QUILON, n.p. A form which we have adopted from the Portuguese for the name of a town now belonging to Travancore; once a very famous and much frequented port of Malabar, and known to the Arabs as Kaulam. The proper name is Tamil, Kollam, of doubtful sense in this use. Bishop Caldwell thinks it may be best explained as ‘Palace’ or ‘royal residence,’ from Kolu, ‘the royal Presence,’ or Hall of Audience. [Mr. Logan says: “Kollam is only an abbreviated form of Koyilagam or Kovilagam, ‘King’s house’ ” (Malabar, i. 231, note).] For ages Kaulam was known as one of the greatest ports of Indian trade with Western Asia, especially trade in pepper and brazil-wood. It was possibly the Malé of Cosmas in the 6th century (see MALABAR), but the first mention of it by the present name is about three centuries later, in the Relation translated by Reinaud. The ‘Kollam era’ in general use in Malabar dates from A.D. 824; but it does not follow that the city had no earlier existence. In a Syriac extract (which is, however, modern) in Land’s Anecdota Syriaca (Latin, i. 125; Syriac, p. 27) it is stated that three Syrian missionaries came to Kaulam in A.D. 823, and got leave from King Shakirbirti to build a church and city at Kaulam. It would seem that there is some connection between the date assigned to this event, and the ‘Kollam era’; but what it is we cannot say. Shakirbirti is evidently a form of Chakravartti Raja (see under CHUCKER- BUTTY). Quilon, as we now call it, is now the 3rd town of Travancore, pop. (in 1891) 23,380; there is little trade. It had a European garrison up to 1830, but now only one Sepoy regiment.

In ecclesiastical narratives of the Middle Ages the name occurs in the form Columbum, and by this name it was constituted a See of the Roman Church in 1328, suffragan of the Arch-bishop of Sultaniya in Persia; but it is doubtful if it ever had more than one bishop, viz. Jordanus of Severac, author of the Mirabilia often quoted in this volume. Indeed we have no knowledge that he ever took up his bishopric, as his book was written, and his nomination occurred, both-during a visit to Europe. The Latin Church however which he had founded, or obtained the use of, existed 20 years later, as we know from John de’ Marignolli, so it is probable that he had reached his See. The form Columbum is accounted for by an inscription (see Ind. Antiq. ii. 360) which shows that the city was called Kolamba, [other forms being Kelambapattana, or Kalambapattana (Bombay Gazetteer, vol. i. pt. i. 183)]. The form Palumbum also occurs in most of the MSS. of Friar Odorie’s Journey; this is the more difficult to account for, unless it was a mere play (or a trick of memory) on the kindred meanings of columba and palumbes. A passage in a letter from the Nestorian Patriarch Yeshu’-yab (c. 650–60) quoted in Assemani (iii. pl. i. 131), appears at that date to mention Colon. But this is an arbitrary and erroneous rendering in Assemani’s Latin. The Syriac has Kalah, and probably therefore refers to the port of the Malay regions noticed under CALAY and QUEDDA.

851.—“De ce lieu (Mascate) les navires mettent la voile pour l’Inde, et se dirigent vers Koulam-Malay; la distance entre Mascate et Koulam-Malay est d’un mois de marche, avec un vent modéré.”—Relation, &c., tr. by Reinaud, i. 15.

1166.—“Seven days from thence is Chulam, on the confines of the country of the sun-worshippers, who are descendants of Kush…and are all black. This nation is very trustworthy in matters of trade…. Pepper grows in this country…. Cinnamon, ginger, and many other kinds of spices also grow in this country.”—Benjamin of Tudela, in Early Travels in Palestine, 114–115.

c. 1280–90.—“Royaumes de Ma-pa-’rh. Parmi tous les royaumes étrangers d’aude-là des mers, il n’y eut que Ma-pa-’rh et Kiu-lan (Mabar and Quilon) sur lesquels on ait pu parvenir à établir une certaine sujétion; mais surtout Kiu-lan…. (Année 1282). Cette année…Kiu-lan a envoyé un ambassadeur à la cour (mongole) pour présenter en tribut des marchandises precieuses et un singe noir.”—Chinese Annals, quoted by Pauthier, Marc Pol, ii. 603, 643.

1298.—“When you quit Maabar and go 500 miles towards the S.W. you come to the Kingdom of Coilum. The people are idolators, but there are also some Christians and some Jews,” &c.—Marco Polo, Bk. iii. ch. 22.

c. 1300.—“Beyond Guzerat are Kankan and Tána; beyond them the country of Malibár, which from the boundary of Karoha to Kúlam, is 300 parasangs in length…. The people are all Samánis, and worship idols….”—Rashíduddín, in Elliot, i. 68.

c. 1310.—“Ma’bar extends in length from Kúlam to Níláwar (Nellore) nearly 300 parasangs along the sea - coast….”—Wassáf, in Elliot, iii. 32.

c. 1322.—“…as I went by the sea…towards a certain city called Polumbum (where groweth the pepper in great store)….”—Friar Odoric, in Cathay, p. 71.

c. 1322.—“Poi venni a Colonbio, ch’ è la migliore terra d’India per mercatanti. Quivi è il gengiovo in grande copia e del bueno del mondo. Quivi vanno tutti ignudi salvo che portano un panno innanzi alla vergogna,…e legalosi di dietro.”—Palatine MS. of Odoric, in Cathay, App., p. xlvii.

c. 1328.—“In India, whilst I was at Columbum, were found two cats having wings like

  By PanEris using Melati.

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