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The Travels of Marco Polo, Volume 2 by Marco Polo and Rustichello of Pisa

Part 13 out of 23

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no indication of the religion of the prince. Thus coins not merely of the
heathen Khans Abaka and Arghun, but of Ahmad Tigudar, the fanatical
Moslem, are found inscribed "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost." Raynaldus, under 1285, gives a fragment of a letter addressed by
Arghun to the European Powers, and dated from Tabriz, "in the year of the
Cock," which begins "_In Christi Nomen, Amen!_" But just in like
manner some of the coins of Norman kings of Sicily are said to bear the
Mahomedan profession of faith; and the copper money of some of the
Ghaznevide sultans bears the pagan effigy of the bull _Nandi_,
borrowed from the coinage of the Hindu kings of Kabul.

The European Princes could not get over the belief that the Mongols were
necessarily the inveterate enemies of Mahomedanism and all its professors.
Though Ghazan was professedly a zealous Mussulman, we find King James of
Aragon, in 1300, offering _Cassan Rey del Mogol_ amity and alliance with
much abuse of the infidel Saracens; and the same feeling is strongly
expressed in a letter of Edward II. of England to the "Emperor of the
Tartars," which apparently was meant for Oljaitu, the successor of Ghazan.
(_Fraehn de Ilchan. Nummis_, vi. and _passim_; _Raynald._ III. 619;
_J.A.S.B._ XXIV. 490; _Kington's Frederick II._ I. 396; _Capmany_,
_Antiguos Tratados_, etc. p. 107; _Rymer_, 2d Ed. III. 34; see also p. 20.)

There are other assertions, besides our author's, that Baidu professed
Christianity. Hayton says so, and asserts that he prohibited Mahomedan
proselytism among the Tartars. The continuator of Abulfaraj says that
Baidu's long acquaintance with the Greek _Despina Khatun_, the wife of
Abaka, had made him favourable to Christians, so that he willingly allowed
a church to be carried about with the camp, and bells to be struck
therein, but he never openly professed Christianity. In fact at this time
the whole body of Mongols in Persia was passing over to Islam, and Baidu
also, to please them, adopted Mahomedan practices. But he would only
employ Christians as Ministers of State. His rival Ghazan, on the other
hand, strengthened his own influence by adopting Islam, Baidu's followers
fell off from him, and delivered him into Ghazan's power. He was put to
death 4th of October, 1295, about seven months after the death of his
predecessor. D'Ohsson's authorities seem to mention no battle such as the
text speaks of, but Mirkhond, as abridged by Teixeira, does so, and puts
it at Nakshiwan on the Araxes (p. 341).

NOTE 2.--Hayton testifies from his own knowledge to the remarkable
personal beauty of Arghun, whilst he tells us that the son Ghazan was as
notable for the reverse. After recounting with great enthusiasm instances
which he had witnessed of the daring and energy of Ghazan, the Armenian
author goes on, "And the most remarkable thing of all was that within a
frame so small, and ugly almost to monstrosity, there should be assembled
nearly all those high qualities which nature is wont to associate with a
form of symmetry and beauty. In fact among all his host of 200,000 Tartars
you should scarcely find one of smaller stature or of uglier and meaner
aspect than this Prince."

[Illustration: Tomb of Oljaitu Khan, the brother of Polo's "Casan" at
Sultaniah. (From Fergusson.)]

Pachymeres says that Ghazan made Cyrus, Darius, and Alexander his
patterns, and delighted to read of them. He was very fond of the mechanical
arts; "no one surpassed him in making saddles, bridles, spurs, greaves,
and helmets; he could hammer, stitch, and polish, and in such occupations
employed the hours of his leisure from war." The same author speaks of the
purity and beauty of his coinage, and the excellence of his legislation.
Of the latter, so famous in the East, an account at length is given by
D'Ohsson. (_Hayton_ in _Ramus._ II. ch. xxvi., _Pachym. Andron. Palaeol._
VI. 1; _D'Ohsson_, vol iv.)

Before finally quitting the "Tartars of the Levant," we give a
representation of the finest work of architecture that they have left
behind them, the tomb built for himself by Oljaitu (see on this page), or,
as his Moslem name ran, Mahomed Khodabandah, in the city of Sultaniah,
which he founded. Oljaitu was the brother and successor of Marco Polo's
friend Ghazan, and died in 1316, eight years before our traveller.



You must know that in the far north there is a King called CONCHI. He is a
Tartar, and all his people are Tartars, and they keep up the regular
Tartar religion. A very brutish one it is, but they keep it up just the
same as Chinghis Kaan and the proper Tartars did, so I will tell you
something of it.

You must know then that they make them a god of felt, and call him
NATIGAI; and they also make him a wife; and then they say that these two
divinities are the gods of the Earth who protect their cattle and their
corn and all their earthly goods. They pray to these figures, and when
they are eating a good dinner they rub the mouths of their gods with the
meat, and do many other stupid things.

The King is subject to no one, although he is of the Imperial lineage of
Chinghis Kaan, and a near kinsman of the Great Kaan.[NOTE 1] This King
has neither city nor castle; he and his people live always either in the
wide plains or among great mountains and valleys. They subsist on the milk
and flesh of their cattle, and have no corn. The King has a vast number
of people, but he carries on no war with anybody, and his people live in
great tranquillity. They have enormous numbers of cattle, camels, horses,
oxen, sheep, and so forth.

You find in their country immense bears entirely white, and more than 20
palms in length. There are also large black foxes, wild asses, and
abundance of sables; those creatures I mean from the skins of which they
make those precious robes that cost 1000 bezants each. There are also
vairs in abundance; and vast multitudes of the Pharaoh's rat, on which the
people live all the summer time. Indeed they have plenty of all sorts of
wild creatures, for the country they inhabit is very wild and trackless.
[NOTE 2]

And you must know that this King possesses one tract of country which is
quite impassable for horses, for it abounds greatly in lakes and springs,
and hence there is so much ice as well as mud and mire, that horses cannot
travel over it. This difficult country is 13 days in extent, and at the
end of every day's journey there is a post for the lodgement of the
couriers who have to cross this tract. At each of these post-houses they
keep some 40 dogs of great size, in fact not much smaller than donkeys,
and these dogs draw the couriers over the day's journey from post-house to
post-house, and I will tell you how. You see the ice and mire are so
prevalent, that over this tract, which lies for those 13 days' journey in
a great valley between two mountains, no horses (as I told you) can
travel, nor can any wheeled carriage either. Wherefore they make sledges,
which are carriages without wheels, and made so that they can run over the
ice, and also over mire and mud without sinking too deep in it. Of these
sledges indeed there are many in our own country, for 'tis just such that
are used in winter for carrying hay and straw when there have been heavy
rains and the country is deep in mire. On such a sledge then they lay a
bear-skin on which the courier sits, and the sledge is drawn by six of
those big dogs that I spoke of. The dogs have no driver, but go straight
for the next post-house, drawing the sledge famously over ice and mire.
The keeper of the post-house however also gets on a sledge drawn by dogs,
and guides the party by the best and shortest way. And when they arrive at
the next station they find a new relay of dogs and sledges ready to take
them on, whilst the old relay turns back; and thus they accomplish the
whole journey across that region, always drawn by dogs.[NOTE 3]

The people who dwell in the valleys and mountains adjoining that tract of
13 days' journey are great huntsmen, and catch great numbers of precious
little beasts which are sources of great profit to them. Such are the
Sable, the Ermine, the Vair, the _Erculin_, the Black Fox, and many
other creatures from the skins of which the most costly furs are prepared.
They use traps to take them, from which they can't escape.[NOTE 4] But in
that region the cold is so great that all the dwellings of the people are
underground, and underground they always live.[NOTE 5]

There is no more to say on this subject, so I shall proceed to tell you of
a region in that quarter, in which there is perpetual darkness.

NOTE 1.--There are two KUWINJIS, or KAUNCHIS, as the name, from Polo's
representation of it, probably ought to be written, mentioned in
connection with the Northern Steppes, if indeed there has not been
confusion about them; both are descendants of Juji, the eldest son of
Chinghiz. One was the twelfth son of Shaibani, the 5th son of Juji.
Shaibani's Yurt was in Siberia, and his family seem to have become
predominant in that quarter. Arghun, on his defeat by Ahmad (supra p.
470), was besought to seek shelter with Kaunchi. The other Kaunchi was the
son of Sirtaktai, the son of Orda, the eldest son of Juji, and was, as
well as his father and grandfather, chief of the White Horde, whose
territory lay north-east of the Caspian. An embassy from this Kaunchi is
mentioned as having come to the court of Kaikhatu at Siah-Kuh (north of
Tabriz) with congratulations, in the summer of 1293. Polo may very
possibly have seen the members of this embassy, and got some of his
information from them. (See _Gold. Horde_, 149, 249; _Ilkhans_, I. 354,
403; II. 193, where Hammer writes the name of _Kandschi_.)

It is perhaps a trace of the lineage of the old rulers of Siberia that the
old town of Tyuman in Western Siberia is still known to the Tartars as
_Chinghiz Tora_, or the Fort of Chinghiz. (_Erman_, I. 310.)

NOTE 2.--We see that Polo's information in this chapter extends over the
whole latitude of Siberia; for the great White Bears and the Black Foxes
belong to the shores of the Frozen Ocean; the Wild Asses only to the
southern parts of Siberia. As to the Pharaoh's Rat, see vol. i. p. 254.

[Illustration: The Siberian Dog-sledge.

"E sus ceste treies hi se mete sus un cuir d'ors, e puis hi monte sus un
mesaje; e ceste treies moinent six chiens de celz grant qe je vos ai
contes; et cesti chienz ne les moine nulz, mes il vont tout droit jusque a
l'autre poste, et trainent la treies mout bien."]

NOTE 3.--No dog-sledges are now known, I believe, on this side of the
course of the Obi, and there not south of about 61 deg. 30'. But in the
11th century they were in general use between the Dwina and Petchora. And
Ibn Batuta's account seems to imply that in the 14th they were in use far
to the south of the present limit: "It had been my wish to visit the Land
of Darkness, which can only be done from Bolghar. There is a distance of
40 days' journey between these two places. I had to give up the intention
however on account of the great difficulty attending the journey and the
little fruit that it promised. In that country they travel only with small
vehicles drawn by great dogs. For the steppe is covered with ice, and the
feet of men or the shoes of horses would slip, whereas the dogs having
claws their paws don't slip upon the ice. The only travellers across this
wilderness are rich merchants, each of whom owns about 100 of these
vehicles, which are loaded with meat, drink, and firewood. In fact, on
this route there are neither trees nor stones, nor human dwellings. The
guide of the travellers is a dog who has often made the journey before!
The price of such a beast is sometimes as high as 1000 dinars or
thereabouts. He is yoked to the vehicle by the neck, and three other dogs
are harnessed along with him. He is the chief, and all the other dogs with
their carts follow his guidance and stop when he stops. The master of this
animal never ill-uses him nor scolds him, and at feeding-time the dogs are
always served before the men. If this be not attended to, the chief of the
dogs will get sulky and run off, leaving the master to perdition" (II.

[Mr. Parker writes (_China Review_, xiv. p. 359), that dog-sledges appear
to have been known to the Chinese, for in a Chinese poem occurs the line:
"Over the thick snow in a dog-cart."--H.C.]

The bigness attributed to the dogs by Polo, Ibn Batuta, and Rubruquis, is
an imagination founded on the work ascribed to them. Mr. Kennan says they
are simply half-domesticated Arctic wolves. Erman calls them the height of
European spaniels (qu. setters?), but much slenderer and leaner in the
flanks. A good draught-dog, according to Wrangell, should be 2 feet high
and 3 feet in length. The number of dogs attached to a sledge is usually
greater than the old travellers represent,--none of whom, however, had
_seen_ the thing.

