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The Khazars and the Turks in the Ākām al-Marjān Author(s): V. Minorsky Source: Bulletin of
The Khazars and the Turks in the Ākām al-Marjān Author(s): V. Minorsky Source: Bulletin of

The Khazars and the Turks in the Ākām al-Marjān Author(s): V. Minorsky

Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London, Vol. 9, No. 1 (1937),

pp. 141-150

Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the School of Oriental and African Studies

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The

Khazars and the Turks in the Akam

By V. MINORSKY

al-Marjan

N 1929 Professor Angela Codazzi published a careful edition, with an Italian translation, of a geographical compendium by Ishaq

ibn al-Husayn

al-mashhiira fT kull makdn.1 According to Professor Nallino's suggestion the author may be identical with one of the sources

mentioned by Idrisi (" Ishaq ibn al-HIusaynal-munajjim ") and by

Ibn-Khaldin (" Ishaq ibn al-Hasan (?) al-Khazinl"). As

the date of the text, the editor takes as its terminus a quo 262/875 and

as its terminus ad quem 454/1062. Most probably he belongs to the eleventh century. Several indications suggest that the author was a native of the westernmost part of the Islamic world (Spain ?). He

seems to have used (directly or indirectly ?) Khuwarizmi's rifacimento

of Ptolemy

likeness have been

legend on Alexandria and another on the Seven Sleepers) 2 and in

Ibn-Rusta (San'a, Saba', Misr, and the Khazar lands). Very judiciously Professor Codazzi (p. 461, note 5) points out some confusion in our author, who, under al-Khazar, quotes a feature 3 which in Ibn-Rusta belongs to the Burdas (Burtas), and we shall see that such cases are much more numerous in our text!

On the whole, the compendium, though not very original, gives some curious facts regarding the towns of the Islamic countries. It

shows a marked predilection for historical data relating to

conquest, local risings, etc. Quite isolated are the two last paragraphs, on the Khazars and the Turks, where the description becomes very vague and some puzzling and misunderstood forms of names occur.

These two passages will form the subject of the present article with a view to explaining the facts quoted, and ascertaining the sources from which they were borrowed by the author.

entitled Kitab akam al-marjan fT dhikr al-mad&'in

regards

and Ya'q-ibi's Kitab al-buldan.

Some single points of

discovered by the editor in I. Khurdadhbih (a

their

1 Rendiconti della R. Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Classe di scienze morali,

Novembre-Dicembre,

them.

I. Kh., 35, quotes the taxes only for Khorasan [and 'Iraq].

have rounded off I. Kh.'s sums, e.g. Bokhair, 1,189,200 dirhams > 1,000,000;

Nishipiir 4,108,900 > 5,000,000;

the sums are apparently false : for the

I. Kh.'s 307,440) and for the enormous Khorsdin 10,000,000 (instead of 44,846,000).

1929, pp. 373-463.

2 Under several towns our author quotes the amount of taxes

3 Freedom of the women.

Gurgin

10,176,800 >

paid by

Our author seems to

But

some of

insignificant Sarakhs 1,000,000 (instead of

10,000,000.

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142

V. MINORSKY-

The quotations below reproduce the text as it stands in the unique

MS. belonging to the Ambrosiana of Milan.

Professor Codazzi's emendations of obvious character. My own corrections will be found in my translation.

Asterisks mark some of

S

LIV.

(sic.V.M.)

.

*)

THE

LANDS

OF THE KHAZAR AND

*SARIGHSHIN.

1. " These are vast

and ex-

tensive lands on the confines of

*al-SarIr.

2. " Their supreme king pro-

fesses Judaism.

Ibn-Rusta

p. 147,. " You travel from al-

Khazar [i.e. from the capital of

Sarir) 12

days."

the

Khazar] to

(the

p.

"their

13912.

[The

Khazars]:

supreme chief

professes

the religion of the Jews."

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KHAZARS

AND

THE

TURKS

Khazars)

their

turn) are attacked by the (people) of *al-SarIr.

fight

3.

" They

the

(i.e. the

and

Turks

(in

great

army.

there

country are (numerous) fields, gardens, and fruits [v. i. 9].

