Professor Gerhard Doerfer: Chagatay Language-Literature and Iranian Linguistic Influences

October 22nd, 2014

The article below by Professor Gerhard Doerfer on the Chagatay Language and Literature was originally posted in the Encyclopedia Iranica on December 15, 1991 and last updated on October 13, 2011.

It is generally acknowledged by scholars that of all the Turkic languages, it was Chaghatay that by far, enjoyed the greatest prestige. Ebn Mohannā, for instance, characterized it as the purest of all Turkish languages, and the khans of the Golden Horde and of the Crimea, as well as the Kazan Tatars, wrote in Chaghatay much of the time. Professor Doerfer has provided a detailed academic overview of the Iranian linguistic influences upon Chagatay in the Encyclopedia Iranica article discussed below.

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Development of Chaghatay

Languages from three different Turkic language groups were spoken in Cen­tral Asia before the Russian conquest. Chaghatay is the common designation for a language belonging to the Western Uighur, or Eastern Turkic, language group, the easternmost of the three. The other two groups were the Oghuz (including Turkman, Khorasani Azeri and Turkish, and Turkish in Turkey) and the Kipchak (Qipcaq/Qepčāq). Uighur and Kipchak have retained such archaic features as initial t and k, which became voiced d and g in the languages of the Oghuz group. (For general surveys of the distribution of the Turkish languages see Poppe, Menges, Benzing and Menges.)

Western Uighur developed in three stages: Ḵᵛārazm (Choresm) Turkish or Early Chaghatay (7th-8th/13th-14th centuries), Classical and Late Chaghatay (9th­-13th/15th-19th centuries), and modern Uzbek (see central asia xiv. turkish-iranian language con­tact). There are variations in the labels for these stages, however (cf. Eckmann, 1966, pp. 1-10). Soviet scholars (e.g., Shcherbak) refer to both the first two stages as Old Uzbek, whereas most other Western scholars label the first stage “Ḵᵛārazm Turkish.” The term Early Chaghatay, which was introduced by M. F. Köprülü (İA III), will be used here (linguistically, what is labeled “Ḵᵛārazm Turkish” is the direct predecessor of Classical Chaghatay, and it is better to reserve the term for Turkish spoken in Ḵᵛārazm). Comparison of certain forms and words from these three linguistic stages in Central Asia (as in Eckmann, 1957) reveals a sharply declining percentage of words inherited from Old Turkish (8th century): 67.9 percent in the time of the Qarakhanids (or Ilek Khans; 388-607/998-1211), 51.8 percent in Early Chaghatay, but only 14.3 percent in Classical Chaghatay, which may thus also be re­garded as an early stage of Uzbek.

pazyryk-carpet4A portion of the Pazyryk carpet found in Central Asia dated to 2,500 years ago. Known as the first known Persian carpet, note the depictions of mythical (winged) lions on the bottom panels. Of interest are the “X” type symbols along the top panels. These were to become a central motif in the major standard of Partho-Sassanian Iran: the Drafsh e Kaviani or the Standard of Kaveh.

Of all the Turkic languages Chaghatay enjoyed by far the greatest prestige. Ebn Mohannā (Jamāl-al-Dīn, fl. early 8th/14th century, probably in Khorasan), for instance, characterized it as the purest of all Turkish languages (Doerfer, 1976, p. 243), and the khans of the Golden Horde (Radloff, 1870; Kurat; Bodrogligeti, 1962) and of the Crimea (Kurat), as well as the Kazan Tatars (Akhmetgaleeva; Yusupov), wrote in Chaghatay much of the time. Even Old Ottoman literature is characterized by many attempts, not always successful, to write in Chaghatay, for instance, a decree of Mo­ḥammad II Fāteḥ (Mehmet II Fatih, 855-86/1451-81) dated 878/1473 (Arat), the “Taḵmīs” of Fożūlī (ca. 885-­963/1480-1556; Fuzûlî, pp. 462-64), and the works of many lesser authors (Sertkaya, 1970-76). Chaghatay exerted a strong influence on Kipchak and Oghuz, whereas grammatical forms from these two languages occurred more rarely in Chaghatay, being limited mainly to poetry, where they were adopted in order to satisfy the constraints of the ʿarūż meters (e.g., qalmïš-am, long-short-long, instead of qalmïš-man, long-long-long).

Suzani Robe-Bukhara-Central AsiaA Suzani Robe from Ancient Bukhara, a mutli-colored style of silk embroidery from Central Asia’s Ferghana valley (Picture Source: Suzanis Blog).

János Eckmann has provided a general survey of the development of oriental Turkish (1957; for more de­tailed expositions, see Eckmann, 1959a; idem, 1959c; Shcherbak; Brockelmann). The best Chaghatay dic­tionary has been compiled by Moḥammad Mahdī Khan (d. 1160/1747); the most useful grammars are those by A. M. Shcherbak and Eckmann (1966).

Iranian linguistic influence on Chaghatay

As the cultural centers of the Turks shifted from the northeast to the southwest, Iranian influences increased propor­tionately. Inscriptions from the 2nd/8th century, when the center of the Old Turkish empire lay in Mongolia, contain only a few Iranian loanwords, particularly titles (Aalto; Rossi). With the blossoming of Uighur culture in Khocho in the 3rd/9th century an increasing number of Sogdian and early Persian words found their way into the Uighur dialect of Old Turkish. When Qarakhanid literature began to develop in southwestern Xinjiang (Kāšḡar and Balāsaḡūn) in the 5th/11th century and at the same time Islam spread through the area, Persian words, including borrowings from Arabic, became more common. In the 8th/14th century Ḵᵛārazm, where the Persian influence was much stronger, became a cultural center. Under the Timurids Herat (capital of Šāhroḵ, r. 807-50/1405-47), Samarkand (capital of Oloḡ Beg, r. 850-53/1447-49), and Shiraz (seat of the prince Eskandar Mīrzā, d. 827/1423-24) were the main literary centers in the first half of the 9th/15th century, and Herat remained so through the reign of Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā (875-­912/1470-1506). After the Timurids were succeeded in Transoxania by the Shaibanids in 906/1500 (see central asia v, vi), Bukhara, Samarkand, Ḵᵛā­razm, Balḵ (Šaybānīḵān), and Farḡāna became the Chaghatay cultural centers. The Timurid Bābor founded the Mughal dynasty in 932/1526, after which Afghanistan and India also played an important role. With the formation of the Central Asian khanates in the 11th/17th century Chaghatay continued to be written only in Ḵīva and Ḵokand; in Bukhara the written language was generally Persian (cf. Eckmann, 1959b; idem, 1959c).

