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ZINGIS' power continued rapidly to increase until at length he sent an ambassador to Umcan, entreating him to bestow his daughter upon him to be his wife. Instead of receiving the request civilly, Umcan rejected the ambassador of Zingis with great indignation, saying, "Doth my servant demand my daughter? Get ye out of my sight, and tell your master, if he ever make such demand again, I will make him die a miserable death." Receiving this austere message, Zingis prepared immediately to invade the country of Umcan, and assembling a great army marched to a plain called Tanduc, from whence he sent to Umcan a haughty message, telling him that he had come to lay waste his country. This challenge was immediately answered, and Umcan led out of his city an immense army, which pitched their tents on the plains ten miles from the camp of Zingis. Learning this fact, Zingis commanded his astrologers to predict for him the result of the battle which was about to be fought. The astrologers accordingly cut a reed lengthwise in two parts, and writing upon one the word Zingis, and upon the other, Umcan, set them in the ground opposite each other. Then they said unto the Tartar ruler, "it shall come to pass, with the idol's power, that these two parts of reeds shall fight together, and whose part shall fall on the other, the king shall obtain victory in the battle." The astrologers then fell to reciting their prayers, and reading their incantations, when presently the parts of the reeds moved and fought together, until the part upon which had been written the word Zingis had fallen on the part of Umcan. This prediction assured the Tartars of a great victory, and thus encouraged, they went into the battle with great precipitation, and falling upon the army of Umcan, slew a greater part, and in the rout Umcan himself was killed, so that by this means Zingis obtained the daughter of the ruler who had so haughtily treated his civil message.


Zingis continued his prosperous reign for a period of six years thereafter, during which time he conquered many provinces. But while besieging a certain castle called Thaigin, he was shot in the knee by an arrow, from which wound he soon afterwards died, and was buried somewhere in the Altai mountain. In tills mountain all the rulers and princes of the, blood of Zingis were buried,
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however remote may have been the place at which they died. When the royal corpse was being carried to this sepulchre in the mountains, the soldiers who attended the funeral were commanded to kill all persons that they met on the way, saying, "Go and serve our Lord the King in another life." They likewise killed the best horses, in the belief that these might serve the royal spirit in the other world. Polo claims that at the burial of Kubla Khan the soldiers accompanying the procession slew no less than ten thousand men, and half as many horses. The successor of Zingis was Khen-Khan, the next was Bathyn-Khan, the fourth Efu-Khan, the fifth Mangu-Khan, and the sixth Kubla-Khan, who was the ruler of all Tartary at the time of Marco's visit.


In the region beyond Caracarum, Marco mentions another famous city named Cinguy, which was the name also of a province tributary to the Grand Khan in Tangut. The people were divided into Christians, Mohammedans and idolaters, but were generally peacefully inclined and given to pastoral pursuits. In this region, he avers, were to be found wild oxen, nearly as large as elephants,
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in which description we recognize the Yaks, peculiar to Tartary. He relates that the best musk in the world is also to be obtained in this province, and that it is taken from a beast of about the size of a goat, having hair like a stag, feet and tail like a gazelle, but is destitute of horns. It has four teeth, two above and two beneath, of the length of three fingers, and as white, as ivory. When the moon is at the full, near the navel of this beast there grows what Marco calls an imposthume or bladder, full of blood; and the animal being taken in the full moon, this swelling is cut off and dried in the sun, from which is obtained the valuable musk for which that country is famous. Here also are to be found the beautiful Himalayan pheasants, with their dazzling and iridescent tails as much as five feet in length.

The next great city of special consequence visited by Marco was that of Jangamur, which means the White Lake, wherein was built a very large palace for the accommodation of Kubla Khan, when he had occasion to go upon a sporting expedition, which he did two or three times a year. In this region were many lakes and rivers, in which were great abundance of swans, cranes, and on the ridges pheasants, partridges and other fowl.