4. " Their king has

5.

" In

their

a

6. " To it belong many towns,

among which is *

Balanjar, which is in subjection to the Khazar king. And from it

come out 10,000 fighters.

~

7. " Their appearance and

bodies (manizir wa-ajsam) are like those of the Turks.

8. "With

them,

when

a

woman reaches (maturity) she chooses whomsoever she wants of

men;

in subjection to her father and mother.

9. " (This country) is situated

in the plains and most of its trees

are khalanj (the wood of which) is exported to Khorasan, and this is their greatest wealth. They possess fields [v. s. 5].

(then) she ceases to be

10. "Most

of

them

(yantahiliina)

(?).

profess

IN

THE

AKAM

AL-MARJAN

143

Ibn-Rusta

p. 1405. "Every year the

Khazars lead an army against the Pechenegs."

" It is said that the

Khazars had previously built fortifications to protect them-

selves against the Majghari and other neighbouring nations."

p. 1431.

p. 1415.

"[The

possess fields."

Burdas]

p. 14016. " [The Burdas] are

in subjection to the Khazar king and from them come out 10,000

horse."

p. 14020.

[The

Burdas]:

" their religion resembles that of

the

appearance and bodies (la-hum ru'5' wa-manzar wa-ajsdm)."

Ghuzz and they

have

fine

p. 1411. " When a girl of theirs

reaches (maturity) she ceases to be in subjection to her father and chooses for herself whomsoever

she wants of men

."

p.

1415.

They

live

in the

plains. Most of their trees are

khalanj. They possess fields. Most of their goods are honey, martens (dalaq), and furs.

p. 14116. [The Bulkar] " Most

of them profess (yantahililna) the religion of Islam."

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144

V.

MINORSKY-

11. ' And among their towns

is

which

is

a great river flowing from the *Khazar lake (?) to the Khorasan lake.

like

*al-Bay.da-*Hab-baligh, and beautiful and lies on

great

12. "Their

graves those of the Muslims.

are

13. " Most of them burn their

dead

[Cf. under Turk, point 6.]

as

atonement

for them."

p

Ibn-Rusta

13914.

[The

Khazar]:

their capital is *Sarighshin and

by it (biha) is another town

called

or

p. 1421. [The Bulkar] : " their

graves

Muslims."

p. 1414. [The Burdas]: " They

are of two classes : the ones burn

their dead and the others bury them."

are

like

those

of

the

The

foregoing

analysis

has

clearly

shown

that

the

para-

graph on the

Rusta's chapters on al-Khazar (1394-14013), Burdas (14014-1417), and Bulkar (1417-1424). The extraordinary confusion of the characteristicsof the three nations 1 may be due to the fact that, in the

compiler's source, the headings of the chapters were omitted, as is often the case when spaces are left in blank for subsequent rubrications. Another source of confusion must be connected with the desire to fit

in Ibn-Khurdadhbih's short passage (p. 124) on the Khazar towns:

Khazars is

a

patchwork

of

data

found

in

Ibn-

L.J

~-LL

? )

in Arabic

('.

script looks

.-•~'-i1

very

The second name

-.•j.

much like

and the

epitomator substituted the latter (found in Ibn-Rusta) ,•L•. for the former

But Ibn-Rusta nowhere says that the

Bulkar (Kama Bulghars) were subjects of the Khazar king, and this item undoubtedly refers to Balanjar, which lay to the north-east of the Caucasus range and belonged to the Khazar.

mentioned in the heading of the paragraph is

(found in

Ibn-Khurdadhbih).

WjL J1

doubtless the name of the Khazar capital, or rather of the part of it situated on the western bank of the Volga, which appears in I. Rusta as

,

in

the Hud&d al-'Alam as

in

Bakri as

aLb,

that the unusual name of the second town mentioned in our

I think

text is nothing but a combination of two names found respectively in

•jp,-

.

1 Burdds (or

and Bulkdr for the

stands probably for the ancestors of the present-day Mordva,

Bur.tas)

Kama Bulghars.

