英国历史课本:中国印象(2)

忽必烈:英国初中生认识中世纪的中国

昨天提到了英国一本新的历史教科书里,提到了中国的发明。(教科书:History in Progress, 第一册,出版社Heinemann)

课文的第二个重点是:“在元大都(汗八里)城市的生活是怎么样的?”(What was life like in the city of Khanbaliq?)

这两页课文里,简介了蒙古人、忽必烈,还列出了马可波罗传记里,四则有关中国的文字。

课文说:十三世纪初,英格兰这一方,国王约翰和贵族男爵争执不休,亚洲和东欧的百姓,遭受巨大威胁。凶悍的骑士大军从蒙古直冲而下:他们就是蒙古人。蒙古人毁坏了村庄城镇,还把挡路的人都杀掉了。到了十三世纪中期,盘大的蒙古帝国占据了亚洲的大部分。

(At the beginning of the thirteenth century, when King John was arguing with the barons in England, people in Asia and even Eastern Europe faced a far more serious threat. From Mongolia came huge armies of fierce warrior horsemen: the Mongols. The Mongols destroyed villages, towns and cities killing those who got in their way. By the middle of the thirteenth century the huge Mongol empire had spread across most of Asia. )

为了激发学习兴趣,课文穿插了一则传闻(至于是不是耸人听闻,读者自己去决定吧!):

你知道吗?

蒙古人是真的很凶悍的。蒙古人占据了梅尔夫城(当今位于土库曼斯坦境内)后,杀掉了70万居民,还吃掉了居民所有的猫和狗–至少传言是这么说的。)

Did you know?

(The Mongols were very fierce indeed. When they took the cityof Merv (which is in Turkmenistan these days) the Mongols killed all 700,000 inhabitants and ate all the cats and dogs – or so the story goes.)

课文是如此介绍忽必烈的:谁是忽必烈?(Who was Kublai Khan?)

从1260到1294年,忽必烈是蒙古帝国的可汗(伟大的领袖)。他是成吉思汗的孙子。蒙古军凶悍,但忽必烈智慧过人,待人宽容。他推行纸币,改善水利,他也修筑道路、运河和发展大城市。

(Kublai Khan was the Great Khan (great leader) of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294. He was the grandson of the First Great Khan, Genghis Khan. The Mongols were known as fierce soldiers but Kublai Khan was a wise and tolerant ruler. He introduced paper money and improved the water supply. Kublai Khan also built roads, canals and great cities.)

课文列出了马可波罗对中国的描写。读完之后,学生要回答两个问题:

1)在十三世纪,你觉得中国最让你吃惊的事是什么? (What is the most surprising thing you have found out about China in the thirteenth century?)

2)你觉得中国最有趣的事是什么?(What is the most interesting thing you have found out about China? )

课文里记录了马可波罗传里的四则文字,如下:

(之一:有关忽必烈的皇宫):宫廷大而美,厅堂和寝殿处处。宫顶闪烁着七彩颜色,鲜红、翡翠、湛蓝、金黄,灿然光辉,晶莹剔透,光耀夺目,远目可及。

(“There is a palace of great size and beauty with many halls and residential quarters. The roof blazes with scarlet and green and blue and yellow and every colour, so brilliantly varnished that it glitters like crystal and the sparkle of it can be seen far away. ”)

(之二:有关使用煤炭–虽然煤炭已在欧洲使用,但马可波罗还未见过):他们使用一些石子般的东西,烧起来,像木头一样。他们当然也有柴薪。当地人口众多,澡堂很多,澡堂的水总是热的,柴薪不可能够用。在那里,每个人每星期至少到澡堂两、三回,如果可能的话,冬天则每天都洗澡。有身份地位的人,家里都有自己的浴室。这些石子般的东西,多又便宜,省下了很多木头。

(“They use stones that burn like logs. It is true that they have plenty of firewood, too. But the population is so enormous and there are so many bath-houses and baths constantly being heated, that it would be impossible to supply enough firewood, since there is no one who does not visit a bath-house at least three times a week to take a bath- in winter every day, if he can manage it. Every man of rank or means has its own bathroom in his house. So these stones, being very plentiful and very cheap, effect a great saving of wood.”)

(之三:城市里的生活):城里有1万2千座石桥,桥下可通大船。商贾富裕,夫人养尊处优。成吉思汗的臣民崇拜偶像,使用纸币。他们吃狗肉和其他野兽,为基督教徒所不为。这个城市里有4000个澡堂,男女干净无比,澡堂之大,澡堂之华丽,为世界之最。

(“The city has 12,000 stone bridges, and beneath most of these bridges a large ship might pass. Here are many merchants who are very rich. Their ladies do nothing with their own hands and they live in the most elegant manner. The people are idolaters, subject to the Great Khan, and use paper money. They eat the flesh of dogs and other beasts, such as no Christian would touch for the world. In the city are 4,000 baths, in which the people, both men and women, keep their persons very cleanly. They are the largest and most beautiful baths in the world.”)

(之四:夜幕之城):街道笔直宽敞,从城门的一头,可以看见城门的另一头。良舍华宫处处。有座大宫殿,尖塔上有巨钟,午夜敲三下后,不可出城。每一道城门都有1000名卫兵驻守,保卫忽必烈,防止盗窃。

 (“The streets are so broad and so straight that from one gate another is visible. It contains many beautiful houses and palaces, and a very large one in the middle which has a steeple with a large bell which at night sounds three times, after which no man must leave the city. At each gate a thousand men keep guard to keep Kublai Khan safe and prevent injury by robbers. ”)

读完了这四段文字,学生(11岁到12岁)描述在中世纪,在元大都(汗八里)城里,人们的生活如何。最后,学生要用五个英文字,来总结中世纪的中国的生活。(Back to the start: Which five words would you use to sum up life in China in the Middle Ages?)

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Janet Williams 張玉雲

I am Janet Williams, an academic living in the southeast of England. I blog about culture, history, languages and my community. I created Chandler's Ford Today. During my spare time, I make Origami. Thank you for stopping by.

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