Volume 1, Chapter 11, Sections 11-15 -- Travels of Marco Polo, through Tartary, China, the Islands of India, and most of Asia, from A. D. 1260 to 1295: *section index*


Volume 1, Chapter 11, Section 11 -- Account of the Imperial City of Cambalu, and the Court of the Great Khan, or Emperor of the Tartars.

During the three winter months of December, January, and February, Kublai-khan generally resides in Cambalu,[1] which is at the north-east border of Kathay. On the north part of the new city stands the great palace of the khan. In the first place is a great wall surrounding a vast square enclosure, each side being eight miles in length; the wall is environed on the outside by a deep ditch, and has a great gate in the middle of each side. Within this outer wall, there is another exactly a mile distant, each side of the square which it forms being six miles; and in the space between these two walls the soldiers attend and perform their exercises and evolutions. This inner square has three gates on its south side, and the same number on the north; the middle gate of both these sides being greater and more magnificent than the others, and is appropriated to the sole use of the khan, the others being open to all who have a right to pass. In each corner of this second wall, and in the middle of each side, there are very large and magnificent buildings, eight in all, which are appropriated as storehouses or arsenals for keeping the warlike weapons and furniture belonging to the khan: as horse trappings of all kinds in one; bows and arrows and cross-bows in a second; helmets, cuirasses, and leather armour in a third; and so on in the rest. Within this second circuit, and at a considerable distance, there is a third wall, likewise square, each side being a mile in length; this wall being ten paces high and very thick, with white battlements, has six gates as in the second wall. Between this third wall and the former there is an extensive park, with many fine trees and large meadows, well stocked with deer and other game, and the roads are raised two cubits above the meadows, to save the grass from being trodden. All of this park is kept in the finest order imaginable. In the four angles, and in the middle of each side of this interior wall, there are eight large and magnificent buildings, in which the khans provisions, and other things belonging to the court, are stored up.

Within this last wall is the palace of the great khan, which is the largest and most magnificent of any in the world,[2] extending the whole way between the north and south walls of the inner circuit, except an opening of sufficient width for the passage of the soldiers and barons attending the courts. The palace has no ceiling,[3] but the roof is very high. The foundation of the pavement or floor is raised ten palms above the ground, and is surrounded by a marble wall of two paces wide, resembling a walk; and at the end of the wall without, there is a fair turret ornamented with pillars. In the walls of the halls and chambers, there are numerous figures of dragons, soldiers, birds and beasts of various kinds, and representations of battles, all finely carved and splendidly gilded, and the roof is so richly ornamented, that nothing is to be seen but splendid gold and imagery. In every square of the palace there is a great hall, capable of containing a prodigious multitude of people, and all the chambers are arranged and disposed in the best possible manner; the roofs being all richly painted red, green, azure, and all other colours. Behind the palace there are many great rooms and private storehouses, for the treasure and jewels of the khan, for the dwellings of his women, and for various other private purposes. Over against the palace of the khan, there is another, which was formerly inhabited by his deceased son Zingis, who held a court in all things resembling that of his father. Near the palace, and to the north, there is a high artificial mount, a mile in circumference, and an hundred paces high, planted with evergreen trees, which were brought from remote places, with all their roots, on the backs of elephants: This eminence is called the Green Mountain, and is extremely pleasant and beautiful. Where the earth was taken away to form this mount, there are two lakes corresponding with each other, supplied by a small river, and well stored with fish; and the passages of the water are grated in such a manner that the fish cannot escape.

The city of Cambalu is seated on a great river in the province of Kathay, or Northern China, and its name signifies the city of the prince, having been the royal residence in former times. After the conquest, understanding, from his astrologers, that the inhabitants would rebel, the great khan removed the city to the other side of the river, calling the new city Taidu, which is twenty-four miles in circumference, every side of the square being six miles, and he commanded all the Kathayans to remove from the old city into the new one. The walls are of earth, ten paces thick at the bottom, and gradually tapering to three paces thick at the top, with white battlements. Each side of the square has three principal gates, or twelve in all, having sumptuous palaces built over each; and there are pavilions in all the angles of the wall, where the arms of the garrison are kept, being 1000 men for each gate. The whole buildings of this city are exactly squared, and all the streets are laid out in straight lines; so that a free prospect is preserved from gate to gate, through the whole city; and the houses are built on each side like palaces, with courts and gardens, divided according to the heads of families. In the middle of the whole, there is a noble building, in which a great bell is suspended, after the tolling of which, at a certain hour of the night, no person must go out of his house till the dawn of next morning, except it be for some urgent cause, as for assistance to a woman in labour, and even then they must carry lights.

On the outside of the walls there are twelve large suburbs, extending three or four miles in length, from each gate, and there are more inhabitants in these suburbs than within the walls. In these, foreign merchants, and other strangers live, each nation having several storehouses and bazars, in which they lodge and keep their goods. No dead body is allowed to be burnt or buried within the city; but the bodies of the idolaters are burned without the suburbs, and the bodies of all other sects are buried in the same places. On account of the vast multitude of Mahometans who inhabit here, there are above 25,000 harlots in the city and suburbs: Over every 100 and every 1000 of these, there are chiefs or captains appointed, to keep them in order, and one general inspector over the whole. When any ambassador or other person, having business with the khan, comes to Cambalu, his whole charges are defrayed from the imperial treasury, and the general inspector of the harlots provides the ambassador, and every man of his family, a change of women every night at free cost. The guards of the city carry all whom they may find walking in the streets, after the appointed hour, to prison; and it these persons cannot give a valid excuse, they are beaten with cudgels, as the Bachsi allege that it is not right to shed men's blood; yet many persons die of this beating.

There are 12,000 horse-guards, called Casitan, who attend on the person of the khan, more from state than from any suspicion of danger. These have four chief commanders, one to every 3000 men; and one commander, with his band of 3000, keeps guard over the khan for three days and nights, after which he is succeeded by another, and so on in regular order.

When the khan holds a solemn court on any particular day of festival, his table is raised higher than all the rest, and is set on the north side of the hall, having his face to the south, his first queen or principal wife being placed on his left hand, and his sons and nephews, and other princes of the blood-royal being arranged on his right; but their table is placed so much lower, that their heads are hardly so high as the khans feet. The princes and other lords of the court sit lower still on the right hand; and the ladies being all placed in similar order on the left, those of the sons and kinsmen of the khan being next to the queen, and after these, the wives of the lords and officers, each according to their several ranks, in due order. By this means the khan, as he sits at table, can see all that feast along with him in the hall. There are not tables for all who are admitted to the feast, but the greatest part of the soldiers and captains sit down on carpets, where they are served with victuals and drink. At all the doors there are two gigantic fellows with cudgels, who observe carefully if any one touches the threshold in going in; and whoever does so, forfeits his garment, or receives a certain number of blows of a cudgel. Those who serve the khan, or who sit at his table, have their mouths covered with silken veils, lest their breath should touch the meat or drink which he is to use. When he drinks, the damsel who carries the cup kneels down, and then all the barons and others present kneel likewise, and all the musicians sound their instruments, till the khan has done drinking. If I were to describe all the pomp and magnificence of these festivals, and all the dainties and delicate dishes which are served up, I should become prolix and tiresome.

The birth days of their lords are celebrated with great reverence among the Tartars. That of Kublai-khan, their great emperor, is held yearly, on the twenty-eighth day of September, and is kept with greater solemnity than any other festival, except that of the new year, which is celebrated on the first day of February, when the Tartar year commences. On his birth day the great khan is clothed in a most splendid robe of cloth of gold, and about 2000 of his barons and soldiers receive, on this occasion, silken garments of a golden, colour, and girdles wrought in gold or silver, with each a pair of shoes. Some of those who are next to the khan in dignity, wear pearls and jewels of great value. These splendid garments are only worn on thirteen solemn festivals, corresponding to the thirteen moons or lunar months, into which the Tartar year is divided, when all the great men of the court are splendidly habited, like so many kings. The birth-day of the great khan is celebrated by all the Tartars throughout his extensive dominions; and on this day, all the kings, princes, governors, and nobles, who are subject to his authority, send presents to him in honour of the day, and in token of submission. Such as are desirous of obtaining any place of dignity or office, present their petitions to a council of twelve barons, appointed for that express purpose; and their decision is considered as equivalent to an answer from the khan in person. All the people of the immense dominions who acknowledge the authority of the great khan, whether Christians, or Jews, Mahometans, Tartars, or Pagans, are bound, on this anniversary, to pray solemnly to their Gods for the life, safety, prosperity, and health of the great khan.

On the first of February, which is the commencement of the Tartar year, the great khan, and all the Tartars, wherever they may happen to be at the time, observe a very solemn feast; and all of them, both men and women, are desirous, on that occasion, to be clothed in white garments, that fortune may be favourable to them for the remainder of the year. On this occasion, the governors of provinces, and rulers of cities, and all who are in office or authority, send presents to the khan, of gold, silver, pearls, and precious stones, likewise of many white cloths of various kinds, and other white things, and many white horses. It is the custom of those who bring presents, if they can, to present nine times nine of every particular article, whether it be gold, or silver, or cloths, or horses; and on this occasion, the khan sometimes receives 100,000 horses. On this grand festival, all the elephants belonging to the great khan, about 5000, are brought into the great court of the palace, covered with splendid housings of tapestry, wrought with the figures of various kinds of birds and beasts, each of them bearing on their backs two chests filled with vessels of gold and silver; and many camels are paraded on the same occasion, covered over, with fine silken cloths, and loaded with other necessaries for the court.