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KHAZARS

AND

THE

TURKS

IN

THE

AKAM

AL-MARJAN

145

I. Khurdadhbih and I. Rusta.

we shall place these names under the form found in the Akam :-

In order to make the comparison clear

V

Lh.2

Of these, al-Baydi " the White one " is the name given by I. Kh. to the western part of the capital, which I. Rusta calls by its native

[town ?] ". On the other hand,

quoted by I. Rusta is evidently the name of

. said to flow, may

name of

" The Yellow

•*'

L~-

or

the eastern part of the capital which I. Kh. spells

.

The " Khazar lake ", out of which the river is .

or

reflect some confusion of the meanings of Arabic bahr and Persian daryai, which both stand for "a sea, and a large river ". The original may have referred to the fact that the canal on which the capital stood was a part of the Khazar river (bahr). Buhayra may then be

a secondary Verschlimmbesserung for bahr.

The name -

must certainly be restored as

" The

Throne ", i.e. " the possessions of the Master of the Throne 1 ", a well- known designation of a kingdom in the northern Daghestan, of which

the nucleus must have been the present-day Avar territory (on the Qoy-su). The S~hib al-Sarir was quite rightly the immediate southern neighbour of the Khazar king. The mention of wars between them is

probably a mere amplification of the epitomator's. We shall leave aside for the moment the extraordinarily close analogies of our Khazar paragraph with I. Rusta's text and shall

consider the question of borrowings more completely after we have examined the second paragraph describing the " Turks ".

VOL.

IX.

PART

1.

10

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146

v.

MINORSKY-

~"AN~

4

>FTjETURKS.

"A

OF

1. " These are extensive and

vast lands which, in the north,

adjoin the *Northern Sea, and, in the east, the lands of the

Toghuzghuz.

2. " The Turks are courageous

(fine)

and

aspect and (fine) bodies.

valiant

and

have

a

3. " They are the most skil-

ful of people in the. preparation of felts, for the latter serve them

as garments.

4. " They

have

milk

(in

plenty) and game is plentiful.

5. " Their country is very cold

They possess under-

ard)

and snowy.

ground dwellings (asrdbfi'l

which they

rigours of the cold.

enter to escape the

THE

TURKS.

[Cf. under Khazar, point 7.]

Gardizi, 84 : " In summer the Kimik drink mare's milk they hunt sable-martens and

grey squirrels

" In the land [of

falls

snow.

They have underground tanks

of

(chiy-ha < chih-ha) timber for the winter.

snowfall is heavy they drink that water stored in the month of Tir, for their horses cannot go through the snow to the watering place."

the

"

Gardizi, 84.

Kimik]

much

made

When the

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KHAZARS

AND

THE

TURKS

6. "They are idol worship.

pers, may God Almighty humiliate

them.

dead.

They They pray twice in the daytime and fast (only) one day.

burn their

7. " Their river flows into the

sea of Tabaristan and in it are found fish which stick to the feet

(of the bathers ?). The river

the

dries up (Turks) drink only from lakes (or marshes).

in

summer

and

8. " In their country there is

a mighty mountain with a tree

) on it. On the tree (?)

are the marks of two hands, two

feet, and a knee, as if (some one had been) worshipping there. And everyone of them who notices those traces worships them.

(•;

.?-

in (their country ?)

there are herds of untamed horses

which have become wild in the desert."

9. " And

IN

THE

AKAM

AL-MARJAN

147

Khirkhiz

[neighbours of the Kimak] burn

their

and they

purest thing and whatever falls into it becomes pure." [Cf. under

Khazar, point 13.]

Gardizi, 83. [On the way to the Kimiks, beyond the mountain

Kinda'uir, is the river Asus (?)] :

its water is black, it flows from

the east, until it joins the sea [dar, read: dary&] of Tabaristan. After this, the river Artush (Irtish) is reached where the land of the

Kimik begins.