A number of Persian grammatical features were adopted in Chaghatay, for example, postpositions (e.g., tā “until,” ṭaraf “towards”), conjunctions (e.g., ägär “if,” ki general subordinating conjunction), eżāfa (jism i nātuvānïm “my weak body”), yā-ye ešārat (oq-ī ki yadïn čïqtï “the arrow which flew from the bow”), and yā-ye waḥdat (köprüg-ī gä yätär “he comes to a bridge”; see Brockelmann, pp. 159-60, 186-87, 196-97, 393-427; Kales, pp. 13-15; central asia xv). Beginning in the 9th/15th century a large number of Persian loanwords also came into use.

Simurgh-Bird MotifPost-Sassanian style decoration motifs common in Iranian architecture adorn this mosque archway in Bukhara; note large bird or Simurgh (Persian Phoenix – Turkic: Ertugrul), a dog reminiscent of Sassanian arts and the floral-arboreal patterns (Picture source: Natasha von Geldern in World Wandering Kiwi).

Even when Chaghatay authors deliberately set out to write in Turkish they were not able to avoid using Persian words. For example, when the vizier and poet ʿAlī- Šīr Navāʾī (844-906/1441-1501), encouraged by Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā, wrote Moḥākamat al-loḡatayn in order to prove the superiority of Turkish over Persian (See Encyclopedia Iranica’s CENTRAL ASIA v. HISTORY UNDER THE MONGOLS AND TIMURIDS), he used a language that contained 62.6 percent Persian and Arabic words (sample: 122 of 195 words).

Throughout history Turkish words have also entered Persian (Doerfer, I, pp. 3-5, 37-44). In the 5th/11th century the primary source was Saljuq Turkish, in the 7th-9th/13th-15th centuries Mongolian and Chaghatay, and beginning in the 10th/16th century Azer­baijani Turkish. The Chaghatay vocabulary in Persian was, however, generally limited to macaronic verses (e.g., Qurašī, beg. 14th cent.: čandān bezī ay šāh ke gūyad tork-ī/yavlaq qarï bolmïš Münmiš tegin “live so long, o king, that a Turk may say: very old has Münmiš tegin become!” where the first part is Persian, the second Early Chaghatay; cf. Doerfer, Elemente I, p. 20); formulas in decrees (e.g., sözümiz “our word”); names of years in the duodecimal animal cycle (See calendar); and terms for hunting and animal husbandry, matters of state and administration, and warfare (e.g., in the work of the historian Mīrḵᵛānd, 836/903/1433-98, another protégé of Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā). Persian literature from Central Asia, on the contrary, contains very few Turkish elements. For instance, Navāʾī’s contempo­rary, the poet ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Jāmī (817-98/1414-92), still another protégé of Sultan Ḥosayn, used no Turkish words. (For Turkish influence on the Iranian languages spoken in Central Asia, especially Tajiki Persian, see central asia xv; Doerfer, Elemente; idem, 1967).

Mutual literary influences

The first important monuments of Early Chaghatay literature, from the 8th/14th century (Eckmann, 1964a; Köprülü, İA III, pp. 280-85), all exhibit strong Persian influence. Iranian influence in Central Asian Turkish literature can be traced even farther back, as can perhaps also Turkish influence in Iranian and Persian literature. Analyses of Middle Persian poetry and modern popular literature in various Iranian dialects have revealed structural similarities with Old Turkish literary patterns (Benveniste; Bertel’s, pp. 53, 74-75; Boratav, pp. 112-13; Köprülü, İA I, pp. 637-40; idem, 1986, pp. 137-41; idem, 1934, p. 219; Mann, pp. 32, 36; Massé, Croyances, p. 492; Pagliaro and Bausani, pp. 132, 527-35; Rempis; Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 49-52, 74, 92, 134, 694-97). The structure of Old Turkish poetry can be reconstructed from a comparison of the oldest Turkish literature with mod­ern forms that have not been influenced by Persian poetry (Bang and Gabain; Birtek; Bombaci, 1969, p. 35; Boratav; Dilçin, pp. 39-58; Doerfer, 1964b, pp. 867-70; idem, forthcoming; Gandjeï, 1958b, esp. pp. 144-52; Köprülü, İA, pp. 645-48; idem, 1919, p. 7; Kowalski, esp. pp. 157-64; Radloff, 1870; Stebleva, 1965, pp. 29-­37; idem, 1971a; idem, 1971c, pp. 86-87, 296-98; idem, 1971b, pp. 80-81; idem, 1970; idem, 1976; Tekin; Zhir­munskiĭ, 1965; idem, 1970, pp. 40-48, 50-52; Yesevî). Meter depended on the number of syllables (often seven or eight), rather than on stress or quantity; caesuras occurred naturally between identical structures of meaning. The strophe normally consisted of four verses, more rarely two. Rhyme was usually effected through identical grammatical endings, the end of each verse being stressed on the last syllable; suffixes were assonant. The most frequent rhyme schemes were aaab and aaba. Alliteration was only occasionally used, but both parallelism and repetition of words were common.

