« AnteriorContinuar »
a long period, celebrated for its manufacture of cotton cloths. Hadje-khalfa, the Turkish geographer, speaks of them in his Djihan-numa. Still, in the sixteenth century, under the emperor Akbar, it was the chief place of one of the Circars, or particular districts of Bengal.” But the town of Dakka having been built in its neighbourhood, the inhabitants of Sonarganow began to quit it; its industry was transported elsewhere, its edifices disappeared, and it soon dwindled to a pitiful village;f so that an English traveller, who passed by this plain in 1809, declares, that at that epoch, there were no remains of it.} Thus pass away towns as well as empires. In no part of the world are such revolutions so frequent as in India; their mode of building with earth and bamboos is such, that sometimes, in a few years a great city is built, which falls still more rapidly. A great book might be written of the simple notice of all the towns, which during some ages have governed in India, the ruins of which are now sought by travellers. An interesting question to resolve presents itself. What is the origin of those titles, partly pious, and partly pompous, which were assumed by the kings of Bengal? We answer, that they were desirous, above all to imitate the Sultans of Dehli, their former masters. From the period when they declared themselves independant, was it not natural that they should assume, or appropriate to themselves, the titles and qualities assumed by the ancient sovereigns of Hindostan? It was the means of satisfying the vanity, and of imposing on the people, by these glorious surnames. What we here assert is proved by the coins of the Sultans of Dehli. We will now endeavour to determine the origin of these epithets. In the comparisons which we have made on this subject, we are in possession of resources that no one has hitherto had. Coins of the Sultans of Dehli, anterior to the invasion of
* This circumstance is mentioned in the “AynAkberi, ou Tableau Historique, Topographique, et Statistique, de l'Hindoustan sous Akbar.” The original manuscript of this work, which was presented to Akbar, was in the possession of the late M. Langlès, and it is in this M.S., page 162 recto, that we find the name of Sonarganou.
t vide Memoir of a Map of Hindostan, by Major Rennel, page 57.
t wide M. Hamilton's work, in the page before
the Moguls in the sixteenth century, were never known in Europe till now. As to ourselves, we have had at our disposition, some of these ancient monuments, but unfortunately, they are limited to a very small number. But what has been considerably more useful to us is, that we have received a communication of the drawings of medals collected fifty years since in India by Colonel Gentil. We mean not to say that Gentil's collection is complete; but, excepting two or three Sultans, there has not reigned at Dehli, and in the north of India, since the fourth century of the Hejra, or the tenth of J.C., till the last century, any emperor who has not provided Gentil's collection with, at least, one medal. On these drawings and on the history of the princes to whom they refer, a work of considerable labour has been performed, which will shortly appear with the description of the Oriental medals of the Duke de Blacas, The titles of sultan and victorious, which are taken by Elias Schah, are found also in the medals of Dehli. As for two Arabic words which are translated victorious, they properly mean father of victory. We might even translate them, Abou’lmodaffer, i. e. father of Modaffer. In that case, Modaffer would have been one of the sons of Elias Schah, and the father might have taken this title, in imitation of many Musulmans, who like to be called by the name of their sons; this explanation, however, does not appear natural, for no Oriental author has mentioned any son of Elias Schah named Modaffer; but as this reason would be insufficient, we should still consider that more than one Musulman prince appears to have taken this title, without ever having had a son of that name. There is scarcely a modern sovereign of Persia or India, who has not arrogated to himself this epithet, either on his coins or on other monuments. Must we then suppose, that all these princes have had sons named Modaffer? Why should they constantly notice this son in preference to all the others? Why do we not sex on these medals, father of Abbas, father of Soliman, and many other names mentioned in history? In general, the custom of calling one-self, father of one's son, is scarcely ever practised by sovereigns, at least (as