Reviews

The author, a young scholar from Ege University in Izmir, has produced the first complete monographic treatment of the Khanate of Kasimov since Veliaminov-Zernov’s monumental four-volume dynastic study that appeared in Russia in the 1860s. The Khanate of Kasimov was a small Chinggisid puppet state established by Muscovy in the 1440s after the founding of the Khanate of Kazan, which served as an appanage for Chinggisid dynasts who were loyal to Russia and could challenge, with Muscovite support, dynasts in Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia. The Khanate of Kasimov cannot be said to have ever had an independent political existence, but it functioned internally as a Golden Horde successor state, and as such its internal structure is particularly well documented. Its limited political importance in steppe politics declined substantially after the Muscovite conquest of Kazan in 1552, but it retained a series of Chinggisid dynasts until the last decade of the seventeenth century. It is of particular interest for its significance to the cultural history of the Golden Horde and its successor states, not least because it was the location where several important Chinggisid court histories were produced under Russian patronage over the course of the seventeenth century.

S. Acar’s work is based primarily on published Russian sources, including Veliaminov-Zernov’s work, and in large measure follows the latter work’s structure, examining the khanate’s dynasts in chronological order. He supplements his study with N. Shishkin’s late-nineteenth century history of the city of Kasimov, and with numerous travel accounts, including those of several English travellers. He also makes good use of Western studies of Russian imperial ideology and dynastic politics, including the works of J. Fennell, J. Pelenski, Edward Keenan, Donald Ostrowski, and Janet Martin, among others. Overall the study is a well-written synthesis of Veliaminov-Zernov’s fundamental and still-indispensible study, and more recent scholarship analysing early modern Russian history. While the monograph constitutes a very useful and solid study of the Khanate of Kasimov, S. Acar appears to have overlooked some of the important scholarship produced in Kazan over the last twenty years. These include primarily works by Damir Iskhakov, including a case study of sayyids and their political role in the Khanate of Kasimov. Similarly, the author appears unaware of the historical works produced in Kasimov, especially Qadir-‘Ali Bek Jalayiri’s Jami’ al-tawarikh, written in 1602, and a major source of the dynastic history of the Golden Horde successor states. These relatively minor points notwithstanding, S. Acar’s monograph constitutes a solid contribution to the Islamic history, and it is hoped both the author and other Turkish scholars will continue to publish similar works.

Allen J. Frank, Takoma Park, MD
CER: II-3.2.C-170