Archive for the ‘Persian’ Tag

Some Judeo-Persian manuscripts at the BnF   1 comment

Previously I have highlighted some Georgian manuscripts that the Bibliothèque nationale de France has graciously made freely available online. Here is a list of Judeo-Persian manuscripts from the BnF that I have been able to find at Gallica. (If I happen to have missed one, please let me know.) They mostly come from the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries, some of them with colophons. While these manuscripts obviously fall outside of the delimiter “eastern Christian” that guides most of the posts appearing here, I know that at least some readers of the blog have, just as I do, broader interests than that delimiter allows. Most of the texts here are biblical; for details about published biblical texts in Persian (Judeo-Persian and otherwise), see my hitherto incomplete bibliography here.

These manuscripts often have a verse in Hebrew followed immediately by a Persian translation. For the Catalogues des manuscrits hébreux et samaritains de la Bibliothèque Impériale (Munk, Derenbourg, Franck, and Zotenberg) see at Gallica here and archive.org here. The few remarks I give below rely on this volume.

Un grand merci à la BnF de partager ces manuscrits!

70 Pentateuch http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9002771d (catalog)

BnF héb 70, f. 22v, end of Gen 14 in Heb and Judeo-Persian

BnF héb 70, f. 22v, end of Gen 14 in Heb and Judeo-Persian

71 Pentateuch http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90027700 (catalog)

  • The Persian text of №s 70-71 is said to follow Targum Onqelos closely.

90 Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064442x (catalog)

  • Probably the same scribe as №s 70-71.

97 Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (to 10:3), with David Kimḥi’s commentary http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064631t (catalog)

100 Jeremiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644470 (catalog)

  • Different from the version in № 97. Like some of the other JP translations, this one follows Onqelos more than the MT.

101 Minor Prophets, Lamentations http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644151 (catalog)

  • The margins have some of the Persian in Perso-Arabic script.

116 Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Esther http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064448d (catalog)

117 Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064446k (catalog)

BnF héb 117, f. 1v, the beginning of Proverbs in Heb and Judeo-Persian

BnF héb 117, f. 1v, the beginning of Proverbs in Heb and Judeo-Persian

118 Job, Lamentations, Jeremiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644544 (catalog)

120 Job http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064420b (catalog)

121 Job http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644188 (catalog)

127 Esther, benedictions, and a Purim song (Heb and Pers) http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064444r (catalog)

129 Daniel http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90645658 (catalog)

130 Tobit, Judith, Bel and the Dragon, Megillat Antiochos[1] http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064465x (catalog)

BnF héb 130, f. 58r, colophon in Persian in Perso-Arabic and Hebrew script

BnF héb 130, f. 58r, colophon in Persian in Perso-Arabic and Hebrew script

The colophon (f. 58r) reads as follows:

نبشتة (!) شد این کتاب در موضع لار سال هزار و نوه صد ودوازده

נבשתה שוד אין כתאב דר מוצׄע לאר סאל הזאר ונוה צד ודואזדה

nevešte šod in ketāb dar mawẓiʿ-e Lār sāl-e hezār o noh sad o davāzdah

This book was written in the village of Lār in the year 1912 [AG, = 1600/1].

[1] The Aramaic text, for whatever it’s worth (Kaufman’s comments here), is available at the CAL site sub Late Jewish Literary Aramaic, text 81406.

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Old Georgian phrases and sentences 37 (Visramiani § 14)   Leave a comment

The following selection from the Visramiani (on which see briefly in this earlier post) is a list of gifts. As such, it’s good for vocabulary, and simple on grammar. No verbs this time.

Visramiani, § 14 (p. 68.34-39)

მრავალი ბროლისა ჯამი, ტაბაკნი და ოქროისა ჭურჭელი, ყუელა თუალითა შეკაზმული და მრავალთერი სურნელი და ყუელასთანა ტყავი და მრავალნი მონა-მჴევალნი: ბერძენნი, ჩინელნი, [პირ-მთუარენი] ყუელანი კეკლუცნი, ვითა ველურნი თხანი სიქსუითა და ჯერეთ სიქალითა და სიშუენიერითა, ვითა ფარშამანგნი, ლამაზნი.