Wrangell's account curiously illustrates what Ibn Batuta says of the Old
Dog who guides: "The best-trained and most intelligent dog is often yoked
in front.... He often displays extraordinary sagacity and influence over
the other dogs, e.g. in keeping them from breaking after game. In such a
case he will sometimes turn and bark in the opposite direction; ... and in
crossing a naked and boundless _tundra_ in darkness or snow-drift he will
guess his way to a hut that he has never visited but once before" (I.
159). Kennan also says: "They are guided and controlled entirely by the
voice and by a lead-dog, who is especially trained for the purpose." The
like is related of the Esquimaux dogs. (_Kennarts Tent Life in Siberia_,
pp. 163-164; _Wood's Mammalia_, p. 266.)

NOTE 4.--On the _Erculin_ and _Ercolin_ of the G.T., written Arculin in
next chapter, _Arcolino_ of Ramusio, _Herculini_ of Pipino, no light is
thrown by the Italian or other editors. One supposes of course some animal
of the ermine or squirrel kinds affording valuable fur, but I can find no
similar name of any such animal. It may be the Argali or Siberian Wild
Sheep, which Rubruquis mentions: "I saw another kind of beast which is
called _Arcali_; its body is just like a ram's, and its horns spiral like
a ram's also, only they are so big that I could scarcely lift a pair of
them with one hand. They make huge drinking-vessels out of these" (p.
230). [See I. p. 177.]

_Vair_, so often mentioned in mediaeval works, appears to have been a name
appropriate to the fur as prepared rather than to the animal. This appears
to have been the Siberian squirrel called in French _petit-gris_, the back
of which is of a fine grey and the belly of a brilliant white. In the
_Vair_ (which is perhaps only _varius_ or variegated) the backs and
bellies were joined in a kind of checquer; whence the heraldic checquer
called by the same name. There were two kinds, _menu-vair_ corrupted into
_minever_, and _gros-vair_, but I cannot learn clearly on what the
distinction rested. (See _Douet d'Arcq_, p. xxxv.) Upwards of 2000
_ventres de menuvair_ were sometimes consumed in one complete suit of
robes (Ib. xxxii.).

The traps used by the Siberian tribes to take these valuable animals are
described by Erman (I. 452), only in the English translation the
description is totally incomprehensible; also in Wrangell, I. 151.

NOTE 5.--The country chiefly described in this chapter is probably that
which the Russians, and also the Arabian Geographers, used to term
_Yugria_, apparently the country of the Ostyaks on the Obi. The
winter-dwellings of the people are not, strictly speaking, underground, but
they are flanked with earth piled up against the walls. The same is the
case with those of the Yakuts in Eastern Siberia, and these often have the
floors also sunk 3 feet in the earth. Habitations really subterranean, of
some previous race, have been found in the Samoyed country. (_Klaproth's
Mag. Asiatique, II. 66._)



Still further north, and a long way beyond that kingdom of which I have
spoken, there is a region which bears the name of DARKNESS, because
neither sun nor moon nor stars appear, but it is always as dark as with us
in the twilight. The people have no king of their own, nor are they
subject to any foreigner, and live like beasts. [They are dull of
understanding, like half-witted persons.[NOTE 1]]

The Tartars however sometimes visit the country, and they do it in this
way. They enter the region riding mares that have foals, and these foals
they leave behind. After taking all the plunder that they can get they
find their way back by help of the mares, which are all eager to get back
to their foals, and find the way much better than their riders could do.
[NOTE 2]

Those people have vast quantities of valuable peltry; thus they have those
costly Sables of which I spoke, and they have the Ermine, the Arculin, the
Vair, the Black Fox, and many other valuable furs. They are all hunters by
trade, and amass amazing quantities of those furs. And the people who are
on their borders, where the Light is, purchase all those furs from them;
for the people of the Land of Darkness carry the furs to the Light country
for sale, and the merchants who purchase these make great gain thereby, I
assure you.[NOTE 3]

The people of this region are tall and shapely, but very pale and
colourless. One end of the country borders upon Great Rosia. And as there
is no more to be said about it, I will now proceed, and first I will tell
you about the Province of Rosia.

NOTE 1.--In the Ramusian version we have a more intelligent representation
of the facts regarding the _Land of Darkness_: "Because for most part of
the winter months the sun appears not, and the air is dusky, as it is just
before the dawn when you see and yet do not see;" and again below it
speaks of the inhabitants catching the fur animals "in summer when they
have continuous daylight." It is evident that the writer of this version
_did_ and the writer of the original French which we have translated from
_did not_ understand what he was writing. The whole of the latter account
implies belief in the perpetuity of the darkness. It resembles Pliny's
hazy notion of the northern regions:[1] "pars mundi damnata a rerum natura
et densa mersa caligine." Whether the fault is due to Rustician's
ignorance or is Polo's own, who can say? We are willing to debit it to the
former, and to credit Marco with the improved version in Ramusio. In the
_Masalak-al-Absar_, however, we have the following passage in which the
conception is similar: "Merchants do not ascend (the Wolga) beyond
Bolghar; from that point they make excursions through the province of
Julman (supposed to be the country on the Kama and Viatka). The merchants
of the latter country penetrate to Yughra, which is the extremity of the
North. Beyond that you see no trace of habitation except a great Tower
built by Alexander, after which there is nothing but Darkness." The
narrator of this, being asked what he meant, said: "It is a region of
desert mountains, where frost and snow continually reign, where the sun
never shines, no plant vegetates, and no animal lives. Those mountains
border on the Dark Sea, on which rain falls perpetually, fogs are ever
dense, and the sun never shows itself, and on tracts perpetually covered
with snow." (_N. et Ex._ XIII. i. 285.)

NOTE 2.--This is probably a story of great antiquity, for it occurs in the
legends of the mythical _Ughuz_, Patriarch of the Turk and Tartar nations,
as given by Rashiduddin. In this hero's campaign towards the far north, he
had ordered the old men to be left behind near Almalik; but a very ancient
sage called Bushi Khwaja persuaded his son to carry him forward in a box,
as they were sure sooner or later to need the counsel of experienced age.
When they got to the land of _Kara Hulun_, Ughuz and his officers were
much perplexed about finding their way, as they had arrived at the Land of
Darkness. The old Bushi was then consulted, and his advice was that they
should take with them 4 mares and 9 she-asses that had foals, and tie up
the foals at the entrance to the Land of Darkness, but drive the dams
before them. And when they wished to return they would be guided by the
scent and maternal instinct of the mares and she-asses. And so it was
done. (See _Erdmann Temudschin_, p. 478.) Ughuz, according to the
Mussulman interpretation of the Eastern Legends, was the great-grandson of

The story also found its way into some of the later Greek forms of the
Alexander Legends. Alexander, when about to enter the Land of Darkness,
takes with him only picked young men. Getting into difficulties, the King
wants to send back for some old sage who should advise. Two young men had
smuggled their old father with them in anticipation of such need, and on
promise of amnesty they produce him. He gives the advice to use the mares
as in the text. (See _Mueller's ed._ of _Pseudo-Callisthenes_, Bk. II. ch.

NOTE 3.--Ibn Batuta thus describes the traffic that took place with the
natives of the Land of Darkness: "When the Travellers have accomplished a
journey of 40 days across this Desert tract they encamp near the borders
of the Land of Darkness. Each of them then deposits there the goods that
he has brought with him, and all return to their quarters. On the morrow
they come back to look at their goods, and find laid beside them skins of
the Sable, the Vair, and the Ermine. If the owner of the goods is
satisfied with what is laid beside his parcel he takes it, if not he
leaves it there. The inhabitants of the Land of Darkness may then (on
another visit) increase the amount of their deposit, or, as often happens,
they may take it away altogether and leave the goods of the foreign
merchants untouched. In this way is the trade conducted. The people who go
thither never know whether those with whom they buy and sell are men or
goblins, for they never see any one!" (II. 401.)

["Ibn Batuta's account of the market of the 'Land of Darkness' ... agrees
almost word for word with Dr. Mirth's account of the 'Spirit Market, taken
from the Chinese.'" (_Parker, China Review_, XIV. p. 359.)--H.C.]

Abulfeda gives exactly the same account of the trade; and so does
Herberstein. Other Oriental writers ascribe the same custom to the _Wisu_,
a people three months' journey from Bolghar. These Wisu have been
identified by Fraehn with the _Wesses_, a people spoken of by Russian
historians as dwelling on the shores of the Bielo Osero, which Lake indeed
is alleged by a Russian author to have been anciently called _Wuesu_,
misunderstood into _Weissensee_, and thence rendered into Russian Bielo
Osero ("White Lake"). (_Golden Horde_, App. p. 429; _Buesching_, IV.
359-360; _Herberstein_ in _Ram._ II. 168 v.; _Fraehn, Bolghar_, pp. 14, 47;
Do., _Ibn Fozlan_, 205 seqq., 221.) Dumb trade of the same kind is a
circumstance related of very many different races and periods, e.g., of a
people beyond the Pillars of Hercules by Herodotus, of the Sabaean dealers
in frankincense by Theophrastus, of the Seres by Pliny, of the Sasians far
south of Ethiopia by Cosmas, of the people of the Clove Islands by Kazwini,
of a region beyond Segelmessa by Mas'udi, of a people far beyond Timbuctoo
by Cadamosto, the Veddas of Ceylon by Marignolli and more modern writers,
of the Poliars of Malabar by various authors, by Paulus Jovius of the
Laplanders, etc. etc.

Pliny's attribution, surely erroneous, of this custom to the Chinese [see
supra, H.C.], suggests that there may have been a misunderstanding by
which this method of trade was confused with that other curious system of
dumb higgling, by the pressure of the knuckles under a shawl, a masonic
system in use from Peking to Bombay, and possibly to Constantinople.

The term translated here "Light," and the "Light Country," is in the G.T.
"_a la Carte_," "_a la Cartes_." This puzzled me for a long time, as I
see it puzzled Mr. Hugh Murray, Signor Bartoli, and Lazari (who passes it
over). The version of Pipino, "_ad_ Lucis _terras finitimas deferunt_,"
points to the true reading;--_Carte_ is an error for _Clarte_.

The reading of this chapter is said to have fired Prince Rupert with the
scheme which resulted in the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company.

[1] That is, in one passage of Pliny (iv. 12); for in another passage from
his multifarious note book, where Thule is spoken of, the Arctic day
and night are much more distinctly characterised (IV. 16).



