Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 5 out of 23

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 2.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

_Tien Tzu_) was freed by Kublai from the (ancient Kotan) indignity of
surrendering with a rope round his neck, leading a sheep, and he received
the title of Duke: In 1288 he went to Tibet to study Buddhism, and in 1296
he and his mother, Ts'iuen T'ai How, became a bonze and a nun, and were
allowed to hold 360 _k'ing_ (say 5000 acres) of land free of taxes under
the then existing laws." (_E. H. Parker, China Review_, February, March
1901, p. 195.)--H.C.]

NOTE 2.--Nevertheless the history of the conquest shows instances of
extraordinary courage and self-devotion on the part of Chinese officers,
especially in the defence of fortresses--virtues often shown in like
degree, under like circumstances, by the same class, in the modern history
of China.

NOTE 3.--Bayan (signifying "great" or "noble") is a name of very old
renown among the Nomad nations, for we find it as that of the Khagan of
the Avars in the 6th century. The present BAYAN, Kublai's most famous
lieutenant, was of princely birth, in the Mongol tribe called Barin. In
his youth he served in the West of Asia under Hulaku. According to
Rashiduddin, about 1265 he was sent to Cathay with certain ambassadors of
the Kaan's who were returning thither. He was received with great
distinction by Kublai, who was greatly taken with his prepossessing
appearance and ability, and a command was assigned him. In 1273, after the
capture of Siang-Yang (infra, ch. lxx.) the Kaan named him to the chief
command in the prosecution of the war against the Sung Dynasty. Whilst
Bayan was in the full tide of success, Kublai, alarmed by the ravages of
Kaidu on the Mongolian frontier, recalled him to take the command there,
but, on the general's remonstrance, he gave way, and made him a minister
of state (CHINGSIANG). The essential part of his task was completed by the
surrender of the capital _King-sze_ (Lin-ngan, now Hang-chau) to his arms
in the beginning of 1276. He was then recalled to court, and immediately
despatched to Mongolia, where he continued in command for seventeen years,
his great business being to keep down the restless Kaidu. ["The biography
of this valiant captain is found in the _Yuen-shi_ (ch. cxxvii.). It is
quite in accordance with the biographical notices Rashid gives of the same
personage. He calls him _Bayan_." (_Bretschneider, Med. Res._ I. p. 271,

["The inventory, records, etc., of Kinsai, mentioned by Marco Polo, as
also the letter from the old empress, are undoubted facts: complete stock
was taken, and 5,692,656 souls were added to the population (in the two
Chen alone). The Emperor surrendered in person to Bayan a few days after
his official surrender, which took place on the 18th day of the 1st moon
in 1276. Bayan took the Emperor to see Kublai." (_E. H. Parker, China
Review_, XXIV. p. 105.)--H.C.]

In 1293, enemies tried to poison the emperor's ear against Bayan, and they
seemed to have succeeded; for Kublai despatched his heir, the Prince
Teimur, to supersede him in the frontier command. Bayan beat Kaidu once
more, and then made over his command with characteristic dignity. On his
arrival at court, Kublai received him with the greatest honour, and named
him chief minister of state and commandant of his guards and the troops
about Cambaluc. The emperor died in the beginning of the next year (1294),
and Bayan's high position enabled him to take decisive measures for
preserving order, and maintaining Kublai's disposition of the succession.
Bayan was raised to still higher dignities, but died at the age of 59,
within less than a year of the master whom he had served so well for 30
years (about January, 1295). After his death, according to the peculiar
Chinese fashion, he received yet further accessions of dignity.

The language of Chinese historians in speaking of this great man is thus
rendered by De Mailla; it is a noble eulogy of a Tartar warrior:--

"He was endowed with a lofty genius, and possessed in the highest measure
the art of handling great bodies of troops. When he marched against the
Sung, he directed the movements of 200,000 men with as much ease and
coolness as if there had been but one man under his orders. All his
officers looked up to him as a prodigy; and having absolute trust in his
capacity, they obeyed him with entire submission. Nobody knew better how
to deal with soldiers, or to moderate their ardour when it carried them
too far. He was never seen sad except when forced to shed blood, for he
was sparing even of the blood of his enemy.... His modesty was not
inferior to his ability.... He would attribute all the honour to the
conduct of his officers, and he was ever ready to extol their smallest
feats. He merited the praises of Chinese as well as Mongols, and both
nations long regretted the loss of this great man." De Mailla gives a
different account from Rashiduddin and Gaubil, of the manner in which
Bayan first entered the Kaan's service. (_Gaubil_, 145, 159, 169, 179,
183, 221, 223-224; _Erdmann_, 222-223; _De Mailla_, IX. 335, 458,

NOTE 4.--As regards Bayan personally, and the main body under his command,
this seems to be incorrect. His advance took place from Siang-yang along
the lines of the Han River and of the Great Kiang. Another force indeed
marched direct upon Yang-chau, and therefore probably by Hwai-ngan chau
(infra, p. 152); and it is noted that Bayan's orders to the generals of
this force were to spare bloodshed. (_Gaubil_, 159; _D'Ohsson_, II. 398.)

NOTE 5.--So in our own age ran the Hindu prophecy that Bhartpur should
never fall till there came a great alligator against it; and when it fell
to the English assault, the Brahmans found that the name of the leader was
Combermere = _Kumhir-Mir_, the Crocodile Lord!

--"Be those juggling fiends no more believed
That palter with us in a double sense;
That keep the word of promise to our ear
And break it to our hope!"

It would seem from the expression, both in Pauthier's text and in the G.
T., as if Polo intended to say that _Chincsan_ (Cinqsan) meant "One
Hundred Eyes"; and if so we could have no stronger proof of his ignorance
of Chinese. It is _Pe-yen_, the Chinese form of _Bayan_, that means, or
rather may be punningly rendered, "One Hundred Eyes." Chincsan, i.e.
_Ching-siang_, was the title of the superior ministers of state at
Khanbaligh, as we have already seen. The title occurs pretty frequently in
the Persian histories of the Mongols, and frequently as a Mongol title in
Sanang Setzen. We find it also disguised as _Chyansam_ in a letter from
certain Christian nobles at Khanbaligh, which Wadding quotes from the
Papal archives. (See _Cathay_, pp. 314-315.)

But it is right to observe that in the Ramusian version the mistranslation
which we have noticed is not so undubitable: "Volendo sapere come avea
nome il Capitano nemico, le fu detto, _Chinsambaian_, cioe _Cent'occhi_."

A kind of corroboration of Marco's story, but giving a different form to
the pun, has been found by Mr. W.F. Mayers, of the Diplomatic Department
in China, in a Chinese compilation dating from the latter part of the 14th
century. Under the heading, "_A Kiang-nan Prophecy_," this book states
that prior to the fall of the Sung a prediction ran through Kiang-nan: "If
Kiang-nan fall, a hundred wild geese (_Pe-yen_) will make their
appearance." This, it is added, was not understood till the generalissimo
_Peyen Chingsiang_ made his appearance on the scene. "Punning prophecies
of this kind are so common in Chinese history, that the above is only
worth noticing in connection with Marco Polo's story." (_N. and Q., China
and Japan_, vol. ii. p. 162.)

But I should suppose that the Persian historian Wassaf had also heard a
bungled version of the same story, which he tells in a pointless manner of
the fortress of _Sinafur_ (evidently a clerical error for _Saianfu_, see
below, ch. lxx.): "Payan ordered this fortress to be assaulted. The
garrison had heard how the capital of China had fallen, and the army of
Payan was drawing near. The commandant was an experienced veteran who had
tasted all the sweets and bitters of fortune, and had borne the day's heat
and the night's cold; he had, as the saw goes, milked the world's cow dry.
So he sent word to Payan: 'In my youth' (here we abridge Wassaf's
rigmarole) 'I heard my father tell that this fortress should be taken by a
man called _Payan_, and that all fencing and trenching, fighting and
smiting, would be of no avail. You need not, therefore, bring an army
hither; we give in; we surrender the fortress and all that is therein.' So
they opened the gates and came down." (_Wassaf_, Hammer's ed., p. 41).

NOTE 6.--There continues in this narrative, with a general truth as to the
course of events, a greater amount of error as to particulars than we
should have expected. The Sung Emperor Tu Tsong, a debauched and
effeminate prince, to whom Polo seems to refer, had died in 1274, leaving
young children only. Chaohien, the second son, a boy of four years of age,
was put on the throne, with his grandmother Siechi, as regent. The
approach of Bayan caused the greatest alarm; the Sung Court made humble
propositions, but they were not listened to. The brothers of the young
emperor were sent off by sea into the southern provinces; the empress
regent was also pressed to make her escape with the young emperor, but,
after consenting, she changed her mind and would not move. The Mongols
arrived before King-sze, and the empress sent the great seal of the empire
to Bayan. He entered the city without resistance in the third month (say
April), 1276, riding at the head of his whole staff with the standard of
the general-in-chief before him. It is remarked that he went to look at
the tide in the River Tsien Tang, which is noted for its bore. He declined
to meet the regent and her grandson, pleading that he was ignorant of the
etiquettes proper to such an interview. Before his entrance Bayan had
nominated a joint-commission of Mongol and Chinese officers to the
government of the city, and appointed a committee to take charge of all
the public documents, maps, drawings, records of courts, and seals of all
public offices, and to plant sentinels at necessary points. The emperor,
his mother, and the rest of the Sung princes and princesses, were
despatched to the Mongol capital. A desperate attempt was made, at
Kwa-chau (infra, ch. lxxii.) to recapture the young emperor, but it failed.
On their arrival at Ta-tu, Kublai's chief queen, Jamui Khatun, treated them
with delicate consideration. This amiable lady, on being shown the spoils
that came from Lin-ngan, only wept, and said to her husband, "So also shall
it be with the Mongol empire one day!" The eldest of the two boys who had
escaped was proclaimed emperor by his adherents at Fu-chau, in Fo-kien, but
they were speedily driven from that province (where the local histories, as
Mr. G. Phillips informs me, preserve traces of their adventures in the
Islands of Amoy Harbour), and the young emperor died on a desert island off
the Canton coast in 1278. His younger brother took his place, but a battle,
in the beginning of 1279 finally extinguished these efforts of the expiring
dynasty, and the minister jumped with his young lord into the sea. It is
curious that Rashiduddin, with all his opportunities of knowledge, writing
at least twenty years later, was not aware of this, for he speaks of the
Prince of Manzi as still a fugitive in the forests between Zayton and
Canton. (_Gaubil; D'Ohsson; De Mailla; Cathay_, p. 272.) [See _Parker_,
supra, p. 148 and 149.--H.C.]

There is a curious account in the _Lettres Edifiantes_ (xxiv. 45 seqq.)
by P. Parrenin of a kind of _Pariah_ caste at Shao-hing (see ch. lxxix.
note 1), who were popularly believed to be the descendants of the great
lords of the Sung Court, condemned to that degraded condition for
obstinately resisting the Mongols. Another notice, however, makes the
degraded body rebels against the Sung. (_Milne_, p. 218.)

NOTE 7.--There is much about the exposure of children, and about Chinese
foundling hospitals, in the _Lettres Edifiantes_, especially in Recueil
xv. 83, seqq. It is there stated that frequently a person not in
circumstances to _pay_ for a wife for his son, would visit the foundling
hospital to seek one. The childless rich also would sometimes get children
there to pass off as their own; _adopted_ children being excluded from
certain valuable privileges.

Mr. Milne (_Life in China_), and again Mr. Medhurst (_Foreigner in Far
Cathay_), have discredited the great prevalence of infant exposure in
China; but since the last work was published, I have seen the translation
of a recent strong remonstrance against the practice by a Chinese writer,
which certainly implied that it was _very_ prevalent in the writer's own
province. Unfortunately, I have lost the reference. [See _Father G.
Palatre, L'Infanticide et l'Oeuvre de la Ste. Enfance en Chine_, 1878.



Coiganju is, as I have told you already, a very large city standing at the
entrance to Manzi. The people are Idolaters and burn their dead, and are
subject to the Great Kaan. They have a vast amount of shipping, as I
mentioned before in speaking of the River Caramoran. And an immense
quantity of merchandize comes hither, for the city is the seat of
government for this part of the country. Owing to its being on the river,
many cities send their produce thither to be again thence distributed in
every direction. A great amount of salt also is made here, furnishing some
forty other cities with that article, and bringing in a large revenue to
the Great Kaan.[NOTE 1]

NOTE 1.--Coiganju is HWAI-NGAN CHAU, now _-Fu_ on the canal, some
miles south of the channel of the Hwang-Ho; but apparently in Polo's time
the great river passed close to it. Indeed, the city takes its name from
the River _Hwai_, into which the Hwang-Ho sent a branch when first
seeking a discharge south of Shantung. The city extends for about 3 miles
along the canal and much below its level. [According to Sir J.F. Davis,
the situation of Hwai-ngan "is in every respect remarkable. A part of the
town was so much below the level of the canal, that only the tops of the
walls (at least 25 feet high) could be seen from our boats.... It proved
to be, next to Tien-tsin, by far the largest and most populous place we
had yet seen, the capital itself excepted." (_Sketches of China_, I.
pp. 277-278.)--H.C.]