it appears to us), we have not secn any such example on any medals or monuments whatever, always understanding that we refer here to modern ages; for, with regard to ancient times, it certainly has been otherwise. The title of second Alerander, or new Alexander, is still borrowed from some medals of Dehli : it offers, of itself, a clear interpretation. It is not in Greece and at Rome alone, that the name of Alexander has enflamed the ambition, or the insane pride of princes ! There have been found in India, men, who following the example of the Emperor Caracalla, have fancied themselves called upon to act the part of the Macedonian hero. It appears, however, that the name of Alexander no longer awakens in the mind, those romantic ideas which it formerly did. Since the fifteenth century, several potentates of Asia have qualified themselves with the title of Second Sahibkeran, from the name of Sahib-keran, which Tamerlane took; a term, which signifies, born under a fortunate constellation: but no one, since the above-mentioned period, has (that we know of), assumed the name of second Alexander. This change in sentiments has been felt, not only in India, where the Mogul emperors, descended from Tamerlane, were interested in setting forth the glorious renown of that conqueror; for it is discovered, even in Persia, where the same interest to elevate the glory of the Tartarian monarch, did not exist. We may, therefore, suppose that the name of Alexander could no longer maintain itself before the fortune of Tamerlane. Thus are all things mutable on the earth, every thing passes away, even the glory of conquerors. Finally, the words of Second Alexander, present a signification unknown to the people of the east, for they say not in the east, Mahomet I. Mahomet II., as we say Henry VIII. or George III. But when there is a succession of princes in the same empire, of the same name, for example, the name of Mahomet,-they distinguish them by the name of the father : thus, they say, Mahomet, son of Aly, and sometimes, to make the distinction, as Mahomet" is a common name, it is necessary to bring in the Jather of Modaffer, we ought to observe, that the son and successor of Sekander Schah, called himself Gaiath-eddin, and the name of a prince, of the name of Afoudjahed, is not mentioned by any Oriental author whatever. Those who are acquainted with Musulman history, will not be surprised at the pompous epithets which the kings of Bengal gave to the khalifs of Egypt; such were —imam or sovereign pontif, and magnificent khalif, titles assumed also by the ancient khalifs of Bagdad. It will, perhaps, be thought more singular that the names of the four first khalifs, or successors of Muhamed (Mahomet), should be inscribed on the medal numbered 4. Here is the reason; the assemblage of these four names is the designation of the religious sect to which the Musulman princes of India belonged. It is well known, that among the various sects which divide Islamism, there are two principally which appear now more than ever to controul the rest. The first are the exclusive partisans of the right of the house of Ali, the second are those who acknowledge, as equally legitimate, all the families of the sovereigns who have governed Islamism. The division ascends to the first century of the Hejra. When Mahomet died, he left no son. The only person, who, by his birth, had a right to the empire, was Ali, who married Fatima, the daughter of Mahomet; unfortunately, the right of succession not being then established in Arabia as it was elsewhere. The fact is, that Ali did not immediately succeed his father-in-law, but occupied the throne after Abou-bekr, Omar, and Othman. Also, from that period, his partisans began to maintain, as they had previously maintained, that to him, exclusively, belonged the sovereign aut' ority, and that the three princes who had preceded him, were intruders and usurpers. Those who thought this, however, were by no means the greater number. The others advised to leave things as they were; they contested not the right of Ali to the khalifat, from the moment that he was recognized as such by the Musulman provinces; they only required that the other three should not be rejected, consenting to acknowledge all the four as good and legitimate khalifs. To these discussions, were introduced political and other sub
* The eldest son of all Muhamedan families is named, not after the father, but after the prophet, so that every family that possesses a son possesses a namesake of the prophet; this circumstance renders the name of Muhamed **) in not ort.