On the morning of this festival of the new year, all the captains, barons, soldiers,[4] physicians, astrologers, governors of provinces, generals of armies, and other officers of the great khan, assemble before the emperor, in the great hall of the palace, all placed in due order, according to their rank and dignity, and those who have no place or employment, stand without, that they may see the ceremonies. One of the heads of their priests then rises, and cries out with a loud voice, "Bow down and adore," on which all who are present bend down their foreheads to the earth. He then calls out aloud, "God preserve our khan, and grant him long life and happiness;" and all the people answer, "God grant this." Then he says, "May God increase and advance his empire, and preserve all his subjects, in peace, concord, and prosperity;" and the people say, "God grant this our prayer." All this is repeated four times. Then the chief priest goes forwards to a red table or altar, richly adorned, on which the name of the khan is written; and taking a censer, containing rich spices and perfumes, he perfumes the altar or table with great reverence, in honour of the khan, and returns to his place in the assembly. After the conclusion of this ceremony, the various gifts which have been already mentioned are presented to the khan. And then the tables are prepared, and a most solemn and splendid dinner is served up, of which all the assistants, with their wives, partake, eating and drinking with great joy, as formerly described. In the course of this solemn feast, a tame lion is led up to the khan, which lies down at his feet as gentle as a whelp, acknowledging and caressing his lord.

In those three winter months during which the khan resides in Cambalu, viz. December, January, and February, all the imperial huntsmen who are maintained in the provinces contiguous to Kathay, employ themselves continually in hunting, and bring all the larger wild beasts, such as stags, deer, roe-bucks, bears, and wild-boars, to their governors or masters of the game; and if within thirty days journey of Cambalu, all these are sent in waggons to the court, being first [[dis]]embowelled; but such as are at a greater distance, send only the skins, which are used in making housings and other military articles.

The khan has many leopards, wolves, and even lions, trained for hunting. These lions are larger than those which are found near Babylon, and are variegated with small spots of white, black, and red. They are bred to catch bears, boars, stags, roe-bucks, wild asses, and wild bulls, and it is wonderful to see their dexterity and fierceness in the chase. When these lions are taken out to hunt, they are carried in waggons, two together, accompanied by a dog, with which they are familiar. They are managed in this manner, because of their fierce and unruly disposition, and they must be drawn towards the game against the wind, otherwise the beast would scent them and fly away. There are also many tame eagles, so trained as to take hares, roe-bucks, deers, and foxes; and some of these will even seize upon wolves, and vex them so grievously, that the men may take them without danger. For the conduct of the imperial hunt, there are two great officers called Ciurco, or masters of the game, who are brothers, named Boyan and Mingan, each of whom have the command of 10,000 men; those who belong to one of these divisions being clothed in red, and the others in sky blue; and they keep various kinds of dogs, such as mastiffs and others, for hunting, to the number of 5000 or more. When the khan goes to hunt, one of these great companies of hunters stretches out on his right hand, and the other on his left, occupying the plain country to the breadth of a whole day's journey, so that no beast can escape them; and when they have collected the game into a circle, it is delightful to see the khan going into the middle, with numbers of dogs, which hunt down the harts and bears, and other wild beasts. The masters of the game are bound by their commissions to send to court, between the beginning of October and end of March, 1000 head of beasts, besides birds of various kinds, and fish, the best they can procure.

[1] The proper name of this place is Kan-balgassan, or, for shortness, Khan-balga, signifying the city of the khan. Arabian authors have changed it to Khan-balick or Khan-baligh; and the Italians to Chanbalig, Chanbalu, Cambalu, and even Gamelecco. The Chinese call this northern part of the imperial city King-tshing, which has the same meaning with the Tartar name, and may be translated Kingstown. Pe-king, the other part of the same city, signifies the northern court or residence.--Forst.
[2] The description of this palace is exceedingly confused and unintelligible, most probably from erroneous transcription and mistakes in translation.--E.
[3] By this obscure expression, it seems to be implied that there are no upper rooms.--E.
[4] The soldiers mentioned here and in other places, as present in the great hall upon solemn occasions, can only mean the officers of the military actually on guard over the person of the khan at the time.--E.



Volume 1, Chapter 11, Section 12 -- Of the Magnificence of the Court of the Great Khan, and of the Manners and Customs of his Subjects.

In the beginning of March the great khan departs from Cambalu, and proceeds north towards the ocean,[1] which is at the distance of two days' journey, accompanied by 10,000 falconers, with falcons, ger-falcons, hawks, and other birds of prey, that are trained to the sport. These falconers disperse themselves in companies of 100 or 200 together, and most of the birds that are taken are brought to the khan; who, on account of the gout, which has disabled him from riding, sits in a wooden house, covered with lions skins, and hung within with cloth of gold, which is carried on the backs of two elephants. For his particular recreation, he is accompanied by twelve choice hawks, carried by twelve nobles, many other noblemen and soldiers attending him. When any cranes, or pheasants, or other birds are seen, notice is given to the falconers who are near the khan, and by these to the khan himself, who then orders his travelling house to be removed, and the hawks to be flown at the game, and he, sitting in his bed, enjoys the sport. Ten thousand men attend the khan, who disperse two and two together, to mark where the falcons fly, that they may assist them when needful, and bring back them, and their game to the khan. These men are called Tascoal, which signifies watchmen or marksmen, and have a peculiar whistle by which they call in the hawks and falcons, so that it is not necessary that the falconers who let fly the hawks should follow them, as these tascoal are busily employed in taking up the hawks, and are very careful that none of them be hurt or lost. Every hawk has a small plate of silver attached to the foot, on which is the peculiar mark of its master, that each may be restored to its right owner. But if the mark be lost, or cannot be known, the hawk is delivered to a certain baron, whose name of office is Bulangazi, to whom all lost things whatever must be brought, otherwise the finder would be punished as a thief; and to the Bulangazi all who have lost any thing make application. This man is distinguished by a peculiarly conspicuous ensign, that he may be easily found out in so numerous an assemblage.

While thus busily employed in hawking, the royal retinue came at length to a great plain called Carzarmodin, where the tents of the khan and all the courtiers are pitched, to the number of 10,000 or more. The grand pavilion of the khan is so large, that 10,000 men might stand within it, besides barons and noblemen. It is placed with its entrance to the south, supported upon curiously carved pillars, and is covered on the outside with the skins of lions and other wild beasts, to keep out the rain; but the whole inside is lined with sables and ermines, to an immense value. For so precious are these skins esteemed, that a sufficient number to make one garment only will sometimes cost 2000 gold sultanies, and the Tartars call the sable the queen of furs. All the cords of the imperial pavilions are of silk. Around this there are other pavilions for the sons, wives, and concubines of the khan. At a farther distance there are tents for the falcons, ger-falcons, hawks, and other birds of game; and the whole encampment seems at a distance like a great city, or the station of a large army. The khan remains all the month of March in that plain, employed in hawking; and the multitude of beasts and fowls which are taken in that time is quite incredible. From the beginning of March to the month of October, no person is permitted to hunt within five days journey of this plain of Carzarmodin in one direction, ten in another, and fifteen in a third, nor to keep any hawk or hunting dog, neither to use any device or engine whatever, for taking any stag, deer, roe-buck, hare, or other game, lest the breed should be injured; by which means the game is always in great abundance.

It is quite wonderful to behold what numbers of merchants and other people, and what astonishing quantities of merchandize and goods of all sorts are to be seen in Cambalu. The money of the great khan is not of gold or silver, or other metal, but of a species of paper, which is thus made: They take the middle Dark of the mulberry tree, which they make firm in a particular manner, and this is cut out into round pieces of various sizes, on which the seal or mark of the khan is impressed. Of this paper money, an immense quantity is fabricated in the city of Cambalu, sufficient to supply the currency of the whole empire; and no person, under pain of death, may coin or spend any other money, or refuse to accept of this, in all the kingdoms and countries which are subject to his dominions. All who come into his dominions are prohibited from using any other money, so that all merchants coming from countries however remote, must bring with them gold, silver, pearls, or precious stones, for which they receive the khans paper money in exchange: And as that money is not received in other countries, they must exchange it again in the empire of the great khan, for merchandize to carry with them on their return. The khan pays all salaries, stipends, and wages to his officers, servants, and army, in this money, and whatever is required for the service of his court and household is paid for in the same. By all these means, there is no sovereign in the world who equals the great khan in extent of treasure; as he expends none in the mint, or in any other way whatever.

The great khan has a council of war, composed of twelve barons, as formerly mentioned, who direct all martial affairs, and have the power of promoting or disgracing officers and soldiers as they think proper. Their office is called Thai, or the high court or tribunal, as no person in the empire is superior to them except the great khan. Another twelve barons are appointed as counsellors for the thirty-four provinces, into which the vast empire of the khan is divided; these have a splendid palace in Cambalu as their office, in which there is a judge for each province, and many notaries. This tribunal chooses proper persons to be appointed governors of the provinces, and presents their names to the khan for confirmation. They likewise have the charge of the collection and expenditure of the public treasure. The name of their office is Singh, or the second court, which is subordinate only to the khan, yet is considered as less noble than the Thai or military tribunal.