Birfini, c'-Athar al-biqiya, p. 2645: " And similar to this lake

[of Tils] is a spring

of fresh water in the land of the Kimak in a mountain called M. nkfir, as large as a large shield. The level of the water in it is up to the brim, and sometimes an army drinks from it and it does

not dwindle a finger's breadth. Near this spring, there is a trace of a man's foot, of his palms with

their five fingers and of'his knees, as if he had been worshipping; and also traces of the steps of a child and of the hooves of a

Ghuzz

donkey. And whenever the

Turks see (that

worship it."

Gardizi, 83. " On both banks of the Irtish pasture wild horses. Their race is from the king's horses which have become wild," etc.

Gardizi, 87:

dead,

like

say

"the

the

Indians;

the

that

Fire is

(

-.)

place) they

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148

V. MINORSKY-

Though the description of the " Turks " is very general and no tribes are distinguished among them, it is curious that the territory of the Toghuzghuz, the most celebrated of the Turkish tribes,' is said

to lie to the east of, and consequently separate from, the " Turk " land. The analysis of the text shows that what the author really means

by Turk is the particular tribe of Kimak (*Kimak),2 which lived near the Irtish, but, " when there was peace between them and the Ghuz," visited the latter's territory in winter, cf. Huditdal-'Alam, ? 18. These periodical movements are a source of great confusion in our sources in which two different territories are usually telescoped into one " Kimak land ". Therefore one might improve our Bahr al-shami

into Bahr al-Shash ('L.4). The latter term would be

possible for the Aral sea into which disembogues " the Shash

(CL[-)

quite

river " (Jaxartes), and the Ghuz territories are usually associated with the Aral sea. On the other hand, Professor Codazzi's correction

Bahr al-shamali (3Lc ) "Northern sea" has the advantage of suiting the Huded al-'Alam, according to which the Kimiik territories extended in the north up to the Northern Uninhabited Lands. The river mentioned in the text belongs to the region between the Irtish and the Caspian Sea, of which Muslim authors (Mas'iidI,Mur7j, i, 213; Hudjid al-'Alam, ? 6, 41; Gardizi, 83) give very entangled descriptions. Our sources do not know the lower course of the Irtish :

the Hudid al-'Alam takes the latter for an affluent of the Volga; moreover, the authors mentioned have a vague idea of the exist- ence of some other river flowing to the Caspian, to the west of the

Irtish. The Ural (Yayiq) river and the Emba, disemboguing into the Caspian, the rivers of the steppes to the north-east of the Aral sea (such as the Irghiz and Turghai), and even some left affluents of the Irtish may be partly responsible for the confused descriptions of the course of this second river. The new detail added by the Akam, namely that the river dries up in the summer, points to the steppe region.

The two last paragraphs, which stand isolated in the text of the Akdm, refer to the north-eastern territories lying pretty close to each other, and it would be strange if their description were due to two

1 By Toghuzghuz Muslim writers mean both the tribes which originally belonged

the ancient Turkish (in Chinese in the eastern T'ien-shan.

Tu-ch'iteh) Empire, and the later Uyghur

to

possessions

2 According to Idrisi (Jaubert), ii, 221, the Kimdkiya border on the Toghuzghuz in the south, but the bearings in Muslim authors constantly vary up to 900.

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KHAZARS AND THE TURKS IN

THE AKAM AL-MARJAN

149

different sources. After all, one might suppose that

Ibn-Khurdadhbih's

original work contained a more complete account of the Kimik land

than the bare mention of a road to this tribe (BGA., vi, 28 =

Qudama,

209).

Bulghar (Bulkar) cannot be explained from I. Khurdadhbih. More probably, therefore, the description of the Kimik territory was only one of the items in Jayhani's description of the Turkish lands (as

reflected in the Hudiid al-'Alam, ?? 12-22). The Khazar-Burdas- Bulkar chapters undoubtedly existed in Jayhani. The latter's Kitab al-nmamn7likwal-masalik has not come down to

us, but, by quotations and analogous passages in I. Rusta, I. Faqih,

I. Hauqal, the HudTidal-'Alam, Muqaddasi, 'Aufi, etc., we know how

great was the authority and influence of the Samanid vazir who

systematically

relevant information.

volumes !) renderedit difficult to make and distribute copies, and there are no indications that it was directly accessible in the extreme west of

the Muslim world where our epitomator lived.

