Reviews

This notice on the eleventh-century CE Turkic poet Yusuf Khass Hajib of Balasaghun, and on his “mirror for princes” the Qutadhghu bilig (“Wisdom of Royal Glory”) completed in Kashghar in 1069-70—the oldest monument of Turkic Islamic literature—, is based on the three surviving manuscripts of this work.  As in his previous publications and those by H. Inalcik, the author shows how in his didactical prologue Yusuf attempts to assimilate the Inner Asian traditions of royalty and wisdom to the Irano-Islamic ideals of statecraft in a Turkic dress and, so doing, follows the model of Firdawsi who had consolidated the Iranian tradition of kingship within the framework of Islamic culture in a Persian dress.  At the same time, the second half of the Qutadhghu bilig introduces a new theme: the conflict between the political goals of the state and the religious conscience of the individual.  Here Yusuf incorporates Sufi asceticism as an opposing ideal to statecraft ethics.  Another significant contribution of Yusuf to the mirror for princes genre is to dramatise the issues in the form of dialogues, within a frame story, among characters with significant allegorical names.

The Redaction
CER: I-6.3.A-563