grandfather, as Mahomet, ben Abdallah, ben Ismael (Mahomet, the son of Abdallah, the son of Ismael). But, to return to our subject; in the present case, to authorize Elias Schah to call himself Alexander the Second, he must have had two names at once, Elias and Sekunder, or Alexander; moreover, there must have reigned before him in Bengal, a king named Alexander, which cannot possibly be admitted. No doubt the titles of right hand of the khalf, of protector of the commander of the faith, belonged also to Mohamed Schah, Sultan of Dehli; it was him, in fact, who first brought the khalif of Egypt to light, and gave up to him, as it were, the dominion of India. To whom could such title be more agreeable, than to such a prince 2 In this, he was imitated by the kings of Bengal, who knew well, in fact, that these titles engaged them to nothing. The title of protector of the commander of the faithful is also perceived on the coins of some Muhamedan princes of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries of our era; at a period when the khalifs of Bagdad had every thing to fear from some neighbouring princes. The title of Zealot in the service of God, which is taken by Sekander Schah, son of Elias, in No. 3, is derived from the coins of Firouz Schah, Sultan of Dehli, his cotemporary. The same ought to be observed of the term, strong by the power of God, which we read on the coins of Mohamed Schah, Sultan of Dehli. We know of these medals, only through the drawings of Colonel Gentil. We ought also to acknowledge, that it was only by the means of these drawings, that we were
jects of dispute, which it would be irrele. want here to discuss : but we must confine ourselves to declare, that the cause of Ali was embraced immediately by the Musulman inhabitants of Mesopotamia and of Arabia, and after a short period, it predominated in Africa, under the Fatimite khalifs, who declared themselves descended from that celebrated warrior. At present, it is in Persia where the dynasty of Ali is held in the highest perfection. The opposite doctrine, which does not acknowledge any preference between the four first khalifs, under the permission that they were all equally good, was professed by the khalifs of Bagdad, and afterwards by those of Egypt. This is also the opinion of the Turks of the present age. We can conceive, then, that the Sultan of Dehli, and the other Musulman princes of India, having attached themselves to the doctrine of the khalifs of Egypt, would naturally acknowledge the four first khalifs, and it is that which they were desirous of recording on their medals, as it is recorded, in like manner, on many of their monuments, until the extinction of the Mogul empire by the English. Sometimes the names of these khalifs are accompanied with honourable epithets, designating the fine qualities which were attributed to them. In general, nothing is so common in the east as epithets; even the Muhamedan towns have theirs. On No. 4 of our medals, the term of—the town well guarded, is an epithet which probably applies to Sonarganou, which bears also the title of
brilliant residence, J}- Sri- the word
that signifies residence, has been employed in all ages, with the same meaning, by the Musulman princes of India to exalt their capitals. Thus, in the drawing of the ancient medals of India, collected by Colonel Gentil, we read the words—residence of Lahor, residence of Dehli, residence of Moultal ; the same word is also used in Africa. Nothing is more common for example, than to find this word on the coins of Fez and Morocco. It is an error of all those who have had to publish these medals, to have read er- castle for 5-i- residence. Now,
it is easy to convince ourselves, by our own eyes, that they have deceived themselves, even by following the draw
thus constructed are not, perhaps, in
harmony with the rules of Arabic gram
mar; neither will we absolutely under
take to defend our manner of interpreting
them. We should be careful, however,
not to insist too much on this sort of reasoning; it would be wrong to suppose that the Arabic language was ever written in India, as it was formerly at Bagdad, and Bassora. Not to cite new authority, we might remark, on the medal No. 4, the word town, without the article which ought to have been prefixed. This grammatical error is just the same as if we should say, struck in the town the well guarded. We should say, by attending strictly and literally to the Arabic language, struck in town the well guarded.
We have translated the following excellent article from the Courier de Londres • of March 30. Nouveaur Elémens de Grammaire Turke, d l'usage de l'Ecole Royale des Langues Orientales; par Amédée JAubert, Mastre des Requêtes, Professeur de Langue Turke près la Bibliothèque du Roi, etc. An erroneous opinion is generally entertained in Europe respecting the language and literature of the Ottomans, and their system of education. It is supposed by many, that the language of this barba1ous people is even less cultivated than their manners: such, however, is not the case. The decendants of Othman+ possess a language, which is inferior to no ancient or modern tongue in softness, flexibility,
* A French newspaper published in London every Tuesday and Friday evening.—We eagerly embrace this opportunity of recommending, particularly to our younger readers, this useful and interesting Journal, every number of which contains a great variety of valuable information admirably arrang, d. We can scarcely imagine a better mode of obtaining a familiar acquaintance with the French language, than the constant perusal of a well-conducted newspaper in that tongue. It gives us pleasure to add, that the publication we allude to, is as remarkable for its moral tone, as for the general interest which the novelty and variety of its matter cannot fail of exciting.
t The barbarous appellation of Turks, by which this people is usually designated, is not acknowledged by themselves.