Rosia is a very great province, lying towards the north. The people are
Christians, and follow the Greek doctrine. There are several kings in the
country, and they have a language of their own. They are a people of
simple manners, but both men and women very handsome, being all very white
and [tall, with long fair hair]. There are many strong defiles and passes
in the country; and they pay tribute to nobody except to a certain Tartar
king of the Ponent, whose name is TOCTAI; to him indeed they pay tribute,
but only a trifle. It is not a land of trade, though to be sure they have
many fine and valuable furs, such as Sables, in abundance, and Ermine,
Vair, Ercolin, and Fox skins, the largest and finest in the world [and
also much wax]. They also possess many Silver-mines, from which they
derive a large amount of silver.[NOTE 1]

There is nothing else worth mentioning; so let us leave Rosia, and I will
tell you about the Great Sea, and what provinces and nations lie round
about it, all in detail; and we will begin with Constantinople.--First,
however, I should tell you of a province that lies between north and
north-west. You see in that region that I have been speaking of, there is
a province called LAC, which is conterminous with Rosia, and has a king of
its own. The people are partly Christians and partly Saracens. They have
abundance of furs of good quality, which merchants export to many
countries. They live by trade and handicrafts.[NOTE 2]

There is nothing more worth mentioning, so I will speak of other subjects;
but there is one thing more to tell you about Rosia that I had forgotten.
You see in Rosia there is the greatest cold that is to be found anywhere,
so great as to be scarcely bearable. The country is so great that it
reaches even to the shores of the Ocean Sea, and 'tis in that sea that
there are certain islands in which are produced numbers of gerfalcons and
peregrine falcons, which are carried in many directions. From Russia also
to OROECH it is not very far, and the journey could be soon made, were it
not for the tremendous cold; but this renders its accomplishment almost
impossible.[NOTE 3]

Now then let us speak of the Great Sea, as I was about to do. To be sure
many merchants and others have been there, but still there are many again
who know nothing about it, so it will be well to include it in our Book.
We will do so then, and let us begin first with the Strait of

NOTE 1.--Ibn Fozlan, the oldest Arabic author who gives any detailed
account of the Russians (and a very remarkable one it is), says he "never
saw people of form more perfectly developed; they were tall as palm-trees,
and ruddy of countenance," but at the same time "the most uncleanly people
that God hath created," drunken, and frightfully gross in their manners.
(_Fraehn's Ibn Fozlan_, p. 5 seqq.) Ibn Batuta is in some respects less
flattering; he mentions the silver-mines noticed in our text: "At a day's
distance from Ukak[1] are the hills of the Russians, who are Christians.
They have red hair and blue eyes; ugly to look at, and crafty to deal
with. They have silver-mines, and it is from their country that are
brought the _saum_ or ingots of silver with which buying and selling is
carried on in this country (Kipchak or the Ponent of Polo). The weight of
each _saumah_ is 5 ounces" (II. 414). Mas'udi also says: "The Russians
have in their country a silver-mine similar to that which exists in
Khorasan, at the mountain of Banjhir" (i.e. _Panjshir_; II. 15; and see
supra, vol. i. p. 161). These positive and concurrent testimonies as to
Russian silver-mines are remarkable, as modern accounts declare that no
silver is found in Russia. And if we go back to the 16th century,
Herberstein says the same. There was no silver, he says, except what was
imported; silver money had been in use barely 100 years; previously they
had used oblong ingots of the value of a ruble, without any figure or
legend. (_Ram._ II. 159.)

But a welcome communication from Professor Bruun points out that the
statement of Ibn Batuta identifies the silver-mines in question with
certain mines of argentiferous lead-ore near the River Mious (a river
falling into the sea of Azof, about 22 miles west of Taganrog); an ore
which even in recent times has afforded 60 per cent. of lead, and 1/24 per
cent. of silver. And it was these mines which furnished the ancient
Russian _rubles_ or ingots. Thus the original _ruble_ was the _saumah_ of
Ibn Batuta, the _sommo_ of Pegolotti. A ruble seems to be still called by
some term like _saumah_ in Central Asia; it is printed _soom_ in the
Appendix to Davies's Punjab Report, p. xi. And Professor Bruun tells me
that the silver ruble is called _Som_ by the Ossethi of Caucasus.[2]

Franc.-Michel quotes from Fitz-Stephen's Desc. of London (_temp._ Henry

"_Aurum mittit Arabs ...
Seres purpureas vestes; Galli sua vina;
Norwegi_, Russi, varium, grysium, sabelinas."

Russia was overrun with fire and sword as far as Tver and Torshok by Batu
Khan (1237-1238), some years before his invasion of Poland and Silesia.
Tartar tax-gatherers were established in the Russian cities as far north
as Rostov and Jaroslawl, and for many years Russian princes as far as
Novgorod paid homage to the Mongol Khans in their court at Sarai. Their
subjection to the Khans was not such a trifle as Polo seems to imply; and
at least a dozen Russian princes met their death at the hands of the
Mongol executioner.

[Illustration: Mediaeval Russian Church. (From Fergusson.)]

NOTE 2.--The _Lac_ of this passage appears to be WALLACHIA. Abulfeda calls
the Wallachs _Aulak_; Rubruquis _Illac_, which he says is the same word as
_Blac_ (the usual European form of those days being _Blachi, Blachia_), but
the Tartars could not pronounce the B (p. 275). Abulghazi says the original
inhabitants of Kipchak were the _Urus_, the Olaks, _the Majars_, and the

Rubruquis is wrong in placing _Illac_ or Wallachs in Asia; at least the
people near the Ural, who he says were so-called by the Tartars, cannot
have been Wallachs. Professor Bruun, who corrects my error in following
Rubruquis, thinks those Asiatic _Blac_ must have been _Polovtzi_, or

[Mr. Rockhill (_Rubruck_, p. 130, note) writes: "A branch of the Volga
Bulgars occupied the Moldo-Vallach country in about A.D. 485, but it was
not until the first years of the 6th century that a portion of them passed
the Danube under the leadership of Asparuk, and established themselves in
the present Bulgaria, Friar William's 'Land of Assan.'"--H.C.]

NOTE 3.--_Oroech_ is generally supposed to be a mistake for _Noroech_,
NORWEGE or Norway, which is probable enough. But considering the Asiatic
sources of most of our author's information, it is also possible that
_Oroech_ represents WAREG. The _Waraegs_ or _Warangs_ are celebrated in the
oldest Russian history as a race of warlike immigrants, of whom came Rurik,
the founder of the ancient royal dynasty, and whose name was long preserved
in that of the Varangian guards at Constantinople. Many Eastern
geographers, from Al Biruni downwards, speak of the Warag or Warang as a
nation dwelling in the north, on the borders of the Slavonic countries, and
on the shores of a great arm of the Western Ocean, called the _Sea of
Warang_, evidently the Baltic. The Waraegers are generally considered to
have been Danes or Northmen, and Erman mentions that in the bazaars of
Tobolsk he found Danish goods known as _Varaegian_. Mr. Hyde Clark, as I
learn from a review, has recently identified the Warangs or Warings with
the _Varini_, whom Tacitus couples with the Angli, and has shown probable
evidence for their having taken part in the invasion of Britain. He has
also shown that many points of the laws which they established in Russia
were purely Saxon in character. (_Bayer_ in _Comment. Acad. Petropol._ IV.
276 seqq.; _Fraehn_ in App. to _Ibn Fozlan_, p. 177 seqq.; _Erman_, I. 374;
_Sat. Review_, 19th June, 1869; _Gold. Horde_, App. p. 428.)

[1] This Ukak of Ibn Batuta is not, as I too hastily supposed (vol. i. p.
8) the _Ucaca_ of the Polos on the Volga, but a place of the same name
on the Sea of Azof, which appears in some mediaeval maps as _Locac_ or
_Locaq_ (_i.e. l'Ocac_), and which Elle de Laprimaudaie in his
Periplus of the Mediaeval Caspian, locates at a place called Kaszik, a
little east of Mariupol. (_Et. sur le Comm. au Moyen. Age_, p. 230.) I
owe this correction to a valued correspondent, Professor Bruun, of

[2] The word is, however, perhaps Or. Turkish; _Som_, "pure, solid."
(See _Pavet de Courteille_, and _Vambery_, s.v.)



At the straits leading into the Great Sea, on the west side, there is a
hill called the FARO.--But since beginning on this matter I have changed
my mind, because so many people know all about it, so we will not put it
in our description, but go on to something else. And so I will tell you
about the Tartars of the Ponent, and the lords who have reigned over them.



The first lord of the Tartars of the Ponent was SAIN, a very great and
puissant king, who conquered ROSIA and COMANIA, ALANIA, LAC, MENJAR, ZIC,
GOTHIA, and GAZARIA; all these provinces were conquered by King Sain.
Before his conquest these all belonged to the Comanians, but they did not
hold well together nor were they united, and thus they lost their
territories and were dispersed over divers countries; and those who
remained all became the servants of King Sain.[NOTE 1]

After King Sain reigned King PATU, and after Patu BARCA, and after Barca
MUNGLETEMUR, and after Mungletemur King TOTAMANGUL, and then TOCTAI the
present sovereign.[NOTE 2]

Now I have told you of the Tartar kings of the Ponent, and next I shall
tell you of a great battle that was fought between Alau the Lord of the
Levant and Barca the Lord of the Ponent.

So now we will relate out of what occasion that battle arose, and how it
was fought.

NOTE 1.--+The COMANIANS, a people of Turkish race, the _Polovtzi_[or
"Dwellers of the Plain" of Nestor, the Russian Annalist] of the old
Russians, were one of the chief nations occupying the plains on the north
of the Black Sea and eastward to the Caspian, previous to the Mongol
invasion. Rubruquis makes them identical with the KIPCHAK, whose name is
generally attached to those plains by Oriental writers, but Hammer
disputes this. [See a note, pp. 92-93 of _Rockhill's Rubruck_.--H.C.]

ALANIA, the country of the Alans on the northern skirts of the Caucasus
and towards the Caspian; LAC, the Wallachs as above. MENJAR is a subject
of doubt. It may be _Majar_, on the Kuma River, a city which was visited
by Ibn Batuta, and is mentioned by Abulfeda as _Kummajar_. It was in the
14th century the seat of a Franciscan convent. Coins of that century, both
of Majar and New Majar, are given by Erdmann. The building of the
fortresses of Kichi Majar and Ulu Majar (little and great) is ascribed in
the _Derbend Nameh_ to Naoshirwan. The ruins of Majar were extensive when
seen by Gmelin in the last century, but when visited by Klaproth in the
early part of the present one there were few buildings remaining.
Inscriptions found there are, like the coins, Mongol-Mahomedan of the 14th
century. Klaproth, with reference to these ruins, says that _Majar_ merely
means in "old Tartar" a stone building, and denies any connection with the
_Magyars_ as a nation. But it is possible that the Magyar country, i.e.
Hungary, is here intended by Polo, for several Asiatic writers of his
time, or near it, speak of the Hungarians as _Majar_. Thus Abulfeda speaks
of the infidel nations near the Danube as including Aulak, Majars, and
Serbs; Rashiduddin speaks of the Mongols as conquering the country of the
Bashkirds, the Majars, and the Sassan (probably Saxons of Transylvania).
One such mention from Abulghazi has been quoted in note 2 to ch. xxii.; in
the _Masalak-al-Absar_, the _Cherkes_, _Russians_, _Aas_ (or Alans), and
Majar are associated; the Majar _and Alan_ in Sharifuddin. Doubts indeed
arise whether in some of these instances a people located in Asia be not
intended.[1] (_Rubr._ p. 246; _D'Avezac_, p. 486 seqq.; _Golden
Horde_, p. 5; _I.B._ II. 375 seqq.; _Buesching_, IV. 359; _Cathay_, p.
233; _Numi Asiatici_, I. 333, 451; _Klaproth's Travels_, ch. xxxi.; _N. et
Ex._ XIII. i. 269, 279; _P. de la Croix_, II. 383; _Rein. Abulf._ I. 80;
_D'Ohsson_, II. 628.)

["The author of the _Tarikh Djihan Kushai_, as well as Rashid and other
Mohammedan authors of the same period, term the Hungarians _Bashkerds_
(Bashkirs). This latter name, written also _Bashkurd_, appears for the
first time, it seems, in Ibn Fozlan's narrative of an embassy to the
Bulgars on the Volga in the beginning of the 10th century (translated by
Fraehn, 'De Bashkiris,' etc., 1822).... The Hungarians arrived in Europe
in the 9th century, and then called themselves _Magyar_ (to be pronounced
Modjor), as they do down to the present time. The Russian Chronicler
Nestor mentions their passing near Kiev in 898, and terms them _Ugry_. But
the name Magyar was also known to other nations in the Middle Ages.
Abulfeda (ii. 324) notices the _Madjgars_; it would, however, seem that he
applies this name to the Bashkirs in Asia. The name _Madjar_ occurs also
in Rashid's record. In the Chinese and Mongol annals of the 13th century
the Hungarians are termed _Madja-rh_." (_Bretschneider, Med. Res._ I. pp.