Many public roads lead from Cambalu to all the neighbouring provinces; and on every one of these there are inns or lodgings, called lambs, built at the distance of every twenty-five or thirty miles, which serve as post-houses, having large fair courts, and many chambers, furnished with beds and provisions, every way fit to lodge and entertain great men, and even kings. The provisions are furnished from the circumjacent country, out of the tributes. At every one of these, there are four hundred horses, two hundred of which are kept ready for use in the stables, and the other two hundred at grass, each division for a month alternately. These horses are destined for the use of ambassadors and messengers, who leave their tired horses, and get fresh ones at every stage. In mountainous places, where there were no villages, the khan has established colonies of about ten thousand people in each, in the neighbourhood of these post-houses, that they may cultivate the ground, and supply provisions. These excellent regulations extend to the utmost limits of the empire, in all directions, so that there are about ten thousand imperial inns or lambs in the whole empire; and the number of horses appointed in these, for the service of messengers, exceeds two hundred thousand[2]; by which means, intelligence is forwarded to the court without delay, from all parts of the empire. If any person should wonder how so many beasts and men can be procured and provided for, let him consider that the Mahometans and pagans have many women, and great numbers, of children, some having even so many as thirty sons, all able to follow them armed into the field. As for victuals, they sow rice, panik, and millet, which yield an hundred after one, and they allow no land that is fit to carry crops to remain uncultivated. As wheat does not thrive in this country it is little sown, and they use no bread, but feed upon the formerly mentioned grains, boiled in milk, or made into broth along with flesh. Their horses continually increase, insomuch, that every Tartar soldier carries six, eight, or more horses into the field for his own use, which he rides upon in their turns. All cities that are adjoining to rivers or lakes, are ordered to have ferry-boats in constant readiness for the posts; and those which are on the borders of deserts, must supply horses and provisions for such as have to pass through these deserts; for which service, they are allowed a reasonable compensation from the state.

In cases of great conscience [[=consequence]], the messenger has a gerfalcon badge, formerly mentioned, and is so equipped, that he will ride 200, or 250 miles in a day and night, being attended in dark nights by persons who run along with him on foot, carrying lights. On approaching a post-house, the messenger sounds a horn, that a fresh horse or horses, according to his company, may be brought out, and ready to mount immediately. These speedy messengers have then bellies, loins, and heads firmly swathed, and they always travel as fast as their horses can go; and such as are able to endure this excessive riding, are held in great estimation, as nothing is more admired among the Tartars than good horsemanship.

Between the lambs, or large post-houses, there are other habitations, at three or four miles distance from each other, where foot-posts are established, every one of whom has his girdle hung round with shrill sounding bells. These are always in readiness; and when dispatched with the khan's letters, they convey them with great speed to the next foot-post station, where they hear the sound of the bells from a distance, and someone is always in readiness to take the letters, and to run on to the next station: Thus, by constant change of swift runners, the letters are conveyed with great dispatch to their destinations. By this means, the khan often receives letters or new fruits in two days, from the distance often [[of many]] ordinary days' journey: As for instance, fruits growing at Cambalu in the morning, are conveyed to Xandu by the night of the next day. All the people employed in the posts, besides being exempted from all tribute, have an ample recompense for their labour from the gatherer of the khan's rents. There are inspectors employed, who examine the state and conduct of these posts every month, and are empowered to punish those who are guilty of faults.

The khan sends every year to the different provinces of his empire, to inquire whether any injuries have been sustained to the crops by tempests, locusts, worms, or any other calamity; and when any province or district has suffered damage, the tribute is remitted for that year, and he even sends corn for food and seed from the public granaries: For in years of great abundance, he purchases large quantities of grain, which is carefully preserved for three or four years, by officers appointed for the purpose; by which means, when a scarcity occurs in any province, the defect may be supplied from the granaries of the khan in another province. On these occasions, he orders his grain to be sold at a fourth part of the market price, and great care is taken to keep his granaries always well supplied. When any murrain attacks the cattle of one of the provinces, the deficiency is supplied from the tenths which he receives in the other provinces. If any beast or sheep happens to be killed by lightning in a flock or herd, he draws no tribute from that flock, however great, for three years, under an idea that God is angry with the owner of the herd.

That travellers may discern, and be able to discover, the road in uninhabited places, trees are planted at convenient distances, along all the principal roads; and in the sandy and desert places, where trees will not grow, stones and pillars are erected to direct the passengers, and officers are appointed to see that all these things are performed. According to the opinion of the astrologers, the planting of trees conduces to lengthen the age of man, and therefore, the khan is the more induced to encourage their propagation by his order and example.

In the province of Cathay, the people make excellent drink of rice and certain spices, which even excels wine in flavour; and those who drink too much of it become sooner drunk than with wine.[3] Through this whole province, certain black stones are dug from the mountains, which burn like wood, and preserve fire a long time, and if kindled in the evening, will keep on fire all night;[4] and many people use these stones in preference to wood, because, though the country abounds in trees, there is a great demand for wood for other purposes.

The great khan is particularly attentive to the care of the poor in the city of Cambalu. When he hears of any honourable family that, has fallen to decay through misfortune, or of any who cannot work, and have no subsistence, he gives orders for issuing a whole years subsistence, together with garments, both for winter and summer, to the heads of those distressed families. There is an appropriate office or tribunal for this imperial bounty, to which those who have received the warrants or orders of the khan apply for relief. The khan receives the tenths of all wool, silk, and hemp, which he causes to be manufactured into stuffs of all kinds, in houses set apart for this purpose; and as all artificers of every description are bound to work for him one day in every week, he has immense quantities of every kind of useful commodity in his storehouses. By these means, likewise, there are similar imperial manufactures in every city of the empire, in which clothing is made from his tithe wool for his innumerable soldiers. According to their ancient customs, the Tartars gave no alms, and were in use to [[=used to]] upbraid those who were in poverty, as hated of God. But the priests of the idolaters, especially those who have been formerly mentioned under the name of Bachsi, have convinced the khan that charity is a good work, and an acceptable service to God; so that in his court food and raiment are never denied to those who ask, and there is no day in which there is less than the value of 20,000 crowns distributed in acts of charily, particularly in rice, millet, and panik; by which extensive benevolence the khan is esteemed as a god among his subjects.

There are in Cambalu about five thousand astrologers and diviners, Christians, Mahometans, and Kathayans, all of whom are provided yearly by the khan in food and raiment. These have an Astrolabe, on which all the signs of the planets are marked, together with the hours, and most minute subdivisions of the whole year. By this instrument, these astrologers, each religion apart, observe the course of the year, according to every moon, noting the prognostications of the weather, yet always referring to God, to do as they predict or otherwise, according to his pleasure. They write down upon square tablets, called Tacuini, all those things which are to fall out during the year, which they sell to any who will purchase; and those who are most fortunate in their predictions are held in the highest honour. If any one intends to commence an important labour, or to undertake a distant journey, and is anxious to be certified of the event, he has recourse to the astrologers to read, as they pretend, his destiny in the heavens, for this purpose, being instructed in the precise date of birth of the person consulting them, they calculate the present aspect of the constellation which ruled at his birth, and foretel that good or evil will flow from his intentions. The Tartars compute time by cycles of twelve lunar years; calling the first of each series the year of the lion; the second of the ox; the third of the dragon; the fourth of the dog; and so on through the whole twelve, and when these are gone through, they begin the series anew. Thus, if a man is asked when he was born, he answers that it was on such a division of such an hour, day, and moon, in the year of the lion, ox, or so forth. All this their fathers set down exactly in a book.

It has been already said that the Tartars are idolaters. Each man of any consequence has a table aloft in the wall of one of his chambers, on which a name is written, to signify the great God of Heaven, whom he adores once each day, with a censer of burning incense; and lifting up his hands, and thrice gnashing his teeth, he prays to God to grant him health and understanding; this being the only petition addressed to the Almighty, of whom they pretend not to make any similitude. But they have a statue or image on the ground, called Natigai, the god of earthly things, and images of his wife and children. This is likewise worshipped with incense, gnashing of teeth, and lifting up the hands; and from this, they beg for favourable weather, productive crops, increase of children, and all manner of worldly prosperity. They believe the soul to be immortal, and that when a man dies, his soul enters into another body, better or worse, according to the merits or demerits of his former life: As that a poor man becomes a gentleman, then a prince or lord, and so higher, till at length the soul is absorbed in God. Or if he have deserved ill, it descends to animate the body of a lower and poorer man, after that the body of a dog, always descending to the lowest rank of baseness. In their manners, the language of the Tartars is comely; they salute one another with grace and cheerfulness, conducting themselves honestly, and they feed in a cleanly manner. They bear great reverence to their parents, and if any one be undutiful or regardless of their necessities, they are liable to the jurisdiction of a public tribunal, especially assigned for the punishment of ungrateful or disobedient children. Persons condemned to imprisonment for crimes, are discharged after three years confinement, when they are marked on the cheek, that they may be known as malefactors.

All barons or others, who approach within half a mile of the residence of the great khan, must be still and quiet, no noise or loud speech being permitted in his presence or neighbourhood. Every one who enters the hall of presence, must pull off his boots, lest he soil the carpets, and puts on furred buskins of white leather, giving his other boots to the charge of servants till he quits the hall; and every one carries a small covered vessel to spit in; as no one dare spit in the halls of the palace.

[1] The deserts or Tartarian wastes are probably meant in this passage.--E.
[2] Instead of this number, 10,000 post-houses, at 400 horses each, would require four millions of horses. The number and proportion of horses  in the text would only supply 500 inns; or would allow only 20 horses each to 10,000 inns. The text, therefore, must be here corrupted.--E.
[3] This must allude to a species of corn-spirits or brandy, distilled from rice, fermented with water, named Arrak.--E.
[4] This evidently points out the use of coal in northern China.--E.



Volume 1, Chapter 11, Section 13 -- Some Account of the Provinces of Kathay, or Northern China, and of other neighbouring Countries subject to the Great Khan[1].