But then the bulk of our data on the Khazar-Burtas (Burdas)-

utilized his exceptional opportunities for collecting

However, the size of Jayhani's work (seven

We have, then, to suppose that Jayhani's data were used by our

The obvious person

to come to mind is al-Bakri (d. 487/1094),

Isha1q b. Husayn presumably was, and whose work enjoyed great

esteem among his contemporaries.

Indeed, the Gayangos MS.' of

whose countryman our

author through the work of some other author.

Bakri's al-Mamalik wal-masdlik contains chapters on the Khazar-

Furdas (Burtas, Burdas)-Bulkar, but in an abridged form omitting several items which appear in our compendium. Consequently the latter must be independent of Bakri, and, as the

two possible transmitters of Jayhani's data, we might in principle consider I. Rusta or Ibn al-Faqih.2 Both authors' works, as reproduced

Even the copy of Ibn al-Faqih

in de Goeje's edition, are incomplete.

discovered in Mashhad by A. Z. Validi contains neither the chapters on the Khazar-Burdas-Bulkar nor the items on the Kimdik quoted in our analysis. In I. Rusta's text, as printed by de Goeje in BGA., vii,

1 All traces of it seem to have been lost, but the relevant passages from it bearing

on Eastern Europe were published by Defremery in Journ. As., 1849, t. 13, pp. 460-477, and re-edited with commentary by Baron Rosen and Kunik, Izvestiya al-Bakri, etc., SPb., i, 1878, ii, 1903. [I hear from M. W. MarQais that a very complete MS. of

undertaken its

al-Bakri has been discovered

publication.] 2 Al Bakri quotes as his source (in Jayhdni matters) a certain Ahmad. Baron Rosen, op. cit., 17, thought that the person meant was Abmad b. Muhammad al-Hamadhini

in Morocco and that

M. Colin has

(=

Ibn al-Faqih), but, as a matter of fact, Ibn-Rusta's name also was Ar4mad b. 'Omar.

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150 KHAZARS AND THE TURKS IN THE AKAM AL-MARJAN

the chapters on the Turks are lacking, but, at least, his Khazar- Burdas-Bulkar passages account for our text almost verbatim. Still disbelieving the possibility that two different sources were used by Ishaq b. al-Husayn, I feel inclined to admit that at the bottom of the two passages in the Akam there must be a more complete manuscript of Ibn-Rusta.

Turks,

we must add that Gardizi, in his extremely valuable chapter on the

Turks,' expressly mentions Jayhani among his sources. Birfini does not unfortunately indicate the origin of the story about the spring in the Kimik land, but almost immediately after, and in the same

paragraph, he quotes Jayhani's testimony on a spring between Bukhara and Qaryat al-haditha, and, further, on the columns of the Qayrawanmosque. If only the items on the Kimdk in Birfini (300/1000) and Gardizi(c. 442/1050) were borrowedfrom Jayhani, the earlierIbn- Rusta and Ibn al-Faqih 2 (both writing in the earlier part of the tenth century) could not have failed to know them through the same author,

whom they certainly did utilize.

Akdm

the Textkritik

al-marjan may appear to be merely destructive. Yet

of our composite geographical texts is one of the very urgent problems, and by disentangling the data of a fresh source and defining the measure of its trustworthiness some useful purpose is served. It is

necessary, too, to obviate any eventual speculation with misspellings which might be taken for novelties. Indirectly dur analysis gives a new weight to the important unknown source (Jayhani ?) which is at the bottom of so many older geographical works.3

As regards the parallel texts quoted in the paragraph on the

Our examination

of

the

two

last

paragraphs of

the

1 Edited

No. 4, 1897.

by Barthold,

in

Mlemoires

de l'Ac.

2 According to the Fihrist,

book ".

154, Ibn al-Faqih

de St.-Petersbourg,

viiie s'rie,

I,

" plundered (salaklha)Jayhdni's

3 See V. Barthold's and my own Prefaces to the Hudf~d al-'Alam, Gibb Memorial,

new series, vol. 17, 1937.

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