ZIC is Circassia. The name was known to Pliny, Ptolemy, and other writers
of classic times. Ramusio (II. 196 _v_) gives a curious letter to Aldus
Manutius from George Interiano, "_Della vita de'_ Zychi _chiamati
Circassi_," and a great number of other references to ancient and
mediaeval use of the name will be found in D'Avezac's Essay, so often
quoted (p. 497).

GOTHIA is the southern coast of the Crimea from Sudak to Balaklava and the
mountains north of the latter, then still occupied by a tribe of the
Goths. The Genoese officer who governed this coast in the 15th century
bore the title of _Capitanus Gotiae_; and a remnant of the tribe still
survived, maintaining their Teutonic speech, to the middle of the 16th
century, when Busbeck, the emperor's ambassador to the Porte, fell in with
two of them, from whom he derived a small vocabulary and other
particulars. (_Busbequii Opera_, 1660, p. 321 seqq.; _D'Avezac_, pp.
498-499; _Heyd._, II. 123 seqq.; _Cathay_, pp. 200-201.)

GAZARIA, the Crimea and part of the northern shore of the Sea of Azov,
formerly occupied by the _Khazars_, a people whom Klaproth endeavours to
prove to have been of Finnish race. When the Genoese held their
settlements on the Crimean coast the Board at Genoa which administered the
affairs of these colonies was called _The Office of Gazaria_.

NOTE 2.--The real list of the "Kings of the Ponent," or Khans of the
Golden Horde, down to the time of Polo's narrative, runs thus: BATU,
_Sartak, Ulagchi_ (these two almost nominal), BARKA, MANGKU TIMUR, TUDAI
MANGKU, _Tulabugha_, _Tuktuka_ or TOKTAI. Polo here omits Tulabugha
(though he mentions him below in ch. xxix.), and introduces before Batu,
as a great and powerful conqueror, the founder of the empire, a prince
whom he calls _Sain_. This is in fact Batu himself, the leader of the
great Tartar invasion of Europe (1240-1242), whom he has split into two
kings. Batu bore the surname of _Sain Khan_, or "the Good Prince," by
which name he is mentioned, e.g., in Makrizi (_Quatremere's Trans._ II.
45), also in Wassaf (_Hammer's Trans._ pp. 29-30). Piano Carpini's account
of him is worth quoting: "Hominibus quidem ejus satis benignus; timetur
tamen valde ab iis; sed crudelissimus est in pugna; sagax est multum; et
etiam astutissimus in bello, quia longo tempore jam pugnavit." This Good
Prince was indeed _crudelissimus in pugna_. At Moscow he ordered a general
massacre, and 270,000 right ears are said to have been laid before him in
testimony to its accomplishment. It is odd enough that a mistake like that
in the text is not confined to Polo. The chronicle of Kazan, according to
a Russian writer, makes _Sain_ succeed _Batu_. (_Carpini_, p. 746; _J. As._
ser. IV. tom. xvii. p. 109; _Buesching_, V. 493; also _Golden Horde_,
p. 142, note.)

Batu himself, in the great invasion of the West, was with the southern
host in Hungary; the northern army which fought at Liegnitz was under
Baidar, a son of Chaghatai.

According to the _Masalak-al-Absar_, the territory of Kipchak, over which
this dynasty ruled, extended in length from the Sea of Istambul to the
River Irtish, a journey of 6 months, and in breadth from Bolghar to the
Iron Gates, 4 (?) months' journey. A second traveller, quoted in the same
work, says the empire extended from the Iron Gates to _Yughra_ (see p. 483
supra), and from the Irtish to the country of the _Nemej_. The last term
is very curious, being the Russian _Niemicz_, "Dumb," a term which in
Russia is used as a proper name of the Germans; a people, to wit, unable
to speak Slavonic. (_N. et Ex._ XIII. i. 282, 284.)

["An allusion to the Mongol invasion of Poland and Silesia is found in the
_Yuen-shi_, ch. cxxi., biography of Wu-liang-ho t'ai (the son of
Su-bu-t'ai). It is stated there that Wu-liang-ho t'ai [Urtangcadai]
accompanied Badu when he invaded the countries of _Kin ch'a_ (Kipchak) and
_Wu-la-sz'_ (Russia). Subsequently he took part also in the expedition
against the _P'o-lie-rh_ and _Nie-mi-sze_." (_Dr. Bretschneider, Med. Res._
I. p. 322.) With reference to these two names, Dr. Bretschneider says, in a
note, that he has no doubt that the Poles and Germans are intended. "As to
its origin, the Russian linguists generally derive it from _nemoi_, 'dumb,'
i.e., unable to speak Slavonic. To the ancient Byzantine chroniclers the
Germans were known under the same name. Cf. _Muralt's Essai de Chronogr.
Byzant., sub anno_ 882: 'Les Slavons maltraites par les guerriers _Nemetzi_
de Swiatopolc' (King of Great Moravia, 870-894). Sophocles' Greek Lexicon
of the Roman and Byzantine periods from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100: '_Nemitzi_'
Austrians, Germans. This name is met also in the Mohammedan authors.
According to the Masalak-al-Absar, of the first half of the 14th century
(transl. by Quatremere, _N. et Ext._ XXII. 284), the country of the
Kipchaks extended (eastward) to the country of the _Nemedj_, which
separates the Franks from the Russians. The Turks still call the Germans
_Niemesi_; the Hungarians term them _Nemet_."--H.C.]

[Illustration: Figure of a Tartar under the feet of Henry II, Duke of
Silesia, Cracow, and Poland, from the tomb at Breslau of that Prince,
killed in battle with the Tartar host at Liegnitz, 9th April, 1241.]

[1] This doubt arises also where Abulfeda speaks of _Majgaria_ in the
far north, "the capital of the country of the _Madjgars_, a Turk race"
of pagan nomads, by whom he seems to mean the _Bashkirs_. (_Reinaud's
Abulf._ I. 324.) For it is to the Bashkir country that the Franciscan
travellers apply the term Great Hungary, showing that they were led to
believe it the original seat of the _Magyars_. (_Rubr._ 274, _Plan.
Carpin._ 747; and in same vol. _D'Avezac_, p. 491.) Further confusion
arises from the fact that, besides the Uralian Bashkirs, there were,
down to the 13th century, Bashkirs recognised as such, and as distinct
from the Hungarians though akin to them, dwelling in _Hungarian
territory_. Ibn Said, speaking of Sebennico (the cradle of the Polo
family), says that when the Tartars advanced under its walls (1242?)
"the Hungarians, the Bashkirs, and the Germans united their forces
near the city" and gave the invaders a signal defeat. (_Reinaud's
Abulf._ I. 312; see also 294, 295.) One would gladly know what are the
real names that M. Reinaud refers _Hongrois_ and _Allemands_. The
Christian Bashkirds of Khondemir, on the borders of the Franks, appear
to be Hungarians. (See _J. As._, ser. IV. tom. xvii. p. 111.)



It was in the year 1261 of Christ's incarnation that there arose a great
discord between King Alau the Lord of the Tartars of the Levant, and Barca
the King of the Tartars of the Ponent; the occasion whereof was a province
that lay on the confines of both.[NOTE 1]

<+>(They exchange defiances, and make vast preparations.)

And when his preparations were complete, Alau the Lord of Levant set forth
with all his people. They marched for many days without any adventure to
speak of, and at last they reached a great plain which extends between the
Iron Gates and the Sea Of Sarain.[NOTE 2] In this plain he pitched his
camp in beautiful order; and I can assure you there was many a rich tent
and pavilion therein, so that it looked indeed like a camp of the wealthy.
Alau said he would tarry there to see if Barca and his people would come;
so there they tarried, abiding the enemy's arrival. This place where the
camp was pitched was on the frontier of the two kings. Now let us speak of
Barca and his people.[NOTE 3]

NOTE 1.--"_Que_ marcesoit _a le un et a le autre_;" in Scotch phrase,
"which _marched_ with both."

NOTE 2.--Respecting the Iron Gates, see vol. i. p. 53. The Caspian is here
called the Sea of _Sarain_, probably for _Sarai_, after the great city on
the Volga. For we find it in the Catalan Map of 1375 termed the Sea of
_Sarra_. Otherwise _Sarain_ might have been taken for some corruption of
_Shirwan_. (See vol. i. p. 59, note 8.)

NOTE 3.--The war here spoken of is the same which is mentioned in the very
beginning of the book, as having compelled the two Elder Polos to travel
much further eastward than they had contemplated.

Many jealousies and heart-burnings between the cousins Hulaku and Barka
had existed for several years. The Mameluke Sultan Bibars seems also to
have stimulated Barka to hostility with Hulaku. War broke out in 1262,
when 30,000 men from Kipchak, under the command of Nogai, passed Derbend
into the province of Shirwan. They were at first successful, but
afterwards defeated. In December, Hulaku, at the head of a great army,
passed Derbend, and routed the forces which met him. Abaka, son of Hulaku,
was sent on with a large force, and came upon the opulent camp of Barka
beyond the Terek. They were revelling in its plunder, when Barka rallied
his troops and came upon the army of Abaka, driving them southward again,
across the frozen river. The ice broke and many perished. Abaka escaped,
chased by Barka to Derbend. Hulaku returned to Tabriz and made great
preparations for vengeance, but matters were apparently never carried
further. Hence Polo's is anything but an accurate account of the matter.

The following extract from Wassaf's History, referring to this war, is a
fine sample of that prince of rigmarole:

"In the winter of 662 (A.D. 1262-1263) when the Almighty Artist had
covered the River of Derbend with plates of silver, and the Furrier of the
Winter had clad the hills and heaths in ermine; the river being frozen
hard as a rock to the depth of a spear's length, an army of Mongols went
forth at the command of Barka Aghul, filthy as Ghuls and Devils of the
dry-places, and in numbers countless as the rain-drops," etc. etc.
(_Golden Horde_, p. 163 seqq.; _Ilchan._ I. 214 seqq.; _Q.R._ p. 393
seqq.; _Q. Makrizi_, I. 170; _Hammer's Wassaf_, p. 93.)



<+>(Barca advances with 350,000 horse, encamps on the plain within 10
miles of Alau; addresses his men, announcing his intention of fighting
after 3 days, and expresses his confidence of success as they are in the
right and have 50,000 men more than the enemy.)



<+>(Alau calls together "a numerous parliament of his worthies"[1] and
addresses them.)

[1] "_Il asemble encore sez parlemant de grand quantites des buens homes_."



<+>(Description of the Battle in the usual style, with nothing
characteristic. Results in the rout of Barca and great slaughter.)



You must know there was a Prince of the Tartars of the Ponent called
MONGOTEMUR, and from him the sovereignty passed to a young gentleman
called TOLOBUGA. But TOTAMANGU, who was a man of great influence, with the
help of another Tartar King called NOGAI, slew Tolobuga and got possession
of the sovereignty. He reigned not long however, and at his death TOCTAI,
an able and valiant man, was chosen sovereign in the place of Totamangu.
But in the meantime two sons of that Tolobuga who was slain were grown up,
and were likely youths, able and prudent.

So these two brothers, the sons of Totamangu, got together a goodly
company and proceeded to the court of Toctai. When they had got thither
they conducted themselves with great discretion, keeping on their knees
till Toctai bade them welcome, and to stand up. Then the eldest addressed
the Sovereign thus: "Good my Lord Toctai, I will tell you to the best of
my ability why we be come hither. We are the sons of Totamangu, whom
Tolobuga and Nogai slew, as thou well knowest. Of Tolobuga we will say no
more, since he is dead, but we demand justice against Nogai as the slayer
of our Father; and we pray thee as Sovereign Lord to summon him before
thee and to do us justice. For this cause are we come!"[NOTE 1]

(Toctai agrees to their demand and sends two messengers to summon Nogai,
but Nogai mocks at the message and refuses to go. Whereupon Toctai sends a
second couple of messengers.)

