in 
Syria, whence his name. — H. C] He is known as the author of a book, De Siaiu 
Saracenorum post Ludoz'ici Regis dc Syrid reditittii, dedicated to Theoldus, 
Archdeacon of Liege (/.<;. Pope Gregory). Of this some extracts are printed in 
Duchesne's Hist. Franconiin Scriptoies. There are two MSS. of it, with different 
titles, in the Paris Library, and a French version in that of Berne. A MS. in 
Cambridge Univ. Library, which contains among other things a copy of Pipino's 
Polo, has also the work of Friar William : — " WiUelmtis Tripolitamis, Aconensis 
Conventus, de Egressii Machometi et Saracenorum, atqtie progressu eorumdem, de Statu 
Saraceiwrum ,'' etc. It is imperfect ; it is addressed EccUsiarcho digno 
Sancte Terre Peregriito Sancto. And from a cursory inspection I imagine that the 
Tract appended to one of the Polo MSS. in the British Museum (Addl. MSS., 
No. 19,952) is the same work or part of it. To the same author is ascribed a tract 
called Clades Daniiatae. {Duchesne, V. 432 ; D Avezac in Rec. de Voyages, IV. 406 ; 
QuMf, Script. Ord. Praed. I. 264-5 '■> Catal. of MSS. in Camb. Univ. Library, I. 22.) 

Note 2. — I presume that the powers, stated in this passage from Ramusio to have 
been conferred on the Friars, are exaggerated. In letters of authority granted in 
like cases by Pope Gregory's successors, Nicolas III. (in 1278) and Boniface VIII. 
(in 1299), the missionary friars to remote regions are empowered to absolve from ex- 
communication and release from vows, to settle matrimonial questions, to found 
churches and appoint idoneos rectores, to authorise Oriental clergy who should 
publicly submit to the Apostolic See to enjoy the privilegium clericale, whilst in the 
absence of bishops those among the missionaries who were priests might consecrate 
cemeteries, altars, palls, etc., admit to the Order of Acolytes, but nothing beyond. 
(See Mosheim, Hist. Tartar. Eccles. App. Nos. 23 and 42.) 

Note 3. — The statement here about Bundukdar's invasion of Cilician Armenia is 
a difficulty. He had invaded it in 1266, and his second devastating invasion, during 
which he burnt both Layas and Sis, the king's residence, took place in 1275, a point 
on which Marino Sanuto is at one with the Oriental Historians. Now we know from 
Rainaldus that Pope Gregory left Acre in November or December, 1271, and the text 
appears to imply that our travellers left Acre before him. The utmost corroboration 
that I can find lies in the following facts stated by Makrizi : — 

On the I3ih Safar, A.H. 670 (20th September 1271), Bundukdar arrived unex- 
pectedly at Damascus, and after a brief raid against the Ismaelians he returned to that 
city. In the middle of Rabi I. (about 20-25 October) the Tartars made an incursion 
in northern Syria, and the troops of Aleppo retired towards Hamah. There was 
great alarm at Damascus ; the Sultan sent orders to Cairo for reinforcements, and 
these arrived at Damascus on the 9th November. The Sultan then advanced 
on Aleppo, sending corps likewise towards Marash (which was within the 
Armenian frontier) and Harran. At the latter place the Tartars were attacked 
and those in the town slaughtered ; the rest retreated. The Sultan was back at 

24 MARCO rOLO Prol. 

Damascus, and off on a different expedition, by 7th December. Hence, if the 
travellers arrived at Ayas towards the latter part of November they would probably 
find alarm existing at the advance of Bundiikdar, though matters did not turn out so 
serious as they imply. 

"Babylon," of which Bundukdar is here styled Sultan, means Cairo, commonly so 
styled {Bambellonia d'Egitlo) in that age. Babylon of Egypt is mentioned by 
Diodorus quoting Ctesias, by Strabo, and by Ptolemy; it was the station of a 
Roman Legion in the days of Augustus, and still survives in the name oi Babul, close 
to old Cairo. 

Malik Dahir Ruknuddfn Bfbars Bundiikdavi, a native of Kipchak, was originally 
sold at Damascus for 800 dirhems (about 18/.), and returned by his purchaser because 
of a blemish. He was then bought by the Amir Alauddm Aidekin Bimdiikddr (" The 
Arblasteer") whose surname he afterwards adopted. He became the fourth. of the 
Mameluke Sultans, and reigned from 1259 to 1276. The two great objects of his 
life were the repression of the Tartars and the expulsion of the Christians from Syria, 
so that his reign was one of constant war and enormous activity. William of Tripoli, 
in the work above mentioned, says : ' ' Bondogar, as a soldier, was not inferior to 
Julius Caesar, nor in malignity to Nero." He admits, however, that the Sultan was 
sober, chaste, just to his own people, and even kind to his Christian subjects ; whilst 
Makrizi calls him one of the best princes that ever reigned over Musulmans. Yet if 
we take Bibars as painted by this admiring historian and by other Arabic documents, 
the second of Friar William's comparisons is justified, for he seems almost a devil in 
malignity as well as in activity.* More than once he played tennis at Damascus and 
Cairo within the same week. A strange sample of the man is the letter which he 
wrote to Boemond, Prince of Antioch and Tripoli, to announce to him the capture of the 
former city. After an ironically polite address to Boemond as having by the loss of 
his great city had his title changed from Princeship {Al-Brensiyah) to Countship 
{Al-Komastyah), avid describing his own devastations round Tripoli, he comes to the 
attack of Antioch : " We carried the place, sword in hand, at the 4th hour of Saturday, 
the 4th day of Ramadhan, .... Hadst thou but seen thy Knights trodden under the 
hoofs of the horses ! thy palaces invaded by plunderers and ransacked for booty ! thy 
treasures weighed out by the hundredweight ! thy ladies {Ddmdtaka, * tes Damks ') 
bought and sold with thine own gcar^ at four for a dinar ! hadst thou but seen thy 
churches demolished, thy crosses sawn in sunder, thy garbled Gospels hawked about 
before the sun, the tombs of thy nobles cast to the ground ; thy foe the Moslem 
treading thy Holy of the Holies ; the monk, the priest, the deacon slaughtered on the 
Altar; the rich given up to misery; princes of royal blood reduced to slavery! 
Couldst thou but have seen the flames devouring thy halls ; thy dead cast into the fires 
temporal with the fires eternal hard at hand ; the churches of Paul and of Cosmas 

rocking and going down , then wouldst thou have said, ' Would God that I were 

dust !'.... As not a man hath escaped to tell thee the tale, I tell it thee ! " 

A little later, when a mission went to treat with Boemond, Bibars himself accom- 
panied it in disguise, to have a look at the defences of Tripoli. In drawing out the 
terms, the Envoys styled Boemond Count, not Prmce, as in the letter just quoted. 
Pie lost patience at their persistence, and made a movement which alarmed them. 
Bibars nudged the Envoy Mohiuddin (who tells the story) with his foot to give up the 
point, and the treaty was made. On their way back the Sultan laughed heartily at 
their narrow escape, " sending to the devil all the counts and princes on the face of 
the earth." 

{Qiiatrem^re's Makrizi, II. 92-101, and 190 seqq.; J, As. ser. I. tom. xi. p. 89; 
D'Ohsson, HI. 459-474; Marino Sanuto in Bongars, 224-226, etc.) 

Note 4. — The ruling Master of the Temple was Thomas Berard (1256-1273), but 
there is little detail about the Order in the East at this time. They had, however, 
considerable possessions and great influence in Cilician Armenia, and how much they 
were mixed up in its affairs is shown by a circumstance related by Makrizi. In 1285, 


when Sultan Mansur, the successor of Bundiikdar, was besi^;ing the Castle of Markab, 
there arrived in Camp the Commander of the Temple {Kama7tdiir-ul Dewet) of the 
Country of Armenia, charged to negotiate on the part of the King of Sis (i.e. of 
Lesser Armenia, Leon III. 1268-1289, successor of Hayton I. 1224-1268), and 
bringing presents from him and from the Master of the Temple, Berard's successor, 
William de Beaujeu (1273-1291). (III. 201.) — H. Y. and H. C. 


How Messer Nicolo and Messer Maffeo Polo, accompanied by 
Mark, tr.welled to the Court of the Gre.\t Kaan. 

So the Two Brothers, and Mark along with them, pro- 
ceeded on their way, and journeying on, summer and 
winter, came at length to the Great Kaan, who was then 
at a certain rich and great city, called Kemenfu.^ As to 
what they met with on the road, whether in going or 
coming, we shall give no particulars at present, because 
we are going to tell you all those details in regular order 
in the after part of this Book. Their journey back to 
the Kaan occupied a good three years and a half, owing 
to the bad weather and severe cold that they encountered. 
And let me tell vou in orood sooth that when the Great 
Kaan heard that Messers Nicolo and Maffeo Polo were 
on their way back, he sent people a journey of full 40 
days to meet them ; and on this journey, as on their 
former one, they were honourably entertained upon the 
road, and supplied with all that they required. 

Note i. — The French texts read Clemeinfu, Ramusio Clemenfu. ThePucciMS. 
guides us to the correct reading, having Chemeusti {Kemensu) for Clumenfu. 
Kaipingfu, meaning something like '* City of Peace," and called by Rashiduddin 
Kaiminfu (whereby we see that Polo as usual adopted the Persian form of the name), 
was a city founded in 1256, four years before Kublai's accession, some distance to the 
north of the Chinese wall. It became Kublai's favourite summer residence, and was 
styled from 126^ Shangtu or "Upper Court." (See infra, Bk. I. ch. L\i.) It was 
known to the Mongols, apparently by a combination of the two names, as Shangdu 
Keibmig. It appears in D'Anville's map under the name of Djao-Naiman Sum/. 

26 MARCO POLO Prol. 

Dr. Bushell, who visited Shangtu in 1S72, makes it 1103 H (367 miles) by road 
distance vid Kalgan from Peking. The busy town of Dolonniir lies 26 miles S.E. of 
it, and according to Kiepert's Asia that place is about 180 miles in a direct line north 
of Peking. 

{Stt Klaprofk in/. As. XI. 365 ; Ganhil, p. 115; Cathay, p. 260;/. R. G. S. 
vol, xliii.) 


How Messer Nicolo and Messer Maffeo Polo and Marco 


And what shall I tell you? when the Two Brothers and 
Mark had arrived at that great city, they went to the 
Imperial Palace, and there they found the Sovereign 
attended by a great company of Barons. So they bent 
the knee before him, and paid their respects to him, with 
all possible reverence [prostrating themselves on the 
ground]. Then the Lord bade them stand up, and 
treated them with great honour, showing great pleasure 
at their coming, and asked many questions as to their 
welfare, and how they had sped. They replied that 
they had in verity sped well, seeing that they found 
the Kaan well and safe. Then they presented the 
credentials and letters which they had received from the 
Pope, which pleased him right well ; and after that 
they produced the Oil from the Sepulchre, and at that 
also he was very glad, for he set great store thereby. 
And next, spying Mark, who was then a young gallant,^ 
he asked who was that in their company ? " Sire," said 
his father, Messer Nicolo, "'tis my son and your 
liegeman."^ ** Welcome is he too," quoth the Emperor. 
And why should I make a long story ? There was 
great rejoicing at the Court because of their arrival ; and 
they met with attention and honour from everybody. 
So there they abode at the Court with the other Barons. 


Note i. — '■' Joenue BachekrJ^ 

Note 2. — '■' Sire, il est mon fih et vostre homme." The last word in the sense 
which gives us the word Iwniage. Thus in the miracle play of Theophilus (13th 
century), the Devil says to Theophilus : — 

" Or joing 
Tes mains, et si de\"ien nus horn. 
Theoph. Vez ci que je vous faz Jionimage.' 

So infra (Bk. I. ch. xlvii.) Aung Khan is made to say of Chinghiz: "// est mon 
homes et mon serf." (See also Bk. II. ch. iv. note.) St. Lewis said of the peace he 
had made with Henry III. : " II m'est mout grant honneur en la paix que je foiz au 
Roy d'Angleterre pour ce qu'il est mon home, ce que n'estoit pas devant." And 
Joinville says with regard to the king, " Je ne voz faire point de serement, car je 
n'estoie pas son home " (being a vassal of Champagne). A famous Saturday Reviewer 
quotes the term applied to a lady : " Eddcva pitella homo Stigandi Archiepiscopi" 
( ThMtre Fraiicais au Moyen Age, p. 145 ; Joinville, pp. 21, 37 ; 5. ^., 6th September, 
1873, P- 305-) 


How THE Emperor sent Mark on ax Embassy of his. 

Now it came to pass that Marco, the son of Messer 
Nicolo, sped wondrously in learning the customs of the 
Tartars, as well as their language, their manner of 
writing, and their practice of war ; in fact he came in 
brief space to know several languages, and four sundry 
written characters. And he was discreet and prudent 
in every way, insomuch that the Emperor held him in 
great esteem.^ And so when he discerned Mark to 
have so much sense, and to conduct himself so well 
and beseemingly, he sent him on an ambassage of his, to 
a country which was a good six months' journey distant." 
The young gallant executed his commission well and 
with discretion. Now he had taken note on several 
occasions that when the Prince's ambassadors returned 
from different parts of the world, they were able to tell 
him about nothing except the business on which they 

28 MARCO rOLO Prol. 

had gone, and that the Prince In consequence held them 
for no better than fools and dolts, and would say : " I 
had far liever hearken about the strangle thinors, and the 
manners of the different countries you have seen, than 
merely be told of the business you went upon ; " — for he 
took great delight in hearing of the affairs of strange 
countries. Mark therefore, as he went and returned, 
took great pains to learn about all kinds of different 
matters in the countries which he visited, in order to be 
able to tell about them to the Great Kaan.^ 

Note i. — The word Emperor stands liere for Sci^mciir. 

What the four characters acquired by Marco were is open to discussion. 

The Chronicle of the Mongol Emperois rendered by Gaubil mentions, as char- 
acters used in their Empire, the Ufghiir, the Persian and x\rabic, that of the Lamas 
(Tibetan), that of the Niuche, introduced by the Kin Dynasty, the Khitan, and the 
Bdshpah character, a syllabic alpha) )et arranged, on the basis of the Tibetan and 
Sanskrit letters chiefly, by a learned chief Lama so-called, under the orders of 
Kublai, and established by edict in 1269 as the official character. Coins bearing 
this character, and dating from 1308 to 1354, are extant. The forms of the Niuche 
and Khitan were devised in imitation of Chinese writing, but are supposed to be 
syllabic. Of the Khitan but one inscription was known, and no key. "The Khitan 
had two national scripts, the ' small characters ' {hsiao tzii) and the ' large characters ' 
(,ta izii)." S. W. Bushell, Insc. in ihejuchcii and Allied Scripts, Cong, des Orientalistes, 
Paris, 1897. — Die Sprache nnd Schrift der Juchen, von Dr W. Grube, Leipzig, 1896, 
from a polyglot MS. dictionary, discovered by Dr F. Ilirth and now kept in the Royal 
Library, Berlin.— IL Y. and H. C- 

Chinghiz and his first successors used the Uighiir, nnd sometimes the Chinese 
character. Of the Ui'ghiir character we give a specimen in Bk. IV. It is of Syriac 
origin, undoubtedly introduced into Eastern Turkestan by the early Nestorian mis- 
sions, probably in the 8th or 9th century. The oldest known example of this 
character so applied, the Kudatlnt Bilik, a didactic poem in Uighiir (a branch of 
Oriental Turkish), dating from a.d. 1069, was published by Prof. Vambery in 1870. 
A new edition of the Kzidatkn Bilik was published at St. Petersburg, in 1891, by Dr. 
W. Radloff. Vambery had a pleasing illustration of the origin of the Ufghiir char- 
acter, when he received a visit at Pesth from certain Nestorians of Urumia on a 
begging tour. On being shown the original MS. of the Kudatkii Bilik, they read 
the character easily, whilst much to their astonishment they could not understand a 
word of what was written. This Uighiir is the basis of the modern Mongol and 
Mancha characters. (Cf. E. Bretschneider, Mcdicrval Researches, I. pp. 236, 263.) 
— H. Y. and H. C. 

[At the village of Keuyung Kwan, 40 miles north of Peking, in the sub-prefecture 
of Ch'ang Ping, in the Chih-li province, the road from Peking to Kalgan runs beyond 
the pass of Nankau, under an archway, a view of which will be found at the end of 
this volume, on which were engraved, in 1345, two large inscriptions in six different 
languages : Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongol, Bdshpah, Uighur, Chinese, and a language un- 
known till recently. Mr Wylie's kindness enabled Sir Henry Yule to present a specimen 
of this. (A much better facsimile of these inscriptions than Wylie's having since 
been published by Prince Roland Bonaparte in his valuable Kecueil des Documents de 



r Afoque Mo7igole, this latter is, by permission, here reproduced.) The Chinese and 
Mongol inscriptions have been translated by M. Ed. Chavannes ; the Tibetan by M. 
Sylvain Levi (/our. Asiat., Sept.- Oct. 1894, pp. 354-373) ; the Ui'ghur, by Prof. W. 
Radloflf (/^»rf. Nov. -Dec. 1894, pp. 546, 550) ; the Mongol by Prof. G. Huth. {Ibid. 
Mars-Avril 1895, pp. 351-360.) The sixth language was supposed by A. Wylie (J. 
R. A. S. vol. xvii. p. 331, and N.S., vol. v. p. 14) to be Neochih, Niuche, Niuchen 
or Juchen. M. Deveria has shown that the inscription is written in Si Hia, or the 
language of Tangut, and gave a facsimile of a stone stele (pet) in this language kept in 
the great Monastery of the Clouds (Ta Yun Ssu) at Liangchau in Kansuh, together 
with a translation of the Chinese text, engraved on the reverse side of the slab. M. 
Deveria thinks that this writing was borrowed by the Kings of Tangut from the one 
derived in 920 by the Khitans from the Chinese. {Siele Si-Hia de Leang-tchtmi. 
... /. As., 1898 ; Vdcriiure du royaumes de Si- Hia ou Tangout, par M. Deveria. 
. . . Ext. des Mem. . . . presentes a I'Ac. des. Ins. etB. Let. lere Ser. XL, 1898.) 
Dr. S. W. Bushell in two papers {Inscriptions in the Juchen and Allied Scripts, Actes 
du XI. Congris des Orient cdistes, Paris, 1897, 2nd. sect., pp. il, 35, and the ZTw Z&»a 
Dynasty of Tangut, their Money aiui their peculiar Script, J. China Br. R. A. S., 
XXX. N.S. No. 2, pp. 142, 160) has also made a special study of the same 
subject. The Si Hia writing was adopted by Yuan Ho in 1056, on which occasion 
he changed the title of his reign to Ta Ch'ing, i.e. "Great Good Fortune." Unfor- 
tunately, both the late AL Deveria and Dr. S. W. Bushell have deciphered but few 
of the Si Hia characters. — H. C] 

The orders of the Great Kaan are stated to have been published habitually in six 
languages, viz.. Mongol, Ufghiir, Arabic, Persian, Tangutan (Si-Hia), and Chinese. 
— H. Y. and H. C. 

Ghazan Khan of Persia is said to have understood Mongol, Arabic, Persian, 
something of Kashmiri, of Tibetan, of Chinese, and a little of the Frank tongue 
(probably French). 

The annals of the Ming Dynasty, which succeeded the Mongols in China, men- 
tion the establishment in the i ith moon of the 5lh year Yong-lo (1407) of the Sse yi 
kwan, a linguistic office for diplomatic purposes. The languages to be studied were 
Niuche, Mongol, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Bokharan (Persian?) Ufghiir, Burmese, and 
Siamese. To these were added by the Manchu Dynasty two languages called Papeh 
and Pehyih, both dialects of the S.W. frontier. (See infra, Bk. IL ch. Ivi.-hii., and 
notes.) Since 1382, however, official interpreters had to translate Mongol texts ; they 
were selected among the Academicians, and their service (which was independent of 
the Sse yi kwan when this w as created) was under the control of the Han-lin-ytun. 
There may have been similar institutions under the Yuen, but we have no proof of it. 
At all events, such an office could not then be called Sse yi kwan {Sse yi. Barbarians 
from four sides) ; Niuche (Niuchen) was taught in Yong-lo's office, but not Manchu. 
The Sse yi kwan must not be confounded w ith the Hui t'ong kwan, the office for the 
reception of tributary envoys, to which it was annexed in 1748. (Gaubil, p. 148 ; 
Gold. Horde, 184 ; Jlchan. 11. 147 ; Lockhart in/. R. G. S. XXXVI. 152 ; Koefpen, 
II. 99 ; G. Deveria, Hist, du College des Interpiites de Peking in Melanges Charles 
de Harlez, pp. 94-102; M.S. Note of Prof. A. Vissiere ; The Tangut Script in the 
Nan-ICou Pass, by Dr. S. W. Bushell, Chitta Re7ne%v, xxiv. IL pp. 65-68.) — H. Y. 
and II. C. 

Pauthier supposes Mark's four acquisitions to have been Bdshpah-Mongol, Arabic, 
Uighur, and Chinese. I entirely reject the Chinese. Sir H. Yule adds : " We 
shall see no reason to believe that he knew either language or character " [Chinese]. 
The blunders Polo made in saj-ing that the name of the city, Suju, signifies in our 
tongue "Earth" and Kinsay "Heaven" show he did not know the Chinese char- 
acters, but we read in Bk. II. ch. Ixviii. : "And Messer Marco Polo himself, of 
whom this Book speaks, did govern this city (Vanju) for three full years, by the order 
of the Great Kaan." It seems to me [II. C] hardly possible that Marco could have for 
tliree years been governor of so important and so Chinese a city as Yangchau, in the 

30 MARCO POLO Pkoi.. 

heart of the Empire, without acquiring a knowledge of the spoken language. — H. C. 
The other three languages seem highly probable. The fourth may have been Tibetan. 
But it is more likely that he counted separately two varieties of the same character {e.g. 
of the Arabic and Persian) as two " lettres de leur escrtpiures." — H. Y. and H. C. 

Note 2. — [Ramusio here adds : " Ad und citta, delta Carazan," which, as we shall 
see, refers to the Yun-nan Province.] — H. C. 

Note 3. — From the context no doubt Marco's employments were honourable and 
confidential ; but Commissioner would perhaps better express them than Ambassador 
in the modern sense. The word llchi, which was probably in his mind, was applied 
to a large variety of classes employed on the commissions of Government, as we may- 
see from a passage of Rashiduddin in D'Ohsson, which says that " there were always 
to be found in every city from one to two hundred llchis, who forced the citizens to 
furnish them with free quarters," etc.. III. 404. (See also 485.) 


How Mark returned from the Mission whereon he had 


When Mark returned from his ambassage he presented 
himself before the Emperor, and after making his report 
of the business with which he was charged, and its 
successful accomplishment, he: went on to give an 
account in a pleasant and intelligent manner of all the 
novelties and strange things that he had seen . and 
heard ; insomuch that the Emperor and all such as 
heard his story were surprised, and said: "If this 
young man live, he will assuredly come to be a person 
of great worth and ability." And so from that time 
forward he was always entitled Messer Marco Polo, 
and thus we shall style him henceforth in this Book of 
ours, as is but right. 

Thereafter Messer Marco abode in the Kaan's employ- 
ment some seventeen years, continually going and coming, 
hither and thither, on the missions that were entrusted 
to him by the Lord [and sometimes, with the permission 
and authority of the Great Kaan, on his own private 
affairs.] And, as he knew all the sovereign's ways, 




like a sensible man he always took much pains to 
gather knowledge of anything that would be likely to 
interest him, and then on his return to Court he would 
relate everything in regular order, and thus the Emperor 
came to hold him in great love and favour. And for 
this reason also he would employ him the oftener on 
the most weighty and most distant of his missions. 
These Messer Marco ever carried out with discretion 
and success, God be thanked. So the Emperor became 
ever more partial to him, and treated him with the 
greater distinction, and kept him so close to his person 
that some of the Barons waxed very envious thereat. 
And thus it came about that Messer Marco Polo had 
knowledge of, or had actually visited, a greater number 
of the different countries of the World than any other ; the more that he was always giving his mind to 
get knowledge, and to spy out and enquire into every- 
thing in order to have matter to relate to the Lord. 


How Messer Nicolo, Messer M.^ffeo, and Messer Marco, asked 


When the Two Brothers and Mark had abode with the 
Lord all that time that you have been told [havino- 
meanwhile acquired great wealth in jewels and gold], 
they began among themselves to have thoughts about 
returning to their own country ; and indeed it was time. 
[For, to say nothing of the length and infinite perils 
of the way, when they considered the Kaan's great age, 
they doubted whether, in the event of his death before 
their departure, they would ever be able to get home.^] 

32 MARCO POLO Prol. 

They applied to him several times for leave to go, 
presenting their request with great respect, but he had 
such a partiality for them, and liked so much to have 
them about him, that nothing on earth would persuade 
him to let them g-o. 

Now it came to pass in those days that the Queen 
BoLGANA, wife of Argon, Lord of the Levant, departed 
this life. And in her Will she had desired that no Lady 
should take her place, or succeed her as Argon's wife, 
except one of her own family [which existed in Cathay]. 
Argon therefore despatched three of his Barons, by 
name respectively Oulatay, Apusca, and Coja, as 
ambassadors to the Great Kaan, attended by a very 
gallant company, in order to bring back as his bride a 
lady of the family of Queen Bolgana, his late wife.^ 

When these three Barons had reached the. Court of 
the Great Kaan, they delivered their message, explaining 
wherefore they were come. The Kaan received them 
with all honour and hospitality, and then sent for a lady 
whose name was Cocachin, who was of the family of 
the deceased Queen Bolgana. She was a maiden of 
17, a very beautiful and charming person, and on her 
arrival at Court she was presented to the three Barons 
as the Lady chosen in compliance with their demand. 
They declared that the Lady pleased them well.^ 

Meanwhile Messer Marco chanced to return from 
India, whither he had gone as the Lord's ambassador, 
and made his report of all the different things that he 
had seen in his travels, and of the sundry seas over 
which he had voyaged. And the three Barons, having 
seen that Messer Nicolo, Messer Maffeo, and Messer 
Marco were not only Latins, but men of marvellous 
good sense withal, took thought among themselves to 
get the three to travel with them, their intention being 
to return to their country by sea, on account of the 


great fatigue of that long land journey for a lady. And 
the ambassadors were the more desirous to have their 
company, as being aware that those three had great 
knowledge and experience of the Indian Sea and the 
countries by which they would have to pass, and 
especially Messer Marco. So they went to the Great 
Kaan, and begged as a favour that he would send the 
three Latins with them, as it was their desire to return 
home by sea. 

The Lord, having that great regard that I have 
mentioned for those three Latins, was very loath to do 
so [and his countenance showed great dissatisfaction]. 
But at last he did give them permission to depart, 
enjoining them to accompany the three Barons and the 

XuTE I. — P^olotti, in his chapters on mercantile ventures to Cathay, refers to the 
dangers to which foreigners were always liable on the death of the reigning sovereign. 
(See Cathay, p. 292.) 

Note 2. — Several ladies of the name of Buldghan (" Zibellina") have a place In 
Mongol-Persian history. The one here indicated, a lady of great beauty and ability, 
was known as the Great Khdtun (or Lady) Bulughan, and was (according to strange 
Mongol custom) the wife successively of Abaka and of his son Arghux, the Argon of 
the text, Mongol sovereign of Persia. She died on the banks of the Kur in Georgia, 
7 th April, 1286. She belonged to the Mongol tribe of Bayaut, and was the daughter 
of HulakiVs Chief Secretary Gi'igah. {Ilchan. I. 374 et passim; Erdmann's 
Temudsc/iin, p. 216.) 

The names of the Envoys, Uladai, Apushka, and KojA, are all names met with 
in Mongol history. And Rashiduddin speaks of an Apushka of the Mongol Tribe of 
Urnaut, who on some occasion was sent as Envoy to the Great Kaan from Persia, — 
possibly the very person. (See Erdinann, 205.) 

Of the Lady Cocachin we shall speak below. 

Note 3. — Ramusio here has the following passage, genuine no doubt: "So 
sverj-ihing being ready, with a great escort to do honour to the bride of King Argon, 
the Ambassadors took leave and set forth. But after travelling eight montJis by the 
same way that they had come, they found the roads closed, in consequence of wars 
lately broken out among certain Tartar Princes ; so being unable to proceed, they 
were compelled to return to the Court of the Great Kaan." 

VOL. I. 



How THE Two Brothers and Messer Marco took leave of the 
Great Kaan, and returned to their own Country. 

And when the Prince saw that the Two Brothers and 
Messer Marco were ready to set forth, he called them 
all three to his presence, and gave them two golden 
Tablets of Authority, which should secure them liberty 
of passage through all his dominions, and by means of 
which, whithersoever they should go, all necessaries 
would be provided for them, and for all their company, 
and whatever they might choose to order. ^ He charged 
them also with messages to the King of France, the 
King of England,^ the King of Spain, and the other 
kings of Christendom. He then caused thirteen ships 
to be equipt, each of which had four masts, and often 
spread twelve sails. ^ And I could easily give you all 
particulars about these, but as it would be so long an 
affair I will not enter upon this now, but hereafter, 
when time and place are suitable. [Among the said 
ships were at least four or five that carried crews of 250 
or 260 men.] 

And when the ships had been equipt, the Three 
Barons and the Lady, and the Two Brothers and 
Messer Marco, took leave of the Great Kaan, and 
went on board their ships with a great company of 
people, and with all necessaries provided for two years 
by the Emperor. They put forth to sea, and after sailing 
for some three months they arrived at a certain Island 
towards the South, which is called Java,^ and in which 
there are many wonderful things which we shall tell you 
all about by-and-bye. Quitting this Island they con- 


tinued to navigate the Sea of India for eighteen months 
more before they arrived whither they were bound, 
meeting on their way also with many marvels, of which 
we shall tell hereafter. 

And when they got thither they found that Argon 
w^as dead, so the Lady was delivered to Casan, his son. 

But I should have told you that it is a fact that, 
when they embarked, they were in number some 600 
persons, w ithout counting the mariners ; but nearly all 
died by the way, so that only eight survived.^ 

The sovereignty when they arrived w^as held by Kia- 
CATU, so they commended the Lady to him, and executed 
all their commission. And when the Two Brothers and 
Messer Marco had executed their charge in full, and 
done all that the Great Kaan had enjoined on them in 
regard to the Lady, they took their leave and set out 
upon their journey.*^ And before their departure, Kia- 
catu gave them four golden tablets of authority, two of 
which bore gerfalcons, one bore lions, whilst the fourth ^ 
was plain, and having on them inscriptions which directed 
that the three Ambassadors should receive honour and 
service all through the land as if rendered to the Prince 
in person, and that horses and all provisions, and every- 
thing necessary, should be supplied to them. And so 
they found in fact ; for throughout the country they 
received ample and excellent supplies of everything 
needful ; and many a time indeed, as I may tell you, 
they were furnished with 200 horsemen, more or less, 
to escort them on their way in safety. And this was 
all the more needful because Kiacatu was not the 
legitimate Lord, and therefore the people had less 
scruple to do mischief than if they had had a lawful 

Another thing too must be mentioned, which does, 
credit to those three Ambassadors, and shows for what 
VOL. I. c 2 


great personages they were held. The Great Kaan re- 
garded them with such trust and affection, that he had 
confided to their charge the Queen Cocachin, as well as 
the daughter of the King- of Manzi,^ to conduct to Argon 
the Lord of all the Levant. And those two great ladies 
who were thus entrusted to them they watched over and 
guarded as if they had been daughters of their own, until 
they had transferred them to the hands of their Lord ; 
whilst the ladies, young and fair as they were, looked on 
each of those three as a father, and obeyed them accord- 
ingly. Indeed, both Casan, who is now the reigning 
prince, and the Queen Cocachin his wife, have such a 
regard for the Envoys that there is nothing they would 
not do for them. And when the three Ambassadors took 
leave of that Lady to return to their own country, she 
wept for sorrow at the parting. 

What more shall I say ? Having left Kiacatu they 
travelled day by day till they came to Trebizond, and 
thence to Constantinople, from Constantinople to Negro- 
pont, and from Negropont to Venice. And this was in 
the year 1295 of Christ's Incarnation. 

And now that I have rehearsed all the Prologue as 
you have heard, we shall begin the Book of the Descrip- 
tion of the Divers Things that Messer Marco met with 
in his Travels. 

Note i. — On these plates or tablets, which have already been spoken of, a note 
will be found further on. (Bk. II. ch. vii. ) Piano Carpini says of the Mongol 
practice in reference to royal messengers: "Nuncios, quoscunque et quotcunque, et 
ubicunque transmittit, oportet quod dent eis sine mora cquos subductiiios et expensas" 

Note 2. — The mention of the King of England appears for the first time in 
Pauthier's text. Probably we shall never know if the communication reached him. 
But we have the record of several embassies in preceding and subsequent years from 
the Mongol Khans of Persia to the Kings of England ; all with the view of obtaining 
co-operation in attack on the Egyptian Sultan. Such messages came from Abaka in 
1277 ; from Arghun in 1289 and 1291 ; from Ghazan in 1302 ; from Oljailu in 1307. 
(See R^inmat in Mini, de rAaid. VII.) 

Chap. XVIII. 



Note 3. — Rumasio has " nine sails." Marsden thinks even this lower number 
an error of Kamusio's, as " it is well known that Chinese vessels do not carry any kind 
of topsail." This is, however, a mistake, for they do sometimes carrj- a small topsail 
of cotton cloth (and formerly, it would seem from Lecomte, even a toj^aUant sail at 
times), though only in quiet weather. And the evidence as to the number of sails 
carried by the great Chinese junks of the Middle Ages, which evidently made a great 
impression on Western foreigners, is irresistible. Friar Jordanus, who saw them in 
Malabar, says : "With a fair wind they cany ten sails ;" Ibn Batnta : " One of these 
great junks carries frnm three sails to twelve ; " Joseph, the Indian, speaking of those 

Ancient Chinese War Vessel 

that traded to India in the 15th century : " They were very great, and had sometimes 
twelve sails, with innumerable rowers." {Lecomte, I. 389 ; Fr. Jordanus, Hak. Soc., 
p. 55 ; Ihn Battita, IV. 91 ; Nevus Orbis, p. 148.) A fuller account of these vessels 
is given at the beginning of Bk. III. 

Note 4. — I.e. in this case Sumatra, as will appear hereafter. " It is quite 
possiblefor a fleet of fourteen junks which required to keep together to take three 
months at the present time to accomplish a similar voyage. A Chinese trader, who 
has come annually to Singapore in junks for many years, tells us that he has had as 
long a passage as sixty days, although the average is eighteen or twenty days.'" 
{Logan iny. Ind. Archip. II. 609.) 



Note 5. — Ramusio's version here varies widely, and looks more probable: "From 
the day that they embarked until their arrival there died of mariners and others on 
board 600 persons ; and of the three ambassadors only one survived, whose name was 
Goza (Coja) ; but of the ladies and damsels died but one." 

It is worth noting that in the case of an embassy sent to Cathay a few years later 
by Ghdzan Khan, on the return by this same route to Persia, the chief of the two 
Persian ambassadors, and the Great Khan's envoy, who was in company, both died 
by the way. Their voyage, too, seems to have been nearly as long as Polo's ; for 
they were seven years absent from Persia, and of these only four in China. (See 
Wassdfm Elliot, III. 47.) 

Note 6. — Ramusio's version states that on learning Arghiin's death (which they 
probably did on landing at Hormuz), they sent word of their arrival to Kiacatu, who 
directed them to conduct the lady to Casan, who was then in the region of the Arbre 
Sec (the Province of Khorasan) guarding the frontier passes with 60,000 men, and 
that they did so, and then turned back to Kiacatu (probably at Tabriz), and stayed at 
his Court nine months. Even the Geog. Text seems to imply that they had become 
personally known to Casan, and I have no doubt that Ramusio's statement is an 
authentic expansion of the original narrative by Marco himself, or on his authority. 

Arghiin Khan died loth March, 1291. He was succeeded (23rd July) by his 
brother Kaikhatii {Quiacaiu of Polo), who was put to death 24th March, 1295. 

We learn from Hammer's History of the Ilkhans that when Ghazan, the son of 
Arghiin {Casa7i of Polo), who had the government of the Khorasan frontier, was on 
his return to his post from Tabriz, where his uncle Kaikhatu had refused to see him, 
" he met at Abher the ambassador whom he had sent to the Great Khan to obtain in 
marriage a relative of the Great Lady Bulghan. This envoy brought with him the 
Lady KtJkAchin (our author's Cocachin), with presents from the Emperor, and the 
marriage was celebrated with due festivity." Abher lies a little west of Kazvin. 

Hammer is not, I find, here copying from Wassaf, and I have not been able 
to procure a thorough search of the work of Rashiduddin, which probably was 
his authority. As well as the date can be made out from the History of the Ilkhans, 
Ghdzan must have met his bride towards the end of 1293, or quite the beginning of 
1294. Rashiduddin in another place mentions the fair lady from Cathay ; " The 
ordu (or establishment) of Tukiti Khatun was given to Kukachi Khatun, who had 
been brought from the Kaan's Court, and who was a kinswoman of the late chief 
Queen Bulghan. Kukachi, the wife of the Padshah of Islam, Ghazan Khan, died in 
the month of Shaban, 695," ?>. in June, 1296, so that the poor girl did not long 
survive her promotion. (See Hammet^s Ilch. II. 20, and 8, and I. 273 ; and Qttaire- 
tn^re's Rashiduddin, p. 97.) Kukachin was the name also of the wife of Chingkim, 
Kublai's favourite son ; but she was of the Kungurat tribe. {Deguignes, IV. 179.) 

Note 7. — Here Ramusio's text says: "During this journey Messers Nicolo, 
Mafteo, and Marco heard the news that the Great Khan had departed this life ; and 
this caused them to give up all hope of returning to those parts." 

Note 8. — This Princess of Manzi, or Southern China, is mentioned only in the 
Geog. Text and in the Crusca, which is based thereon. I find no notice of her 
among the wives of Ghazan or otherwise. 

On the fall of the capital of the Sung Dynasty — the Kinsay of Polo — in 1276, the 
Princesses of that Imperial family were sent to Peking, and were graciously treated by 
Kublai's favourite Queen, the Lady Jamui. This young lady was, no doubt, one of 
those captive princesses who had been brought up at the Court of Khanbdiik. (See 
De Mailla, IX. 376, and infra Bk. II. ch. Ixv., note. 





To face Chapter 1 of Book I . 

Aias,UieLATAS of PoLO^from an Admiralty Chart. 

Ont/Hnqlish Mile^ r, , 

I :£ 1 1 I \Fta-l 

"1)1 a for la mcr unc vUlc ^ 
Hi t&i ap c lU,iaia«, (a qual 4 
cjt b e ^tau mcrcaanbie ' 

ent Mole 

Position of \>WawaY, the supposed Site of PoLO'sD ILAVAR 

Li t.Tr.iuenl'eldex. Falerrao 

[To /ace p. 4'- 



Here the Book begins ; and first it speaks of the Lesser 

There are two Hermenias, the Greater and the Less, 
The Lesser Hermenia is governed by a certain King, 
who maintains a just rule in his dominions, but is 
himself subject to the Tartar.^ The country contains 
numerous towns and villages,^ and has everything in 
plenty ; moreover, it is a great country foi sport in 
the chase of all manner of beasts and birds. It is, 
however, by no means a healthy region, but griev- 
ously the reverse.^ In days of old the nobles there 
were valiant men, and did doughty deeds of arms ; but 
nowadays they are poor creatures, and good at 
nought, unless it be at boozing; they are great at that. 
Howbeit, they have a city upon the sea, which is called 
Layas, at which there is a great trade. For you must 
know that all the spicery, and the cloths of silk and gold, 
and the other valuable wares that come from the interior, 
are brought to that city. And the merchants of Venice 
and Genoa, and other countries, come thither to sell their 
goods, and to buy what they lack. And whatsoever per- 
sons would travel to the interior (of the East), merchants \ 
or others, they take their way by this city of Layas."* 




Book I. 

Having now told you about the Lesser Hermenia, we 
shall next tell vou about Turcomania. 

Coin of Kin^ Hetum and his Queen Isabel. 

Note i. — The Petite Ilermenie of the Middle Ages was quite distinct from the 
Armenia Minor of the ancient geographers, which name the latter applied to the 
western portion of Armenia, west of the Euphrates, and immediately north of 

But when the old Armenian monarchy was broken up (1079-80), Rupen, a kinsman 
of the Bagratid Kings, with many of his countrymen, took refuge in the Taurus. Ilis 
first descendants ruled as barons, a title adopted apparently from the Crusaders, but 
still preserved in Armenia. Leon, the great-great-grandson of Rupen, was consecrated 
King under the supremacy of the Pope and the Western Empire in 1 198. The kingdom 

was at its zenith under Hctum or 
Hayton L , husband of Leon's daughter 
Isabel (1224- 1 269); he was, however, 
prudent enough to make an early sub- 
mission to the Mongols, and remained 
ever staunch to them, which brought 
his territory constantly under the flail 
of Egypt. It included at one time all 
Cilicia, with many cities of Syria and 
the ancient Armenia Minor, of Isauria 
and Cappadocia. The male line of Rupen becoming extinct in 1342, the kingdom 
passed to John de Lusignan, of the royal house of Cyprus, and in 1375 it was put 
an end to by the Sultan of Egypt. Leon VI., the ex-king, into whose mouth 
Froissart puts some extraordinary geography, had a pension of 1000/. a year granted 
him by our Richard II., and died at Paris in 1398. 

The chief remaining vestige of this little monarchy is the continued existence of a 
Catholic OS of part of the Armenian Church at Sis,* which was the royal residence. 
Some Armenian communities still remain both in hills and plains ; and the former, 
the more independent and industrious, still speak a corrupt Armenian. 

Polo's contemporary, Marino Sanuto, compares the kingdom of the Pope's faithful 
Armenians to one between the teeth of four fierce beasts, the Lion Tartar, the Panther 
Soldan, the Turkish IVolf, the Corsair Serpent. 

{Dulanrier, \nj. As. ser. V. tom. xvii. ; St. Martin, Arm. ; Mar. San. p. 32 ; 
Froissart, Bk. II. ch. xxii. seqq. ; Langlois, V. en Cilicie, 1861, p. 19.) 