chaghatay_tab35These patterns survived in the works of Aḥmad Yasawī (d. 562/1166) and his successors, who wrote in simple language (Bodrogligeti, 1974; Bombaci, 1969, pp. 113-14; Eckmann, 1964b, p. 365; Eraslan, p. 193; Gandjeï, 1958b, pp. 151-53; Köprülü, İA III, pp. 283, 285, 288, 311; idem, İA I, pp. 644-46; idem, 1919, pp. 102,119-21; Kowalski, p. 162; Yesevî). On the other hand, ʿarūż had been adopted by Turkish writers in its Persian form in the 5th/11th century (Köprülü, İA I; idem, 1919, p. 15; idem, 1986, pp. 134-35; Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., p. 923). The oldest Turkish example of ʿarūż is to be found in the Qutaḏgū Bilig of Yūsof Ḵāṣṣ Ḥājeb (written 462/1070), a maṯnawī in the motaqāreb meter (Bombaci, 1969, p. 110; Gandjeï, 1958b, pp. 149-50; cf. Yūsof, tr. Dankoff). Contrary to previous assumptions (Köprülü, İA I, pp. 644-46; Stebleva, 1971c, p. 287; idem, 1976, p. 158), Yūsof used it quite correctly (Tekin, 1967). Maḥmūd Kāšḡarī (d. after 476/1094), on the other hand, used the ʿarūż imperfectly, relying on the number of syllables and sometimes resorting to graphic devices (e.g., omitting letters marking long vowels) in order to simulate a perfect ʿarūż (Stebleva, 1971c). This lack of facility in the use of the ʿarūż remained typical of Turkish literature for some time afterward (Bombaci, p. 53; Eckmann, 1964b, p. 134; Gandjeï, 1958b, p. 153; Köprülü, İA III, p. 249; idem, İA I, pp. 645-46; Rus­tamov, p. 129; Stebleva, 1971c, p. 287; 1976, p. 158; see also Doerfer, forthcoming, b).

The question of the origin of the robāʿī (quatrain), which was popular in both Iranian and Turkish litera­tures, is controversial. E. E. Bertel’s (p. 88), Tadeusz Kowalski (pp. 161-63), and L. Z. Rustamov (pp. 77-81) suggested that in Iranian literature it was borrowed from Turkish folk literature. On the other hand, Alessio Bombaci (p. 54), Köprülü (İA I, p. 646; 1919, p. 15), and I. V. Stebleva (1970, pp. 137-38) have argued that in Turkish literature it was a borrowing from Iranian. Paul Horn (apud Kowalski, p. 37), Gerhard Doerfer (1964a, pp. 839-40), and V. M. Zhirmunskiĭ (1970, p. 39) have taken the view that the Iranian and Turkish forms developed independently. Finally, Köprülü (1934, pp. 115-22) argued formerly that the similarities result­ed from mutual influence in ancient times. The four-­line strophe has a long history in Turkish literature (Köprülü, 1919, p. 7; 1986, pp. 137-41; 1934, p. 113; Stebleva, 1970, p. 147), the earliest known examples being from Turkish songs partially quoted by the poets Abu’l-Najm Aḥmad b. Qūs Manūčehrī (d. 432/1041), Badr-al-Dīn Qawwāmī Razī (d. ca. 560/1165), and Jamāl Qurašī (fl. 7th/13th century), and a robāʿī com­posed by Faḵr-al-Dīn Mobārakšāh in 602/1206 (Köprülü, 1934, pp. 28-32, 113-22). In Persian literature, on the other hand, it took a highly original form (Bertel’s, p. 88).

Verses in Persian and Chaqatai[Click to Enlarge] A calligraphic fragment from around 1600 by the calligrapher Mir ‘Imad that includes a number of verses in Persian and Chagatay-Turkish (Picture Source: World Digital Library).

During the period 710-70 (1310-1369 a series of poetic, juridical, linguistic, and religious works, includ­ing translations of the Koran, were written in Cha­ghatay. Most were based to some degree on older works, for instance, Qoṭb’s Ḵosrow o Šīrīn (written ca. 742/1341; ed. Hacieminoğlu; idem, ed. Zajączkowski), composed after Neẓāmī’s work under the rule of the Golden Horde, and an anonymous translation of Taḏkerat al-awlīāʾ by Farīd-al-Dīn ʿAṭṭār (Eckmann, 1964a; Köprülü, in İA III, pp. 280-85). In the first half of the 9th/15th century there were also several less distinguished writers like ʿAṭāʾī, Sakkākī, and Loṭfī (Rustamov; cf. Eckmann, 1964b, pp. 306-26; Köprülü, in İA III, pp. 290-94). The apogee of Chaghatay literature was reached during the reign of the Timurid sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā, in the work of Mīr ʿAlī-Šīr Navāʾī, whose style remained a model for the ensuing period (Bombaci, 1969, pp. 130-83, esp. 145-63; Eckmann, 1964b, pp. 329-57; Köprülü, 1934, pp. 257­-66; idem, in İA III, pp. 289-302; Navāʾī, ed. Alpay; idem, ed. Devereux; idem, ed. Dmitrieva; Levend). Persian influence was also strong at that time. Partic­ularly admired were the poets Ferdowsī (d. 411/1020), Neẓāmī Ganjavī (d. 599/1203), Saʿdī (691/1292), Ḥāfeẓ (d. ca. 792/1390), Amīr(-e) Ḵosrow Dehlavī (q.v.; d. 725/1325), Salmān Sāvajī (d. 778/1376), and Jāmī. Bilingualism must have been widespread among Islamic peoples in Central Asia (Pagliaro and Bausani, p. 752), for many Turkish-speaking Chaghatay poets composed works in Persian (Bombaci, 1964, p. xxvii; Eckmann, 1964a; idem, 1964b; Köprülü, 1919, pp. 113-22; Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., p. 500; Togan, p. 231). In Persia itself there was a nucleus of Chaghatay writers in Shiraz, and Chaghatay was also written in Qazvīn and Isfahan (Eckmann, 1964a, pp. 295-96; idem, 1964b, p. 326; Gandjeï, 1971a; idem, 1971b; Köprülü, in İA III, pp. 278, 305). In India Bābor wrote in Chaghatay (Köprülü, in İA III, pp. 314-316).