Three days' journey north-eastward lay the city of Ciaudu, where the Great Khan built the most marvellous palace of marble and other stones to be found in the entire empire. This he had surrounded by an impregnable wall sixteen miles in circuit, a portion of which was again divided, so as to form an enclosure or park, which was stocked with deer and other game, and where hawks and

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gerfalcons were trained for limiting purposes. Here the Great Khan usually dwelt during the months of June, July and August, on the 28th of which latter month, at the time of his departure, he made a solemn sacrifice. Within this wall the Khan also maintained a herd of ten thousand white horses and as many mares, the latter being kept for the milk which they yielded, and which none were permitted to drink except they were of the imperial lineage of Zingis-Khan, or of one family called Boriat, which had been granted this privilege for the great valor some member had shown upon a past occasion.


Marco tells us that the astrologers instructed the Khan that, on the 28th of the moon of August, he should distribute the milk of the white mares, in honor of the spirits and of his idols, that they might thus be persuaded to preserve all the things which he possessed. These astrologers were divided into parties called Chebeth and Chesmu, who in the midst of storms ascended to the top
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of the palace and by their incantations permitted no rain to fall thereon. Notwithstanding their supernatural power, they had a horrible custom of dressing and eating the criminals condemned to death by imperial judgment. But though they had great liking for such food, they would not touch the body of one who died naturally. Marco ascribes to them most extraordinary power, and relates that whenever the Great Khan sat at his table it was raised eight yards high; and in the midst of the hall, a good distance from the table, was a large cupboard of plate from which these sorcerers caused wine and milk to fill the goblets without any hand touching them.

After thus hastily describing the palace of Kubla Khan at Ciandu, and the royal treasurers, and the power of the sorcerers, which was exercised always for the benefit of the king, Marco tells us of the extraordinary resources and valor of Kubla Khan, to whose quick understanding and decisive action was due the suppression of a formidable insurrection headed by his uncle Naiam, who had placed himself at the head of five hundred thousand trained cavalrymen. Kubla having learned of the intentions of his uncle did not, however, wait to be attacked, but taking the initiative, travelled with extraordinary speed, and succeeded in surprising Naiam in the night, and falling on the rebels he routed them with extraordinary slaughter. He also took Naiam captive, and put him to death by ordering the rebel to be sewed up in a carpet and tossed until he expired, this peculiar execution being accomplished in order to prevent the shedding of royal blood.


Polo thus describes the personal appearance of Kubla Khan, for whom he conceived a great attachment, which was undoubtedly reciprocated by the great Tartar ruler: "He is," says Marco, "a comely man, of middle stature, of a very fresh complexion, black and bright eyes, well-fashioned nose, and all the lineaments of his body in due proportion. He has four wives who are esteemed lawful,
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and the first born of them is to succeed him in the kingdom, and every one of them is called Empress, and holdeth a peculiar court, and that in a magnificent palace, having about three hundred women to attend her, and many eunuch servants, and at least ten thousand persons in their families." In addition to these wives the Grand Khan also had many concubines, which he recruited from a nation of fair people among the Tartars called Virgut, among whom he sent ambassadors every two years in search of the fairest women that they were able to find. These ambassadors usually returned with four or five hundred handsome damsels who, however,
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were subjected to a rigid examination, and from the large number only twenty or thirty of the most beautiful were generally received. The candidates for the royal harem were, very closely scrutinized, and even of the thirty thus chosen sometimes only a small proportion was finally accepted; for these latter, says Polo, were first placed under the care of his barons' wives, who determined, if they had sweet breaths or snored in their sleep, or if their behavior was in any wise offensive. Those that were finally approved were divided into fives, which took their turn in waiting upon the Emperor, and served him in all his desires.


The greatest palace which Kubla Khan maintained, where he resided during the months of December, January, and February, was at his capital in Cambaluc, supposed to be the modern Pekin, which is in the north-east borders of Cathay. This magnificent city and the palace which the Emperor had caused there to be built, are particularly described by Marco, whose representation is that of one
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of the grandest cities that any king ever conceived. We will quote from our distinguished Venetian traveler: "First there is a great wall, each square being eight miles, with a deep ditch environing, and a gate in the middle of each; after which is a space of a mile in circuit where soldiers stand; after this is another court of six miles square, with three gates on the south square, and three on the north; that which is in the midst being in both the greater, and kept shut, except when the Khan passeth that way; the other is always open to others; in each corner of this wall, and in the midst is a fair palace (arsenal), eight in all, very large, in which are kept the Khan's ammunitions, and furniture of all sorts; horses in one; in another bows and shooting artillery; in a third castlets, cuirasses, and leather armor; and so in the rest.