Ten miles from Cambalu is a great river called Pulisangan,[2] which empties itself into the ocean, and by which many vessels ascend with merchandize to a certain handsome bridge, all built of serpentine stone, curiously wrought. This bridge is 300 paces in length, and eight paces broad, so that ten men may ride abreast. It is secured on each side with a wall of marble, ornamented with a row of pillars. The pillar on each side, at the summit of the bridge, has the image of a great lion on the top, and another at its base; and all the others, which are at intervals of a pace and a half, have figures of lions on their tops only. After passing this bridge, and proceeding to the westwards for thirty miles, continually passing through vineyards, and fertile fields, with numerous palaces on all sides, you come to the fair and large city of Gouza, in which there are many idol temples, and in which cloth of gold and silk, and the purest and finest cambrics or lawns, are manufactured. It contains many common inns for strangers and travellers; and the inhabitants are very industrious in trade and manufactures. A mile beyond this city, the road divides into two; that to the west leading through the province of Kathay, and that to the south-east towards the province of Mangi, from Gouza to the kingdom of Tain-fu.[3] In this journey, you ride for ten days through Kathay, always finding many fair and populous cities, well cultivated fields, and numerous vineyards, from whence all Kathay is supplied with wine; and many plantations of mulberry trees, for rearing silk worms. Tain-fu is the name of the kingdom or province, and of the chief city, which is large and handsomely built, carrying on much trade, and containing great magazines of military stores for the khan's army. Seven days journey farther to the west, there is a pleasant country, having many cities and castles, and carrying on great trade. We then come to a very large city, called Pian-fu, in which there is vast abundance of silk and much trade.

Westwards from Pian-fu, there is a pleasantly situated castle called Thaigin, containing a spacious palace with a fine hall, in which there are portraits of all the famous kings who have reigned in this country. This castle and palace are said to have been built by a king named Dor, who was very powerful, and was only attended on by great numbers of young damsels, who used to carry him about the castle in a small light chariot. Confiding in the strength of this castle, which he believed impregnable, Dor rebelled against Umcan, to whom he was tributary. But seven of his courtiers or attendants, in whom he placed confidence, made him prisoner one day while hunting, and delivered him to Umcan, who dressed him in mean clothes, and set him under a strong guard to tend his cattle. At the end of two years, Umcan called Dor into his presence, and after a severe reproof and admonition for his future obedience, dressed him in princely robes, and sent him back to his kingdom with a powerful escort.

About twenty miles beyond the castle of Thaigin, we come to the great river Caramaran;[4] which is so broad and deep that it has no bridge between this place and the ocean. There are many cities, towns, and castles, on the banks of this river, which carry on great trade. The country abounds in ginger and silk; and fowls of all kinds, particularly pheasants, are so plentiful, that three of them may be purchased for a Venetian groat. Along the banks of this river, there grow vast quantities of great reeds or hollow canes,[5] some of which, are a foot or eighteen inches round, and are applied to many useful purposes. Two days journey beyond this river is the famous city of Carianfu, in which great quantities of silks and cloth of gold are made. This country produces ginger, galuigal, spike, and many spices; and the inhabitants are idolaters. Proceeding seven days journey westwards, we pass through many cities, and towns, and fine fields, and gardens, and everywhere there are plantations of mulberries for feeding silk-worms, and abundance of wild beasts and fowls. The inhabitants are mostly idolaters, with some Christians, or Nestorians, and Saracens or Mahometans. Continuing the journey for seven days, we come to a great city called Quenzanfu, which is the capital of the kingdom of that name, in which many famous kings have reigned. At the present time Mangalu, one of the sons of the great khan, has the supreme command of this kingdom. This country yields great plenty of silk, and cloth of gold, and all things necessary for the subsistence of an army, and the maintenance of its numerous inhabitants. The people are mostly idolaters, but there are some Christians and Mahometans among them. Five miles from the city stands the palace of Mangalu, in a fine plain, watered by numerous springs and rivulets, and abounding in game. This fine palace, all painted with gold and azure, and adorned with numberless statues, stands in the middle of a fine park of five miles square, surrounded by a high wall, in which all kinds of beasts and fowls are to be found in abundance; and in this place Mangalu and his courtiers take great delight to hunt. He follows his father's excellent example, in conducting his government with great equity and justice, and is much beloved and respected by the people.

Proceeding three days to the westward, from the palace of Mangalu, through a very beautiful plain, adorned with many cities and castles, which have great abundance of silk and other manufactures, we come to a mountainous district of the province of Chunchian, in the vallies of which there are many villages and hamlets; the inhabitants being idolaters and husbandmen. In these mountains they hunt lions, bears, stags, roebucks, deer, and wolves. The plain is two days over, and for twenty days journey to the west, the country is well inhabited, and finely diversified with mountains, vallies, and woods. At the end of these twenty days, there lies, towards the west, a populous province called Achbaluch Mangi, or the white city on the borders of Mangi. On entering this province, we find a plain of two days journey in extent, and containing a prodigious number of villages; beyond which the country is diversified with mountains, vallies, and woods, yet all well inhabited. In these mountains there are plenty of wild beasts, among which are the animals that produce musk. This province produces rice and other grain, and abundance of ginger. After twenty days journey through these hills, we come to a plain and a province on the confines of Mangi, called Sindinfu. The city of the same name is very large, and exceedingly rich, being twenty miles in circumference; of old, this city and province was governed by a race of rich and powerful kings. On the death of an old king, he left the succession among three sons, who divided the city into three parts, each surrounded by its own wall, yet all contained within the former wall of the city; but the great khan subjected the city and province to his dominion. Through this city and its environs there run many rivers, some half a mile over, and some an hundred paces, all very deep; and on these there are many handsome stone bridges, eight paces broad, having marble pillars on each side, supporting wooden roofs, and on every bridge there are houses and shops. After passing this city, all these rivers unite into one great river called the Quian, or Kian, which runs from hence one hundred days journey before it reaches the ocean; having many cities and castles on its banks, with innumerable trading vessels. Proceeding four days journey farther, we pass through a fine plain, containing many cities, castles, and villages, and several beautiful green lawns or pastures, in which there are many wild beasts.

Beyond this last mentioned plain is the wide country of Thebet, or Thibet, which the great khan vanquished and laid waste; and in it there are many ruined cities and castles, for the space of twenty days journey, which has become an uninhabited wilderness, full of lions and other wild beasts. Those who have to travel through this country must carry victuals along with them, and must use precautions to defend themselves against the ferocious animals of the desert. Very large canes grow all over this country, some of which are ten paces long and three palms thick, and as much between the knots or joints. When travellers take up their quarters for the night, they take large bundles of the greener reeds or canes, which they put upon the top of a large fire, and they make such a crackling noise in burning as to be heard for two miles off by which the wild beasts are terrified and fly from the place; but it has sometimes happened that the horses, and other beasts belonging to the merchants or travellers, have been frightened by this noise, and have run away from their masters: for which reason prudent travellers use the precaution of fettering or binding their feet together, to prevent them from running off.

[1] Owing to the prodigious revolutions which have taken place in the East since the time of Marco, and the difference of languages, by which countries, provinces, towns, and rivers have received very dissimilar names, it is often difficult or impossible to ascertain, with any precision, the exact geography of the relations and descriptions in the text. Wherever this can be done with any tolerable probability of usefulness it shall be attempted.--E.
[2] The Pei-ho, which runs into the gulf of Pekin, near the head of the Yellow sea.--E.
[3] Kathay, or Northern China, contained the six northern provinces, and Mangi or Southern China, the nine provinces to the south of the river Kiang, Yang-tse-Kiang or Kian-ku. Tain-fu may possibly be Ten-gan-fu: Gouza it is impossible to ascertain, unless it may be Cou-gan, a small town, about thirty miles south from Peking or Cambalu. I suspect in the present itinerary, that Marco keeps on the north of the Hoang-ho.--E.
[4] Hara-moran, or Hoang-he. Thaigin may therefore be Tan-gin, about twenty miles east from that river, in Lat. S6-1/4 N. In which case, Pian-fu may be the city of Pin-yang; and Tain-fu, Tay-uen.--E.
[5] Bamboos.--E.



Volume 1, Chapter 11, Section 14 -- An account of Thibet, and several other Provinces, with the Observations made by the Author in passing through them.

At the end of twenty days journey through the before-mentioned depopulated country, we met with cities and many villages, inhabited by an idolatrous people, whose manners are so licentious that no man marries a wife who is a virgin. Hence when travellers and strangers from other countries come among them, the women of the country who have marriageable daughters bring them to the tents of the strangers, and entreat them to enjoy the company of their daughters so long as they remain in the neighbourhood. On these occasions the handsomest are chosen, and those who are rejected return home sorrowful and disappointed. The strangers are not permitted to carry away any of these willing damsels, but must restore them faithfully to their parents; and at parting the girl requires some toy or small present, which she may shew as a token of her condition; and she who can produce the greatest number of such favours has the greatest chance of being soon and honourably married. When a young woman dresses herself out to the best advantage, she hangs all the favours she may have received from her different lovers about her neck, and the more acceptable she may have been to many such transitory lovers, so much the more is she honoured among her countrymen. But after marriage they are never suffered to have intercourse with strangers, and the men of the country are very cautious of giving offence to each other in this matter.

The people of this country are idolaters, who live by hunting, yet cultivate the ground, and are much addicted to stealing, which they account no crime; they are clothed in the skins of wild beasts, or in coarse hempen garments, having no money, not even the paper money of the khan, but they use pieces of coral instead of money. Their language is peculiar to themselves. The country of which we now speak belongs to Thibet, which is a country of vast extent, and has been some time divided into eight kingdoms, in which are many cities and towns, with many mountains, lakes, and rivers, in some of which gold is found. The women wear coral necklaces, which they likewise hang about the necks of their idols. In this country there are very large dogs, almost as big as asses, which are employed in hunting the wild beasts, especially wild oxen called Boyamini. In this province of Thibet there are many kinds of spices which are never brought into Europe. This, like all the other provinces formerly mentioned, is subject to the great khan.