Translation of Persian works into Chaghatay was common, for instance, Navāʾī’s translation of works by Jāmī (Eckmann, 1964a, pp. 293-96; idem, 1964b, pp. 309, 366-69; Köprülü, in İA II, pp. 296, 301, 321), while, in comparison, translations of Chaghatay works into Persian were rare. The earliest are of relatively late date, from the reign of Tīmūr (771-804/1370-1405); among later translations note, for instance, that by Faḵrī Herātī and Ḥakīm Šāh Moḥammad Qazvīnī’s of Navāʾī’s Majāles al-nafāʾes in the 10th/16th century (Eckmann, 1964b, pp. 355, 370, 374-75; Gandjeï, 1969; Köprülü, in İA III, pp. 279, 316; Rustamov, pp. 85, 131-32; Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 634-39); some earlier Persian authors did, however, effect Turkish terms (Gandjeï, 1958b; Minorsky; Pagliaro and Bausani, pp. 480-81).

Turkish poets of the 9th/15th century used meters based on ʿarūż, especially in the important tuyuḡ (quatrain), for which the meter ramal-e mosaddas-e maqṣūr (long short long long/long short long long/long short long) and the rhyme scheme aaba (as in the robāʿī) were used; an important example is Navāʾī’s Mīzān al­-awzān (Eckmann, 1964b; Köprülü, in İA III, p. 292; idem, in İA I, pp. 647-49; Köprülü, 1919, pp. 204-56; Navāʾī, ed. Devereux, pp. 14-15; Pagliaro and Bausani, p. 534; Rustamov, pp. 75-81; Stebleva, 1970).

Under the Shaibanids (832-1007/1429-1598) Cha­ghatay became the predominant literary language of Transoxania and was used by some of the great khans themselves (Šībānī Khan and ʿObayd-Allāh Khan [see central asia vi] both left dīvāns; cf. Eckmann, 19646, p. 361; Köprülü, in İA III, p. 318), except in the khanate of Bukhara, where it gradually disappeared (Eckmann, 1964b, p. 387). The Chaghatay literature of the 11th­-14th/17th-20th centuries seems largely epigonic; so far, however, little research has been done on this literature (cf. Eckmann, 1964b, pp. 377-402; Ḵāleṣ).

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Idem, Türk dili ve edebiyatı hakkında araştırmalar, Istanbul, 1934.

Idem, “Aruz,” in İA I, pp. 625-53. Idem, “Çagatay edebiyatı,” in İA III, pp. 270-323.

Idem, “La métrique ʿarūż dans la poésie turque,” in Philologiae Turcicae Fundamenta II, 1964, pp. 625-53.

Idem, Türk edebiyatı tarihi, Istanbul, 1986, esp. pp. 275-327.

T. Kowalski, Ze studjów nad formą poezii ludów tureckich, Cracow, 1921.

A. N. Kurat, Topkapı Sarayı müzesi aṛşivindeki Altın Ordu Kırım ve Türkistan hanlarına ait yarlık ve bitikler, Istanbul, 1940.

A. S. Levend, Ali Şir Nevaî. Hayatı, sanatı ve kişiliği . . . , 4 vols., Ankara, 1965-68.

R. Loewenthal, The Turkic Languages and Litera­tures of Central Asia, The Hague, 1957.

M. Lüthi, Märchen, Stuttgart, 1974.

Moḥammad Mahdī Khan, Sanglax. A Persian Guide to the Turkish Language by Muhammad Mahdī Xān, ed. G. Clauson, London, 1960.

O. Mann, Die Mundarten der Lur-Stämme im südwestlichen Persien, Berlin, 1910.

K. H. Menges, The Turkic Languages and Peoples, Wiesbaden, 1968.

V. Minorsky, “Pūr-i Bahā’s “Mongol” Ode,” BSOAS 18, 1956, pp. 261-78.

E. N. Nadzhip, Istoriko­-sravnitel’nyĭ slovar’ tyurkskikh yazykov XIV veka na materialakh “Ḵosrau i Šīrīn” Kutba I, Moscow, 1979.

Mīr ʿAlī-Šīr Navāʾī, Dīvān, ed. L. V. Dmitrieva, Moscow, 1964.

Idem, Moḥākamat al-loḡatayn, ed. R. Devereux, Leiden, 1966.

Idem, Ferhad ü Şirin, ed. G. Alpay, Ankara, 1975.

Nehcü’l-ferādīs (probably by Maḥmūd b. ʿAlī), ed. J. Eckmann, S. Tezcan, and H. Zülfikar, Ankara, 1984.

A. Pagliaro and A. Bausani, Storia della letteratura persiana, Milan, 1960.

Qoṭb, Kutb’un Husrev ü Şirin’i ve dil hususiyetleri, ed. N. Hacieminoğlu, Istanbul, 1968.

Idem, Najstarsza wersja turecka Ḫusräv u Šīrīn Quṭba, ed. A. Zającz­kowski, 3 vols., Warsaw, 1958-61.

N. Poppe, Intro­duction to Altaic Linguistics, Wiesbaden, 1965.

W. Radloff (V. V. Radlov), Proben der Volksliteratur der türkischen Stämme Süd-Sibiriens III. Kirgisische Mundarten, St. Petersburg, 1870.

Idem, “Yarlyki Toktamysha i Temir-Kutluga,” Zapiski Vostochnago otdeleniya russkago arkheologicheskago obshchestva 3, 1888, pp. 1-40.

C. Rempis, “Die ältesten Dichtungen im Neupersischen,” ZDMG 101, 1951, pp. 220-40.

A. V. Rossi, “In margine a On the Ancient Turkish Title “Ša’”,” in A. Gallotta and U. Marazzi, eds., Studia Turcologica Memoriae Alexii Bombaci Dicata, Naples, 1982, pp. 407-50.

E. R. Rustamov, Uzbekskaya poèziya v pervoĭ polovine XV veka, Moscow, 1963.

M. Ṣāleḥ (?), Tawārīḵ-e gozīda—Noṣrat-nāma, ed. A. M. Akramov, Tashkent, 1967.

M.-R. Séguy, Le voyage miraculeux du prophète, Montrouge, France, 1977.

