The Travels Of Marco Polo - Volume 2 Of 2 By Marco Polo And Rustichello Of Pisa











































 -  And all of them belong
to the army of the Great Kaan.[NOTE 11]

I repeat that everything appertaining to - Page 97
The Travels Of Marco Polo - Volume 2 Of 2 By Marco Polo And Rustichello Of Pisa - Page 97 of 360 - First - Home

Enter page number    Previous Next

Number of Words to Display Per Page: 250 500 1000

Save Money On Flights

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. Sometimes they will say no, and in that case the journey is put off till such day as the astrologer may recommend. These astrologers are very skilful at their business, and often their words come to pass, so the people have great faith in them.

They burn the bodies of the dead. And when any one dies the friends and relations make a great mourning for the deceased, and clothe themselves in hempen garments,[NOTE 12] and follow the corpse playing on a variety of instruments and singing hymns to their idols. And when they come to the burning place, they take representations of things cut out of parchment, such as caparisoned horses, male and female slaves, camels, armour suits of cloth of gold (and money), in great quantities, and these things they put on the fire along with the corpse, so that they are all burnt with it. And they tell you that the dead man shall have all these slaves and animals of which the effigies are burnt, alive in flesh and blood, and the money in gold, at his disposal in the next world; and that the instruments which they have caused to be played at his funeral, and the idol hymns that have been chaunted, shall also be produced again to welcome him in the next world; and that the idols themselves will come to do him honour. [NOTE 13]

Furthermore there exists in this city the palace of the king who fled, him who was Emperor of Manzi, and that is the greatest palace in the world, as I shall tell you more particularly. For you must know its demesne hath a compass of ten miles, all enclosed with lofty battlemented walls; and inside the walls are the finest and most delectable gardens upon earth, and filled too with the finest fruits. There are numerous fountains in it also, and lakes full of fish. In the middle is the palace itself, a great and splendid building. It contains 20 great and handsome halls, one of which is more spacious than the rest, and affords room for a vast multitude to dine. It is all painted in gold, with many histories and representations of beasts and birds, of knights and dames, and many marvellous things. It forms a really magnificent spectacle, for over all the walls and all the ceiling you see nothing but paintings in gold. And besides these halls the palace contains 1000 large and handsome chambers, all painted in gold and divers colours.

Moreover, I must tell you that in this city there are 160 tomans of fires, or in other words 160 tomans of houses. Now I should tell you that the toman is 10,000, so that you can reckon the total as altogether 1,600,000 houses, among which are a great number of rich palaces. There is one church only, belonging to the Nestorian Christians.

There is another thing I must tell you. It is the custom for every burgess of this city, and in fact for every description of person in it, to write over his door his own name, the name of his wife, and those of his children, his slaves, and all the inmates of his house, and also the number of animals that he keeps. And if any one dies in the house then the name of that person is erased, and if any child is born its name is added. So in this way the sovereign is able to know exactly the population of the city. And this is the practice also throughout all Manzi and Cathay. [NOTE 14]

[Illustration: Plan of the City of SI-NGAN-FU]

And I must tell you that every hosteler who keeps an hostel for travellers is bound to register their names and surnames, as well as the day and month of their arrival and departure. And thus the sovereign hath the means of knowing, whenever it pleases him, who come and go throughout his dominions. And certes this is a wise order and a provident.

NOTE 1. - Kinsay represents closely enough the Chinese term King-sze, "capital," which was then applied to the great city, the proper name of which was at that time Lin-ngan and is now HANG-CHAU, as being since 1127 the capital of the Sung Dynasty. The same term King-sze is now on Chinese maps generally used to designate Peking. It would seem, however, that the term adhered long as a quasi-proper name to Hang-chau; for in the Chinese Atlas, dating from 1595, which the traveller Carletti presented to the Magliabecchian Library, that city appears to be still marked with this name, transcribed by Carletti as Camse; very near the form Campsay used by Marignolli in the 14th century.

[Illustration: The ancient Lun ho-ta Pagoda at Hang-chau.]

NOTE 2. - +The Ramusian version says: "Messer Marco Polo was frequently at this city, and took great pains to learn everything about it, writing down the whole in his notes." The information being originally derived from a Chinese document, there might be some ground for supposing that 100 miles of circuit stood for 100 li.

Enter page number   Previous Next
Page 97 of 360
Words from 98056 to 99074 of 370046


Previous 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 Next

More links: First 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200
 210 220 230 240 250 260 270 280 290 300
 310 320 330 340 350 360 Last

Display Words Per Page: 250 500 1000

 
Africa (29)
Asia (27)
Europe (59)
North America (58)
Oceania (24)
South America (8)
 

List of Travel Books RSS Feeds

Africa Travel Books RSS Feed

Asia Travel Books RSS Feed

Europe Travel Books RSS Feed

North America Travel Books RSS Feed

Oceania Travel Books RSS Feed

South America Travel Books RSS Feed

Copyright © 2005 - 2012 Travel Guides