NOTE 1.--I have not attempted to correct the obvious confusion here; for
in comparing the story related here with the regular historians we find
the knots too complicated for solution.

In the text as it stands we first learn that Totamangu by help of Nogai
kills _Tolobuga_, takes the throne, dies, and is succeeded by Toctai. But
presently we find that it is the sons of _Totamangu_ who claim vengeance
from Toctai against Nogai for having aided Tolobuga to slay their father.
Turning back to the list of princes in chapter xxiv. we find Totamangu
indeed, but Tolobuga omitted altogether.

The outline of the history as gathered from Hammer and D'Ohsson is as

NOGHAI, for more than half a century one of the most influential of the
Mongol Princes, was a great-great-grandson of Chinghiz, being the son of
Tatar, son of Tewal, son of Juji. He is first heard of as a leader under
Batu Khan in the great invasion of Europe (1241), and again in 1258 we
find him leading an invasion of Poland.

In the latter quarter of the century he had established himself as
practically independent, in the south of Russia. There is much about him
in the Byzantine history of Pachymeres; Michael Palaeologus sought his
alliance against the Bulgarians (of the south), and gave him his
illegitimate daughter Euphrosyne to wife. Some years later Noghai gave a
daughter of his own in marriage to Feodor Rostislawitz, Prince of

Mangu- or Mangku-Temur, the great-nephew and successor of Barka, died in
1280-81 leaving nine sons, but was succeeded by his brother TUDAI-MANGKU
(Polo's _Totamangu_). This Prince occupied himself chiefly with the
company of Mahomedan theologians and was averse to the cares of
government. In 1287 he abdicated, and was replaced by TULABUGHA
(_Tolobuga_), the son of an elder brother, whose power, however, was
shared by other princes. Tulabugha quarrelled with old Noghai and was
preparing to attack him. Noghai however persuaded him to come to an
interview, and at this Tulabugha was put to death. TOKTAI, one of the sons
of Mangku-Temur, who was associated with Noghai, obtained the throne of
Kipchak. This was in 1291. We hear nothing of sons of Tudai-Mangku or

Some years later we hear of a symbolic declaration of war sent by Toktai
to Noghai, and then of a great battle between them near the banks of the
Don, in which Toktai is defeated. Later, they are again at war, and
somewhere south of the Dnieper Noghai is beaten. As he was escaping with a
few mounted followers, he was cut down by a Russian horseman. "I am
Noghai," said the old warrior, "take me to Toktai." The Russian took the
bridle to lead him to the camp, but by the way the old chief expired. The
horseman carried his head to the Khan; its heavy grey eyebrows, we are
told, hung over and hid the eyes. Toktai asked the Russian how he knew the
head to be that of Noghai. "He told me so himself," said the man. And so
he was ordered to execution for having presumed to slay a great Prince
without orders. How like the story of David and the Amalekite in Ziklag!
(2 Samuel, ch. i.).

The chronology of these events is doubtful. Rashiduddin seems to put the
defeat of Toktai near the Don in 1298-1299, and a passage in Wassaf
extracted by Hammer seems to put the defeat and death of Noghai about
1303. On the other hand, there is evidence that war between the two was in
full flame in the beginning of 1296; Makrizi seems to report the news of a
great defeat of Toktai by Noghai as reaching Cairo in _Jumadah_ I.A.H.
697 or February-March, 1298. And Novairi, from whom D'Ohsson gives
extracts, appears to put the defeat and death of Noghai in 1299. If the
battle on the Don is that recounted by Marco it cannot be put later than
1297, and he must have had news of it at Venice, perhaps from relations at
Soldaia. I am indeed reluctant to believe that he is not speaking of
events of which he had cognizance _before_ quitting the East; but there is
no evidence in favour of that view. (_Golden Horde_, especially 269
seqq.; _Ilchan_. II. 347, and also p. 35; _D'Ohsson_, IV. Appendix; _Q.
Makrizi_, IV. 60.)

The symbolical message mentioned above as sent by Toktai to Noghai,
consisted of a hoe, an arrow, and a handful of earth. Noghai interpreted
this as meaning, "If you hide in the earth, I will dig you out! If you
rise to the heavens I will shoot you down! Choose a battle-field!" What a
singular similarity we have here to the message that reached Darius 1800
years before, on this very ground, from Toktai's predecessors, alien from
him in blood it may be, but identical in customs and mental

"At last Darius was in a great strait, and the Kings of the Scythians
having ascertained this, sent a herald bearing, as gifts to Darius, a
bird, a mouse, a frog, and five arrows.... Darius's opinion was that the
Scythians meant to give themselves up to him.... But the opinion of
Gobryas, one of the seven who had deposed the Magus, did not coincide with
this; he conjectured that the presents intimated: 'Unless, O Persians, ye
become birds, and fly into the air, or become mice and hide yourselves
beneath the earth, or become frogs and leap into the lakes, ye shall never
return home again, but be stricken by these arrows.' And thus the other
Persians interpreted the gifts." (_Herodotus_, by Carey, IV. 131, 132.)
Again, more than 500 years after Noghai and Toktai were laid in the
steppe, when Muraview reached the court of Khiva in 1820, it happened that
among the Russian presents offered to the Khan were two loaves of sugar on
the same tray with a quantity of powder and shot. The Uzbegs interpreted
this as a symbolical demand: Peace or War? (_V. et Turcomanie_, p. 165.)



<+>(They carry a threat of attack if he should refuse to present himself
before Toctai. Nogai refuses with defiance. Both sides prepare for war,
but Toctai's force is the greater in numbers.)



<+>(The usual description of their advance to meet one another. Toctai is
joined by the two sons of Totamangu with a goodly company. They encamp
within ten miles of each other in the Plain of NERGHI.)



<+>(The whole of this is in the usual formula without any circumstances
worth transcribing. The forces of Nogai though inferior in numbers are the
better men-at-arms. King Toctai shows great valour.)



<+>(The deeds of Nogai surpass all; the enemy scatter like a flock, and
are pursued, losing 60,000 men, but Toctai escapes, and so do the two sons
of Totamangu.)



And now ye have heard all that we can tell you about the Tartars and the
Saracens and their customs, and likewise about the other countries of the
world as far as our researches and information extend. Only we have said
nothing whatever about the GREATER SEA and the provinces that lie round
it, although we know it thoroughly. But it seems to me a needless and
useless task to speak about places which are visited by people every day.
For there are so many who sail all about that sea constantly, Venetians,
and Genoese, and Pisans, and many others, that everybody knows all about
it, and that is the reason that I pass it over and say nothing of it.

Of the manner in which we took our departure from the Court of the Great
Kaan you have heard at the beginning of the Book, in that chapter where we
told you of all the vexation and trouble that Messer Maffeo and Messer
Nicolo and Messer Marco had about getting the Great Kaan's leave to go;
and in the same chapter is related the lucky chance that led to our
departure. And you may be sure that but for that lucky chance, we should
never have got away in spite of all our trouble, and never have got back
to our country again. But I believe it was God's pleasure that we should
get back in order that people might learn about the things that the world
contains. For according to what has been said in the introduction at the
beginning of the Book, there never was a man, be he Christian or Saracen
or Tartar or Heathen, who ever travelled over so much of the world as did
that noble and illustrious citizen of the City of Venice, Messer Marco the
son of Messer Nicolo Polo.

Thanks be to God! Amen! Amen!

[1] This conclusion is not found in any copy except in the Crusca Italian,
and, with a little modification, in another at Florence, belonging to
the Pucci family. It is just possible that it was the embellishment of
a transcriber or translator; but in any case it is very old, and
serves as an epilogue.

[Illustration: Asiatic Warriors of Polo's Age. (From a contemporary
Persian Miniature.)]


APPENDIX A.--_Geneaology of the House of Chinghiz, to end of Thirteenth

Supreme [KAANS] in large capitals. KHANS of KIPCHAK, CHAGATAI, and PERSIA
in small capitals. Numerals indicate order of succession. For other sons
of Kublai, see Book II., chapter ix.

Those who are mentioned by Marco Polo have a _line_ under their names.

Seniority runs from right to left.

| |
Uchegin or [I._CHINGIZ KAAN_]
Pilgutai |
| __________________________|_____________________
| | | | |
| | |___________ | |
| __________|______________________ | | |
| | | | | | | |
Tagajar Arikbuga I. _HULAKU_ [V._KUBLAI_ [IV._MANGKU_ | | |
| | _KAAN_] _KAAN_] | | |
| _____________|______ |____ | | |
| | | | | | | |
Agul 3._TIGUDAR_ Tara- 2._ABAKA_ _Chingkim_ | | |
| _AHMAD_ kai | ______|______________ | | |
| | | | | | | | |
| ____________| | [VI._TEMUR KAAN_] | Kanbala | | |
| | _______|______ | | | |
_Nayan_ 6._BAIDU_ | | Tarmabala | | |
5._KAI-_ 4._ARGHUN_ | | |
_KHATU_ | | | |
________|_______ | | |
| | | | |
8. OLJAITU 7._GHAZAN_ | | |
[Khans of PERSIA] | | |
| | |
__________________________________________________________| | |
| | | | |
Shiregi Kashin [III. _KUYUK_KAAN] | |
| | |
_Kaidu_ | |
| | |
Chapar | |
or | |
Shabar | |
| |
__________________________________________________________| |
| |
______|_________________________________________ |
| | | | | | |
Kadami Sarban Paidar 2.YESSU- Muwatukan Juji |
| | | MANGKU, | | |
| | | followed by | | |
| | | Kara-Hulaku's | | |
| | | widow, 3. ARGUNA. | | |
| | | ____________| | |
| | | | | | |
8. TUKA 7. NIK- ALGHUL Yesan- I. KAKA- _Nigudar-_ |
(or BUKA) PAL Tewa. HULAKU. _Aghul_ |
TEMUR | | |
| SHAH |
| |
9. TEWA or |
[Khans of ULUS CHAGATAI] |
| | | |
Tewal Shaiban 4. _BARKA_ 7. _BATU_
| | |
| | ____________________|_______
Tatar Kaunchi | | |
| 3.ULAGHJI Toghan 2. SARTAK
| _______________|_______
| | | |
_Noghai_ 6. _TUDAI- 5. _MANGKU_ Bartu
| |
_______________| |
| | |
8._TOKTAI_ Abaji 7. _TULABUGA_.


APPENDIX B.--_The Polo Families_.


/- Maffeo, /- Giovannino Seniority runs from
| make will in | (_Illeg._) [bottom] to [top].
| Feb. 1309; | alive in 1321.
| was dead |
| before 1318. +- Stefano
| | (_Illeg._)
| | alive in 1321.
| |
| | Catarina,
| | d. of Nic. /- Fiordelisa.
| | Sagredo. |
| | || ------|
| +- Maffeo \- Pasqua.
| 2. (Mother | made a will, (_Illeg._)
| of Maffeo. | 1300.
| _Fiordelisa |
| Trevisan_?) |
| || | Renuzzo Delfio
+- Nicolo, -------+ ||
| of S. Giov. | /- Moreta,
| Grisostomo | | married
| married twice, \- MARCO, | after 1324;
| d. before 1300. of S. Giov. | alive in
| || Grisostomo, | 1336.
| 1. (Marco's 1254-1324. |
A | Mother, || ---------+- Bellella,
n | Name unknown.) Donata--(?) | married to--
d | died after | before 1324;
r | 1333 and | died before 1333.
e | before 1336. |
a | \- Fantina,
| married
P | before 1324;
o | alive in 1379.
l | || --------- Pietro Bragadin
o | Marco Bragadin of S. Giov.
, | of S. Geminiano Grisostomo,
+ was alive in
o | 1388.
f | /- Maroca. /- Agnesina
| | |
S. \- Marco, --+- Nicolo. ---- Marco, -----+
made will, | known as |
F 1280 | _Marcolino_ \- Matteo,
e | (1328) of married Caterina,
l | S. Giov. daughter of
i | Grisotomo. Giandomenico.
c \- Antonio.
e (Illegitimate)

Felice Polo,
called Cousins,
1280, 1300.