O. F. Sertkaya, “Osmanlı şâirlerinin Çağatayca şiirleri 1,” Türk dili ve edebiyatı dergisi 18, 1970, pp. 133-8; 19, 1971, pp. 171-84; 20, 1972a, pp. 157-64; 22, 1974-76, pp. 169-89.

Idem, “Horezmî’nin Muhab­bat-nâme’sinin iki yeni yazma nüshasi üzerine,” Türkiyat mecmuası 17, 1972b, pp. 185-207.

A. M. Shcherbak, Grammatika starouzbekskogo yazyka, Moscow and Leningrad, 1962.

D. Sinor, Introduction à l’étude de l’Eurasie centrale, Wiesbaden, 1963.

I. V. Stebleva, Poeziya tyurkov VI-VIII vekov, Moscow, 1965.

Idem, “K voprosu o proiskhozhdenii zhanra tuyug,” Tyurkologicheskiĭ sbornik, 1970, pp. 135-47.

Idem, “De quelques particularités du vers turc,” Turcica 3, 1971a, pp. 117-27.

Idem, “Proiskhozh­denie i razvitie tyurkskoĭ alliteratsiënnoĭ sistemy v svyazi s istoricheskim rodstvom tyurkskikh i mongol’skikh yazykov,” Sovetskaya Tyurkologiya 6, 1971b, pp. 80-84.

Idem, Razvitie tyurkskikh poèticheskikh form v XI veke, Moscow, 1971c.

Idem, Poètika drevnetyurkskoĭ literatury i eë transformatsi­ya v ranne-klassicheskiĭ period, Moscow, 1976.

Idem, Semantika gazeleĭ Babura, Moscow, 1982 (contains Bābor’s dīvān as an appendix).

Īmānī Ṭāleʿ, Badāʾeʿ al-loḡat, ed. A. K. Borovkov, “Badāʾiʿ al-lugat.” Slovar’ Ṭāliʿ Īmānī Geratskogo k sochineniyam Ali­shera Navoi, Moscow, 1961.

Ş. Tekin, “Uygur edebiyatının meseleleri,” in Türk kültürü araş­tırmaları II, Ankara, 1965, pp. 26-67.

T. Tekin, “Determination of Middle-Turkic Long Vowels through ʿarūḍ,” Acta Orientalia Hungarica 20, 1967, pp. 151-70.

Z. V. Togan, “Zentralasiatische türki­sche Literaturen II. Die islamische Zeit,” in HO I/5, I, Leiden and Cologne, 1963, pp. 229-49.

Yesevî (Aḥmad Yasawī), Dîvân-ı Hikmetten seçmeler, ed. K. Eraslan, Ankara, 1983.

Yūsof Khāṣṣ Ḥājeb, Kutadgu Bilig I, ed. R. R. Arat, Istanbul, 1947; tr. R. Dankoff as Wisdom of Royal Glory (Kutadgu Bilig), Chicago, 1983.

G. V. Yusupov, Vvedenie v bulgaro-tatarskuyu èpigrafiku, Moscow and Leningrad, 1960.

V. M. Zhirmunskiĭ (V. Schirmunski), “Syntaktischer Parallelismus and rhythmische Bindung im alttürkischen epischen Vers,” in A. V. Isačğenko et al., eds., Bei­träge zur Sprachwissenschaft, Volkskunde and Litera­turforschung W. Steinitz zum 60. Geburtstag am 28. Februar 1965 dargebracht, Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. Veröffentlichungen der Sprachwissenschaftlichen Kommission 5, Berlin, 1965, pp. 387-401.

Idem, “O nekotorykh proble­makh teorii tyurkskogo narodnogo stikha,” Tyurko­logicheskiĭ sbornik, 1970, pp. 29-68.

2005 Farrokh Book translated by Amir Kabir Publishers into Persian

October 15th, 2014

Kaveh Farrokh’s first text, Elite Sassanian Cavalry (July 2005; 64 pages; ISBN: 9781841767130; Osprey Publishing) is the first to specifically discuss the Sassanian dynasty’s elite cavalry (Savaran). This text has outlined the specific Pahlavi terms of the Sassanian cavalry’s elite units (e.g. Gyanavaspar; Zhayedan, etc.), military tactics, insignia and pitched battles. The role of Iranian women in the Sassanian military system has also been emphasized.

Kaveh Farrokh-Elite Sassanina CavalryThe original English language publication of “Elite Sassanian Cavalry” in 2005 (see review by Dr. David Khoupenia of the University of Georgia in Tbilisi).

This book has been translated for the third time into Persian (translated by Maysam Alini -میثم علیئی- of Tarbiat Modarress University, Tehran), by one of Iran’s most long-standing and academic publishing houses, Amir Kabir Publishers (انتشارات امیرکبیر):

Elite Sassanian Cavalry-Amir Kabir Publishers-1The most recent translation of Farrokh’s third text, Sassanian Elite Cavalry made in 2014 by Amir Kabir Publishers (انتشارات امیرکبیر) of Iran. For more information see -خبرگزاری کتاب ایران- (Iran book News), and -خبرگزاری اریا- (Arya News).

The peer-reviewed journal of University of Tehran published a book review of Farrokh’s text (following its first translation into Persian by Yusef Amiri, 2009) by Shahnaz Hojati (available also on Academia.edu):

– شهناز حجتی (۱۳۸۹) – ساسانیان سپر تمدن شرقی- تاریخ و جغرافیا – ماهنامه تخصصی اطلاع رسانی و نقد و برسی کتاب – شماره ۱۴۸- صفهه ۹۴-۹۵–Hojati, Sh. (2010). The Sassanians as shields of Eastern Civilizations. Tarikh va Joghrafiya: Mahnameye Takhasosiye Etela-resani va naghd va Baresiye Ketab [History and Geography: Monthly edition for Information, Description and Critique/review of books], no. 148 [August-September edition], pp.94-95 (pdf).