Vocabulary

  • ბროლი crystal (cf. βήρυλλος)
  • ჯამი bowl
  • ტაბაკი serving dish
  • ოქროჲ gold
  • ჭურჭელი vessel, container
  • თუალი precious stone (also, eye)
  • შეკაზმული prepared, fixed up, dressed
  • მრავალთერი of many kinds
  • სურნელი scent, aroma (სურნელობა to smell)
  • ტყავი skin, hide, fur
  • მონა-მჴევალი (male and female) servants, attendants, slaves (a dvandva compound: მონაჲ + მჴევალი, the latter specifically for females, but the rest of the passage speaks only in terms of women)
  • ბერძენი Greek
  • ჩინელი Chinese
  • პირ-მთუარეი with moon-like face (cf. several sim. compounds in Persian: māh-paikar, māh-čihr, māh-sīmā, māh-liqā, māh-dīdār, qamar-čihra)
  • კეკლუცი pretty, lovely
  • ველური wild, rough, raw
  • თხაჲ goat
  • სიქსუეჲ wildness
  • ჯერეთ yet
  • სიქალეჲ womanliness (< ქალი woman)
  • სიშუენიერეჲ beauty
  • ფარშამანგი peacock (cf. Middle Persian fraš(a)murw, [MacKenzie, A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, p. 33])
  • ლამაზი beautiful

Wardrop, translating from a slightly different text, has the following (p. 57):

…many a cup of crystal, trays, and golden vessels, all inlaid with jewels; and scents of many kinds and withal furs; and many slaves and handmaidens Greeks, Chinese, and Balkhians, all pretty and untamed as wild goats, and yet as fair as peacocks in womanliness and beauty.

Dried meat in Bar Bahlul   Leave a comment

In a recent post, I mentioned Bar Bahlul’s source “the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans”. Among other entries in his lexicon where he cites that source, here is another:

Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072

Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072

English’d:

Tmirā I found it in the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans. I think it is tatmīr, that is, seasoned, salted meat.

Here is an image from a manuscript of the Lexicon, SMMJ 229 (dated 2101 AG = 1789/90 CE), f. 311v:

SMMJ 229, f. 311v

SMMJ 229, f. 311v

This is not a particularly special copy of the Lexicon; it’s just one I had immediately at hand. It is, not surprisingly, slightly different from Duval’s text, including the variants he gives. Note that the Persian word at the end is misspelled in this copy.

Payne Smith (col. 4461) defines tmirā as caro dactylis condita (“meat seasoned with dates”), with Bar Bahlul cited, along with some variation in another manuscript, including alongside tatmīr the word تنجمير. I don’t know anything certain about this additional word (rel. to Persian tanjidan, “to twist together, squeeze, press”?).

The word tatmīr is a II maṣdar of the root t-m-r, which has to do with dates. The Arabic noun is tamr (dried) dates (do not confuse with ṯamar fruit), and probably from Arabic Gǝʿǝz has ተምር፡; cf. Heb. tāmār, JPA t(w)mrh, Syr. tmartā, pl. tamrē. (Another Aramaic word for date-palm is deqlā.) The Arabic D-stem/II verb tammara means “to dry” (dates, meat) (Lane 317). While the noun tamr means “dates”, the verb tammara does not necessarily have to do with drying dates, but can also refer to cutting meat into strips and drying it. Words for tatmīr in the dictionary Lisān al-ʿarab are taqdīd, taybīs, taǧfīf, tanšīf; we find the description taqṭīʿu ‘l-laḥmi ṣiġāran ka-‘l-tamri wa-taǧfīfuhu wa-tanšīfuhu (“cutting meat into small pieces like dates, drying it, and drying it out”) and further, an yaqṭaʿa al-laḥma ṣiġāran wa-yuǧaffifa (“he cuts meat into small pieces and dries it”).  All this makes it doubtful that the word above in Bar Bahlul’s lexicon really has anything to do with dates. Why not simply “dried, seasoned meat”?