Note 2. — " Maitttes villes et inaint chasteatix." This is a constantly recurring 
phrase, and I have generally translated it as here, believing chasteaux {castelli) to be 
used in the frequent old Italian sense of a walled viWuge or small walled town, or like 
the Eastern Kala\ applied in Khorasan " to everything — town, village, or private 
residence — surrounded by a wall of earth." (Ferrier, p. 292 ; see also /i. Conolly, I. 
p. 211.) Martini, in his Atlas Sinensis, uses " Urbes, oppida, castella," to indicate 
the three classes of Chinese administrative cities. 

Note 3. — '■'^ Enferme dnrement.'^ So INIarino Sanuto objects to Lesser Armeniaas 
a place of debarkation for a crusade "quia terra est infiriiia.''' Langlois, speaking of 
the Cilician plain : "In this region once so fair, now covered with swamps and 
brambles, fever decimates a population which is yearly diminishing, has nothing to 
oppose to the scourge but incurable apathy, and will end by disappearing altogether," 
etc. ( Voyage, p. 65.) Cilician Armenia retains its reputation for sport, and is much 
frequented by our naval officers for that object. Ayas is noted for the extraordinary 
abundance of turtles. 



Note 4. — The phrase twice used in this passage for the Interior is Fra terre, an 
Italianism {Fra terras or, as it stands in the Geog. Latin, '■^ infra terrain Orientis")^ 
which, however, Murray and Pauthier have read as an allusion to the Euphrates, an 
error based apparently on a marginal gloss in the published edition of the Soc. de 
Gecgraphie. It is true that the province of Comagene under the Greek Empire got the 
name of Eufhratesia, or in Arabic Furdtiyah, but that was not in question here. 
The great trade of Ayas was with Tabriz, vid Sivas, Erzingan, and Erzrum, as we see in 
Pegolotti. Elsewhere, too, in Polo we find the phrase yra terre used, where Euphrates 
could possibly have no concern, as in relation to India and Oman. (See Bk. III. chs. 
xxix. and xxxviii. , and notes in each case.) 

With regard to the phrase spicery here and elsewhere, it should be noted that the 
Italian spezerie included a vast deal more than ginger and other things " hot i' the 
mouth." In one of Pegolotti's lists of spezerie we find drugs, dye-stufl's, metals, wax, 
cotton, etc. 

Concerning the Province of Turcomania. 

In Turcomania there are three classes of people. First, 
there are the Turcomans ; these are worshippers of Ma- 
hommet, a rude people with an uncouth language of their 
own.^ They dwell among mountains and downs where 
they find good pasture, for their occupation is cattle- 
keeping. Excellent horses, known as Turquans, are 
reared in their country, and also very valuable mules. 
The other two classes are the Armenians and the 
Greeks, who live mixt with the former in the towns 
and villages, occupying themselves with trade and handi- 
crafts. They weave the finest and handsomest carpets 
in the world, and also a great quantity of fine and rich 
silks of cramoisy and other colours, and plenty of other 
stuffs. Their chief cities are Conia, S avast [where the 
glorious Messer Saint Blaise suffered martyrdom], and 
Casaria, besides many other towns and bishops' sees, 
of which we shall not speak at present, for it would be 
too long a matter. These people are subject to the 

44 MARCO POLO Book I. 

Tartar of the Levant as their Suzerain,^ We will now 
leave this province, and speak of the Greater Armenia. 

Note i. — Ricold of Montecroce, a contemporary of Polo, calls the Turkmans 
homines bestiales. In our day Ainsworth notes of a Turkman village: "The dogs 
were very ferocious ; . . . the people only a little better." (/. K. G. S. X. 292.) The 
ill report of the people of this region did not begin with the Turkmans, for the Emperor 
Constantine Porphyrog. quotes a Greek proverb to the disparagement of the three 
kappas, Cappadocia, Crete, and Cilicia. (In Banduri, I. 6.) 

Note 2. — In Turcomania Marco perhaps embraces a great part of Asia IMinor, 
but he especially means the territory of tlie decaying Seljukian monarchy, usually 
then called by Asiatics Riim, as the Ottoman Emj^ire is now, and the capital of which 
was Iconium, Kun'IYAH, the Conia of the text, and Coyne of Joinville. Ibn Batuta 
calls the whole country Turkey {Al-Tiirkiyah), and the people 7'iirkmdn; exactly 
likewise does Ricold {'lluirchia and Thtircliinianni). Hayton's account of the various 
classes of inhabitants is quite the same in substance as Polo's. [The Turkmans emi- 
grated from Turkestan to Asia Minor before the arrival of the Scljukid Turks. " Their 
villages," says Cuinet, Tnrquie (T Asie, II. p. 767, "are distinguished by the peculiarity 
of the houses being built of sun-baked bricks, whereas it is the general habit in thecountry 
to build them of earth or a kind of plaster, called djcs.^''- — II. C] The migratory and 
pastoral Turkmans still exist in this region, but the Kurds of like habits have taken 
their place to a large extent. The fine carpets and silk fabrics appear to be no longer 
produced here, any more llian the excellent horses of wliich Polo speaks, which must 
have been the remains of the famous old breed of Cappadocia. [It appears, however 
(Vital Cninet's Turquic cfAsie, I. p. 224), that fine carpets are still manufactured at 
Koniah, also a kind of striped cotton cloth, called Alact/a.^tl. C] 

A grant of privileges to the Genoese by Leon II., King of Lesser Armenia, dated 
23rd December, 1288, alludes to the export of horses and mules, etc., from Ayas, and 
specifies the duties upon them. The horses now of repute in Asia as Turkman come 
from the east of the Caspian. And Asia Minor generally, once the mother of so many 
breeds of high repute, is now poorer in horses than any province of the Ottoman empire. 

(Pereg. Qicat. p. 114 ; /. B. II. 255 seqq. ; Ilayton, ch. xiii. ; Liber Juriii in Kelp, 
/aimensis, II. 184; Tchihatcheff, As. Min., 2''^ partie, 631.) 

[The Seljukian Sultanate of Iconium or Riim, was founded at the expense of the 
Byzantines by Suleiman (1074-1081) ; the last three sovereigns of the dynasty con 
temporaneous with Marco Polo are Ghiath ed-din Kaikhosru III. (1267- 1283), Ghiath 
ed-din Mas'ud II. (1283-1294), Ala ed-din Kaikobad III. (1294-1308), when this 
kingdom was destroyed by the Mongols of Persia. Privileges had been granted to 
Venice by Ghiath ed-din Kaikhosru I. (-1-1211), and his sons Izz ed-din Kaikaus 
(1211-1220), and Ala ed-din Kaikobad I. (1220-1237); the diploma of 1220 is un- 
fortunately the only one of the three known to be preserved. (Cf. Heyd, I. p. 302.) 
— H. C] 

Though the authors quoted above seem to make no distinction between Turks and 
Turkmans, that which we still understand does appear to have been made in the I2lh 
century : "That there may be some distinction, at least in name, between those who 
made themselves a king, and thus achieved such glory, and those who still abide in 
their primitive barbarism and adhere to their old way of life, the former are nowadays 
termed Turks, the latter by their old name of Ttitko/?ians." (William of Tyre, i. 7.) 

Casaria is KaisarIya, the ancient Caesareia of Cappadocia, close to the foot of 
the great Mount Argaeus. Savast is the Armenian form (Sevasd) of Sebaste, the 
modern SiVAS. The three cities, Iconium, Caesareia, and Sebaste, were metro- 
politan sees under the Catholicos of Sis. 

[The ruins of Sebaste are situated at about 6 miles to the east of modern Sivas, 


near the village of Gavraz, on the Kizil Irinak. In the illh century, the King of 
Armenia, Senecherim, made his capital of Sebasle. It belonged after to the Seljukid 
Turks, and was conquered in 1397 by Bayezid Ilderim with Tokat, Castambol and 
Sinope. (Cf. Vital Cuiuet.) 

One of the oldest churches in Sivas is St. George {Sourp-Kivork\ occupied by the 
Greeks, but claimed by the Armenians; it is situated near the centre of the town, in 
what is called the " Black Earth," tlie spot where Timur is said to have massacred the 
garrison. A few steps north cf St. George is the Church of St. Blasius, occupied by 
the Roman Catholic Armenians. The tomb of St. Blasius, however, is shown in 
another part of the town, near the citadel mount, and the ruins of a very beautiful 
Seljukian Medresseh. (From a MS. Note by Sir H. Yule. The information had 
been supplied by the American Missionaries to General Sir C. Wilson, and forwarded 
by him to Sir H. Yule) 

It must be remembered that at the time of the Seljuk Turks, there were four 
Medressehs at Sivas, and a university as famous as that of Amassia. Children to the 
number of 1000, each a bearer of a copy of the Koran, were crushed to death 
under the feet of the horses of Timur, and buried in the " Black Earth " ; the garrison 
of 4000 soldiers were buried alive. 

St. Blasius, Bishop of Sebaste, was martj-red in 316 by order of Agricola, 
Governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, during the reign of Liciuius. Ilis feast 
is celebrated by the Latin Church on the 3rd of Februarj', and by the Greek Church 
on the nth of Februarj'. He is the patron of the Republic of Ragusa in Dalmatia, 
and in France of wool-carders. 

At the ^^llage of Hullukluk, near Sivas, was bom in 1676 Mekhitar, founder of 
the well-known Armenian Order, which has convents at Venice, Vienna, and 
Trieste.— H. C] 

Description of the Gre.\ter Hermenia. 

This is a great country. It begins at a city called 
Akzinga, at which they weave the best buckrams in the 
world. It possesses also the best baths from natural 
springs that are anywhere to he found.^ The people of 
the country are Armenians, and are subject to the Tartar. 
There are many towns and villages in the country, but 
the noblest of their cities is Arzinga, which is the See of 
an Archbishop, and then Arziron and Arzizi.- 

The country is indeed a passing great one, and in the 
summer it is frequented by the whole host of the Tartars 
of the Levant, because it then furnishes them with such 
excellent pasture for their cattle. But in winter the cold 

46 MARCO POLO Book I. 

is past all bounds, so in that season they quit this country 
and go to a warmer region, where they find other good 
pastures. [At a castle called Paipurth, that you pass in 
going from Trebizond to Tauris, there is a very good 
silver mine.^] 

And you must know that it is in this country of 
Armenia that the Ark of Noah exists on the top of a 
certain great mountain [on the summit of which snow is 
so constant that no one can ascend ; ^ for the snow never 
melts, and is constantly added to by new falls. Below, 
however, the snow does melt, and runs down, producing 
such rich and abundant herbage that in summer cattle 
are sent to pasture from a long way round about, and it 
never fails them. The melting snow also causes a great 
amount of mud on the mountain]. 

The country is bounded on the south by a kingdom 
called Mosul, the people of which are Jacobite and 
Nestorian Christians, of whom I shall have more to tell 
you presently. On the north it is bounded by the Land 
of the Georgians, of whom also I shall speak. On the 
confines towards Georgiania there is a fountain from 
which oil springs in great abundance, insomuch that a 
hundred shiploads might be taken from it at one time. 
This oil is not good to use with food, but 'tis good to 
burn, and is also used to anoint camels that have the 
mange. People come from vast distances to fetch it, for 
in all the countries round about they have no other oil.^ 

Now, having done with Great Armenia, we will tell 
you of Georgiania. 

No IE I. — [ErzIiNJAN, Erzinga, or Eriza, in ihe vilayet of Eizriim, was rebuilt in 
1784, after having been destroyed by an earthquake. " Arzendjan," says Ibn Batuta, 
II. p. 294, "is in possession of well-established markets ; there are manufactured fine 
stuffs, which are called after its name." It was at Erzinjan that was fought in 1244 
the great battle, which placed the Seljuk Turks under the dependency of the Mongol 
Khans. — II. C] I do not find mention of its hot springs by modern travellers, Ijut 
Lazari says Armenians assured him of their existence. There are plenty of others 


in Polo's route through the country, as at Ilija, close to Erzrum, and at Hassan 

The Buckrams of Arzinga are mentioned both by Pegolotti {firca 1340) and by 
Giov. d'Uzzano (1442). But what were they ? 

l^uckram in the modern sense is a coarse open texture of cotton or hemp, loaded 
with gum, and used to stiffen certain articles of dress. But this was certainly not the 
mediaeval sense. Nor is it easy to bring the mediaeval uses of the term under a single 
explanation. Indeed Mr Marsh suggests that probably two different words have 
coalesced. Fr. -Michel says that Boxiqueran was at first applied to a light cotton stuff 
of the nature of muslin, and afterwards to linen, but I do not see that he makes out this 
history of theapplication. Douet d'Arcq, inhis Comptes de V Argenterie, etc., explains the 
word simply in the modem sense, but there seems nothing in his text to bear this out. 

A quotation in Raynouard's Romance Dictionary has " Vesiirs de polpra e a&bisso 
que est bocaran," where Raynouard renders bisso as Un ; a quotation in Ducange also 
makes Buckram the equivalent of Bissus ; and Michel quotes from an inventory of 
^S^Sj "tiftam culcitrani pindam (qu. punctam ?) albam factam de bisso aliter 

Mr. Marsh again produces quotations, in which the word is used as a proverbial 
example of ivhiteness, and inchnes to think that it was a bleached cloth with a 
lustrous surface. 

It certainly was not necessarily linen. Giovanni Villani, in a passage which is 
curious in more ways than one, tells how the citizens of Florence established races for 
their troops, and, among other prizes, was one which consisted of a Bucherame di 
bambagine (of cotton). Polo, near the end of the Book (Bk. III. ch. xxxiv.), 
peaking of Abyssinia, says, according to Pauthier's text : ^' Et si y fait on moult 
beaux bouquerans et autres draps de cot on." The G. T. is, indeed, more ambiguous : 
'* // hi sefont viaint biaus dras banbacin e bocaran " (cotton a«^/ buckram). When, 
however, he uses the same expression with reference to the delicate stuffs woven on 
the coast of Telingana, there can be no doubt that a cotton texture is meant, and 
apparently a fine muslin. (See Bk. III. ch. xviii.) Buckram is generally named 
as an article of price, chier bouquerant, rice hoquerans, etc., but not always, for 
Polo in one passage (Bk. II. ch. xlv.) seems to speak of it as the clothing of the 
poor people of Eastern Tibet. 

Piano Carpini says the tunics of the Tartars were either of buckram {bukeranum), 
oi purpura (a texture, perhaps velvet), or of baudekin, a cloth of gold (pp. 614-615). 
WTien the envoys of the Old Man of the Mountian tried to bully St. Lewis, one 
had a case of daggers to be offered in defiance, another a bouqueran for a winding 
sheet. {Joinville,^. 136.) 

In accounts of materials for the use of Anne Boleyn in the time of her prosperity, 
bokeram frequently appears for "lyning and taynting " (?) gowns, lining sleeves, 
cloaks, a bed, etc. , but it can scarcely have been for mere stiffening, as the colour of 
the buckram is generally specified as the same as that of the dress. 

A number of passages seem to point to a quilted material. Boccaccio (Day viii. 
Novel 10) speaks of a quilt (coltre) of the whitest buckram of Cyprus, and Uzzano 
enters buckram quilts {coltre di Bucherame) in a list of Liiuy'uoli, or linen-draperies. 
Both his handbook and P^olotti's state repeatedly that buckrams were sold by the 
piece or the half-score pieces — never by measure. In one of Michel's quotations 
(from Baudouin de Sebourc) we have : 

*' Gaufer li fist premiers armer d'un auqueton 
Qui fu de bougherant tt.plaine de ban colon " 

Mr. Hewitt would appear to take the view that Buckram meant a quilted material ; 
for, quoting from a roll of purchases made for the Court of Edward I., an entry for 
Ten Buckrams to make sleeves of, he remarks, "The sleeves appear to have been of 
potirpointerie" i.e. quilling. {Ancient Armour, I, 240.) 



Book I. 

This signification would embrace a large number of passages in which the term is 
used, though certainly not all. It would account for the mode or sale by the piece, 
and frequent use of the expression a buckram, for its habitual application to coltre or 
counterpanes, its use in the aiiquetoti of Kaudouin, and in the jackets of Falstaffs 
" men in buckram," as well as its employment in the frocks of the Mongols and 
Tibetans. The winter chap/can, or long tunic, of Upper India, a form of dress which, 
I believe, correctly represents that of the Mongol hosts, and is probably derived from 
th:m, is almost universally of quilted cotton.* This signification would also facilitate 
the transfer of meaning to the substance now called buckram, for that is used as a 
kind of quilting. 

The derivation of the word is very uncertain. Reiske says it is Arabic, Abu- 
Kainiin, " Pannus cum intextis figuris " ; Wedgwood, attaching the modern meaning, 
that it is from It., bucherare, to pierce full of holes, which might be \i bticherare could 
be used in the sense of pinitare, or the French piqiier ; Marsh connects it with the 
bucking of linen ; and D'Avezac thinks it was a stuff that took its name from Bokhara. 
If the name be local, as so many names of stuffs are, the French form rather suggests 
Bulgaria. [Heyd, II. 703, says that Buckram (Bucherame) was principally manu- 
factured at Erzinjan (Armenia), Mush, and Mardin (Kurdistan), Ispahan (Persia), 
and in India, etc. It was shipped to the west at Constantinople, Satalia, Acre, and 
Famagusta ; the name is derived from Bokhara. — H. C] 

{Delia Decima, III. 18, 149, 65, 74, 212, etc. ; IV. 4, 5, 6, 212 ; Reiske's Notes 
io Const. Porpkyrogen. II.; D^Avezac,^. 524; Vocab. Univ. Ital. ; Franc. -Michel, 
Recherches, etc. II. 29 seqq. ; Philobiblon Soc. Miscell. VI. ; MarsKs Wedgwood s 
Etym, Diet, suli voce.) 

Caillc ol' JJailjiiit. 

Note 2. — Arziron is Ekzrum, which, even in Tournefort's time, the Franks 
called Erzeron (III. 126) ; [it was named Garine, then Theodosiopolis, in honour of 

Polo's contempomry, the IiitlLin Poet Amir Kliu^^iu, puts in the mouth of his king Kaikohatl a 
mptuous gibe at the Mongols with their cotton-quilted dresses. {Elliot, III. p. 526.) 


Chap. III. BAIBURT 49 

Theodosius the Great ; the present name was given by the Seljukid Turks, and it 
means " Roman Country " ; it was taken by Chinghiz Khan and Timur, but neither 
kept it long. Odorico (^Cathay, I. p. 46), speaking of this city, says it "is mighty 
cold." (See also on the low temperature of the place, Toiunefort, Voyage dtt Levattt, 
II. pp. 258-259.) Arzizi, AkjisH, in the v-ilayet of Van, was destroyed in the middle 
of the 19th century; it was situated on the road from Van to Erzrum. Arjish Kala 
was one of the ancient capitals of the Kingdom of Armenia ; it was conquered by 
Toghrul I., who made it his residence. (Cf. Vital Cuinet, Turquie d'Aste, II. p. 710). 
— H. C] 

Arjish is the ancient Arsissa, which gave the Lake Van one of its names. It is 
now little more than a decayed castle, with a village inside. 

Notices of Kuniyah, Kaisariya, Sivas, Arzan-ar-Rumi, Arzangan, and Aijish, will 
be found in Polo's contemporary Abulfeda. (See Biisching, IV. 303-311.) 

Note 3. — Paipurth, or Baiburt, on the high road between Trebizond and Erzrum, 
was, according to Neumann, an Armenian fortress in the first century, and, according 
to Ritter, the castle Baiberdon was fortified by Justinian. It stands on a peninsular 
hill, encircled by the windings of the R. Charok. [According to Ramusio's version 
Baiburt was the third relay from Trebizund to Tauris, and travellers on their way from 
one of these cities to the other passed under this stronghold. — H. C] The Russians, in 
retiring from it in 1829, blew up the greater part of the defences The nearest silver 
mines of which we find modern notice, are those of Gutnish- Khdnah (" Silverhouse "), 
about 35 miles N.W. of Baiburt ; they are more correctly mines of lead rich in silver, 
and were once largely worked. But the Masdlak-al-absdr (14th century), besides 
these, speaks of two others in the same province, one of which was near Bajert. This 
Quatremere reasonably would read Babert or Baiburt. {Not. et Extrcdts, XIII. L 
337 ; Texier, Arminie, I. 59. ) 

Note 4. — ^Josephus alludes to the belief that Noah's Ark still existed, and that 
pieces of the pitch were used as amulets. {Ant. I. 3. 6. ) 

Ararat (16,953 feet) was ascended, first by Prof. Parrot, September 1829 ; by Spasski 
Aotonomofi", August 1834 ; by Behrens, 1835 ; by Abich, 1845 ; by Seymour in 1848 ; 
by Khodzko, Khanikoff, and others, for trigonometrical and other scientific purposes, 
in August 1850. It is characteristic of the account from which I take these notes 
{Longrimoff, in Bull. Sac. Giog. Paris, sen IV. tom. i. p. 54), that whilst the writer's 
countr}-men, Spasski and Behrens, were "moved by a noble curiosity," the English- 
man is only admitted to have " gratified a tourist's whim " ! 

Note 5. — Though Mr. Khanikoff points out that springs of naphtha are abundant 
in the vicinity of Tiflis, the mention of ship-loads (in Ramusio indeed altered, but 
probably by the Editor, to camel-loads), and the vast quantities spoken of, point to 
the naphtha-wells of the Baku Peninsula on the Caspian. Ricold speaks of their 
supplying the whole country as far as Baghdad, and Barbaro alludes to the practice of 
anointing camels with the oil. The quantity collected firom the springs about Baku 
was in 1819 estimated at 241,000 poods (nearly 4000 tons), the greater part of which 
went to Persia. {Pereg. Quat. p. 122; Ramusio, II. 109; El. de Laprim. 276; 
V. du Chev. Gamba, I. 298.) 

[The phenomenal rise in the production of the Baku oil-fields between 1890- 
1900, may be seen at a glance from the Official Statistics where the total output 
for 1900 is given as 601,000,000 poods, about 9,500,000 tons. (Cf. Petroleum, No. 
42, vol. ii. p. 13.)] 

VOL. I. 

50 MARCO rOLO Book I. 

Of Georgiania and the Kings thereof. 

In Georgiania there is a King called David Melic, which 
is as much as to say '• David King " ; he is subject to the 
Tartar.^ In old times all the kina;s were born with the 
figure of an eagle upon the right shoulder. The people 
are very handsome, capital archers, and most valiant 
soldiers. They are Christians of the Greek Rite, and 
have a fashion of wearing their hair cropped, like 

This is the country beyond which Alexander could 
not pass when he wished to penetrate to the region of the 
Ponent, because that the defile was so narrow and 
perilous, the sea lying on the one hand, and on the other 
lofty mountains impassable to horsemen. The strait 
extends like this for four leagues, and a handful of 
people might hold it against all the world. Alexander 
caused a very strong tower to be built there, to prevent 
the people beyond from passing to attack him, and this 
got the name of the Iron Gate. This is the place that 
the Book of Alexander speaks of, when it tells us how he 
shut up the Tartars between two mountains ; not that 
they were really Tartars, however, for there were no 
Tartars in those days, but they consisted of a race of 
people called Comanians and many besides.^ 

[In this province all the forests are of box-wood.*] 
There are numerous towns and villages, and silk is pro- 
duced in great abundance. They also weave cloths of 
gold, and all kinds of very fine silk stuffs. The country 
produces the best goshawks in the world [which are 
called Avi^iY It has indeed no lack of anything, and 

VOL. I. 

I) 2 

52 MARCO POLO Book I. 

the people live by trade and handicrafts. 'Tis a very 
mountainous region, and full of strait defiles and of 
fortresses, insomuch that the Tartars have never been 
able to subdue it out and out. 

There is in this country a certain Convent of Nuns 
called St. Leonard's, about which I have to tell you a 
very wonderful circumstance. Near the church in 
question there is a great lake at the foot of a mountain, 
and in this lake are found no fish, areat or small, 
throughout the year till Lent come. On the first day of 
Lent they find in it the finest fish in the world, and great 
store too thereof; and these continue to be found till 
Easter Eve. After that they are found no more till 
Lent come round again ; and so 'tis every year. 'Tis 
really a passing great miracle ! ^ 

That sea whereof I spoke as coming so near the 
mountains is called the Sea of Ghel or Ghelan, and 
extends about 700 miles.^ It is twelve days' journey 
distant from any other sea, and into it flows the great 
River Euphrates and many others, whilst it is surrounded 
by mountains. Of late the merchants of Genoa have 
begun to navigate this sea, carrying ships across and 
launching them thereon. It is from the country on this 
sea also that the silk called GhelU is brought.^ [The 
said sea produces quantities of fish, especially sturgeon, 
at the river-mouths salmon, and other big kinds of fish.]^ 

Note i. — Ramusio has : " One part of the said province is subject to the Tartar, 
and the other part, owing to its fortresses, remains subject to the King David." We 
give an illustration of one of these mediosval Georgian fortresses, from a curious collec- 
tion of MS. notices and drawings of Georgian subjects in the Municipal Library at 
Palermo, executed by a certain P. Cristoforo di Castelli of that city, who was a 
Theatine missionary in Georgia, in the first half of the 17th century. 

The G. T. says the King was always called David. The Georgian Kings of the 
family of Bagratidae claimed descent from King David through a prince Shampath, 
said to have been sent north by Nebuchadnezzar ; a descent which was usually asserted 
in their public documents. Timur in his Institutes mentions a suit of armour given 
him by the King of Georgia as forged by the hand of the Psalmist King. David is a 


ver}' frequent name in their royal lists. [The dynasty of the Bagratidae, which was 
founded in 786 by Ashod, and lasted until the annexation of Georgia by Russia on 
the i8th January, iSoi, had nine reigning princes named Da\nd. During the second 
half of the 12th century the princes were : Da with (David) IV. Xarin (1247- 1259), 
Dawith V. (1243-1272), Dimitri II. Thawdadebuli (1272-1289), Wakhtang II. (1289- 
1292), Dawith VI. (1292-1308). — H. C] There were two princes of that name, David, 
who shared Georgia between them under the decision of the Great Kaan in 1246, and 
one of them, who survived to 1269, is probably meant here. The name of David was 
borne by the last titular King of Georgia, who ceded his rights to Russia in 1801. It 
is probable, however, as Marsden has suggested, that the statement about the King 
always being called David arose in part out of some confusion with the title of Dadian, 
which, according to Chardin (and also to P. di Castelli), was always assumed by the 
Princes of Mingrelia, or Colchis as the latter calls it. Chardin refers this title to the 
Persian Dad, "equitj'." To a portrait of "Alexander, King of Iberia," or Georgia 
Proper, Castelli attaches the following inscription, giving apparently his official style : 
'' With the sceptre of David, Crowned by Heaven, First King of the Orient and of the 
World, King of Israel," adding, "They say that he has on his shoulder a small mark 
of a cross, ^ Factus est principatus super humerum ejus,' and they add that he has all 
his ribs in one piece, and not divided." In another place he notes that when attending 
the King in illness his curiosity moved him strongly to ask if these things were true, 
but he thought better of it! {Khanikoff ; Jour. As. IX. 370, XI. 291, etc. ; Tim. 
Instit. p. 143; Car/<?/// MSS.) 

[A descendant of these Princes was in St. Petersburg about 1870. He wore 
the Russian uniform, and bore the title of Prince Bagration — Mukransky.] 

Note 2. — This fashion of tonsure is mentioned by Barbaro and Chardin. The 
latter speaks strongly of the beauty of both sexes, as does Delia Valle, and most 
modem travellers concur. 

Note 3. — This refers to the Pass of Derbend, apparently the Sarmatic Gates of 
Ptolemy, and Clattstra Casptorum of Tacitus, known to the Arab geographers as the 
" Gate of Gates" {Bdb-ul-abwdb), but which is still called in Turkish Demtr-Kdpi, or 
the Iron Gate, and to the ancient Wall that runs from the Castle of Derbend along 
the ridges of Caucasus, called in the East Sadd-i-Iskandar, the Rampart of 
Alexander. Bayer thinks the wall was probably built originally by one of the 
Antiochi, and renewed by the Sassanian Kobad or his son Naoshirwan. It is 
ascribed to the latter by Abulfeda ; and according to Klaproth's extracts from the 
Derbetid Ndmah, Naoshirwan completed the fortress of Derbend in A.D. 542, whilst 
he and his father together had erected 360 towers upon the Caucasian Wall which 
extended to the Gate of the Alans {i.e. the Pass of Diariel). Mas'udi says that the 
wall extended for 40 parasangs over the steepest summits and deepest gorges. The 
Russians must have gained some knowledge as to the actual existence and extent of 
the remains of this great work, but I have not been able to meet with any modem in- 
formation of a very precise kind. According to a quotation from Reiiie^s Kaukasus 
(I. 120, a work which I have not been able to consult), the remains of defences can 
be traced for many miles, and are in some places as much as 120 feet high. M. 
Moynet indeed, in the Tour du Monde (I. 122), states that he traced the wall to a 
distance of 27 versts (18 miles) from Derbend, but unfortunately, instead of describ- 
ing remains of such high interest from his own observation, he cites a description 
written by Alex. Dumas, which he says is quite accurate. 

[" To the west of Narin-Kaleh, a fortress which from the top of a promontory rises 
above the city, the wall, strengthened from distance to distance by lai^e towers, 
follows the ridge of the mountains, descends into the ravines, and ascends the 
slopes to take root on some remote peak. If the natives were to be believed, this 
wall, which, however, no longer has any strategetical importance, had formerly its 
towers bristling upon the Caucasus chain from one sea to another ; at least, this 

54- MARCO POLO Book I. 

rampart did protect all the plains at the foot of the eastern Caucasus, since vestiges 
were found up to 30 kilometres from Derbend." {Recltis, Asie rtisse, p. 160.) It 
has belonged to Russia since 1813. The first European traveller who mentions it is 
Benjamin of Tudela. 

Bretschneider (II. p. 117) observes: "Yule complains that he was not able to 
find any modern information regarding the famous Caucasian Wall which begins at 
Derbend. I may therefore observe that interesting details on the subject are found 
in Legkobytov's Survey of the Russian Dominions beyond the Caucasus (in Russian), 
1836, vol. iv. pp. 1 58- 1 61, and in Dubois de Montpereux's Voyage autour du 
Caucase, 1840, vol. iv. pp. 291-298, from which I shall give here an abstract." 

(He then proceeds to give an abstract, of which the following is a part :) 

" The famous Dagh bary (mountain wall) now begins at the village of DJelgan, 
4 versts south-west of Derbend, but we know that as late as the beginning of the 
last century it could be traced down to the southern gate of the city. This ancient 
wall then stretches westward to the high mountains of Tabasseran (it seems the 
Tabarestan of Mas'iidi) . . . Dubois de Montpereux enumerates the following sites 
of remains of the wall : — In the famous defile of Dariel, north-east of Kazbek. In 
the valley of the Assai river, near Wapila, about 35 versts north-east of Dariel. In 
the valley of the Kizil river, about 15 versts north-west of Kazbek. Farther 
west, in the valley of the Fiag or Pog river, between Lacz and Khilak. From this 
place farther west about 25 versts, in the valley of the Arredon river, in the 
district of Valaghir. Finally, the westernmost section of the Caucasian Wall has 
been preserved, which was evidently intended to shut up the maritime defile of 
Gagry, on the Black Sea." — H. C] 

There is another wall claiming the title of Sadd-i-Iskandar zX. the S.E. angle of 
the Caspian. This has been particularly spoken of by Vambery, who followed its 
traces from S.W. to N.E. for upwards of 40 miles. (See his Travels in C. Asia, 54 
seqq., SiXiA Julius Brattn in the Ausland, No. 22, of 1S69.) 

Yule (II. pp. 537-538) says, "To the same friendly correspondent [Professor Bruun] 
I owe the following additional particulars on this interesting subject, extracted from 
Eichwald, Peri plus des Kasp. M. I. 128. 

" 'At the point on the mountain, at the extremity of the fortress (of Derbend), 
where the double wall terminates, there begins a single wall constructed in the same 
style, only this no longer runs in a straight line, but accommodates itself to the contour 
of the hill, turning now to the north and now to the south. At first it is quite 
destroyed, and showed the most scanty vestiges, a few small htaps of stones or traces 
of towers, but all extending in a general bearing from east to west. ... It is not 
till you get 4 versts from Derbend, in traversing the mountains, that you come upon 
a continuous wall. Thenceforward you can follow it over the successive ridges . . . 
and through several villages chiefly occupied by the Tartar hill-people. The wall 
. . . makes many windings, and every | verst it exhibits substantial towers like 
those of the city-wall, crested with loop-holes. Some of these are still in tolerably 
good condition ; others have fallen, and with the wall itself have left but slight 

" Eichwald altogether followed it up about 18 versts (12 miles) not venturing to pro- 
ceed further. In later days this cannot have been difficult, but my kir.d correspondent 
had not been able to lay his hand on information. 

"A letter from Mr. Eugene Schuyler communicates some notes regarding inscrip- 
tions that have been found at and near Derbend, embracing Cufic of a.d. 465, Pehlvi, 
and even Cuneiform. Alluding to the fact that the other Iron-gate, south of Shahr- 
sabz, was called also Kalugah, or Kohlugah, he adds : ' I don't know what that 
means, nor do I know if the Russian Kaluga, south-west of Moscow, has anything 
to do with it, but I am told there is a Russian popular song, of which two lines run : 

' "Ah Derbend, Derbend Kaluga, 
Derbend my little Treasure ! " ' 

View ofDerbend. 

" J^lc.vanire itc pott p;tscr quanb il bosl alcr au ?ontnt . . . . rar be Tan ka 
est h\ mcr, et be I'jintre est gran montagne xjuc ne se poent cabauther. ^a bi« 
est inout rstroit entrc la tnontagne rt I.i mer." 

56 MARCO POLO Book 1. 

" I may observe that I have seen it lately pointed out that Koiuga is a Mongol 
word signifying a barrier ; and I see that Timkowski (I. 288) gives the same 
explanation of Kalgan, the name applied by Mongols and Russians to the gate in 
the Great Wall, called Chang-kia-Kau by the Chinese, leading to Kiakhta." 

The story alluded to by Polo is found in the mediasval romances of Alexander, and 
in the Pseudo-Callisthenes on which they are founded. The hero chases a number of 
impure cannibal nations within a mountain barrier, and prays that they may be shut 
up therein. The mountains draw together within a few cubits, and Alexander then 
builds up the gorge and closes it with gates of brass or iron. There were in all 
twenty-two nations with their kings, and the names of the nations were Goth, 
Magoth, Anugi, Eges, Exenach, etc. Godfrey of Viterbo speaks of them in his rhym- 
ing verses : — 

" Finibus Indorum species fuit una virorum ; 
Goth erat atque Magoth dictum cognomen eorum 

Narrat Esias, Isidorus et Apocalypsis, 

Tangit et in titulis Magna Sibylla suis. 

Patribus ipsorum tumulus fuit venter eorum," etc. 

Among the questions that the Jews are said to have put, in order to test 
Mahommed's prophetic character, was one series: "Who are Gog and Magog? 
Where do they dwell ? What sort of rampart did Zu'lkarnain build between them 
and men?" And in the Koran we find (ch. xviii. The Cavern): "They will 
question thee, O Mahommed, regarding Zu'lkarnain. Reply: I will tell you his 
history"— and then follows the story of the erection of the Rampart of Ydjuj and 
Majuj. In ch. xxi. again there is an allusion to their expected issue at the latter 
day. This last expectation was one of very old date. Thus the Cosmography of 
Aethicus, a work long believed (though erroneously) to have been abridged by St. 
Jerome, and therefore to be as old at least as the 4th century, says that the Tu7-ks of 
the race of Gog and Magog, a polluted nation, eating human flesh and feeding on all 
abominations, never washing, and never using wine, salt, nor wheat, shall come 
forth in the Day of Antichrist from where they lie shut up behind the Caspian Gates, 
and make horrid devastation. No wonder that the irruption of the Tartars into 
Europe, heard of at first with almost as much astonishment as such an event would 
produce now, was connected with this prophetic legend ! * The Emperor Frederic 
11., writing to Henry III. of England, says of the Tartars : "'Tis said tliey are de- 
scended from the Ten Tribes who abandoned the Law of Moses, and worshipped the 
Golden Calf. They are the people whom Alexander Magnus shut up in the Caspian 

[See the chapter Gog et Magog dans le rotnan en aJexandrins, in Paul Meyer's 
Alexandre le Gratid dans la Littdrature fran^aise, Paris, 1886, II. pp. 386-389. — H. C.]: 

" Gos et Margos i vienent de la tiere des Turs 
Et. cccc. m. hommes amenerent u plus, 
II en jurent la mer dont sire est Neptunus 
Et le porte d'infier que garde Cerberus 
Que I'orguel d'Alixandre torneront a reiis 
Por 50U les enclot puis es estres desus. 
Dusc' al tans Antecrist n'en istera mais nus." 

According to some chroniclers, the Emperor Heraclius had already let loose the 
Shut-up Nations to aid him against the Persians, but it brought him no good, for he 
was beaten in spite of their aid, and died of grief. 

* See Letter of Frederic to the Roman Senate, of 20th June, 1241, in Briholks. Mahommedan 
writers, contemporary with the Mongol invasions, regarded these as a manifest sign of the approach- 
ing end of the world. (See P^lliot's Historians, II. p. 265.) 


The theory that the Tartars were G<^ and Magc^ led to the Rampart of 
Alexander being confounded with the Wall of China (see infra, Bk. I. ch. lix.), 
or being relegated to the extreme N.E. of Asia, as we find it in the Carta Catalana. 

These legends are referred to by Rabbi Benjamin, Hayton, Rubruquis, Ricold, 
Matthew Paris, and many more. Josephus indeed speaks of the Pass which 
Alexander fortified with gates of steel. But his saying that the King of Hyrcania 
was Lord of this Pass points to the Hyrcanian Gates of Northern Persia, or perhaps 
to the Wall of Gomushtapah, described by Vambery. 

Ricold of Montecroce allows two arguments to connect the Tartars with the Jews 
who were shut up by Alexander ; one that the Tartars hated the very name of 
Alexander, and could not bear to hear it ; the other, that their manner of writing 
was very like the Chaldean, meaning apparently the Syriac (««//, p. 29). But he 
points out that they had no resemblance to Jews, and no knowledge of the law. 

Edrisi relates how the Khalif Wathek sent one Salem the Dragoman to explore 
the Rampart of Gog and Magog. His route lay by Tiflis, the Alan country, and 
that of the Bashkirds, to the far north or north-east, and back by Samarkand. But 
the report of what he saw is pure fable. 

In 1857, Dr. Bellew seems to have found the ancient belief in the legend still held 
by Afghan gentlemen at Kandahar. 

At Gelath in Imeretia there still exists one valve of a large iron gate, traditionally 
said to be the relic of a pair brought as a trophy from Defbend by David, King of 
Georgia, called the Restorer (1089-1130). M. Brosset, however, has shown it to be 
the gate of Ganja, carried off in 1139. 

{Bayer in Comment. Petropol. I. 401 seqq. ; Pseudo-Callisth. by MulUr, p. 138; 
Gott. Viterb. in Pistorii Nidani Script. Germ. II. 228; Alexandriade, pp. 310311; 
Pereg. IV. p. 118; Acad, des Insc. Divers Savans, II. 483 ; Edrisi, II. 416-420, etc.) 

Note 4. — The box- wood of the Abkhasian forests was so abundant, and formed so 
important an article of Genoese trade, as to give the name of C/iao de Bux (Cavo di 
Bussi) to the bay of Bambor, N.W. of Sukum Kala', where the traffic was carried on. 
(See Elie de Laprim. 243.) Abulfeda also speaks of the Forest of Box {Shard! ul-buks) 
on the shores of the Black Sea, from which box-wood was exported to all parts of 
the world; buthisindicationof the exact locality is confused. {Reinaud' s Abiilf. I. 289.) 

At the present time " Boxwood abounds on the southern coast of the Caspian, and 
large quantities are exported from near Resht to England and Russia. It is sent up 
the Volga to Tsaritzin, from thence by rail to the Don, and down that river to the 
Black Sea, from whence it is shipped to England." {MS. Note, H. Y.) 

[Cf. V. Helm's Cultivated Plants, edited by J. S. Stallybrass, Lond., 1891, The 
Box Tree, pp. 176-179. — H. C] 

Note 5. ^Jerome Cardan notices that " the best and biggest goshawks come from 
Armenia," a term often including Georgia and Caucasus. The name of the bird is 
perhaps the same as 'Afii, " Falco montanus." (See Casiri, I. 320.) Major St. John 
tells me that the Terldn, or goshawk, much used in Persia, is still generally brought 
from Caucasus. {Cardan, de Per. Varietate, VII. 35.) 

Note 6.— A letter of Warren Hastings, written shortly before his death, and after 
reading Marsden's Marco Polo, tells how a fish-breeder of Banbury warned him 
against putting pike into his fish-pond, sapng, " If you should leave them where they 
are till Shroz'e Tuesday they will be sure to spawn, and then you will never get any 
other fish to breed in it." {Romance of Travel, I. 255.) Edward Webbe in his 
Travels (1590, reprinted 1868) tells us that in the " Land of Siria there is a River 
having great store of fish like unto Salmon-trouts, but no Jew can catch them, though 
either Christian and Turk shall catch them in abundance with great ease." The cir- 
cumstance of fish being got only for a limited time in spring is noticed with reference 
to Lake Van both by Tavernier and Mr. Brant. 



But the exact legend here reported is related (as M. Pauthier has already noticed) 
by Wilibrand of Oldenburg of a stream under the Castle of Adamodana, belonging to 
the Hospitallers, near Naversa (the ancient Anazarbus), in Cilicia under Taurus. 
And Khanikoff was told the same story of a lake in the district of Akhaltzike in 
Western Georgia, in regard to which he explains the substance of the phenomenon as 
a result of the rise of the lake's level by the melting of the snows, which often coin- 
cides with Lent. I may add that Moorcroft was told respecting a sacred pond near 
Sir-i-Chashma, on the road from Kabul to Bamian, that the fish in the pond were not 
allowed to be touched, but that they were accustomed to desert it for the rivulet that 
ran through the valley regularly every year on the day of the vernal equinox, and it 
was then lawful to catch them. 

