Edited by  H. B. Paksoy

Table of Contents:

H. B. Paksoy "Ibadinov's Kuyas Ham Alav"
Peter B. Golden (Rutgers) "Codex Comanicus"
Richard Frye (Harvard) "Narshaki's The History of Bukhara"
Robert Dankoff (Chicago) "Adab Literature"
Uli Schamiloglu (Wisconsin-Madison) "Umdet ul Ahbar"
Kevin Krisciunas (Joint Astronomy Centre) "Ulug Beg's Zij"
Audrey Altstadt (UMass-Amherst) "Bakikhanli's Nasihatlar"
Edward J. Lazzerini (New Orleans) "Gaspirali's Tercuman"
David S. Thomas (Rhode Island) "Akcura's Uc Tarz-i Siyaset"
ISBN: 975-428-033-9
Library of Congress Card Catalog: DS329.4 .C46 1992
173 Pp. (paperback)  US$20 

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Please refer to the printed version for footnotes.



The historical and literary Monuments of Central Asia are the
repositories of civilization, culture and aesthetic tastes of
their creators and their milieu over millennia. Though some
existed in manuscript, a large portion survived dozens of
centuries as part of the oral tradition. After printing press
licenses were wrestled by the Central Asians from the Russian
government during the 19th century, many were collected by the
Central Asians and others, and published. The Monuments have
proved to be durable. Primarily works of Central Asian thought,
they belong also to civilization at large, representing the
endeavors of human activity. 

The present volume presents essays on eight Central Asian
Monuments. Each essay discusses one Monument, placing it in
historical perspective. Some works are very early products of
Central Asian thought. A few, are quite new, that is, were
produced in the 19th and the 20th centuries. They all, however,
are repositories of thought and culture and all have had palpable
repercussions. Their enduring quality is manifested in repeated
references to them by present-day Central Asians in their own
historical, literary, and even political writings. Indeed, this
use of Monuments provided an additional reason for undertaking
this collection. In a time when Central Asia's importance to the
world affairs is again resurgent, it is necessary to understand
the intellectual nucleus of Central Asians' mode of thinking.
This is especially important, because an overwhelming majority of
Central Asian writings do not appear in any other language than
their own dialects. The appreciation of these Monuments, their
messages and their influence over time contributes to the
understanding of current issues precisely because they are
directly linked in the minds of the Central Asians themselves.
This is illustrated by the first essay, "Sun is also Fire," which
examines the references to various Monuments in one contemporary
"novella" from Uzbekistan.

The eight works examined in this volume necessarily represent
only a sampling of monuments extant in Central Asia. For example,
not included is the genre of the "forefathers' admonitions," any
significant discussion of which would require volumes. Among the
components of the latter genre are dastans, "ornate oral
histories." There are a minimum of fifty "main" dastans, each at
least several hundred pages long, exclusive of dozens of variants
for each. A number of studies on this genre have been published
over the years, in the original dialects as well as in
translation, including English. Talat Tekin's A Grammar of Orkhon
Turkic contains samples from one of the earliest known advice
and counsel works, incorporating narrations by the past rulers
themselves. Among them, the following translations and analyses
should be mentioned: The Book of Dede Korkut, by Geoffrey L.
Lewis; The Memorial Feast for Kokotoy Khan, by Arthur T. Hatto;
Maadi Kara, by Ugo Marazzi; Alpamysh by H. B. Paksoy; and
Chora Batir. Fragments of others may be found in Radloff. The
foregoing represents only a small fraction; other accounts and
admonitions such as Oghuz Han, edited by Z. V. Togan;
Koroglu, Koblandi Batir; Kambar Batir; Manas are not
yet available in English.

Another group is what may be termed "handbooks" or compendiums
include Diwan Lugat-it Turk, Kutadgu Bilig, Muhakemat al-
lughateyn. These three and others have been translated. On
the other hand, most of the poetry written in Central Asia are
still not accessible. The volume of Central Asian poetry is so
great that the effort required may occupy several scholars a
lifetime to successfully translate even one major poet. For
instance, Navai's poetry alone would be a significant project,
and in the past UNESCO attempted to undertake the task, but for
want of trained scholars prepared to undertake the job, it has
not progressed. 

There are also histories written by Central Asians. Togan and
Bartold provide good critical summaries of those indigenous
works, very few of which have been translated. Y. Bregel is in
the process of doing one. Bosworth, Sumer, Kafesoglu
have also made use of manuscript souces of the type and provide
bibliographies. Western souces include discussions on such works,
at varying lengths, including the Cambridge History of India,
two volumes of which necessarily include heavy doses of Central
Asian affairs, as well as the Oxford History of India and the
Cambridge History of Iran which provide insights from the
Western and Southern edges. Denis Sinor, in his still unsurpassed
Introduction a l'etude de l'Eurasie Centrale provides an
extensive bibliography of hundreds of works devoted to the topic.
Individual volumes on various aspects of Central Asian history
were also added to this list since Sinor's comprehensive work.
Some of the earlier important works were also listed in Sinor's
Inner Asia: A Syllabus.

A quantity of volumes on the history of the Central Asians,
focusing on dynasties, geographic locations or eras may be found
in principal libraries. The most comprehensive is by W. Barthold
Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion. As the title indicates, it
covers the period up to the 13th century A.D.  Z. V. Togan's
Turkili Turkistan concentrates largely on the 19th and the 20th
centuries. The sample period volumes on the history of the
Central Asians include the 10th c. A.D. De administrando imperio
by Constantine Porphyrogenitus (Byzantine emperor); 10th c.
Hudud al-Alam; 12th c. Marwazi China, the Turks and India;
14th c. Ibn Battuta's Travels; 8th c. Chiu T'ang-shu, the
16th c. Baburnama; also of the 16th c. Secere-i Turk. There
are also collections of documents, e.g.: Turkische Turfan Texte
tr. by Bang and Gabain (1920s); Documentes sur les Tou-kiue
(Turcs) Occidentaux; The Tarikh-i Rashidi. Certainly, there
is no shortage of commentaries, observations on the more recent
social, historical or political conditions of Central Asia.
However, the present volume is not intended as a bibliography,
since quite a few of the cited works are, or contain extensive
listings of sources, but to introduce a number of original works
of Central Asian origin.

In short, there are more categories of Central Asian monuments
than there are students currently studying them around the world.
The present volume, matching active scholars with Monuments, will
perhaps stimulate further work on these works and their impact.


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