The headquarters of the salt manufacture of Hwai-ngan is a place called
Yen-ching ("Salt-Town"), some distance to the S. of the former city



When you leave Coiganju you ride south-east for a day along a causeway
laid with fine stone, which you find at this entrance to Manzi. On either
hand there is a great expanse of water, so that you cannot enter the
province except along this causeway. At the end of the day's journey you
reach the fine city of PAUKIN. The people are Idolaters, burn their dead,
are subject to the Great Kaan, and use paper-money. They live by trade and
manufactures and have great abundance of silk, whereof they weave a great
variety of fine stuffs of silk and gold. Of all the necessaries of life
there is great store.

When you leave Paukin you ride another day to the south-east, and then you
arrive at the city of CAYU. The people are Idolaters (and so forth). They
live by trade and manufactures and have great store of all necessaries,
including fish in great abundance. There is also much game, both beast and
bird, insomuch that for a Venice groat you can have three good pheasants.
[NOTE 1]

NOTE 1.--Paukin is PAO-YING-Hien [a populous place, considerably below the
level of the canal (_Davis, Sketches_, I. pp. 279-280)]; Caya is
KAO-YU-chan, both cities on the east side of the canal. At Kao-yu, the
country east of the canal lies some 20 feet below the canal level; so low
indeed that the walls of the city are not visible from the further bank of
the canal. To the west is the Kao-yu Lake, one of the expanses of water
spoken of by Marco, and which threatens great danger to the low country on
the east. (See _Alabaster's Journey_ in _Consular Reports_ above quoted, p.
5 [and _Gandar, Canal Imperial_, p. 17.--H.C.])

There is a fine drawing of Pao-ying, by Alexander, in the Staunton
collection, British Museum.



When you leave Cayu, you ride another day to the south-east through a
constant succession of villages and fields and fine farms until you come
to TIJU, which is a city of no great size but abounding in everything. The
people are Idolaters (and so forth). There is a great amount of trade, and
they have many vessels. And you must know that on your left hand, that is
towards the east, and three days' journey distant, is the Ocean Sea. At
every place between the sea and the city salt is made in great quantities.
And there is a rich and noble city called TINJU, at which there is
produced salt enough to supply the whole province, and I can tell you it
brings the Great Kaan an incredible revenue. The people are Idolaters and
subject to the Kaan. Let us quit this, however, and go back to Tiju.
[NOTE 1]

Again, leaving Tiju, you ride another day towards the south-east, and at
the end of your journey you arrive at the very great and noble city of
YANJU, which has seven-and-twenty other wealthy cities under its
administration; so that this Yanju is, you see, a city of great
importance.[NOTE 2] It is the seat of one of the Great Kaan's Twelve
Barons, for it has been chosen to be one of the Twelve _Sings_. The
people are Idolaters and use paper-money, and are subject to the Great
Kaan. And Messer Marco Polo himself, of whom this book speaks, did govern
this city for three full years, by the order of the Great Kaan.[NOTE 3]
The people live by trade and manufactures, for a great amount of harness
for knights and men-at-arms is made there. And in this city and its
neighbourhood a large number of troops are stationed by the Kaan's orders.

There is no more to say about it. So now I will tell you about two great
provinces of Manzi which lie towards the west. And first of that called

NOTE 1.--Though the text would lead us to look for _Tiju_ on the direct
line between Kao-yu and Yang-chau, and like them on the canal bank (indeed
one MS., C. of Pauthier, specifies its standing on the same river as the
cities already passed, i.e. on the canal), we seem constrained to admit
the general opinion that this is TAI-CHAU, a town lying some 25 miles at
least to the eastward of the canal, but apparently connected with it by a
navigable channel.

_Tinju_ or _Chinju_ (for both the G.T. and Ramusio read _Cingui_) cannot
be identified with certainty. But I should think it likely, from Polo's
"geographical style," that when he spoke of the sea as three days distant
he had this city in view, and that it is probably TUNG-CHAU, near the
northern shore of the estuary of the Yang-tzu, which might be fairly
described as three days from Tai-chau. Mr. Kingsmill identifies it with
I-chin hien, the great port on the Kiang for the export of the Yang-chau
salt. This is possible; but I-chin lies _west_ of the canal, and though the
form _Chinju_ would really represent I-chin as then named, such a position
seems scarcely compatible with the way, vague as it is, in which Tinju or
Chinju is introduced. Moreover, we shall see that I-chin is spoken of
hereafter. (_Kingsmill_ in _N. and Q. Ch. and Japan_, I. 53.)

NOTE 2.--Happily, there is no doubt that this is YANG-CHAU, one of the
oldest and most famous great cities of China. [Abulfeda (_Guyard_, II. ii.
122) says that Yang-chau is the capital of the Faghfur of China, and that
he is called Tamghadj-khan.--H.C.] Some five-and-thirty years after
Polo's departure from China, Friar Odoric found at this city a House of
his own Order (Franciscans), and three Nestorian churches. The city also
appears in the Catalan Map as _Iangio_. Yang-chau suffered greatly in the
T'ai-P'ing rebellion, but its position is an "obligatory point" for
commerce, and it appears to be rapidly recovering its prosperity. It is
the headquarters of the salt manufacture, and it is also now noted for a
great manufacture of sweetmeats (See _Alabaster's Report_, as above, p 6)

[Illustration: Yang chau: the three Cities Under the Sung]

[Through the kindness of the late Father H. Havret, S J, of Zi ka wei, I
am enabled to give two plans from the Chronicles of Yang chau, _Yang chau
fu che_ (ed. 1733); one bears the title "The Three Cities under the Sung,"
and the other. "The Great City under the Sung" The three cities are _Pao
yew cheng_, built in 1256, _Sin Pao cheng_ or _Kia cheng_, built after
1256, and _Tacheng_, the "Great City," built in 1175; in 1357, Ta cheng
was rebuilt, and in 1557 it was augmented, taking the place of the three
cities; from 553 B.C. until the 12th century, Yang-chau had no less than
five enclosures; the governor's yamen stood where a cross is marked in the
Great City. Since Yang-chau has been laid in ruins by the T'ai-P'ing
insurgents, these plans offer now a new interest.--H.C.]

[Illustration: Yang-chau: the Great City under the Sung.]

NOTE 3.--What I have rendered "Twelve _Sings_" is in the G.T. "douze
_sajes_," and in Pauthier's text "_sieges_." It seems to me a reasonable
conclusion that the original word was _Sings_ (see I. 432, supra);
anyhow that was the proper term for the thing meant.

In his note on this chapter, Pauthier produces evidence that Yang-chau was
the seat of a _Lu_ or circuit[1] from 1277, and also of a _Sing_ or
Government-General, but only for the first year after the conquest, viz.
1276-1277, and he seems (for his argument is obscure) to make from this
the unreasonable deduction that at this period Kublai placed Marco
Polo--who could not be more than twenty-three years of age, and had been
but two years in Cathay--in charge either of the general government, or of
an important district government in the most important province of the

In a later note M. Pauthier speaks of 1284 as the date at which the _Sing_
of the province of Kiang-che was transferred from Yang-chau to Hang-chau;
this is probably to be taken as a correction of the former citations, and
it better justifies Polo's statement. (_Pauthier_, pp. 467, 492.)

I do not think that we are to regard Marco as having held at any time the
important post of Governor-General of Kiang-che. The expressions in the G.
T. are: "_Meser Marc Pol meisme, celui de cui trate ceste livre,
seingneurie ceste cite por trois anz._" Pauthier's MS. A. appears to read:
"_Et ot seigneurie, Marc Pol, en ceste cite, trois ans._" These
expressions probably point to the government of the _Lu_ or circuit of
Yang-chau, just as we find in ch. lxxiii. another Christian, Mar Sarghis,
mentioned as Governor of Chin-kiang fu for the same term of years, that
city being also the head of a _Lu_. It is remarkable that in Pauthier's
MS. C., which often contains readings of peculiar value, the passage runs
(and also in the Bern MS.): "_Et si vous dy que ledit Messire Marc Pol,
cellui meisme de qui nostre livre parle_, sejourna, _en ceste cite de
Janguy. iii. ans accompliz, par le commandement du Grant Kaan,_" in which
the nature of his employment is not indicated at all (though _sejourna_
may be an error for _seigneura_). The impression of his having been
Governor-General is mainly due to the Ramusian version, which says
distinctly indeed that "_M. Marco Polo di commissione del Gran Can n' ebbe
il governo tre anni continui_ in luogo di un dei detti Baroni," but it is
very probable that this is a gloss of the translator. I should conjecture
his rule at Yang-chau to have been between 1282, when we know he was at
the capital (vol. i. p. 422), and 1287-1288, when he must have gone on his
first expedition to the Indian Seas.

[1] The _Lu_ or Circuit was an administrative division under the Mongols,
intermediate between the _Sing_ and the _Fu_, or department. There were
185 _lu_ in all China under Kublai. (_Pauth._ 333). [_Mr. E.L.
Oxenham, Hist. Atlas Chin. Emp._, reckons 10 provinces or _sheng_, 39
_fu_ cities, 316 _chau_, 88 _lu_, 12 military governorships.--H.C.]



Nanghin is a very noble Province towards the west. The people are
Idolaters (and so forth) and live by trade and manufactures. They have
silk in great abundance, and they weave many fine tissues of silk and
gold. They have all sorts of corn and victuals very cheap, for the
province is a most productive one. Game also is abundant, and lions too
are found there. The merchants are great and opulent, and the Emperor
draws a large revenue from them, in the shape of duties on the goods which
they buy and sell.[NOTE 1]

And now I will tell you of the very noble city of Saianfu, which well
deserves a place in our book, for there is a matter of great moment to
tell about it.

NOTE 1.--The name and direction from Yang-chau are probably sufficient to
indicate (as Pauthier has said) that this is NGAN-KING on the Kiang,
capital of the modern province of Ngan-hwei. The more celebrated city of
_Nan-king_ did not bear that name in our traveller's time.

Ngan-king, when recovered from the T'ai-P'ing in 1861, was the scene of a
frightful massacre by the Imperialists. They are said to have left neither
man, woman, nor child alive in the unfortunate city. (_Blakiston_ p. 55.)



Saianfu is a very great and noble city, and it rules over twelve other
large and rich cities, and is itself a seat of great trade and
manufacture. The people are Idolaters (and so forth). They have much silk,
from which they weave fine silken stuffs; they have also a quantity of
game, and in short the city abounds in all that it behoves a noble city to

Now you must know that this city held out against the Great Kaan for three
years after the rest of Manzi had surrendered. The Great Kaan's troops
made incessant attempts to take it, but they could not succeed because of
the great and deep waters that were round about it, so that they could
approach from one side only, which was the north. And I tell you they
never would have taken it, but for a circumstance that I am going to

You must know that when the Great Kaan's host had lain three years before
the city without being able to take it, they were greatly chafed thereat.
Then Messer Nicolo Polo and Messer Maffeo and Messer Marco said: "We could
find you a way of forcing the city to surrender speedily;" whereupon those
of the army replied, that they would be right glad to know how that should
be. All this talk took place in the presence of the Great Kaan. For
messengers had been despatched from the camp to tell him that there was no
taking the city by blockade, for it continually received supplies of
victual from those sides which they were unable to invest; and the Great
Kaan had sent back word that take it they must, and find a way how. Then
spoke up the two brothers and Messer Marco the son, and said: "Great
Prince, we have with us among our followers men who are able to construct
mangonels which shall cast such great stones that the garrison will never
be able to stand them, but will surrender incontinently, as soon as the
mangonels or trebuchets shall have shot into the town."[NOTE 1]

The Kaan bade them with all his heart have such mangonels made as speedily
as possible. Now Messer Nicolo and his brother and his son immediately
caused timber to be brought, as much as they desired, and fit for the work
in hand. And they had two men among their followers, a German and a
Nestorian Christian, who were masters of that business, and these they
directed to construct two or three mangonels capable of casting stones of
300 lbs. weight. Accordingly they made three fine mangonels, each of which
cast stones of 300 lbs. weight and more.[NOTE 2] And when they were
complete and ready for use, the Emperor and the others were greatly
pleased to see them, and caused several stones to be shot in their
presence; whereat they marvelled greatly and greatly praised the work. And
the Kaan ordered that the engines should be carried to his army which was
at the leaguer of Saianfu.[NOTE 3]

And when the engines were got to the camp they were forthwith set up, to
the great admiration of the Tartars. And what shall I tell you? When the
engines were set up and put in gear, a stone was shot from each of them
into the town. These took effect among the buildings, crashing and
smashing through everything with huge din and commotion. And when the
townspeople witnessed this new and strange visitation they were so
astonished and dismayed that they wist not what to do or say. They took
counsel together, but no counsel could be suggested how to escape from
these engines, for the thing seemed to them to be done by sorcery. They
declared that they were all dead men if they yielded not, so they
determined to surrender on such conditions as they could get.[NOTE 4]
Wherefore they straightway sent word to the commander of the army that
they were ready to surrender on the same terms as the other cities of the
province had done, and to become the subjects of the Great Kaan; and to
this the captain of the host consented.