The book was first translated into Persian in 2009 (-مشهد: نشر گل افتاب- Gol Aftab Publishers, Mashad, Iran, translator -یوسف امیری-Yousif Amiri) with the second translation made in 2011 (-سبزان- Sabzan Publishers, Tehran, Iran, translator بهنام محمدپناه -Behnam Mohammad-Shah):

4-EliteSassanianCavalry-Versions-1[Left] Farrokh’s text (Sassanian Elite Cavalry, Osprey Publishing, 2005; [Center] 2009 translation of the Farrokh text entitled-اسواران ساسانی-Sassanian Asvaran by -یوسف امیری-Yousif Amiri, published in 2009 in Mashad, Iran by -نشر گل افتاب- Gol Aftab Publishers; see sample pages (in pdf) [Right] 2011 translation of the Farrokh text entitled -سواره نظام زبده ارتش ساسانی – Elite Cavalry of the Sassanian Army by -بهنام محمدپناه -Behnam Mohammad-Shah, published in early January 2011 in Tehran, Iran by -سبزان- Sabzan Publishers.

 

The Iranian Army Berno (Brno) Rifle

October 8th, 2014

The Iranian-built “Berno” was originally designed by Czechoslovakia’s Zbrojovka Brno Company, which was a weapons and vehicle manufacturing firm. The Czechoslovak rifle  was actually based on the German Gew 98b design. Technically, this was the Mauser 1898, featuring a total length of 1250 mm, originally as the G98 (meaning Gewehr 98, meaning the 1898 rifle 1898 model for the Imperial German Army). This design was so reliable and it influenced the production of some models of the US Springfield and British Lee-Enfield rifles.

Berno-16-G98The original Mauser G98 from which the Czechoslovak Brno was based on (Picture Source: Aliparsa.com). Several industrialized nations have built the Mauser rifle and clones have been made in virtually every through license agreements with the Mauser firm in Orberndorf, Germany. One of the most prominent of these licensing arrangements was made with Czechoslovakia which led to the production (also via licensing) of high-quality models in Iran as well. Several other nations have also produced the Mauser-based rifle, including, Turkey, Peru, Venezuela, Spain, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Sweden, Belgium, Argentina, and Yugoslavia.

It did not take long for this venerable weapon with its excellent bolt-action technology to find its way into Iran by the early 1900s. Iranian Constitutional fighters used this weapon in their battles to promote what was Western Asia’s first Democracy movement.

Berno-15-M<ashrooteh-MausersAn excellent photo of Iranian Constitutional Fighters armed with the Mauser (Picture Source: Aliparsa.com). This weapon was to be later introduced on a much larger scale as the Iranian army manufactured this under license from the from the Czechoslovak Zbrojovka Brno Company.

By the mid-1920s, two other types of rifles were being used in Iran: the Russian Mosin-Nagant (Noghaan, or Naaghaan, نوغان- ناغان in the popular slang of the time)and the British Lee-Enfield. Explanations vary as to why the administration of Reza Shah chose to adopt the Mauser-based Brno. One strong possibility is that Reza Shah wanted to distance the Iranian army’s reliance on Britain and Russia as sources of military supplies. Whatever the true reason, the Iranian Army opted to adopt the Berno (Brno) as its primary infantry rifle. In addition, the Berno (Brno) was considered to be he best rifle of its type at the time.

Berno-6[Click to Enlarge] The original delivery Berno [Brno] manufactured in Czechoslovakia for the Iranian army (Picture Source: Milpas). Note the Persian writing which states “Karkhaneye Aslahe-Saziye Berno [Lit. Brno Weapons manufacturing Factory]“. The Jalali Calendar date of 1309 on the rifle places its date of manufacture to 1930. 

Iran was to later produce the weapon under license. By the late 1940s, the Taslihat-e Artesh (Arms Factories of the Army) in Tehran, known colloquially as “Mosalsal-sazi” (lit. machine-gun construction), engaged in the mass-production of the Berno [Brno].

Berno-12-Kootah[Click to Enlarge] A version of the Berno (Brno) produced in Iran in 1949 – Jalali calendar of 1328 (Picture Source: Aliparsa.com). The Persian script states “Sakht-e Aslehe-Sazi-e Artesh” [lit. Built by the Weapons Manufacturing of the Army].

The Iranian army considered the “Berno” (Brno) as the best military rifle of its time. Iranian veterans have noted of the sturdiness and reliability of this rifle. Iranian tribal warriors especially valued the Berno (Brno) well into the late 1970s.

 Berno-3A more comprehensive view of the 1930 Czech manufacture Berno [Brno] (Picture Source: Milpas).

The Iranian built Berno (Brno) came in two versions:

1) the regular Berno (Brno) (Length=1110 mm): this was technically the regular VZ24 rifle, highly similar to the Kar-98k of Germany.

2) a shorter version of the Berno (Brno) known as Berno e Kootah (the short Berno) (Length=993 mm): this was similar to the G-30 of Germany.

 Berno-13-Kootah-Full

The Berno e Kootah (the short Berno) (Picture Source: Aliparsa.com). The required machinery and training for producing the Berno (Brno) rifles was provided by the Czech powerhouse firm, Škoda, which has had long-standing ties with the Iranian industrial sector.

The Berno (Brno) remained as the standard weapon of the Iranian army until its replacement The Berno (Brno) remained in Iranian army service until 1960 when it was finally replaced by the US- M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle. The M1 in turn was replaced by the German-designed G3 of Heckler and Koch in the 1970s. The Berno however was to remain in service with the Iranian Gendarmerie until 1979.

Berno-2Another view of the 1930 Czech manufacture Brno; note close-ups of insignias and the Lion and Sun symbol (Picture Source: Milpas). 

Despite its phasing it in the 1960s-1970s, the Berno (Brno) continued to admire the admiration and respect of the Iranian infantrymen.

Berno-11[Click to Enlarge] Yet another view of the 1930 Czech manufacture Brno; the section above has the Persian word “Piyade” which roughly translates as “Infantryman”, but the term is better translated as “on Foot”. The term (Piyade) in Iranian military lexicon is meant to be differentiated from the Savar (mounted cavalryman) (Picture Source: Milpas). 

The Berno (Brno) was to serve the Iranian Army with special effectiveness, especially against Soviet-trained persons who were fighting against Tehran to advance the cause of the former Soviet Union inside Iran.