The preceding Table gives the Family of our Traveller as far as I have
seen sound data for tracing it, either upwards or downwards.

I have expressed, in the introductory notices, my doubts about the
Venetian genealogies, which continue the family down to 1418 or 19,
because it seems to me certain that all of them do more or less confound
with our Polos of S. Giovanni Grisostomo, members of the other Polo Family
of S. Geremia. It will help to disentangle the subject if we put down what
is ascertained regarding the S. Geremia family.

To the latter with tolerable certainty belonged the following:--

1302. MARCO Polo of Cannareggio, see vol. i. pp. 64-67. (The Church
of S. Geremia stands on the canal called Cannareggio.)

Already in 1224, we find a Marco Polo of S. Geremia and Cannareggio.
(See _Liber Plegiorum_, published with _Archivio Veneto_, 1872 pp.
32, 36).

1319. (Bianca, widow of GIOVANNI Polo?)[1]

1332. 24th March. Concession, apparently of some privilege in connection
with the State Lake in San Basilio, to DONATO and HERMORAO
(= Hermolaus or Almoro) Paulo (Document partially illegible).[2]

1333. 23rd October. Will of Marchesina Corner, wife of Marino Gradenigo of
S. Apollinare, who chooses for her executors "my mother Dona
Fiordelisa Cornaro, and my uncle (_Barba_) Ser Marco Polo."[3]
Another extract apparently of the same will mentions "_mia cusina_
MARIA Polo," and "_mio cusin_ MARCO Polo" three times.[4]

1349. MARINO Polo and Brothers.[5]

1348. About this time died NICOLO Polo of S. Geremia,[6] who seems to have
been a Member of the Great Council.[7] He had a brother MARCO, and
this Marco had a daughter AGNESINA. Nicolo also leaves a sister
BARBARA (a nun), a son GIOVANNINO (apparently illegitimate[7]), of
age in 1351,[6] a nephew GHERARDO, and a niece FILIPPA,[6] Abbess
of Sta. Catarina in Mazzorbo.

The executors of Nicolo are GIOVANNI and DONATO Polo.[6] We have not
their relationship stated.

DONATO must have been the richest Polo we hear of, for in the Estimo
or forced Loan of 1379 for the Genoese War, he is assessed at 23,000
_Lire_.[8] A history of that war also states that he ("Donado Polo
del Canareggio") presented the Government with 1000 ducats, besides
maintaining in arms himself, his son, and seven others.[9] Under
1388 we find Donato still living, and mention of CATARUZZA, d. of
Donato:[10] and under 1390 of Elena, widow of Donato.[10]

The Testamentary Papers of Nicolo also speak of GIACOMO [or Jacopo]
Polo. He is down in the _Estimo_ of 1379 for 1000 _Lire_;[11] and
in 1371 an inscription in Cicogna shows him establishing a family
burial-place in Sta. Maria de' Servi:[12]

[M deg.CCC deg.LXXI. Die primo mensis ... S. Dni IACHOBI. PAVLI. DE

(1353. 2nd June. Viriola, widow of ANDREA or Andrinolo Polo of Sta.
Maria Nuova ?)[13]

1379. In addition to those already mentioned we have NICOLO assessed
at 4000 _lire_.[11]

1381. And apparently this is the NICOLO, son of Almoro
(_Hermolaus_), who was raised to the Great Council, for public
service rendered, among 30 elected to that honour after the war of
Chioggia.[14] Under 1410 we find ANNA, relict of Nicolo Polo.[15]

1379. In this year also, ALMORO, whether father or brother of the
last, contributes 4000 _lire_ to the Estimo.[11]

1390. CLEMENTE Polo (died before 1397)[15] and his wife MADDALUZIA.[15]
Also in this year PAOLO Polo, son of Nicolo, gave his daughter in
marriage to Giov. Vitturi.[16]

1408 and 1411. CHIARA, daughter of Francesco Balbi, and widow of
ERMOLAO (or Almoro) Polo, called of _Sta. Trinita_.[15]

1416. GIOVANNI, perhaps the Giovannino mentioned above.[15]

1420. 22nd November. BARTOLO, son of Ser ALMORO and of the Nobil
Donna CHIARA Orio.(?)[17] This couple probably the same as in the
penultimate entry.

1474, seqq. Accounts belonging to the Trust Estate of BARTOLOMEO
Polo of S. Geremia.[15]

There remains to be mentioned a MARCO POLO, member of the Greater Council,
chosen _Auditor Sententiarum_, 7th March, 1350, and named among the
electors of the Doges Marino Faliero (1354) and Giovanni Gradenigo (1355).
The same person appears to have been sent as _Provveditore_ to Dalmatia in
1355. As yet it is doubtful to what family he belonged, and it is
_possible_ that he may have belonged to our traveller's branch, and have
continued that branch according to the tradition. But I suspect that he is
identical with the Marco, brother of Nicolo Polo of S. Geremia, mentioned
above, under 1348. (See also vol. i. p. 74.) Cappellari states
distinctly that this Marco was the father of the Lady who married Azzo
Trevisan. (See Introd. p. 78.)

We have intimated the probability that he was the Marco mentioned twice in
connection with the Court of Sicily. (See vol. i. p. 79, note.)

A later Marco Polo, in 1537, distinguished himself against the Turks in
command of a ship called the _Giustiniana_; forcing his way past the
enemy's batteries into the Gulf of Prevesa, and cannonading that fortress.
But he had to retire, being unsupported.

It may be added that a Francesco Paulo appears among the list of those
condemned for participation in the conspiracy of Baiamonte Tiepolo in
1310. (_Dandulo_ in _Mur._ XII. 410, 490.)

[I note from the MS. of _Priuli, Genealogie delle famiglie nobili di
Venesia_, kept in the R'o. Archivio di Stato at Venice, some information,
pp. 4376-4378, which permit me to draw up the following Genealogy which
may throw some light on the Polos of San Geremia:--

ANDREA, of San Felice
| | |
Marco Nicolo Maffio
of S. Grisostomo
buried at S. Lorenzo.
| | | |
Marco Steffano Giovanni Maffio
(Milioni) |
| | | |
Almoro of Maffio Marco Nicolo
San Geremia
Nicolo of San Geremia
made a Nobleman, 4th Sept. 1381
| | |
Maffio Marco Marin
| |
Marco + 1418
Governor of Castel Vecchio,
at Verona.

Sir Henry Yule writes above (II. p. 507) that Nicolo Polo of S. Geremia
had a brother Marco, and this Marco had a daughter Agnesina. I find in
the Acts of the Notary Brutti, in the Will of Elisabetta Polo, dated 14th
March, 1350:--

of S. Grisostomo
| | |
Agnesina Christina Marina
= Nicoleto. = Michaleto in the Monastery
of S. Lorenzo.

The Maffio, son of Nicolo of S. Giov. Grisostomo, and father of Pasqua and
Fiordelisa, married probably after his will (1300) and had his four sons:
Almoro of S. Geremia, Maffio, Marco, Nicolo. Indeed, Cicogna writes
(_Insc. Ven._ II. p. 390):--"Non apparisce che Maffeo abbia avuto
figliuoli maschi da questo testamento [1300]; ma per altro non e cosa
assurda il credere che posteriormente a questo testamento 1300 possa avere
avuti figliuoli maschi; ed in effetto le Genealogie gliene danno quatro,
cioe _Ermolao, Maffio, Marco, Nicolo_. Il Ramusio anzi glien da cinque,
senza nominarli, uno de'quali _Marco_, e una femmina di nome _Maria_; e
Marco Barbaro gliene da sei, cioe _Nicolo, Maria, Pietro, Donado, Marco,

[Sig. Ab. Cav. Zanetti gives (_Archivio Veneto_, XVI. 1878, p. 110). See
our _Int._, p. 78.

| |
Maria? Marco
married Benedetto died at Verona
Cornaro in 1401, and in 1417, 1418, or 1425.]
Azzo Trevisan

[1] Document in _Archivio_ of the _Casa di Ricovero_, Bundle
LXXVII., No. 209.

[2] _Registro di Grazie_, 4 deg. c. Comm. by Comm. Berchet.

[3] _Arch. Gen. dei Giudici del Proprio_, Perg. No. 82, 1st July,
1342, cites this. (Comm. Berchet.)

[4] _Arch. dei Procuratori di San Marco_, with Testam. 1327, January,
marked "N.H. Ser Marco Gradenigo." (Comm. Berchet.)

[5] Document in _Archivio_ of the _Casa di Ricovero_, Bundle LXXIV.,
No. 651.

[6] List (extracted in 1868-9) of Documents in the above Archivio, but
which seem to have been since mislaid.

[7] Parchment in the possession of Cav. F. Stefani, containing a decision,
dated 16th September, 1355, signed by the Doge and two Councillors, in
favour of Giovannino Polo, natural son of the Noble Nicoletto of S.
Geremia (_qu. Nobilis Viri Nicoleti Paulo_).

[8] In _Gallicciolli, Delle Mem. Ven. Antiche_, Ven. 1795, II. p. 136. In
the MS. of _Cappellari Campidoglio Veneto_, in the Marciana, the sum
stated is 3000 only.

[9] _Della Presa di Chiozza in Muratori, Script._ xv. 785.

[10] Documents seen by the Editor in the Arch, of the _Casa di

[11] In _Gallicciolli Delle Mem. Ven. Antiche_, Ven. 1795, II. p.

[12] _Cicogna_, I. p. 77.

[13] _Arch. Gen. dei Giud._ Perg. No. 120.

[14] _Cappellari_, MS.; _Sanuto, Vite de' Duchi di Ven._ in
_Muratori_, XXII. 730.

[15] Documents seen by the Editor in the Arch, of the _Casa di Ricovero_.

[16] _Cappellari_.

[17] _Libro d'Oro_ from 1414 to 1407 in Museo Correr. Comm. by Comm.

APPENDIX C.--_Calendar of Documents Relating to Marco Polo and his


Will of Marco Polo of S. Severo, uncle of the Traveller, executed at
Venice, 5th August, 1280. An Abstract given in vol. i. pp. 23-24.

The originals of this and the two other Wills (Nos. 2 and 8) are in St.
Mark's Library. They were published first by Cicogna, _Iscrizioni
Veneziane_, and again more exactly by Lazari.


Will of Maffeo Polo, brother of the Traveller, executed at Venice, 31st
August, 1300. Abstract given at pp. 64-65 of vol. i.


_Archivio Generale--Maggior Consiglio--Liber Magnus_, p. 81.[1]

1392. 13 Aprilis. (Capta est): Quod fit gratia provido viro MARCO PAULO
quod ipse absolvatur a pena incursa pro eo quod non fecit circari unam
suam conductam cum ignoraverit ordinem circa hoc.

Ego MARCUS MICHAEL consiliarius m.p.s.
Ego PAULUS DELPHINUS consiliarius m.p.s.
Ego MARCUS SIBOTO de mandato ipsorum cancellavi.


Resolution of the _Maggior Consiglio_, under date 10th April, 1305, in
which Marco Polo is styled Marcus Paulo Milioni. (See p. 67 of vol. i.) In
the _Archivio Generate, Maggior Cons. Reg. M.S._, Carta 82.[2]

"Item quod fiat gratia Bonocio de Mestre de illis Libris centum
quinquaginta duobus, in quibus extitit condempnatus per Capitaneos
Postarum, occasione vini per eum portati contra bampnum, isto modo
_videlicet_ quod solvere debeat dictum debitum hinc ad annos quatuor,
solvendo annuatim quartum dicti debiti per hunc modum, _scilicet_ quod
dictus Bonocius ire debeat cum nostris Ambaxiatoribus, et soldum quod ei
competet pro ipsis viis debeat scontari, et it quod ad solvendum dictum
quartum deficiat per eum vel suos plegios integre persolvatur. Et sunt
plegii _Nobiles Viri_ PETRUS MAUROCENO et MARCHUS PAULO MILION et plures
alii qui sunt scripti ad Cameram Capitaneorum Postarum."