So the men of the city surrendered, and were received to terms; and this
all came about through the exertions of Messer Nicolo, and Messer Maffeo,
and Messer Marco; and it was no small matter. For this city and province
is one of the best that the Great Kaan possesses, and brings him in great
revenues.[NOTE 5]

NOTE 1.--Pauthier's MS. C. here says: "When the Great Kaan, and the Barons
about him, and the messengers from the camp ... heard this, they all
marvelled greatly; for I tell you that in all those parts they know
nothing of mangonels or trebuchets; and they were so far from being
accustomed to employ them in their wars that they had never even seen
them, nor knew what they were." The MS. in question has in this narrative
several statements peculiar to itself,[1] as indeed it has in various
other passages of the book; and these often look very like the result of
revision by Polo himself. Yet I have not introduced the words just quoted
into our text, because they are, as we shall see presently, notoriously
contrary to fact.

NOTE 2.--The same MS. has here a passage which I am unable to understand.
After the words "300 lbs. and more," it goes on: "Et la veoit l'en voler
moult loing, desquelles pierres _il en y avoit plus de_ lx _routes qui
tant montoit l'une comme l'autre_" The Bern has the same. [Perhaps we
might read lx _en routes_, viz. on their way.--H.C.]

NOTE 3.--I propose here to enter into some detailed explanation regarding
the military engines that were in use in the Middle Ages.[2] None of these
depended for their motive force on _torsion_ like the chief engines used
in classic times. However numerous the names applied to them, with
reference to minor variations in construction or differences in power,
they may all be reduced to two classes, viz. _great slings_ and _great
crossbows_. And this is equally true of all the three great branches of
mediaeval civilisation--European, Saracenic, and Chinese. To the first
class belonged the _Trebuchet_ and _Mangonel_; to the second, the
_Winch-Arblast_ (Arbalete a Tour), _Springold_ etc.

Whatever the ancient _Balista_ may have been, the word in mediaeval Latin
seems always to mean some kind of crossbow. The heavier crossbows were
wound up by various aids, such as winches, ratchets, etc. They discharged
stone shot, leaden bullets, and short, square-shafted arrows called
_quarrels_, and these with such force we are told as to pierce a six-inch
post (?). But they were worked so slowly in the field that they were no
match for the long-bow, which shot five or six times to their once. The
great machines of this kind were made of wood, of steel, and very
frequently of horn;[3] and the bow was sometimes more than 30 feet in
length. Dufour calculates that such a machine could shoot an arrow of half
a kilogram in weight to a distance of about 860 yards.

The _Trebuchet_ consisted of a long tapering shaft or beam, pivoted at a
short distance from the butt end on a pair of strong pyramidal trestles.
At the other end of the shaft a sling was applied, one cord of which was
firmly attached by a ring, whilst the other hung in a loop over an iron
hook which formed the extremity of the shaft. The power employed to
discharge the sling was either the strength of a number of men, applied to
ropes which were attached to the short end of the shaft or lever, or the
weight of a heavy counterpoise hung from the same, and suddenly released.

[Illustration: Mediaeval Artillery Engines. Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Chinese;
Figs. 6, 7, 8, Saracenic: the rest Frank.]

Supposing the latter force to be employed, the long end of the shaft was
drawn down by a windlass; the sling was laid forward in a wooden trough
provided for it, and charged with the shot. The counterpoise was, of
course, now aloft, and was so maintained by a detent provided with a
trigger. On pulling this, the counterpoise falls and the shaft flies
upwards drawing the sling. When a certain point is reached the loop end of
the sling releases itself from the hook, and the sling flies abroad whilst
the shot is projected in its parabolic flight.[4] To secure the most
favourable result the shot should have acquired its maximum velocity, and
should escape at an angle of about 45 deg.. The attainment of this required
certain proportions between the different dimensions of the machine and
the weight of the shot, for which, doubtless, traditional rules of thumb
existed among the mediaeval engineers.

The ordinary shot consisted of stones carefully rounded. But for these
were substituted on occasion rough stones with fuses attached,[5] pieces
of red-hot iron, pots of fused metal, or casks full of Greek fire or of
foul matter to corrupt the air of the besieged place. Thus carrion was
shot into Negropont from such engines by Mahomed II. The Cardinal
Octavian, besieging Modena in 1249, slings a dead ass into the town.
Froissart several times mentions such measures, as at the siege of Thin
l'Eveque on the Scheldt in 1340, when "the besiegers by their engines
flung dead horses and other carrion into the castle to poison the garrison
by their smell." In at least one instance the same author tells how a
living man, an unlucky messenger from the Castle of Auberoche, was caught
by the besiegers, thrust into the sling with the letters that he bore hung
round his neck, and shot into Auberoche, where he fell dead among his
horrified comrades. And Lipsius quotes from a Spanish Chronicle the story
of a virtuous youth, Pelagius, who, by order of the Tyrant Abderramin, was
shot across the Guadalquivir, but lighted unharmed upon the rocks beyond.
Ramon de Muntaner relates how King James of Aragon, besieging Majorca in
1228, vowed vengeance against the Saracen King because he shot Christian
prisoners into the besiegers' camp with his trebuchets (pp. 223-224). We
have mentioned one kind of corruption propagated by these engines; the
historian Wassaf tells of another. When the garrison of Dehli refused to
open the gates to Alauddin Khilji after the murder of his uncle, Firuz
(1296), he loaded his mangonels with bags of gold and shot them into the
fort, a measure which put an end to the opposition.

Ibn Batuta, forty years later, describes Mahomed Tughlak as entering Dehli
accompanied by elephants carrying small _balistae_ (_ra'adai_), from which
gold and silver pieces were shot among the crowd. And the same king, when
he had given the crazy and cruel order that the population of Dehli should
evacuate the city and depart to Deogir, 900 miles distant, having found
two men skulking behind, one of whom was paralytic and the other blind,
caused the former to be shot from a mangonel. (_I.B._ III. 395, 315.)

Some old drawings represent the shaft as discharging the shot from a kind
of spoon at its extremity, without the aid of a sling (e.g. fig. 13);
but it may be doubted if this was actually used, for the sling was
essential to the efficiency of the engine. The experiments and
calculations of Dufour show that without the sling, other things remaining
the same, the range of the shot would be reduced by more than a half.

In some of these engines the counterpoise, consisting of a timber case
filled with stones, sand, or the like, was permanently fixed to the
butt-end of the shaft. This seems to have been the _Trebuchet_ proper. In
others the counterpoise hung free on a pivot from the yard; whilst a third
kind (as in fig. 17) combined both arrangements. The first kind shot most
steadily and truly; the second with more force.

Those machines, in which the force of men pulling cords took the place of
the counterpoise, could not discharge such weighty shot, but they could be
worked more rapidly, and no doubt could be made of lighter scantling. Mr.
Hewitt points out a curious resemblance between this kind of Trebuchet and
the apparatus used on the Thames to raise the cargo from the hold of a

The Emperor Napoleon deduces from certain passages in mediaeval writers
that the _Mangonel_ was similar to the Trebuchet, but of lighter structure
and power. But often certainly the term Mangonel seems to be used
generically for all machines of this class. Marino Sanudo uses no word but
_Machina_, which he appears to employ as the Latin equivalent of
_Mangonel_, whilst the machine which he describes is a Trebuchet with
moveable counterpoise. The history of the word appears to be the
following. The Greek word [Greek: magganon], "a piece of witchcraft," came
to signify a juggler's trick, an unexpected contrivance (in modern slang
"_a jim_"), and so specially a military engine. It seems to have reached
this specific meaning by the time of Hero the Younger, who is believed to
have written in the first half of the 7th century. From the form [Greek:
magganikon] the Orientals got _Manganik_ and _Manjanik_,[6] whilst the
Franks adopted _Mangona_ and _Mangonella_. Hence the verbs _manganare_ and
_amanganare_, to batter and crush with such engines, and eventually our
verb "to mangle." Again, when the use of gunpowder rendered these warlike
engines obsolete, perhaps their ponderous counterweights were utilised in
the peaceful arts of the laundry, and hence gave us our substantive "the
Mangle" (It. _Mangano_)!

The Emperor Napoleon, when Prince President, caused some interesting
experiments in the matter of mediaeval artillery to be carried out at
Vincennes, and a full-sized trebuchet was constructed there. With a shaft
of 33 feet 9 inches in length, having a permanent counterweight of 3300
lbs. and a pivoted counterweight of 6600 lbs. more, the utmost effect
attained was the discharge of an iron 24-kilo. shot to a range of 191
yards, whilst a 12-1/2-inch shell, filled with earth, ranged to 131 yards.
The machine suffered greatly at each discharge, and it was impracticable
to increase the counterpoise to 8000 kilos., or 17,600 lbs. as the Prince
desired. It was evident that the machine was not of sufficiently massive
structure. But the officers in charge satisfied themselves that, with
practice in such constructions and the use of very massive timber, even
the exceptional feats recorded of mediaeval engineers might be realised.

Such a case is that cited by Quatremere, from an Oriental author, of the
discharge of stones weighing 400 _mans_, certainly not less than 800 lbs.,
and possibly much more; or that of the Men of Bern, who are reported, when
besieging Nidau in 1388, to have employed trebuchets which shot daily into
the town upwards of 200 blocks weighing 12 cwt. apiece.[7] Stella relates
that the Genoese armament sent against Cyprus, in 1373, among other great
machines had one called _Troja_ (_Truia_?), which cast stones of 12 to 18
hundredweights; and when the Venetians were besieging the revolted city of
Zara in 1346, their Engineer, Master Francesco delle Barche, shot into the
city stones of 3000 lbs. weight.[8] In this case the unlucky engineer was
"hoist with his own petard," for while he stood adjusting one of his
engines, it went off, and shot him into the town.

With reference to such cases the Emperor calculates that a stone of 3000
lbs. weight might be shot 77 yards with a counterpoise of 36,000 lbs.
weight, and a shaft 65 feet long. The counterpoise, composed of stone shot
of 55 lbs. each, might be contained in a cubical case of about 5-1/2 feet
to the side. The machine would be preposterous, but there is nothing
impossible about it. Indeed in the Album of Villard de Honnecourt, an
architect of the 13th century, which was published at Paris in 1858, in
the notes accompanying a plan of a trebuchet (from which Professor Willis
restored the machine as it is shown in our fig. 19), the artist remarks:
"It is a great job to heave down the beam, for the counterpoise is very
heavy. For it consists of a chest full of earth which is 2 great toises in
length, 8 feet in breadth, and 12 feet in depth"! (p. 203).

Such calculations enable us to understand the enormous quantities of
material said to have been used in some of the larger mediaeval machines.
Thus Abulfeda speaks of one used at the final capture of Acre, which was
entrusted to the troops of Hamath, and which formed a load for 100 carts,
of which one was in charge of the historian himself. The romance of
Richard Coeur de Lion tells how in the King's Fleet an entire ship was
taken up by one such machine with its gear:--

"Another schyp was laden yet
With an engyne hyghte Robinet,
(It was Richardys o mangonel)
And all the takyl that thereto fel."

Twenty-four machines, captured from the Saracens by St. Lewis in his first
partial success on the Nile, afforded material for stockading his whole
camp. A great machine which cumbered the Tower of St. Paul at Orleans, and
was dismantled previous to the celebrated defence against the English,
furnished 26 cart-loads of timber. (_Abulf. Ann. Muslem_, V. 95-97;
_Weber_, II. 56; _Michel's Joinville_, App. p. 278; _Jollois, H. du Siege
d Orleans_, 1833, p. 12.)

The _number_ of such engines employed was sometimes very great. We have
seen that St. Lewis captured 24 at once, and these had been employed in
the field. Villehardouin says that the fleet which went from Venice to the
attack of Constantinople carried more than 300 perriers and mangonels,
besides quantities of other engines required for a siege (ch. xxxviii). At
the siege of Acre in 1291, just referred to, the Saracens, according to
Makrizi, set 92 engines in battery against the city, whilst Abulfaraj says
300, and a Frank account, of great and small, 666. The larger ones are
said to have shot stones of "a kantar and even more." (_Makrizi_, III.
125; _Reinaud, Chroniques Arabes, etc._, p. 570; _De Excidio Urbis
Acconis_, in _Marlene and Durand_, V. 769.)