"Within this circuit is another walk like the former, very thick and ten paces high, all the battlements white, the walls square, each square a mile in length, with six gates as the former, and eight palaces also very large, wherein are the Khan's provisions; between these two last walls are also many fair trees and meadows, in which are deer with other game, and store of grass, the paths being raised two cubits to spare it; and no dirt or puddles being therein. Within this last wall is the palace of the Great Khan, the greatest that hath been seen, extending to the wall on the north and south, and opening where the barons and soldiers pass. It hath no
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ceiling, but a very high roof; the foundation of the pavement is ten palms high, with a wall of marble around about it two paces wide, as it were a walk. At the end of the wall without is a fair turret with pillars. In the walls of the halls and chambers are carved dragons, soldiers, birds, beasts of divers kinds, histories of wars gilded; the roof is so made that nothing is seen but gold and imagery; in every square of the palace is a great hall, capable of holding a multitude of people; the chambers are disposed the best that may be devised. The roof is red, green, azure, and all colors. Behind the palace are great rooms and private store-houses for his treasure and jewels, for his women and other private purposes. "Over against the said palace of the Khan is another for Zingis his son, whose court was in all things like his father's. Near this palace towards the north is a mount made by hand, a mile in compass, one hundred paces high, adorned with trees that are always green; unto this mountain the king commands all the trees to be brought from remote parts, lading elephants with them, for they are taken up with the roots, and are transplanted in this mountain; and because this mountain is always green, it is called the Green Mountain; and where the earth of the mount is taken away are two lakes answering each other, with a small river supplying them with stored fish, and so grated that the fish cannot get out.


"The city of Cambaluc in the province of Cathay, seated on a great river, was famous, and the royal seat in ancient times; and this name Cambaluc signifies the city of the Lord or Prince. This city the Great Khan removed to the other side of the river where the palaces are, for he understood by the astrologers that it would rebel against the empire. This new-built city is called Taivu, and he commanded all the Cathayans to go out of the old city into the new; which contains in compass four and twenty miles, every side of
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the square containing six miles. It hath walls of earth ten paces thick at the bottom, and at the top but three, as growing by little and little thinner. The battlements are white; every square of the wall hath three principal gates, which are twelve in all, having sumptuous palaces built over them. "There are also certain pavilions in the angles of the walls where the arms of the garrison, which are one thousand at each gate, are kept; the buildings are squared, and the streets laid very straight by line throughout the city; so
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that from one gate a free prospect opens throughout the city to the opposite gate; having very stately houses built on both sides like palaces with gardens and courts, divided according to the heads of families. In the midst of the city is a certain noble building, wherein hangeth a very great bell, after the tolling whereof in the night no man must go out of his house until the beginning of the day following, except it be for some extraordinary cause, as for a woman in travail, and then they are compelled to carry lights with them.


"Without the city of Cambaluc are twelve large suburbs, three or four miles long, adjoining to each of the twelve gates, more inhabiting in the suburbs than in the city; here merchants and strangers live, each nation having several store-houses, or burses, in which they lodge. No dead corpse of any man is burned within this city, but the bodies of idolaters are burned without the suburbs, where the dead bodies of other sects are buried; and because a huge multitude of Saracens inhabit there, they have about twenty-five thousand harlots in the suburbs and in the city, and these have a chief captain appointed over every hundred and thousand, and one general, whose office is that when any ambassadors come, or such as have business with the Khan, whose charges he defrays, then this captain giveth every ambassador and every man of his family, a change of woman every night at free cost, for this is their tribute. The guards, every night, carry such to prison whom they find walking late; and if they be found guilty, they are beaten with cudgels, for the Bachsi tell them that it is not good to shed man's blood; but many die of these beatings. The Great Khan hath in his court twelve thousand horsemen, which they call Casitan, faithful soldiers of their lord, who guard his person, more for state than fear; and four captains have the charge of these, whereof every one commandeth three thousand. When one captain, with three thousand soldiers within the palace, hath guarded the King for three days and nights, another captain with his soldiers succeeds; and so, throughout the year, this course of watching by turns is observed.