Iranian Army training 1940sIranian soldiers in training during the allied occupation of Iran (Picture Source: MilitaryPhotos.net); note their slung Berno [Brno] rifles during the exercises. When Russia withdrew her military umbrella from her satellite states in northern Iran in May 1946, the Moscow-Baku controlled separatist movements of northwest Iran quickly collapsed as the Iranian army entered the region in December 1946 (For more information see Iran at War: 1500-1988-(ایران در جنگ (۱۹۸۸-۱۵۰۰- 2011 -pp. 283-293).

Iran’s Favorite Dish: the Chelo Kebab

October 1st, 2014

The article below on Iran’s Favorite Dish, the Chelo Kebab (ČELOW-KABĀB), by S¡oḡrā Bāzargān and Ṣoḡrā Bāzargān was originally published in the Encyclopedia Iranica on December 15, 1990.

ČELOW-KABĀB is a popular Persian dish which consists of cooked rice (čelow; see berenj) and a variety of broiled (kabāb, see below) mutton or veal (though less popular) and is served with butter, egg yolk, powdered sumac, raw onions, broiled tomatoes, and fresh sweet basil.

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ČELOW-KABĀB, a popular Persian dish which consists of cooked rice (čelow) and a variety of broiled (kabāb, see below) mutton or veal (though less popular) and is served with butter, egg yolk, powdered sumac, raw onions, broiled tomatoes, and fresh sweet basil. It is served in the form of a mound with some butter buried inside. Different čelow-kabābs are usually named after the type of kabāb served with it (for examples see below). The drink traditionally served with čelow-kabāb is dūḡ, a beverage made with yogurt and water; in the past two decades, however, beverages such as Coca Cola have also become popular. Accord­ing to Nāder Mīrzā (pp. 240-41), the people of Tabrīz used to eat čelow-kabāb with cotton candy (pašmak) and sekanjabīn (sweet-and-sour mint drink, q.v.).

Nasseredin Shah-KamalolmolkOne the  Čelow-kabāb’s first distinguished (and regal) fans: Nasser-e-din Shah (1831-1896) of the Qajar Dynasty (1785-1925) as portrayed in a painting by  Kamal ol Molk (Picture Source: Public Domain).

The dish is not mentioned in the two culinary tracts of the 10th/16th century (ed. Afšār) and was probably created in the Qajar period. It was part of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah’s diet (Āšpazbāšī, p. 8) and, according to Nāder Mīrzā (loc. cit.), a favorite dish of the people of Tabrīz, where it was served in restaurants (čelowpaz-ḵāna).

Chelo Kabab-Tabriz[Click to Enlarge] Serving of fresh skewers of Čelow-kabāb in the city of Tabriz, Iran’s Azarbaijan province (Picture Source: Payvand News). Tabriz is famous throughout Iran for its culinary style of the Čelow-kabāb dish and is also known for having popularized this throughout the country as well. There are still traditional restaurants in Tabriz that serve skewers almost a meter long!

Čelow-kabāb-e solṭānī

Strips of the fillet of the best-quality meat are marinated overnight in a mixture of finely chopped onions and saffron, then gently beaten flat with the back of a kitchen knife, and finally broiled slowly on a skewer over charcoal fire. After the kabāb is cooked, it is placed on a platter or tray and pulled off the skewers with a piece of flat bread. The kabāb is then brushed with butter, decorated with onion rings and fresh sweet basil, and served with rice, butter, sumac, and broiled tomatoes. This highly regarded dish is a specialty of Tabrīz restaurants. In some restaurants it includes both kabāb-e barg and kabāb-e kūbīda.

Chelo Kakab-Soltani-Pars Times[Click to Enlarge] The Čelow-kabāb-e solṭānī (Picture Source: Pars Times).

Čelow-kabāb-e barg

This kabāb is prepared like kabāb-e solṭānī except that the meat pieces are cut into smaller chunks and saffron is omitted from the marinade.

 Kabab-Barg

[Click to Enlarge] A serving of Čelow-kabāb-e barg (Picture Source: How to Cook Persian Food Blog).

Čelow-kabāb-e kūbīda

The ingredients consist of ground meat, grated onion, minced fresh sweet basil (only in a recent variety popular in Shiraz), salt, pepper, and egg yolk, which are mixed together and thoroughly kneaded. (In the past, the meat was placed in a bowl over steam and kneaded to melt the fat and mix it well with the meat.) Then, small portions of the mixture are placed around wide skewers, which are slightly damp­ened with water, and pressed with the fingers. The skewers are then placed over a hot charcoal grill, and the fire is fanned immediately, until the kabāb turns brown­ish; then the kabāb is left to cook until it is done. Finally the kabāb is placed between layers of flat bread to soak the fat and sprinkled with sumac and served with čelow. In another variety, kabāb-e dīgī (pot kabob), strips of the kabāb are broiled on a stove in a pot or a broiler tray. Kabāb-e kūbīda is also eaten with bread (nān o kabāb) instead of rice, and in recent years many fast-food restaurants specializing in kabāb-e kūbīda have opened in large cities.

Kabab-Koobideh[Click to Enlarge] A serving of Čelow-kabāb-e kūbīda (Picture Source: Akbar Joojeh Restaurant, Thornhill, Ontario).

Kabāb-e ḥosaynī

Chunks of meat (often marinated in a mixture of yogurt, saffron, grated onions, salt, and pepper), sheep tail fat (donba), small white onions, and green peppers are put on skewers made of pomegranate or fig branches or stainless steel, and then layers of tomato rings, chopped onion, and kabāb skewers are arranged in a large pot and simmered over low heat. An almost identical variety is šīš-kabāb (or kabōb-e sīḵī, kabāb-e kenja), except that it is broiled over a low charcoal fire rather than in a pot.

Kabab-Husseini[Click to Enlarge] A serving of Kabāb-e ḥosaynī (Picture Source: Armandeep Singh 1980).

Bibliography:

Ī. Afšār, ed., Āšpazī-e dawra-ye ṣafawī, Tehran, 1360 Š./1981.

Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Khan Āšpazbāšī, Sofra-ye aṭʿema, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974, pp. 8-9.

Nāder Mīrzā Qājār, Tārīḵ-ejoḡrāfīā-­ye dār-al-salṭana-ye Tabrīz, Tehran, 1323/1905.

N. Ramazani, Persian Cooking, New York, 1974, index.

Żīāʾ Laškar Dāneš, Kollīyāt-e Ḥakīm Sūrī, Tehran, n.d., I, pp. 3, 40, 61, 68, 75.

Iranian Artillery Units: Early 1900s-1941

September 25th, 2014

Early 1900s-1925

The battered Iranian military had yet to recover from its devastating defeats at Russian and British hands in the first five decades of the 19th century which resulted in the losses of large chunks of territory, notably Herat and the South Caucasus. Another issue was vehement Russian (and latent British – esp. by the early 1900s) opposition to the revival and modernization of the Iranian army.

The Iranian military by the early 1900s was poorly organized with much of its equipment obsolete and inadequately maintained. There were small numbers of modern artillery and machine guns but at wholly insufficient quantities. This meant that Imperial Russian, British and Ottoman armies could enter Iranian territory at will.

Iranian Gendarmes-75 mm guns[Click to Enlarge] The most effective force of the Iranian military prior to and during World war One: the Gendarmerie – above are Iranian Gendarmerie posing with two 75mm (Shneider-Cruesot?) in Tehran prior to World War One (Picture Source: Morgan Shuster, The Strangling of Persia, T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1913, pp. 144, 152). Despite being a para-military force, the Iranian Gendarmes fought very well against opponents who enjoyed superiority in numbers and military equipment.  For more on the Iranian Gendarmerie, consult Professor Stephanie Cronin’s article in the Encylopedia Iranica.

By the end of World War One, Iran’s artillery corps was equipped with a chaotic motley left-over Ottoman, Russian and British, along with some numbers of German made MG-08 pieces and the Swedish Bofors 75mm mountain gun.

Iranian Artillery Units: Early 1920s-1941

Iran’s inventory of artillery in 1922 stood at a modest total of just 86 pieces. This was dangerously inadequate for the task of defending the country’s borders, a fact fully understood by the new unified and modernized Iranian military force, which began its debut from the mid-1920s.

2-Bofors-75 mmAn old undated photo of an Iranian Swedish made Bofors 75mm mountain gun. These had seen service with the Iranian army since the early 20th century. Four of these have survived to this day, now on display at the gates of the Gilan barracks in northern Iran (Picture Source: Matofi, A., 1999, Tarikh-e-Chahar Hezar Sal-e Artesh-e Iran: Az Tamadon-e Elam ta 1320 Khorsheedi, Jang-e- Iran va Araqh [The 4000 Year History of the Army of Iran: From the Elamite Civilization to 1941, the Iran-Iraq War]. Tehran:Entesharat-e Iman, p. 1043).

Reza Shah placed a high priority towards the modernization and expansion of Iran’s armed forces, with the artillery corps receiving close attention. By 1941 Iran possessed 874 cannon, with 350 modern pieces (mainly light and medium calibers – some motorized) being ordered from overseas. The artillery force however continued to use antiquated equipment such as the 75mm Bofors mountain guns and the Shneider-Cruesot 75-mm cannon seen during the Constitutional revolution. Nevertheless, in just 19 years (1922-1941) Iran’s inventory of cannon had increased ten-fold. This was a remarkable achievement for a country which just years before, had had no true national army since the 19th century.

Iranian Army-75mm Mountain-Bofors[Click to Enlarge] Iranian artillery unit of 75mm Bofors mountain guns (Picture Source: Network54).

By 1941, an Iranian Army regiment was equipped with 81mm mortars and six 37mm Skoda anti-tank guns. Hence (at least theoretically) this meant that the army’s 45 infantry regiments would have been equipped with minimum of 270 anti-tank guns and another 270 mortars. In practice however, these numbers were most likely less and not as evenly distributed among all the regiments.

Iranian Army-105mm Artillery-Skoda[Click to Enlarge] Iranian artillery unit of 105mm Skoda artillery pieces (Picture Source: Network54).

The organization of the army’s artillery units are believed to have been as follows at the eve of the Anglo-Russian invasion of Iran on August 25, 1941 (assuming that each battery was composed of four artillery pieces):

  • 12 batteries of 100mm Skoda M14 (short barrel) howitzers (Total=48 )
  • 18 batteries 100mm Skoda M30 howitzers (long barrel) (Total=72)
  • 39 batteries 75mm Bofors M1934 mountain guns (Total= 156) – mountain guns carried by pack mules
  • 10 1/2 batteries 75mm Schneider M1909 mountain guns (Total=42) – statistics debated – suggested at lesser (6 1/2 batteries) – mountain guns carried by pack mules
  • 4 Batteries  75mm Schneider Model 1919 (Total=16)
  • 2 batteries 75mm Aboukoff (Russian) (Total=8)
  • Possibly 4 batteries of 105mm Skoda M35 towed by Praga tractors for coastal defense along the Caspian (Possible Total=16)
  • 11 1/2 batteries 75mm M1929 anti-aircraft guns towed by Marmon Herrington vehicles – more artillery pieces had been on order but not delivered after 1939 (Total=46) – Note: Six of the anti-aircraft batteries were part of the mechanized brigade with three anti-aircraft batteries a part of the 6th Khuzestan Division (two of these were in storage or reserve however).
  • 1 battery of unknown British guns (possibly 18-Pounders) (Total=4)

Each regiment possessed three mountain batteries and one field battery. Excepting the mountain guns that were carried by pack mules, the artillery of the mechanized brigade was transported by Marmon Herrington vehicles. The rest of the artillery was drawn by horses.  The above statistics and corresponding information are of course subject to revision as more data is uncovered by future research.

Iranian Army-75mm AAA-Bofors[Click to Enlarge] Iranian artillery unit of 75mm Bofors anti-aircraft artillery (Picture Source: Network54). At least another twenty of these which had been on order were never delivered to Iran.