How heavy a _mangonade_ was sometimes kept up may be understood from the
account of the operations on the Nile, already alluded to. The King was
trying to run a dam across a branch of the river, and had protected the
head of his work by "cat-castles" or towers of timber, occupied by
archers, and these again supported by trebuchets, etc., in battery. "And,"
says Jean Pierre Sarrasin, the King's Chamberlain, "when the Saracens saw
what was going on, they planted a great number of engines against ours,
and to destroy our towers and our causeway they shot such vast quantities
of stones, great and small, that all men stood amazed. They slung stones,
and discharged arrows, and shot quarrels from winch-arblasts, and pelted
us with Turkish darts and Greek fire, and kept up such a harassment of
every kind against our engines and our men working at the causeway, that
it was horrid either to see or to hear. Stones, darts, arrows, quarrels,
and Greek fire came down on them like rain."

The Emperor Napoleon observes that the direct or grazing fire of the great
arblasts may be compared to that of guns in more modern war, whilst the
mangonels represent mortar-fire. And this vertical fire was by no means
contemptible, at least against buildings of ordinary construction. At the
sieges of Thin l'Eveque in 1340, and Auberoche in 1344, already cited,
Froissart says the French cast stones in, night and day, so as in a few
days to demolish all the roofs of the towers, and none within durst
venture out of the vaulted basement.

The Emperor's experiments showed that these machines were capable of
surprisingly accurate direction. And the mediaeval histories present some
remarkable feats of this kind. Thus, in the attack of Mortagne by the men
of Hainault and Valenciennes (1340), the latter had an engine which was a
great annoyance to the garrison; there was a clever engineer in the
garrison who set up another machine against it, and adjusted it so well
that the first shot fell within 12 paces of the enemy's engine, the second
fell near the box, and the third struck the shaft and split it in two.

Already in the first half of the 13th century, a French poet (quoted by
Weber) looks forward with disgust to the supercession of the feats of
chivalry by more mechanical methods of war:--

"Chevaliers sont esperdus,
Cil ont auques leur tens perdus;
Arbalestier et mineor
Et perrier et engigneor
Seront dorenavant plus chier."

When Ghazan Khan was about to besiege the castle of Damascus in 1300, so
much importance was attached to this art that whilst his Engineer, a man
of reputation therein, was engaged in preparing the machines, the Governor
of the castle offered a reward of 1000 dinars for that personage's head.
And one of the garrison was daring enough to enter the Mongol camp, stab
the Engineer, and carry back his head into the castle!

Marino Sanudo, about the same time, speaks of the range of these engines
with a prophetic sense of the importance of artillery in war:--

"On this subject (length of range) the engineers and experts of the army
should employ their very sharpest wits. For if the shot of one army,
whether engine-stones or pointed projectiles, have a longer range than the
shot of the enemy, rest assured that the side whose artillery hath the
longest range will have a vast advantage in action. Plainly, if the
Christian shot can take effect on the Pagan forces, whilst the Pagan shot
cannot reach the Christian forces, it may be safely asserted that the
Christians will continually gain ground from the enemy, or, in other
words, they will win the battle."

The importance of these machines in war, and the efforts made to render
them more effective, went on augmenting till the introduction of the still
more "villanous saltpetre," even then, however, coming to no sudden halt.
Several of the instances that we have cited of machines of extraordinary
power belong to a time when the use of cannon had made some progress. The
old engines were employed by Timur; in the wars of the Hussites as late as
1422; and, as we have seen, up to the middle of that century by Mahomed
II. They are also distinctly represented on the towers of Aden, in the
contemporary print of the escalade in 1514, reproduced in this volume.
(Bk. III. ch. xxxvi.)

(_Etudes sur le Passe et l'Avenir de l'Artillerie_, par _L. N. Bonaparte_,
etc., tom. II.; _Marinus Sanutius_, Bk. II. Pt. 4, ch. xxi. and xxii.;
_Kington's Fred. II._, II. 488; _Froissart_, I. 69, 81, 182; _Elliot_,
III. 41, etc.; Hewitt's _Ancient Armour_, I. 350; _Pertz, Scriptores_,
XVIII. 420, 751; _Q. R._ 135-7; _Weber_, III. 103; _Hammer, Ilch._ II.

NOTE 4.--Very like this is what the Romance of Coeur de Lion tells of the
effects of Sir Fulke Doyley's mangonels on the Saracens of _Ebedy_:--

"Sir Fouke brought good engynes
Swylke knew but fewe Sarazynes--
* * *
"A prys tour stood ovyr the Gate;
He bent his engynes and threw thereate
A great stone that harde droff,
That the Tour al to roff
* * *
"And slough the folk that therinne stood;
The other fledde and wer nygh wood,
And sayde it was the devylys dent," etc.
--_Weber_, II. 172.

NOTE 5.--This chapter is one of the most perplexing in the whole book,
owing to the chronological difficulties involved.

SAIANFU is SIANG-YANG FU, which stands on the south bank of the River Han,
and with the sister city of Fan-ch'eng, on the opposite bank, commands the
junction of two important approaches to the southern provinces, viz. that
from Shen-si down the Han, and that from Shan-si and Peking down the
Pe-ho. Fan-ch'eng seems now to be the more important place of the two.

The name given to the city by Polo is precisely that which Siang-yang
bears in Rashiduddin, and there is no room for doubt as to its identity.

The Chinese historians relate that Kublai was strongly advised to make the
capture of Siang-yang and Fan-ch'eng a preliminary to his intended attack
upon the Sung. The siege was undertaken in the latter part of 1268, and
the twin cities held out till the spring [March] of 1273. Nor did Kublai
apparently prosecute any other operations against the Sung during that
long interval.

Now Polo represents that the long siege of Saianfu, instead of being a
prologue to the subjugation of Manzi, was the protracted epilogue of that
enterprise; and he also represents the fall of the place as caused by
advice and assistance rendered by his father, his uncle, and himself, a
circumstance consistent only with the siege's having really been such an
epilogue to the war. For, according to the narrative as it stands in all
the texts, the Polos _could not_ have reached the Court of Kublai before
the end of 1274, i.e. a year and a half after the fall of Siang-yang, as
represented in the Chinese histories.

The difficulty is not removed, nor, it appears to me, abated in any
degree, by omitting the name of Marco as one of the agents in this affair,
an omission which occurs both in Pauthier's MS. B and in Ramusio. Pauthier
suggests that the father and uncle may have given the advice and
assistance in question when on their first visit to the Kaan, and when the
siege of Siang-yang was first contemplated. But this would be quite
inconsistent with the assertion that the place had held out three years
longer than the rest of Manzi, as well as with the idea that their aid had
abridged the duration of the siege, and, in fact, with the spirit of the
whole story. It is certainly very difficult in this case to justify
Marco's veracity, but I am very unwilling to believe that there was no
justification in the facts.

It is a very curious circumstance that the historian Wassaf also appears
to represent Saianfu (see note 5, ch. lxv.) as holding out after all the
rest of Manzi had been conquered. Yet the Chinese annals are systematic,
minute, and consequent, and it seems impossible to attribute to them such
a misplacement of an event which they represent as the key to the conquest
of Southern China.

In comparing Marco's story with that of the Chinese, we find the same
coincidence in prominent features, accompanying a discrepancy in details,
that we have had occasion to notice in other cases where his narrative
intersects history. The Chinese account runs as follows:--

In 1271, after Siang-yang and Fan-ch'eng had held out already nearly three
years, an Uighur General serving at the siege, whose name was Alihaiya,
urged the Emperor to send to the West for engineers expert at the
construction and working of machines casting stones of 150 lbs. weight.
With such aid he assured Kublai the place would speedily be taken. Kublai
sent to his nephew Abaka in Persia for such engineers, and two were
accordingly sent post to China, _Alawating_ of Mufali and his pupil Ysemain
of Huli or Hiulie (probably _Ala'uddin_ of _Miafarakain_ and _Ismael_ of
_Heri_ or Herat). Kublai on their arrival gave them military rank. They
exhibited their skill before the Emperor at Tatu, and in the latter part of
1272 they reached the camp before Siang-yang, and set up their engines. The
noise made by the machines, and the crash of the shot as it broke through
everything in its fall, caused great alarm in the garrison. Fan-ch'eng was
first taken by assault, and some weeks later Siang-yang surrendered.

The shot used on this occasion weighed 125 Chinese pounds (if _catties_,
then equal to about 166 _lbs. avoird._), and penetrated 7 or 8 feet into
the earth.

Rashiduddin also mentions the siege of Siangyang, as we learn from
D'Ohsson. He states that as there were in China none of the _Manjaniks_ or
Mangonels called _Kumgha_ the Kaan caused a certain engineer to be sent
from Damascus or Balbek, and the three sons of this person, Abubakr,
Ibrahim, and Mahomed, with their workmen, constructed seven great
Manjaniks which were employed against SAYANFU, a frontier fortress and
bulwark of Manzi.

We thus see that three different notices of the siege of Siang-yang,
Chinese, Persian, and Venetian, all concur as to the employment of foreign
engineers from the West, but all differ as to the individuals.

We have seen that one of the MSS. makes Polo assert that till this event
the Mongols and Chinese were totally ignorant of mangonels and trebuchets.
This, however, is quite untrue; and it is not very easy to reconcile even
the statement, implied in all versions of the story, that mangonels of
considerable power were unknown in the far East, with other circumstances
related in Mongol history.

The Persian History called _Tabakat-i-Nasiri_ speaks of Aikah Nowin the
_Manjaniki Khas_ or Engineer-in-Chief to Chinghiz Khan, and his corps of
ten thousand _Manjanikis_ or Mangonellers. The Chinese histories used by
Gaubil also speak of these artillery battalions of Chinghiz. At the siege
of Kai-fung fu near the Hwang-Ho, the latest capital of the Kin Emperors,
in 1232, the Mongol General, Subutai, threw from his engines great
quarters of millstones which smashed the battlements and watch-towers on
the ramparts, and even the great timbers of houses in the city. In 1236 we
find the Chinese garrison of Chinchau (_I-chin-hien_ on the Great Kiang
near the Great Canal) repelling the Mongol attack, partly by means of
their stone shot. When Hulaku was about to march against Persia (1253),
his brother, the Great Kaan Mangku, sent to _Cathay_ to fetch thence 1000
families of mangonellers, naphtha-shooters, and arblasteers. Some of the
crossbows used by these latter had a range, we are told, of 2500 paces!
European history bears some similar evidence. One of the Tartar
characteristics reported by a fugitive Russian Archbishop, in Matt. Paris
(p. 570 under 1244), is: "_Machinas habent multiplices, recte et fortiter

It is evident, therefore, that the Mongols and Chinese _had_ engines of
war, but that they were deficient in some advantage possessed by those of
the Western nations. Rashiduddin's expression as to their having no
_Kumgha_ mangonels, seems to be unexplained. Is it perhaps an error for
_Karabugha_, the name given by the Turks and Arabs to a kind of great
mangonel? This was known also in Europe as Carabaga, Calabra, etc. It is
mentioned under the former name by Marino Sanudo, and under the latter,
with other quaintly-named engines, by William of Tudela, as used by Simon
de Montfort the Elder against the Albigenses:--

"E dressa sos _Calabres_, et foi _Mal Vezina_
E sas autras pereiras, e _Dona_, e _Reina_;
Pessia les autz murs e la sala peirina."[9]

("He set up his _Calabers_, and likewise his _Ill-Neighbours_,
With many a more machine, this the _Lady_, that the _Queen_,
And breached the lofty walls, and smashed the stately Halls.")

Now, in looking at the Chinese representations of their ancient mangonels,
which are evidently genuine, and of which I have given some specimens
(figs. I, 2, 3), I see none worked by the counterpoise; all (and there are
six or seven different representations in the work from which these are
taken) are shown as worked by man-ropes. Hence, probably, the improvement
brought from the West was essentially the use of the counterpoised lever.
And, after I had come to this conclusion, I found it to be the view of
Captain Fave. (See _Du Feu Gregeois_, by MM. Reinaud and Fave, p. 193.)

In Ramusio the two Polos propose to Kublai to make "_mangani al modo di_
_Ponente"_; and it is worthy of note that in the campaigns of Alauddin
Khilji and his generals in the Deccan, circa 1300, frequent mention is
made of the _Western Manjaniks_ and their great power. (See _Elliot_, III.
75, 78, etc.)

Of the kind worked by man-ropes must have been that huge mangonel which
Mahomed Iba Kasim, the conqueror of Sind, set in battery against the great
Dagoba of Daubul, and which required 500 men to work it. Like Simon de
Montfort's it had a tender name; it was called "The Bride." (_Elliot_, I.