Like circumstances would produce the same effect in a variety of lakes, and I 
have not been able to identify the convent of St. Leonard's. Indeed Leonard {Sant 
Lienard, G. T.) seems no likely name for an Armenian Saint ;' and the patroness of 
the convent (as she is of many others in that country) was perhaps Saint Nina, an 
eminent personage in the Armenian Church, whose tomb is still a place of pilgrimage ; 
or possibly St. Helena, for I see that the Russian maps show a place called Elenovka 
on the shores of Lake Sevan, N.E. of Erivan. Ramusio's text, moreover, says that 
the lake y^2is four days in compass, and this description will apply, I believe, to none 
but the lake just named. This is, according to Monteith, 47 miles in length and 21 
miles in breadth, and as 'far as I can make out he travelled round it in three very long 
marches. Convents and churches on its shores are numerous, and a very ancient one 
occupies an island on the lake. The Jake is noted for its fish, especially magnificent 

{Tavern. Bk. IIL ch. iii. ; /. R. G. S. X. 897 ; Pereg. Quat. p. 179 ; Khanikoff, 
15 ; Moorcroft, II. 382 ; J. R. G. S. III. 40 seqq.) 

Ramusio has: "In this province there is a fine city called Tiklis, and round 
about it are many castles and walled villages. It is inhabited by Christians, 
Armenians, Georgians, and some Saracens and Jews, but not many." 

Note 7. — The name assigned by Marco to the Caspian, " Mer de Gheluchelan" 
or " Ghelachelan," has puzzled commentators. I have no doubt that the interpreta- 
tion adopted above is the correct one. I suppose that Marco said that the sea was 
called " La Mer de Ghel ou (de) Ghelan," a name taken from the districts of the 
ancient Gelae on its south-western shores, called indifferently Gil or Gildn, just as 
many other regions of Asia have like duplicate titles (singular and plural), arising, I 
suppose, from the change o^ ^ gentile into a /i?irt/name. Such are Lar, Laran, Khutl, 
Khutlan, etc., a class to which Badakhshan, Wakhan, Shaghnan, Mungan, Chag- 
hanian, possibly Bamian, and many others have formerly belonged, as the adjectives 
in some cases surviving, Badakhshi, Shaghni, Wdkhi, etc., show.* The change 
exemplified in the induration oi \hQSt gentile plurals into local singulars is everywhere 
traced in the passage from earlier to later geography. The old Indian geographical 
lists, such as are preserved in the Puranas, and in Pliny's extracts from Megasthenes, 
are. in the main, lists oi peoples, not of provinces, and even where the real name seems 
to be local a gentile form is often given. So also Tochari and Sogdi are replaced by 
Tokhdrisldn and Sttghd ; the Veneti and Taurini by Venice and Turin; the Remi 
and*he Parisii, by Rheims and Paris ; East-Saxons and South-Saxons by Essex and 
Sussex ; not to mention the countless -ings that, mark the tribal settlement of the 
Saxons in Britain. 

Abulfeda, speaking of this territory, uses exactly Polo's phrase, saying that the 
districts in question are properly called Kil-o-Kildn, but by the Axdihs Jil-o-Jildn. 
Teixeira gives the Persian name of the sea as Darya Ghildni. (See Abulf. in 
Bilschiftg, V. 329.) 

* When the first edition was published, I was not aware of remarks to like effect regarding names 
of this character hy Sir H. Rawlinson in the/. R. As. Soc. vol. xi. pp. 64 and 103. 


[The province of Gil (Gflan), which is situated between the mountains and the 
Caspian Sea, and between the provinces of Azerbaijan and Mazanderan (H. C.)]. gave 
name to the silk for which it was and is still famous, mentioned as Ghelle (Gili) at the 
end of this chapter. This &/a 6^/4^//a is mentioned also by Pegolotti (pp. 212,238,301), 
and by Uzzano, with an odd transposition, as Seta Legp, along with Seta Masaiidroni, 
i.e. from the adjoining province of Mazanderan (p. 192). May not the Spanish Geliz, 
"a silk-dealer," which seems to have been a puzzle to etj-mologists, be connected with 
this? {See Dozy and Engelmann, 2nd ed. p. 275.) [Prof. F. de Filippi {Viaggo in 
Persia nel 1862, . . . Milan, 1865, 8vo) speaks of the silk industry of Ghflan (pp. 
295-296) as the principal product of the entire province. — H. C] 

The dimensions assigned to the Caspian in the text would be very correct if length 
were meant, but the Gec^. Text with the same figure specifies circuit {zire). Ramusio 
again has "a circuit of 2800 miles." Possibly the original reading was 2700; but 
this would be in excess. 

Note 8. — The Caspian is termed by Vincent of Beau\-ais Mare Seruanicum, the 
Sea of Shirwan, another of its numerous Oriental names, rendered by Marino Sanuto 
as Mare Salvanicum. (III. xi. ch. ix.) But it was generally known to the Franks in 
the Middle Ages as the Sea of Bacu. Thus Bemi :— 

" Fuor del deserto la diritta strada 

Lungo il Mar di Bacu miglior pareva." 

(firl. Innatn. xvii. 60.) 

And in the Sfera of Lionardo Dati («Vra 1390) : — 

" Da Tramontana di quest' Asia Grande 
Tartari son sotto la fredda Zona, 
Gente bestial di bestie e vivande, 
Fin dove POnda di Baccii risuona," etc. (p. 10.) 

This name is introduced in Ramusio, but probably by interpolation, as well as the 
correction of the statement regarding Euphrates, which is perhaps a branch of the 
notion alluded to in Prologue, ch. ii. note 5. In a later chapter Marco calls it the 
Sea of Sarai, a title also given in the Carta Catalana. [Odorico calls it Sea ol Bacuc 
{Cathay) and Sea of Bascon (Cordier). The latter name is a corruption of Abeskun, 
a small town and island in the S. E. corner of the Caspian Sea, not far from Ashurada. 
— H. C] 

We have little information as to the Genoese navigation of the Caspian, but the 
great number of names exhibited along its shores in the map just named (1375) shows 
how familiar such navigation had become by that date. See also Cathay, p. 50, where 
an account is given of a remarkable enterprise by Genoese buccaneers on the Caspian 
about that time. Mas'iidi relates an earlier history of how about the beginning of the 
9th century a fleet of 500 Russian vessels came out of the Volga, and ravaged all the 
populous southern and western shores of the Caspian. The unhappy population was 
struck with astonishment and horror at this unlooked-for visitation from a sea that had 
hitherto been only frequented by peaceful traders or fishermen. (II. 18-24.) 

Note 9. — [The enormous quantity of fish found in the Caspian Sea is ascribed 
to the mass of vegetable food to be found in the shallower waters of the North and the 
mouth of the Volga. According to Reclus, the Caspian fisheries bring in fish to 
the annual value of between three and four millions sterling. — II. C] 

60 MARCO POLO Book I. 


Of the Kingdom of Mausul. 

On the frontier of Armenia towards the south-east is the 
kingdom of Mausul. It is a very great kingdom, and 
inhabited ^ by several different kinds of people whom we 
shall now describe. 

First there is a kind of people called Arabi, and these 
worship Mahommet. Then there is another description 
of people who are Nestorian and Jacobite Christians. 
These have a Patriarch, whom they call the Jatolic, and 
this Patriarch creates Archbishops, and Abbots, and 
Prelates of all other degrees, and sends them into every 
quarter, as to India, to Baudas, or to Cathay, just as the 
Pope of Rome does in the Latin countries. For you 
must know that though there is a very great number of 
Christians in those countries, they are all Jacobites and 
Nestorians ; Christians indeed, but not in the fashion 
enjoined by the Pope of Rome, for they come short in 
several points of the Faith. ^ 

All the cloths of gold and silk that are called Mosolins 
are made in this country ; and those great Merchants 
called Mosolins, who carry for sale such quantities of 
spicery and pearls and cloths of silk and gold, are also 
from this kingdom.^ 

There is yet another race of people who inhabit the 
mountains in that quarter, and are called Curds. Some 
of them are Christians, and some of them are Saracens ; 
but they are an evil generation, whose delight it is to 
plunder merchants.^ 

[Near this province is another called Mus and Merdin, 
producing an immense quantity of cotton, from which they 


make a great deal of buckram^ and other cloth. The 
people are craftsmen and traders, and all are subject to 
the Tartar King.] 

Note i.— Polo could scarcely have been justified in calling Mosul a very great 
kingdom. This is a bad habit of his, as we shall have to notice again. Badruddin 
Lulii, the last Atabeg of Mosul of the race of Zenghi 
had at the age of 96 taken sides with Hulaku, 
and stood high in his favour. His son Malik Salih, 
having revolted, surrendered to the Mongols in 1261 
on promise of life ; which promise they kept in Mon- 
gol fashion by torturing him to death. Since then 
the kingdom had ceased to exist as such. Coins of 
Badruddin remain with the name and titles of Mangku 
Kaan on their reverse, and some of his and of other 
atabegs exhibit curious imitations of Greek art. {Qvat. 

Rash. p. 3S9; A;«r. As. IV. VI. 141.).— H. Y. and ,„,,,. „, , 

,, „ r,, , -11 J V T- i. .u J r Coin of rjaaruddin of Mausul. 

H. C. [Mosul was pillaged by Timur at the end of 

the 14th century ; during the 15th it fell iniO the hands of the Turkomans, and during 

the i6th, of Ismail, Shah of Persia. — H. C. ] 

[The population of Mosul is to-day 61,000 inhabitants — (48,000 Musulmans, lo,ooc 

Caristians belonging to various churches, and 3000 Jews). — H. C] 

Note 2. — The Nestorian Church was at this time and in the preceding centuries 
diffused over Asia to an extent of which little conception is generally entertained, 
having a chain of Bishops and Metropolitans from Jerusalem to Peking. The Church 
derived its name from Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, w ho was deposed by the 
Council of Ephesus in 431. The chief " point of the Faith " wherein it came short, 
was (at least in its most tangible form) the doctrine that in Our Lord there were two 
Persons, one of the Divine Word, the other of the Man Jesus ; the former dwelling in 
the latter as in a Temple, or uniting with the latter "as fire with iron." Nestorin, 
the terra used by Polo, is almost a literal transcript of the Arab form Nasturi. A 
notice of the Metropolitan sees, w ith a map, will be found in Cathay, p. ccxliv. 

Jdthalik, written in our text (from G. T.) Jatolic, by Fr. Burchard and Ricold 
faselic, stands for Ka^oXi^ros. No doubt it was originally Gdthalik, but altered in 
pronunciation by the Arabs. The term was applied by Nestorians to their Patriarch ; 
among the Jacobites to the Mafridn or Metropolitan. The Nestorian Patriarch at 
this time resided at Baghdad. {Assemani, vol. iii. pt. 2 ; Per. Qiiat. 91, 127.) 

The Jacobites, or Jacobins, as they are called by writers of that age (Ar. Yo'iibkiy), 
received their name from Jacob Baradaeus or James Zanzale, Bishop of Edessa (so 
called, Mas'udi says, because he was a maker oi barda'at or saddle-cloths), who gave 
a great impulse to their doctrine in the 6th century. [At some time between the 
years 541 and 578, he separated from the Church and became a follower of the doctrine of 
Eutyches. — H. C] The Jacobites then formed an independent Church, which at one 
time spread over the East at least as far as Sistan, where they had a see under the 
Sassanian Kings, fheir distinguishing tenet was Monophysitisiii, viz., that Our 
Lord had but one Nature, the Divine. It was in fact a rebound from Nestorian 
doctrine, but, as might be expected in such a case, there was a vast number of shades 
of opinion among both bodies. The chief locality of the Jacobites was in the 
districts of Mosul, Tekrit, and Jazfrah, and their Patriarch was at this time settled at 
the Monastery of St. Matthew, near Mosul, but afterwards, and to the present day, 
at or near Mardin. [They have at present two patriarchates : the Monastery of 
Zapharan near Baghdad and Etchmiadzin.— H. C. ] The Armenian, Coptic, Abyssinian, 

62 MARCO POLO Book I. 

and Malabar Churches all hold some shade of the Jacobite doctrine, though the first 
two at least have Patriarchs apart. 

(Assemani, vol. ii. ; Le Quicn, II. 1596; Mas'ndi, II. 329-330; Per. Quat. 

^ Note 3. — We see here that inosolin or muslin had a very different meaning from 

what it has now. A quotation from Ives by Marsden shows it to have been applied 
in the middle of last century to a strong cotton cloth made at Mosul. Dozy says the 
Arabs use Maucili in the sense of muslin, and refers to passages in ' The Arabian 
Nights.' [Bretschneider {Med. Res. II. p. 122) observes " that in the narrative of 
Ch'ang Ch'un's travels to the west in 1221, it is stated that in Samarkand the men of 
the lower classes and the priests wrap their heads about with a piece of white vio-sze. 
There can be no doubt that mo-sze here denotes ' muslin,' and the Chinese author 
seems to understand by this term the same material which we are now used to call 
muslin."-— H. C] I have found no elucidation of Polo's application of inosolini 
to a class of merchants. But, in a letter of Pope Innocent IV. (1244) to the 
Dominicans in Palestine, we find classed as different bodies of Oriental Christians, 
^'Jacobitae, Nesioritae, Georgiani, Gracci, Armcni, Maronilae, et Mosolini." {Le 
Qiiien, III. 1342.) 

Note 4. — "The Curds," says Ricold, "exceed in malignant ferocity all the 

barbarous nations that I have seen They are called Curti, not because they 

are curt in stature, but from the Persian word for Wolves. . . . They have three 
principal vices, viz., Murder, Robbery, and Treachery." Some say they have not 
mended since, but his etymology is doubtful. Kurt is Turkish for a wolf, not 
Persian, which is Gurg ; but the name {Karducki, Kordiaei, etc.) is older, I 
imagine, than the Turkish language in that part of Asia. Quatremere refers it to 
the gurd, "strong, valiant, hero." As regards the statement that some of 
the Kurds were Christians, Mas'udi states that the Jacobites and certain other 
Christians in the territory of Mosul and Mount Judi were reckoned among the 
Kurds. [Not. et Ext. XIII. i. 304.) [The Kurds of Mosul are in part nomadic and 
are called Kotcheres, but the greater number are sedentary and cultivate cereals, 
cotton, tobacco, and fruits. (Cuinet.) Old Kurdistan had Shehrizor (Kerkuk, in the 
sanjak of that name) as its capital. — H. C] 

Note 5. — Ramusio here, as in all passages where other texts have Bucherami 
and the like, puts Boccassini, a word which has become obsolete in its turn. I see 
both Bochayrani and Bochasini coupled, in a Genoese fiscal statute of 1339, quoted 
by Pardessus. {Lois Maritimes, IV. 456. ) 

Mush and Mardin are in very different regions, but as their actual interval is 
only about 120 miles, they may have been under one provincial government. Mush 
is essentially Armenian, and, though the seat of a Pashalik, is now a wretched place. 
Mardin, on the verge of the Mesopotamian Plain, rises in terraces on a lofty hill, and 
there, says Hammer, "Sunnis and Shias, Catholic and Schismatic Armenians, 
Jacobites, Nestorians, Chaldaeans, Sun-, Fire-, Calf-, and Devil-worshippers dwell 
one over the head of the other." {Ilchan, I. 191.) 



Of the great Citv of Baudas, and how it was taken. 

Baudas is a great city, which used to be the seat of the 
Calif of all the Saracens in the world, just as Rome is 
the seat of the Pope of all the Christians.^ A very great 
river flows through the city, and by this you can descend 
to the Sea of India. There is a orreat traffic of mer- 
chants with their goods this way ; they descend some 
eighteen days from Baudas, and then come to a certain 
city called Kisi, where they enter the Sea of India.- 
There is also on the river, as you go from Baudas to 
Kisi, a great city called Bastra, surrounded by woods, 
in which grow the best dates in the world. ^ 

In Baudas they weave many different kinds of silk 
stuffs and gold brocades, such as nasich, and nac, and 
cramoisy, and many another beautiful tissue richly 
wrought with fiofures of beasts and birds. It is the 
noblest and greatest city in all those regions.* 

Now it came to pass on a day in the year of Christ 
1255, that the Lord of the Tartars of the Levant, whose 
name was Alaii, brother to the Great Kaan now reiornine, 
gathered a mighty host and came up against Baudas and 
took it by storm. ^ It was a great enterprise! for in 
Baudas there were more than 100,000 horse, besides 
foot soldiers. And when Alaii had taken the place he 
found therein a tower of the Calif's, which was full of 
gold and silver and other treasure ; in fact the greatest 
accumulation of treasure in one spot that ever was 
known.® When he beheld that great heap of treasure 
he was astonished, and, summoning the Calif to his 
presence, he said to him: " Calif, tell me now why thou 

64 MARCO POLO Book I. 

hast gathered such a huge treasure ? What didst thou 
mean to do therewith ? K newest thou not that I was 
thine enemy, and that I was coming against thee with 
so great an host to cast thee forth of thine heritage? 
Wherefore didst thou not take of thy gear and employ 
it in paying knights and soldiers to defend thee and thy 

The Calif wist not what to answer, and said never a 
word. So the Prince continued, " Now then, Calif, since 
I see what a love thou hast borne thy treasure, I will 
e'en give it thee to eat ! " So he shut the Calif up in 
the Treasure Tower, and bade that neither meat nor 
drink should be given him, saying, " Now, Calif, eat of 
thy treasure as much as thou wilt, since thou art so fond 
of it ; for never shalt thou have aught else to eat ! " 

So the Calif lingered in the tower four days, and then 
died like a dog. Truly his treasure would have been of 
more service to him had he bestowed it upon men who 
would have defended his kingdom and his people, rather 
than let himself be taken and deposed and put to death 
as he was.^ Howbeit, since that time, there has been 
never another Calif, either at Baudas or anywhere else.^ 

Now I will tell you of a great miracle that befell at 
Baudas, wrought by God on behalf of the Christians. 

Note i. — This form of the Mediaeval Frank name of Baghdad, Baudas [the 
Chinese traveller, Ch'ang Te, Si Shi Ki, XIII. cent., says, "the kingdom oi Bao-da" 
H. C], is curiously like that used by the Chinese historians, Paota [Pati/hier ; Gaubil), 
and both are probably due to the Mongol habit of slurring gutturals. (See Prologue, 
ch. ii. note 3.) [Baghdad was taken on the 5th of February, 1258, and the Khalif 
surrendered to Hulaku on the loth of February. — H. C] 

Note 2. — Polo is here either speaking without personal knowledge, or is so brief as 
to convey an erroneous impression that the Tigris flows to Kisi, whereas three-fourths 
of the length of the Persian Gulf intervene between the river mouth and Kisi. The 
latter is the island and city ofTtlSH or Kais, about 200 miles from the mouth of the 
Gulf, and for a long time one of thc^ij^ ports of trade with India and the East. 
The island, the Cataea of Arrian, now caued Ghes or Kenn, is singular among the 
islands of the Gulf as being wooded and well supplied with fresh water. The ruins of 
a city [called Ilarira, according to Lord Curzon,] exist on the north side. According to 


Wassaf, the island derived its name from one Kais, the son of a poor widow of Sfraf 
(then a great port of Indian trade on the northern shore of the Gulf), who on a voyage 
to India, about the loth century, made a fortune precisely as Dick Whittington did. 
The proceeds of the cat were invested in an establishment on this island. Modern 
attempts to nationalise Whittington may surely be given up ! It is one of the tales 
which, like Tell's shot, the dog Gellert, and many others, are common to many regions. 
{Hammers Ilch. I. 239 ; Ouseley's Travels, I. 170 ; Notes and Qturies, 2nd s. XI. 

Mr Badger, in a postscript to his translation of the History of Oman {Hak. Soc. 
1 871), maintains that Kish or Kais was at this time a city on the mainland, and 
identical from Siraf. He refers to Ibn Batuta (II. 244), who certainly does speak of 
visiting ' ' the city of Kais, called also Sfraf. " And Polo, neither here nor in Bk. III. ch. 
xl. , speaks of Kisi as an island. I am inclined, however, to think that this was firom 
not having visited it. Ibn Batuta says nothing of Siraf as a seat of trade ; but the 
historian Wassaf, who had been in the service of Jamaluddin al-Thaibi, the Lord of 
Kais, in speaking of the export of horses thence to India,, calls it " the Island of ICais." 
(Elliot, III. 34.) Compare allusions to this horse trade in ch. xv. and in Bk. III. ch. 
xvii. Wassaf was precisely a contemporary of Polo. 

Note 3. — The name is Bascra in the MSS., but this is almost certainly the 

common error oic for t. Basra is still noted for its vast date-groves. " The whole 

country from the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris to the sea, a distance of 
30 leagues, is covered with these trees." {Taro. Bk. II. ch. iii.) 

Note 4. — From Baudas, or Baldac, i.e. Baghdad, certain of these rich silk and 
gold brocades were called Baldachini, or in English Baudekins, From their use in 
the state canopies and umbrellas of Italian dignitaries, the word Baldacchino has 
come to mean a canopy, even when architectural. \_Baldekino, baldacchino, was at first 
entirely made of silk, but afterwards silk was mixed (sericum mixtum) with cotton or 
thread. When Hulaku conquered Baghdad part of the tribute was to be paid with 
that kind of stuff. Later on, says Heyd (II. p. 697), it was also manufactured in the 
province of Ahwaz, at Damas and at Cyprus ; it was carried as fai as France and 
England. Among the articles sent from Baghdad to Okkodai Khan, mentioned 
in the Yiian cKao pi shi (made in the 14th century), quoted by Bretschneider 
{Med. Res. II. p. 124), we note : Nakhut (a kind of gold brocade), Nachidut (a silk 
stuff interwoven with gold), Dardas (a stuff embroidered in gold). Bretschneider 
(p. 125) adds : " With respect to nakhut and nachidut, I may observe that these 
words represent the Mongol plural form of noAh and nachetti. ... I may finally 
mention that in the Yiian shi, ch. lxx\iii. (on oflicial dresses), a stuff, na-shi-shi, is 
repeatedly named, and the term is explained there by kin kin (gold brocade)." 
— H. C] The stuffs called Nasich and Nac are again mentioned by our traveller 
below (ch. lix.). We only know that they were of silk and gold, as he implies here, 
and as Ibn Batuta tells us, who mentions Nakh several times and Naslj once. The 
latter is also mentioned by Rubruquis {Nasic) as a present made to him at the Kaan's 
court. And Pegolotti speaks of both nacchi and nacchetti of silk and gold, the latter 
apparently answering to Nasich. Nac, Nacques, Nachiz, Nach, Nast's, appear in 
accounts and inventories of the 14th century, French and English. (See Dictiontiaire 
des Tissus, II. 199, and Doitet dArcq, Comptes de VArgenterie des Rois de France, 
^t^c-j 334-) We find no mention of Nakh or iVizj/y among the stuffs detailed in the 
Ain Akbari,%o they must have been obsolete in the i6th century. [Cf. Heyd, Com. du 
Levant, II. p. 698 ; Nacco, nachetto, comes from the i^bic nakh {nekh) ; nassit 
{tiasith) from the Arabic n^cidj.—H. C] Queuiusis or Cramoisy derived its name 
from the Kermes insect (Ar. Kirmiz) found on ^Kerens cocci/era, now supplanted by 
cochineal. The stuff so called is believed to have been origmally a crimson velvet, but 
apparently, like the mediaeval Purpura, if not identical with it, it came to indicate a 
tissue rather than a colour. Thus Fr.-Michel quotes velvet of vermeil cramoisy, of 

66 MARCO POLO Book I. 

violet, and of blue cramoisy, and. pourpres of a variety of colours, though he says he 
has never met wiih pourpre blanche. I may, however, point to Piano Carpini (p. 755)> 
who describes the courtiers at Karakorum as clad in white purpura. 

The London prices of Chermisi and Baldacchini in the early part of the 15th 
century will be found in Uzzano's work, but they are hard to elucidate. 

Babylon, of which Baghdad was the representative, was famous for its variegated 
textures in very early days. We do not know the nature of the goodly Babylonish 
garment which tempted Achan in Jericho, but Josephus speaks of the affluence of rich 
stuffs carried in the triumph of Titus, "gorgeous with life-like designs from the 
Babylonian loom," and he also describes the memorable Veil of the Temple as a 
tt^ttXos Ba^v\iI}VLos of varied colours marvellously wrought. Pliny says King Attalus 
invented the intertexture of cloth with gold ; but the weaving of damasks of a variety 
of colours was perfected at Babylon, and thence they were called Babylonian, 

The brocades wrought with figures of animals in gold, of which Marco speaks, are 
still a spicialiti at Benares, where they are known by the name of Shikdrgdh or 
hunting-grounds, which is nearly a translation of the name Thard-wahsh ' ' beast- 
hunts," by which they were known to the mediaeval Saracens. (See Q. Makrizi, IV. 
69-70.) Plautus speaks of such patterns in carpets, the produce of Alexandria — 
^'' Alexandrina belluata cotichyliata tapetia." Athenaeus speaks of Persian carpets of 
like description at an extravagant entertainment given by Antiochus Epiphanes ; and 
the same author cites a banquet given in Persia by Alexander, at which there figured 
costly curtains embroidered with animals. In the 4th century Asterius, Bishop of 
Amasia in Pontus, rebukes the Christians who indulge in such attire: "You find 
upon them lions, panthers, bears, huntsmen, woods, and rocks ; whilst the more devout 
display Christ and His disciples, with the stories of His miracles," etc. And Sidonius 
alludes to upholstery of like character : 

" Peregrina det supellex 

» « « * 

Ubi torvus, et per artem 

Resupina flexus ora, 

It equo reditque telo 

Simulacra bestiarum 

Fugiens fugansque Parthus." {Epist. ix. 13.) 

A modern Kashmir example of such work is shown under ch. xvii. 

{D'Avezac, p. 524 ; Pegolotti, in Cathay, 295, 306 ; /. B. II. 309, 388, 422 ; III. 
81; Delia Decima, IV. 125-126; Fr. -Michel, Recherches, etc., II. 10-16, 204-206; 
/oseph. Bell. Jud. VII. 5, 5, and V. 5, 4 ; Pliny, VIII. 74 (or 48) ; Plautus, 
Psetidolus, I. 2 ; Yonge's Athenaetis, V. 26 and XII. 54 ; Mongez in Mint. Acad. IV. 

Note 5. — [Bretschneider {Med. Res. I. p. 114) says: " Hulagu left Karakorum, 
the residence of his brother, on the 2nd May, 1253, and returned to his ordo, in order 
to organize his army. On the 19th October of the same year, all being ready, 
he started for the west." He arrived at Samarkand in September, 1255. For this 
chapter and the following of Polo, see : HulagiCs Expedition to Western Asia, after 
the Mohamjuedan Authors, pp. 1 12-122, and the Translation of the Si Shi Ki 
(Ch'ang Te), pp. 122-156, in Bretschncider's Alcdiczval Researches, I. — II. C] 

Note 6. — [" Hulagu proceeded to the lake of Ormia (Urmia), when he ordered a 
castle to be built on the island of Tala, in the middle of the lake, for the purpose of 
depositing here the immense treasures captured at Baghdad. A great part of the booty, 
however, had been sent to Mangu Khan." {Hulagti's Exp., Bretschneider, Med. 
Res. I. p. 120.) Ch'ang Tc says (Si Shi ICi, p. 139): "The palace of the Ha-li-fa 
was built of fragrant and precious woods. The walls of it were constructed of black 
and white jade. It is impossible to imagine the quantity of gold and precious stones 
found there."~H.C.] 


Note 7. — 

" I said to the Kalif : ' Thou art old, 
Thou hast no need of so much gold. 
Thou shouldst not have heaped and hidden it here, 
Till the breath of Battle was hot and near, 
But have sown through the land these useless hoards 
To spring into shining blades of swords, 
And keep thine honour sweet and clear. 
♦ «*»*♦ 

Then into his dungeon I locked the drone, 
And left him to feed there all alone 
In the honey-cells of his golden hive : 
Never a prayer, nor a cry, nor a groan 
Was heard from those massive walls of stone, 
Nor again was the Kalif seen alive.' 

This is the story, strange and true, 
That the great Captain Alaii 
Told to his brother, the Tartar Khan, 
When he rode that day into Cambalu. 
By the road that leadeth to Ispahan." {Longfellow.') * 

The story of the, death of Mosta'sim Billah, the last of the Abbaside Khalife, is 
told in much the same way by Hayton, Ricold, Pachymeres, and Joinville. The 
memory of the last glorious old man must have failed him, when he says the facts 
were related by some merchants who came to King Lewis, when before Saiette (or 
Sidon), viz. in 1253, for the capture of Baghdad occurred five years later. Mar. 
Sanuto says melted gold was poured down the Khalif s throat — a transfer, no doubt, 
from the old story of Crassus and the Parthians. Contemporary Armenian historians 
assert that Hulaku slew him with his own hand. 

All that Rashiduddin says is : "The evening of Wednesday, the 14th of Safar, 
656 (20th February, 1258), the Khalif was put to death in the village of Wakf, with his 
eldest son and five eunuchs who had never quitted him." Later writers say that he 
was wrapt in a carpet and trodden to death by horses. 

[Cf. The Story of the Death of the last Abbaside Caliph, from the Vatican MS. of 
Ibn-al-Ftirat, by G. le Strange (four. R. As. Soc, April, 1900, pp. 293-300). 
This is the story of the death of the Khalif told by Ibn-al-Furat (bom in Cairo, 
1335 A.D.): 

"Then Hulagu gave command, and the Caliph was left a-hungering, until his 
case was that of very great hunger, so that he called asking that somewhat might 
be given him to eat. And the accursed Hulagu sent for a dish with gold therein, 
and a dish with silver therein, and a dish with gems, and ordered tliese all to be set 
before the Caliph al Musta'sim, saying to him, 'Eat these.' But the Caliph made 
answer, 'These be not fit for eating.' Then said Hulagu : ' Since thou didst so well 
know that these be not fit for eating, why didst thou make a store thereof? With 
part thereof thou mightest have sent gifts to propitiate us, and with part thou 
shouldst have raised an army to ser\e thee and defend thyself against us ! And 
Hulagu commanded them to take forth the Caliph and his son to a place without the 
camp, and they were here bound and put into two great sacks, being afterwards 
trampled under foot till they both died — the mercy of Allah be upon them." — H. C] 

The foundation of the story, so widely received among the Christians, is to be 
found also in the narrative of Nikbi (and Mirkhond), which is cited by D'Ohsson. 
When the Khalif surrendered, Hulaku put before him a plateful of gold, and told 
him to eat it. "But one does not eat gold," said the prisoner. "Why, then," 

■yjf-^-. . * Not that Alau {^ace Mr. Longfellow) ever did see Cambalu. 

VUL. I. g J 

68 MARCO POLO Book I. 

replied the Tartar, " did you hoard it, instead of expending it in keeping up an army? 
Why did you not meet me attheOxus?" The Khalif could only say, " Such was 
God's will!" "And that which has befallen you was also God's will," said 

WassdPs narrative is interesting : — " Two days after his capture the Khalif was at 
his morning prayer, and began with the verse {Koratt, III. 25), * Say God is the 
Possessor of Dominion ! It shall be given to whom He will ; it shall be taken from 
whom He will : whom He will He raiseth to honour ; whom He will He casteth to 
the ground.' Having finished the regular office he continued still in prayer with 
tears and importunity. Bystanders reported to the Ilkhan the deep humiliation of 
the Khalifs prayers, and the text which seemed to have so striking an application to 
those two princes. Regarding what followed there are different stories. Some say 
that the Ilkhan ordered food to be withheld from the Khalif, and that when he asked 
for food the former bade a dish of gold be placed before him, etc. Eventually, after 
taking counsel with his chiefs, the Padishah ordered the execution of the Khalif. It 
was represented that the blood-drinking sword ought not to be stained with the gore 
of Mosta'sim. He was therefore rolled in a carpet, just as carpets are usually rolled 
up, insomuch that his limbs were crushed." 

The avarice of the KJialif was proverbial. When the Mongol army was investing 
Miafarakain, the chief, Malik Kamal, told his people that everything he had should 
be at the service of those in need : " Thank God, I am not like Mosta'sim, a wor- 
shipper of silver and gold ! " 

{Hayton in Ram. ch. xxvi. ; Per. Quat. 121; Pachym. Mic. Palaeol. II. 24; 
loinville, p. 182; Sanuto, p. 238; /. As. ser. V. torn. xi. 490, and xvi. 291; 
D'Ohsson, III. 243 ; Hammer's Wassdf, 75-76; Quat. Rashid. 305.) 

Note 8. — Nevertheless Froissart brings the KhaUf to life again one hundred and 
twenty years later, as "Z* Galifre de Baudas." (Bk. III. ch. xxiv.) 


How THE Calif of Baudas took counsel to slay all the 
Christians in his Land. 

I WILL tell you then this great marvel that occurred be- 
tween Baudas and Mausul. 

It was in the year of Christ ^ . . . that there was a 
Calif at Baudas who bore a great hatred to Christians, 
and was taken up day and night with the thought how 
he might either bring those that were in his kingdom 
over to his own faith, or might procure them all to be 
slain. And he used daily to take counsel about this 
with the devotees and priests of his faith,^ for they all 


bore the Christians like malice. And, indeed, it is a 
fact, that the whole body of Saracens throughout the 
world are always most malignantly disposed towards the 
I whole body of Christians. 

Now it happened that the Calif, with those shrewd 
I priests of his, got hold of that passage in our Gospel 
■ which says, that if a Christian had faith as a grain of 
mustard seed, and should bid a mountain be removed, 
it would be removed. And such indeed is the truth. 
But when they had got hold of this text they were de- 
lighted, for ft seemed to them the very thing whereby 
either to force all the Christians to change their faith, or 
to bring destruction upon them all. The Calif. therefore 
called together all the Christians in his territories, who 
were extremely numerous. And when they had come 
before him, he showed them the Gospel, and made them 
read the text which I have mentioned. And when they 
had read it he asked them if that was the truth ? The 
Christians answered that it assuredly was so. "Well," 
said the Calif, " since you say that it is the truth, I will 
give you a choice. Among such a number of you there 
must needs surely be this small amount of faith ; so you 
must either move that mountain there," — and he pointed 
to a mountain in the neighbourhood — " or you shall die 
an ill death ; unless you choose to eschew death by all 
becoming Saracens and adopting our Holy Law. To 
this end I give you a respite of ten days ; if the thing 
be not done by that time, ye shall die or become 
Saracens." And when he had said this he dismissed 
them, to consider what was to be done in this strait 
wherein they were. 

Note i. — The date in the G. Text and Pauthier is 1275, which of course cannot 
have been intended. Ramusio has 1225. 

[The Khali& in 1225 were Abu'l Abbas Ahmed VII. en-Nassir lidini 'Ilah (1180- 
1225) and Abu Nasr Mohammed IX. ed-Dhahir bi-emri 'Ilah (1225-1226). — H. C] 


Note 2. — " Cttm sez regisles et cum sez casses." (G. T.) I suppose the former 
expression to be a form of Regiiks, which is used in Polo's book for persons of a 
religious rule or order, whether Christian or Pagan. The latter word [casses) I tiike 
to be the Arabic Kashhh, properly a Christian Presbyter, but frequently applied by 
old travellers, and habitually by the Portuguese [caxtz, caxtx), to Mahomedan Divines. 
(See Cathay, p. 568.) It may, however, be Kdzi. 

Pauthier's text has simply " a ses prestres de la Loi." 


How THE Christians were in great dismay because of what 
THE Calif had .said. 

The Christians on hearing what the Calif had said were 
in great dismay, but they Hfted all their hopes to God, 
their Creator, that He would help them in this their 
strait. All the wisest of the Christians took counsel 
together, and among -them were a number of bishops 
and priests, but they had no resource except to turn to 
Him from whom all good things do come, beseeching 
Him to protect them from the cruel hands of the Calif. 

So they were all gathered together in prayer, both 
men and women, for eight days and eight nights. And 
whilst they were thus engaged in prayer it was revealed 
in a vision by a Holy Angel of Heaven to a certain 
Bishop who was a very good Christian, that he should 
desire a certain Christian Cobler,^ who had but one eye, 
to pray to God ; and that God in His goodness would 
grant such prayer because of the Cobler's holy life. 

Now I must tell you what manner of man this Cobler 
was. He was one who led a life of great uprightness 
and chastity, and who fasted and kept from all sin, and 
went daily to church to hear Mass, and gave daily a 
portion of his gains to God. And the way how he came 
to have but one eye was this. It happened one day that 


a certain woman came to him to have a pair of shoes 
made, and she showed him her foot that he might take 
her measure. Now she had a very beautiful foot and 
leg ; and the Cobler in taking her measure was conscious 
of sinful thoughts. And he had often heard it said in 
the Holy Evangel, that if thine eye offend thee, pluck 
it out and cast it from thee, rather than sin. So, as 
soon as the woman had departed, he took the awl that 
he used in stitching, and drove it into his eye and de- 
stroyed it. And this is the way he came to lose his eye. 
So you can judge what a holy, just, and righteous man 
he was. 

Note i. — Here the G. T. uses a strange word : '^ Or te vats a tel cralantor." 
It does not occur again, being replaced by chabitier (savetier). It has an Oriental 
look, but I can make no satisfactory suggestion as to what the word meant. 


How THE One-eyed Cobler was desired to pray for the 

Now when this vision had visited the Bishop several 
times, he related the whole matter to the Christians, and 
they agreed with one consent to call the Cobler before 
them. And when he had come they told him it was 
their wish that he should pray, and that God had 
promised to accomplish the matter by his means. On 
hearing their request he made many excuses, declaring 
that he was not at all so good a man as they repre- 
sented. But they persisted in their request with so 
much sweetness, that at last he said he would not tarry, 
but do what they desired. 

72 MARCO POLO Book I. 


How THE Prayer of the One-eyed Cobler caused the 
Mountain to move. 

And when the appointed day was come, all the Christians 
got up early, men and women, small and great, more 
than 100,000 persons, and went to church, and heard the 
Holy Mass. And after Mass had been sung, they all 
went forth together in a great procession to the plain in 
front of the mountain, carrying the precious cross before 
them, loudly singing and greatly weeping as they went. 
And when they arrived at the spot, there they found the 
Calif with all his Saracen host armed to slay them if 
they would not change their faith ; for the Saracens be- 
lieved not in the least that God would grant such favour 
to the Christians. 'These latter stood indeed in great 
fear and doubt, but nevertheless they rested their hope 
on their God Jesus Christ. 

So the Cobler received the Bishop's benison, and 
then threw himself on his knees before the Holy Cross, 
and stretched out his hands towards Heaven, and made 
this prayer : " Blessed Lord God Almighty, I pray 
Thee by Thy goodness that Thou wilt grant this grace 
unto Thy people, insomuch that they perish not, nor Thy 
faith be cast down, nor abused nor flouted. Not that 
I am in the least worthy to prefer such request unto 
Thee ; but for Thy great power and mercy I beseech 
Thee to hear this prayer from me Thy servant full of 

And when he had ended this his prayer to God the 
Sovereign Father and Giver of all grace, and whilst the 
Calif and all the Saracens, and other people there, were 
looking on, the mountain rose out of its place and moved 


to the spot which the Calif had pointed out ! And when 
the Calif and all his Saracens beheld, they stood amazed 
at the wonderful miracle that God had wrought for the 
Christians, insomuch that a great number of the Saracens 
became Christians. And even the Calif caused himself 
to be baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Ghost, Amen, and became a Christian, 
but in secret. Howbeit, when he died they found a 
little cross hung round his neck ; and therefore the 
Saracens would not bury him with the other Califs, but 
put him in a place apart. The Christians exulted greatly 
at this most holy miracle, and returned to their homes 
full of joy, giving thanks to their Creator for that which 
He had done.^ 

And now you have heard in what wise took place 
this great miracle. And marvel not that the Saracens 
hate the Christians ; for the accursed law that Ma- 
hommet gave them commands them to do all the 
mischief in their power to all other descriptions of 
people, and especially to Christians ; to strip such of 
their goods, and do them all manner of evil, because 
they belong not to their law. See then what an evil 
law and what naughty commandments they have ! But 
in such fashion the Saracens act, throughout the world. 

Now I have told you something of Baudas. I could 
easily indeed have told you first of the affairs and the 
customs of the people there. But it would be too long a 
business, looking to the great and strange things that 
I have got to tell you, as you will find detailed in this 

So now I will tell you of the noble city of Tauris. 

Note i. — We may remember that at a date only three years before Marco related 
this story (viz. in 1295), the cottage of Loreto is asserted to have changed its locality 
for the third and last time by moving to the site which it now occupies. 

Some of the old Latin copies place the scene at Tauris. And I observe that a 

74 MARCO POLO Book I. 

missionary of the 1 6th century does the same. The mountain, he says, is between 
Tauris and Nakhshiwan, and is called Maithuc. [Gravina, Christ ianit(i nelV 
Armenia, etc., Roma, 1605, p. 91.) 

The moving of a mountain is one of the miracles ascribed to Gregory 
Thaumaturgus. Such stories are rife among the Mahomedans themselves. "I 
know," says Khanikoff, "at least half a score of mountains which the Musulmans 
allege to have come from the vicinity of Mecca. " 

Ram usio's text adds here: "All the Nestorian and Jacobite Christians from that 
time forward have maintained a solemn celebration of the day on which the miracle 
occurred, keeping a fast also on the eve thereof." 

F. Goring, a writer who contributes three articles on Marco Polo to the Nette 
Ziiricher-Zeituiig, 5th, 6th, 8th April, 1878, says : " I heard related in Egypt a report 
which Marco Polo had transmitted to Baghdad. I will give it here in connection 
with another which I also came across in Egypt. 