As for the passive participle mubazzar, b-z-r is often “to sow”, but may also be used for the “sowing” of seeds, spices, etc. in cooking, so: “to season” (Lane 199). Finally, the last word is Persian namak-sud “salted” (Persian [< Middle Persian] namak salt + sudan to rub [also in Mid.Pers.)

De Goeje et al., Al-Ṭabari   Leave a comment

As rightly locating multi-volume sets at archive.org and other repositories of scanned books is sometimes maddening, here’s a list of the volumes of the Leiden ed. of Al-Ṭabari, edited by M. de Goeje et al., that I’ve been able to find at archive.org.

On the History, see EI² 10: 13-14. The continuation, the Ṣila of ʿArīb b. Saʿd al-Qurṭubī, was also edited by De Goeje: Arîb Tabari Continuatus (Brill, 1897) at https://archive.org/details/ilattrkhalabar00agoog. (There were other continuations, too.) NB De Goeje’s Selections from the Annals of Tabari in (1902) Brill’s Semitic Study Series (https://archive.org/details/selectionsfroman00abaruoft).

A few words on the Persian adaptation, very important due to its age and manuscript attestation. The Persian adaptation is the work of the Sāmānid vizier Abū ʿAlī Muḥammad al-Balʿamī (EI² 1: 984-985). The Persian text was published in Lucknow 1874, of which I can find no version online, and there have been more recent editions published in Iran (see esp. Daniel’s article). From Persian the text was translated into Turkish. Incidentally, the beginning of a manuscript of the Persian text is at http://www.wdl.org/en/item/6828/. Here are a few resources:

  • Zotenberg’s French translation of the Persian text, Chronique de Abou-Djafar-Moʻhammed-ben-Djarir-ben-Yezid Tabari (1867-1874), is at archive.org (vol. 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Rieu, Cat. Pers. BL, I. 69
  • (briefly) p. xxii of the Intro. volume to the De Goeje’s Leiden ed.
  • G. Lazard, La langue des plus anciens monuments de la prose persane (Paris, 1963), 38-41.
  • E.L. Daniel, “Manuscripts and Editions of Balʿamī’s Tarjamah-i tārīkh-i Ṭabarī,” JRAS (1990): 282-308.
  • Andrew Peacock, Mediaeval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy: Bal’amī’s Tārīkhnāma (Routledge, 2007)
Title page to the Leiden edition.

Title page to the Leiden edition.

Prima Series

I 1879-1881 Barth https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal01abaruoft

II 1881-1882 Barth and Nöldeke https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal02abaruoft

III 1881-1882 Barth and Nöldeke https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri02unkngoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal03abaruoft)

IV 1890 De Jong and Prym https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri02goejgoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal04abaruoft)

V 1893 Prym https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri02guyagoog (another at https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri01unkngoog, https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal05abaruoft)

VI 1898 Prym https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri00goejgoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal06abaruoft)

X 1896 Prym https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri04unkngoog

Secunda Series

I 1881-1883 Thorbecke, Fraenkel, and Guidi https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri00unkngoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal07abaruoft)

II 1883-1885 Guidi https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri03unkngoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal08abaruoft)

III 1885-1889 Guidi, Müller, and De Goeje https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal09abaruoft

Tertia Series

I 1879-1880 Houtsma and Guyard https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal10abaruoft

II 1881 Guyard and De Goeje https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal11abaruoft

III 1883-1884 Rosen and De Goeje https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal12abaruoft

IV 1890 De Goeje https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri00bargoog (another at https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri01goejgoog, https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal13abaruoft)

________

1901 Intro., Gloss., etc. https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri01guyagoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal15abaruoft)

1901 Indices https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri00guyagoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal14abaruoft)

________

It’s probable that I’ve missed some of those that are available, and as I find or am informed of others, I’ll update this list.

Franz Rosenthal on Hans Heinrich Schaeder   3 comments

Hinrich Biesterfeldt, ed. “Franz Rosenthal’s Half an Autobiography.” Die Welt des Islams 54 (2014): 34-105.