"When on account of any festal day he keeps a solemn court, his table, which is higher than the rest of the tables, is set at the north part of the hall, his face is to the south, having the first Queen on his left hand, that is, his principal wife; and his sons and nephews, and those of the royal blood, on his right; yet their table is in a lower place, so that they scarcely touch the King's feet with their hands, the seat of the eldest being higher than the rest; the princes sit in a lower place than that; their wives also observe the like order: first, the Khan's sons' wives and his kinsmen sit lower on the left hand, and after those of the lords, and of every captain and nobleman, each in their degree and order; and the Emperor himself, while he sits at his table, may cast his eyes upon all that feast with him in the hall. There are not tables for them all to sit; but the greatest part of the soldiers and barons sit on carpets. At all the doors stand two gigantic fellows with cudgels, to see that none touch the threshold, which if he does they take his garments away, which he must redeem by receiving so many blows as shall be appointed, or else lose them. They who serve the King and those sitting at the table all of them cover their mouths with silk, lest their breathing should by any means touch the King's meat or drink, and when he hath a mind to drink the damsel who giveth it goes back three paces and kneels down, and then the barons and all the people kneel, and the musicians sound their instruments. There is no cause, since I would avoid prolixity, why I should write anything concerning the meats which are brought to the table, how dainty and delicate they are, and with what magnificence and pomp they are served.


"All the Tartars observe this custom, to celebrate the birthday of their lord most honorably. The birthday of Kubla is kept the 28th of September, and this day he accounteth more solemn than any in the whole year, except the 1st of February, on which they begin the year. The King, therefore, on his birthday, is clothed in a most precious garment of gold, and about two thousand barons and
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soldiers are clothed in the same color of gold, though of silk stuff, and a girdle wrought in gold and silver, which is given them with a pair of shoes. Some wear pearls and garments of great price, who are next to the Khan; and these garments were not worn but on thirteen solemn feasts, according to the thirteen moons of the year; all are then clothed like kings. This custom is also observed by the Tartars, that on the birthday of the Great Khan, all the kings, princes, and nobles, who are subject to his dominions, should send presents unto him, as to their Emperor; and they who desire to attain any place of dignity or office of him offer their petitions unto twelve barons appointed for that purpose; and what they decree is all one as if the Emperor himself had answered them. All people also, of what faith or sect soever, whether Christians or Jews, Saracens or Tartars, and Pagans, are bound solemnly to call upon their gods, for the life, safety, and prosperity Of the. Great Khan."


Marco Polo dwells at great length upon the magnificence of the court of the Grand Khan, and gives a picturesque description of the grand hunts in which this royal personage indulged two or three times each year. But unlike royal sportsmen of to-day, the Grand Khan made his entrance upon the field in quest of game in a style of splendor almost if not equally as great as that which became him in his court at Cambaluc. Having no fire-arms in that day, the King made use of trained leopards, hawks, and gerfalcons, which pursued and took the prey before, the sight of the great ruler as he reposed in regal luxury in the downy bed of a howdah, on the back of one of his elephants. The Emperor was also attended upon these hunts by no less than ten thousand persons, and sometimes twice that number, the multitudes being protected at night in vast tents spread upon the plains. Describing these tents,
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Marco Polo says: "The first is the Khan's pavilion, under which ten thousand soldiers stand, besides barons and noblemen, with the door to the south, sustained by three pillars, wrought with curious and excellent carved work, and covered with the skins of lions and other wild beasts, which keep out rain; but within, the walls of the pavilion are covered with most costly skins of ermines and sables, although in those countries these skins are accounted most precious, so that sometimes skins worth two thousand sultanines of gold are scarce sufficient for one pair of vests. The Tartars call the sable the queen of furs. The cords wherewith these pavilions are supported are of silk. There are also other pavilions erected, wherein the wives, sons, and concubines of the king remain. Further also the falcons, hawks, gerfalcons, and other birds, which serve for "hawking, have their tents; for there is so great a multitude of tents that to them that come thither it seems at a distance as if a famous city was built there." It thus appears that the royal court, fully equipped, was present wherever the king might appear, and it is not improbable that he issued royal mandates from the howdah in which he made his bed, for his absence on these hunts was generally for a period of three months, during which time he was lavish in his distributions among the poor who hovered about the camp.