Decision in Marco Polo's suit against Paulo Girardo, 9th March 1311, for
recovery of the price of musk sold on commission, etc. (From the Archives
of the _Casa di Ricovero_ at Venice, _Filza_ No. 202). (See vol. i. p. 70.)

"In nomine Dei Eterni Amen. Anno ab Incarnatione Domini Nostri Jesu
Christi millesimo trecentesimo undecimo, Mensis Marci die nono, intrante
Indicione Nona, Rivoalti ...

"Cum coram nobilibus viris Dominis CATHARINO DALMARIO et MARCO LANDO,
Judicibus Peticionum, Domino LEONARDO DE MOLINO, tercio Judice curie,
tunc absente, inter Nobilem Virum MARCUM POLO de confinio Sancti
Johannis Grisostomi ex una parte, et PAULUM GIRARDO de confinio Sancti
Apollinaris ex altera parte, quo ex suo officio verteretur occasione
librarum trium _denariorum grossorum Venetorum_ in parte una, quas sibi
PAULO GIRARDO petebat idem MARCUS POLO pro dimidia libra muscli quam ab
ipso MARCO POLO ipse PAULUS GIRARDO habuerat, et vendiderat precio
suprascriptarum Librarum trium _den. Ven. gros._ et occasione _den.
Venet. gross._ viginti, quos eciam ipse MARCUS POLO eidem POLO Girardo
pectebat pro manchamento unius sazii de musclo, quem dicebat sibi
defficere de libra una muscli, quam simul cum suprascripta dimidia ipse
Paulus Girardo ab ipso MARCO POLO habuerat et receperat, in parte altera
de dicta, Barbaro advocatori (sic) curie pro suprascripto MARCO POLO
sive JOHANNIS (sic) POLO[3] de Confinio Sancti Johannis Grisostomi
constitutus in Curia pro ipso MARCO POLO sicut coram suprascriptis
Dominis Judicibus legitimum testificatum extiterat ... legi fecit
quamdam cedulam bambazinam scriptam manu propria ipsius PAULI GIRARDI,
cujus tenor talis, videlicet: ... "_de avril recevi io Polo Girardo da_
Missier Marco Polo _libre 1/2 de musclo metemelo libre tre de grossi.
Ancora recevi io_ Polo _libre una de musclo che me lo mete libre sei de
grossi, et va a so risico et da sua vintura et damelo in choleganza a la
mitade de lo precio._" * * * * "Quare cum ipse Paulus noluerit
satisfacere de predictis, nec velit ad presens * * * * * Condempnatum
ipsum PAULUM GIRARDO in expensis pro parte dicti MARCI PAULO factis in
questione, dando et assignando sibi terminum competentem pro predictis
omnibus et singulis persolvendis, in quem terminum si non solveret
judicant ipsi domini judices quod capi debetur ipse PAULUS GERARDO et
carceribus Comunis Venetiarum precludi, de quibus exire non posset donec
sibi MARCO PAULO omnia singula suprascripta exolvenda dixisset, non
obstante absencia ipsius PAULI GERARDO cum sibi ex parte Domini Ducis
proministeriale Curie Palacii preceptum fuisset ut hodie esset ad Curiam

* * * * *

"Ego KATHARINUS DALMARIO Judex Peticionum manu mea subscripsi

"Ego MARCUS LANDO Judex Peticionum manu mea subscripsi

"Ego NICOLAUS, Presbiter Sancti Canciani notarius complevi et roboravi."


In a list of documents preserved in the Archives of the _Casa di Ricovero_,
occurs the entry which follows. But several recent searches have been made
for the document itself in vain.

* "No 94 MARCO GALETTI _investe della proprieta dei beni che si trovano
in S. Giovanni Grisostomo MARCO POLO di Nicolo. 1319, 10 Settembre,
rogato dal notaio Nicolo Prete di S. Canciano_."

The notary here is the same who made the official record of the document
last cited.

[This document was kept in the Archives of the _Istituto degli Esposti_,
now transferred to the _Archivio di Stato_, and was found by the Ab.
Cav. V. Zanetti, and published by him in the _Archivio Veneto_, XVI.,
1878, pp. 98-100; parchment, 1157, filza I.; Marco Polo the traveller,
according to a letter of the 16th March, 1306, had made in 1304, a loan
of 20 _lire di grossi_ to his cousin Nicolo, son of Marco the elder; the
sum remaining unpaid at the death of Nicolo, his son and heir Marcolino
became the debtor, and by order of the Doge Giovanni Soranzo, Marco
Galetti, according to a sentence of the _Giudici del Mobile_, of the 2nd
July, transferred to the traveller Marco on the 10th September, 1319,
_duas proprietates que sunt hospicia et camere posite in ... confinio
sancti Ihoanis grisostomi que fuerunt Nicolai Paulo_. This Document is
important, as it shows the exact position of Marcolino in the


Document concerning House Property in S. Giovanni Grisostomo, adjoining the
Property of the Polo Family, and sold by the Lady Donata to her husband
Marco Polo. Dated May, 1323.

See No. 16 below.


Will of MARCO POLO. (In St. Mark's Library.)[4]

In Nomine Dei Eterni Amen. Anno ab Incarnatione Dni. Nri. Jhu. Xri.
millesimo trecentesimo vige-
simo tertio, mensis Januarii die nono,[5] intrante Indictione septima,
Divine inspiracionis donum est et provide mentis arbitrium ut antequam
niat mortis iudicium quilibet sua bona sit ordinare sollicitus ne ipsa
sua bona inordinata remaneant. Quapropter ego quidem MARCUS PAULO
de confinio Sancti Johannis Chrysostomi, dum cotidie debilitarer propter
infirmitatem cor-
poris, sanus tamen per Dei gratiam mente, integroque consilio et sensu,
timens ne ab in-
testato decederem, et mea bona inordinata remanerent, vocari ad me
feci JOHANEM JUSTINIANUM presbiterum Sancti Proculi et Notarium, ipsumque
rogavi quatenus hoc meum
scriberet testamentum per integrum et compleret. In quo meas
fidecommissarias etiam con-
stituo DONATAM dilectam uxorem meam, et FANTINAM et BELLELAM atque MORETAM
peramabiles filias meas, ut secundum quod hic ordinavero darique jussero,
ita ipse post obitum meum adimpleant. Primiter enim omnium volo et ordi-
no dari rectam decimam et volo et ordino distribui libras _denariorum_
_venetorum_ duo millia ultra decimam, de quibus dimitto soldos viginti
_Venet. grossorum_ Monasterio Sancti Laurentii ubi meam eligo sepulturam.
Item di-
mitto libras trecentas _den. Venet._ YSABETE QUIRINO cognate mee quas
mihi dare tenetur. Item soldos quadraginta cuilibet monasteriorum et hospi-
taliorum a Gradu usque ad Capud Aggeris. Item dimitto conventui sanctorum
et Pauli Predicatorum illud quod mihi dare tenetur, et libras decem Fratri
et libras quinque Fratri BENVENUTO Veneto Ordinis Predicatorum, ultra illud
quod mihi dare tenetur. Item dimitto libras quinque cuilibet Congregationi
et libras quattuor cuilibet Scolarum sive fraternitatum in quibus sum.
Item dimitto
soldos viginti _denariorum Venetorum grossorum_ Presbitero JOHANNI
JUSTINIANO notario pro labore
istius mei testamenti et ut Dominum pro me teneatur deprecare. Item absolvo
PETRUM famulum meum de genere Tartarorum ab omni vinculo servitutis ut
Deus absolvat animam meam ab omni culpa et peccato. Item sibi remitto omnia
que adquisivit in domo sua labore, et insuper dimitto libras
_denariorum Venetorum_ centum. Residuum vero dictarum duarum millia
librarum absque decima
distribuatur pro anima mea secundum bonam discreptionem commissariarum
De aliis meis bonis dimitto suprascripte DONATE uxori et commissarie mee
libras octo _denariorum Venetorum grossorum_, omni anno dum ipsa vixerit,
pro suo usu, ultra
suam repromissam et stracium et omne capud massariciorum cum tribus lectis
corredatis. Omnia uero alia bona mobilia et immobilia inordinata, et si
de predictis ordinatis aliqua inordinata remanerent, quocumque modo jure et
forma mihi spectantia, seu que expectare vel pertinere potuerunt vel
possent, tam ju-
re seccessorio et testamentario ac hereditario aut paterno fraterno
materno et
ex quacumque alia propinquitate sive ex linea ascendenti et descendenti
vel ex colaterali
vel alia quacumque de causa mihi pertinencia seu expectancia et de quibus
secundum for-
mam statuti Veneciarum mihi expectaret, plenam et specialem facere
mentionem seu dis-
posicionem et ordinacionem quamquam in hoc et in omni casu ex forma statuti
specificater facio specialiter et expresse dimitto suprascriptis filiabus
BELLELE, et MORETE, libere et absolute inter eas equaliter dividenda,
mihi heredes instituo in omnibus et singulis meis bonis mobilibus et
juribus et actionibus, tacitis et expressis qualitercumque ut predicitur
michi pertinentibus et expec-
tantibus. Salvo quod MORETA predicta filia mea habere debeat ante partem
de mo-
re tantum quantum habuit quelibet aliarum filiarum mearum pro dote et
suis. Tamen volo quod si que in hoc meo testamento essent contra statuta
et consilia
Communis Veneciarum corrigantur et reducantur ad ipsa statuta et
consilia. Preterea do
et confero suprascriptis commissariabus meis post obitum meum plenam
virtutem et po-
testatem dictam meam commissariam intromittendi administrandi et
furniendi, inquirendi inter-
pellandi placitandi respondendi ad vocationem interdicta et placita
tollendi, legem petendi
et consequendi si opus fuerit, in anima mea jurandi, sententiam audiendi
et prosequendi,
vendendi et alienandi, intromittendi et interdicendi petendi et exigendi
sive excuciendi
omnia mea bona, et habere a cunctis personis ubicumque et apud
quemcumque ea
vel ex eis poterint invenire, cum carta et sine carta, in curia et extra
curia, et
omnes securitatis cartas et omnes alias cartas necessarias faciendi,
sicut egomet presens
vivens facere possem et deberem. Et ita hoc meum Testamentum firmum et sta-
bille esse iudico in perpetuum. Si quis ipsum frangere vel violare
presumpserit male-
dicionem Omnipotentis Dei incurrat, et sub anathemate trecentorum decem et
Patrum constrictus permaneat, et insuper componat ad suprascriptas meas
aureas libras quinque, et hec mei Testamenti Carta in sua permaneat
Signum suprascripti Domini Marci Paulo qui hec rogavit fieri.

"Ego PETRUS GRIFO testis presbiter.


"Ego JOHANES JUSTINIANUS presbiter Sancti Proculi et notarius complevi
et roboravi."


Release, dated 7th June, 1325, by the Lady Donata and her three daughters,
Fantina, Bellella, and Marota, as Executors of the deceased Marco Polo, to
Marco Bragadino. (From the _Archivio Notarile_ at Venice.)

"In nomine Dei Eterni Amen. Anno ab Inc. Dni. Ntri. Jhu. Xri. Millesimo
trecentesimo vigesimo quinto, mensis Junii die septimo, exeunte
Indictione octava, Rivoalti.