I’m now reading the hot-off-the-press memoir of Franz Rosenthal, edited by Hinrich Biesterfeldt. I highly recommend it for reasons of interest academic and historical. Here, as only a taste, are some remarks on his teacher Hans Heinrich Schaeder, with whom Rosenthal studied in Berlin.

My principal mentor and shaykh was Hans Heinrich Schaeder, then at the peak of his mental and physical powers, a conscientious and wonderfully inspiring teacher. His official field was Iranian, and I studied Middle Persian and Islamic Persian with him. Initially, he repaired the damage done me by an earlier course in Syriac that was taught by someone incompetent to teach the language. He showed me how to approach Muslim historical texts, how to reconstruct an Oriental religion, Manichaeism, from fragments transmitted in Arabic, and how to use the tools of scholarship properly. Above all, he was the living example of the need for, and the methods of looking at, the large historical picture without ever neglecting the details offered by the sources. He set the subject of my doctoral dissertation for which he prepared my way by his previous instruction in Aramaic. [p. 54]

I’m very happy that this document has appeared, and thanks are due to the editor and the publisher. As far as I’m concerned, one can never have too much personalia to read.

Documentary on the Encyclopaedia Iranica and Prof. Yarshater   Leave a comment

A friend of mine shared this documentary from BBC Persian on Prof. Ehsan Yarshater (b. 1920) and the amazing work of the Encyclopaedia Iranica (online here). It’s in Persian, but English subtitles are available. Knowing the background and looking behind the scenes of major research projects such as this — or the CAD, for another example, volumes of which, like the Encyclopaedia Iranica, have also for some time been freely available online  — is not an opportunity to be missed even by those remotely interested in whatever field the project concerns. In this case, the field is the full breadth of Persian history, languages, literatures, and connections with cultures across a long time period. We can be very grateful that the Encyclopaedia is freely accessible online, rather than hidden behind extortionate tomes in perhaps too distant libraries to multitudes of would-be readers, so interested researchers of all kinds have an ever fruitful resource at their fingertips. But even more than on the Encyclopaedia itself, we get to hear firsthand from a hard-working and experienced scholar. Yarshater mentions his studies many years ago with W.B. Henning and Mary Boyce. I always enjoy seeing scholars’ workspaces, and we have that here, too. We hear him using Persian proverbs and reciting some lines of poetry. In his voice and memories we see an inspiring gentleman. These twenty-five minutes, then, will make for worthy time to anyone interested in Persian culture and intellectual biography.

Vullers’ Persian chrestomathy   3 comments

Ferdowsi Square in Tehran (from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/Ferdowsi_Square_%28Tehran%29.jpg)

Ferdowsi Square in Tehran (from here)

Lest, dear reader, you grow over-full of Georgian, the subject of the last three (mini-)posts, here’s something on Persian.

Some days ago while studying one of the Muʿallaqāt, I came across some works of Johann August Vullers, who was a student of Antoine Silvestre de Sacy (1758-1838), but about whom I can find little other information. Vullers did work on Arabic poetry, but it was especially Persian literature that seems to have interested him. Of the works by Vullers that I found, including a grammar and lexicon, his Chrestomathia Schahnamiana in usum scholarum (Bonn, 1833) most caught my eye. I have a soft spot for chrestomathies — reading-books for foreign languages that are usually made up of shorter or longer excerpts, often together with glossaries and annotations — and the nineteenth century was a great age of chrestomathies. They may not be so commonly published now as they once were, but there is value in them for both students in courses and for autodidacts. This volume is a Persian reader (dedicated to August Wilhelm von Schlegel, 1767-1845), mostly from the Šāh-nāma, with Persian-Latin lexicon and a few notes. The purpose he gives as follows: “ut iuvenes ad legendum praeclarum istud Persicarum litterarum monumentum, Schahname dico, impellerem…” (“that I might urge the young to read that famous monument of Persian literature, the Šāh-nāma“). The contents are as follows:

  • pp. 1-25, from the part on Alexander the Great
  • pp. 26-70, on Sām’s son
  • pp. 71-86, “de libro fabularum, Calila et Dimna inscripto”
  • pp. 87-108, a selection from the Borzū-nāmā (it had been previously published by Kosegarten)
  • pp. 109-261, Persian-Latin glossary
  • 262-267 annotations

Part of Iranian epic tradition, the Šāh-nāma was put into its most well-known form by Ferdowsi, and there are translations into Turkish, Georgian, and many other languages, including European languages. Nöldeke (see bibliography below) was an avid reader of it, as evidenced not only in some of his books and articles but also in his letters, in a recent edition (Bernhard Maier, ed., Gründerzeit der Orientalistik: Theodor Nöldekes Leben und Werk im Spiegel seiner Briefe, 2013) of which one will find the work mentioned several times. (Georgian literary contacts with Persia are well known, and Rustaveli referred to his Knight in the Panther’s Skin, the Georgian national epic, as “This Persian tale, translated into Georgian,” ესე ამბავი სპარსული, ქართულად ნათარგმანები [st. 9].) In the preface, Vullers refers to De Sacy as “praeceptor meus dilectissimus” (p. vii, cf. p. xiii). There is a two-part review of the book, not favorable, by De Sacy in Journal des Savants, 1833, pp. 719-728, and 1834, pp. 207-18. (Thanks to Richard Budelberger for pointing out the first part, and for the links.)

vullers_chrest_schahnamiana

These old chrestomathies still have something to offer, even though their pedagogical method may not necessarily now be in vogue, even though the evident approach to text-editing may differ from ours, etc. For one thing, many of these books are easily available online. They provide thousands and thousands of lines of grist for the reading-mill. That in itself is a welcome boon for lesser-known languages that might not otherwise be an object of study for no other reason than a dearth of texts. In the best of cases, the texts were chosen both because they are interesting and because they are linguistically accessible, at the same time providing exposure to regular forms, constructions, and vocabulary. Many chresthomathies also offer annotations, sometimes meager, sometimes abundant, and a glossary. These helps will be found to be more or less useful depending as much on their quality and quantity as on the individual reader using the book. For what it’s worth, E.G. Browne recommends the Gulistan as the best Persian reading-texts for learners: “As a reading-book nothing on the whole excels the Gulistán of Saʿdí, of which there are good editions (furnished with full vocabularies) and translations by Eastwick and Platts” (A Literary History of Persia, vol. 1, [London and Leipzig, 1909],  p. 496).

Finally, for more Persian poetry reading, we can look forward to the (apparently forthcoming) Classics of Persian Poetry: A Primer for Students by Michael Craig Hillmann.

Bibliography (items linked to above not repeated here)

Texts and translations

A. E. Bertels (editor), Shax-nāme: Kriticheskij Tekst, nine volumes (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Nauka, 1960–71)

Clinton, Jerome W. The Tragedy of Sohráb and Rostám. Rev. ed. Seattle and London, 1996. [Persian text and ET.]

Mohl, Julius. Abu’l-Qāsem Ferdowsi, Le livre des rois. 7 vols. Paris, 1838-78. (At Internet Archive all but vol. 2 here.)

Warner, Arthur George and Edmond Warner. The Sháhnáma of Firdausí. 9 vols. London, 1905–1925. (At Internet Archive: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.)

Studies (and vocabulary)

Banani, Amin. “Reflections on Re-reading the Iliad and the Shahnameh.” Available here and here.

Moïnfar, Mohammad Djafar. Le vocabulaire arabe dans le Livre des rois de Firdausī: Étude philologique et de statistique linguistique. Wiesbaden, 1970.

Nöldeke, Th. Das iranische Nationalepos. 2nd ed. Berlin and Leipzig, 1920. (Available here and at Internet Archive here.)

The Shahnama Project. At Cambridge.

Wolff, Fritz. Glossar zu Firdosis Schahname, Berlin, 1935; reprint, Hildesheim, 1965.

Yarshater, E. “Iranian National History.” In Cambridge History of Iran III/1, pp. 359-477.

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