On the west of the province of Thibet lies the province of Caindu, which was formerly governed by kings of its own, but is now ruled by governors appointed by the great khan. By the west, it is not to be understood that these countries are actually in the west; but that, as we travelled to them from those parts which are situate between the east and the north-east, and consequently came thither westwards, we therefore reckon them as being in the west.[1] The people are idolaters and have many cities, of which the principal is called Caindu, after the name of the province, and is built on the frontiers. In this country there is a large salt lake, which produces such extraordinary abundance of white pearls, but not round, that no person is allowed to fish for them under pain of death, without a licence from the great khan, lest by becoming too plentiful, the price should be too much reduced. There is likewise a mountain producing turquoises, the digging for which is restrained under similar regulations. There are great numbers of the animals called gadderi in this province, which produce musk. The lake which produces pearls is likewise very abundant in fish, and the whole country is full of wild beasts of many kinds, as lions, bears, stags, deer, ounces, and roebucks, and many kinds of birds. Cloves also are found in great plenty, which are gathered from small trees, resembling the bay-tree in boughs and leaves, but somewhat longer and straighter, having white flowers. The cloves when ripe are black, or dusky, and very brittle. The country likewise produces ginger and cinnamon in great plenty, and several other spices which are not brought to Europe. It has no wine, but in place of it, the inhabitants make a most excellent drink of corn or rice, flavoured with various spices.

The inhabitants of this country are so besotted to their idols, that they fancy they secure their favour by prostituting their wives, sisters, and daughters to strangers. When any stranger comes among them, all the masters of families strive to procure him as a guest, after which, they leave the stranger to be entertained by the females of the family, and will not return to their own house till after his departure; and all this is done in honour of their idols, thinking that they secure their favour by this strange procedure. The principal money in this country is gold, unstamped, and issued by weight. But their ordinary money consists in solid small loaves of salt, marked with the seal of the prince; and of this merchants make vast profits in remote places, which have abundance of gold and musk, which the inhabitants are eager to barter for salt, to use with their meat.

Leaving this province, we proceeded fifteen days journey farther, passing through many cities and villages, the inhabitants of which have the same customs with those of Caindu; and at length we came to a river called Brius, which is the boundary of the province of Caindu. In this river gold dust is found in great abundance, by washing the sand of the river in vessels, to cleanse the gold from earth and sand. On the banks of this river, which runs direct to the ocean, cinnamon grows in great plenty. Having passed the river Brius, we come westwards to the province of Caraian, which contains seven kingdoms, and is under the command of Sentamur, as viceroy for his father the great khan. This prince is young, rich, wise, and just. The country produces excellent horses, is well peopled and has a peculiar and very difficult language; the inhabitants are idolaters, who live on their cattle and the produce of the earth. After proceeding five days journey through this country, we came to the great and famous city of Jaci.[2] In this large city there are many merchants and manufacturers, and many different kinds of people, idolaters, Christians, Nestorians, and Mahometans; but the great majority are idolaters. It has abundance of corn and rice, but the inhabitants only use bread made from rice, as they esteem it more wholesome; they make a drink also from rice, mixed with several kinds of spices, which is very pleasant. They use white porcelain instead of money, and certain sea shells for ornaments.[3] Much salt is made in this country from the water of salt wells, from which the viceroy derives great profit. There is a lake in this country 100 miles in circuit, which has great quantities of fish. The people of this country eat the raw flesh of beef, mutton, buffalo, and poultry, cut into small pieces and seasoned with excellent spices, but the poorer sort are contented with garlic shred down among their meat. The men have no objections to permit the intercourse of strangers with their wives, on condition only of being previously asked for their consent.

We departed from Jaci or Lazi, and travelling westwards for ten days journey, we came to a province called Carazan after the name of its chief city, which is governed by a son of the great khan, named Cogatin.[4] The rivers in this province yield large quantities of washed gold, and, likewise in the mountains, solid gold is found in veins; and the people exchange gold against silver, at the rate of one pound of gold for six pounds of silver.[5] The ordinary currency of the country is in porcelain shells brought from India. In this country there are very large serpents, some of which are ten paces long, and ten spans in thickness, having two little feet before, near the head, with three talons or claws like lions, and very large bright eyes.[6] Their jaws have large sharp teeth, and their mouths are so wide, that they are able to swallow a man; nor is there any man, or living creature, that can behold these serpents without terror. Some of these are only eight, six, or five paces in length. In the day-time they lurk in holes to avoid the great heat, going out only in the night in search of prey, and they devour lions, wolves, or any other beasts they can find, after which they go in search of water, leaving such a track in the sands, owing to their weight, as if a piece of timber had been dragged along. Taking advantage of this circumstance, the hunters fasten great iron spikes under the sand in their usual tracks, by means of which they are often wounded and killed. The crows or vultures proclaim the serpent's fate by their cries, on which the hunters come up and flay the animal, taking out his gall, which is employed as a sovereign remedy for several diseases, given to the quantity of a pennyweight in wine; particularly against the bite of a mad dog, for women in labour, for carbuncles, and other distempers. They likewise get a good price for the flesh, which is considered as very delicate.

 This province breeds many stout horses, which are carried by the merchants into India. They commonly take out a bone from the tails of their horses, to prevent them from being able to lash them from side to side, as they esteem it more seemly for the tails to hang down. The natives, who are idolaters, use long stirrups in riding, like the French; whereas the Tartars and other nations use short stirrups, because they rise up when they discharge their arrows. In their wars, they use targets and other defensive armour made of buffalo hides; and their offensive weapons are lances and crossbows, with poisoned arrows. Some of them, who are great villains, are said always to carry poison with them, that if taken prisoners, they may swallow it to procure sudden death, and to avoid torture. On which occasion, the great lords force them to swallow dogs dung that they may vomit up the poison. Before they were conquered by the great khan, when any stranger of good appearance happened to lodge with them, they used to kill him in the night; believing that the good properties of the murdered person would afterwards devolve to the inhabitants of the house; and this silly notion has occasioned the death of many persons.

Travelling still westwards from the province of Carazam, or Cariam, we came, after five days journey, to the province of Cardandan, of which the chief city is called Vociam.[7] The inhabitants, who are subject to the great khan, use porcelain shells, and gold by weight, instead of money. In that country, and many other surrounding provinces, there are no silver mines, and the people give an ounce of gold for five ounces of silver, by which exchange the merchants acquire great profits. The men and women cover their teeth with thin plates of gold, so exactly fitted, that the teeth seem as if they were actually of solid gold. The men make a kind of lists or stripes round their legs and arms, by pricking the places with needles, and rubbing in a black indelible liquid, and these marks are esteemed as great decorations. They give themselves up entirely to riding and hunting, and martial exercises, leaving all the household cares to the women, who are assisted by slaves, whom they purchase or take in their wars. Immediately after delivery, the woman leaves her bed and washes the child; after which, the husband lies down in her bed with the child, where he remains for forty days, during all which time, he receives the visits and compliments of the friends and neighbours. The wife looks after the house, carries broth to her husband in bed, and suckles the child. Their wine is made from rice and spiceries; and their ordinary food is rice and raw flesh, seasoned with spiceries or garlic, as formerly mentioned. There are no idols in this province, except that every family adores the oldest man in the house, from whom they say that they and all they have are come. The country consists mostly of wild and rugged mountains; into which strangers seldom come, because the air, especially in summer, is exceedingly noxious. They have no letters, but all their contracts and obligations are recorded by tallies of wood, one counterpart being kept by each party, and when the contract is fulfilled the tallies are destroyed.

There are no physicians in this province or in Caindu, Vociam, or Caraiam; but when any one is sick, the magicians or priests of the idols are assembled, to whom the sick person gives an account of his disease. Then the magicians dance to the sound of certain instruments, and bellow forth songs in honour of their idols, till at length, the devil enters into one of these who are skipping about in the dance. The dance is then discontinued, and the rest of the magicians consult with him who is possessed as to the cause of the disease, and what ought to be done for its remedy. The devil answers by this person, "because the sick person has done this or that, or has offended some particular idol." Then the magicians entreat this idol to pardon the sick person, engaging, if he recover, that he shall offer a sacrifice of his own blood. But if the devil or the priest thinks that the patient cannot recover, he says that the person has so grievously offended the idol, that he cannot be appeased by any sacrifices. If, on the other hand, he thinks the sick person may recover, he orders an offering of a certain number of rams with black heads, to be prepared by so many magicians and their wives, and offered up to appease the idol. On this the kinsmen of the sick person immediately execute the orders of the devil. The rams are killed, and their blood sprinkled in the air.

The assembled magicians light up great candles, and perfume the whole house with the smoke of incense and aloes wood, and sprinkle some of the broth made from the flesh, mixed with spices, into the air, as the portion of the idols. When these things are performed, they again skip and dance in honour of the idol, singing and making a horrible noise; and then ask the possessed priest whether the idol is now satisfied. If he answer in the negative, they prepare to obey any farther commands; but if he answer that the idol is satisfied, they sit down to table, and eat the flesh which was offered to the idol and drink the liquors; after which, the magicians being paid for their trouble, every one departs to his own home. If the sick person recover through the providence of God, he attributes the restoration of his health to the idol; but if he die, it is then supposed that the idol had been defrauded, by some of the assistants having eaten of the sacrifices before all the rites were duly performed. This ceremony is only practised for rich patients, on whom the devil, or the priests in his name, impose their blind belief.