" ' Many years ago there reigned in Babylon, on the Nile, a haughty Khalif who 
vexed the Christians with taxes and corvees. He was confirmed in his hate of 
the Christians by the Khakam Chacham Bashi or Chief Rabbi of the Jews, who one 
day said to him : " The Christians allege in their books that it shall not hurt them to 
drink or eat any deadly thing. So I have prepared a potion that one of them shall 
taste at my hand : if he does not die on the spot then call me no more Chacham 
Bashi ! " The Khalif immediately sent for His Holiness the Patriarch of Babylon, 
and ordered him to drink up the potion. The Patriarch just blew a little over the 
cup and then emptied it at a draught, and took no harm. His Holiness then on his 
side demanded that the Chacham Bashi should quaff a cup to the health of the 
Khalif, which he (the Patriarch) should first taste, and this the Khalif found only 
fair and right. But hardly had the Chacham Bashi put the cup to his lips than he 
fell down and expired.' Still the Musulmans and Jews thirsted for Christian blood. 
It happened at that time that a mass of the hill Mokattani became loose and 
threatened to come down upon Babylon. This was laid to the door of the Christians, 
and they were ordered to stop it. The Patriarch in great distress has a vision that tells 
him summon the saintly cobbler (of whom the same story is told as here) — the cobbler 
bids the rock to stand still and it does so to this day. ' These two stories may still 
be heard in Cairo ' — from whom is not said. The hill that threatened to fall on the 
Egyptian Babylon is called in Turkish Dtir Dagh, ' Stay, or halt-hill.' {L.c. April, 
T878.")— ^aS'. Note, H. Y. 


Of the Noble City ov Tauris. 

Tauris is a great and noble city, situated in a great 
province called Yrac, in which are many other towns and 
villages. But as Tauris is the most noble I will tell you 
about it.^ 

The men of Tauris get their living by tracle and handi- 


crafts, for they weave many kinds of beautiful and valuable 
stuffs of silk and gold. The city has such a good position 
that merchandize is brought thither from India, Baudas, 
Cremesor,^ and many other regions ; and that attracts 
many Latin merchants, especially Genoese, to buy goods 
and transact other business there ; the more as it is also 
a great market for precious stones. It is a city in fact 
where merchants make large profits.^ 

The people of the place are themselves poor creatures ; 
and are a great medley of different classes. There are 
Armenians, Nestorians, Jacobites, Georgians, Persians, 
and finally the natives of the city themselves, who are 
worshippers of Mahommet. These last are a very evil 
generation ; they are known as Taurizl* The city 
is all girt round with charming gardens, full of many 
varieties of large and excellent fruits.^ 

Now we will quit Tauris, and speak of the great country 
of Persia. [From Tauris to Persia is a journey of twelve 

Note i. — Abulfeda notices that TABRfz was \-ulgarly pronounced Tauris, and 
this appears to have been adopted by the Franks. In Pegolotti the name is always 

Tabriz is often reckoned to belong to Annenia, as by Hayton- Properly it is the 
chief city of Azerbaijan, which never was included in 'Irak. But it may be ob- 
served that Ibn Batuta generally calls the Mongol Ilkhan of Persia Sahib or Malik 
ul-'Irdk, and as Tabriz was the capital of that sovereign, we can account for the 
mistake, whilst admitting it to be one. [The destruction of Baghdad by Hulaku made 
Tabriz the great commercial and political city of Asia, and diverted the route of 
Indian products from the Mediterranean to the Euxine. It was the route to the 
Persian Gulf by Kashan, Yezd, and Kerman, to the Mediterranean by Lajazzo, 
and later on by Aleppo, — and to the Euxine by Trebizond. The destruction of the 
Kingdom of Armenia closed to Europeans the route of Taturis. — H. C.J 

Note 2. — Cremesor, as Baldelli points out, is Garmsir, meaning a hot region, a 
term which in Persia has acquired several specific applications, and especially in- 
dicates the coast-country on the N.E. side of the Persian Gulf, including Hormuz and 
the ports in that quarter. 

Note 3. — [Of the ItaUans established at Tabriz, the first whose name is mentioned 
is the Venetian Pietro Viglioni (Vioni) ; his will, dated loth December, 1264, is still 
in existence. (Archiv. Venet. XXVI. pp. 161-165 ; Heyd, French Ed., II. p. no.) 
— H. C] At a later date (1341) the Genoese had a factory at Tabriz headed by a consul 



Book I. 

with a council of twenty -four merchants, and in 1320 there is evidence of a Venetian 
settlement there, {EHe de la Prim. 161 ; Heyd, II. 82.) 

Rashiduddin says of Tabriz that there were gathered there under the eyes of the 
Padishah of Islam "philosophers, astronomers, scholars, historians, of all religions, of 
all sects ; people of Cathay, of Machfn, of India, of Kashmir, of Tibet, of the Uighur 
and other Turkish nations, Arabs and Franks." Ibn Batuta : " I traversed the bazaar 
of the jewellers, and my eyes were dazzled by the varieties of precious stones which I 
beheld. Handsome slaves, superbly dressed, and girdled with silk, offered their gems 
for sale to the Tartar ladies, who bought great numbers. [Odoric (ed. Cordier) speaks 
also of the great trade of Tabriz.] Tabriz maintained a large population and prosperity 
down to the 17th century, as may be seen in Chardin. It is now greatly fallen, though 
still a place of importance." {Quaf. Rash. y>- 39; /• P- H. 130.) 

Ghazan Khan's Mosque at Tabriz. — (From Fergusson.) 

Note 4. — In Pauthier's text this is Touzi, a mere clerical error, I doubt not for 
Torizi, in accordance with the G. Text (" le petiple de la citd que sunt apeUs Tauriz"), 
with the Latin, and with Ramusio. All that he means to say is that the people are 
called Tabrizis. Not recondite information, but 'tis his way. Just so he tells us in 
ch. iii. that the people of Hermenia are called Hermins, and elsewhere that the 
people of Tebet are called Tebet. So Hayton thinks it not inappropriate to say that 
the people of Catay are called Cataini, that the people of Corasmia are called Coras- 
mins, and that the people of the cities of Persia are called Persians. 

Note 5. — Hamd Allah Mastaufi, the Geographer, not long after Polo's time, gives 
an account of Tabriz, quoted in Barbier de Meynard's Diet, de la Perse, p. 132. This 
also notices the extensive gardens round the city, the great abundance and cheapness of 
fruits, the vanity, insolence, and faithlessness of the Tabrfzfs, etc. (p. 132 scqq.). Our 
cut shows a relic of the Mongol Dynasty at Tabriz. 



Of the Monastery of St. Barsamo on the Borders of Tauris. 

On the borders of (the territory of) Tauris there is a 
monastery called after Saint Barsamo, a most devout Saint. 
There is an Abbot, with many Monks, who wear a habit 
like that of the Carmelites, and these to avoid idleness 
are continually knitting woollen girdles. These they 
place upon the altar of St. Barsamo during the service, 
and when they go begging about the province (like the 
Brethren of the Holy Spirit) they present them to their 
friends and to the gentlefolks, for they are excellent 
things to remove bodily pain ; wherefore every one 
is devoutly eager to possess them.^ 

Note i. — Barsauma(" The Son of Fasting") was a native of Saniosata, and an 
Archimandrite of the Asiatic Church. He opposed the Nestorians, but became him- 
self still more obnoxious to the orthodox as a spreader of the Monophysite Heresy. 
He was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon (451), and died in 458. He is a 
Saint of fame in the Jacobite and Armenian Churches, and several monasteries were 
dedicated to him ; but by far the most celebrated, and doubtless that meant here, was 
near Malatia. It must have been famous even among the Mahomedans, for it has an 
article in Bakui's Geog. Dictionary. {Dir-Barsuma, see N. et Ext. II. 515.) This 
monastery possessed relics of Barsauma and of St. Peter, and was sometimes the resi- 
dence of the Jacobite Patriarch and the meeting-place of the Synods. 

A more marvellous story than Marco's is related of this monastery by Vincent of 
Beauvais: "There is in that kingdom (Armenia) a place called St. Brassamns, at 
which there is a monastery for 300 monks. And 'tis said that if ever an enemy 
attacks it, the defences of the monastery move of themselves, and shoot back the shot 
against the besieger." 

[Assemani in vol. ii. passim ; Touriiefort, III. 260 ; Vin. Bell. Spec, Hisioriale, 
Lib. XXX. c. cxlii. ; see also Mar. Sanut. III. xi. c. 16.) 



Of the Great Country of Persia; with some account of the 

Three Kings. 

Persia is a great country, which was in old times very 
illustrious and powerful ; but now the Tartars have wasted 
and destroyed it. 

In Persia is the city of Saba, from which the Three 
Magi set out when they went to worship Jesus Christ ; 
and in this city they are buried, in three very large and 
beautiful monuments, side by side. And above them 
there is a square building, carefully kept. The bodies 
are still entire, with the hair and beard remaining. One 
of these was called Jaspar, the second Melchior, and the 
third Balthasar. Messer Marco Polo asked a great many 
questions of the people of that city as to those Three 
Magi, but never one could he find that knew aught of the 
matter, except that these were three kings who were 
buried there in days of old. However, at a place three 
days' journey distant he heard of what I am going to tell 
you. He found a village there which goes by the name 
of Gala Ataperistan,-^ which is as much as to say, " The 
Castle of the Fire- worshippers." And the name is rightly 
applied, for the people there do worship fire, and I will 
tell you why. 

They relate that in old times three kings of that 
country went^way to worship a Prophet that was born, 
and they carried with them three manner of offerings, 
Gold, and Frankincense, and Myrrh ; in order to ascertain 
whether that Prophet were God, or an earthly King, or a 
Physician. For, said they, if he take the Gold, then he 
is an earthly King ; if he take the Incense he is God ; if 
he take the Myrrh he is a Physician. 


So it came to pass when they had come to the place 
where the Child was born, the youngest of the Three 
Kings went in first, and found the Child apparently 
just of his own age ; so he went forth again marvelling 
greatly. The middle one entered next, and like the 

|L first he found the Child seemingly of his own age; 

!^ so he aiso went forth again and marvelled greatly. 
Lastly, the eldest went in, and as it had befallen the 
other two, so it befell him. And he went forth very 
pensive. And when the three had rejoined one 
another, each told what he had seen ; and then they all 
marvelled the more. So they agreed to go in all 
three together, and on doing so they beheld the Child 
with the appearance of its actual age, to wit, some 
thirteen days.^ Then they adored, and presented their 
Gold and Incense and Myrrh. And the Child took 
all the three offerings, and then gave them a small 
closed box ; whereupon the Kings departed to return 
into their own land. 

Note i. — Kalti Atishparastdn, meaning as in the text {Marsden.") 

Note 2. — According to the Collectanea ascribed to Bede, Melchior was a boaiy 
old man ; Balthazar in his prime, with a beard ; Caspar young and beardless. 
{Ituhofer, Ties Magi Evangelici, Romae, 1639.) 


What befell when the Three Kings returned to their own 


And when they had ridden many days they said they 
would see what the Child had given them. So they 
opened the little box, and inside it they found a stone. 

8o MARCO POLO Book I. 

On seeing this they began to wonder what this might be 
that the Child had given them, and what was the import 
thereof. Now the signification was this : when they 
presented their offerings, the Child had accepted all three, 
and when they saw that they had said within themselves 
that He was the True God, and the True King, and the 
True Physician.^ And what the gift of the stone implied 
was that this Faith which had begun in them should 
abide firm as a rock. For He well knew what was 
in their thoughts. Howbeit, they had no under- 
standing at all of this signification of the gift of the 
stone ; so they cast it into a well. Then straight- 
way a fire from Heaven descended into that well 
wherein the stone had been cast. 

And when the Three Kings beheld this marvel they 
were sore amazed, and it greatly repented them that they 
had cast away the stone ; for well they then perceived 
that it had a great and holy meaning. So they took of 
that fire, and carried it into their own country, and placed 
it in a rich and beautiful church. And there the people 
keep it continually burning, and worship it as a god, and 
all the sacrifices they offer are kindled with that fire. 
And if ever the fire becomes extinct they go to other 
cities round about where the same faith is held, and 
obtain of that fire from them, and carry it to the church. 
And this is the reason why the people of this country 
worship fire. They will often go ten days' journey to 
aet of that fire.^ 

Such then was the story told by the people of that 
Casde to Messer Marco Polo ; they declared to him for 
a truth that such was their history, and that one of the 
three kings was of the city called Saba, and the second 
of AvA, and the third of that very Castle where they still 
worship fire, with the people of all the country round 


Having related this story, I will now tell you of the 
different provinces of Persia, and their peculiarities. 

Note i. — ''Afire." This was in old French the popular word for a Leech ; the 
politer word was Physicien. (JV. et E. V. 505. ) 

Chrysostom says that the Gold, Myrrh, and Frankincense were mystic gifts indicat- 
ing King, Man, God ; and this interpretation was the usual one. Thus Prudentius : — 

" Regem, Deumque adnunciant 
Thesaurus et fragrans odor 
Thuris Sabaei, at myrrheus 
Pulvis sepulchrum praedocet." {Hymntts Epij)hantus.) 

And the Paris Liturgj- : — 

" Offert Aurum Caritas, 
Et Myrrham Atisteritas, 

Et Thus Desideriiim. 
Auro Rex agnoscitur. 
Homo Myrrha, colitur 

Thure Deus gentium." 

And in the " Hymns, Ancient and Modem" : — 

" Sacred gifts of mystic meaning : 
Incense doth their God disclose. 
Gold the King of Kings proclaimeth. 
Myrrh His sepulchre foreshows." 

Note 2. — '"Feruntque (Magi), si justum est credi, etiam ignem caelitus lapsum 
apud se sempiternis foculis custodire, cujus portionem exiguam, ut faustam praeisse 
quondam Asiaticis Regibus dicunt." (Ammian, Marcell. XXIII. 6.) 

Note 3. — Saba or Sava still exists as Savah, about 50 miles S.W. of Tehran. It is 
described by Mr. Consul Abbott, who visited it in 1849, as the most ruinous town he 
had ever seen, and as containing about 1000 families. The people retain a tradition, 
mentioned by Hamd Allah Mastaufi, that the city stood on the shores of a Lake 
which dried up miraculously at the birth of Mahomed. Savah is said to have pos- 
sessed one of the greatest Libraries in the East, until its destruction by the Mongols 
on their first invasion of Persia. Both Savah and Avah (or Abah) are mentioned by 
Abulfeda as cities of Jibal. We are told that the two cities were always at lo^erheads, 
the former being Sunni and the latter Shiya. [We read in the Travels of Thevenot, 
a most intelligent traveller, "qu'il n'a rien ecrit de I'ancienne ville de Sava qu'il 
trouva sur son chemin, et oil il a marque lui-meme que son esprit de curiosite 
I'abandonna." {^Voyages, ed. 1727, vol. v. p. 343. He died a few days after at 
Miana, in Armenia, 28th November, 1667). {MS. Note. — H. Y.) ] 

As regards the position of Avah, Abbott says that a village still stands upon the 
site, about 16 miles S.S.E. of Savah. He did not visit it, but took a bearing to it. 
He was told there was a mound there on which formerly stood a Gueber Castle. At 
Savah he could find no trace of Marco Polo's legend. Chardin, in whose time Savah 
was not quite so far gone to decay, heard of an alleged tomb of Samuel, at 4 leagues 
from the city. This is alluded to by Hamd Allah. 

Keith Johnston and Kiepert put Avah some 60 miles W.N.W. of Savah, on the 
road between Kazvin and Hamadan. There seems to be some great mistake here. 

Friar Odoric puts the locality of the Magi at Keshan, though one of the versions of 
Ramusio and the Palatine MS. (see Cordier's Odoric, pp. xcv. and 41 of his Itinerary), 
perhaps corrected in this, puts it at Saba. — H. Y. and H. C. 

VOL. I. r 

82 MARCO POLO Book I. 

We have no means of fixing the Kald Atishparastdn. It is probable, however, that 
the story was picked up on the homeward journey, and as it seems to be implied that 
this castle was reached three days after leaving Savah, I should look for it between 
Savah and Abher. Ruins to which the name KilcC-i-Gabi; " Gueber Castle," attaches 
are common in Persia. 

As regards the Legend itself, which shows such a curious mixture of Christian and 
Parsi elements, it is related some 350 years earlier by Mas'udi : " In the Province of 
Fars they tell you of a Well called the Well of Fire, near which there was a temple 
built. When the Messiah was born the King Koresh sent three messengers to him, 
the first of whom carried a bag of Incense, the second a bag of Myrrh, and the third 
a bag of Gold. They set out under the guidance of the Star which the king had 
described to them, arrived in Syria, and found the Messiah with Mary His Mother. 
This story of tlie three messengers is related by the Christians with sundry exaggera- 
tions ; it is also found in the Gospel. Thus they say that the Star appeared to Koresh 
at the moment of Christ's birth ; that it went on when the messengers went on, and 
stopped when they stopped. More ample particulars will be found in our Historical 
Annals, where we have given the versions of this legend as current among the Guebers 
and among the Christians. It will be seen that Mary gave the king's messengers a 
round loaf, and this, after different adventures, they hid under a rock in the province 
of Fars. The loaf disappeared underground, and there they dug a well, on which 
they beheld two columns of fire to start up flaming at the surface ; in short, all the 
details of the legend will be found in our Annals." The Editors say that Mas'udi had 
carried the story to Fars by mistaking S/i/z in Azerbaijan fthe Atropatenian Ecbatana 
of Sir H. Rawlinson) for Shiraz. A rudiment of the same legend is contained in the 
Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. This says that Mary gave the Magi one of the bands 
in which the Child was swathed. On their return they cast this into their sacred fire ; 
though wrapt in the flame it remained unhurt. 

We may add that there was a Christian tradition that the Star descended into a 
well between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Gregory of Tours also relates that in a 
certain well, at Bethlehem, from which Mary had drawn water, the Star was some- 
times seen, by devout pilgrims who looked carefully for it, to pass from one side to 
the other. But only such as merited the boon could see it. 

(See Abbott in /. R. G. S. XXV. 4-6 ; Assemani, III. pt. 2, 750 ; Chardin, II. 
407 ; N. et Ext. II. 465 ; Diet, de la Perse, 2, 56, 298 ; Cathay, p. 51 ; Mas'udi, IV. 
80; Greg. Turon. Libri Miraculorum, Paris, 1858, I. 8.) 

Several of the fancies that legend has attached to the brief story of the Magi in St. 
Matthew, such as the royal dignity of the persons ; their location, now in Arabia, now 
(as here) at Saba in Persia, and again (as in Hayton and the Catalan Map) in Tarsia 
or Eastern Turkestan ; the notion that one of them was a Negro, and so on, probably 
grew out of the arbitrary application of passages in the Old Testament, such as : 
Veuient legati ex Aegypto : Awniiovix praevenit vianns ejus Deo'" (Ps. Ixviii. 31). 
This produced the Negro who usually is painted as one of the Three. '^ A'eges 
Tharsis et hisulae munera offerent : lieges Arabum et Saba dona adducent " (Ixxii. 
10). This made the Three into Kings, and fixed them in Tarsia, Arabia, and Sava. 
^' Miindatio Caineloruin operiet te, droinedarii Madian et Epha : oinnes de Saba 
venient aurtim et thus deferentes et laudem Domino annunciantes" (Is. Ix. 6). Here 
were Ava and Sava coupled, as well as the gold and frankincense. 

One form of the old Church Legend was that the Three were buried at Sessania 
Adrumetorutn (Hadhramaut) in Arabia, whence the Empress Helena had the bo( ies 
conveyed to Constantinople, [and later to Milan in the time of the Emperor Manuel 
Comnenus. After the fall of Milan (1162), Frederic Barbarossa gave them to .Arch- 
bishop Rainald of Dassel (1159-1167), who carried them to Cologne (23rd July, 1 164). 
— H.'C] 

The names given by Polo, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, have been accepted 
from an old date by the Roman Church ; but an abundant variety of other names has 
been assigned to them. Hyde quotes a Syriac writer who calls them Aruphon, 


Hunnon, and Tachshesh, but says that some call them Gudphorbus, Aitachshasht, 
and Labndo; whilst in Persian they were termed Amad, Zad-Amad, Drust-Amad, 
i.e. Venit, Cito Venit, Suuerus Venit. Some called them in Greek, Apellius, Amerus, 
and Damascus, and in Hebrew, Magalolh, Galgalath, and Saracia, but otherwise 
Ator, Sator, and Petatoros ! The Armenian Church used the same names as the 
Roman, but in Chaldee they were Kaghba, Badadilma, Badada Kharida. (Hyde, Rel. 
Vet. Pers. 382-383 ; IncJwJer, ut supra; J. As. ser. V^I. IX. 160.) 

[Just before going to press we have read Major Sykes' new book on Persia. Major 
Sykes (ch. xxiii. ) does not beUeve that Marco \-isited Baghdad, and he thinks that the 
Venetians entered Persia near Tabriz, and travelled to Sultania, Kashan, and Yezd. 
Thence they proceeded to Kerman and Hormuz, We shall discuss this question in 
the Introduction. — H. C.] 


Of the Eight Kingdoms of Persia, and how they 
are named. 

Now you must know that Persia is a very great country, 
and contains eight kingdoms. I will tell you the names 
of them all. 

The first kingdom is that at the beginning of Persia, 
and it is called Casvin : the second is further to the south, 
and is called Curdistan ; the third is Lor ; the fourth 
[Suolstan] ; the fifth Istanit; the sixth Serazy ; the 
seventh Soncara ; the eighth Tunocain, which is at the 
further extremity of Persia. All these kingdoms lie in a 
southerly direction except one, to wit, Tunocain ; that 
lies towards the east, and borders on the (country of the) 
Arbre Sol.^ 

In this country of Persia there is a great supply of 
fine horses ; and people take them to India for sale, for 
they are horses of great price, a single one being worth 
as much of their money as is equal to 200 livres 
Tournois ; some will be more, some less, according to 
the quality." Here also are the finest asses in the world, 
one of them being worth full 30 marks of silver, for they 
are very large and fast, and acquire a capital amble. 

VOL. I. F 2 

84* MARCO POLO Book I. 

Dealers carry their horses to Kisi and Curmosa, two 
cities on the shores of the Sea of India, and there they 
meet with merchants who take the horses on to India 
for sale. 

In this country there are many cruel and murderous 
people, so that no day passes but there is some homicide 
among them. Were it not for the Government, which 
is that of the Tartars of the Levant, they would do great 
mischief to merchants ; and indeed, maugre the Govern- 
ment, they often succeed in doing such mischief. Unless 
merchants be well armed they run the risk of being 
murdered, or at least robbed of everything ; and it some- 
times happens that a whole party perishes in this way 
when not on their guard. The people are all Saracens, 
i.e. followers of the Law of Mahommet.^ 

In the cities there are traders and artizans who live 
by their labour and crafts, weaving cloths of gold, and 
silk stuffs of sundry kinds. They have plenty of cotton 
produced in the country ; and abundance of wheat, 
barley, millet, panick, and wine, with fruits of all kinds. 

[Some one may say, " But the Saracens don't drink 
wine, which is prohibited by their law." The answer is 
that they gloss their text in this way, that if the wine be 
boiled, so that a part is dissipated and the rest becomes 
sweet, they may drink without breach of the command- 
ment ; for it is then no longer called wine, the name 
being changed with the change of flavour.^] 

Note i. — The following appear to be Polo's Eight Kingdoms : — 

I. KAZvfN; then a flourishing city, though I know not why he calls it a kingdom. 
Persian 'Irdk, or the northern portion thereof, seems intended. Previous to Ilulaku's 
invasion Kazvin seems to have been in the hands of the Ismailites or Assassins. 

II. Kurdistan. I do not understand the difficulties of Marsden, followed by 
Lazari and Pauthier, which lead them to put forth that Kurdistan is not Kurdistan 
but something else. The boundaries of Kurdistan according to Hamd Allah were 
Arabian Trak, Khuzistan, Persian 'Irak, Azerbaijan and Diarbekr. {Did. de la P. 
480.) [Cf, Curzon, Persia fass. — W. C] Persian Kurdistan, in modern as in 


mediaeval times, extends south beyond Kermanshah to the immediate border of 
Polo's next kingdom, viz. : 

III. Ltjr or Luristan. [On Luristan, see Curzon, Persia, II. pp. 273-303, with the 
pedigreeof the Ruling Family of the Feili Lurs (Pusht-i-Kuh), p. 278. — H. C] This was 
divided into two principalities. Great Lur and Little Lur, distinctions still existing. 
The former was ruled by a Dynasty called the Fasluyah Atabegs, which endured from 
about 1 155 to 1424, [when it was destroyed by the Timurids ; it was a Kurd Dynasty, 
founded by Emad ed-din Abu Thaher (i 160-1228), and the last prince of which was 
Ghiyas ed-din (1424). In 1258 the general Kitubuka (Hulagu's Exp. to Persia, 
Bretschneider, Aled. Res. I. p. 12 1 ) is reported to have reduced the country of Lur 
or Luristan and its Atabeg Teghele. — H. C.]. Their territory lay in the mountainous 
district immediately west of Ispahan, and extended to the River of Dizful, which parted 
it from Little Lur. The stronghold of the Atabegs was the extraordinary hill fort of 
Mungasht, and they had a residence also at Aidhej or Mai -Amir in the mountains 
south of Shushan, where Ibn Batuta \-isited the reigning Prince in 1327. Sir H. 
Rawlinson has described Mungasht, and Mr Layard and Baron de Bode have visited 
other parts, but the country is still very imperfectly known. Little Luristan lay west 
of the R. Dizful, extending nearly to the Plain of Babylonia. Its Dynasty, called 
Kurshid, [was founded in 1184 by the Kurd Shodja ed-din Khurshid, and existed till 
Shah-Werdy lost his throne in 1593. — H. C.]. 

The Lurs are akin to the Kurds, and speak a Kurd dialect, as do all those Ilyats, 
or nomads of Persia, who are not of Turkish race. They were noted in the Middle 
Ages for their agility and their dexterity in thieving. The tribes of Little Ltir " do 
not affect the slightest veneration for Mahomed or the Koran ; their only general 
object of worship is their great Saint Baba Buzurg," and particular disciples regard 
with reverence little short of adoration holy men looked on as living representatives of 
the Divinity. (Ilckan. I. 70 seqq. ; Ra-wlinson in J. R. G. S. IX. ; Layard in Do. 
XVL 75, 94; Ld. Strangford'inJ. R. A. S. XX. 64; A^. et E. XIIL i. 330, /. B. U. 
31 ; D'bhssan, IV. 171-172.) 

IV. Shui.istan, best represented by Ramusio's Suohtan, whilst the old French 
texts have Cielstan {i.e. Shelstan); the name applied to the country of the Shuls, or 
Shatils, a people who long occupied a part of Luristan, but were expelled by the Lurs 
in the 1 2th century, and settled in the country between Shfraz and Khuzistan (now 
that of the Mamaseni, whom Colonel Pelly's information identifies with the Shuls), 
their central points being Naobanjan and the fortress called Kala' Safed or " While 
Castle." Ibn Batuta, going from Shiraz to Kazerun, encamped the first day in the 
country of the Shuls, "a Persian desert tribe which includes some pious persons." 
(Q. R. p. 385 ; A^ elE. XIIL i. 332-333; Ilch. I. 71 ; /. R. G. S. XIIL Map ; /. B. 
II. 88.) [ " Adjoining the Kuhgelus on the East are the tents of the Mamasenni (qy. 
Mohammed Huseini) Lurs, occupying the country still known as Shtilistan, and 
extending as far east and south-east as Fars and the Plain of Kazerun. This tribe 
prides itself on its origin, claiming to have come from Seistan, and to be directly 
descended from Rustam, whose name is still borne by one of the Mamasenni dans." 
(Curzon, Persia, II. p. 318.) — H. C] 

V. Ispahan ? The name is in Ramusio Spaan, showing at least that he or some 
one before him had made this identification. The unusual combination^, i.e. sf, in 
manuscript would be so like the frequent one ft. i.e. st, that the change from Isfan to 
Istan would be easy. But why Istan?'/.'' 

VI. ShIraz [(5/n'r=milk, or Shir— Won) — H. C.] representing the province of 
Fars or Persia Proper, of which it has been for ages the chief city. [It was founded 
after the Arab conquest in 694 A.D., by Mohammed, son of Yusuf Kekfi. (Curzon, 
Persia, II. pp. 93-1 10.)— H. C] The last Dynasty that had reigned in Fars was that 
of the Salghur Atabegs, founded about the middle of the 12th century. Under Abu- 
bakr (1226-1260) this kingdom attained considerable power, embracing Fars, Kernian, 
the islands of the Gulf and its Arabian shores ; and Sbfriz then flourished in arts and 

86 MARCO POLO Book I. 

literature ; Abubakr was the patron of Saadi. From about 1262, though a Salghurian 
princess, married to a son of Hulaku, had the nominal title of Atabeg, the province of 
Fars was under Mongol administration. i^Ilch. passim. ) 

VII. ShawAnkAra or Shabankara. The G. T. has Soucara, but the Crusca 
gives the true reading Soncara. It is the country of the Shawankars, a people 
coupled with the Shtils and Liirs in mediaeval Persian history, and like them of Kurd 
affinities. Their princes, of a family Fasluyah, are spoken of as influential before the 
Mahomedan conquest, but the name of the people comes prominently forward only 
during the Mongol era of Persian history. [Shabankara was taken in 1056 from the 
Buyid Dynasty, who ruled from the lOth-century over a great part of Persia, by Fazl 
ibn Hassan (Fazluieh-Hasunieh). Under the last sovereign, Ardeshir, Shabankara 
was taken in 1355 by the Modhafferians, who reigned in Irak, Fars, and Kerman, 
one of the Dynasties established at the expense of the Mongol Ilkhans after the death 
of Abu Said (1335), and were themselves subjugated by Timur in 1392. — II. C] Their 
country lay to the south of the great salt lake east of Shfrdz, and included Niriz and 
Daribjird, Fassa, Forg, and Tarum. Their capital was I'g or I'j, called also Irej, 
about 20 miles north-west of Darab, with a great mountain fortress ; it was taken by 
Hulaku in 1259. The son of the prince was continued in nominal authority, with 
Mongol administrators. In consequence of a rebellion in 131 1 the Dynasty seems to 
have been extinguished. A descendant attempted to revive their authority about the 
middle of the same century. The latest historical mention of the name that I have 
found is in Abdurrazzik's History of Shah Rukh, under the year H. 807 (1404). (See 
lour. As. 3d. s. vol. ii. 355.) But a note by Colonel Pelly informs me that the name 
Shab^nkdra is still applied (i) to the district round the towns of Runiz and Gauristan 
near Bandar Abbas ; (2) to a village near Maiman, in the old country of the tribe ; 
(3) to a tribe and district of Dashtistan, 38 farsakhs west of Shfraz. 

With reference to the form in the text, Soncara, I may notice that in two passages 
of the Masdlak-ul-Absdr, translated by Quatrem^re, the name occurs as Shatikdrah. 
{Q. R. pp. 380, 440 seqq. ; N. et E. XIII. ; Ilch. I. 71 ?inA passim ; Oiiseley's Travels, 
II. 158 seqq.) 

VIII. Ti5n-0-Kain, the eastern Kuhistan or Hill country of Persia, of which 
Tun and Kain are chief cities. The practice of indicating a locality by combining two 
names in this way is common in the East. Elsewhere in this book we find Ariora- 
Keshemur and Kes-macoran (Kij-Makran). Upper Sind is often called in India by 
the Sepoys Rori-Bakkar, from two adjoining places on the Indus ; whilst in former 
days. Lower Sind was often called Diul-Sind. Karra-Mdnikpur, Uch-Multdn, 
Kunduz-Baghldn are other examples. 

The exact expression T4n-o-Kdin for the province here in question is used by 
Baber, and evidently also by some of Hammer's authorities. {Baber, pp. 201, 204 ; 
see lick. II, 190; I. 95, 104, and Hist, de VOrdre des Assassins, p. 245.) 

[We learn from (Sir) C. Macgregor's {iZ"] i^ Journey through Khorasan (I. p. 127) 
that the same territory including Ghafn or Kain is now called by the analogous name 
of Tabas-o-TCin. Tun and Kain (Ghdfn) are both described in their modern state, 
by Macgregor. [Ibid. pp. 147 and 161.) — H. C] 

Note that the identification of Suolstan is due to Quatrem^re (see N. et E. XIII. i. 
circa p. 332) ; that of Soncara to Defr^mery (/. As. ser. IV. torn. xi. p. 441) ; and 
that of 71w«<Jfaz« to Malte-Brun. {N. Ann. des V. xviii. p. 261.) I may add that the 
Lurs, the Sh&ls, and the Shabdnkdras are the subjects of three successive sections in 
the Masdlak-al-Absdr of Shihdbuddin Dimishki, a work which reflects much of Polo's 
geography. (See N. et E. XIII. i. 330-333 ; Curzon, Persia, II. pp. 248 and 251.) 

Note 2. — The horses exported to India, of which we shall hear more hereafter, 
were probably the same class of *• Gulf Arabs " that are now carried thither. But the 
Turkman horses of Persia are also very valuable, especially for endurance. Kinneir 
speaks of one accomplishing 900 miles in eleven days, and Ferrier states a still more 
extraordinary feat from his own knowledge. In that case one of those horses went 


from Tehran to Tabriz, returned, and went again to Tabriz, within twelve days, including 
two days' rest. The total distance is about lioo miles. 

The Hvre toumois at this period was equivalent to a little over 18 francs of modem 
French silver. But in bringing the value to our modem gold standard we must add 
one-third, as the ratio of silver to gold was then I : 12 instead of i : 16. Hence the 
equivalent in gold of the livre toumois is very little less than l/. sterling, and the price 
of the horse would be about 193/.* 

Mr Wright quotes an ordinance of Philip III. of France (12701285) fixing the 
maximum price that might be given for a palfrey at 60 li-vres taurtiois, and for a 
squire's roiwin at 20 livres. Joinville, however, speaks of a couple of horses pre- 
sented to St. Lewis in 1254 by the Abbot of Cluny, which he says would at the time 
of his writing (1309) have been worth 500 livres (the pair, it would seem). Hence it 
may be concluded in a general way that the ordinary price of imported horses in India 
approached that of the highest class of horses in Europe. {Hist, of Dom. Manners, 
p. 317 ; foinville, p. 205.) 

About 1850 a very fair Arab could be purchased in Bombay for 60/., or even less ; 
but prices are much higher now. 

With regard to the donkeys, according to Tavemier, the fine ones used by mer- 
chants in Persia were imported from Arabia, The mark of silver was equivalent to 
about 44s-. of our silver money, and allowing as before for the lower relative value of 
gold, 30 marks would be equivalent to 88/. sterling. 

Kisi or Kish we have already heard of. Curmosa is Hormuz, of which we shall 
hear more. With a Pisan, as Rusticiano was, the sound of c is purely and strongly 
aspirate. Giovanni d'Empoli, in the banning of the i6th century, another Tuscan, 
also calls it Cormus. (See Archiv. Stor. Ital. Append. III. 81.) 

Note 3. — The character of the nomad and semi-nomad tribes of Persia in those 
days — Kurds, Liirs, Shuls, Karaunahs, etc. — probably deserved all that Polo says, and 
it is not changed now. Take as an example Rawlinson's account of the Bakhtyaris 
of Luristan: "I believe them to be individually brave, but of a cruel and savage 
character ; they pursue their blood feuds with the most inveterate and exterminating 
spirit. ... It is proverbial in Persia that the Bakhtiyaris have been compelled to 
forego altogether the reading of the Fatihah or prayer for the dead, for otherwise they 
would have no other occupation. They are also most dextrous and notorious thieves." 
(/. R. G. S. IX. 105.) 

Note 4. — The Persians have always been lax in regard to the abstinence from 

According to Athenaeus, Aristotle, in his Treatise on Drinking (a work lost, I 
imagine, to posterity), says, " If the wine be moderately boiled it is less apt to intoxi- 
cate." In the preparation of some of the sweet wines of the Levant, such as that of 
Cyprus, the must is boiled, but I believe this is not the case generally in the East. 
Baber notices it as a peculiarity among the Kafirs of the Hindu Kush. Tavemier, 
however, says that at Shfraz, besides the wine for which that city was so celebrated, 
a good deal of boiled wine was manufactured, and used among the poor and by 
travellers. No doubt what is meant is the sweet liquor or syrup called Diishdi, 
which Delia Valle says is just the Italian Mostocotto, but better, clearer, and not so 
mawkish (I. 689). ( Yonge's Athen. X. 34 ; Baber, p. 145 ; Tavemier, Bk. V. ch. 

* The Encyc. Britann, , article " Money," gives the U\Te toumois of this period as iS. 17 francs. A 
French paper in Notes and Queries (/\\^ S. IV. 485) gives it under St. Lewis and Philip HI. as equiva- 
lent to 18.24 fr., and under Philip IV. to 17.95. And lastly, experiment at the British Museum, made 
hy the kind mtervention of my friend, Mr. E. Thornas, F.R.S., gave the weights of the sols of St. 
Lewis (1226-1270) and Philip IV. (1285-1314) respectively as 63 grains and 6ii grains of remarkably 
pure silver. These trials would give the livres (20 sols) as equivalent to 18.14 &• ^nd i7-70 fr- 



Concerning the Great City of Yasdi. 

Yasdi also is properly in Persia ; it is a good and noble 
city, and has a great amount of trade. They weave 
there quantities of a certain silk tissue known as Yasdi, 
which merchants carry into many quarters to dispose of. 
The people are worshippers of Mahommet.^ 

When you leave this city to travel further, you ride 
.for seven days over great plains, finding harbour to 
receive you at three places only. There are many fine 
woods [producing dates] upon the way, such as one 
can easily ride through ; and in them there is great 
sport to be had in hunting and hawking, there being 
partridges and quails and abundance of other game, 
so that the merchants who pass that way have plenty 
of diversion. There are also wild asses, handsome 
creatures. At the end of those seven marches over 
the plain you come to a fine kingdom which is called 

Note i. — Yezd, an ancient city, supposed by D'Anville to be the hatichae of 
Ptolemy, is not called by Marco a kingdom, though having a better title to the 
distinction than some which he classes as such. The atabegs of Yezd dated from the 
middle of the nth century, and their Dynasty was permitted by the Mongols to 
continue till the end of the 13th, when it was extinguished by Ghazan, and the ad- 
ministration made over to the Mongol Diwan. 

Yezd, in pre-Mahomedan times, was a great sanctuary of the Gueber worship, 
though now it is a seat of fanatical Mahomedanism. It is, however, one of the few 
places where the old religion lingers. In 1859 there were reckoned 850 families of 
Guebers in Yezd and fifteen adjoining villages, but they diminish rapidly. 

[Heyd {Com. du Levant, II. p. 109) says the inhabitants of Yezd wove the finest 
silk of Taberistan. — H. C.] The silk manufactures still continue, and, with other 
weaving, employ a large part of the population. The Yazdi, which Polo mentions, 
finds a place in the Persian dictionaries, and is spoken of by D'llerbelot as Kumdsh- 
i- Yezdi, "Yezd stuff." [" He [Nadir Shah] bestowed upon the ambassador [Hakeem 
Ataleek, the prime minister of Abulfiez Khan, King of Bokhara] a donation of a 
thousand mohurs of Hindostan, twenty-five pieces of Yezdy brocade, a rich dress, 
and a horse with silver harness. ..." {Memoirs of Khojah Abdtilhirj-eem, a Cash- 


merian of distinction . . . transl. from the original Persian,hyYTxaasG\3iA'mn ... 
Calcutta, 1788, 8vo, p. 36.)— H. C] 

Yezd is still a place of important trade, and carries on a thriving commerc- 
with India by Bandar Abbasi. A visitor in the end of 1865 says: "The external 
trade appears to be very considerable, and the merchants of Vezd are reputed to be 
amongst the most enterprising and respectable of their class in Persia. Some of their 
agents have lately gone, not only to Bombay, but to the Mauritius, Java, and China." 
{Ilch. I. 67-68; Kkanikoff, AHm. p. 202; Report by Major R. M. Smith, R.E.) 
Friar Odoric, who visited Yezd, calls it the third best city of the Persian 
Emperor, and says {Cathay, I. p. 52) : "There is very great store of victuals and 
all other good things that you can mention ; but especially is found there great 
plenty of figs ; and raisins also, green as grass and very small, are found there in 
richer profusion than in any other part of the world." [He also gives from the 
smaller version of Ramusio's an awful description of the Sea of Sand, one day 
distant from Yezd. (Cf. Tavemier, 1679, I. p. 116.)— H. C] 

Note 2. — I believe Delia Valle correctly generalises when he sa)-s of Persian 
travelling that "you always travel in a plain, but you always have mountains on 
either hand" (I. 462). [Compare Macgregor, I. 254 : "I really caimot describe the 
road. Every road in Persia as yet seems to me to be exactly alike, so . . . my readers 
will take it for granted that the road went over a waste, with barren rugged hills in 
the distance, or near; no water, no houses, no people passed." — H. C] The distance 
from Yezd to Kerman is, according to Khanikoft's sur\'ey, 314 kilometres, or about 
195 miles. Ramusio makes the time eight days, which is probably the better reading, 
giving a little over 24 miles a day. Westergaard in 1844, and Khanikoff in 1859, took 
ten days ; Colonel Goldsmid and Major Smith in 1865 twelve. [ " The distance from 
Yezd to Kerman by the present high road, 229 miles, is by caravans, generally made 
in nine stages ; persons travelling with all comforts do it in twelve stages ; travellers 
whose time is of some value do it easily in seven days." {Hmituvi-Schindler, l.c. pp. 
490-491. )-H. C] 

Khanikoff observes on this chapter : " This notice of woods easy to ride through, 
covering the plain of Yezd, is very curious. Now you find it a plain of great extent 
indeed from N.W. to S.E., but narrow and arid ; indeed I saw in it only thirteen in- 
habited spots, counting two caravanserais. Water for the inhabitants is brought from 
a great distance by subterraneous conduits, a practice which may have tended to 
desiccate the soil, for every trace of wood has completely disappeared. " 

Abbott travelled from Yezd to Kerman in 1849, by a road through Bafk, east of 
the usual road, which Khanikoff followed, and parallel to it ; and it is worthy of note 
that he found circumstances more accordant with Marco's description. Before getting 
to Bafk he says of the plain that it " extends to a great distance north and south, and 
is probably 20 miles in breadth;" whilst Bafk "is remarkable for its groves of 
date-trees, in the midst of which it stands, and which occupy a considerable space." 
Further on he speaks of " wild tufts and bushes growing abundantly," and then of 
" thickets of the Ghez tree." He heard of the wild asses, but did not see any. In 
his report to the Foreign Office, alluding to Marco Polo's account, he says : " It is 
still true that wild asses and other game are found in the wooded spots on the road." 
The ass is the Asinus Onager, the Gor Khar of Persia, or Kulan of the Tartars. 
{Khan. Mem. p. 200 ; Id. sur Marco Polo, p. 21 ; /. R. G. S. XXV. 20-29 ; M*"' 
Abbotfs MS. Report in Foreign office. ) [ The difficulty has now been explained by 
General Houtum-Schindler in a valuable paper published in the Jour. Roy. As. Soc. 
N.S. XIII., October, 1881, p. 490. He says : " Marco Polo travelled from Yazd to 
Kerman vid Bafk. His description of the read, seven days over great plains, harbour 
at three places only, is perfectly exact. The fine woods, producing dates, are at Bafk 
itself. (The place is generally called Baft.) Partridges and quails still abound ; wild 
asses I saw several on the western road, and I was told that there were a great many 
on the Bafk road. Travellers and caravans now always go by the eastern road vid 

90 MARCO POLO Book I. 

Anar and Bahrdmabdd. Before the Sefavfehs (/.^. before A.D. 1500) the Anar road 
was hardly, if ever, used ; travellers always took the Bafk road. The country from 
Yazd to Anar, 97 miles, seems to have been totally uninhabited before the Sefavfehs. 
Anar, as late as A.D. 1340, is mentioned as the frontier place of Kerman to the north, 
on the confines of the Yazd desert. When Shah Abbis had caravanserais built at 
three places between Yazd and Anar (Zein ud-dfn, Kerman-shahan, and Shamsh), the 
eastern road began to be neglected." (Cf. Major Sykes' Persia, ch. xxiii.)— H. C] 


Concerning the Kingdom of Kerman. 