Before quitting this subject, I will quote a curious passage from the
History of the Sung Dynasty, contributed to the work of Reinaud and Fave
by M. Stanislas Julien: "In the 9th year of the period Hien-shun (A.D.
1273) the frontier cities had fallen into the hands of the enemy
(Tartars). The _Pao_ (or engines for shooting) of the Bwei-Hwei
(Mahomedans) were imitated, but in imitating them very ingenious
improvements were introduced, and _pao_ of a different and very superior
kind were constructed. Moreover, an extraordinary method was invented of
neutralising the effects of the enemy's _pao_. Ropes were made of
rice-straw 4 inches thick, and 34 feet in length. Twenty such ropes were
joined, applied to the tops of buildings, and covered with clay. In this
manner the fire-arrows, fire-_pao_, and even the pao casting stones of 100
Lbs. weight, could cause no damage to the towers or houses." (Ib. 196; also
for previous parts of this note, _Visdelou_, 188; _Gaubil_, 34, 155 seqq.
and 70; _De Mailla_, 329; _Pauthier in loco_ and Introduction; _D'Ohsson_,
II. 35, and 391; Notes by _Mr. Edward Thomas_, F.R.S.; _Q. Rashid._, pp.
132, 136.) [See I. p. 342.]

[Captain Gill writes (_River of Golden Sand_, I. p. 148): "The word 'P'ao'
which now means 'cannon,' was, it was asserted, found in old Chinese books
of a date anterior to that in which gunpowder was first known to
Europeans; hence the deduction was drawn that the Chinese were acquainted
with gunpowder before it was used in the West. But close examination shows
that in all old books the radical of the character 'P'ao' means 'stone,'
but that in modern books the radical of the character 'P'ao' means 'fire';
that the character with the radical 'fire' only appears in books well
known to have been written since the introduction of gunpowder into the
West; and that the old character 'P'ao' in reality means 'Balista.'"

["Wheeled boats are mentioned in 1272 at the siege of Siang-yang. Kublai
did not decide to 'go for' Manzi, i.e. the southern of the two Chinese
Empires, until 1273. Bayan did not start until 1274, appearing before
Hankow in January 1275. Wuhu and Taiping surrendered in April; then
Chinkiang, Kien K'ang (Nanking), and Ning kwoh; the final crushing blow
being dealt at Hwai-chan. In March 1276, the Manzi Emperor accepted
vassaldom. Kiang-nan was regularly administered in 1278." (_E. H. Parker,
China Review_, xxiv. p. 105.)--H.C.]

Siang-yang has been twice visited by Mr. A. Wylie. Just before his first
visit (I believe in 1866) a discovery had been made in the city of a
quantity of treasure buried at the time of the siege. One of the local
officers gave Mr. Wylie one of the copper coins, not indeed in itself of
any great rarity, but worth engraving here on account of its connection
with the siege commemorated in the text; and a little on the principle of
Smith the Weaver's evidence:--"The bricks are alive at this day to testify
of it; therefore deny it not."

[Illustration: Coin from a treasure hidden at Siang-yang during the siege
in 1268-73, lately discovered.]

[1] And to the Bern MS. which seems to be a copy of it, as is also I think
(in substance) the Bodleian.

[2] In this note I am particularly indebted to the researches of the
Emperor Napoleon III. on this subject. (_Etudes sur le passe et
l'avenir de l'Artillerie_; 1851.)

[3] Thus Joinville mentions the journey of Jehan li Ermin, the king's
artillerist, from Acre to Damascus, _pour acheter cornes et glus pour
faire arbalestres_--to buy horns and glue to make crossbows withal
(p. 134).

In the final defence of Acre (1291) we hear of balistae _bipedales_
(with a forked rest?) and other _vertiginales_ (traversing on a pivot)
that shot 3 quarrels at once, and with such force as to _stitch_ the
Saracens to their bucklers--_cum clypeis consutos interfecerunt_.

The crossbow, though apparently indigenous among various tribes of
Indo-China, seems to have been a new introduction in European warfare
in the 12th century. William of Brittany in a poem called the
_Philippis_, speaking of the early days of Philip Augustus, says:--

"Francigenis nostris illis ignota diebus
Res erat omnino quid balistarius arcus,
Quid balista foret, nec habebat in agmine toto
Rex quenquam sciret armis qui talibus uti."
--_Duchesne, Hist. Franc. Script._, V. 115.

Anna Comnena calls it [Greek: Tzagra] (which looks like Persian
_charkh_), "a barbaric bow, totally unknown to the Greeks"; and she
gives a very lengthy description of it, ending: "Such then are the
facts about the _Tzagra_, and a truly diabolical affair it is."
(_Alex._ X.--Paris ed. p. 291.)

[4] The construction is best seen in Figs. 17 and 19. Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
in the cut are from Chinese sources; Figs. 6, 7, 8 from Arabic works;
the rest from European sources.

[5] Christine de Pisan says that when keeping up a discharge by night
lighted brands should be attached to the stones in order to observe and
correct the practice. (_Livre des faits_, etc., _du sage Roy Charles_,
Pt. II. ch. xxiv.)

[6] Professor Sprenger informs me that the first mention of the _Manjanik_
in Mahomedan history is at the siege of Tayif by Mahomed himself, A.D.
630 (and see _Sprenger's Mohammed_ [German], III. 330). The _Annales
Marbacenses_ in _Pertz_, xvii. 172, say under 1212, speaking of wars of
the Emperor Otho in Germany: "Ibi tunc cepit haberi usus instrumenti
bellici quod vulgo _tribok_ appellari solet."

There is a ludicrous Oriental derivation of Manjanik, from the Persian:
"_Man chi nek_"! "How good am I!" Ibn Khallikan remarks that the word
must be foreign, because the letters j and k ([Arabic] and [Arabic])
never occur together in genuine Arabic words (_Notes_ by _Mr. E.
Thomas_, F.R.S.). It may be noticed that the letters in question occur
together in another Arabic word of foreign origin used by Polo, viz.

[7] Dufour mentions that stone shot of the mediaeval engines exist at
Zurich, of 20 and 22 inches diameter. The largest of these would,
however, scarcely exceed 500 lbs. in weight.

[8] _Georg. Stellae Ann._ in _Muratori_, XVII. 1105; and _Daru_, Bk. viii.
sec. 12.

[9] Shaw, _Dresses and Decorations of the Middle Ages_, vol. i. No 21.



You must know that when you leave the city of Yanju, after going 15 miles
south-east, you come to a city called SINJU, of no great size, but
possessing a very great amount of shipping and trade. The people are
Idolaters and subject to the Great Kaan, and use paper-money.[NOTE 1]

And you must know that this city stands on the greatest river in the
world, the name of which is KIAN. It is in some places ten miles wide, in
others eight, in others six, and it is more than 100 days' journey in
length from one end to the other. This it is that brings so much trade to
the city we are speaking of; for on the waters of that river merchandize
is perpetually coming and going, from and to the various parts of the
world, enriching the city, and bringing a great revenue to the Great Kaan.

And I assure you this river flows so far and traverses so many countries
and cities that in good sooth there pass and repass on its waters a great
number of vessels, and more wealth and merchandize than on all the rivers
and all the seas of Christendom put together! It seems indeed more like a
Sea than a River.[NOTE 2] Messer Marco Polo said that he once beheld at
that city 15,000 vessels at one time. And you may judge, if this city, of
no great size, has such a number, how many must there be altogether,
considering that on the banks of this river there are more than sixteen
provinces and more than 200 great cities, besides towns and villages, all
possessing vessels?

Messer Marco Polo aforesaid tells us that he heard from the officer
employed to collect the Great Kaan's duties on this river that there
passed up-stream 200,000 vessels in the year, without counting those that
passed down! [Indeed as it has a course of such great length, and receives
so many other navigable rivers, it is no wonder that the merchandize which
is borne on it is of vast amount and value. And the article in largest
quantity of all is salt, which is carried by this river and its branches
to all the cities on their banks, and thence to the other cities in the
interior.[NOTE 3]]

The vessels which ply on this river are decked. They have but one mast,
but they are of great burthen, for I can assure you they carry (reckoning
by our weight) from 4000 up to 12,000 cantars each.[NOTE 4]

Now we will quit this matter and I will tell you of another city called
CAIJU. But first I must mention a point I had forgotten. You must know
that the vessels on this river, in going up-stream have to be tracked, for
the current is so strong that they could not make head in any other
manner. Now the tow-line, which is some 300 paces in length, is made of
nothing but cane. 'Tis in this way: they have those great canes of which I
told you before that they are some fifteen paces in length; these they
take and split from end to end [into many slender strips], and then they
twist these strips together so as to make a rope of any length they
please. And the ropes so made are stronger than if they were made of
hemp.[NOTE 5]

[There are at many places on this river hills and rocky eminences on which
the idol-monasteries and other edifices are built; and you find on its
shores a constant succession of villages and inhabited places.[NOTE 6]]

NOTE 1.--The traveller's diversion from his direct course--_sceloc_
or south-east, as he regards it--towards Fo-kien, in order to notice
Ngan-king (as we have supposed) and Siang-yang, has sadly thrown out both
the old translators and transcribers, and the modern commentators. Though
the G. Text has here "_quant l'en se part de la cite de_ Angui," I cannot
doubt that _Iangui_ (Yanju) is the reading intended, and that Polo here
comes back to the main line of his journey.

[Illustration: 'Sono sopiaquesto frumern molti luoghi, colline e
monticelli sassosi, sopia quali sono edificati monasteir d'Edoli, e altre

I conceive Sinju to be the city which was then called CHEN-CHAU, but now
I-CHING HIEN,[1] and which stands on the Kiang as near as may be 15 miles
from Yang-chau. It is indeed south-west instead of south-east, but those
who have noted the style of Polo's orientation will not attach much
importance to this. I-ching hien is still the great port of the Yang-chau
salt manufacture, for export by the Kiang and its branches to the interior
provinces. It communicates with the Grand Canal by two branch canals.
Admiral Collinson, in 1842, remarked the great numbers of vessels lying in
the creek off I-ching. (See note 1 to ch. lxviii. above; and _J.R.G.S._
XVII. 139.)

["We anchored at a place near the town of _Y-ching-hien_, distinguished by
a pagoda. The most remarkable objects that struck us here were some
enormously large salt-junks of a very singular shape, approaching to a
crescent, with sterns at least thirty feet above the water, and bows that
were two-thirds of that height. They had 'bright sides', that is, were
varnished over the natural wood without painting, a very common style in
China." (_Davis, Sketches_, II. p. 13.)--H.C.]

NOTE 2.--The river is, of course, the Great Kiang or Yang-tzu Kiang
(already spoken of in ch. xliv. as the _Kiansui_), which Polo was
justified in calling the greatest river in the world, whilst the New World
was yet hidden. The breadth seems to be a good deal exaggerated, the
length not at all. His expressions about it were perhaps accompanied by a
mental reference to the term _Dalai_, "The Sea," which the Mongols appear
to have given the river. (See _Fr. Odoric_, p. 121.) The Chinese have a
popular saying, "_Hai vu ping, Kiang vu ti_," "Boundless is the Ocean,
bottomless the Kiang!"

NOTE 3.--"The assertion that there is a greater amount of tonnage
belonging to the Chinese than to all other nations combined, does not
appear overcharged to those who have seen the swarms of boats on their
rivers, though it might not be found strictly true." (_Mid. Kingd._ II.
398.) Barrow's picture of the life, traffic, and population on the Kiang,
excepting as to specific numbers, quite bears out Marco's account. This
part of China suffered so long from the wars of the T'ai-P'ing rebellion
that to travellers it has presented thirty years ago an aspect sadly
belying its old fame. Such havoc is not readily repaired in a few years,
nor in a few centuries, but prosperity is reviving, and European
navigation is making an important figure on the Kiang.

[From the _Returns of Trade for the Year 1900_ of the Imperial Maritime
Customs of China, we take the following figures regarding the navigation
on the Kiang. Steamers entered inwards and cleared outwards, under General
Regulations at _Chung-King_: 1; 331 tons; sailing vessels, 2681; 84,862
tons, of which Chinese, 816; 27,684 tons. At _Ichang_: 314; 231,000 tons,
of which Chinese, 118; 66,944 tons; sailing vessels, all Chinese, 5139;
163,320 tons. At _Shasi_: 606; 453,818 tons, of which Chinese, 606;
453,818 tons; no sailing vessels. At _Yochow_: 650; 299,962 tons, of which
Chinese, 458; 148,112 tons; no sailing vessels; under Inland Steam
Navigation Rules, 280 Chinese vessels, 20,958 tons. At _Hankow_: under
General Regulation, Steamers, 2314; 2,101,555 tons, of which Chinese, 758;
462,424 tons; sailing vessels, 1137; 166,118 tons, of which Chinese, 1129;
163,724 tons; under Inland Steam Navigation Rules, 1682 Chinese vessels,
31,173 tons. At _Kiu-Kiang_: under General Regulation, Steamers, 2916;
3,393,514 tons, of which Chinese, 478; 697,468 tons; sailing vessels,
163; 29,996 tons, of which Chinese, 160; 27,797 tons; under Inland Steam
Navigation Rules, 798 Chinese vessels; 21,670 tons. At _Wu-hu_: under
General Regulation, Steamers, 3395; 3,713,172 tons, of which Chinese, 540;
678,362 tons; sailing vessels, 356; 48,299 tons, of which Chinese, 355;
47,848 tons; under Inland Steam Navigation Rules, 286 Chinese vessels;
4272 tons. At _Nanking_: under General Regulation, Steamers, 1672;
1,138,726 tons, of which Chinese, 970; 713,232 tons; sailing vessels, 290;
36,873 tons, of which Chinese, 281; 34,985 tons; under Inland Steam
Navigation Rules, 30 Chinese vessels; 810 tons. At _Chinkiang_: under
General Regulation, Steamers, 4710; 4,413,452 tons, of which Chinese, 924;
794,724 tons; sailing vessels, 1793; 294,664 tons, of which Chinese, 1771;
290,286 tons; under Inland Steam Navigation Rules, 2920; 39,346 tons, of
which Chinese, 1684; 22,776 tons.--H.C.]