In 1272, the great khan sent an army of 12,000 veteran troops, under the command of aft experienced officer, named Nestardin, to reduce the kingdom of Vociam and Guarazan.[8] As soon as the kings of Mien[9] and Bengala heard of this invasion, they assembled an army of 60,000 horse and foot, besides a thousand elephants, carrying castles, in each of which there were from twelve to sixteen armed men. With this army, the king of Mien marched towards the city of Vociam, where the Tartar army was encamped. Nestardin, regardless of the great disparity of numbers, marched with invincible courage to fight the enemy; but when he drew near, he encamped under cover of a great wood, knowing that the elephants could not penetrate into the wood with the towers on their backs. The king of Mien drew near to fight the Tartars; but the Tartarian horses were so terrified with the sight of the elephants, who were arranged along the front of the battle, that it was impossible to bring them up to the charge. The Tartars, therefore, were compelled to alight from their horses, which they fastened to the trees, and came boldly forewards on foot against the elephants, among whom they discharged immense quantities of arrows; so that the elephants, unable to endure the smart of their wounds, became unmanageable, and fled to the nearest wood, where they broke their castles, and overturned the armed men, with which they were filled. On this, the Tartars remounted their horses, and made a furious attack on the enemy. The battle continued for some time undecided, and many men were slain on both sides. At length the army of the king of Mien was defeated and put to flight, leaving the victory to the Tartars; who now hastened into the wood, and made many prisoners, by whose assistance they seized two hundred of the elephants, which were sent to the great khan. Before this time, the Tartars were unaccustomed to the use of elephants in war; but the great khan has ever since had elephants in his army. After this victory, the great khan subjected the kingdoms of Mien and Bengala to his empire.

Departing from the province of Carian, or Caraiam, there is a great desert which continues for two days and a half, without any inhabitants, at the end of which desert there is a large plain, in which great multitudes meet for traffic three days in every week. Many people come down from the great mountains, bringing gold, which they exchange for five times its weight of silver; on which account, many merchants come here from foreign countries with silver, and carry away gold, bringing likewise large quantities of merchandize to sell to these people; for no strangers can go into the high mountains where the people dwell who gather gold, oh account of the intricacy and impassable nature of the roads. After passing this plain, and going to the south for fifteen days journey, through uninhabited and woody places, in which there are innumerable multitudes of elephants, rhinoceroses,[10] and other wild beasts, we come to Mien, which borders upon India. At the end of that journey of fifteen days, we come to the great and noble city of Mien, the capital of the kingdom, which is subject to the great khan. The inhabitants are idolaters, and have a peculiar language. There was formerly a king in this city, who being on the point of death, gave orders to erect two pyramidal monuments, or towers of marble, near his sepulchre, one at the head and the other at the foot, each of them ten fathoms high, and having a round ball on the top of each. One of these he ordered to be covered with gold, and the other with silver, a fingers breadth in thickness; and round about the tops of these pyramids many little bells of gold and silver were hung, which gave a pleasing shrill sound, when agitated by the wind. The monument or sepulchre between these was likewise covered with plates of gold and silver. When the great khan undertook the conquest of this country, he sent a valiant captain at the head of a large army, mostly of cavalry, of which the Tartarian armies principally consist. After the city was won, the general would not demolish this monument without orders from the khan; who, on being informed that the former king had erected it in honour of his soul, would not permit it to be injured, as the Tartars never violate those things which belong to the dead. In the country of Mien there are many elephants and wild oxen, large stags and deer, and various other kinds of wild beasts in great abundance.

The province of Bengala borders on India towards the south,[11] and was subdued by the great khan, while I Marco Polo resided in the eastern countries. It had its own proper king, and has a peculiar language. The inhabitants are all idolaters, and have schools in which the masters teach idolatries and enchantments, which are universal among all the great men of the country. They eat flesh, rice, and milk; and have great abundance of cotton, by the manufacture of which a great trade is carried on. They abound also in spike, galingal, ginger, sugar, and various other spices; and they make many eunuchs, whom they sell to the merchants. This province continues for thirty days journey going eastwards, when we come to the province of Cangigu.[12] This country has its own king, who is tributary to the great khan. The inhabitants are idolaters, and have a peculiar language. The king has about three hundred wives. The province has much gold and many spices, but these cannot be easily transported, as it is far distant from the sea. It has also many elephants and much game. The inhabitants live on flesh, rice, and milk, having no wine, but they make an excellent drink of rice and spices. Both men and women ornament their faces, necks, hands, bellies, and legs, with the figures of lions, dragons, and birds, and these are so firmly imprinted, as to be almost indelible. There are in this country professors of this foolish art of skin embroidery, who follow no other trade but this needle work, and dying of fool's skins; and the person who has the greatest number and variety of these images, is considered the finest and most gallantly ornamented.

Amu or Aniu, twenty-five days journey to the east of the province of Cangigu, is subject to the great khan, and its inhabitants are idolaters who have a peculiar language. This country abounds in provisions, and has great quantities of cattle and many horses; and these last being excellent, are carried by the merchants for sale into India. The country is full of excellent pastures, and therefore abounds in buffalos and oxen. Both men and women wear bracelets of gold and silver of great value on their legs and arms, but those of the women are the most valuable.

The province of Tholoman, which is likewise subject to the great khan, is at the distance of eight days journey east from Amu; the inhabitants are idolaters, and use a peculiar language; both men and women are tall, well shaped, and of a brown complexion. This country is well inhabited, having many strong towns and castles, and the men are practised in arms, and accustomed to war. They burn their dead, after which they inclose the bones and ashes in chests, which they hide in holes of the mountains. Gold is found in great plenty, yet both here and in Cangigu and Amu, they use the cowrie shells which are brought from India.

From this province of Tholoman, the high road leads eastwards by a river, on the banks of which there are many towns and castles, and at the end of twelve days journey, we come to the great city of Cintigui, the province of the same name being subject to the great khan, and the inhabitants are idolaters. They manufacture excellent cloths from the bark of trees, of which their summer clothing is made. There are many lions in this country, so that no person dare sleep out of doors in the night, and the vessels which frequent the river, dare not be made fast to the banks at night from dread of the lions. The inhabitants have large dogs, so brave and strong, that they are not afraid even to attack the lion, and it often happens that one man armed with a bow and arrows, and assisted by two of these dogs, will kill a lion. The dogs, urged on by the man, give the onset, and the lion endeavours to take shelter beside a tree, that the dogs may not be able to get behind him, yet he scorns to run away, and holds on his stately slow space, the dogs always fastening on his hinder parts; but so cautiously and nimbly do they manage their assaults, that whenever the lion turns upon them, they are beyond his reach. Then the magnanimous beast holds on his way towards a tree, the man all the while plying him with arrows, at every opportunity, and the dogs constantly tearing him from behind, till at length, with loss of blood, he falls down and dies. This country abounds in silk, which is carried by the merchants to various provinces, by means of the river. Their money is paper, and the inhabitants are valiant in arms.

At the end of ten days journey from Cintigui, we come to the city of Sindinfu; twenty days from thence is Gingui, and four days from thence, towards the south, is Palan-fu in Kathay, returning by the other side of the province. The people are idolaters and burn their dead, but there are also some Christians who have a church.  The people use paper money, and are all under the dominion of the great khan. They make cloths of gold and silk, and very fine lawns [[=a delicate fabric]]. Past this city of Palan-fu, which has many cities under its jurisdiction, there runs a fine river, which carries great store of merchandize to Cambalu, by means of many canals made on purpose. Leaving this place, and travelling three days journey towards the south of the province of Kathay, subject to the great khan, is the great city of Ciangu. They are idolaters, who burn their dead, and their money is the mulberry paper coin of the khan. The earth, in the territories of this city, abounds in salt, which is extracted in the following manner: The earth is heaped up like a hill, and large quantities of water are poured on, which extracts the salt, and runs by certain conduits into cauldrons, in which it is boiled up into fine white salt; and this manufacture produces great profit to the people and the great khan, as large quantities are exported for sale to other countries. In this neighbourhood there are large and fine flavoured peaches, one of which weighs two pounds.

Five days journey farther south from Ciangu is the city of Ciangli, likewise in Kathay, between which we pass many cities and castles, all subject to the great khan; and through the middle of this last city of Ciangli, there runs a large river, which is very convenient for the transport of merchandize. Six days journey from thence to the south is the noble kingdom and great city of Tudinfu, which was formerly subject to its own king, but was subdued by the arms of the great khan in 1272. Under its jurisdiction there are twelve famous trading cities. It is most pleasantly situated among gardens and orchards, and is rich in silks. A baron, named Lucanser, who was sent to govern this acquisition by the khan, with an army of 8000 horse, chose to rebel; but was defeated and slain by an army of 100,000 horse sent against him by the khan under two other barons, and the country again reduced to obedience. Seven days journey farther south is the famous city of Singuimatu, to which, on the south, a great river runs, which is divided by the inhabitants into two rivers, one branch of which flows by the east towards Kathay, and the other by the west towards Mangi.[13] By these rivers or canals innumerable vessels, incredible for their size and wealth, carry vast quantities of merchandize through both of these provinces; and for sixteen days journey to the south from Singuimatu, we meet with many cities and towns, which carry on immense trade. The inhabitants of all these countries are idolaters, and subject to the great khan. You then come to a great river called Caramoran,[14] which is said to take its rise in the dominions formerly belonging to Umcan, or Prester John, in the north. It is very deep, and carries ships of great burden, and is well stocked with fish. Within one days journey of the sea are the two cities of Coigan-zu and Quan-zu, on opposite sides of the river, the one a great city and the other a small one, where a fleet of 15,000 vessels is kept by the great khan, each fitted for carrying fifteen horses and twenty men. These are always in readiness to carry an army to any of the islands, or to any remote region in case of rebellion.[15] On passing the great river Caramoran, or Hoang-ho, we enter into the noble kingdom of Mangi: But it must not be supposed that I have described the whole province of Kathay, as I have not spoken of the twentieth part of it; for in passing through this province, I have only mentioned the principal cities on my way, leaving those on both sides, and many intermediate ones to avoid prolixity, and not to set down in writing what I only learned from hearsay.