Kerman is a kingdom which is also properly in Persia, 
and formerly it had a hereditary prince. Since the 
Tartars conquered the country the rule is no longer 
hereditary, but the Tartar sends to administer whatever 
lord he pleases.^ In this kingdom are produced the 
stones called turquoises in great abundance ; they are 
found in the mountains, where they are extracted from 
the rocks.^ There are also plenty of veins of steel and 
Ondaniqtie} The people are very skilful in making 
harness of war ; their saddles, bridles, spurs, swords, 
bows, quivers, and arms of every kind, are very well 
made indeed according to the fashion of those parts. 
The ladies of the country and their daughters also 
produce exquisite needlework in the embroidery of silk 
stuffs in different colours, with figures of beasts and 
birds, trees and flowers, and a variety of other patterns. 
They work hangings for the use of noblemen so deftly 
that they are marvels to see, as well as cushions, pillows, 
quilts, and all sorts of things.* 

In the mountains of Kerman are found the best 
falcons in the world. They are inferior in size to the 
Peregrine, red on the breast, under the neck, and 
between the thighs ; their flight so swift that no bird 
can escape them.^ 


On quitting the city you ride on for seven days, 
always finding towns, villages, and handsome dwelling- 
houses, so that it is very pleasant travelling ; and there 
is excellent sport also to be had by the way in hunting 
and hawking. When you have ridden those seven days 
over a plain country, you come to a great mountain ; 
and when you have got to the top of the pass you find 
a great descent which occupies some two days to go 
down. All along you find a variety and abundance of 
fruits ; and in former days there were plenty of inhabited 
places on the road, but now there are none ; and you 
meet with only a few people looking after their cattle 
at pasture. From the city of Kerman to this descent 
the cold in winter is so great that you can scarcely abide 
it, even with a great quantity of clothing.® 

Note i. — Kerman is mentioned by Ptolemy, and also by Ammianos amongst the 
cities of the country so called {Carmania) : "inter quas nitet Cannana omnium 
mater." (XXIII. 6.) 

M. Pauthier's supposition that Sitjdn was in Polo's time the capital, is incorrect. 
(See N. et E. XIV. 208, 290.) Our Author's Kerman is the city still so called ; and 
its proper name would seem to have been Kuwdshir. (See Reitmttd, Mim. sur Plrtde, 
171 ; also Sprenger P. and R. R. 77.) According to Khanikoflfit is 5535 feet above 
the sea. 

Kermin, on the fall of the Beni Buya Dynasty, in the middle of the llth century, 
came into the hands of a branch of the Seljukian Turks, who retained it till the con- 
quests of the Kings of Khwarizm, which just preceded the Mongol invasion. In 
1226 the Amir Borak, a Kara Khitaian, who was governor on behalf of Jalaluddin of 
Khwarizm, became independent under the title of Kutlugh Sultan. [He died in 1234.] 
The Mongols allowed this family to retain the immediate authority, and at the time 
when Polo returned from China the representative of the house was a lady known as 
the Padishah Khdtun [who reigned from 1291], the wife successively of the Ilkhans 
Abaka and Kaikhatu ; an ambitious, clever, and masterful woman, who put her own 
brother Siyurgutmish to death as a rival, and was herself, after the decease of Kaikhatu, 
put to death by her brother's widow and daughter [1294]. The Dynasty continued, 
nominally at least, to the reign of the Ilkhan Khodabanda (1304-13), when it was 
extinguished. [See Major Sykes' Persia, chaps, v. and xxiii.] 

Kerman was a Nestorian see, under the Metropolitan of Fars. (Ilch. passim ; Weil, 
III. 454; Lequieti, II. 1256.) 

[ "There is some confusion with regard to the names of Kerman both as a town and 
as a province or kingdom. We have the names Kerman, Kuwashfr, Bardshir. I 
should say the original name of the whole country was Kerman, the ancient Kara- 
mania. A province of this was called Kureh-i-Ardeshir, which, being contracted, 
became Kuwashfr, and is spoken of as the province in which Ardeshfr Babekan, the 
first Sassanian monarch, resided. A part of Kureh-i-Ardeshir was called BardsMr, or 

92 MARCO POLO Book I. 

Bard-i-Ardesh(r, now occasionally Bardsir, and the present city of Kerman was 
situated at its north-eastern corner. This town, during the Middle Ages, was called 
Bardshfr. On a coin of Qara Arslan Beg, King of Kerman, of A.H. 462, Mr. 
Stanley Lane Poole reads Yazdashfr instead of Bardshfr. Of Al Idrfsf's Yazdashfr 
I see no mention in histories ; Bardshfr was the capital and the place where most of 
the coins were struck. Yazdashfr, if such a place existed, can only have been a place 
of small importance. It is, perhaps, a clerical error for Bardshfr ; without diacritical 
points, both words are written alike. Later, the name of the city became Kerman, 
the name Bardshfr reverting to the district lying south-west of it, with its principal 
place Mashfz. In a similar manner Mashfz was often, and is so now, called 
Bardshfr. Another old town sometimes confused with Bardshfr was Sfrjan or 
Shfrjan, once more important than Bardshfr ; it is spoken of as the capital of 
Kerman, of Bardshfr, and of Sardsfr. Its name now exists only as that of a district, 
with principal place S'afdabad. The history of Kerman, 'Agd-ul-'OU, plainly says 
Bardshfr is the capital of Kerman, and from the description of Bardshfr there is no 
doubt of its having been the present town Kerman. It is strange that Marco Polo 
does not give the name of the city. In Assemanni's Bibliotheca Orientalis Kuwashfr 
and Bardashir are mentioned as separate cities, the latter being probably the old 
Mashfz, which as early as A.H. 582 (A.D. 11 86) is spoken of in the History of Kermdtt 
as an important town. The Nestorian bishop of the province Kerman, who stood 
under the Metropolitan of Fars, resided at Hormuz." {Houtum-Schindler, I.e. pp. 

There does not seem any doubt as to the identity of Bardashir with the present city 
of Kerman. (See 77/1? Cities of Kinnan in the time of Hamd- Allah Mustawfi and 
Marco Polo, by Guy le Strange, Jour. R. As. Sac. April, 1901, pp. 281, 290.) 
Ilamd-Allah * the author of the Cosmography known as the Nuzhat-al-Kfdub or 
'* Heart's Delight." (Cf. Major Sykes' Persia, chap, xvi., and the Geographical Journal 
for February, 1902, p. 166.) — H. C.J 

Note 2. — A MS. treatise on precious stones cited by Ouseley mentions Shebavek 
in Kerman as the site of a Turquoise mine. This is prol:)ably Shahr-i-Babek, about 
100 miles west of the city of Kerman, and not far from Pdrez, where Abbott tells us 
there is a mine of these stones, now abandoned. Goebel, one of Khanikofifs party, 
found a deposit of turquoises at Taft, near Yezd. {Ouseley s' Travels, I. 211 ; J. P. 
G. S. XXVI. 63-65; Khan. Mdm. 203.) 

["The province Kerman is still rich in turquoises. The mines of Parfz or Parez 
are at Chemen - i - mo - aspan, 16 miles from Parfz on the road to Bahramabad 
(principal place of Rafsinjan), and opposite the village or garden called G6d-i-Ahmer. 
These mines were worked up to a few years ago ; the turquoises were of a pale blue. 
Other turquoises are found in the present Bardshfr plain, and not far from Mashfz, on 
the slopes of the Chehel tan mountain, opposite a hill called the Bear Hill (tal-i-Khers). 
The Shehr-i-Babek turquoise mines are at the small village Karfk, a mile from 
Medvar-i - Bala, 10 miles north of Shehr-i-Babek. They have two shafts, one of 
which has lately been closed by an earthquake, and were worked up to about twenty 
years ago. At another place, 12 miles from Shehr-i-Babek, are seven old shafts 
now not worked for a long period. The stones of these mines are also of a very pale 
blue, and have no great value." {Houtu7n-Schindler, I.e. 1881, p. 491.) 

The finest turquoises came from Khorasan ; the mines were near Maaden, about 
48 miles to the north of Nishapur. (Heyd, Com. du Levant, II. p. 653 ; Ritter, 
Erdk. pp. 325-330.) 

It is noticeable that Polo does not mention indigo at Kerman. — H. C] 

NoTK 3. — Edrisi says that excellent iron was produced in the "cold mountains" 
N.W. of Jiruft, i.e. somewhere south of the capital; and ihejihdn A'umd, or Great 
Turkish Geography, that the steel mines of Niriz, on the borders of Kermdn, were 
famous. These are also spoken of by Teixeira. Major St. John enables me to in- 


dicate their position, in the hills east of Niriz. (Edrisi, vol. L p. 430 ; Hammer, Mhn. 
lur la Perse, p. 275 ; Teixdra, Kelaciones, p. 378 ; and see Map of Itineraries, 
No. II.) 

[ " Marco Polo's steel mines are probably the Parpa iron mines on the road from 
Kerman to Shfraz, called even to-day M'adeni-fiilad (steel mine) ; they are not worked 
now. Old Kerman weapons, daggers, swords, old stirrups, etc., made of steel, are 
really beautiful, and justify Marco Polo's praise of them." {Houtum-Schindler, 
I.e. p. 49i.)-H. C] 

Gndanique of the Geog. Text, Andaine of Pauthier's, Andantcum of the Latin, 
is an expression on which no light has been thrown since Ramusio's time. The 
latter often asked the Persian merchants who visited Venice, and they all agreed in 
stating that it was a sort of steel of such surpassing value and excellence, that in the 
days of yore a man who possessed a mirror, or sword, of Andanic regarded it as he 
would some precious jewel. This seems to me excellent evidence, and to give the 
true clue to the meaning of Ondanique. I have retained the latter form because it 
points most distinctly to what I believe to be the real word, viz. Hundwdniy, 
" Indian Steel." * {?>tc Johnson' s Pers. Diet, and De Sacys Chrestomathie Arabe, II. 
148.) In the Voeabulista Arabieo, of about a.d. 1200 (Florence, 1871, p. 211), 
Hunduwdn is explained by En sis. VUllers explains Hundwdn as " anything peculiar 
to India, especially swords," and quotes from Firdusi, " Khanjar-i-Hundwdn^' a 
hanger of Indian steel. 

The like expression appears in the quotation from Edrisi below as Hindiah, and 
found its way into Spanish in the shapes of Alhinde, Alfinde, Alinde, first with the 
meaning of steel, then assimiing, that of steel mirror, and finally that of metallic foil 
of a glass mirror. (See Dozy and Engelmann, 2d ed. pp. 144-145.) Hint or Al-hint 
is used in Berber also for steel. {See J. P. A. S. IX. 255.) 

The sword-blades of India had a great fame over the East, and Indian steel, 
according to esteemed authorities, continued to be imported into Persia till days quite 
recent. Its fame goes back to very old times. Ctesias mentions two wonderful 
swords of such material that he got from the king of Persia and his mother. It is 
perhaps the ferrttm candidum of which the Malli and Oxydracae sent a ico talents 
weight as a present to Alexander.t Indian Iron and Steel (eriSrjpos 'IvSi^ds koX 
(TTbiiwiia) are mentioned in the Periplus as imports into the Abyssinian ports. 
Ferrum Indiaitn appears (at least according to one reading) among the Oriental 
species subject to duty in the Law of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus on that matter. 
Salmasius notes that among surviving Greek chemical treatises there was one xepi 
Pa<p^s 'lydiKov aid-qpov, " On the Tempering of Indian Steel." Edrisi says on this 
subject: "The Hindus excel in the manufacture of iron, and in the preparation of 
those ingredients along with which it is fused to obtain that kind of soft Iron which 
is usually styled Indian Steel (Hindiah).:^ They also have workshops wherein are 
forged the most famous sabres in the world. . . . It is impossible to find anything to 
surpass the edge that you get from Indian Steel {al-hadid al-Hindi)." 

Allusions to the famous sword-blades of India would seem to be frequent in 
Arabic literature. Several will be found in Hamasa's collection of ancient Arabic 
poems translated by Freytag. The old commentator on one of these passages says : 
" Ut optimos gladios significet . . , Indicos esse dixit," and here the word used in 
the original is Hundwdniyah. In Manger's version of Arabshah's Life of Timur 

* A learned friend objects to Johnson's //untfwdn(y=" Indian Steel," as too absolute ; some word 
for sUet being wanted. Even if it be so, I obser\-e that in the three places where Polo uses Ondanigiu 
(here, ch. xxi., and ch. xlii.), the phrase is always " steel and ondanique." This looks as if his 
mental expression were Puldd-i-Hundiudni, rendered by an idiom like Virgil's pocula et 

t Kenrick suggests that the "bright iron " mentioned by Ezekiel among the wares of Tyre (ch. 
xxvii. 19) can hardly have been anything else than Indian Steel, because named with cassia and 

% Literally rendered by Mr Redhouse : " The Indians do well the combining of the mixtures of 
the chemicals with which they (smelt and) cast the soft iron, and it becomes Indian (steel), being re- 
ferred to India (in this expression)." 

94 MARCO POLO Book I. 

are several allusions of the same kind ; one, a quotation from Aittar, recalls the 
ferriini caiididuin of Curtius : 

" Albi (gladii) Indici meo in sanguine abluunttir." 

In the histories, even of the Mahomedan conquest of India, the Hindu infidels are 
sent X.oJiha7tnam with " the well-watered blade of the Hindi sword " ; or the sword is 
personified as " a Hindu of good family." Coming down to later days, Chardin says 
of the steel of Persia : " They combine it with Indian steel, which is more tractable 
.... and is much more esteemed." Dupre, at the beginning of this century, tells 
us : "I used to believe .... that the steel for the famous Persian sabres came from 
certain mines in Khorasan. But according to all the information I have obtained, I 
can assert that no mine of steel exists in that province. What is used for these blades 
comes in the shape of disks from Lahore." Pottinger names j/^^/ among the imports 
into Kerman from India. Elphinstone the Accurate, in his Caubul, confirms Dupre : 
" Indian Steel [in Afghanistan] is most prized for' the material ; but the best swords 
are made in Persia and in Syria ; " and in his History of India, he repeats : " The 
steel of India was in request with the ancients ; it is celebrated in the oldest Persian 
poem, and is still the material of the scimitars of Khorasan and Damascus." * 

Klaproth, in his Asia Polyglotta, gives Andun as the Ossetish and Andan as the 
Wotiak, for Steel. Possibly these are essentially the same with Himdwdniy and 
Alhinde, pointing to India as the original source of supply. [In the Sikandar Ndma, 
e Bard (or "Book of Alexander the Great," written A.D. 1200, by Abu Muhammad bin 
Yusuf bin Mu, Ayyid-i-Nizamu-'d-Din), translated by Captain H. Wilberforce Clarke 
(Lond., 1881, large 8vo), steel is frequently mentioned : Canto xix. 257, p. 202 ; xx. 
12, p. 211 ; xlv. 38, p. 567 ; Iviii. 32, pp. 695, 42, pp. 697, 62, 66, pp. 699 ; lix. 28, 
p. 703.-H. C] 

Avicenna, in his fifth book De Animd, according to Roger Bacon, distinguishes 
three very different species of iron : " ist. Iron which is good for striking or bearing 
heavy strokes, and for being forged by hammer and fire, but not for cutting-tools. Of 
this hammers and anvils are made, and this is what we commonly call Iron simply. 
2nd. That which is purer, has more heat in it, and is better adapted to take an edge 
and to form cutting-tools, but is not so malleable, viz. Steel. And the 3rd is that 
which is called Andena. This is less known among the Latin nations. Its special 
character is that like silver it is malleable and ductile under a very low degree of heat. 
In other properties it is intermediate between iron and steel." {Fr. R. Baconis Opera 
Inedita, 1859, pp. 382-383.) The same passage, apparently, of Avicenna is quoted by 
Vincent of Beauvais, but with considerable differences. (See Speculum Maturate, 
VII. ch. lii. Ix., and Specul. Doctrinale, XV. ch. Ixiii.) The latter author writes 
Alidena, and I have not been able to refer to Avicenna, so that I am doubtful 
whether his Andena is the same term with the Andaitte of Pauthier and our Ondanique. 

The popular view, at least in the Middle Ages, seems to have regarded Steel as a 
distinct natural species, the product of a necessarily different ore, from iron ; and some 
such view is, I suspect, still common in the East. An old Indian officer told me of the 
reply of a native friend to whom he had tried to explain the conversion of iron into 
steel—" What ! You would have me believe that if I put an ass into the furnace it 
will come forth a horse." And Indian Steel again seems to have been regarded as a 
distinct natural species from ordinary steel. It is in fact made by a peculiar but 
simple process, by which the iron is converted directly into cast-steel, without passing 
through any intermediate stage analogous to that of blister-steel. When specimens 
were first examined in England, chemists concluded that the steel was made direct 
from the ore. The Ondanique of Marco no doubt was a fine steel resembling the 

* In Richardson's Pers. Diet., by Johnson, we have a word RoJtan, Rohina (and other forms). 
"The finest Indian steel, of which the most excellent swords are made ; also the swords made of that 

Texture, with Animals, etc., from a Cashmere Scarf in the Indian Museum. 

" ^c icbCTsts maittcrcs laborcs a btstts tt anstans moot richemcnt." 

96 MARCO POLO Book I. 

Indian article. {^Mailer's Ctesias, p. 80 ; Curtius, IX. 24 ; J\ fuller's Geog.Gr. Min. I. 
262 ; Digest. Novum, Lugd, 1551, Lib, XXXIX. Tit. 4 ; Salmas. Ex. Plinian. II. 
763 ; Edrisi, I. 65-66 ; /. R. S. A. A. 387 seqq. ; Hamasae Cartnina, I. 526 ; Elliot, 
II. 209, 394; Reynolds's Utbi, p. 216.) 

Note 4. — Pauliis Jovius in the l6th century says, I know not on what authority, 
that Kermdn was then celebrated for the fine temper of its steel in scimitars and lance- 
points. These were eagerly bought at high prices by the Turks, and their quality 
was such that one blow of a Kerman sabre would cleave an European helmet without 
turning the edge. And I see that the phrase, " Kermani blade " is used in poetry by 
Marco's contemporary Am(r Khusru of Delhi. {P. Jov. Hist, of his own Time, Bk. 
XIV. ; Elliot, III. 537.) 

There is, or was in Pottinger's time, still a great manufacture of matchlocks at 
Kerman ; but rose-water, shawls, and carpets are t!ie staples of the place now. Polo 
says nothing that points to shawl-making, but it would seem from Edrisi that some 
such manufacture already existed in the adjoining district of Bamm. It is possible 
that the "hangings" spoken of by Polo may refer to the carpets. I have seen a 
genuine Kerman carpet in the house of my friend. Sir Bartle Frere. It is of very short 
pile, very even and dense ; the design, a combination of vases, birds, and floral 
tracery, closely resembling the illuminated frontispiece of some Persian MSS. 

The shawls are inferior to those of Kashmir in exquisite softness, but scarcely in 
delicacy of texture and beauty of design. In 1850, their highest quality did not exceed 
30 tomans (14/.) in price. About 2200 looms were employed on the fabric. A good 
deal of Kerman wool called Ktirk, goes vid Bandar Abbasi and Karachi to Amritsar, 
where it is mixed with the genuine Tibetan wool in the shawl manufacture. Several 
of the articles named in the text, including /ar^a/^j (" cortines") are woven in shawl- 
fabric. I scarcely think, however, that Marco would have confounded woven shawl 
with needle embroidery. And Mr. Khanikofif states that the silk embroidery, of which 
Marco speaks, is still performed with great skill and beauty at Kerman. Our cut 
illustrates the textures figured with animals, already noticed at p. 66. 

The Guebers were numerous here at the end of last century, but they are rapidly 
disappearing now. The Musulman of Kerman is, according to Khanikoff, an 
epicurean gentleman, and even in regard to wine, which is strong and plentiful, his 
divines are liberal. " In other parts of Persia you find the scribblings on the walls of 
Serais to consist of philosophical axioms, texts from the Koran, or abuse of local 
authorities. From Kerman to Yezd you find only rhymes in praise of fair ladies or 
good wine." 

{Pottinger's Travels ; Khanik. MSti. 186 seqq., and Notice, p. 21 ; Afajor Smith's 
Report ; Abbott's MS. Report in F. O. ; Notes by Major O. St. John, R.E.) 

Note 5. — Parez is famous for its falcons still, and so are the districts of Aktar and 
Sirjan. Both Mr. Abbott and Major Smith were entertained with hawking by Persian 
hosts in this neighbourhood. The late Sir O. St. John identifies the bird described as 
the Shdhln (Falco Peregr-inator), one variety of which, the Fdrsi, is abundant in the 
higher mountains of S. Persia. It is now little used in that region, the Terldn or 
goshawk being most valued, but a few are caught and sent for sale to the Arabs of 
Oman. (/. R. G. S. XXV. 50, 63, and Major St. John's Notes.) 

[ '' The fine falcons, * with red breasts and swift of flight,' come from Pdrfz. They 
are, however, very scarce, two or three only being caught every year. A well-trained 
Pdrfz falcon costs from 30 to 50 tomans (12/. to 20/.), as much as a good horse." 
{Houtum-Schindler, I.e. p. 491.) Major Sykes, Persia, ch. xxiii., writes: "Marco 
Polo was evidently a keen sportsman, and his description of the Shdhin, as it is 
termed, cannot be improved upon." Major Sykes has a list given him by a Kh^n of 
seven hawks of the province, all black and white, except the Shdhin, which has yellow 
eyes, and is the third in the order of size. — H. C] 

Note 6. — We defer geographical remarks till the traveller reaches Hormuz, 



Of the City of Camadi and its Ruins; also touching the 
Carauna Robbers. 

After you have ridden down hill those two days, you find 
yourself in a vast plain, and at the beginning thereof there 
is a city called Camadi, which formerly was a great and 
noble place, but now is of little consequence, for the 
Tartars in their incursions have several times ravaged it. 
The plain whereof I speak is a very hot region ; and 
the province that we now enter is called Reobarles. 

The fruits of the country are dates, pistachioes, and 
apples of Paradise, with others of the like not found in 
our cold climate. [There are vast numbers of turtle- 
doves', attracted by the abundance of fruits, but the 
Saracens never take them, for they hold them in 
abomination.] And on this plain there is a kind of bird 
called francolin, but different from the francolin of other 
countries, for their colour is a mixture of black and 
white, and the feet and beak are vermilion colour.^ 

The beasts also are peculiar ; and first I will tell you 
of their oxen. These are very large, and all over white 
as snow ; the hair is very short and smooth, which is 
owing to the heat of the country. The horns are short 
and thick, not sharp in the point ; and between the 
shoulders they have a round hump some two palms high. 
There are no handsomer creatures in the world. And 
when they have to be loaded, they kneel like the camel ; 
once the load is adjusted, they rise. Their load is a 
heavy one, for they are very strong animals. Then 
there are sheep here as big as asses ; and their tails are 
so large and fat, that one tail shall weigh some 30 lbs. 
They are fine fat beasts, and afford capital mutton.^ 

VOL. I. Q 

98 MARCO POLO Book 1. 

In this plain there are a number of villages and 
towns which have lofty walls of mud, made as a defence 
against the banditti,^ who are very numerous, and are 
called Caraonas. This name is given them because 
they are the sons of Indian mothers by Tartar fathers. 
And you must know that when these Caraonas wish to 
make a plundering incursion, they have certain devilish 
enchantments whereby they do bring darkness over the 
face of day, insomuch that you can scarcely discern your 
comrade riding beside you ; and this darkness they will 
cause to extend over a space of seven days' journey. 
They know the country thoroughly, and ride abreast, 
keeping near one another, sometimes to the number of 
10,000, at other times more or fewer. In this way they 
extend across the whole plain that they are going to 
harry, and catch every living thing that is found outside 
of the towns and villages ; man, woman, or beast, nothing 
can escape them ! The old men whom they take in this 
way they butcher ; the young men and the women they 
sell for slaves in other countries ; thus the whole land is 
ruined, and has become well-nigh a desert. 

The King of these scoundrels is called Nogodar. 
This Nogodar had gone to the Court of Chagatai, who 
was own brother to the Great Kaan, with some 10,000 
horsemen of his, and abode with him ; for Chagatai was 
his uncle. And whilst there this Nogodar devised a 
most audacious enterprise, and I will tell you what it was. 
He left his uncle who was then in Greater Armenia, and 
fled with a great body of horsemen, cruel unscrupulous 
fellows, first through Badashan, and then through 
another province called Pashai-Dir, and then through 
another called Ariora-Keshemur. There he lost a 
great number of his people and of his horses, for the 
roads were very narrow and perilous. And when he had 
conquered all those provinces, he entered India at the 


extremity of a province called Dalivar. He established 
himself in that city and government, which he took from 
the King of the country, Asedin Soldan by name, a 
man of great power and wealth. And there abideth 
Nogodar with his army, afraid of nobody, and waging 
war with all the Tartars in his neighbourhood.* 

Now that I have told you of those scoundrels and 
their histor}% I must add the fact that Messer Marco 
himself was all but caught by their bands in such a 
darkness as that I have told you of; but, as it pleased 
God, he got off and threw himself into a village that was 
hard by, called Conosalmi. Howbeit he lost his whole 
company except seven persons who escaped along with 
him. The rest were caught, and some of them sold, 
some put to death.* 

Note i. — Ramasio has " Adam's apple " for apples of Paradise. This was some 
kind of Citrus, though Lindley thinks it impossible to say precisely what According 
to Jacques de Vitry it was a beautiful fruit of the Citron kind, in which the bite of 
human teeth was plainly discernible. (Note to Vulgar Errors, II. 21 1 ; Bongars, I. 
1099. ) Mr. Abbott speaks of this tract as " the districts (of Kerman) l>Tng towards the 
South, which are termed the Ghermseer or Hot Region, where the temperature of 
winter resembles that of a charming spring, and where the palm, orange, and lemon- 
tree flourish." {MS. Report; see also/. R. G. S. XXV. 56.) 

["Marco Polo's apples of Paradise are more probably the fruits of the Konar tree. 
There are no plantains in that part of the country. Turtle doves, now as then, are 
plentiful, and as they are seldom shot, and are said by the people to be unwholesome food, 
we can understand Marco Polo's sajdng that the people do not eat them." {Houtum^ 
Schindler, I.e. pp. 492-493.) — H. C] 

The Francolin here spoken of is, as Major Smith tells me, the Darrdj of the 
Persians, the Black Partridge of English sportsmen, sometimes called the Red-le^ed 
Francolin. The Darraj is found in some parts of Eg>pt, where its peculiar call is 
interpreted by the peasantry into certain Arabic words, meaning " Sweet are the 
corn-ears ! Praised be the Lord ! " In India, Baber tells us, the call of the Black 
Partridge was (less piously) rendered " Sht'r ddram skairak,'^ "I've got milk and 
sugar !" The bird seems to be the arrayas of Athenaens, a fowl "speckled like the 
partridge, but larger," found in Egjpt and Lydia. The Greek version of its cry is 
the best of all : " rpts toTj Kaxovfryoii jtoKct " (" Threefold ills to the ill-doers ! "). This 
is really like the call of the black partridge in India as I recollect it. [Teirao 
francolinus. — H. C] 

{Chrestomathie Arabe, II. 295 ; Baber, 320 ; Yong^s Athen. IX. 39.) 

Note 2. — Abbott mentions the humped (though small) oxen in this part of Persia, 
and that in some of the neighbouring districts they are taught to kneel to receive the 
load, an accomplishment which seems to have struck Mas'udi (III. 27), who says he 
saw it exhibited by oxen at Rai (near modem Tehran). The Afn Akbari also 
ascribes it to a very fine breed in Bengal. The whimsical name Zebu, given to the 
VOL. I. C 2 



Book I. 

humped or Indian ox in books of Zoology, was taken by Buffon from the exhibitors 
of such a beast at a French Fair, who probably invented it. That the humped 
breeds of oxen existed in this part of Asia in ancient times is shown by sculptures at 
Kouyunjik. (See cut below. ) 

A letter from Agassiz, printed in the Proc. As. Soc. Bengal (1865), refers to wild 
"zebus," and calls the species a small one. There is no wild "zebu," and some of 
the breeds are of enormous size. 

[ " White oxen, with short thick horns and a round hump between the shoulders, 
are now very rare between Kerman and Bender 'Abbas. They are, however, still to 
be found towards Beliichistan and Mekran, and they kneel to be loaded like camels. 
The sheep which I saw had fine large tails ; I did not, however, hear of any having so 
high a weight as thirty pounds." {Houtum-Schindler, I.e. p. 493.) — H. C] 

The fat-tailed sheep is well known in many parts of Asia and part of Africa. It is 
mentioned by Ctesias, and by /Elian, who says the shepherds used to extract the 
tallow from the live animal, sewing up the tail again ; exactly the same story is told 
by the Chinese Pliny, Ma Twan-lin. Marco's statements as to size do not surpass those 
of the admirable Kampfer : " In size they so much surpass the common sheep that it 
is not unusual to see them as tall as a donkey, whilst all are much more than three 
feet ; and as to the tail I shall not exceed the truth, though I may exceed belief, if I 
say that it sometimes reaches 40 lbs. in weight." Captain Hutton was assured by an 
Afghan sheep-master that tails had occurred in his flocks weighing 12 Tabriz mans, 
upwards of 76 lbs. ! The Afghans use the fat as an aperient, swallowing a dose of 4 
to 6 lbs ! Captain Hutton's friend testified that trucks to bear the sheep-tails were 

Humped Oxen from the Assyrian Sculptures at Koj'unjik. 

sometimes used among the Taimiinis (north of Herat). This may help to locate that 
ancient and slippery story. Josafat Barbaro says he had seen the thing, but is vague 
as to place, {yi. Han Nat. An. III. 3, IV. 32; Amoen. Exoticae ; Ferrier, H. of 
Afghans, p. 294 ; /. A. S. B. XV. 160.) 

[Rabelais says (Bk. I. ch. xvi.): "Si de ce vous efmerveillez, efmerveillez vous 
d'advantage de la queue des beliers de la Scyihie, qui pesait plus de trente livres ; 
et des moutons de Surie, esquels fault (si Tenaud, diet vray) affuster une charrette au 
cul, pour la porter tant qu'elle est longue et pesanle." (See G. Capus, A travers le roy. 
de Tamerlan, pp. 21-23, on the fat sheep.) — II. C] 

Note 3. — The word rendered banditti is in Pauthier Carans, in G. Text 
Carattncs, in the Latin "a scaranis ct vialandrinis." The last is no doubt 



correct, standing for the old Italian Scherani, bandits. (See Caihay, p. 287, 
note. ) 

Note 4- — ^This is a knotty subject, and needs a long note. 

The Karaunahs are mentioned often in the histories of the Mongol regime in 
Persia, first as a Mongol tribe forming a Tuman, i.e. a division or corps of 10,000 
in the Mongol army (and I suspect it was the phrase the Tuman of the Karaunahs in 
Marco's mind that suggested his repeated use of the number 10,000 in speaking of 
them) ; and afterwards as daring and savage freebooters, scouring the Persian 
provinces, and having their headquarters on the Eastern frontiers of Persia. They 
are described as having had their original seats on the mountains north of the 
Chinese wall near Karaunjidunox Khidun; and their special accomplishment in war 
was the use of Naphtha Fire. Rashiduddin mentions the Kardnut as a branch of 
the great Mongol tribe of the Kungurats, who certainly ha I their seat in the vicinity 
named, so these may possibly be connected with the Karaunahs. The same author 
says that the Tuman of the Karaunahs formed the Inju ox peculiuni of Arghun Khan. 

Wassaf calls them " a kind of goblins rather than human beings, the most daring of 
all the Mongols" ; and Mirkhond speaks in like terms. 

Dr. Bird of Bombay, in discussing some of the Indo-Scythic coins which bear the 
word Korano attached to the prince's name, asserts this to stand for the name of the 
Karaunah, "who were a Graeco- Indo-Scythic tribe of robbers in the Punjab, who are 
mentioned by Marco Polo," a somewhat hasty conclusion which Pauthier adopts. 
There is, Quatremere observes, no mention of the Karaunahs before the Moi^ol 
invasion, and this he regards as the great obstacle to any supposition of their ha\-ing 
been a people previously settled in Persia. Reiske, indeed, with no reference to the 
present subject, quotes a passage from Hamza of Ispahan, a writer of the lOth century, 
in which mention is made of certain troops called Kardunahs. But it seems certain 
that in this and other like cases the real reading was Kazdwinah, people of Kazrin. 
(See Reiske' s Constant. Porphyrog. Bonn. ed. II. 674; Gottwaldfs Hamza Ispahanensis, 
p. 161 ; and Quatremere '\nj. A. ser. V. torn. xv. 173.) Ibn Batuta only once men- 
tions the name, saying that Tughlak Shah of Dehli was "one of those Turks called 
Kardimas who dwell in the /noimtains between Sind and Turkestan." Hammer has 
suggested the derivation of the word Carbine from Kardwinah (as he writes), and a 
link in such an etymology is perhaps furnished by the fact that in the l6th century the 
word Carbine was used for some kind of irregular horseman. 

{Gold. Horde, 214 ; Hch. I. 17, 344, etc. ; Erdmann, 168, 199, etc. ; J. A. S., 
B. X. 96; Q. R. 130; Not. et Ext. XIV. 282; /. B. III. 201 ; Ed. fVebbe, his 
Travailes, p. 17, 1590. Reprinted 1868.) 

As regards the account given by Marco of the origin of the Caraonas, it seems 
almost necessarily a mistaken one. As KhanikoflF remarks, he might have confounded 
them with the Biluchis, whose Turanian aspect (at least as regards the Brahuis) shows 
a strong infusion of Turki blood, and who might be rudely described as a cross between 
Tartars and Indians. It is indeed an odd fact that the word Kardni (vulgo Cranny) 
is commonly applied in India at this day to the mixed race sprung from European 
fathers and Native mothers, and tliis might be cited in corroboration of Marsden's 
reference to the Sanskrit Karana, but I suspect the coincidence arises in another way. 
Karana is the name applied to a particular class of mixt blood, whose special occupa- 
tion was writing and accounts. But the prior sense of the word seems to have been 
" clever, skilled," and hence a writer or scribe. In this sense we find Kardni applied 
in Ibn Batuta's day to a ship's clerk, and it is used in the same sense in the Ain Akbari. 
Clerkship is also the predominant occupation of the East- Indians, and hence the term 
Karani is applied to them from their business, and not from their mixt blood. We 
shall see hereafter that thf re is a Tartar term Arghun, applied to fair children bom of 
a Mongol mother and white father ; it is possible that there may have been a correlative 
word like Kardun (from Kara, black) applied to dark children bom of Mongol father 
and black mother, and that this led Marco to a false theory. 



Book 1. 

[Major Sykes (Persia) devotes a chapter (xxiv.) to T/ie Karwdn Expedition in 
which he says : " Is it not possible that the Karwanis are the Caraonas of Marco 
Polo ? They are distinct from the surrounding Baluchis, and pay no tribute." — H. C] 

Let us turn now to the name of Nogodar. Contemporaneously with the Karaunahs 
we have frequent mention of predatory bands known as Nigudaris, who seem to be 
distinguished from the Karaunahs, but had a like character for truculence. Their 
headquarters were about Sijistan, and Quatremere seems disposed to look upon them 
as a tribe indigenous in that quarter. Hammer says they were originally the troops of 

Portrait of a HazSra. 

Prince Nigudar, grandson of Chaghatai, and that they were a rabble of all sorts, 
Mongols, Turkmans, Kurds, Shiils, and what not. We hear of their revolts and 
disorders down to 1319, under which date Mirkhond says that there had been one- 
and-twenty fights with them in four years. Again we hear of them in 1336 about 
Herat, whilst in Baber's time they turn up as Nukdari, fairly established as tribes in 
the mountainous tracts of Karnud and Ghiir, west of Kabul, and coupled with the 
Ilazaras, who still survive both in name and character. " Among both," says Baber, 
" there are some who speak the Mongol language." Hazaras and Takdaris (read 
Nukdaris) again occur coupled in the His/oty of Sind. (See Elliot, I. 303-304.) 
[On the struggle against Timur of Toumen, veteran chief of the Nikoudrians (1383-84), 
see Major David Price's Alahoinviedan History, London, 1821, vol. iii. pp. 47-49, 
H. C. ] In maps of the 17th century, as of Hondius and Blaeuw, we find the moun- 
tains north of Kabul termed Nochdarizari, in which we cannot miss the combination 
Nigudar-Hazarah, whencesoever it was got. The Hazdras are eminently Mongol in 


feature to this day, and it is very probable that they or some part cf them are the 
descendants of the Karaunahs or the Nigudaris, or of both, and that the origination of 
the bands so called, from the scum of the Mongol inundation, is thus in degree con- 
firmed. The Hazaras generally are said to speak an old dialect of Persian. But one 
tribe in Western Afghanistan retains both the name of Mongols and a language of 
which six-sevenths (judging from a vocabulary published by Major Leech) appear to 
be Mongol. Leech says, too, that the Hazaras generally are termed Moghals by the 
Ghilzais. It is worthy of notice that Abu'l Fazl, who also mentions the Nukdaris 
among the nomad tribes of Kabul, says the Hazaras were the remains of the Chaghataian 
army which Mangu Kaan sent to the aid of Hulaku, under the command of Nigudar 
Oghlan. {Not. et Ext. XIV. 284; lick. I. 284, 309, etc.; Baber, 134, 136, 140; 
J. As. ser. IV. tom. iv. 98 ; Ayeen Akbery, II, 192-193.) 

So far, excepting as to the doubtful point of the relation between Karaunahs and 
Nigudaris, and as to the origin of the former, we have a general accordance with 
Polo's representations. But it is not very easy to identify with certainty the inroad 
on India to which he alludes, or the person intended by Nogodar, nephew of 
Chaghatai. It seems as if two persons of that name had each contributed something 
to Marco's history. 

We find in Hammer and D'Ohsson that one of the causes which led to the war 
between Barka Khan and Hulaku in 1262 (see above, Prologue, ch. ii.) was the 
violent end that had befallen three princes of the House of Juji, who had accompanied 
Hulaku to Persia in command of the contingent of that House. When war actually 
broke out, the contingent made their escape from Persia. One party gained Kipchak 
by way of Derbend ; another, in greater force, led by NiGUDAR and Onguja, escaped 
to Khorasan, pursued by the troops of Hulaku, and thence eastward, where they 
seized upon Ghazni and other districts bordering on India. 

But again : Nigudar Aghul, or Oghlan, son of (the younger) Juji, son ol Chaghatai, 
was the leader of the Chaghataian contingent in Hulaku's expedition, and was still 
attached to the Mongol-Persian army in 1269, when Borrak Khan, of the House of 
Chaghatai, was meditating war against his kinsman, Abaka of Persia. Borrak sent to 
the latter an ambassador, w ho was the bearer of a secret message to Prince Nigudar, 
begging him not to serve against the head of his own House. Nigudar, upon this, 
made a pretext of retiring to his own headquarters in Georgia, hoping to reach 
Borrak's camp by way of Derbend. He was, however, intercepted, and lost many of 
his people. With icoo horse he took refuge in Georgia, but was refused an asylum, 
and was eventually captured by Abaka's commander on that frontier. His ofiicers 
were executed, his troops dispersed among Abaka's army, and his own life spared 
under surveillance. I find no more about him. In 1278 Hammer speaks of him as 
dead, and of the Nigudarian bands as ha\'ing been formed out of his troops. But 
authority is not given. 

The second Nigudar is evidently the one to whom Abu'l Fazl alludes. Khanikoff 
assumes that the Nigudar who went off towards India about 1260 (he puts the date 
earlier) was Nigudar, the grandson of Chaghatai, but he takes no notice of the second 
story just quoted. 

In the former story we have bands under Nigudar going off by Ghazni, and con- 
quering country on the Indian frofttier. In the latter we have Nigudar, a descendant 
of Chaghatai, trying to escape from his camp on the frontier of Great Armenia. 
Supposing the Persian historians to be correct, it looks as if Marco had rolled two 
stories into one. 

Some other passages may be cited before quitting this part of the subject. A 
chronicle of Herat, translated by Barbier de Meynard, says, under 1298 : "The King 
Fakhruddin (of Herat) had the imprudence to authorise the Amir Nigudar to establish 
himself in a quarter of the city, with 300 adventurers from 'Irak. This little troop 
made frequent raids in Kuhistan, Sijistan, Farrah, etc., spreading terror. Khoda- 
banda, at the request of his brother Ghazan Khan, came from Mazanderan to demand 
the immediate surrender of these brigands," etc. And in the account of the 


tremendous foray of the Chaghataian Prince Kotlogh Shah, on the east and south of 
Persia in 1299, we find one of his captains called Nigudar Bahadur. {Gold. Ho7-de, 
146, I57> 164; D'-Ohsson, IV. 378 seqq., 433 seqq., 513 seqq.; Ilch. I. 216, 261, 
284; II, 104;/. A. %kx. V. torn. xvii. 455-456, 507 ; Khan. Notice, 31.) 