NOTE 4.--+12,000 _cantars_ would be more than 500 tons, and this is
justified by the burthen of _Chinese_ vessels on the river; we see it is
more than doubled by that of some British or American steamers thereon. In
the passage referred to under Note 1, Admiral Collinson speaks of the
salt-junks at I-ching as "very remarkable, being built nearly in the form
of a crescent, the stern rising in some of them nearly 30 feet and the
prow 20, whilst the mast is 90 feet high." These dimensions imply large
capacity. Oliphant speaks of the old rice-junks for the canal traffic as
transporting 200 and 300 tons (I. 197).

NOTE 5.--The tow-line in river-boats is usually made (as here described)
of strips of bamboo twisted. Hawsers are also made of bamboo. Ramusio, in
this passage, says the boats are tracked by horses, ten or twelve to each
vessel. I do not find this mentioned anywhere else, nor has any traveller
in China that I have consulted heard of such a thing.

NOTE 6.--Such eminences as are here alluded to are the Little Orphan Rock,
Silver Island, and the Golden Island, which is mentioned in the following
chapter. We give on the preceding page illustrations of those three
picturesque islands; the Orphan Rock at the top, Golden Island in the
middle, Silver Island below.

[1] See _Gaubil_, p. 93, note 4; _Biot_, p. 275 [and _Playfair's Dict._,
p. 393].



Caiju is a small city towards the south-east. The people are subject to
the Great Kaan and have paper-money. It stands upon the river before
mentioned.[NOTE 1] At this place are collected great quantities of corn
and rice to be transported to the great city of Cambaluc for the use of
the Kaan's Court; for the grain for the Court all comes from this part of
the country. You must understand that the Emperor hath caused a
water-communication to be made from this city to Cambaluc, in the shape of
a wide and deep channel dug between stream and stream, between lake and
lake, forming as it were a great river on which large vessels can ply. And
thus there is a communication all the way from this city of Caiju to
Cambaluc; so that great vessels with their loads can go the whole way. A
land road also exists, for the earth dug from those channels has been
thrown up so as to form an embanked road on either side.[NOTE 2]

Just opposite to the city of Caiju, in the middle of the River, there
stands a rocky island on which there is an idol-monastery containing some
200 idolatrous friars, and a vast number of idols. And this Abbey holds
supremacy over a number of other idol-monasteries, just like an
archbishop's see among Christians.[NOTE 3]

Now we will leave this and cross the river, and I will tell you of a city
called Chinghianfu.

NOTE 1.--No place in Polo's travels is better identified by his local
indications than this. It is on the Kiang; it is at the extremity of the
Great Canal from Cambaluc; it is opposite the Golden Island and Chin-kiang
fu. Hence it is KWA-CHAU, as Murray pointed out. Marsden here
misunderstands his text, and puts the place on the south side of the

Here Van Braam notices that there passed in the course of the day more
than fifty great rice-boats, most of which could easily carry more than
300,000 lbs. of rice. And Mr. Alabaster, in 1868, speaks of the canal from
Yang-chau to Kwa-chau as "full of junks."

[Sir J.F. Davis writes (_Sketches of China_, II. p. 6): "Two ... days ...
were occupied in exploring the half-deserted town of _Kwa-chow_, whose name
signifies 'the island of gourds,' being completely insulated by the river
and canal. We took a long walk along the top of the walls, which were as
usual of great thickness, and afforded a broad level platform behind the
parapet: the parapet itself, about six feet high, did not in thickness
exceed the length of a brick and a half, and the embrasures were evidently
not constructed for cannon, being much too high. A very considerable
portion of the area within the walls consisted of burial-grounds planted
with cypress; and this alone was a sufficient proof of the decayed
condition of the place, as in modern or fully inhabited cities no person
can be buried within the walls. Almost every spot bore traces of ruin, and
there appeared to be but one good street in the whole town; this, however,
was full of shops, and as busy as Chinese streets always are."--H.C.]

NOTE 2.--Rashiduddin gives the following account of the Grand Canal spoken
of in this passage. "The river of Khanbaligh had," he says, "in the course
of time, become so shallow as not to admit the entrance of shipping, so
that they had to discharge their cargoes and send them up to Khanbaligh on
pack-cattle. And the Chinese engineers and men of science having reported
that the vessels from the provinces of Cathay, from Machin, and from the
cities of Khingsai and Zaitun, could no longer reach the court, the Kaan
gave them orders to dig a great canal into which the waters of the said
river, and of several others, should be introduced. This canal extends for
a distance of 40 days' navigation from Khanbaligh to Khingsai and Zaitun,
the ports frequented by the ships that come from India, and from the city
of Machin (Canton). The canal is provided with many sluices ... and when
vessels arrive at these sluices they are hoisted up by means of machinery,
whatever be their size, and let down on the other side into the water. The
canal has a width of more than 30 ells. Kublai caused the sides of the
embankments to be revetted with stone, in order to prevent the earth
giving way. Along the side of the canal runs the high road to Machin,
extending for a space of 40 days' journey, and this has been paved
throughout, so that travellers and their animals may get along during the
rainy season without sinking in the mud.... Shops, taverns, and villages
line the road on both sides, so that dwelling succeeds dwelling without
intermission throughout the whole space of 40 days' journey." (_Cathay_,

The canal appears to have been [begun in 1289 and to have been completed
in 1292.--H.C.] though large portions were in use earlier. Its chief
object was to provide the capital with food. Pauthier gives the statistics
of the transport of rice by this canal from 1283 to the end of Kublai's
reign, and for some subsequent years up to 1329. In the latter year the
quantity reached 3,522,163 _shi_ or 1,247,633 quarters. As the supplies of
rice for the capital and for the troops in the Northern Provinces always
continued to be drawn from Kiang-nan, the distress and derangement caused
by the recent rebel occupation of that province must have been enormous.
(_Pauthier_, p. 481-482; _De Mailla_, p. 439.) Polo's account of the
formation of the canal is exceedingly accurate. Compare that given by Mr.
Williamson (I. 62).

NOTE 3.--"On the Kiang, not far from the mouth, is that remarkably
beautiful little island called the 'Golden Isle,' surmounted by numerous
temples inhabited by the votaries of Buddha or Fo, and very correctly
described so many centuries since by Marco Polo." (_Davis's Chinese_, I.
149.) The monastery, according to Pauthier, was founded in the 3rd or 4th
century, but the name _Kin-Shan_, or "Golden Isle," dates only from a
visit of the Emperor K'ang-hi in 1684.

The monastery contained one of the most famous Buddhist libraries in
China. This was in the hands of our troops during the first China war,
and, as it was intended to remove the books, there was no haste made in
examining their contents. Meanwhile peace came, and the library was
restored. It is a pity _now_ that the _jus belli_ had not been exercised
promptly, for the whole establishment was destroyed by the T'ai-P'ings in
1860, and, with the exception of the Pagoda at the top of the hill, which
was left in a dilapidated state, not one stone of the buildings remained
upon another. The rock had also then ceased to be an island; and the site
of what not many years before had been a channel with four fathoms of
water separating it from the southern shore, was covered by flourishing
cabbage-gardens. (_Guetzlaff_ in _J.R.A.S._ XII. 87; _Mid. Kingd._ I.
84, 86; _Oliphant's Narrative_, II. 301; _N. and Q. Ch. and Jap._ No. 5,
p. 58.)



Chinghianfu is a city of Manzi. The people are Idolaters and subject to
the Great Kaan, and have paper-money, and live by handicrafts and trade.
They have plenty of silk, from which they make sundry kinds of stuffs of
silk and gold. There are great and wealthy merchants in the place; plenty
of game is to be had, and of all kinds of victual.

[Illustration: West Gate of Chin-kiang fu in 1842.]

There are in this city two churches of Nestorian Christians which were
established in the year of our Lord 1278; and I will tell you how that
happened. You see, in the year just named, the Great Kaan sent a Baron of
his whose name was MAR SARGHIS, a Nestorian Christian, to be governor of
this city for three years. And during the three years that he abode there
he caused these two Christian churches to be built, and since then there
they are. But before his time there was no church, neither were there any
Christians.[NOTE 1]

NOTE 1.--CHIN-KIANG FU retains its name unchanged. It is one which became
well known in the war of 1842. On its capture on the 21st July in that
year, the heroic Manchu commandant seated himself among his records and
then set fire to the building, making it his funeral pyre. The city was
totally destroyed in the T'ai-P'ing wars, but is rapidly recovering its
position as a place of native commerce.

[Chen-kiang, "a name which may be translated 'River Guard,' stands at the
point where the Grand Canal is brought to a junction with the waters of
the Yang-tzu when the channel of the river proper begins to expand into an
extensive tidal estuary." (_Treaty Ports of China_, p. 421.) It was
declared open to foreign trade by the Treaty of Tien-Tsin 1858.--H.C.]

_Mar Sarghis_ (or Dominus Sergius) appears to have been a common name
among Armenian and other Oriental Christians. As Pauthier mentions, this
very name is one of the names of Nestorian priests inscribed in Syriac on
the celebrated monument of Si-ngan fu.

[In the description of Chin-kiang quoted by the Archimandrite Palladius
(see vol. i. p. 187, note 3), a Christian monastery or temple is
mentioned: "The temple _Ta-hing-kuo-sze_ stands in Chin-kiang fu, in the
quarter called _Kia-t'ao h'eang_. It was built in the 18th year of
_Chi-yuen_ (A.D. 1281) by the _Sub-darugachi, Sie-li-ki-sze_ (Sergius).
_Liang Siang_, the teacher in the Confucian school, wrote a commemorative
inscription for him." From this document we see that "_Sie-mi-sze-hien_
(Samarcand) is distant from China 100,000 li (probably a mistake for
10,000) to the north-west. It is a country where the religion of the
_Ye-li-k'o-wen_ dominates.... The founder of the religion was called _Ma-rh
Ye-li-ya_. He lived and worked miracles a thousand five hundred years ago.
_Ma Sie-li-ki-sze_ (Mar Sergius) is a follower of him." (_Chinese
Recorder_, VI. p. 108).--H.C.]

From this second mention of _three years_ as a term of government, we may
probably gather that this was the usual period for the tenure of such
office. (_Mid. Kingd._, I. 86; _Cathay_, p. xciii.)



Leaving the city of Chinghianfu and travelling three days south-east
through a constant succession of busy and thriving towns and villages, you
arrive at the great and noble city of CHINGINJU. The people are Idolaters,
use paper-money, and are subject to the Great Kaan. They live by trade and
handicrafts, and they have plenty of silk. They have also abundance of
game, and of all manner of victuals, for it is a most productive
territory.[NOTE 1]

Now I must tell you of an evil deed that was done, once upon a time, by
the people of this city, and how dearly they paid for it.

You see, at the time of the conquest of the great province of Manzi, when
Bayan was in command, he sent a company of his troops, consisting of a
people called Alans, who are Christians, to take this city.[NOTE 2] They
took it accordingly, and when they had made their way in, they lighted
upon some good wine. Of this they drank until they were all drunk, and
then they lay down and slept like so many swine. So when night fell, the
townspeople, seeing that they were all dead-drunk, fell upon them and slew
them all; not a man escaped.

And when Bayan heard that the townspeople had thus treacherously slain his
men, he sent another Admiral of his with a great force, and stormed the
city, and put the whole of the inhabitants to the sword; not a man of them
escaped death. And thus the whole population of that city was
exterminated.[NOTE 3]

Now we will go on, and I will tell you of another city called Suju.

NOTE 1.--Both the position and the story which follows identify this city
with CHANG-CHAU. The name is written in Pauthier's MSS. _Chinginguy_, in
the G.T. _Cingiggui_ and _Cinghingui_, in Ramusio _Tinguigui_.

The capture of Chang-chau by Gordon's force, 11th May 1864, was the final
achievement of that "Ever Victorious Army."

Regarding the territory here spoken of, once so rich and densely peopled,
Mr. Medhurst says, in reference to the effects of the T'ai-P'ing
insurrection: "I can conceive of no more melancholy sight than the acres
of ground that one passes through strewn with remains of once thriving
cities, and the miles upon miles of rich land, once carefully parcelled
out into fields and gardens, but now only growing coarse grass and
brambles--the home of the pheasant, the deer, and the wild pig."
(_Foreigner in Far Cathay_, p. 94.)