The inconceivable sumptuousness of all the surroundings of the Grand Khan, and the extraordinary wealth which he amassed is easily accounted for, when we consider the scheme which he employed for collecting and retaining the gold that was brought into his kingdom. Thus Marco Polo says, "The money of the Great Khan is not made of gold or silver or other metal; but they take the middle bark from the mulberry tree, and this they make firm, and cut into divers round pieces, great and little, and imprint the king's mark thereon; of this paper money therefore the Emperor causeth a huge mass to be made in the city of Cambaluc which sufficeth for the whole empire, and no man under pain of death may coin any other, or spend any other money, or refuse it in all his kingdoms and countries; nor any coming from another kingdom dare spend any other money in the empire of the Great Khan. Hence it follows that merchants, often coming from remote countries unto the city of Cambaluc bring with them gold, silver, pearl, and precious stones, and receive the king's money for them; and because this money is not received in their country, they change it again, in the empire of the Great Khan, for merchandise, which they carry away with them."

It is small wonder that Columbus and his contemporaries should have been carried away with the reports of Marco Polo, at the prospect of sharing with the Grand Khan, either by conquest or commercial relations, the vast stores of precious metal which he must have had in his treasury; for Marco Polo says that there was not a king to be found in all the world whose treasures exceeded that of the Great Khan.


But if the Emperor was covetous in making a great collection of precious stones and the more precious metals, he was equally considerate of the wants of his people, and established measures for their relief in times of great scarcity, and appointed officers to relieve also the necessities of those who were impoverished by accident or other unfortunate cause. Of this kindly disposition of the Grand Khan Marco Polo writes: "He sends yearly to the divers provinces of his empire to inquire whether any prejudice be done to the corn by tempests, locusts, worms, or other means; and when he hath notice given him that any province or city hath sustained any damage, he remits his tribute to that people for that year, and sends grain for victuals and for seed out of his own granaries; for in a time of great plenty the King buys abundance of corn, and keeps it with great care by his officers three or four years in granaries that when there happens to be a scarcity of corn in one country, that defect may be supplied out of the king's store-houses in another. He selleth his grain for a fourth part of the common price, and always provides that his store-houses are kept fully supplied. Likewise when any murrain lights among cattle, he sends them other cattle, which he has for tenths in other provinces; and if a thunderbolt has stricken any beast of any herd or flock, he receives no tribute from it for three years, let the herd be ever so great; neither will he receive any custom of a thunder-stricken sheep, as thinking God is angry with them that are stricken." This wise provision was a very much more liberal one than was made by the early Jewish rulers, or by any modern sect or religionists who have exacted tithings from their followers.


The king's provident care for the unfortunate in the various provinces of his kingdom was yet more liberal in the bestowals which he made upon the poor of Cambaluc, for Polo says: "When the King hears of any honorable family decayed by misfortune, or of any which cannot work, and have no subsistence, he gives to such families the whole year's expenses, each head of such families going to the officer for that purpose, and, showing the bill of allowance, receives provisions accordingly. There is a place set apart for those officers; they are provided also with garments for winter and for summer. The Khan receives a tenth of all wool, silk and hemp produced in his country, which he causes to be made into clothes, in a house for that purpose appointed; for all trades are bound one day in the week to work for him. He provides also apparel for his armies, and in every city causeth cloth to be made of his tithe wool. You must understand that the Tartars, according to their ancient customs, bestowed no alms, but rather upbraided those that were in necessity, as hated of God; but the idolaters, especially those Bachsi, have propounded it as a good work acceptable unto God, and have taught him to be thus bountiful; so that in this court bread is never denied to any who ask it, and there is no day in which is not given away twenty thousand crowns in rice, millet and panike; wherefore he is esteemed as a god by his subjects." It is possible that Sir Thomas More obtained from this account of Polo's the ideas for his Utopian Government.

Marco mentions a very curious thing which he had not seen elsewhere, that in the province of Cathay there were to be found certain black stones, which, being dug, were used as fuel, and which burned a much longer time and gave greater heat than wood. This reference is manifestly to coal, which was discovered in the eastern countries shortly before the twelfth century, and which was so little known in England that it was first used in London in 1240, nor was it in common use until sixty years later.

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