As regards the route taken by Prince Nogodar in his incursion into India, we have 
no difficulty with Badakhshan. Pashai-Dir is a copulate name ; the former 
part, as we shall see reason to believe hereafter, representing the country between the 
Hindu Kush and the Kabul River (see infra, ch. xxx.); the latter (as Pauthier 
already has pointed out), DiR, the chief town of Panjkora, in the hill country north 
of Peshawar. In Ariora-Keshemtir the first portion only is perplexing. I will 
mention the most probable of the solutions that have occurred to me, and a second, 
due to that eminent archaeologist, General A. Cunningham, (i) Arioi-a may be some 
corrupt or Mongol form of Aryavartta, a sacred name applied to the Holy l^nds of 
Indian Buddhism, of which Kashmir was eminently one to the Northern Buddhists. 
Oron, in Mongol, is a Region or Realm, and may have taken the place of Vartta, 
giving Aryoron or Ariora. (2) '^ Ariora," General Cunningham writes, " I take to be 
the Harhaura of Sanscrit — i.e. the Western Panjab. Harhaura was the North- 
western Division of the Nava-Khanda, or Nine Divisions of Ancient India. It is 
mentioned between Sindhn-Sauvira in the west {i.e. Sind), and Madra in the north 
{i.e. the Eastern Panjab, which is still called Madar-Des). The name of Plarhaura 
is, I think, preserved in the Haro River. Now, the Sind-Sagor Doab formed a 
portion of the kingdom of Kashmir, and the joint names, like those of Sindhu-Sauvira, 
describe only one State." The names of the Nine Divisions in question are given by 
the celebrated astronomer, Varaha Mihira, who lived in the beginning of the 6th 
century, and are repeated by Al Biruni. (See Reinaud, Mt!ni. stir P hide, p. 116.) The 
only objection to this happy solution seems to lie in Al Biruni's remark, that the 
names in question, were in general no longer used even in his time (a. D. 1030). 

There can be no doubt that Asidin Soldan is, as Khanikoff has said, Ghaiassuddin 
Balban, Sultan of Delhi from 1266 to 1286, and for years before that a man of great 
power in India, and especially in the Panjab, of which he had in the reign of Rukn- 
uddin (1236) held independent possession. 

Firishta records several inroads of Mongols in the Panjab during the reign of 
Ghaiassuddin, in withstanding one of which that King's eldest son was slain ; and 
there are constant indications of their presence in Sind till the end of the century. 
But we find in that historian no hint of the chief circumstances of this part of the 
story, viz., the conquest of Kashmir and the occupation oi Dalivar or Dilivar {G. T.), 
evidently (whatever its identity) in the plains of India. I do find, however, in the 
history of Kashmir, as given by Lassen (III. 1138), that in the end of 1259, Laksha- 
mana Deva, King of Kashmir, was killed in a campaign against the Twushka 
(Turks or Tartars), and that their leader, who is called Kajjala, got hold of the 
country and held it till 1287.* It is difficult not to connect this both with Polo's 
story and with the escapade of Nigudar about 1260, noting also that this occupation of 
Kashmir extended through the whole reign of Ghaiassuddin. 

We seem to have a memory of Polo's story preserved in one of Elliot's extracts 
from Wassaf, which states that in 708 (a.d. 1308), after a great defeat of a Mongol 
inroad which had passed the Ganges, Sultan Ala'uddin Khilji ordered a pillar of 
Mongol heads to be raised before the Badaun gate, " as was donz with the Nigudari 
Moghtils'' {^\l. i,^. 

We still have to account for the occupation and locality of Dalivar ; Marsden 
supposed it to be Lahore ; Khanikoff considers it to be Dirdwal, the ancient desert 
capital of the Bhattis, properly (according to Tod) Dcordwal, but by a transposition 
common in India, as it is in Italy, sometimes called Dihhvar, in the modern State of 
Bhdwalpur. But General Cunningham suggests a more probable locality in DilAwar 
on the west bank of the Jelam, close to Ddrdpiir, and opposite to Mung. These two 

* Khajlak is mentioned as a leader of the Mongol raids in India by the poet Amir Khusru (a.d. 
1289; see Elliot, III. 527)- 


sites, Dilawar-Darapiir on the west bank, and Mung on the east, are identified by 
General Cunningham (I believe justly) with Alexander's Bucephala and Nicaea. The 
spot, which is just opposite the battlefield of Chilianwala, was visited (iSth December, 
1868) at my request, by my friend Colonel R. Maclagan, R.E. He writes: "The 
present village of Dilawar stands a little above the town of Darapur (I mean on 
higher ground), looking down on Darapur and on the river, and on the cultivated and 
wooded plain along the river bank. The remains of the Old Dilawar, in the form of 
quantities of large bricks, cover the low round-backed spurs and knolls of the broken 
rocky hills around the present village, but principally on the land side. They cover 
a large area of verj- irr^ular character, and may clearly be held to represent a very 
considerable town. There are no indications of the form of buildings, .... but 
simply large quantities of large bricks, which for a long time have been carried away 

and used for modern buildings After rain coins are found on the surface 

There can be no doubt of a ver)' large extent of ground, of very irregular and uninvit- 
ing character, having been covered at some lime with buildings. The position on the 
Jelam would answer well for the Dilawar which the Mongol invaders took and held. 
.... The strange thing is that the name should not be mentioned (I believe it is 
not) by any of the well-known Mahomedan historians of India. So much for 

Dilawar The people have no traditions. But there are the remains ; and 

there is the name, borne by the existing village on part of the old site." I had come 
to the conclusion that this was almost certainly Polo's Dalivar, and had mapped it as 
such, before I read certain passages in the History of Ziyduddin Bami, which have 
been translated by Professor Dowson for the third volume of Elliot's India. When 
the comrades of Ghaiassuddin Balban urged him to conquests, the Sultan pointed to 
the constant danger from the Mongols,* saying : " These accursed wretches have 
heard of the wealth and condition of Hindustan, and have set their hearts upon con- 
quering and plundering it. They have taken a7td plundered Lahor within my terri- 
tories, and no year passes that they do not come here and plunder the villages 

They even talk about the conquest and sack of Delhi." And under a later date the 
historian says : '* The Sultan .... marched to Lahor, and ordered the rebuilding 
of the fort which the Mughals had destroyed in the reigns of the sons of Shamsuddin. 
The towns and villages of Lahor which the Mughals had devastated and laid waste 
he repeopled." Considering these passages, and the fact that Polo had no personal 
knowledge of Upper India, I now think it probable that Marsden was right, and that 
Dilivar is really a misunderstanding of " Citth di Livar" for Lahawar or Lahore. 

The Magical darhuss which Marco ascribes to the evil arts of the Karaunas is 
explained by KhanikoflF from the phenomenon of Dry Fog, which he has often ex- 
perienced in Khorasan, combined with the Dust Storm with which we are ^miliar 
in Upper India. In Sind these phenomena often produce a great degree of darkness. 
During a battle fought between the armies of Sindh and Kachh in 1762, such a fog 
came on, obscuring the light of day for some six hours, during which the armies were 
intermixed with one another and fighting desperately. When the darkness dispersed 
they separated, and the consternation of both parties was so great at the events of the 
day that both made a precipitate retreat. In 1844 this battle was still spoken of with 
wonder. (/. Bomb. Br. R. A. S. I. 423.) 

Major St. John has given a note on his own ex(>erience of these curious Kerman 
fogs (see Ocean Highways, 1872, p. 286) : " Not a breath of air was stirring, and the 
whole effect was most curious, and utterly unlike'any other fc^ I have seen. No 
deposit of dust followed, and the feeling of the air was decidedly damp. I unfortun- 
ately could not get my hygrometer till the fog had cleared away." 

[ General Houtum-Schindler, I.e. p. 493, writes : " The magical darkness might, 
as Colonel Yule supposes, be explained by the curious drj' fc^s or dust storms, often 
occurring in the neighbourhood of Kerman, but it must be remarked that Marco Polo 

* Profes or Cowell compares the Mongol inroads in the latter part of the 13th and beginaiag of the 
14th century, in their incessant recurrence, to the incursions of the Danes in England. A passage in 
Wassaf (^Z/iV/, 1 1 J. 38) show^; that the Mongols were, circa I254-S5> already in occupation of Sodia 
on the Chenab, and districts adjoining. 


was caught in one of these storms down in Ji'ruft, where, according to the people I 
questioned, such storms now never occur. On the 29th of September, 1879, at 
Kerman, a high wind began to blow from S.S.W. at about 5 P.M. First there came 
thick heavy clouds of dust with a few drops of rain. The heavy dust then settled 
down, the hghter particles remained in the«air, forming a dry fog of such density that 
large objects, like houses, trees, etc., could not even faintly be distinguished at a 
distance of a hundred paces. The barometers suffered no change, the three I had with 
me remained in statu quo.'''' " The heat is over by the middle of September, and after the 
autumnal equinox, there are a few days of what is best described as a dense dry fog. This 
was undoubtedly the haze referred to by Marco Polo." (Ma/or Sykes, ch. iv.) — H.C.] 

" Richthofen's remarkable exposition of the phenomena of the Voss'vsx North China, 
and of the sub-aerial deposits of the steppes and of Central Asia throws some light on 
this. But this hardly applies to St John's experience of " no deposit of dust." (See 
Richthofen, China, pp. 96-97 s. AiS. Note, H. Y.) 

The belief that such opportune phenomena were produced by enchantment was a 
thoroughly Tartar one. D'Herbelot relates (art. Giagathai) that in an action with a 
rebel called Mahomed Tarabi, the Mongols were encompassed by a dust storm which 
they attributed to enchantment on the part of the enemy, and it so discouraged them 
that they took to flight. 

Note 5. — The specification that only seven were saved from Marco's company is 
peculiar to Pauthier's Text, not appearing in the G. T. 

Several names compounded of Salm or Salmi occur on the dry lands on the 
borders of Kerman. Edrisi, however (I. p. 428), names a place called Kanat-ul- 
ShAm as the first march in going from Jiruft to Walashjird. Walashjird is, I 
imagine, represented by Galashkird, Major R. Smith's third march from Jiruft (see 
my Map of Routes from Kerman to Hormuz); and as such an indication agrees with 
the view taken below of Polo's route, I am strongly disposed to identify Kanat-ul- 
Sham with his castello or walled village of Canosalmi. 

[ " Marco Polo's Conosalmi, where he was attacked by robbers and lost the greater 
part of his men, is perhaps the ruined town or village Kamasal (Kahn-i-asal = the 
honey canal), near Kahnuj-i-pancheh and Vakflabad in Jfruft. It lies on the direct 
road between Shehr-i-Daqfamis (Camadi) and the Nevergiin Pass. The road goes 
in an almost due southerly direction. The Nevergiin Pass accords with Marco Polo's 
description of it ; it is very difficult, on account of the many great blocks of sandstone 
scattered upon it. Its proximity to the Bashakird mountains and Mekran easily 
accounts for the prevalence of robbers, who infested the place in Marco Polo's time. 
At the end of the Pass lies the large village Shamfl, with an old fort ; the distance 
thence to the site of Hormuz or Bender 'Abbas (lying more to the west) is 52 miles, two 
days' march. The climate of Bender 'Abbas is very bad, strangers speedily fall sick, 
two of my men died there, all the others were seriously ill." {Houtum-Schindler, 
I.e. pp. 495-496.) Major Sykes (ch. xxiii.) says: "Two marches from Camadi was 
Kahn-i-Panchur, and a stage beyond it lay the ruins of Fariab or Pariab, which 
was once a great city, and was destroyed by a flood, according to local legend. 
It may have been Alexander's Salmous, as it is about the right distance from the 
coast, and if so, could not have been Marco's Cono Salmi. Continuing on, 
Galashkird mentioned by Edrisi, is the next stage."— H. C] 

The raids of the Mekranis and Biluchis long preceded those of the Karaunas, for 
they were notable even in the time of Mahmud of Ghazni, and they have continued to 
our own day to be prosecuted nearly on the same stage and in the same manner. 
About 1721, 4000 horsemen of this description plundered the town of Bander Abbasi, 
whilst Captain Alex. Hamilton was in the port ; and Abbott, in 1850, found the dread 
of Biliich robbers to extend almost to the gates of Ispahan. A striking account of 
the Biliich robbers and their characteristics is given by General Ferrier. (See Hamilton, 
I. 109 ; y. R .G. S. XXV. ; Khanikoff's Mimoire ; Macd. Kinneir, 196; Caravan 
Journeys, p. 437 ^^q- ) 



Of the Descent to the City of Hormos. 

The Plain of which we have spoken extends in a 
southerly direction for five days' journey, and then 
you come to another descent some twenty miles in 
length, where the road is very bad and full of peril, 
for there are many robbers and bad characters about. 
When you have got to the foot of this descent you find 
another beautiful plain called the Plain of Formosa. 
This extends for two days' journey ; and you find in it 
fine streams of water with plenty of date-palms and other 
fruit-trees. There are also many beautiful birds, franco- 
lins, popinjays, and other kinds such as we have none of 
in our country. When you have ridden these two daj^ 
you come to the Ocean Sea, and on the shore you find a 
city with a harbour which is called Hormos.^ Merchants 
come thither from India, with ships loaded with spicery 
and precious stones, pearls, cloths of silk and gold, 
elephants' teeth, and many other wares, which they sell 
to the merchants of Hormos, and which these in turn 
carry all over the world to dispose of again. In fact, 
'tis a city of immense trade. There are plenty of towns 
and villages under it, but it is the capital. The King 
is called Ruomedam Ahomet. It is a very sickly place, 
and the heat of the sun is tremendous. If any foreiorn 
merchant dies there, the King takes all his property. 

In this country they make a wine of dates mixt with 
spices, which is very good. When any one not used to 
it first drinks this wine, it causes repeated and violent 
purging, but afterwards he is all the better for it, and 
gets fat upon it. The people never eat meat and 
wheaten bread except when they are ill, and if they 
take such food when they are in health it makes them 
ill. Their food when in health consists of dates and 


salt-fish (tunny, to wit) and onions, and this kind of diet 
they maintain in order to preserve their health.^ 

Their ships are wretched affairs, and many of them 
get lost ; for they have no iron fastenings, and are only 
stitched together with twine made from jthe husk of the 
Indian nut. They beat this husk until it becomes like 
horse-hair, and from that they spin twine, and with this 
stitch the planks of the ships together. It keeps well, 
and is not corroded by the sea-water, but it will not stand 
well in a storm. The ships are not pitched, but are 
rubbed with fish-oil. They have one mast, one sail, and 
one rudder, and have no deck, but only a cover spread 
over the cargo when loaded. This cover consists of 
hides, and on the top of these hides they put the horses 
which they take to India for sale. They have no iron 
to make nails of,*and for this reason they use only 
wooden trenails in their shipbuilding, and then stitch 
the planks with twine as I have told you. Hence 'tis a 
perilous business to go a voyage in one of those ships, 
and many of them are lost, for in that Sea of India the 
storms are often terrible.^ 

The people are black, and are worshippers of 
Mahommet. The residents avoid living in the cities, 
for the heat in summer is so great that it would kill 
them. Hence they go out (to sleep) at their gardens in 
the ^ountry, where there are streams and plenty of 
wateV. For all that they would not escape but for one 
thing that I will mention. The fact is, you see, that in 
summer a wind often blows across the sands which en- 
compass the plain, so intolerably hot that it would kill 
everybody, were it not that when they perceive that 
wind coming they plunge into water up to the neck, and 
so abide until the wind have ceased.* [And to prove 
the great heat of this wind, Messer Mark related a case 
that befell when he was there. The Lord of Hormos, 
not having paid his tribute to the King of Kerman the 


latter resolved to claim it at the time when the people of 
Hormos were residing away from the city. So he 
caused a force of 1600 horse and 5000 foot to be got 
ready, and sent them by the route of Reobarlesr to take 
the others by surprise. Now, it happened one day that 
through the fault of their guide they were not able to 
reach the place appointed for their night's halt, and were 
obliged to bivouac in a wilderness not far from Hormos. 
In the morning as they were starting on their march 
they were caught by that wind, and every man of them 
was suffocated, so that not one survived to carry the 
tidings to their Lord. When the people of Hormos 
heard of this they went forth to bury the bodies lest 
they should breed a pestilence. But when they laid 
hold of them by the arms to drag them to the pits, the 
bodies proved to be so baked, as it were, by that 
tremendous heat, that the arms parted from the trunks, 
and in the end the people had to dig graves hard by 
each where it lay, and so cast them in.]* 

The people sow their wheat and barley and other 
corn in the month of November, and reap it in the 
month of March. The dates are not gathered till May, 
but otherwise there is no grass nor any other green 
thing, for the excessive heat dries up everything. 

When any one dies they make a great business of 
the mourning, for women mourn their husbands four 
years. During that time they mourn at least once a 
day, gathering together their kinsfolk and friends and 
neighbours for the purpose, and making a great weeping 
and wailing. [And they have women who are mourners 
by trade, and do it for hire.] 

Now, we will quit this country. I shall not, how- 
ever, now go on to tell you about India ; but when time 
and place shall suit we shall come round from the north 
and tell you about it. For the present, let us return by 
another road to the aforesaid city of Kerman, for we 

no MARCO POLO Book I. 

cannot get at those countries that I wish to tell you 
about except through that city. 

I should tell you first, however, that King Ruomedam 
Ahomet of Hormos, which we are leaving, is a liegeman 
of the King of Kerman.^ 

On the road by which we return from Hormos to 
Kerman you meet with some very fine plains, and you 
also find many natural hot baths ; you find plenty of 
partridges on the road ; and there are towns where victual 
is cheap and abundant, with quantities of dates and other 
fruits. The wheaten bread, however, is so bitter, owing to 
the bitterness of the water, that no one can eat it who is 
not used to it. The baths that I mentioned have excellent 
virtues ; they cure the itch and several other diseases.'^ 

Now, then, I am going to tell you about the countries 
towards the north, of which you shall hear in regular order. 
Let us begin. 

Note i. — Having now arrived at HoRMUZ, it is time to see what can be made of 
the Geography of the route from Kermdn to that port. 

The port of Hormuz, [which had taken the place of Kish as the most important 
market of the Persian Gulf (H. C. )], stood upon the mainland. A few years later it was 
transferred to the island which became so famous, under circumstances which are con- 
cisely related by Abulfeda : — " Hormuz is the port of Kerman, a city rich in palms, and 
very hot. One who has visited it in our day tells me that the ancient Hormuz was 
devastated by the incursions of the Tartars, and that its people transferred their abode 
to an island in the sea called Zarun, near the continent, and lying west of the old city. 
At Hormuz itself no inhabitants remain, but some of the lowest order." (In Busching, 
IV. 261-262.) Friar Odoric, about 1321, found Hormuz " on an island some 5 miles 
distant from the main." Ibn Batuta, some eight or nine years later, discriminates 
between Hormuz or Moghistan on the mainland, and New Hormuz on the Island of 
Jeraun, but describes only the latter, already a great and rich city. 

The site of the Island Hormuz has often been visited and described ; but I could 
find no published trace of any traveller having verified the site of the more ancient city, 
though the existence of its ruins was known to John de Barros, who says that a little 
fort called Cuxstac (Ktihestek of P. della Valle, II. p. 300) stood on the site. An 
application to Colonel Pelly, the very able British Resident at Bushire, brought me 
from his own personal knowledge the information that I sought, and the following 
particulars are compiled from the letters with which he has favoured me : — 

" The ruins of Old Hormuz, well known as such, stand several miles up a creek, 
and in the centre of the present district of Minao. They are extensive (though in 
large part obliterated by long cultivation over the site), and the traces of a long pier 
or Bandar were pointed out to Colonel Pelly. They are about 6 or 7 miles from 
the fort of Minao, and the Minao river, or its stony bed, winds down towards them. 
The creek is quite traceable, but is silted up, and to embark goods you have to go a 
farsakh towards the sea, where there is a custom-house on that part of the creek which 


is still navigable. Colonel Felly collected a few bricks from the ruins. From the 
mouth of the Old Hormuz creek to the New Hormuz town, or town of Tnrumpok on 
the island of Hormuz, is a sail of about three farsakhs. It may be a trifle more, but 
any native tells you at once that it is three farsakhs from Hormuz Island to the creek 
where you land to go up to Minao. Homiuzdia was the name of the region in the 
days of its prosperity. Some people say that Hormuzdia was known as Jerunia, and 
Old Hormuz town zs/erun." (In this I suspect tradition has gone astray.) "The 
town and fort of Minao lie to the N.E. of the ancient city, and are built upon the 
lowest spur of the Bashkurd mountains, commanding a gorge through which the 
Rudbar river debouches on the plain of Hormuzdia." In these new and interesting 
particulars it is pleasing to find such precise corroboration both of Edrisi and of Ibn 
Batuta. The former, writing in the I2th centurj-, says that Hormuz stood on the 
banks of a canal or creek from the Gulf, by which vessels came up to the city. The 
latter specifies the breadth of sea between Old and New Hormuz as three farsakhs. 
{Edrisi, I. 424; /. B. II. 230.) 

I now proceed to recapitulate the main features of Polo's Itinerary from Kerman 
to Hormuz. We have : — 


1. From Kerman across a plain to the top of a mountain-pass, where 
extreme cold was experienced 7 

2. A descent, occupj-ing ......... 2 

3. A great plain, called ReobarUs, in a much warmer climate, abound- 
ing in francolin partridge, and in dates and tropical fruit, with a 
ruined city of former note, called Camadi, near the bead of the 
plain, which extends for ........ 5 

4. A second very bad pass, descending for 20 miles, say . . .1 

5. A well-watered fruitiiil plain, which is crossed to HormuXy on the 
shores of the Gulf 2 

Total 17 

No European traveller, so far as I know, has described the most direct road from 
Kerman to Hormuz, or rather to its nearest modem representative Bander Abb^i, — 
I mean the road by Baft. But a line to the eastward of this, and leading through 
the plain of Jiruft, was followed partially by Mr. Abbott in 1850, and completely by 
Major R. M. Smith, R.E., in I866. The details of this route, except in one 
particular, correspond closely in essentials with those given by our author, and form 
an excellent basis of illustration for Polo's description. 

Major Smith (accompanied at first by Colond Goldsmid, who diverged to Mekran) 
left Kerman on the 15th of January, and reached Bander Abbdsi on the 3rd of 
February, but, as three halts have to be deducted, his total number of marches was 
exactly the same as Marco's, viz. 17. They di\'ide as follows : — 


1. From Kerman to the caravanserai of Deh Bakri in the pass so 
called. " The ground as I ascended became covered with snow, 
and the weather bitterly cold" (A*.?^/) 6 

2. Two miles over very deep snow brought him to the top of the pass ; 
he then descended 14 miles to his halt. Two miles to the south of 
the crest he passed a second caravanserai : " The two are evidently 
built so near one another to afiford shelter to travellers who may be 
unable to cross the ridge during heavy snow-storms." The next 
march continued the descent for 14 miles, and then carried him 10 
miles along the banks of the Rudkhanah-i-Shor. The approximate 
height of the pass alx>ve the sea is estimated at 8000 feet We 
have thus for the descent the greater part of .... 2 

3. " Clumps of date-palms growing near the \'inage showed that I had 
now reached a totally different climate." (Smithes Report.) And 
Mr. Abbott sajs of the same region: " Partly wooded . . . and 
with thickets of reeds abounding with francolin and Jirufti par- 
tridge. . . . The lands yield grain, millet, pulse, French- and 

112 MARCO POLO Book I. 

horse-beans, rice, cotton, henna, Palma Christi, and dates, and in 
part are of great fertility. . . . Rainy season from January to 
March, after which a luxuriant crop of grass." Across this plain 
(districts of Jiruft and Rudbar), the height of which above the sea, 
is something under 2000 feet 6 

4. 6 J hours, " nearly the whole way over a most difficult mountain- 
pass," called the Pass of Nevergun ...... I 

5. Two long marches over a plain, part of which is described as "con- 
tinuous cultivation for some 16 miles," and the rest as a "most 
uninteresting plain " 2 

Total as before . . . .17 

In the previous edition of this work I was inclined to identify Marco's route 
absolutely with this Itinerary. But a communication from Major St. John, who 
surveyed the section from Kerman towards Deh Bakri in 1872, shows that this first 
section does not answer well to the description. The road is not all plain, for it 
crosses a mountain pass, though not a formidable one. Neither is it through a 
thriving, populous tract, for, with the exception of two large villages. Major St. 
John found the whole road to Deh Bakri from Kerman as desert and dreary as any in 
Persia. On the other hand, the more direct route to the south, which is that always 
used except in seasons of extraordinary severity (such as that of Major Smith's 
journey, when this route was impassable from snow), answers better, as described to 
Major St. John by rnuleteers, to Polo's account. The first six days are occupied by 
a gentle ascent through the districts of Bardesir and Kairat-ul-Arab, which are the 
best-watered and most fertile uplands of Kerman. From the crest of the pass 
reached in those six marches (which is probably more than 10,000 feet above the 
sea, for it was closed by snow on ist May, 1872), an easy descent oi two days leads to 
the Garmsir. This is traversed in four days, and then a very difficult pass is crossed 
to reach the plains bordering on the sea. The cold of this route is much greater 
than that of the Deh Bakri route. Hence the correspondence with Polo's description, 
as far as the descent to the Garmsir, or Reobarles, seems decidedly better by this 
route. It is admitted to be quite possible that on reaching this plain the two routes 
coalesced. We shall assume this provisionally, till some traveller gives us a detailed 
account of the Bardesir route. Meantime all the remaining particulars answer well. 

[General Houtum-Schindler [I.e. pp. 493-495), speaking of the Itinerary from 

Kerman to Hormuz and back, says : " Only two of the many routes between Kerman 

and Bender 'Abbas coincide more or less with Marco Polo's description. These two 

routes are the one over the Deh Bekrf Pass [see above. Colonel Smith], and the one 7)id 

Sardu. The latter is the one, I think, taken by Marco Polo. The more direct roads 

to the west are for the greater part through mountainous country, and have not 

twelve stages in plains which we find enumerated in Marco Polo's Itinerary. The 

road vid Baft, Urzii, and the Zendan Pass, for instance, has only four stages in plains ; 

the road, vid Rahbur, Rudbar and the Nevergun Pass only six ; and the road vid Sfrjan 

also only six." 


The Sardii route, which seems to me to be the one followed by 

Marco Polo, has five stages through fertile and populous plains to 

Sarvfzan • . .5 

One day's march ascends to the top of the Sarvizan Pass . . i 

Two days' descent to Rahjird, a village close to the ruins of old 

Jfruft, now called Shehr-i-Daqfaniis 2 

Six days' march over the "vast plain" of Jiruft and Rudbar to 

Farfab, joining the Deh Bekri route at Kerimabad, one stage south 

of the Shehr-i-Daqfaniis • ^ 

One day's march through the Nevergun Pass to Shamd, descending I 

Two days' march through the plain to Bender 'Abbds or Hormuz 2 

In all . . . . 17 


The Sardii road enters the Jiruft plaia at the ruins of the old city, the Deh 
Bekrf route does so at some distance to the eastward. The first six stages performed 
by Marco Polo in seven days go through fertile plains and past numerous villages. 
Regarding the cold, "which you can scarcely abide," Marco Polo does not speak of 
it as existing on the mountains only; he says, "From the city of Kerman to this 
descent the cold in winter is very great," that is, from Kerman to near Jiruft. The 
winter at Kerman itself is fairly severe ; from the town the groimd gradually but 
steadily rises, the absolute altitudes of the passes crossing the mountains to the south 
varying from 8000 to 11,000 feet. These passes are up to the month of March 
always very cold ; in one it froze slightly in the beginning of June. The Sardii Pass lies 
lower than the others. The name is Sardu, not Sardii from sard, "cold." Major 
Sykes {Persia, ch. xxiii. ) comes to the same conclusion: "In 1895, and again in 
1900, I made a tour partly with the object of solving this problem, and of giving a 
geographical existence to Sardu, which appropriately means the ' Cold Country.' I 
found that there was a route which exactly fitted Marco's conditions, as at Sarbizan 
the Sardu plateau terminates in a high pass of 9200 feet, from which there is a most 
abrupt descent to the plain of Jiruft, Komadin being about 35 miles, or two days' 
journey firom the top of the pass. Starting from Kerman, the stages would be as 
follows : — I. Jupar (small town) ; 2. Bahramjird (large village) ; 3. Gudar (village) ; 
4. Rain (small town). . . . Thence to the Sarbizan pass is a distance of 45 miles, or 
three desert stages, thus constituting a total of 1 10 miles for the seven days. This is 
the camel route to the present day, and absolutely fits in with the description given. . . . 
The question to be decided by this section of the journey may then, I think, be con- 
sidered to be finally and most satisfactorily settled, the route proving to lie between 
the two selected by Colonel Yule, as being the most suitable, although he wisely left 
the question open." — H. C] 

In the abstract of Major Smith's Itinerary as we have given it, we do not find 
Polo's city of Camadi. Major Smith writes to me, however, that this is probably to 
be sought in " the ruined city, the traces of which I observed in the plain of Jiruft 
near Keriniabad. The name of the city is now apparently lost." It is, however, 
known to the natives as the City of Dakidmis, as Mr. Abbott, who visited the site, 
informs us. This is a name analc^ous only to tlie Arthur's ovens or Merlin's caves of 
our own country, for all over Mahomedan Asia there are old sites to which legend 
attaches the name of Dakianus or the Emperor Decius, the persecuting tyrant of the 
Seven Sleepers. " The spot," says Abbott, "is an elevated part of the plain on the 
right bank of the Hali Rud, and is thickly strewn with kiln-baked bricks, and shreds 
of pottery and glass. . . . After heavy rain the peasantry search amongst the ruins 
for ornaments of stone, and rings and coins of gold, silver, and copper. The popular 
tradition concerning the city is that it was destroyed by a flood long before the birth 
of Mahomed." 

[General Houtum-Schindler, in a paper in iheyiwr. K. As. 5tfr.,Jan. 1898, p. 43, 
gives an abstract of Dr. Houtsma's (of Utrecht) memoir, Zur Geschichie der Saljuqen 
V071 Kerman, and comes to the conclusion that "fi^om these statements we can 
safely identify Marco Polo's Camadi with the suburb Qumadin, or, as I would read it, 
Qamadin, of the city of Jiruft." — (Cf. Major Sykei Persia, chap, xxiii. : " Camadi was 
sacked for the first time, after the death of Toghrul Shah of Kerman, when his four 
sons reduced the province to a condition of anarchy.") 

Major P. Molesworth Sykes, Recent Journeys in Persia {Geog. Journal, X. 1897, 
p. 589), says : " Upon arrival in Rudbar, we turned northwards and left the 
Farman Farma, in order to explore the site of Marco Polo's ' Camadi.' . . . We came 
upon a huge area littered with yellow bricks eight inches square, while not even a 
broken wall is left to mark the site of what was formerly a great city, under the name of 
the Sher-i-Jiruft." — H. C] The actual distance from Bamm to the City of Dakianus 
is, by Abbott's Journal, about 66 miles. 

The name of Reobarles, which Marco applies to the plain intermediate between 
VOL. I. H 

114 MARCO POLO Book I. 

the two descents, has given rise to many conjectures. Marsden pointed to Rudbdr, 
a name frequently applied in Persia to a district on a river, or intersected by streams 
— a suggestion all the happier that he was not aware of the fact that there is a district 
of RUDBAR exactly in the required position. The last syllable still requires explana- 
tion. I ventured formerly to suggest that it was the Arabic Lass, or, as Marco 
would certainly have written it, Les, a robber. Reobarles would then be Rudbar-i- 
Lass, "Robber's River District." The appropriateness of the name Marco has amply 
illustrated ; and it appeared to me to survive in that of one of the rivers of the plain, 
which is mentioned by both Abbott and Smith under the title of Riidkhdnah-i-Duzdi, 
or Robbery River, a name also applied to a village and old fort on the banks of the 
stream. This etymology was, however, condemned as an inadmissible combination 
of Persian and Arabic by two very high authorities both as travellers and scholars — 
Sir H. Rawlinson and Mr. Khanikoff. The Les, therefore, has still to be explained.* 

[Major Sykes {Geog. Journal, 1902, p. 130) heard of robbers, some five miles from 
Minab, and he adds : " However, nothing happened, and after crossing the Gardan-i- 
Pichal, we camped at Birinti, which is situated just above the junction of Rudkhana 
Duzdi, or ' River of Theft,' and forms part of the district of Rudan, in Fars." 

"The Jfruft and Rudbdr plains belong to the germsfr (hot region), dates, pis- 
tachios, and konars (apples of Paradise) abound in them. Reobarles is Rudbar or 
RUdbaris." [Houtum-Sckindler, I.e. 1881, p. 495.) — H. C] 

We have referred to Marco's expressions regarding the great cold experienced on 
the pass which formed the first descent ; and it is worthy of note that the title of " The 
Cold Mountains " is applied by Edrisi to these very mountains. Mr. Abbott's MS. 
Report also mentions in this direction, Sardu, said to be a cold country (as its name 
seems to express [see above, — H. C.]), which its population (Iliydts) abandon in winter 
for the lower plains. It is but recently that the importance of this range of mountains 
has become known to us. Indeed the existence of the chain, as extending continuously 
from near Kashdn, was first indicated by Khanikoff in 1862. More recently Major 
St. John has shown the magnitude of this range, which rises into summits of 15,00c 
feet in altitude, and after a course of 550 miles terminates in a group of volcanic hills 
some 50 miles S.E. of Bamm. Yet practically this chain is ignored on all our maps ! 

Marco's description of the " Plain of Formosa" does not apply, now at least, to 
the whole plain, for towards Bander Abbasi it is barren. But to the eastward, about 
Minao, and therefore about Old Ilormuz, it has not fallen off. Colonel Pelly writes : 
"The district of Minao is still for those regions singularly fertile. Pomegranates, 
oranges, pistachio-nuts, and various other fruits grow in profusion. The source of 
its fertility is of course the river, and you can walk for miles among lanes and cultivated 
ground, partially sheltered from the sun." And Lieutenant Kempthorne, in his notes 
on that coast, says of the same tract : "It is termed by the natives the Paradise of 
Persia. It is certainly most beautifully fertile, and abounds in orange-groves, and 
orchards containing apples, pears, peaches, and apricots ; with vineyards producing a 
delicious grape, from which was at one time made a wine called aniber-rosolli" — a name 
not easy to explain. 'Ainbar-i-Rastil, " The Prophet's Bouquet !" would be too bold 
a name even for Persia, though names more sacred are so profaned at Naples and on the 
Moselle. Sir H. Rawlinson suggests ^Avibar-asali, " Honey Bouquet," as possible. 

When Nearchus beached his fleet on the shore of Harmozeia at the mouth of the 
Anamis (the River of Minao), Arrian tells us he found the country a kindly one, and 

* It is but fair to say that scholars so eminent as Professors Sprenger and Blochmann have con- 
sidered the original suggestion lawful and probable. Indeed, Mr. Blochmann says in a letter : " After 
studying a language for years, one acquires a natural feeling for anything un-idiomatic ; but I must 
confess I see nothing un-Persian in riidbdr-i-duzd, nor in riidbdr-i-lass. . . . How common /ass is, 
you may see from one fact, that it occurs in children's reading-books." We must not take Reobarles 
in Marco's French as rhyming to (French) Charles ; every syllable sounds. It is remarkable that Las, 
as the name of a small State near our Sind frontier, is said to mean, "in the language of the country," 
a level plain. (/. A. S. B. VIII. 195.) It is not clear what is meant by the l.inguage of the country. 
The chief is a Brahui, the people are Lumri or Numri Bililchis, who are, according to Tod, of Jat 



very frmtfol in every way except that there were no olives. The weary mariners 
landed and enjoyed this pleasant rest from their toils. (Indua, 33 ; /. R. G. S. V. 274.) 

The name Formosa is probably only Rusticiano's misunderstanding of Harmuza, 
aided, perhaps, by Polo's picture of the beauty of the plain. We have the same 
change in the old Mafomet for Mahomet, and the converse one in the Spanish hermcsa 
ioxformosa. Teixeira's Chronicle says that the city of Hormuz was founded by Xa 
Mahamed Dranku, i.e. Shah Mahomed Dirhem-Ko, in "a plain of the same name." 

The statement in Ramusio that Hormuz stood upon an island, is, I doubt not, an 
interpolation by himself or some earlier transcriber. 

When the ships of Nearchus launched again firom the mouth of the Anamis, their 
first day's run carried them past a certain desert and bushy island to another which 
was large and inhabited. The desert isle was called Organa ; the lai^e one by which 
they anchored OanKT/a. {Indica, 37.) Neither name is quite lost; the latter greater 
island is Kishm or Brakht ; the foTmei Jgrtin,* perhaps in old Persian Genin or 
Gerdn, now again desert though no longer bushy, after having been for three centuries 
the site of a city which became a poetic type of wealth and splendour. An Eastern 
saying ran, " Were the world a ring, Hormuz would be the jewel in it." 

["The Yilan shi mentions several seaports of the Indian Ocean as carrying on 
trade with China ; Hormuz is not spoken of there. I may, however, quote from the 
Yiian History a curious statement which perhaps refers to this port. In ch. cxxiii. , 
bi(^;raphy of Arsz-lan, it is recorded that his grandson Hurdutai, by order of Kubilai 
Khan, accompanied Bu-lo no-yen on his mission to the country of Ha-rk-nia-sz. This 
latter name may be intended for Hormuz. I do not think that by the Noyen Bulo, 
M. Polo could be meant, for the title Noyen would hardly have been applied to him. 
But Rashid-eddin mentions a distinguished Mongol, by name Pulad, with whom he 
was acquainted in Persia, and who furnished him with much information r^arding the 
history of the Mongols. This may be the Bu-lo no-yen of the Yiian History." 
(Bretschneider, Med. Res. II. p. 132.)— H. C] 

Note 2. — A spirit is still distilled from dates in Persia, Mekran, Sind, and some 
places in the west of India. It is mentioned by Strabo and Dioscorides, according to 
Kampfer, who says it was in his time made under the name of a medicinal stomachic ; 
the rich added Radix Chinae, ambergris, and aromatic spices ; the poor, liquorice and 
Persian absinth. (Sir B. Frere ; Arnoen. Exot. 750; Macd. JCintteir, 220.) 

["The date wine with spices is not now made at Bender 'Abbas. Date arrack, 
however, is occasionally found- At Kerman a sort of wine or arrack is made with 
spices and alcohol, distilled from sugar ; it is called Mi-ul-Hayat (water of life), and 
is recommended as an aphrodisiac. Grain in the Shamfl plain is harvested in April, 
dates are gathered in August." {Hcutum-Schindler, I.e. p. 496.) 

See " Remarks on the Use of Wine and Distilled Liquors among the Mohammedans 
of Turkey and Persia," pp. T,\K,-iyioi Narrative of a Totir through Armenia, Kurdistan, 
Persia, and Mesopotamia. . . . By the Rev. Horatio Southgate, . . . London, 1840, 
vol. ii.— H. C] 

[Sir H. Yule quotes, in a MS. note, these lines from Moore's Light of the Harem : 
" Wine, too, of every clime and hue. 
Around their liquid lustre threw 
Amber Roso!li\ — the bright dew 
From vineyards of the Green Sea gushing."] See above, p. 114. 

* Sir Henry Rawlinson objects to this identification (which is the same that Dr. Karl MuUer 
adopts), saying that Organa is more probably " Angan, formerly Argan." To this I cannot assent. 
Nearchus sails joo stadia from the mouth of Aaamis to Oaracta, and on his vjay passes Organx 
Taking 600 stadia to the degree (Dr. Muller's value), I oaake it just 300 stadia from the mouth of the 
Hormuz creek to the eastern point of Kishm. Organa must have been either Jerun or L£rek ; Angan 
(Hanjdm of Mas'udi) is out of the question. And as a straig)^ run must have passed quite close to 
Jerun, not to Larek, I find the former most probable. Nearchus next day proceeds 200 stadia along 
Oaracta, and anchors in sight of another island(Neptiuie's) which was separated by 40 stadia from 
Oaracta. This was Angan ; no other islaitd answers, and for this the distances answer with singular 

t ^loore refers to Persian TtUes. 

VOL I. Ha 



Book I, 

The date and dry-fish diet of the Gulf people is noticed by most travellers, and P, 
delia Valle repeats the opinion about its being the only wholesome one. Ibn Batuta 

says the people of Hormiaz had a saying, " Kkormd iva vidhllut-i-Fadshahi" i.e. 
" Dates and fish make an ICmperor's dish !" A fish, exactly like the tunny of the 


Mediterranean in general appearance and habits, is one of the great objects of fishery 
off the Sind and Mekran coasts. It comes in pursuit of shoals of anchovies, very 
much like the Mediterranean fish also. (/. B. II. 231 ; Sir B. Frere.) 

[Friar Odoric {Cathay, I. pp. 55-56) says : " And there you find (before arriving at 
Hormuz) people who live almost entirely on dates, and yon get forty-two pounds of 
dates for less than a groat ; and so of many other things."] 

Note 3. — The stitched vessels of Kerman (xXwapta paxra) are noticed in the 
Pertplus. Similar accounts to those of our text are given of the ships of the Gulf 
and of Western India by Jordanus and John of Montecor\ino. {Jord. p. 53 ; Cathay, 
p. 217.) " Stitched vessels," Sir B. Frere writes, " are still used. I have seen them 
of 200 tons burden ; but they are being driven out by iron-fastened vessels, as iron 
gets cheaper, except where (as on the Malabar and Coromandel coasts) the pliancy of 
a stitched boat is useful in a surf. Till the last few years, when steamers have begun 
to take all the best horses, the Arab horses bound to Bombay almost all came in the 
way Marco Polo describes." Some of them do stiD, standing over a date cai^o, and 
the result of this combination gives rise to an extraordinary traflBc in the Bombay 
bazaar. From what Colonel Pelly tells me, the stitched build in the Gulf is wotp con- 
fined to fishing-boats, and is disused for sea-going craft. 