and harmony; and its rules are so admirably simple, that we should rather suppose them to have been framed by an academy of learned men, than by a society consisting of nomade and pastoral tribes. We shall not enter into a minute analysis of this language; but it may not be amiss to furnish, as an example of its general construction, the facility with which a verb is conjugated. By adding a single syllable, and sometimes by a single letter to the radical of the verb, it is thus modified. The verb sevmes, to love, is made to signify, to be loved, to love one another, to make one love, to make us love one another, to love not, to be loved not, to make us not love one another, &c.We should tire our readers by following up the series of modifications. There are, however, several defects with which this language, or rather those who write it, may be charged. The literati of the country frequently write with a degree of obscurity it would be easy to avoid. Not contented with admitting into their pages, a multiplicity of Arabic and Persian terms, borrowed from their neighbours, and which are not readily subjected to the rules of Turkish syntax, they strive to crowd together a number of participles, which give no determinate time, always keep the meaning of the sentence inconveniently suspended, and sometimes even to the end of the second or third leaf of the volume. When, in addition to these defects, we take into consideration, that there are neither vowels, paragraphs, nor punctuation, which, in fact, are seldom to be met with in Oriental languages, we may form a tolerable idea of the perspicuity of a Turkish manuscript. The penury of Turkish literature is, doubtless, to be attributed to these causes. Nevertheless the language can boast of poets, for instance, Rouhihi and Meshiy; of romance writers, amongst whom the aged Tartare Barakeh may be mentioned; and of a considerable number of historians, geographers, and physicians. But, even if the Turkish language does not present us with a variety of literary productions worthy of attention, it ought not the less to be an object of study to the philologist, for it is the only diplomatic language made use of at most of the eastern courts. It is almost exclusively spoken at the courts of the Viceroy of Egypt, and the Shah of Persia, under the tents of the great Khans of Tartary, and in the seraglio of the Sultan, and is certainly the maternal language of these princes. In fact, over all the northern coasts of Africa, and from Constantinople to the western frontiers of China, there is scarcely a spot where the Turkish idiom is not more or less understood. The importance of such a language is undoubtedly great, whether regarded in a commercial or diplomatic view. M. Jaubert, whose justly celebrated name recalls to our recollection the various services he has rendered to his country, has now established a new claim upon the gratitude of his fellow-citizens, as well as upon that of all friends to literature, by publishing the grammar to which we are here requesting the attention of our readers. The scarcity and dearness of the small grammar published at Constantinople, by the Jesuit Holderman; the obscurity of Meninski's grammar; and the incorrectness of the Oriental type, in that which was published by father Viguier, render the new publication of M. Jaubert very acceptable to Orientalists. Instead of following the example of his predecessors, by rendering his subject difficult and complicated by a multiplicity of rules, for the most part useless, this writer has
endeavoured to simplify the language he has undertaken to teach, by laying its elements before us with method and perspicuity. He has distinguished, with much address, a variety of trifling anomalies, which other grammarians had regarded as general rules instead of exceptions. In short, this learned orientalist has employed the superior intelligence he has derived from long study and extensive experience to preserve to the Turkish idiom the character of simplicity which justly belongs to it.
The work is concluded by a collection of proverbs, engraved in lithographic, by M. Bianchi, and which are both entertaining and instructive. These proverbs will serve as exercises for the pupil; and will, at the same time, be interesting to other readers, by exemplifying the wisdom and observation of a people generally supposed to be barbarous.
We repeat, the Turks are by no means so uncivilized as report declares them. Public instruction is encouraged by all the higher classes of society. Numbers of rich men, in bequeathing legacies, usually devote a portion to the erection of a Mudreseh, or public school. Several of the Turkish emperors have followed the example. It is actually the case, whatever surprize the statement may occasion, that, at the present moment, there exists at Constantinople, a greater number of colleges than at Paris.
In the penal laws of this people, there are certain provisions which are not to be found in our own codes," but which would have done honour to the wisdom of our legislators. Unfortunately, however, these institutes are infected with the same fanatical spirit which attaches generally to the followers of Mahomet, and more especially to those Mahometans who belong to the Sunnite sect. This fanaticsim will ever prevent the present rulers of the Bosphorus from attaining to such a degree of civilization, as is absolutely requisite to enable them to command respect in the great family of European nations.
* M. de Hammer, the learned Gerinan Orientalist, has published a translation of these laws, known by the title of Canons. A French version of the German work is now in the press at Paris.