[1] The meaning of this sentence is obscure, unless it is intended to guard the readers against the supposition that these countries were to the west of Europe.--E.
[2] Called Lazi by Pinkerton, from the Trevigi edition of these travels, mentioned in the introduction. This place, therefore, may be Lassa, in the kingdom or province of Ou, in Middle Thibet, the residence of the Dalai Lama, situate on a branch of the Sampoo, or great Brahma-pootra, or Barampooter river, which joins the Ganges in the lower part of Bengal.--E.
[3] This sentence most probably is meant to imply the use of cowries, sometimes called porellane shells, both for money and ornament.--E.
[4] Pinkerton, from the Trevigi edition, names the country Cariam, and the governor Cocagio.--E.
[5] The ordinary European price is about fourteen for one.--E.
[6] The description of this creature seems to indicate an alligator or crocodile; which probably Marco had not seen, and only describes from an imperfect account of the natives.--E.
[7] According to Pinkerton, this province is named Cariti, and its principal town Nociam, in the edition of Trevigi.--E.
[8] Named previously Carazam and Caraian, afterwards Caraiam, or Carian.--E.
[9] In some modern maps, Mien is introduced as a large province on the river of Pegu, immediately to the south-west of Yunnan in China, and divided from Bengal by the whole country of Ava. But the distribution of eastern dominion has been always extremely fluctuating; and Mien may then have included all the north of Ava.--E.
[10] In the original text this animal is called the unicorn; a word of the same import with rhinoceros.--E.
[11] This either implies that Bengal on the borders of India is to the south of Thibet; or south is here an error for east, Bengal being the eastern frontier province of India proper.--E.
[12] The difficulty, or rather impossibility of tracing the steps of Marco Polo, may proceed from various causes. The provinces or kingdoms, mostly named from their chief cities, have suffered infinite changes from perpetual revolutions. The names he gives, besides being corrupted in the various transcriptions and editions, he probably set down orally, as given to him in the Tartar or Mogul dialect, very different from those which have been adopted into modern geography from various sources. Many of these places may have been destroyed, and new names imposed. Upon the whole, his present course appears to have been from Bengal eastwards, through the provinces of the farther India, to Mangi or southern China; and Cangigu may possibly be Chittigong. Yet Cangigu is said in the text to be an inland country.--E.
[13] Kathay and Mangi, as formerly mentioned, are Northern and Southern China, so that the direction of these rivers ought perhaps to have been described as north and south, instead of east and west. About seventy miles from the mouth of the Yellow river, or Hoang-ho, there is a town called Tsingo, near which a canal runs to the north, communicating with the river on which Pekin is situated, and another canal, running far south into Mangi or Southern China. Tsingo, though now an inferior town, may have been formerly Singui-matu, and a place of great importance.--E.
[14] Caramoran or Hora-moran, is the Hoang-ho, or Yellow river; and it must be allowed, that the distance which is placed in the text, between Singui-matu and this river, is quite hostile to the idea mentioned in the preceding note, of Tsingo and Singui-matu being the same place. The only other situation in all China which accords with the two canals, or rivers, communicating both with Kathay and Mangi, is Yotcheou on the Tong-ting-hou lake, which is on the Kian-ku river, and at a sufficient distance from the Hoang-ho to agree with the text. In the absence of all tolerable certainty, conjecture seems allowable.--E.
[15] There are no Chinese cities, in our maps, that, in the least appearance of sound, correspond with the names of these towns or cities near the mouth of the Hoang-ho. Hoain-gin is the only large city near its mouth, and that is not on its banks. All therefore that can be said, is, that the two cities in the text must have stood on opposite sides of the Hoang-ho in the days of Marco Polo.--E.



Volume 1, Chapter 11, Section 15 -- An account of the Kingdom of Mangi, and the manner of its Reduction under the dominion of the Great Khan; together with some Notices of its various Provinces and Cities.

The kingdom of Mangi is the richest and most famous of all that are to be found in the east. In the year 1269, this kingdom was governed by a king named Fanfur,[1] who was richer and more powerful than any who had reigned there for an hundred years. Fanfur maintained justice and internal peace in his dominions, so that no one dared to offend his neighbour, or to disturb the peace, from dread of prompt, severe, and impartial justice; insomuch, that the artificers would often leave their shops, filled with valuable commodities, open in the night, yet no one would presume to enter them. Travellers and strangers travelled in safety through his whole dominions by day or night. He was merciful to the poor, and carefully provided for such as were oppressed by poverty or sickness, and every year took charge of 20,000 infants who were deserted by their mothers from poverty, all of whom he bred up till they were able to work at some trade. But in process of time, betaking himself more to pleasures than was fit, he employed his whole time in delights, in the midst of 1000 concubines. His capital was encompassed with ditches full of water; but Fanfur was entirely addicted to the arts of peace, and so beloved of his subjects for his justice and charity, that, trusting to their numbers and attachment, and to the natural strength and resources of the country, both king and people neglected the use of arms, keeping no cavalry in pay, because they feared no one, and believed themselves invincible.

Cublai-khan was of a different disposition from Fanfur, and delighted in war and conquest; and having resolved upon making a conquest of the kingdom of Mangi, he levied a great army of horse and foot for that purpose, over which he placed a general named Chinsan-Baian.[2] He accordingly marched with his army, accompanied by a fleet, into the province of Mangi, and summoned the city of Coiganzu[3] to surrender to the authority of the great khan. On this being refused, he departed without making any assault, to the second, the third, and the fourth city, all of which he summoned, and on their refusal, marched on without siege or assault. But receiving the same answer from the fifth, he assaulted it with great courage, and having taken it by storm, he massacred the whole [[of the]] inhabitants, without sparing any of either sex, or of any age or condition. This severe military execution so terrified the other cities, that they all immediately surrendered. On this successful commencement being reported to the khan, he sent a new army to reinforce Chinsan-Baian, whose army was now much diminished by the garrisons he had to leave in the conquered cities. With his army thus reinforced, Chinsan marched against Quinsai,[4] the capital city of the kingdom of Mangi, in which Fanfur resided. He was much terrified at this formidable invasion, and having never seen any war, he fled with all his wealth on board a great fleet which he had prepared, retiring to certain impregnable islands in the ocean,[5] committing the custody of his capital to his wife, whom he desired to defend it as well as she could, as being a woman, she need not fear being put to death if she were made prisoner. It may be observed, that Fanfur had been told by his diviners, that his kingdom would never be taken from him except by one who had an hundred eyes; and this being known to the queen, she was in hopes or preserving the city in all extremities, thinking it impossible for any one man to have an hundred eyes. But learning that the name of the commander of the Tartars had that signification, she sent for him and delivered up the city, believing him to be the person indicated by the astrologers, and to whom destiny had predetermined the conquest of the city and kingdom.[6] She was sent to the court of the great khan, where she was most honourably received, and entertained as became her former dignity. After the surrender of the capital, the citizens and inhabitants of the whole province yielded to the obedience of the great khan.[7]

I shall now speak of the cities in the kingdom of Mangi. Coiganzu is a very fair and rich city, situate towards the south-east and east, in the very entrance of the province of Mangi.[8] In this city, which is situated on the river Carama,[9] there are vast numbers of ships employed in trade, and great quantities of salt are made in that neighbourhood. Proceeding from Coigan-zu, we ride one days journey to the south-east, on a stone causeway, on both sides of which are great fences with deep waters, through which people may pass with proper vessels,[10] and there is no entrance into Mangi but by this causeway except by shipping. At the end of this day's journey is a large and fair city called Paughin, of which the inhabitants are idolaters, and manufacturers of stuffs of silk and gold, in which they drive a considerable trade. It is plentifully supplied with all the necessaries of life, and the paper money of the khan is current in the whole province. One days journey farther south-east, is the large and famous city of Caim. The neighbouring country abounds in fish, beasts, and fowl of all kinds, especially with pheasants as large as peacocks, which are so plentiful, that three may be bought for a Venetian groat.

Proceeding another day's journey through a well cultivated, fertile, and well peopled country, we come to a moderate sized city called Tingui, which is much resorted to by ships and merchants, and abounds in all the necessaries of life. This place is in the south-east, on the left hand, three days' journey from the ocean, and in the country, between it and the sea, there are many salt pits, in which great quantities of salt are made. After this is Cingui,[11] a great city, whence the whole country is furnished with salt, of which the khan makes immense profit, almost beyond belief. The inhabitants are idolaters, and use paper money. Riding farther to the south-east is the noble city of Jangui,[12] which has twenty-seven other cities dependent on its government. In this city, one of the twelve barons, who are governors of provinces, usually resides; but I, Marco, had the sole government of this place for three years, instead of one of these barons, by a special commission from the great khan. The inhabitants are idolaters, living chiefly by merchandize, and they manufacture arms and harness for war. Naughin[l3] is a province to the west[14] of Tangui, one of the greatest and noblest in all Mangi, and a place of vast trade, having abundance of beasts and fowls, wild and tame, and plenty of corn. The inhabitants are idolaters, and manufacture, stuffs of silk and gold, using only paper money. This country produces large revenues to the khan, especially in the customs which he receives from trade.