[Friar Odoric (Ca/^ay, I. p. 57) mentioned these vessels: "In this country men 
make use of a kind of vessel which they C2^jase, which is fastened only with stitch- 
ing of twine. On one of these vessels I embarked, and I could find no iron at all 
therein." Jase is for the Arabic Djehaz. — H. C] 

The fish-oil used to rub the ships was whale-oil. The old Arab voyagers of the 
9th century describe the fishermen of Siraf in the Gulf as cutting up the whale-blubber 
and drawing the oil firom it, which was mixed with other stuff, and used to rub the 
joints of ships' planking. (Reinaitd,!. 146.) 

Both Montecorvino and Polo, in this passage, specify otu rudder, as if it was a 
peculiarity of these ships worth noting. The fact is that, in the Mediterranean at 
least, the double rudders of the ancients kept their place to a great extent through the 
Middle Ages. A Marseilles MS. of the 13th century, quoted in Ducange, says : "A 
ship requires three rudders, two in place, and one to spare." Another : " Every two- 
ruddered bark shall pay a groat each voyage ; every one-ruddered bark shall," etc. 
(See Due. under Timonus and Tenw.) Numerous proofs of the use of two rudders in 
the 13th century will be found in " Documenti imditi riguardanti le due Crociate di 
S. Ludovico IX., Re di Francia, etc., da Z. T. Belgrano, Genova, 1859." Thus in 
a specification of ships to be built at Genoa for the king (p. 7), each is to have 
*' Timotus duo, affaiticos, grossitudinis palmorum viiii et dimidiae, longitudinis cubi- 
torum xxiiiL" Extracts given by Capmany, regarding the equipment of galleys, show 
the same thing, for he is probably mistaken in saying that one of the dos timones 
specified was a spare one. Joinville (p. 205) gives incidental evidence of the same : 
" Those Marseilles ships have each two rudders, with each a tiller (.' tison) attached 
to it in such an ingenious way that you can turn the ship right or left as fast as you 
would turn a horse. So on the Friday the king was sitting upon one of these tillers, 
when he called me and said to me," etc.* Francesco da Barberino, a poet of the 13th 
century, in the 7th part of his Documenti d^Amore (printed at Rome in 1640), which 
instructs the lover to whose lot it may fall to escort his lady on a sea-voyage (instruc- 
tions carried so far as to provide even for the case of her death at sea !), alludes more 
than once to these plural rudders. Thus — 

" se vedessi avenire 

Che vento ti rompesse 

Timoni . . . 
In luogo di timoni 

Fa spere t e in aqua poni." (P. 272-273.) 

• This tison can be seen in the cuts from the tomb of St. Peter Martyr and the seal of Winchelsea. 
t Spert, bundles of spars, etc., dragged overboard. 



Book I. 

And again, when about to enter a port, it is needful to be on the alert and ready to 
run in case of a hostile reception, so the galley should enter stern foremost — a move- 

i2th Century Illumination. (After Pertz.) 

Seal of Winchelsea. 

i2th Century Illumination. (After Pertz. ) 

From Leaning Tower. (After Jal.) 

After Spinello Aretini at Siena. From Monument of St. Peter Martyr. 



ment which he reminds his lover involves the reversal of the ordinary ase of the two 
rudders : — 

" Z.' un timon leva suso 

L' altro leggier tiengiuso. 
Ma convien levar mano 

Xon mica com soleslno. 
Ma per contraro, e face 

Cosi '1 guidar verace."' (P. 275.) 

A representation of a vessel over the door of the Leaning Tower at Pisa shows 
this arrangement, which is also discernible in the frescoes of galley-fights by Spinello 
Aretini, in the Municipal Palace at Siena. 

[Godinho de Eredia (1613), describing the smaller vessels of Malacca which he calls 
bdlos in ch. 13, De Embarcafdes, says : *' At the poop they have two rudders, one on 
each side to steer with." E por ponpa dos ballos, tem 2 lemes, hum en cada lado pera o 
govemo. (Malacca, fIndenUrid. et le Cathay. Bruxelles, 1882, 4to, f. 26.) — H. C] 

The midship rudder seems to have been the more usual in the western seas, and 
the double quarter-rudders in the Mediterranean. The former are sometimes styled 
Navarresques and the latter Latins. Yet early seals of some of the Cinque Ports show 
vessels with the double rudder ; one of which (that of Winchelsea) is given in the cut. 

In the Mediterranean the latter was still in occasional use late in the i6th cenlury. 
Captain Pantero Pantera in his book, VArmata Novate (Rome, 1614, p. 44), says ' 
that the Galeasses, or great galleys, had the helm alia Navarresca, but also a great 
oar on each side of it to assist in turning the ship. And I observe that the great 
galeasses which precede the Christian line of battle at Lepanto, in one of the frescoes 
by Vasari in the Royal Hall leading to the Sistine Chapel, have the quarter-rudder 
very distinctly. 

The Chinese appear occasionally to employ it, as seems to be indicated in a wood- 
cut of a vessel of war which I have traced from a Chinese book in the National 
Library at Paris. (See above, p. 37.) [For the Chinese words for rudder, see p. 126 of 
J. Edkins* article on Chinese Names far Boats and Boat Gear, -Jour. N. China Br. H. 
As. Sac. N.S. }il. 1876. — H. C] It is also tised by certain craft of the Indian Archi- 
pelago, as appears from Mr. Wallace's description of the Prau in which he sailed from 
Macassar to the Aru Islands. And on the Caspian, it is stated in Smith's " DicL of 
Antiquities " (art. GubemaculuTtt), the practice remained in force till late times. A 
modem traveller was nearly wrecked on that sea, because the two rudders were in the 
hands of two pilots who spoke diflFerent languages, and did not understand each other ! 

(Besides the works quoted se&JaJ, Arch4ologie Navale, II. 437-438, and Capmany, 
Memorias, III. 61.) 

[Major Sykes remarks (Persia, ch. xxiii.) : " Some unrecorded event, probably the 
sight of the unseaworthy craft, which had not an ounce of iron in their composition, 
made our travellers decide that the risks of the sea were too great, so that we have 
the pleasure of accompanying them back to Kerman and thence northwards to 
Khorasan." — H.C.] 

Note 4. — So also at Bander Abbasi Tavemier says it was so unhealthy that 
foreigners could not stop there beyond March ; everybody left it in ApriL Not a 
hundredth part of the population, says Kampfer, remained in the city. Not a be^ar 
would stop for any reward ! The rich went to the towns of the interior or to the cool 
recesses of the mountains, the poor took refuge in the palm-groves at the distance of 
a day or two from the city. A place called 'Ishin, some 12 miles north of the 
city, was a favourite resort of the European and Hindu merchants. Here were fine 
gardens, spacious baths, and a rivulet of fresh and limpid water. 

The custom of Ijfing in water is mentioned also by Sir John Maundevile, and it 
was adopted by the Portuguese when they occupied Insular Hormuz, as P. della Valle 
and Linschoten relate. The custom is still common during great heats, in Sind and 
Mekran(SirB. F.). 

An anonymous ancient geography (JUber Junioris PHlosophi) speaks of a people 

1 20 MARCO POLO Book I, 

in India who live in the Terrestrial Paradise, and lead the life of the Golden Age. . . . 
The sun is so hot that they remaijt all day in the river ! 

The heat in the Straits of Hormuz drove Abdurrazzak into an anticipation of a 
verse familiar to English schoolboys : " Even the bird of rapid flight was burnt up in 
the heights of heaven, as well as the fish in the depths of the sea ! " ( Tavern. Bk. V. 
ch. xxiii. ; Am. Exot. 716, 762; Afiiller, Geog. Gr. Min. II. 514; India in XV. 
Cent. p. 49.) 

Note 5. — A like description of the effect of the Simiim on the human body is 
given by Ibn Batuta, Chardin, A. Hamilton, Tavernier, Tl.evenot, etc. ; and the first 
of these travellers speaks specially of its prevalence in the desert near Hormuz, and of 
the many graves of its victims ; but I have met with no reasonable account of its 
poisonous action. I will quote Chardin, already quoted at greater length by Marsden, 
as the most complete parallel to the text : " The most surprising effect of the wind 
is not the mere fact of its causing death, but its operation on the bodies of those who 
are killed by it. It seems as if they became decomposed without losing shape, so that 
you would think them to be merely asleep, when they are not merely dead, but in 
such a state that if you take hold of any part of the body it comes away in your hand. 
And the finger penetrates such a body as if it were so much dust." (III. 286.) 

Burton, on his journey to Medina, says : " The people assured me that this wind 
never killed a man in their Allah-favoured land. I doubt the fact. At Bir Abbas 
the body of an Arnaut was brought in swollen, and decomposed rapidly, the true 
diagnosis of death by the poison-wind." Khanikoff is very distinct as to the immedi- 
ate fatality of the desert wind at Khabis, near Kerman, but does not speak of the 
effect on the body after death. This Major St. John does, describing a case that 
occurred in June, 1871, when he was halting, during intense heat, at the post-house of 
Pasangan, a few miles south of Kom. The bodies were brought in of two poor men, 
who had tried to start some hours before sunset, and were struck down by the poison- 
ous blast within half-a-mile of the post-house. " It was found impossible to wash them 
before burial. . . . Directly the limbs were touched they separated from the trunk." 
{Oc. Highways, ut. sup.) About 1790, when Timiir Shah of Kabul sent an army 
under the Sirdar-i-Sirdaran to put down a revolt in Meshed, this force on its return 
was struck by Simum in the Plain of Farrah, and the Sirdar perished, with a great 
number of his men. (Ferj-ier, H. of the Afghans, 102 ; J. R. G. S. XXVI. 217 ; 
Kha7i. Mhn. 210.) 

Note 6. — The History of Hormuz is very imperfectly known. What I have met 
with on the subject consists of— (i) An abstract by Teixeira of a chronicle of Hormuz, 
written by Thuran Shah, who was himself sovereign of Hormuz, and died in 1377 ; 
{2) some contemporary notices by Wassaf, which are extracted by Hammer in his 
History of the Ilkhans ; (3) some notices from Persian sources in the 2nd Decade of 
De Barros (ch. ii.). The last do not go further back than Gordun Shah, the father 
of Thuran Shah, to whom they erroneously ascribe the first migration to the Island. 

One of Teixeira's Princes is called Ruknuddin Makmtid, and with him Marsden 
and Pauthier have identified Polo's Ruomedam Acomet, or as he is called on another 
occasion in the Geog. Text, Maimodi Acomet. This, however, is out of the question, 
for the death of Ruknuddin is assigned to A.H. 675 (a.d. 1277), whilst there can, I 
think, be no doubt that Marco's account refers to the period of his return from China, 
viz. 1293 or thereabouts. 

We find in Teixeira that the ruler who succeeded in 1290 was Amir Masa^ud, 
who obtained the Governmeat by the murder of his brother Saifuddin Nazrat. 
Masa'iid was cruel and oppressive ; most of the influential people withdrew to 
Bahduddin Ayaz, whom Saifuddin had made Wazir of Kalhdt on the Arabian coast. 
This Wazir assembled a force and drove out Masa'iid after he had reigned tliree years. 
He fled to Kerman and died there some years afterwards. 

Bahauddin, who had originally been a slave of Saifuddin Nazrat's, succeeded in 


establishing his authority. But about 1300 great bodies of Turks (i.e. Tartars) issu- 
ing from Turkestan ravaged many provinces of Persia, including Kerman and Hormoz. 
The people, unable to bear the frequency of such visitations, retired first to the 
island of Kishm, and then to that of Jerun, on which last was built the city of New 
Hormuz, afterwards so famous. Tliis is Teixeira's account from Thuran Shah, so far 
as we are concerned with it. As regards the transfer of the city it agrees substantially 
with Abulfeda's, which we have already quoted [supra, note i). 

Hammer's account from Wassaf is frightfully confused, chiefly I should suppose 
from Hammer's own fault ; for among other things he assumes that Hormuz was 
always on an island, and he distinguishes between tlie Island of Hormuz and the 
Island of Jerun ! We gather, however, that Hormuz before the Mongol time formed 
a government subordinate to the Salghur Atabegs of Fars (see note I, ch. xv.), and 
when the power of that Dynasty was falling, the governor Mahmud Kalhati, established 
himself as Prince of Hormuz, and became the founder of a petty d)-nasty, bemg 
evidently identical with Teixeira's Ruknuddin Mahmud above-named, who is repre- 
sented as reigning from 1246 to 1277. In Wassaf we find, as in Teixeira, Mahmud's 
son Masa'ud killing his brother Nazrat, and Bahauddin expelling Masa'iid. It is 
true that Hammer's surprising muddle makes Nazrat kill Masa'ud ; however, as a few 
lines lower we find Masa'ud alive and Nazrat dead, we may safely venture on this 
correction. But we find also that Masa'ud appears as Ruknuddin Masa'ud, and that 
Bahauddin does not assume the princely authority himself, but proclaims that of 
Fakhruddin Ahmed Ben Ibrahim At-Thaibi, a personage who does not appear in 
Teixeira at all. A MS. history-, quoted by Ouseley, does mention Fakhruddin, and 
ascribes to him the transfer to Jenin. Wassaf seems to allude to Bahauddin as a 
sort of Sea Rover, occupjing the islands of Larek and Jerun, whilst Fakhruddin 
reigned at Hormuz. It is difficult to understand the relation between the two. 

It is possible that Polo's memory made some confusion between the names of 
Ruknuddin Masa'ud and Pakhruddin Ahmed, but I incline to think the latter is 
his Ruomedan Ahmed. For Teixeira tells us that Masa'ud took refuge at the 
court of Kermdn, and Wassaf represents him as supported in his claims by the 
Atabeg of that province, whilst we see that Polo seems to represent Ruomedan 
Acomat as in hostility with that prince. To add to the imbroglio I find in a passage 
of Wassaf Malik Fakhruddin Ahmed at-Thaibi sent by Ghazan Khan in 1297 as 
ambassador to Khanbalig, staying there some years, and dying off" the Coromandel 
coast on his return in 1305. (Elliot, iii. pp. 45-47.) 

Masa'ud's seeking help from Kerman to reinstate him is not the first case of the 
same kind that occurs in Teixeira's chronicle, so there may have been some kind of 
colour for Marco's representation of the Prince of Hormuz as the vassal of the Atabeg 
of Kerman {" rhomme de cest roy de Creman ;^' see Prologue, ch. xiv. note 2). 
M. KhanikofiF denies the possibility of the existence of any royal dynasty at Hormuz 
at this period. That there was a dy-nasty of Maliks of Hormuz, however, at 
this period we must believe on the concurring testimony of Marco, of Wassaf, and 
of Thuran Shdh. There was also, it would seem, another yKow' - independent 
principality in the Island of Kais. (Hammers Hch. II. 50, 51; Teixeira, Relacion 
de los Reyes de Hormuz ; Khan. Notice, p. 34. ) 

The ravages of the Tartars which drove the people of Hormuz from their city may 
have begim with the incursions of the Nigudaris and Karaunahs, but they probably 
came to a climax in the great raid in 1299 of the Chaghataian Prince Kotlogh Shah, 
son of Dua Khnn, a part of whose bands besieged the city itself, though they are said 
to have been repulsed by Bahauddin Ayas. 

[The Dynasty of Hormuz was founded about 1060 by a Yemen chief Mohammed 
Dirheni Ko, and remained subject to Kermfo till 1249, when Rokn ed-din Mahmud 
III. Kalhati (1242-1277) made himself independent. The immediate successors of 
Rokn ed-din were Saif ed-din Nazrat (1277- 1290), Masa'ud (1290- 1293), Bahad ed-din 
Ayaz Say fin (1293-1311). Hormuz was captured by the Portuguese in 15 10 and by 
the Persians in 1622. — H. C] 

122 MARCO POLO Book I. 

Note 7. — The indications of this alternative route to Kerman are very vague, but 
it may probably have been that through Finn, Tarum, and the Sfrj^n district, passing 
out of the plain of Hormuz by the eastern flank of the Ginao mountain. This road 
Vifould pass near the hot springs at the base of the said mountain, Sarga, Khurkhu, 
and Ginao, which are described by Kampfer. Being more or less sulphureous they 
are likely to be useful in skin-diseases : indeed, Hamilton speaks of their efficacy in 
these. (I. 95.) The salt-streams are numerous on this line, and dates are abundant. 
The bitterness of the bread was, however, more probably due to another cause, as 
Major Smith has kindly pointed out to me : " Throughout the mountains in the south 
of Persia, which are generally covered with dwarf oak, the people are in the habit of 
making bread of the acorns, or of the acorns mixed with wheat or barley. It is dark 
in colour, and very hard, bitter, and unpalatable." 

Major St. John also noticed the bitterness of the bread in Kerman, but his servants 
attributed it to the presence in the wheat-fields of a bitter leguminous plant, with a 
yellowish white flower, which the Kermanis were too lazy to separate, so that much 
remained in the thrashing, and imparted its bitter flavour to the grain (surely the Tare 
of our Lord's Parable !). 

[General Houtum-Schindler says {I.e. p. 496) : " Marco Polo's return journey was, 
I am inclined to think, vid Urzii and Baft, the shortest and most direct road. The 
road vid Tarum and Sfrjan is very seldom taken by travellers intending to go to 
Kerman ; it is only frequented by the caravans going between Bender 'Abbas and 
Bahramabad, three stages west of Kerman. Hot springs, 'curing itch,' I noticed at 
two places on the Urzu-Baft road. There were some near Qal'ah Asgher and others 
near Dashtab; they were frequented by people suffering from skin-diseases, and were 
highly sulphureous ; the water of those near Dashtab turned a silver ring black after two 
hours' immersion. Another reason of my advocating the Urzu road is that the bitter 
bread spoken of by Marco Polo is only found on it, viz. at Baft and in Bardshfr. 
In Sfrjdn, to the west, and on the roads to the east, the bread is sweet. The bitter 
taste is from the Khur, a bitter leguminous plant, which grows among the wheat, and 
. whose grains the people are too lazy to pick out. There is not a single oak between 
Bender 'Abbis and Kerman ; none of the inhabitants seemed to know what an 
acorn was. A person at Baft, who had once gone to Kerbela vid Kermanshah and 
Baghdad, recognised my sketch of tree and fruit immediately, having seen oak and 
acorn between Kerminshah and Qasr-i-Shirfn on the Baghdad road." Major Sykes 
writes (ch. xxiii.) : "The above description undoubtedly refers to the main winter 
route, which runs vid Sfrjan. This is demonstrated by the fact that under the Kuh-i- 
Ginao, the summer station of Bandar Abbas, there is a magnificent sulphur spring, 
which, welling from an orifice 4 feet in diameter, forms a stream some 30 yards 
wide. Its temperature at the source is 113 degrees, and its therapeutic properties 
are highly appreciated. As to the bitterness of the bread, it is suggested in the notes 
that it was caused by being mixed with acorns, but, to-day at any rate, there are no 
oak forests in this part of Persia, and I would urge that it is better to accept our 
traveller's statement, that it was due to the bitterness of the water." — However, I 
prefer Gen. Houtum-Schindler's theory. — H. C] 



Of the Wearisome and Desert Road that has now to be 


On departing from the city of Kerman you find the road 
for seven days most wearisome ; and I will tell you how 
this is.^ The first three days you meet with no water, or 
next to none. And what little you do meet with is bitter 
green stuff, so salt that no one can drink it ; and in fact 
if you drink a drop of it, it will set you purging ten times 
at least by the way. It is the same with the salt which 
is made from those streams ; no one dares to make use 
of it, because of the excessive purging which it occasions. 
Hence it is necessary to carry water for the people to last 
these three days ; as for the cattle, they must needs drink 
of the bad water I have mentioned, as there is no help 
for it, and their great thirst makes them do so. But it 
scours them to such a degree that sometimes they die of 
it. In all those three days you meet with no human 
habitation ; it is all desert, and the extremity of drought. 
Even of wild beasts there are none, for there is nothinof 
for them to eat.^ 

After those three days of desert [you arrive at a 
stream of fresh water running underground, but along 
which there are holes broken in here and there, perhaps 
undermined by the stream, at which you can get sight of 
it. It has an abundant supply, and travellers, worn with 
the hardships of the desert, here rest and refresh them- 
selves and their beasts.]^ 

You then enter another desert which extends for four 
days ; it is very much like the former except that you do 
see some wild asses. And at the termination of these 
four days of desert the kingdom of Kerman comes to an 
end, and you find another city which is called Cobinan. 

1 24 MARCO POLO Book I. 

Note i. [" The present road from Kerman to Kiibenan is to Zerend about 50 
miles, to the Sar i Benan 15 miles, thence to Kubenan 30 miles — total 95 miles. 
Marco Polo cannot have taken the direct road to Kubenan, as it took him seven days 
to reach it. As he speaks of waterless deserts, he probably took a circuitous route to 
the east of the mountains, vid Kiihpayeh and the desert lying to the north of Khabis." 
{Hoututn-Sclmidler, I.e. pp. 496-497.) (Cf. Major Sykes, ch. xxiii.)— H. C] 

Note 2. — This description of the Desert of Kerman, says Mr. Khanikoff, "is very 
correct. As the only place in the Desert of Lut where water is found is the dirty, salt, 
bitter, and green water of the rivulet called Sho7'-JRiid (the Salt River), we can have 
no doubt of the direction of Marco Polo's route from Kerman so far. " Nevertheless 
I do not agree with Khanikoff that the route lay N.E. in the direction of Am bar and 
Kain, for a reason which will appear under the next chapter. I imagine the route to 
have been nearly due north from Kerman, in the direction of Tabbas or of Tun. And 
even such a route would, according to Khanikoffs own map, pass the Shor-Rud, though 
at a higher point. 

I extract a few lines from that gentleman's narrative : "In proportion as we got 
deeper into the desert, the soil became more and more arid ; at daybreak I could still 
discover a few withered plants of Caligonum and Salsola, and not far from the same 
spot I saw a lark and another bird of a whitish colour, the last living things that we 
beheld in this dismal solitude. . . . The desert had now completely assumed the 
character of a land accursed, as the natives call it. Not the smallest blade of grass, 
no indication of animal life vivified the prospect ; no sound but such as came from our 
own caravan broke the dreary silence of the void." {Mint. p. 176.) 

[Major P. Molesworth Sykes (Geog. Jour. X. p. 578) writes: "At Tun, I was 
on the northern edge of the great Dash-i-Lut (Naked Desert), which lay between 
us and Kerman, and which had not been traversed, in this particular portion, since 
the illustrious Marco Polo crossed it, in the opposite direction, when travelling from 
Kerman to 'Tonocain' vid Cobinan." Major Sykes {Persia, ch. iii. ) seems to prove 
that geographers have, without sufficient grounds, divided the great desert of Persia 
into two regions, that to the north being termed Dasht-i-Kavir, and that further south 
the Dasht-i-Lut — and that Lut is the one name for the whole desert, Dash-i-Lut being 
almost a redundancy, and that Kavir (the arable Kafr) is applied to every saline 
swamp. "This great desert stretches from a few miles out of Tehran practically to 
the British frontier, a distance of about 700 miles." — H. C] 

Note 3. — I can have no doubt of the genuineness of this passage from Ramusio. 
Indeed some such passage is necessary ; otherwise why distinguish between three days 
of desert and four days more of desert? The underground stream was probably a 
subterraneous canal (called Kandt or Kdrez), such as is common in Persia ; often con- 
ducted from a great distance. Here it may have been a relic of abandoned cultivation. 
Khanikoff, on the road between Kerman and Yezd, not far west of that which I suppose 
Marco to be travelling, says : " At the fifteen inhabited spots marked upon the map, 
they have water which has been brought from a great distance^ and at considerable 
cost, by means of subterranean galleries, to which you descend by large and deep wells. 
Although the water flows at some depth, its course is tracked upon the surface by a 
line of more abundant vegetation." {lb. p. 200. ) Elphinstone says he has heard of 
such subterranean conduits 36 miles in length. (I. 398.) Polybius speaks of 
them : "There is no sign of water on the surface; but there are many underground 
channels, and these supply tanks in the desert, that are known only to the initiated. 
.... At the time when the Persians got the upper hand in Asia, they used to con- 
cede to such persons as brought spring-v/ater to places previously destitute of irrigation, 
the usufruct for five generations. And Taurus being rife with springs, they incurred 
all the expense and trouble that was needed to form these underground channels to 
great distances, insomuch that in these days even the people who make use of the water 
don't know where the channels begin, or whence the water comes." (X. 28.) 



Concerning the City of Cobinan and the things that are 

made there. 

Cobinan is a large town.^ The people worship Mahommet. 
There is much Iron and Steel and Ondaniqice, and they 
make steel mirrors of great size and beauty. They also 
prepare both Tutia (a thing very good for the eyes) and 
Spodium ; and I will tell you the process. 

They have a vein of a certain earth which has the 
required quality, and this they put into a great flaming 
furnace, whilst over the furnace there is an iron grating. 
The smoke and moisture, expelled from the earth of which 
I speak, adhere to the iron grating,, and thus form Tutia, 
whilst the slag that is left after burning is the Spodium} 

Note i. — Kuh-Banan is mentioned by Mokaddasi (a. D. 985) as one of the 
cities of Bardesir, the most northerly of the five circles into which he di\'ides Kerman. 
(See Sprenger, Post-uiid Reise-routen des Orients, p. 77.) It is the subject of an article 
in the Gec^. Dictionary of Yakut, though it has been there mistranscribed into 
KitbiyanzXiA Kukiydn. (See Leipzig ed. i86g, iv. p. -^16, zxid Barbier de Afeynard, 
Diet, de la Perse, p. 498.) And it is also indicated by Mr. Abbott (/. R. G. S. XXV. 
25) as the name of a district of Kerman, lying some distance to the east of his route 
when somewhat less than half-way between Yezd and Kerman. It would thus, I 
apprehend, be on or near the route between Kerman and Tabbas ; one which I believe 
has been traced by no modern traveller. We may be certain that there is now no 
place at Kuh-Banan deserving the title "of une citi grant, nor is it easy to believe that 
there was in Polo's time ; he applies such terms too profusely. The meaning of the 
name is perhaps " Hill of the Terebinths, or Wild Pistachioes," " a tree which grows 
abundantly in the recesses of bleak, stony, and desert mountains, e.g. about Shamakhi, 
about Shiraz, and in the deserts of Luristin and Lar." {Kdmpfer, 409, 413.) 

[" It is strange that Marco Polo speaks of Kubenan only on his return journey 
from Kerman ; on the do%vn journey he must have been told that Kubenan was in close 
proximity; it is even probable that he passed there, as Persian travellers of those times, 
when going firom Kerman to Yazd, and vice versa, always called at Kubenan." 
{Houtum-Schindler, I.e. p. 490.) In all histories this name is written Kubenan, 
not Kiihbenan ; the pronunciation to-day is Kobenan and Kobeniin. — H. C] 

I had thought my identification of Cobinan original, but a communication from Mr. 
Abbott, and the opportunity which this procured me of seeing his MS. Report already 
referred to, showed that he had anticipated me many years ago. The following is an 
extract: " Districts of Kerman • * ♦ fCooh Bcnan. This is a hilly district abound- 
ing in fruits, such as grapes, peaches, pomegranates, sinjid (sweet-willow), walnuts, 
melons. A great deal of madder and some asafoetida is produced there. This is no 
doubt the country alluded to by Marco Polo, under the name of Cobittam, as producing 
;ron, brass, and tutty, and which is still said to produce iron, copper, and tootea." 
There appear to be lead mines also in the district, as well as asbestos and sulphur. 
Mr. Abbott adds the names of nine villages, wliich he was not able to verify by coiq- 

126 MARCO POLO Book I. 

parison. These are Puz, Tarz, Gujard, Aspaj, Kuh-i-Gabr, Dahnah, Biighin, Bassab, 
Radk. The position of Kuh Bandn is stated to lie between Bahabad (a place also 
mentioned by Yakut as producing Ttitid) and Ravf, but this does not help us, and for 
approximate position we can only fall back on the note in Mr. Abbott's field-book, as 
published in they. R. G. S., viz. that the District lay in the mountains E.S.E. from 
a caravanserai ID miles S.E. of Gudran. To get the seven marches of Polo's 
Itinerary we must carry the Town of Kuh Banan as far north as this indication can 
possibly admit, for Abbott made only five and a half marches from the spot where this 
observation was made to Kerman. Perhaps Polo's route deviated for the sake of 
the fresh water. That a district, such as Mr. Abbott's Report speaks of, should lie 
unnoticed, in a tract which our maps represent as part of the Great Desert, shows 
again how very defective our geography of Persia still is. 

["During the next stage to Darband, we passed ruins that I believe to be those of 
Marco Polo's ' Cobinan ' as the modern Kuhbenan does not at all fit in with the 
great traveller's description, and it is just as well to remember that in the East the 
caravan routes seldom change." (Captain P. M. Sykes, Geog. Jour. X. p. 580. — See 
Persia, ch. xxiii. ) 

Kuh Banan has been visited by Mr. E. Stack, of the Indian Civil Service. {Six 
Months in Persia, London, 1882, I. 230.) — H. C] 

Note 2. — Tutty {i.e. Tutia) is in modern English an impure oxide of zinc, col- 
lected from the flues where brass is made ; and this appears to be precisely what Polo 
describes, unless it be that in his account the production of tutia from an ore of zinc 
is represented as the object and not an accident of the process. What he says reads 
almost like a condensed translation of Galen's account of Pompholyx and Spodos: 
" Pompholyx is produced in copper-smelting as Cadmia is ; and" it is also produced 
from Cadmia (carbonate of zinc) when put in the furnace, as is done (for instance) in 
Cyprus. The master of the works there, having no copper ready for smelting, 
ordered some pompholyx to be prepared from cadmia in my presence. Small pieces 
of cadmia were thrown into the fire in front of the copper-blast. The furnace top was 
covered, with no vent at the crown, and intercepted the soot of the roasted cadmia. 
This, when collected, constitutes Pompholyx, whilst that which falls on the hearth 
is called Spodos, a great deal of which is got in copper-smelting." Pompholyx, he 
adds, is an ingredient in salves for eye discharges and pustules. ( Galen, De Simpl. 
Medic, p. ix. in Latin ed., Venice, 1576.) Matthioli, after quoting this, says that 
Pompholyx was commonly known in the laboratories by the Arabic name of Tutia. I 
see that pure oxide of zinc is stated to form in modern practice a valuable eye-ointment. 

Teixeira speaks of tutia as found only in Kerman, in a range of mountains twelve 
parasangs from the capital. The ore got here was kneaded with water, and set to 
bake in crucibles in a potter's kiln. When well baked, the crucibles were lifted and 
emptied, and the tutia carried in boxes to Hormuz for sale. This corresponds with a 
modern account in Milburne, which says that the tutia imported to India from the 
Gulf is made from an argillaceous ore of zinc, which is moulded into tubular cakes, and 
baked to a moderate hardness. The accurate Garcia da Horta is wrong for once in saying 
that the tutia of Kerman is no mineral, but the ash of a certain tree called Goan. 

{Matth, on Dioscorides, Ven. 1565, pp. 1338-40 ; Teixeira, Relacion de Persia, 
p. 121 ; Milburne' s Or. Commerce, I. 139 ; Garcia, f. 21 v. ; Eng. Cyc, art. Zinc.) 

[General A. Houtum-Schindler {Jour. R. As. Sac. N.S. XIIL October, 1881, 
p. 497) says : " The name Tutia for coUyrium is now not used in Kermdn. Tutfa, when 
the name stands alone, is sulphate of copper, which in other parts of Persia is known 
as Kdt-i-Kebiid ; Tut(a-i-sabz (green Tut(a) is sulphate of iron, also called Zaj-i-sfyah. 
A piece of Tutfa-i-zard (yellow Tiitfa) shown to me was alum, generally called Zaj-i- 
saffd ; and a piece of Tutfa-f-saffd (white Tutfa) seemed to be an argillaceous zinc ore. 
Either of these may have been the earth mentioned by Marco Polo as being put into 
the furnace. The lampblack used as coUyrium is always called Surmah. This at 
Kermdn itself is the soot produced by the flame of wicks, steeped in castor oil or goat's 
fat, upon earthenware saucers. In the high mountainous districts of the province, 


Kubenan, Parfz, and others, Sumiah is the soot of the Gavan plant (Garcia's goan). 
This plant, a species of Astragalus, is on those mountains very fat and succulent ; firom 
it also exudes the Tragacanth gum. The soot is used dry as an eye-powder, or, mixed 
with tallow, as an eye-salve. It is occasionally collected on iron gratings. 

" Tutfa is the Arabicised word diidha, Persian for smokes. 

"The Shems-ul-loghat calls Tutfi a medicine for eyes, and a stone used for the 
fabrication of Surmah. The Tohfeh says Tiitia is of three kinds — yellow and blue 
mineral Tutfa, Tutla-i-qalam (collyrium) made from roots, and Tutii resulting from 
the process of smelting copper ore. 'The best Tiitia-i-qalam comes from Kerman.' 
It adds, ' Some authors say Surmah is sulphuret of antimony, others say it is a 
composition of iron ' ; I should say any black composition used for the eyes is Surmah, 
be it lampblack, antimony, iron, or a mixture of all. 

" TeLxeira's Tutia was an impure oxide of zinc, perhaps the above-mentioned Tiitfa- 
i-safid, baked into cakes ; it was probably the East India Company's Lapis Tutfa, 
also called Tutty. The Company's Tutenague and Tutenage, occasionally confounded 
with Tutty, was the so-called ' Chinese Copper,' an alloy of copper, zinc, and iron, 
brought from China." 

Major Sykes (ch. xxiii.) writes : " I translated Marco's description of tutia (which 
is also the modem Persian name), to a khan of Kubenan, and he assured me that the 
process was the same to-day ; spodium he knew nothing about, but the sulphate of 
zinc is found in the hills to the east of Kubenan." 

Heyd {Com. II. p. 675) says in a note : " II resulte de I'ensemble de ce passage 
que les matieres designees par Marco Polo sous le nom de 'espodie' (spodium) 
etaient des scories metalliques ; en general, le mot spodium designe les residus de la 
combustion des matieres vegetales ou des os (de I'ivoire)." — H. C] 


Of a certain Desert th.\t continues for eight days' Journey. 

When you depart from this City of Cobinan, you find 
yourself again in a Desert of surpassing aridity, which 
lasts for some eight days ; here are neither fruits nor trees 
to be seen, and what water there is is bitter and bad, so 
that you have to carry both food and water. The cattle 
must needs drink the bad water, will they nill they, 
because of their great thirst. At the end of those eight 
days you arrive at a Province which is called Tonocain. 
It has a good many towns and villages, and forms the 
extremity of Persia towards the North.^ It also contains 
an immense plain on which is found the Arbre Sol, which 
we Christians call the Arbre Sec ; and I will tell you 
what it is like. It is a tall and thick tree, having the 
bark on one side green and the other white ; and it 


Book. I. 

produces a rough husk Hke that of a chestnut, but 
without anything in it. The wood is yellow like box, and 
very strong, and there are no other trees near it nor 
within a hundred miles of it, except on one side, where 
you find trees within about ten miles' distance. And 
there, the people of the country tell you, was fought the 
battle between Alexander and Kingf Darius.^ 

The towns and villages have great abundance of 
everything good, for the climate is extremely temperate, 
being neither very hot nor very cold. The natives all 
worship Mahommet, and are a very fine-looking people, 
especially the women, who are surpassingly beautiful. 

Note i. — All that region has been described as "a country divided into deserts 
that are salt, and deserts that are not salt." ( Vigne, I. l6. ) Tonocain, as we have seen 
(ch. XV. note i), is the Eastern Kuhistan of Persia, but extended by Polo, it would 
seem to include the whole of Persian Khorasan. No city in particular is indicated as 
visited by the traveller, but the view I take of the position of the Arbre Sec, as well 
as his route through Kuh-Banan, would lead me to suppose that he reached the Pro- 
vince of Tun-o-Kain about Tabbas. 

[" Marco Polo has been said to have traversed a portion of (the Dash-i-Kavir, great 
Salt Desert) on his supposed route from Tabbas to Damghan, about 1272 ; although it 
is more probable that he marched further to the east, and crossed the northern portion 
of the Dash-i-Lut, Great Sand Desert, separating Khorasan in the south-east from 
Kerman, and occupying a sorrowful parallelogram between the towns of Neh and 
Tabbas on the north, and Kerman and Yezd on the south." (Curzon, Persia, II. pp. 
248 and 251.) Lord Curzon adds in a note (p. 248) : " The Tunogan of the text which 
was originally mistaken for Damghan, is correctly explained by Yule as Tun-o- (i.e. 
and) Kain." Major Sykes writes (ch. xxiii. ) : " The section of the Lut has not hitherto 
been rediscovered, but I know that it is desert throughout, and it is practically certain 
that Marco ended these unpleasant experiences at Tabas, 150 miles from Kubenan. 
To-day the district is known as Tun-o-Tabas, Kain being independent of it." — H. C] 

Note 2. — This is another subject on which a long and somewhat discursive note 
is inevitable. 

One of the Bulletins of the Soc. de Geographic (ser. IIL torn. iii. p. 187) contains a 
perfectly inconclusive endeavour, by M. Roux de Rochelle, to identify the Arbre Sec nx 
Arbre Sol with a manna-bearing oak alluded to by Q. Curtius as growing in Hyrcania. 
There can be no doubt that the tree described is, as Marsden points out, a Chmdr or 
Oriental Plane. Mr. Ernst Meyer, in his learned Geschichte der Bolanik (Konigsberg, 
1854-57, IV. 123), objects that Polo's description of the ■wood&ot.'& not answer to that 
tree. But, with due allowance, compare with his whole account that which Olearius 
gives of the Chinar, and say if the same tree be not meant. " The trees are as tall as 
the pine, and have very large leaves, closely resembling those of the vine. The fruit 
looks like a chestnut, but has no kernel, so it is not eatable. The wood is of a very brown 
colour, and full of veins ; the Persians employ it for doors and window-shutters, and 
when these are rubbed with oil they are incomparably handsomer than our walnut- 
wood joinery." (I. 526.) The Chinar-wood is used in Kashmir for gunstocks. 

The whole tenor of the passage seems to imply that some eminent individual 


Chinar is meant- The appellations given to it vary in the diffeient texts. In the 
G. T. it is styled in this passage, "The Arbre Settle which the Christians call the 
Arbre Sec" whilst in ch. ccL of the same {infra, Bk. IV. ch. v.) it is called 
" V Arbre Sol, which in the Book of Alexander is called V Arbre Seche." Pauthier has 
here " V Arbre Solque, que nous appelons V Arbre Sec" and in the later passage 
^^ V Arbre Seul, que le Livre Alexandre apelle Arbre Sec ;" whilst Ramusio has here 
*' L^Albero del Sole che si chiama per i Cristiani L'Albor Secco" and does not contain 
the later passage. So also I think all the old Latin and French printed texts, which 
are more or less based on Pipino's version, have "The Tree of the Sun, which the 
Latins call the Dry Tree." 

[G. Capus says {A trovers le roy. de Tamerlan, p. 296) that he found at Khodjakent, 
the remains of an enormous plane-tree or Chinar, which measured no less than 48 
metres (52 yards) in circumference at the base, and 9 metres diameter inside the rotten 
trunk ; a dozen tourists from Tashkent one day feasted inside, and were all at 
ease. — H. C] 

Pauthier, building as usual on the reading of his own text {Solqtu), endeavours to 
show that this odd word represents Thoulk, the Arabic name of a tree to which Forskal 
gave the title of Ficiis Vasta, and this Ficus Vasta he will have to be the same as the 
Chinar. Tictts Vasta would be a strange name surely to give to a Plane-tree, but 
Forskal may be acquitted of such an eccentricity. The Tholak (for that seems to be the 
proper vocalisation) is a tree of Arabia Felix, very different from the Chinar, for it is 
the well-known Indian Banyan, or a closely-allied species, as may be seen in 
Forskal's description. The latter indeed says that the Arab botanists called it Delb, 
and that (or Dulb) is really a sjTionym for the Chinar. But De Sacy has already 
commented upon this supposed application of the name Delb to the Tholak as 
erroneous. (See Flora Aegypticuo-Arabica, pp. cxxiv. and 179; Abdallatif, Rel. de 
FEgypte, p. 80; /. 2i. G. S. VIII. 275 ; Ritter, VI. 662, 679.) 

The fact is that the Solque of M. Pauthier's text is a mere copj-ist's error in the 
reduplication of the pronoun que. In his chief MS. which he cites as A (No. 10,260 
of Bibl. Nationale, now Fr. 5631) we can even see how this might easily happen, for 
one line ends with Solque and the next begins with que. The true reading is, I doubt 
not, that which this MS. points to, and which the G. Text gives us in the second pas- 
sage quoted above, viz. Arbre SoL, occurring in Ramusio as Albero del Sole. To 
make this easier of acceptation I must premise two remarks : first, that Sol is " the 
Sun " in both Venetian and Proven5al ; and, secondly, that in the French of that age 
the prepositional sign is not necessary to the genitive. Thus, in Pauthier's own text 
we find in one of the passages quoted above, "Z<f Livre Alexandre, i.e. Liber Alex- 
andri ;" elsewhere, " Cazan lefls Argon," " i la mire sa femtne" " Le corps Mon- 
seigneur Saint Thomas si est en ceste Province;" in Joinville, "& commandemant 
Mahomniet," ^' ceux de la Haulequa estoient logiez entour les hdberges le soudanc, et 
establiz pour le cors le soudanc garderj" in Baudouin de Sebourc, " De r amour 
Bauduin esprise et enfiamb^e." 

Moreover it is the Tree of the Sun that is prominent in the l^endary History 
of Alexander, a fact sufficient in itself to rule the reading. A character in an old 
English play says : — 

"Peregrine. Drake was a didapper to Mandevill : 
Candish and Hawkins, Frobisher, all our Voyagers 
Went short of Mandevil. But had he reached 
To this place — here — yes, here — this wilderness. 
And seen the Trees of the Sun and Moon, that speak 
And told King Alexander of his death ; 
He then 

Had left a passage ope to Traveller* 
That now is kept and guarded by Wild Beasts." 