NOTE 2.--The relics of the Alans were settled on the northern skirts of
the Caucasus, where they made a stout resistance to the Mongols, but
eventually became subjects of the Khans of Sarai. The name by which they
were usually known in Asia in the Middle Ages was _Aas_, and this name is
assigned to them by Carpini, Rubruquis, and Josafat Barbaro, as well as by
Ibn Batuta. Mr. Howorth has lately denied the identity of Alans and Aas;
but he treats the question as all one with the identity of Alans and
Ossethi, which is another matter, as may be seen in Vivien de St. Martin's
elaborate paper on the Alans (_N. Ann. des Voyages_, 1848, tom. 3, p. 129
seqq.). The Alans are mentioned by the Byzantine historian, Pachymeres,
among nations whom the Mongols had assimilated to themselves and adopted
into their military service. Gaubil, without being aware of the identity
of the _Asu_ (as the name _Aas_ appears to be expressed in the Chinese
Annals), beyond the fact that they dwelt somewhere near the Caspian,
observes that this people, after they were conquered, furnished many
excellent officers to the Mongols; and he mentions also that when the
Mongol army was first equipt for the conquest of Southern China, many
officers took service therein from among the Uighurs, Persians, and Arabs,
Kincha (people of Kipchak), the _Asu_ and other foreign nations. We find
also, at a later period of the Mongol history (1336), letters reaching
Pope Benedict XII. from several Christian Alans holding high office at the
court of Cambaluc--one of them being a _Chingsang_ or Minister of the
First Rank, and another a _Fanchang_ or Minister of the Second Order--in
which they conveyed their urgent request for the nomination of an
Archbishop in succession to the deceased John of Monte Corvino. John
Marignolli speaks of those Alans as "the greatest and noblest nation in
the world, the fairest and bravest of men," and asserts that in his day
there were 30,000 of them in the Great Kaan's service, and all, at least
nominally, Christians.[1] Rashiduddin also speaks of the Alans as
Christians; though Ibn Batuta certainly mentions the _Aas_ as Mahomedans.
We find Alans about the same time (in 1306) fighting well in the service
of the Byzantine Emperors (_Muntaner_, p. 449). All these circumstances
render Marco's story of a corps of Christian Alans in the army of Bayan
perfectly consistent with probability. (_Carpini_, p. 707; _Rub._, 243;
_Ramusio_, II. 92; _I.B._ II. 428; _Gaubil_, 40, 147; _Cathay_, 314

[Mr. Rockhill writes (_Rubruck_, p. 88, note): "The Alans or Aas appear to
be identical with the An-ts'ai or A-lan-na of the _Hou Han shu_ (bk. 88,
9), of whom we read that 'they led a pastoral life N.W. of Sogdiana
(K'ang-chu) in a plain bounded by great lakes (or swamps), and in their
wanderings went as far as the shores of the Northern Ocean.' (Ma Twan-lin,
bk. 338.) _Pei-shih_ (bk. 97, 12) refers to them under the name of Su-te
and Wen-na-sha (see also _Bretschneider, Med. Geog._, 258, et seq.).
Strabo refers to them under the name of Aorsi, living to the north but
contiguous to the Albani, whom some authors confound with them, but whom
later Armenian historians carefully distinguish from them (_De Morgan,
Mission_, i. 232). Ptolemy speaks of this people as the 'Scythian Alans'
([Greek: Alanoi Skythai]); but the first definite mention of them in
classical authors is, according to Bunbury (ii. 486), found in Dionysius
Periergetes (305), who speaks of the [Greek: alkaeentes Alanoi]. (See also
_De Morgan_, i. 202, and _Deguignes_, ii. 279 et seq.)

"Ammianus Marcellinus (xxxi. 348) says, the Alans were a congeries of
tribes living E. of the Tanais (Don), and stretching far into Asia.
'Distributed over two continents, all these nations, whose various names I
refrain from mentioning, though separated by immense tracts of country in
which they pass their vagabond existence, have with time been confounded
under the generic appellation of Alans.' Ibn Alathir, at a later date,
also refers to the Alans as 'formed of numerous nations.' (_Dulaurier_,
xiv. 455).

"Conquered by the Huns in the latter part of the fourth century, some of
the Alans moved westward, others settled on the northern slopes of the
Caucasus; though long prior to that, in A.D. 51, they had, as allies of
the Georgians, ravaged Armenia. (See _Yule, Cathay_, 316; _Deguignes_, I.,
pt. ii. 277 et seq.; and _De Morgan_, I. 217, et seq.)

"Mirkhond, in the _Tarikhi Wassaf_, and other Mohammedan writers speak of
the Alans _and_ As. However this may be, it is thought that the Oss or
Ossetes of the Caucasus are their modern representatives (_Klaproth, Tabl.
hist._, 180; _De Morgan_, i. 202, 231.)" _Aas_ is the transcription of
_A-soo_ (_Yuen-shi_, quoted by Deveria, _Notes d'epig._, p. 75). (See
_Bretschneider, Med. Res._, II., p. 84.)--H.C.]

NOTE 3.--The Chinese histories do not mention the story of the Alans and
their fate; but they tell how Chang-chau was first taken by the Mongols
about April 1275, and two months later recovered by the Chinese; how
Bayan, some months afterwards, attacked it in person, meeting with a
desperate resistance; finally, how the place was stormed, and how Bayan
ordered the whole of the inhabitants to be put to the sword. Gaubil
remarks that some grievous provocation must have been given, as Bayan was
far from cruel. Pauthier gives original extracts on the subject, which are
interesting. They picture the humane and chivalrous Bayan on this occasion
as demoniacal in cruelty, sweeping together all the inhabitants of the
suburbs, forcing them to construct his works of attack, and then
butchering the whole of them, boiling down their carcasses, and using the
fat to grease his mangonels! Perhaps there is some misunderstanding as to
the _use_ of this barbarous lubricant. For Carpini relates that the
Tartars, when they cast Greek fire into a town, shot with it human fat,
for this caused the fire to rage inextinguishably.

Cruelties, like Bayan's on this occasion, if exceptional with him, were
common enough among the Mongols generally. Chinghiz, at an early period in
his career, after a victory, ordered seventy great caldrons to be heated,
and his prisoners to be boiled therein. And the "evil deed" of the citizens
of Chang-chau fell far short of Mongol atrocities. Thus Hulaku, suspecting
the Turkoman chief Nasiruddin, who had just quitted his camp with 300 men,
sent a body of horse after him to cut him off. The Mongol officers told the
Turkoman they had been ordered to give him and his men a parting feast;
they made them all drunk and then cut their throats. (_Gaubil_, 166, 167,
170; _Carpini_, 696; _Erdmann_, 262; _Quat. Rashid._ 357.)

[1] I must observe here that the learned Professor Bruun has raised doubts
whether these Alans of Marignolli's could be Alans of the Caucasus, and
if they were not rather _Ohlans_, i.e. Mongol Princes and nobles. There
are difficulties certainly about Marignolli's Alans; but obvious
difficulties also in this explanation.



Suju is a very great and noble city. The people are Idolaters, subjects of
the Great Kaan, and have paper-money. They possess silk in great
quantities, from which they make gold brocade and other stuffs, and they
live by their manufactures and trade.[NOTE 1]

The city is passing great, and has a circuit of some 60 miles; it hath
merchants of great wealth and an incalculable number of people. Indeed, if
the men of this city and of the rest of Manzi had but the spirit of
soldiers they would conquer the world; but they are no soldiers at all,
only accomplished traders and most skilful craftsmen. There are also in
this city many philosophers and leeches, diligent students of nature.

And you must know that in this city there are 6,000 bridges, all of stone,
and so lofty that a galley, or even two galleys at once, could pass
underneath one of them.[NOTE 2]

In the mountains belonging to this city, rhubarb and ginger grow in great
abundance; insomuch that you may get some 40 pounds of excellent fresh
ginger for a Venice groat.[NOTE 3] And the city has sixteen other great
trading cities under its rule. The name of the city, Suju, signifies in
our tongue, "Earth," and that of another near it, of which we shall speak
presently, called Kinsay, signifies "Heaven;" and these names are given
because of the great splendour of the two cities.[NOTE 4]

Now let us quit Suju, and go on to another which is called VUJU, one day's
journey distant; it is a great and fine city, rife with trade and
manufactures. But as there is nothing more to say of it we shall go on and
I will tell you of another great and noble city called VUGHIN. The people
are Idolaters, &c., and possess much silk and other merchandize, and they
are expert traders and craftsmen. Let us now quit Vughin and tell you of
another city called CHANGAN, a great and rich place. The people are
Idolaters, &c., and they live by trade and manufactures. They make great
quantities of sendal of different kinds, and they have much game in the
neighbourhood. There is however nothing more to say about the place, so we
shall now proceed.[NOTE 5]

NOTE 1.--SUJU is of course the celebrated city of SU-CHAU in Kiang-nan--
before the rebellion brought ruin on it, the Paris of China. "Everything
remarkable was alleged to come from it; fine pictures, fine carved-work,
fine silks, and fine ladies!" (_Fortune_, I. 186.) When the Emperor
K'ang-hi visited Su-chau, the citizens laid the streets with carpets and
silk stuffs, but the Emperor dismounted and made his train do the like.
(_Davis_, I. 186.)

[Su-chau is situated 80 miles west of Shang-hai, 12 miles east of the
Great Lake, and 40 miles south of the Kiang, in the plain between this
river and Hang-chau Bay. It was the capital of the old kingdom of Wu which
was independent from the 12th to the 4th centuries (B.C.) inclusive; it
was founded by Wu Tzu-su, prime minister of King Hoh Lue (514-496 B.C.),
who removed the capital of Wu from Mei-li (near the modern Ch'ang-chau) to
the new site now occupied by the city of Su-chau. "Suchau is built in the
form of a rectangle, and is about three and a half miles from North to
South, by two and a half in breadth, the wall being twelve or thirteen
miles in length. There are six gates." (_Rev. H.C. Du Bose, Chin.
Rec._, xix. p. 205.) It has greatly recovered since the T'ai-P'ing
rebellion, and its recapture by General (then Major) Gordon on the 27th
November 1863; Su-chau has been declared open to foreign trade on the 26th
September 1896, under the provisions of the Japanese Treaty of 1895.

"The great trade of Soochow is silk. In the silk stores are found about
100 varieties of satin, and 200 kinds of silks and gauzes.... The weavers
are divided into two guilds, the Nankin and Suchau, and have together
about 7000 looms. Thousands of men and women are engaged in reeling the
thread." (_Rev. H.C. Du Bose, Chin. Rec._, xix. pp. 275-276.)--H.C.]

[Illustration: CITY OF SUCHAU
Reduced to 1/10 the scale from a Rubbing of a PLAN incised on MARBLE

NOTE 2.--I believe we must not bring Marco to book for the literal
accuracy of his statements as to the bridges; but all travellers have
noticed the number and elegance of the bridges of cut stone in this part
of China; see, for instance, _Van Braam_, II. 107, 119-120, 124, 126;
and _Deguignes_ I. 47, who gives a particular account of the arches.
These are said to be often 50 or 60 feet in span.

["Within the city there are, generally speaking, six canals from North to
South, and six canals from East to West, intersecting one another at from
a quarter to half a mile. There are a hundred and fifty or two hundred
bridges at intervals of two or three hundred yards; some of these with
arches, others with stone slabs thrown across, many of which are twenty
feet in length. The canals are from ten to fifteen feet wide and faced with
stone." (_Rev. H.C. Du Bose, Chin. Rec._, xix., 1888, p. 207).--H.C.]

[Illustration: South-West Gate and Water-Gate of Su-chau; facsimile on half
the scale from a mediaeval Map, incised on Marble, A.D. 1247.]

NOTE 3.--This statement about the abundance of rhubarb in the hills near
Su-chau is believed by the most competent authorities to be quite
erroneous. Rhubarb _is_ exported from Shang-hai, but it is brought
thither from Hankau on the Upper Kiang, and Hankau receives it from the
further west. Indeed Mr. Hanbury, in a note on the subject, adds his
disbelief also that _ginger_ is produced in Kiang-nan. And I see in
the Shang-hai trade-returns of 1865, that there is _no_ ginger among
the exports. [Green ginger is mentioned in the Shang-hai Trade Reports for
1900 among the exports (p. 309) to the amount of 18,756 piculs; none is
mentioned at Su-chau.--H.C.]. Some one, I forget where, has suggested a
confusion with Suh-chau in Kan-suh, the great rhubarb mart, which seems

["Polo is correct in giving Tangut as the native country of Rhubarb
(_Rheum palmatum_) but no species of Rheum has hitherto been gathered by
our botanists as far south as Kiang-Su, indeed, not even in Shan-tung."
(_Bretschneider, Hist. of Bot. Disc._, I. p. 5.)--H.C.]