Sian-Fu is a large and noble city in the province of Mangi, having twelve great and rich cities under its jurisdiction. This city is so strong that it was three years besieged by the army of the Tartars, and could not be vanquished at the time when the rest of the kingdom of Mangi was subdued. It was so environed with lakes and rivers, that ships came continually with plenty of provisions and it was only accessible from the north. The long resistance of this city gave much dissatisfaction to the khan; which coming to the knowledge of Nicolo and Maffei Polo, then at his court, they offered their services to construct certain engines, after the manner of those used in Europe, capable of throwing stones of three hundred weight, to kill the men, and ruin the houses in the besieged city. The khan assigned them carpenters, who were Nestorian Christians, to work under their direction, and they made three of these engines, which were tried before the khan and approved of. These were accordingly sent by shipping to the army before Sian-fu, and being planted against the city, cast great stones into it, by which some of the houses were beaten down and destroyed. The inhabitants were very much astonished and terrified by the effect of these machines, and surrendered themselves to the authority and dominion of the khan, on the same conditions with the rest of Mangi; and by this service, the Venetian brethren acquired great reputation and favour.

From this city of Sian-fu, to another called Sin-gui, it is accounted fifteen miles to the south-east. This city, though not very large, has a prodigious number of ships, as it is situate on the greatest river in the world, called Quiam,[l5] being in some places ten, in others eight, and in others six miles broad. But its length extends to a distance of above an hundred days journey from its source to the sea, receiving numberless navigable rivers in its course, from various and distant regions, by which means incredible quantities of merchandize are transported upon this river. There are about two hundred cities which participate in the advantages of this river, which runs through, or past, the boundaries of sixteen provinces. The greatest commodity on this river is salt, with which all the provinces and cities which have communication with its water are supplied. I, Marco, once saw at Singui five thousand vessels, yet some other cities on the river have a greater number. All these ships are covered, having but one mast and one sail, and usually carry 4000 Venetian Canthari and upwards, some as far as 12,000. In these vessels they use no cordage of hemp; even their hawsers or towing ropes being made of canes, about fifteen paces long, which they split into thin pieces from end to end, and bind or wreath together into ropes, some of which are three hundred fathoms long, and serve for dragging their vessels up or down the river; each vessel having ten or twelve horses for that purpose. On that river there are rocky hillocks in many places, on which idol temples, with monasteries for the priests are built, and in all the course of the river we find cultivated vallies and habitations innumerable.

Cayn-gui is a small city on the same river to the south, eastwards of Sin-gui, where every year great quantities of corn and rice are brought, which is carried for the most part to Cambalu. For from the Quiam or Kian-ku river, they pass to that city by means of lakes and rivers, and by one large canal, which the great khan caused to be made for a passage from one river to another; so that vessels go all the way from Mangi or Southern China to Cambalu, without ever being obliged to put to sea. This great work is beautiful and wonderful for its size and vast extent, and is of infinite profit to the cities and provinces of the empire. The khan likewise caused great causeways to be constructed along the banks of this prodigious canal, for the conveniency of travelling by land, and for towing the vessels. In the middle of the great river there is a rocky island, with a great temple and monastery for the idolatrous priests.

Cin-ghian-fu[16] is a city of the province of Mangi, which is rich in merchandize, and plentiful in game and provisions of all kinds. In 1274, the great khan sent Marsachis, a Nestorian Christian to govern this city, who built here two Christian churches. From the city of Cin-ghian-fu, in a journey of three days journey to the south-eastwards, we find many cities and castles, all inhabited by idolaters, and at length come to the great and handsome city of Tin-gui-gui, which abounds in all kinds of provisions. When Chinsan Baian conquered the kingdom of Mangi, he sent a large body of Christian Alani[17] against this city, which had a double inclosure of walls. The inhabitants retired from the outer town, within the inner wall, and the Alanians finding great store of wine, indulged themselves too freely after a severe march. In the night time, the citizens sallied out upon them, while all were drunk and asleep, and put every man of them to the sword. But Baian sent afterwards a fresh army against them, which soon mastered the city, and in severe revenge massacred the whole [[number of]] inhabitants. The great and excellent city of Sin-gui[18] is twenty miles in circumference, and contains a vast population, among whom are great numbers of physicians and magicians, and wise men or philosophers. It has sixteen other cities under its jurisdiction, in each of which there is much trade and many curious arts, and many sorts of silk are made in its territories. The neighbouring mountains produce rhubarb and ginger in great plenty. The name Sin-gui signifies the City of the Earth, and there is another city in the kingdom of Mangi called Quin-sai, which signifies the City of Heaven. From Singui it is one days journey to Vagiu, where also is abundance of silk, and able artisans, and many merchants, as is universally the case in all the cities of this kingdom.

[1] Called Tou-tsong by the Chinese historians, the fifteenth emperor of the nineteenth dynasty, who succeeded to the throne in the year 1264.--Harris.
[2] The name of this general is said to have signified an hundred eyes; doubtless a Tartar title, denoting his vigilance and foresight. By the Chinese historians, this general is named Pe-yen; which may have the same signification. These historians attribute the conquest of Mangi, or Southern China, to the indolence, debauchery, and extreme love of pleasure of this emperor, whom they name Tou-Tsong.--Harris.
[3] The names of all places and provinces in the travels of Marco Polo, are either so disguised by Tartar appellations, or so corrupted, that they cannot be referred with any certainty to the Chinese names upon our maps. Coiganzu, described afterwards as the first city in the south-east of Mangi in going from Kathay, may possibly be Hoingan-fou, which answers to that situation. The termination fou is merely city; and other terminations are used by the Chinese, as tcheou and others, to denote the rank or class in which they are placed, in regard to the subordination of their governors and tribunals, which will be explained in that part of our work which is appropriated to the empire of China.--E.
[4] Or Guinsai, to be afterwards described.--E.
[5] It does not appear where these islands were situated; whether Hainan or Formosa, properly Tai-ouan, or Tai-wan, or the islands in the bay of Canton.--E.
[6] These sagacious diviners must have been well acquainted with the military energy of the Tartar government, and the abject weakness of their own; and certainly knew, from their brethren in Kathay, the significant name of the Tartar general; on which foundation, they constructed the enigma of their prophecy, which, like many others, contributed towards its own accomplishment.--E.
[7] About a year after the surrender of his capital, Tou-Tsong died, leaving three sons, who all perished in a few years afterwards. The eldest was made prisoner, and died in captivity in Tartary. The second died of a consumption at Canton, where he had taken refuge at eleven years of age. The third, named Ti-Ping, after all the country was seized by the Tartars, was carried on board the Chinese fleet, which was pursued and brought to action by a fleet which the Tartars had fitted out for the purpose. When the Chinese lord, who had the charge of the infant emperor, saw the vessel in which he was embarked surrounded by the Tartars, he took the young prince in his arms and jumped with him into the sea. One considerable squadron of the Chinese fleet forced a passage through that of the Tartars, but was afterwards entirely destroyed in a tempest.--Harris.
[8] This direction must be understood in reference to Kathay; as it is perfectly obvious, that the entrance here spoken of must be in the north-east of Mangi. Supposing the C aspirated, Coigan-zu and Hoaingan-fu, both certainly arbitrarily orthographized from the Chinese pronunciation, are not very dissimilar.--E.
[9] Perhaps an error in transcription for Hara-moran, or Kara-moran, the Mongul or Tartar name of the Hoang-ho, or Whang river, near, and communicating with which, Hoaingan, or Whan-gan-fou is situated.--E.
[10] This is an obscure indication of navigable canals on each side of the paved road of communication to the south.--E.
[11] Cin-gui, or in the Italian pronunciation, Chin, or Tsin-gui, may possibly be Yen-tching. Tin-gui may be Sin-Yang, or Tsin-yang, to the north-east of Yen-tching.--E.
[12] Obviously Yang-tcheou, the latter syllable being its title or designation of rank and precedency. Marco certainly mistakes, from distant recollection, the direction of his travels, which are very nearly south, with a very slight deviation towards the east. South-east would by this time have led him into the sea.--E
[13] Though called a province, this obviously refers to the city of Nankin; the Nau-ghin of the text being probably a corruption for Nan-ghin.--E
[14] For west, we ought certainly here to read south-west.--E.
[15] Quiam, Kiang, Kian-ku, Kin-tchin-kian, or Yang-tsi-kiang. In modern maps, there is a town on the northern shore of this river, named Tsing-Kiang, which may possibly be the Singui of Marco, and we may perhaps look for the Sian-fu of the Polos at Yang-tcheou, at the southern extremity of a chain of lakes immediately to the north of the river Kian-ku. The subject is however full of perplexity, difficulty, and extreme uncertainty.--E.
[16] This must be Tchin-kian-fou; the three separate syllables in both of these oral orthographies having almost precisely similar sounds; always remembering that the soft Italian c has the power of tsh, or our hard ch as in the English word chin, and the Italian gh the sound of the hard English g.--E.
[17] This evinces the great policy of the military government of the Tartars, in employing the subjugated nations in one corner of their empire to make conquests at such enormous distances from their native countries. The Alanians came from the country between the Euxine and Caspian, in Long. 60° E. and were here fighting Long. 135° E.; above 4000 miles from home.--E.
[18] By the language in this place, either Sin-gui and Tin-gui-gui are the same place, or the transition is more than ordinarily abrupt; if the same, the situation of Sin-gui has been attempted to be explained in a former note. If different, Tin-gui-gui was probably obliterated on this occasion, as no name in the least similar appears in the map of China.--E.


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