{Broom^s Antipodes, in LamVs Specimens.) 

VOL. I. 

130 MARCO POLO Book I. 

The same trees are alluded to in an ancient Low German poem in honour of St. 
Anno of Cologne. Speaking of the Four Beasts of Daniel's Vision : — 
*' The third beast was a Libbard ; 

Four Eagle's Wings he had ; 

This signified the Grecian Alexander, 

Who with four Hosts went forth to conquer lands 

Even to the World's End, 

Known by its Golden Pillars. 

In India he the Wilderness broke through 

With Trees twain he there did speak," etc. 

{In Schiltcri Thcsattrus Antiq. Teuton, torn, i.*) 
These oracular Trees of the Sun and Moon, somewhere on the confines of India, 
appear in all the fabulous histories of Alexander, from the Pseudo-Callisthenes down- 
wards. Thus Alexander is made to tell the story in a letter to Aristotle : ' ' Then 
came some of the towns-people and said, ' We have to show thee something passing 
strange, O King, and worth thy visiting ; for we can show thee trees that talk with 
human speech.' So they led me to a certain park, in the midst of which were the 
Sun and Moon, and round about them a guard of priests of the Sun and Moon. And 
there stood the two trees of which they had spoken, like unto cypress trees ; and round 
about them were trees like the myrobolans of Egypt, and with similar fruit. And I 
addressed the two trees that were in the midst of the park, the one which was male in 
the Masculine gender, and the one that was female in the Feminine gender. And the 
name of the Male Tree was the Sun, and of the female Tree the Moon, names which 
were in that language Miithu and Eniausae.\ And the stems were clothed with the 
skins of animals ; the male tree with the skins of he-beasts, and the female tree with 
the skins of she-beasts. . . . And at the setting of the Sun, a voice, speaking in the 
Indian tongue, came forth from the (Sun) Tree ; and I ordered the Indians who were 
with me to interpret it. But they were afraid and would not," etc. {Psetido-Callisth. 
ed. Miiller, III. 17.) 

The story as related by Firdusi keeps very near to the Greek as just quoted, but 
does not use the term " Tree of the Sun." The chapter of the Shah Nameh containing 
it is entitled Didan Sikandar dirakht-i-goydrd, " Alexander's interview with the 
Speaking Tree." {Livre des Kois, V. 229.) In the Chanson d^Alixandreoi Lambert 
le Court and Alex, de Bernay, these trees are introduced as follows :-r- 
*' ' Signor,' fait Alixandre, ' je vus voel demander, 

Se des merveilles d'Inde me saves rien conter.' 

Cil li ont respondu : ' Se tu vius escouter 

Ja te dirons merveilles, s'es poras esprover. 

La sus en ces desers pues ii Arbres trover 

Qui c pies ont de haut, et de grossor sunt per. 

Li Solaus et La Lune les ont fait si serer 

Que sevent tous langages et entendre et parler.'" 

(Ed. r86i (Dinan), p. 357.) 
Maundevile informs us precisely where these trees are : "A 15 journeys in lengthe, 
goynge be the Deserts of the tother side of the Ryvere Beumare," if one could only 

* " Daz dritte Dier was ein Lebarte 

Vier arin Vederich her havite ; 

Der beceichnote den Criechiskin Alexanderin, 

Der mit vier Herin vur aftir Landin, 

Unz her die Werilt einde, 

Bi giildinin Siulin bikante. 

In India her die Wusti durchbrach, 

Mit zwein Boumin her sick da gesprach" etc. 
t It is odd how near the word Emausae comes to the E. African Mwezi; and perhaps more odd 
that "the elders of U-nya-Mwezi (' the Land of the Moon ') declare that their patriarchal ancestor 
became after death the first Tree, and afforded shade to his children and descendants. According to 
the Arabs the people still perform pilgrimage to a holy tree, and believe that the penalty of sacrilege 
in cutting off a twig would be visited by sudden and mysterious death." (Burton in /''. /?. G. S. XXIX. 


tell where that is ! * A mediaeval chronicler also tells us that Ogerus the Dane {temp. 
CaroH Magni) conquered all the parts beyond sea from Hierusalem to the Trees of 
the Sun. In the old Italian romance also of Guerino detto il Meschino, still a chap- 
book in S. Italy, the Hero (ch. Ixiii. ) visits the Trees of the Sun and Moon. But 
this is mere imitation of the Alexandrian story, and has nothing of interest. (Maun- 
devile, pp. 297-298; Fascuulus Temporum in Germ. Script. Pistorii Nidani, II.) 

It will be observed that the letter ascribed to Alexander describes the two oracular 
trees as resembling two cypress- trees. As such the Trees of the Sun and Moon are 
represented on several extant ancient medals, e.g. on two struck at Perga in Pamphylia 
in the time of Aurelian. And Eastern storj- tells us of two vast cj'press-trees, sacred 
among the Magians, which grew in Khorasan, one at Kashmar near Turshiz, and the 
other at Farmad near Tuz, and which were said to have risen from shoots that 
Zoroaster brought from Paradise. The former of these was sacril^ously cut down 
by the order of the Khalif Motawakkil, in the 9th century. The trunk was despatched 
to Baghdad on rollers at a vast expense, whilst the branches alone formed a load for 
1300 camels. The night that the convoy reached within one stage of the palace, the 
Khalif was cut in pieces by his own guards. This tree was said to be 1450 years old, 
and to measure 33I cubits in girth. The locality of this "Arbor Sol" we see was 
in Khorasan, and possibly its fame may have been transferred to a representative of 
another species. The plane, as well as the cypress, was one of the distinctive trees of 
the Magian Paradise. 

In the Peutingerian Tables we find in the N.E. of Asia the rubric '' Hie Alexander 
Responsum accepit," which looks very like an allusion to the tale of the Oracular Trees. 
If so, it is remarkable as a suggestion of the antiquity of the Alexandrian Legends, 
though the rubric may of course be an interpolation. The Trees of the Sun and 
Moon appear as located in India Ultima to the east of Persia, in a map which is 
found in MSS. (I2tli century-) of the Floridus of Lanibertus ; and they are indicated 
more or less precisely in several maps of the succeeding centuries. (Ouseleys Travels, I. 
387 ; Dabistan, I. 307-308 ; Santarem, H. de la Cosmog. II. 189," III, 506-513, etc) 

Nothing could show better how this legend had possessed men in the Middle Ages 
than the fact that Vincent of Beauvais discerns an allusion to these Trees of the Sun 
and Moon in the blessing of Moses on Joseph (as it runs in the Vulgate), "a!? pomis 
fntctuum Solis ac Lwtae." (Deut. xxxiii. 14- ) 

Marco has mixt up this legend of the Alexandrian Romance, on the authority, 
as we shall see reason to believe, of some of the recompilers of that Romance, 
with a famous subject of Christian Legend in that age, the Arbre Sec or Dry 
Tree, one form of which is related by Maunde\'ile and by Johan Schiltberger. 
"Alj-tille fro Ebron," says the former, "is the Mount of Mambre, of the whyche 
the Valeye taketh his name. And there is a Tree of Oke that the Saracens clepen 
Dirpe, that is of Abraham's Tyme, the which men clepen THE Drye Tree." 
[Schiltberger adds that the heathen call it Kurru Thereck, i.e. (Turkish) AYtni 
Dirakht— Dry Tree.] " And theye seye that it hathe ben there sithe the b^innynge 
of the World ; and was sumtj-me grene and bare Leves, unto the Tyme that Oure 
Lord dyede on the Cros ; and thanne it dr}-ede ; and so dyden alle the Trees that 
weren thanne in the World. And summe seyn be hire Prophecyes that a Lord, a 
PrjTice of the West syde of the World, shalle wynnen the Lond of Promyssioun, i.e. 
the Holy Lond, withe Helpe of Cristene Men, and he schalle do synge a Masse under 
that Drje Tree, and than the Tree shall wexen grene and bere both Fruyt and Leves. 
And thorghe that MjTacle manye Sarazines and Jewes schuUe ben turned to Cristene 
Feithe. And, therefore, they dou gret Worschipe thereto, and kepen it fuUe besyly. 
And alle be it so that it be drye, natheless yit he berethe great vertue," etc. 

The tradition seems to have altered with circumstances, for a traveller of nearly 
two centuries later ( Friar Anselmo, 1509) describes the oak of Abraham at Hebron 

* " The River Buemar, in the furthest forests of India," appears to come up in one of the versions 
of Alexander's Letter to Aristotle, though,! do not find it in MuUer's edition. (See Zacher's Pseudo- 
CtUlisthtnes, p. i6o.) 'Tis perhaps Ab-i-Amu I 

VOL. L , 12 

132 MARCO POLO Book I. 

as a tree of dense and verdant foliage: "The Saracens make their devotions at it, 
and hold it in great veneration, for it has remained thus green from the days of 
Abraham until now ; and they tie scraps of cloth on its branches inscribed with some 
of their writing, and believe that if any one were to cut a piece off that tree he would 
die within the year." Indeed even before Maundevile's time Friar Burchard (1283) 
had noticed that though the famous old tree was dry, another had sprung from its 
roots. And it still has a representative. 

As long ago as the time of Constantine a fair was held under the Terebinth of 
Mamre, which was the object of many superstitious rites and excesses. The Emperor 
ordered these to be put a stop to, and a church to be erected at the spot. In the 
time of Arculph (end of 7th century) the dry trunk still existed under the roof of this 
church ; just as the immortal Banyan-tree of Prag exists to this day in a subterranean 
temple in the Fort of Allahabad. 

It is evident that the story of the Dry Tree had got a great vogue in the 13th 
century. In the /its dii Pelerin, a French drama of Polo's age, the Pilgrim says : — 

" S'ai puis en maint bon lieu et ^ maint saint est6, 
S'ai este au Sec-Arbre et dusc'^ Dureste." 

And in another play of slightly earlier date {Le Jus de St. Nicolas), the King of 
Africa, invaded by the Christians, summons all his allies and feudatories, among 
whom appear the Admirals of Coine {Iconium) and Orkenie {Hyrcania), and the 
Amirald' outre VArbre-Sec (as it were of "the Back of Beyond") in whose country 
the only current coin is millstones ! Friar Odoric tells us that he heard at Tabriz that 
the Arbor Secco existed in a mosque of that city ; and Clavijo relates a confused story 
about it in the same locality. Of the Diirre Baum at Tauris there is also a somewhat 
pointless legend in a Cologne MS. of the 14th century, professing to give an account 
of the East. There are also some curious verses concerning a mystical Diirre Bom 
quoted by Fabricius from an old Low German Poem ; and we may just allude to that 
other mystic Arbor Secco of Dante — 

" una pianta dispogliata 

Di fiori e d'altra fronda in ciascun ramo," 

though the dark symbolism in the latter case seems to have a different bearing. 

[Alaundevile, p. 68; Schiltberger, p. 113; Anselm. in Canisii Thesaurus, IV. 
781 ; Pereg. Quat. p. 81 ; Niceph. Callist. VIII. 30 ; ThMtre Franfais au Moyen 
^S^^ PP* 97> ^73 ; Cathay, p. 48 ; Clavijo, p. 90 ; Orient und Occident, Gottingen, 
1867, vol. i. ; Fabricii Vet. Test. Pseud., etc., I. 1133; Dante, Purgat. xxxii. 


But why does Polo bring this Arbre Sec into connection with the Sun Tree of the 
Alexandrian Legend ? I cannot answer this to my own entire satisfaction, but I can 
show that such a connection had been imagined in his time. 

Paulin Paris, in a notice of MS. No. 6985 (Fonds Ancien) of the National 
Library, containing a version of the Chansons de Geste cC Alixandre, based upon the 
work of L. Le Court and Alex, de Bernay, but with additions of later date, notices 
amongst these latter the visit of Alexander to the Valley Perilous, where he sees a 
variety of wonders, among others the Arbre des Pucelles. Another tree at a great 
distance from the last is called the Arbre Sec, and reveals to Alexander the secret of 
the fate which attends him in Babylon. (Les MSS. Franfais de la Bibl. du Roi, III. 
105. )* Again the English version of King Alisaundre, published in Weber's Collection, 
shows clearly enough that in its French original the term Arbre Sec was applied to 
the Oracular Trees, though the word has been miswritten, and misunderstood by 

* It is right to notice that there may be some error in the reference of Paulin Paris ; at least I 
could not trace the Arbre Sec in the MS. which he cites, nor in the celebrated Bodleian Alexander, 
which appears to contain the same version of the story. [The fact is that Paulin Paris refers to the 
Arbre, but without the word sec, at the top of the first column of fol. 79 recto of the MS. No, Fr, 
368 (late 698s).-H. C] 



Weber. The King, as in the Greek and French passages akeady quoted, meeting two 
old churls, asks if they know of any marvel in those parts : — 

*' ' Ye, par ma fay,' quoth heo, 
' A great merveille we wol telle the ; 
That is hennes in even way 
The mountas of ten daies journey. 
Thou shalt find trowes * two : 
SejTites and holy they buth bo ; 
Higher than in othir countray all. 
AsBESET men heom callith.' 
• ••••• 

' Sire KjTig,' quod on, * by m)m eyghe 
Either Trough is an hundrod feet hygh. 
They stondith up into the skye ; 
That on to the Sonm, sikirlye ; 
That othir, we tellith the nowe. 
Is sakret in the Motu vertue. ' " 

{Weber, I. 277.) 

Weber's glossary gives "^r&j«/= Strawberry Tree, arbous, arbousier, arbutus" ; 
but that is nonsense. 

Further, in the French Prose Romance of Alexander, which is contained in the 
fine volume in the British Museum known as the Shrewsbury Book (Reg. XV. e. 6), 
though we do not find the Arbre Sec so named, we find it described and pictorially 
represented. The Romance (fol. xiiiL v.) describes Alexander and his chief com- 
panions as ascending a certain mountain by 2500 steps which were attached to a 
golden chain. At the top they find the golden Temple of the Sun and an old man 
asleep within. It goes on : — 

" Quant le viellart les vit si leur demanda s'ils vouloient veoir les Arbres sacrez de 
la Lune et du Soleil que nous annuncent les choses qui sont i avenir. Quant 
Alexandre ouy ce si fat rempli de mult grant ioye. Si lui respondirent, ' Ouye sur, 
nous les voulons veoir.' Et cil lui dist, 'Se tu es nez de prince malle et de femelle il 
te convient entrer en celui lieu.' Et Alexandre lui respondi, ' Nous somes nez de 
compagne malle et de femelle.' Dont se leve le viellart du lit ou il gesoit, et leur 
dist, ' Hostez vos vestemens et vos chauces.' Et Tholomeuset Antigonuset Perdiacas 
le suivrent. Lors comencerent a aler parmy la forest qui estoit enclose en merveilleux 
labour. lUec trouverent les arbres semblables £l loriers et oliviers. Et estoient de 
cent pies de haults, et decouroit d'eulz incens ypobaume t ^ grant qnantite. Apres 
entrerent plus avant en la forest, et trouverent utu arbre durement hault qui r^avoit ne 
fueille ne fruit. Si seoit sur cet arbre une grant oysel qui avoit en son chief une 
creste qui estoit semblable au paon, et les plumes du col resplendissants come fin or. 
Et avoit la couleur de rose. Dont lui dist le viellart, 'Cet oysel dont vous vous 
merveillez est appeles Fenis, lequel n'a nul pareil en tout le monde.' Dont pass^rent 
outre, et ailment aux Arbres du Soleil et de la Lune. Et quant ils y furent venus, si 
leur dist le viellart, ' Regardez en haut, et pensez en votre coeur ce que vous vouldrez 
demander, et ne le dites de la bouche.' Alisandre luy demanda en quel language 
donnent les Arbres response aux gens. Et il lui respondit, * L' Arbre du Soleil 
commence a parler Indien.' Dont baisa Alexandre les arbres, et comenja en son ceur 
a penser s'il conquesteroit tout le monde et retoumeroit en Macedonie atout son ost. 
Dont lui respondit I'Arbre du Soleil, ' Alexandre tn seras Roy de tout le monde, mais 
Macedonie tu ne verras jamais,' " etc. 

The appearance of the Arbre Sec in Maps of the 15th century, such as those of 
Andrea Bianco (1436) and Fra Mauro (1459), may be ascribed to the influence of 

* Trees. t Opobaliwtnnm. 



Book I. 

Polo's own work ; but a more genuine evidence of the prevalence of the legend is 
found in the celebrated Hereford Map constructed in the 13th century by Richard de 
Haldingham. This, in the vicinity of India and the Terrestrial Paradise, exhibits a 
Tree with the rubric ^^ Albor Balsami est Arbor Sicca." 

The legends of the Dry Tree were probably spun out of the words of the Vulgate 
in Ezekiel xvii. 24 : " Humiliavi lignum sublime et exaltavi lignum humile ; et siccavi 
lignum viride et frondescere feci lignum aridum." Whether the Rue de PArbre Sec 
in Paris derives its name from the legend I know not. [The name of the street is taken 
from an old sign-board ; some say it is derived from the gibbet placed in the vicinity, 
but this is more than doubtful. — H. C] 

The actual tree to which Polo refers in the text was probably one of those so 
frequent in Persia, to which age, position, or accident has attached a character of 
sanctity, and which are styled Dirakht-i-Fazl, Trees Excellence or Grace, and 

often receive titles appropriate to Holy Persons. Vows are made before them, and 
|)ieces torn from the clothes of the votaries are hung upon the branches or nailed to 
the trunks. To a tree of such a character, imposing in decay, Lucan compares 
Pompey : 

" Stat magni nominis umbra. 

Quails frugifero quercus sublimis in agro, 

Extivias veteres populi sacrataqtie gestans 

Dona ducum « • ♦ • » 

Quamvis primo nutet casura sub Euro, 

Tot circum silvae firmo se robore toUant, 

Sola tamen colitur." (P/iarsalia,!. 135.) 

Chap. XXIl. THE ARBRE SEC t^^ 

The Tree of Mamre was evidently precisely one of this class ; and those who have 
crossed the Suez Desert before railway days will remember such a Dirakht-i-Fazl, an 
aged mimosa, a veritable Arbre Seul (could we accept that reading), that stood just 
half-way across the Desert, streaming with the exirviae veteres of Mecca Pilgrims. The 
majority of such holy trees in Persia appear to be Plane-trees. Admiration for the 
beauty of this tree seems to have occasionally risen into superstitious veneration from 
a very old date. Herodotus relates that the Carians, after their defeat by the Persians 
on the Marsj-as, rallied in the sacred grove of Plane-trees at Labranda. And the 
same historian tells how, some years later, Xerxes on his march to Greece decorated 
a beautiful Chinar with golden ornaments. Mr. Hamilton, in the same region, came 
on the remains of a giant of the species, which he thought might possibly be the very 
same. Pliny rises to enthusiasm in speaking of some noble Plane-trees in Lycia and 
elsewhere. Chardin describes one grand and sacred specimen, called King Hosain's 
Chinar, and said to be more than icxx) years old, in a suburb of Ispahan, and another 
hung with amulets, rags, and tapers in a garden at Shiraz.* One sacred tree men- 
tioned by the Persian geographer Hamd Allah as distinguishing the grave of a holy 
man at Bostam in Khorasan (the species is not named, at least by Ouseley, from whom 
I borrow this) comes into striking relation with the passage in our text The story 
went that it had been the staff of Mahomed ; as such it had been transmitted through 
many generations, until it was finally deposited in the grave of Abu Abdallah Dasitani, 
where it struck root^ and put forth branches. And it is explicitly called Dirakht-i- 
Khushk, i.e. literally H ARBRE SEC. 

This last legend belongs to a large class. The staff of Adam, which was created 
in the twilight of the approaching Sabbath, was bestowed on him in Paradise and 
handed down successively to Enoch and the line of Patriarchs. After the death of 
Joseph it was set in Jethro's garden, and there grew untouched, till Moses came and 
got his rod from it. In another form of the legend it is Seth who gets a branch of the 
Tree of Life, and from this Moses afterwards obtains his rod of power. These Rab- 
binical stories seem in later times to have been developed into .the Christian legends 
of the wood destined to form the Cross, such as they are told in the Golden Legend 
or by Godfrey of Viterbo, and elaborated in Calderon's Sibila del Oriente. Indeed, 
as a valued friend who has consulted the latter for me suggests, probably all the Arbre 
Sec Legends of Christendom bore mystic reference to the Cross. In Calderon's play 
the Holy Rood, seen in vision, is described as a Tree : — 

" cuyas hojas, 

Secas mustias y marchitas, 
Desnudo el tronco dejaban 
Que, entre mil copas floridas 
De los arboles, el solo 
Sin pompa y sin bizaria 
Era cadaver del prado." 

There are several Dry-Tree stories among the wonders of Buddhism ; one is that of a 
sacred tree visited by the Chinese pilgrims to India, which had grown from the twig 
which Sakya, in Hindu fashion, had used as a tooth-brush ; and I think there is a 
like story in our own country of the Glastonbury Thorn having grown from the staff 
of Joseph of Arimathea. 

["St Francis' Church is a large pile, neere which, yet a little without the Citty, 
growes a tree which they report in their legend grew from the Saint's StafiF, which on 

* A recent traveller in China gives a perfectly similar description of sacred trees in Shansi. Many 
bore inscriptions in large letiers. '' If you pray, you will certainly be heard." — Rev. A. Williantson, 
Journeys in N. China, I. 163, where there is a cut of such a tree near Taiyuanfu. (See this work, 
I. ch. xvi.) Mr. Williamson describes such a venerated tree, an ancient acacia, known as the 
Acacia of the T'ang, meaning that it existed under that Dynasty (7lh to roth centurj-)- It is renowned 
for its healing virtues, and every available spot on its surface was crowded with votive tablets and in- 
scriptions, (lb. 303.) 

136 MARCO POLO Book I. 

going to sleepe he fixed in the ground, and at his waking found it had grown a large 
tree. They affirm that the wood of its decoction cures sundry diseases." {Evelyn^s 
Diary, October, 1644.)— H. C] 

In the usual form of the mediaeval legend, Adam, drawing near his end, sends 
Seth to the gate of Paradise, to seek the promised Oil of Mercy. The Angel allows 
Seth to put his head in at the gate. Doing so (as an old English version gives it) — 

" he saw a fair Well, 

Of whom all the waters on earth cometh, as the Book us doth tell ; 

Over the Well stood a Tree, with bowes broad and lere 

Ac it ne bare leafne rind, but as itfor-olded were ; 

A nadder it had beclipt about, all naked withouten skin, 

That was the Tree and the Nadder that first made Adam do sin ! " 

The Adder or Serpent is coiled about the denuded stem ; the upper branches 
reach to heaven, and bear at the top a new-born wailing infant, swathed in linen, 
whilst {here we quote a French version) — 

" Les larmes qui de lui issoient 
Contreval I'Arbre en avaloient ; 
Adonc regarda I'enfant Seth 
Tout contreval de l'arbre secq ; 
Les rachines qui le tenoient 
Jusques en Enfer s'en aloient, 
Les larmes qui de lui issirent 
Jusques dedans Enfer cheirent." 

The Angel gives Seth three kernels from the fruit of the Tree. Seth returns home 
and finds his father dead. He buries him in the valley of Hebron, and places the three 
grains under his tongue. A triple shoot springs up of Cedar, Cypress, and Pine, 
symbolising the three Persons of the Trinity. The three eventually unite into one 
stem, and this tree survives in various forms, and through various adventures in con- 
nection with the Scripture History, till it is found at the bottom of the Pool of Beth- 
esda, to which it had imparted healing Virtue, and is taken thence to form the Cross 
on which Our Lord suffered. 

The English version quoted above is from a MS. of the 14th century in the 
Bodleian, published by Dr. Morris in his collection of Legends of the Holy Hood. I 
have modernised the spelling of the lines quoted, without altering the words. The 
French citation is from a MS. in the Vienna Library, from which extracts are given 
by Sign. Adolfo Mussafia in his curious and learned tract [Sulla Legenda del Legno 
della Croce, Vienna, 1870), which gives a full account of the fundamental legend 
and its numerous variations. The examination of these two works, particularly Sign. 
Mussafia's, gives an astonishing impression of the copiousness with which such 
Christian Mythology, as it may fairly be called, was diffused and multiplied. There 
are in the paper referred to notices of between fifty and sixty different works (not MSS. 
or copies of works merely) containing this legend in various European languages. 

{Santarem, IH. 380, IL 348 ; Ouseley, I. 359 seqq. and 391 ; Herodotus, VH. 
31 ; Pliny, XH. 5; Chat-din, VH. 410, VHI. 44 and 426; Fabricius, Vet. Test. 
Pseud. L 80 seqq. ; Cathay, p. 365 ; Beats Fah-Hian, 72 and 78 ; Pilerins Boudd- 
histes, IL 292 ; Della Valle, II. 276-277.) 

He who injured the holy tree of Bostam, we are told, perished the same day : a 
general belief in regard to those Trees of Grace, of which we have already seen 
instances in regard to the sacred trees of Zoroaster and the Oak of Hebron. We find 
the same belief in Eastern Africa, where certain trees, regarded by the natives with 
superstitious reverence, which they express by driving in votive nails and suspending 
rags, are known to the European residents by the vulgar name of Devil Trees. 



Burton relates a case of the verification of the superstition in the death of an English 
merchant who had cut down such a tree, and of four members of his household. It 
is the old story which Ovid tells ; and the tree which Erisichthon felled was a 
Dirakht-i-Fazl : 

" Vittae mediam, memoresque tabellae 
Sertaque cingebant, voti argumenta potentis." 

i^Metamorph. VIII. 744.) 

Though the coincidence with our text of Hamd Allah's Dry Tree is very striking, I 
am not prepared to lay stress on it as an argument for the geographical determination 
of Marco's Arbre Sec. His use of the title more than once to characterise the whole 
frontier of Khorasan can hardly have been a mere whim of his own : and possibly 
some explanation of that circumstance will yet be elicited from the Persian historians 
or geographers of the Mongol era. 

Meanwhile it is in the vicinity of Bostam or Damghan that I should incline to 
place this landmark. If no one very cogent reason points to this, a variety of minor 
ones do so ; such as the direction of the traveller's journey from Kermin through Kuh 
Bandn ; the apparent vicinity of a great Ismailite fortress, as will be noticed in the 
next chapter ; the connection twice indicated (see Prologue, ch. xviii. note 6, and 
Bk. IV. ch. V.) of the Arbre Sec with the headquarters of Ghazan Khan in watch- 
ing the great passes, of which the principal ones debouche at Bostam, at which place 
also buildings erected by Ghazan still exist ; and the statement that the decisive battle 
between Alexander and Darius was placed there by local tradition. For though no 
such battle took place in that region, we know that Darius was murdered near 
Hecatompylos. Some place this city west of Bostam, near Damghan ; others east of 
it, about Jah Jerm ; Ferrier has strongly argued for the vicinity of Bostam itself. 
Firdusi indeed places the final battle on the confines of Kerman, and the death of 
Darius within that province. But this could not have been the tradition Polo met 

I may add that the temperate climate of Bostam is noticed in words almost 
identical with Polo's by both Fraser and Ferrier. 

The Chinar abounds in Khorasan (as far as any tree can be said to abound in 
Persia), and even in the Oases of Tun-o-Kain wherever there is water. Travellers 
quoted by Ritter notice Chinars of great size and age at Shahriid, near Bostam, 
at Meyomid, and at Mehr, west of Sabzawar, which last are said to date from the 
time of Naoshirwan (7th century). There is a town to the N.W. of Meshid called 
Ckindrdn, "The Planes." P. Delia Valle, we may note, calls Tehran "la citta dei 

The following note by De Sacy regarding the Chinar has already been quoted by 
Marsden, and though it may be doubtful whether the term Arbre Sec had any relation 
to the idea expressed, it seems to me too interesting to be omitted : "Its sterility 
seems to have become proverbial among certain people of the East. For in a collec- 
tion of sundry moral sentences pertaining to the Sabaeans or Christians of St. John 
... we find the following : ' The vainglorious man is like a showy Plane Tree, rich 
in boughs but producing nothing, and affording no fruit to its owner.'" The same 
reproach of sterility is cast at the Plane by Ovid's Walnut : — 

"At postquam platanis, sterileni praebentibus utubram, 
Uberior qua vis arbore venit honos ; 
Nos quoque fructiferae, si nux modo ponor in illis, 

Coepimus in patulas luxuriare comas." {Nux, 17-20.) 

I conclude with another passage from Khanikoff, though put forward in special 
illustration of what I believe to be a mistaken reading [Arbre Seul) : " Where the 
Chinar is of spontaneous growth, or occupies the centre of a vast and naked plain, this 
tree is even in our own day invested with a quite exceptional veneration, and the 


locality often comes to be called ' The Place of the Solitary Tree.' " (/. R. G. S. 
XXIX. 345 ; Ferrier, 69-76 ; Fraser, 343 ; KitUr, VIII. 332, XI. 512 seqq. ; Delia 
Voile, I. 703 ; De Sac/s Abdallatif, p. 81 ; Khanikoff, Not. p. 38.) 

[See in Fr. Zamcke, Der Priester Johannes, II., in the chap. Der Baum des Seth, 
pp. 127-128, from MS. (14th century) from Cambridge, this cm-ious passage (p. 128) : 
"Tandem rogaverunt eum, ut arborem siccam, de qua multum saepe loqui audierant, 
liceret videre. Quibus dicebat : ' Non est appellata arbor sicca recto nomine, sed 
arbor Seth, quoniara Seth, filius Adae, primi patris nostri, earn plantavit.' Et ad 
arborem Seth fecit eos ducere, prohibens eos, ne arborem transmearent, sed [si ?] ad 
patriam suam redire desiderarent. Et cum appropinquassent, de pulcritudine arboris 
roirati sunt ; erat enim magnae immensitatis et miri decoris. Omnium enim colorum 
varietas inerat arbori, condensilas foliorum et fructuum diversorum ; diversitas avium 
omnium, quae sub coelo sunt. Folia vero invicem se repercutientia dulcissimae melo- 
diae modulamine resonabant, et aves amoenos cantus ultra quam credi potest promebant ; 
et odor suavissimus profudit eos, ita quod paradisi amoenitate fuisse. Et cum admirantes 
tantam pulcritudinem aspicerent, unus sociorum aliquo eorum maior aetate, cogitans 
[cc^tavil ?] intra se, quod senior esset et, si inde rediret, cito aliquo casu mori posset. 
Et cum haec secum cogitasset, coepit arborem transire, et cum transisset, advocans 
socios, iussit eos post se ad locum amoenissimum, quem ante se videbat plenum deliciis 
sibi paratum [paratis ?] festinare. At illi retrogressi sunt ad regem, scilicet presbiterura 
lohannem. Quos donis amplis ditavit, et qui cum eo morari voluerunt libenter et honori- 
fice detinuit. Alii vero ad patriam reversi sunt." — In common with Marsden and Yule, 
I have no doubt that the Arbre Sec is the Chindr. Odoric places it at Tabriz and I 
have given a very lengthy dissertation on the subject in my edition of this traveller 
(pp. 21-29), to which I must refer the reader, to avoid increasing unnecessarily the size 
c«f the present publication. — H. C] 


Concerning the Old Man of the Mountain. 

MuLEHET is a country in which the Old Man of the 
Mountain dwelt in former days ; and the name means 
''Place of the Aram.'' I will tell you his whole history 
as related by Messer Marco Polo, who heard it from 
several natives of that res^ion. 

The Old Man was called in their language Aloadin. 
He had caused a certain valley between two mountains 
to be enclosed, and had turned it into a garden, the 
largest and most beautiful that ever was seen, filled with 
every variety of fruit. In it were erected pavilions and 
palaces the most elegant that can be imagined, all 

140 MARCO POLO Book I. 

covered with gilding and exquisite painting. And there 
were runnels too, flowing freely with wine and milk and 
honey and water ; and numbers of ladies and of the most 
beautiful damsels in the world, who could play on all 
manner of instruments, and sung most sweetly, and 
danced in a manner that it was charming to behold. 
For the Old Man desired to make his people believe 
that this was actually Paradise. So he had fashioned 
it after the description that Mahommet gave of his 
Paradise, to wit, that it should be a beautiful garden 
running with conduits of wine and milk and honey and 
water, and full of lovely women for the delectation of all 
its inmates. And sure enough the Saracens of those 
parts believed that it was Paradise ! 

Now no man was allowed to enter the Garden save 
those whom he intended to be his Ashishin. There 
was a Fortress at the entrance to the Garden, strong 
enough to resist all the world, and there was no other 
way to get in. He kept at his Court a number of the 
youths of the country, from 12 to 20 years of age, such 
as had a taste for soldiering, and to these he used to tell 
tales about Paradise, just as Mahommet had been wont 
to do, and they believed in him just as the Saracens 
believe in Mahommet. Then he would introduce them 
into his garden, some four, or six, or ten at a time, 
having first made them drink a certain potion which 
cast them into a deep sleep, and then causing them to 
be lifted and carried in. So when they awoke, they 
found themselves in the Garden.^ 

Note i.-*-Says the venerable Sire de Joinville : "Z« Vieil de la Montaingne ne 
crioit pas en Mahommet^ ahifois crioit en la Lot de Haali, qui fu Oncle Mahommet.''^ 
This is a crude statement, no doubt, but it has a germ of truth. Adherents of the 
family of 'Ali as the true successors of the Prophet existed from the tragical day of the 
death of Husain, and among these, probably owing to the secrecy with which they 
were compelled to hold their allegiance, there was always a tendency to all manner of 


strange and mystical doctrines ; as in one direction to the glorification of ' Ali as a kind 
of incarnation of the Di%4nity, a character in which his lineal representatives were held 
in some manner to partake ; in another direction to the development of Pantheism, 
and release from all positive creed and precepts. Of these Aliites, eventually called 
Shidhs, a chief sect, and parent of many heretical branches, were the Ismailites, who 
took their name, from the seventh Imam, whose return to earth they professed to 
expect at the end of the World. About A.D. 1090 a branch of the Ismaili stock was 
established by Hassan, son of Sabah, in the mountainous districts of Northern Persia ; 
and, before their suppression by the Mongols, 170 years later, the power of the quasi- 
spiritual dynasty which Hassan founded had spread over the Eastern Kohistan, at least 
as far as Kain. Their headquarters were at Alamut (" Eagle's Nest "), about 32 miles 
north-east of Kazwin, and all over the territory which they held they established for- 
tresses of great strength. De Sacy seems to have proved that they were called 
Hashlshiya or Hashishin, from their use of the preparation of hemp called Hashish ; 
and thence, through their system of murder and terrorism, came the modern applica- 
tion of the word Assassin. The original aim of this system was perhaps that of a kind 
of Vehmgericht, to punish or terrify orthodox persecutors who were too strong to be 
faced with the sword. I have adopted in the text one of the readings of the G. Text 
Asciscin, as expressing the original word with the greatest accuracy that Italian spelling 
admits. In another author we find it as Chazisii (see BoUandists, May, voL ii. 
p. xi.) ; Joinville calls them Assacis; whilst Nangis and others corrupt the name into 
Harsacidae, and what not. 

The explanation of the name MtJLEHET as it is in Ramusio, or Mulcete as it is in 
the G. Text (the last expressing in Rusticiano's Pisan tongue the strongly aspirated 
Mulhete), is given by the former : " This name of Mulehet is as much as to say in the 
Saracen tongue ' Tht Abode of Heretics^ " the fact being that it does represent the 
Arabic term Afu/htd, pi. Mtildhidah, "Impii, heretici," which is in the Persian 
histories (as of Rashfduddfn and Wassaf) the title most commonly used to indicate this 
community, and which is still applied by orthodox Mahomedans to the Nosairis, 
Druses, and other sects of that kind, more or less kindred to the Ismaili. The writer 
of the Tabakat-i-Ndsiri calls the sectarians of Alamut Muldhidat-ul-maut, " Heretics 
of Death." * The curious reading of the G. Text which we have preserved " vaut h 
dire des Aram," should be read as we have rendered it. I conceive that Marco was 
here unconsciously using one Oriental term to explain another. For it seems possible 
to explain Aram only as standing for Hardm, in the sense of " wicked " or 

In Pauthier's Text, instead of des aram, we find ^'veult dire en fran^ois Diez 
Terrien," or Terrestrial God. This may have been substituted, in the correction of 
the original rough dictation, from a perception that the first expression was unintel- 
ligible. The new phrase does not indeed convey the meaning of Muldhidah, but it 
expresses a main characteristic of the heretical doctrine. The correction was probably 
made by Polo himself; it is certainly of very early date. For in the romance 
of Bauduin de Sebourc, which I believe dates early in the 14th century, the Caliph, 
on witnessing the extraordinary devotion of the followers of the Old Man (see note r, 
ch. xxiv.), exclaims : 

" Par Mahon .... 
Vous estes Diex en terre, autre coze n'i a !" (I. p. 360.) 

So also Fr. Jacopo d'Aqui in the Imago Mundi, sa)-s of the Assassins : "Dicitur iis 
quod sunt in Paradise magno Dei Terreni" — expressions, no doubt, taken in both 
cases from Polo's book. 

Khanikoff, and before him J. R. Forster, have supposed that the name Mulehet 
represents Alamut. But the resemblance is much closer and more satisfactory to 

• Elliot, II. 290. 

142 MARCO POLO Book I. 

Mulhid or Muldhidah. Mulhet is precisely the name by which the kingdom of the 
Ismailites is mentioned in Armenian history, and Mulihet is already applied in the 
same way by Rabbi Benjamin in the I2th century, and by Rubruquis in the 13th. 
The Chinese narrative of Hulaku's expedition calls it the kingdom of Mulahi. 
(Joinville, p. 138 ; /. As. ser. II., tom. xii. 285 ; BenJ. Tudela, p. 106 ; Rub. p. 265 ; 
Rimusat, Nouv. Melanges, I. 176; Gaubil, p. 128; Pauthier, pp. cxxxix.-cxli. ; 
Mon. Hist. Pair. Scriptorum, III, 1559, Turin, 1848.) [Cf. on Mulehet, tnelahideh, 
Heretics, plural of molhid, Heretic, my note, pp. 476-482 of my ed. of Friar Odoric. 
— H. C] 

" Old Man of the Mountain " was the title applied by the Crusaders to the chief of 
that branch of the sect which was settled in the mountains north of Lebanon, being a 
translation of his popular Arabic title Shaikh-ul-Jibal. But according to Hammer 
this title properly belonged, as Polo gives it, to the Prince of Alamiit, who never 
called himself Sultan, Malik, or Amir; and this seems probable, as his territory was 
known as the Balad-td-Jibal. (See Abtdf. in Busching, V. 319.) 


How THE Old Man used to train his Assassins. 

When therefore they awoke, and found themselves in a 
place SO charming, they deemed that it was Paradise in 
very truth. And the ladies and damsels dallied with them 
to their hearts' content, so that they had what young 
men would have ; and with their own good will they 
never would have quitted the place. 

Now this Prince whom we call the Old One kept his 
Court in grand and noble style, and made those simple 
hill-folks about him believe firmly that he was a great 
Prophet. And when he wanted one of his Ashishin to 
send on any mission, he would cause that potion where- 
of I spoke to be given to one of the youths in the garden, 
and then had him carried into his Palace. So when the 
young man awoke, he found himself in the Castle, and 
no longer in that Paradise ; whereat he was not over 
well pleased. He was then conducted to the Old Man's 
presence, and bowed before him with great veneration 
as believing himself to be in the presence of a true 


Prophet. The Prince would then ask whence he came, 
and he would reply that he came from Paradise! and 
that it was exactly such as Mahommet had described it 
in the Law. This of course gave the others who stood 
by, and who had not been admitted, the greatest desire 
to enter therein. 

So when the Old Man would have any Prince slain, 
he would say to such a youth : " Go thou and slay So 
and So ; and when thou returnest my Angels shall bear 
thee into Paradise. And shouldst thou die, natheless 
even so will I send my Angels to carry thee back into 
Paradise." So he caused them to believe; and thus 
there was no order of his that they would not affront 
any peril to execute, for the great desire they had to get 
back into that Paradise of his. And in this manner the 
Old One got his people to murder any one whom he 
desired to get rid of Thus, too, the great dread that 
he inspired all Princes withal, made them become his 
tributaries in order that he might abide at peace and 
amity with them.^ 

I should also tell you that the Old Man had certain 
others under him, who copied his proceedings and acted 
exactly in the same manner. One of these was sent into 
the territory of Damascus, and the other into Curdistan.^ 

Note r. — Romantic as this story is, it seems to be precisely the same that was 
current over all the East. It is given by Odoric at lengtli, more briefly by a Chinese 
author, and again from an Arabic source by Hammer in the Mines de r Orient. 

The following is the Chinese account as rendered by Remnsat : " The soldiers 
of this country (Mulahi) are veritable brigands, ^\"hen they see a lusty youth, they 
tempt him with the hope of gain, and bring him to such a point that he will be ready 
to kill his fether or his elder brother with his own hand. After he is enlisted, they 
intoxicate him, and carry him in that state into a secluded retreat, where he is 
charmed with delicious music and beautiful women. All his desires are satisfied for 
several days, and then (in sleep) he is transported back to his original position. When 
he awakes, they ask what he has seen. He is then informed that if he will become 
an Assassin, he will be rewarded with the same felicity. And with the texts and 
prayers that they teach him they heat him to such a pitch that whatever commissior) 
be given him he will brave death without regret in order to execute it," 

144 MARCO POLO Book I. 

The Arabic narrative is too long to extract. It is from a kind of historical 
romance called The Memoirs of Hakim, the date of which Hammer unfortunately 
omits to give. Its close coincidence in substance with Polo's story is quite remark- 
able. After a detailed description of the Paradise, and the transfer into it of the 
aspirant under the influence of bang, on his awaking and seeing his chief enter, he 
says, " O chief ! am I awake or am I dreaming?" To which the chief : " O such an 
One, take heed that thou tell not the dream to any stranger. Know that Ali thy 
Lord hath vouchsafed to show thee the place destined for thee in Paradise. . . . 
Hesitate not a moment therefore in the service of the Imam who thus deigns to 
intimate his contentment with thee," and so on. 

William de Nangis thus speaks of the Syrian Shaikh, who alone was known to 
the Crusaders, though one of their historians {Jacques de Vitry, in Bongars, I. 1062) 
shows knowledge that