"Plenam et irrevocabilem securitatem facimus nos DONATA relicta, FANTINA,
BELLELLA et MAROTA quondam filie, et nunc omnes commissarie MARCI POLO de
confinio Sancti Joannis Grisostomi cum nostris successoribus, tibi MARCO
BRAGADINO quondam de confinio Sancti Geminiani nunc de confinio Sancti
Joannis Grisostomi, quondam genero antedicti MARCI POLO et tuis
heredibus, de omnibus bonis mobillibus quondam suprascripti MARCI POLO
seu ipsius commissarie per te dictum MARCHUM BRAGADINO quoque modo et
forma intromissis habitis et receptis, ante obitum, ad obitum, et post
obitum ipsius MARCI POLO, et insuper de tota collegancia quam a dicti
quondam MARCO POLO habuisti, et de ejus lucro usque ad presentem diem * *
* * * * si igitur contra hanc securitatis cartam ire temptaverimus tunc
emendare debeamus cum nostris successoribus tibi et tuis heredibus auri
libras quinque, et hec securitatis carta in sua permaneat firmitate.
Signum suprascriptarum DONATE relicte, FANTINE, BELLELLE et MAROTE,
omnium filiarum et nunc commissarie, que hec rogaverunt fieri.

"Ego PETRUS MASSARIO clericus Ecclesie Scti. Geminiani testis

"Ego SIMEON GORGII de Jadra testis subscripsi.

"Ego DOMINICUS MOZZO presbiter plebanus Scti. Geminiani et notarius
complevi et roboravi.

"MARCUS BARISANO presbiter Canonicus et notarius ut vidi in matre
testis sum in fillia.

"Ego JOANNES TEUPULLO Judex Esaminatorum ut vidi in matre testis sum
in fillia.

"(L.S.N.) Ego magister ALBERTINUS DE MAYIS Notarius Veneciarum hoc
exemplum exemplari anno ab incarnatione domini nostri Jesu Christi
Millesimo trecentesimo quinquagesimo quinto mensis Julii die
septimo, intrante indictione octava, Rivoalti, nil addens nec
minuens quod sentenciam mutet vel sensum tollat, complevi et


Resolution of Counsel of XL. condemning Zanino Grioni for insulting Donna
Moreta Polo in Campo San Vitale.

(_Avvogaria di Comun._ Reg. I. Raspe, 1324-1341, Carta 23 del 1325.)*

"MCCCXXV. Die xxvi. Februarii.

"Cum ZANINUS GRIONI quondam Ser LIONARDI GRIONI contrate Sancte
Heustachii diceretur intulisse iniuriam Domine MORETE qm. Dni. MARCI
POLO, de presente mense in Campo Sancti Vitalis et de verbis iniuriosis
et factis.... Capta fuit pars hodie in dicto consilio de XL. quod dictus
ZANINUS condemnatus sit ad standum duobus mensibus in carceribus
comunis, scilicet in quarantia.

"Die eodem ante prandium dictus ZANINUS GRIONI fuit consignatus
capitaneo et custodibus quarantie," etc.


(_Maj. Cons. Delib. Brutus_, c. 77.)*

"MCCXXVII. Die 27 Januarii.

"Capta. Quod quoddam instrumentum vigoris et roboris processi et facti a
quondam Ser MARCO PAULO contra Ser HENRICUM QUIRINO et Pauli dictum
scriptum per presbyterum Johannem Taiapetra, quod est adheo corosum quod
legi non potest, relevetur et fiat," etc.


Judgment on a Plaint lodged by Marco Polo, called Marcolino, regarding a
legacy from Maffeo Polo the Elder. (See I. p. 77.)

(_Avvogaria di Comun._ Raspe Reg. i. 1324-1341, c. 14 tergo, del 1329.)*

"1328. Die xv. Mensis Marcii.

"Cum coram dominis Advocatoribus Comunis per D. MARCUM, dictum
MARCOLINUM PAULO sancti Johannis Grisostomi fuisset querela depositata
de translatione et alienatione imprestitorum olim Domini MAPHEI PAULO
majoris Scti. Joh. Gris., facta domino MARCO PAULO de dicto confinio in
MCCCXVIII mense Maii, die xi, et postea facta heredibus ejusdem dni.
MARCI PAULO post ejus mortem,.. cum videretur eisdem dominis
Advocatoribus quod dicte translationes et alienationes imprestitorum
fuerint injuste ac indebite facte, videlicet in tantum quantum sunt
libre mille dimisse MARCO dicto MARCOLINO PAULO predicto in testamento
dicti olim dni. MATHEI PAULO maioris, facti in anno domini MCCCVIII
mense Februarii die vi intrante indictione viii'a.... Capta fuit pars in
ipso consilio de XL'ta quod dicta translactio et alienatio
imprestitorum.... revocentur, cassentur, et annulentur, in tantum
videlicet quantum sunt dicte mille libre," etc.


Grant of citizenship to Marco Polo's old slave Peter the Tartar. (See vol.
i. p. 72.)

(_Maj. Conc. Delib. Brutus_, Cart. 78 t.)*

"MCCCXXVIII, die vii Aprilis.

"(Capta) Quod fiat gratia PETRO S. Marie Formose, olim sclavorum Ser
MARCI PAULI Sancti Joh. Gris., qui longo tempore fuit Venetiis, pro suo
bono portamento, de cetero sit Venetus, et pro Venetus [sic]
haberi et tractari debeat."


Process against the Lady Donata Polo for a breach of trust See vol. i. p.
77 (as No. 12, c. 8, del 1328).*

"MCCCXXVIII. Die ultimo Maii.

"Cum olim de mandato ... curie Petitionum, ad petitionem Ser BERTUTII
QUIRINO factum fuerit apud Dominam DONATAM PAULO Sancti Job. Gris.,
quoddam sequestrum de certis rebus, inter quas erant duo sachi cum
Venetis grossis intus, legati et bullati, et postea in una capsella
sigillata repositi, prout in scripturis dicti sequestri plenius
continetur. Et cum diceretur fuisse subtractam aliquam pecunie
quantitatem, non bono modo, de dictis sachis, post dictum sequestrum, et
dicta de causa per dictos dominos Advocatores ... fuerit hodie in
conscilio de XL. placitata dicta Dna. DONATA PAULO, penes quam dicta
capsella cum sachis remansit hucusque.

"... cum per certas testimonias ... habeatur quod tempore sequestri
facti extimata fuit pecunia de dictis sacchis esse libras lxxx grossorum
vel circha,[7] et quando postea numerata fuit inventam esse solummodo
libras xlv grossorum et grossos xxii, quod dicta Dna. Donata teneatur et
debeat restituere et consignare in saculo seu saculis, loco pecunie que
ut predicitur deficit et extrata, et ablata est libras xxv [sic]
grossorum. Et ultra hoc pro pena ut ceteris transeat in exemplum
condempnetur in libris ducentis et solvat eas."


Remission of fine incurred by an old servant of Marco Polo's. (Reg. Grazie
3 deg., c. 40.)*

"MCCCXXX, iiii Septembris.

"Quod fiat gratia MANULLI familiari Ser MARCI POLO sancti Joh. Gris.
quod absolvatur a pena librarum L pro centenariis, quam dicunt
officiales Levantis incurrisse pro eo quod ignorans ordines et pure non
putans facere contra aliqua nostra ordinamenta cum galeis que de Ermenia
venerunt portavit Venecias tantum piperis et lanae quod constitit supra
soldos xxv grossorum tanquam forenses (?). Et officiates Levantis dicunt
quod non possunt aliud dicere nisi quod solvat. Sed consideratis
bonitate et legalitate dicti Manulli, qui mercatores cum quibus stetit
fideliter servivit, sibi videtur pecatum quod debeat amittere aliud
parum quod tam longo tempore cum magnis laboribus aquisivit, sunt
contenti quod dicta gratia sibi fiat."


Attestation by the Gastald and Officer of the Palace Court of his having
put the Lady Donata and her daughters in possession of two tenements in S.
Giovanni Grisostomo. Dated 12th July, 1333.

(From the _Archivio_ of the _Istituto degli Esposti_, No. 6.)[8]

The document begins with a statement, dated 22nd August, 1390, by
MORANDUS DE CAROVELLIS, parson of St. Apollinaris and Chancellor of the
Doge's Aula, that the original document having been lost, he, under
authority of the Doge and Councils, had formally renewed it from the
copy recorded in his office.

In nomine Dei Eterni Amen. Anno ab Incarn. D.N.J.C. millesimo
trecentesimo tregesimo tertio mensis Julii die duodecimo, intrantis
indicione prima Rivoalti. Testificor Ego DONATUS Gastaldio Dni. nostri
Dni. Francisci Dandulo Dei gratia inclyti Venetiarum Ducis, et
Ministerialis Curie Palacii, quod die tercio intrante suprascripti
mensis Julii, propter preceptum ejusdem Dni. Ducis, secundum formam
statuti Veneciarum, posui in tenutam et corporalem possessionem DONATAM
quondam uxorem, FANTINAM et MORETAM quondam filias, omnes commissarias
Nobilis Viri MARCI PAULO de confinio Scti. Johannis Grisostomi, nomine
ipsius Commissarie, cum BELELLA olim filia et similiter nominata
commissaria dicti MARCI PAULO * * * de duabus proprietatibus terrarum et
casis copertis et discopertis positis in dicto confinio Scti. Johannis
Grisostomi, que firmant prout inferius in infrascripte notitie carta
continetur * * * * ut in ea legitur:

"Hec est carta fata anno ab Inc. D.N.J.C. millesimo trecentesimo
vigesimo tercio, mensis Maij die nono, exeunte Indictione sexta,
Rivoalti, quam fieri facit Dnus. Johannes Superantio D.G. Veneciarum
Dalmacie atque Croacie olim Dux, cum suis judicibus examinatorum,
suprascripto Marco Paulo postquam venit ante suam suorumque judicum
examinatorum presenciam ipse MARCUS PAULO de confinio Scti. Johannis
Grisostomi, et ostendit eis duas cartas completas et roboratas, prima
quarum est venditionis et securitatis carta, facta anno ab Inc. D.N.J.
C. (1321) mensis Junii die decimo, intrante indictione quinta, Rivoalti;
qua manifestum fecit ipsa DONATA uxor MARCI PAULO de confinio Scti.
Johannis Grisostomi cum suis successoribus quia in Dei et Christi nomine
dedit, vendidit, atque transactavit sibi MARCO PAULO viro suo de eodem
confinio et suis heredibus duas suas proprietates terre, et casas
copertas et discopertas, que sunt hospicia, videlicet camere et camini,
simul conjuncta versus Rivum ... secundum quod dicta proprietas sive
hospicium firmat ab uno suo capite, tam superius quam inferius, in muro
comuni huic proprietati et proprietati MARCI PAULO et STEPHANI PAULO. Et
ab alio suo capite firmat in uno alio muro comuni huic proprietati et
predictorum MARCI et STEPHANI PAULO. Ab imo suo latere firmat in
supradicto Rivo. Et alio suo latere firmat tam superius quam inferius in
salis sive porticis que sunt comunes huic proprietati et proprietati
suprascriptorum MARCI et STEPHANI PAULO fratrum. Unde hec proprietas
sive hospicia habent introitum et exitum per omnes scalas positas a
capite dictarum salarum sive porticuum usque ad curiam et ad viam
comunem discurrentem ad Ecclesiam Scti. Johannis Grisostomi et alio. Et
est sciendum quod curia, puthei, gradate, et latrine sunt comunes huic
proprietati et proprietati suprascriptorum MARCI et STEPHANI PAULO
fratrum. * * * *

[The definition of the second tenement--_una cusina_--follows, and
then a long detail as to a doubt regarding common rights to certain
_sale sive porticus magne que respiciunt et sunt versus Ecclesiam
Scti. Johannis Grisostomi_, and the discussion by a commission

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