NOTE 4.--The meanings ascribed by Polo to the names of Su-chau and
King-sze (Hang-chau) show plainly enough that he was ignorant of Chinese.
Odoric does not mention Su-chau, but he gives the same explanation of
Kinsay as signifying the "City of Heaven," and Wassaf also in his notice of
the same city has an obscure passage about Paradise and Heaven, which is
not improbably a corrupted reference to the same interpretation.[1] I
suspect therefore that it was a "Vulgar Error" of the foreign residents in
China, probably arising out of a misunderstanding of the Chinese adage
quoted by Duhalde and Davis:--

"_Shang yeu t'ien t'ang, Hia yeu_ SU HANG!"

"There's Paradise above 'tis true,
But here below we've HANG and SU!"

These two neighbouring cities, in the middle of the beautiful tea and silk
districts, and with all the advantages of inland navigation and foreign
trade, combined every source of wealth and prosperity, and were often thus
coupled together by the Chinese. Both are, I believe, now recovering from
the effects of devastation by T'ai-P'ing occupation and Imperialist
recapture; but neither probably is one-fifth of what it was.

The plan of Su-chau which we give is of high interest. It is reduced (1/10
the scale) from a rubbing of a plan of the city incised on marble
measuring 6' 7" by 4' 4", and which has been preserved in the Confucian
Temple in Su-chau since A.D. 1247. Marco Polo's eyes have probably rested
on this fine work, comparable to the famous _Pianta Capitolina_. The
engraving on page 183 represents one of the gates traced from the rubbing
and reduced to _half_ the scale. It is therefore an authentic
representation of Chinese fortification in or before the 13th century.[2]

["In the southern part of Su-chau is the park, surrounded by a high wall,
which contains the group of buildings called the Confucian Temple. This is
the Dragon's head;--the Dragon Street, running directly North, is his
body, and the Great Pagoda is his tail. In front is a grove of cedars. To
one side is the hall where thousands of scholars go to worship at the
Spring and Autumn Festivals--this for the gentry alone, not for the
unlettered populace. There is a building used for the slaughter of
animals, another containing a map of the city engraved in stone; a third
with tablets and astronomical diagrams, and a fourth containing the
Provincial Library. On each side of the large courts are rooms where are
placed the tablets of the 500 sages. The main temple is 50 by 70 feet, and
contains the tablet of Confucius and a number of gilded boards with
mottoes. It is a very imposing structure. On the stone dais in front, a
mat-shed is erected for the great sacrifices at which the official
magnates exercise their sacerdotal functions. As a tourist beheld the
sacred grounds and the aged trees, she said: 'This is the most
venerable-looking place I have seen in China.' On the gateway in front, the
sage is called 'The Prince of Doctrine in times Past and Present.'" (_Rev.
H.C. Du Bose, Chin. Rec._, xix. p. 272).--H.C.]

NOTE 5.--The Geographic Text only, at least of the principal Texts, has
distinctly the _three_ cities, _Vugui, Vughin, Ciangan_. Pauthier
identifies the first and third with HU-CHAU FU and Sung-kiang fu. In
favour of Vuju's being Hu-chau is the fact mentioned by Wilson that the
latter city is locally called WUCHU.[3] If this be the place, the
Traveller does not seem to be following a direct and consecutive route
from Su-chau to Hang-chau. Nor is Hu-chau within a day's journey of
Su-chau. Mr. Kingsmill observes that the only town at that distance is
_Wukiang-hien_, once of some little importance but now much reduced.
WUKIANG, however, is suggestive of VUGHIN; and, in that supposition,
Hu-chau must be considered the object of a digression from which the
Traveller returns and takes up his route to Hang-chau via Wukiang.
_Kiahing_ would then best answer to _Ciangan_, or _Caingan_, as it is
written in the following chapter of the G.T.

[1] See Quatremere's _Rashid._, p. lxxxvii., and Hammer's _Wassaf_, p. 42.

[2] I owe these valuable illustrations, as so much else, to the unwearied
kindness of Mr. A. Wylie. There were originally four maps: (1) _The
City_, (2) _The Empire_, (3) _The Heavens_, (4) no longer known. They
were drawn originally by one Hwan Kin-shan, and presented by him to a
high official in Sze-ch'wan. Wang Che-yuen, subsequently holding office
in the same province, got possession of the maps, and had them incised
at Su-chau in A.D. 1247. The inscription bearing these particulars is
partially gone, and the date of the original drawings remains
uncertain. (See _List of Illustrations_.)

[3] _The Ever Victorious Army_, p. 395



When you have left the city of Changan and have travelled for three days
through a splendid country, passing a number of towns and villages, you
arrive at the most noble city of Kinsay, a name which is as much as to say
in our tongue "The City of Heaven," as I told you before.[NOTE 1]

And since we have got thither I will enter into particulars about its
magnificence; and these are well worth the telling, for the city is beyond
dispute the finest and the noblest in the world. In this we shall speak
according to the written statement which the Queen of this Realm sent to
Bayan the conqueror of the country for transmission to the Great Kaan, in
order that he might be aware of the surpassing grandeur of the city and
might be moved to save it from destruction or injury. I will tell you all
the truth as it was set down in that document. For truth it was, as the
said Messer Marco Polo at a later date was able to witness with his own
eyes. And now we shall rehearse those particulars.

First and foremost, then, the document stated the city of Kinsay to be so
great that it hath an hundred miles of compass. And there are in it twelve
thousand bridges of stone, for the most part so lofty that a great fleet
could pass beneath them. And let no man marvel that there are so many
bridges, for you see the whole city stands as it were in the water and
surrounded by water, so that a great many bridges are required to give
free passage about it. [And though the bridges be so high the approaches
are so well contrived that carts and horses do cross them.[NOTE 2]]

The document aforesaid also went on to state that there were in this city
twelve guilds of the different crafts, and that each guild had 12,000
houses in the occupation of its workmen. Each of these houses contains at
least 12 men, whilst some contain 20 and some 40,--not that these are all
masters, but inclusive of the journeymen who work under the masters. And
yet all these craftsmen had full occupation, for many other cities of the
kingdom are supplied from this city with what they require.

The document aforesaid also stated that the number and wealth of the
merchants, and the amount of goods that passed through their hands, was so
enormous that no man could form a just estimate thereof. And I should have
told you with regard to those masters of the different crafts who are at
the head of such houses as I have mentioned, that neither they nor their
wives ever touch a piece of work with their own hands, but live as nicely
and delicately as if they were kings and queens. The wives indeed are most
dainty and angelical creatures! Moreover it was an ordinance laid down by
the King that every man should follow his father's business and no other,
no matter if he possessed 100,000 bezants.[NOTE 3]

Inside the city there is a Lake which has a compass of some 30 miles: and
all round it are erected beautiful palaces and mansions, of the richest
and most exquisite structure that you can imagine, belonging to the nobles
of the city. There are also on its shores many abbeys and churches of the
Idolaters. In the middle of the Lake are two Islands, on each of which
stands a rich, beautiful and spacious edifice, furnished in such style as
to seem fit for the palace of an Emperor. And when any one of the citizens
desired to hold a marriage feast, or to give any other entertainment, it
used to be done at one of these palaces. And everything would be found
there ready to order, such as silver plate, trenchers, and dishes [napkins
and table-cloths], and whatever else was needful. The King made this
provision for the gratification of his people, and the place was open to
every one who desired to give an entertainment. [Sometimes there would be
at these palaces an hundred different parties; some holding a banquet,
others celebrating a wedding; and yet all would find good accommodation in
the different apartments and pavilions, and that in so well ordered a
manner that one party was never in the way of another.[NOTE 4]]

The houses of the city are provided with lofty towers of stone in which
articles of value are stored for fear of fire; for most of the houses
themselves are of timber, and fires are very frequent in the city.

The people are Idolaters; and since they were conquered by the Great Kaan
they use paper-money. [Both men and women are fair and comely, and for the
most part clothe themselves in silk, so vast is the supply of that
material, both from the whole district of Kinsay, and from the imports by
traders from other provinces.[NOTE 5]] And you must know they eat every
kind of flesh, even that of dogs and other unclean beasts, which nothing
would induce a Christian to eat.

Since the Great Kaan occupied the city he has ordained that each of the
12,000 bridges should be provided with a guard of ten men, in case of any
disturbance, or of any being so rash as to plot treason or insurrection
against him. [Each guard is provided with a hollow instrument of wood and
with a metal basin, and with a time-keeper to enable them to know the hour
of the day or night. And so when one hour of the night is past the sentry
strikes one on the wooden instrument and on the basin, so that the whole
quarter of the city is made aware that one hour of the night is gone. At
the second hour he gives two strokes, and so on, keeping always wide awake
and on the look out. In the morning again, from the sunrise, they begin to
count anew, and strike one hour as they did in the night, and so on hour
after hour.

Part of the watch patrols the quarter, to see if any light or fire is
burning after the lawful hours; if they find any they mark the door, and
in the morning the owner is summoned before the magistrates, and unless he
can plead a good excuse he is punished. Also if they find any one going
about the streets at unlawful hours they arrest him, and in the morning
they bring him before the magistrates. Likewise if in the daytime they
find any poor cripple unable to work for his livelihood, they take him to
one of the hospitals, of which there are many, founded by the ancient
kings, and endowed with great revenues.[NOTE 6] Or if he be capable of
work they oblige him to take up some trade. If they see that any house has
caught fire they immediately beat upon that wooden instrument to give the
alarm, and this brings together the watchmen from the other bridges to
help to extinguish it, and to save the goods of the merchants or others,
either by removing them to the towers above mentioned, or by putting them
in boats and transporting them to the islands in the lake. For no citizen
dares leave his house at night, or to come near the fire; only those who
own the property, and those watchmen who flock to help, of whom there
shall come one or two thousand at the least.]

Moreover, within the city there is an eminence on which stands a Tower,
and at the top of the tower is hung a slab of wood. Whenever fire or any
other alarm breaks out in the city a man who stands there with a mallet in
his hand beats upon the slab, making a noise that is heard to a great
distance. So when the blows upon this slab are heard, everybody is aware
that fire has broken out, or that there is some other cause of alarm.

The Kaan watches this city with especial diligence because it forms the
head of all Manzi; and because he has an immense revenue from the duties
levied on the transactions of trade therein, the amount of which is such
that no one would credit it on mere hearsay.

All the streets of the city are paved with stone or brick, as indeed are
all the highways throughout Manzi, so that you ride and travel in every
direction without inconvenience. Were it not for this pavement you could
not do so, for the country is very low and flat, and after rain 'tis deep
in mire and water. [But as the Great Kaan's couriers could not gallop
their horses over the pavement, the side of the road is left unpaved for
their convenience. The pavement of the main street of the city also is
laid out in two parallel ways of ten paces in width on either side,
leaving a space in the middle laid with fine gravel, under which are
vaulted drains which convey the rain water into the canals; and thus the
road is kept ever dry.][NOTE 7]

You must know also that the city of Kinsay has some 3000 baths, the water
of which is supplied by springs. They are hot baths, and the people take
great delight in them, frequenting them several times a month, for they
are very cleanly in their persons. They are the finest and largest baths
in the world; large enough for 100 persons to bathe together.[NOTE 8]

And the Ocean Sea comes within 25 miles of the city at a place called
GANFU, where there is a town and an excellent haven, with a vast amount of
shipping which is engaged in the traffic to and from India and other
foreign parts, exporting and importing many kinds of wares, by which the
city benefits. And a great river flows from the city of Kinsay to that
sea-haven, by which vessels can come up to the city itself. This river
extends also to other places further inland.[NOTE 9]

Know also that the Great Kaan hath distributed the territory of Manzi into
nine parts, which he hath constituted into nine kingdoms. To each of these
kingdoms a king is appointed who is subordinate to the Great Kaan, and
every year renders the accounts of his kingdom to the fiscal office at the
capital.[NOTE 10] This city of Kinsay is the seat of one of these kings,
who rules over 140 great and wealthy cities. For in the whole of this vast
country of Manzi there are more than 1200 great and wealthy cities,
without counting the towns and villages, which are in great numbers. And
you may receive it for certain that in each of those 1200 cities the Great
Kaan has a garrison, and that the smallest of such garrisons musters 1000
men; whilst there are some of 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000; so that the total
number of troops is something scarcely calculable. The troops forming
these garrisons are not all Tartars. Many are from the province of Cathay,
and good soldiers too. But you must not suppose they are by any means all
of them cavalry; a very large proportion of them are foot-soldiers,
according to the special requirements of each city. And all of them belong
to the army of the Great Kaan.[NOTE 11]

I repeat that everything appertaining to this city is on so vast a scale,
and the Great Kaan's yearly revenues therefrom are so immense, that it is
not easy even to put it in writing, and it seems past belief to one who
merely hears it told. But I _will_ write it down for you.

First, however, I must mention another thing. The people of this country
have a custom, that as soon as a child is born they write down the day and
hour and the planet and sign under which its birth has taken place; so
that every one among them knows the day of his birth. And when any one
intends a journey he goes to the astrologers, and gives the particulars of
his nativity in order to learn whether he shall have good luck or no.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest