Reviews

Through the treatise al-Qand fi dhikr ‘ulama Samarqand [“The Sweet in the Recollection of the Scholars of Samarqand”] by Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-Nasafi al-Maturidi (d. 537/1142), its abridged version by the latter’s pupil Abu’l-Fadl Muhammad al-Samarqandi and its varied Persian translations, the author assesses the original information provided by Abu Hafs on Qarshi itself, and on fifteenth rural places around it.  Though the very simplified transcription system does not always permit the reader to identify precisely the orthographies provided by the different authors quoted in this paper, the author’s erudite etymological and historical explanations for each place name (notably on the Soghdian roots of many of them) provide interesting elements on these names’ substratum and evolution through the ages.

Another contribution of the same issue surveys the historical data on Qarshi in a variety of written documents from the ninth to the nineteenth century (Buriev A., “Nakhshab – Nasaf – Karshi v pis’mennykh istochnikakh [Nakhshab – Nasaf – Qarshi in Written Sources],” ibid.: 18-26).  As it is often the case in present-day Central Asian erudition, the author has been gathering information on distinct events or facts concerning the city out of arch-classical textual primary sources: on the resistance against the Arab invaders in the “History” of Tabari; on Mukanna’s revolt in Narshakhi’s “History of Bukhara;” on the successive orthographies of the city’s pre-modern name in Yaqut’s Mu‘jam al-buldan; on the impact of the Mongol conquest in Rashid al-Din’s Jami‘ al-tawarikh; on Qarshi’s political status as a capital city in the early fourteenth-century Ulus of Chaghatay in Ibn Battuta’s travelogue; on the campaigns for the control of Qarshi from the early sixteenth to the mi-eighteenth century in the Sharaf-nama-yi shahi, the Bahr al-asrar, the Dastur al-muluk, and the ‘Ubayd-Allah-nama; about ‘Abd al-Malik Tura’s failed coup in Qarshi in Sami’s Ta’rikh-i salatin-i Manghitiyya, etc.

According to another distinctive feature of current Central Asian historical scholarship, the authors of these two articles refer exclusively to manuscripts or editions of the primary sources on which they are basing their considerations, omitting the rich modern tradition of research on them—local, Russian/Soviet, Western.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-2.4-139