Page images
PDF

pose a name, and of the vowel accents which influence each syllable of that name. However necessary in eastern writings, where the accents and diacritical points are often ambiguously expressed or altogether omitted, this yo-3 becomes superfluous when the name of a place is accurately printed, not only in Arabic or Persian characters, but at the same time in letters of our alphabet, which can express all vowel accents with considerable precision. The learned Greaves, who translated Abú' l’ Fedó’s “Chorasmia, was induced by these considerations to omit the says: his Preface, to which I refer you, sufficiently explains this omission."

* “Restatut Lectorem moneam, me in Tabulis, tam Arabicis quam Latinis, columnam omisisse quam Abulfeda 2.2J Nominum firioni’ assignat; ubi consonas et vocales omnes, quae formationi vocum cujusque civitatis inserviunt, disertis verbis enumerat. Quam insulsum esset et delicatis auribus ingratum, si tanquam puero abcedario singulas literas et apices Lectori indicassem'. At quod nostris ridiculum videtur, Arabibus, Persis, Turcis, quin et Hebræis et Syris, plane necessarium est; qui non, sicuti Graeci et Latini, vocales in eadem linea cum consonis connectunt, sed extra lineam vel supravel

infra locant, aut omnino festinandi studio abjiciunt. Inde

“ It would be difficult to ascertain how, in a work professedly treating of Geography alone, some articles totally unconnected with that subject first crept into the alphabetical arrangement of local descriptions, confounding persons and places in the series of names. Thus the account of a tribe entitled 4k Kuinlah (&; 3), or Báiandur (,&#3); of the Seljükian prince called Tatish (J3); of the fireworshipper Mazhdak (J3.), who founded an heretical sect ; and two or three other short passages, which we may suspect were, through the copyist's inattention or mistake, transcribed from some historical work lying

maxima in legendis eorum libris difficultas, major in intelligendis labor, et insuperabilis, præcipue in hominum locorum

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

si tanti sit, poterit ex Latinis Propriis Nominibus, in quibus vocales inseruntur, restituere ;—in Latina interpretatione illud

literarum ^, 3 omissum, reperiri tamen e regione in pagina

[ocr errors]

Arabica," &c.— Chorasmiae et Mawaralnahrae (hoc est regionum extra fluvium Oxum) Descriptio, eae Tabulis Abulfedæ, &c. Præf. p. 16. Printed in the Third Volume of Hudson's ** Geographiæ Veteris Scriptores Minores,” Oxon.

[ocr errors]

before him. I have marked them with a pencil; and in your translation of this Geographical Tract (the ‘Tahkík al Iráb') they certainly would seem misplaced ; of each, however, some mention might be made in the form of a note. But every name of a person from whom any country or city has received its denomination belongs legitimately to the subject of geography; as Tálish, Khazar, &c. “I beg leave to repeat my offer of assistance in conducting this work through the press: with such a task, long experience has rendered me familiar ; but to you, on account of your distance from London, it would prove both tedious and inconvenient.

“I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.

“WILLIAM OUSELEY.”

Offering this extract as a Preface to the following publication, I shall here observe, that attention has been paid to Sir William's advice respecting those passages which are not strictly geographical ; the contents of each being briefly mentioned in a note, as the reader will perceive in pp. 2, 12, 16, 23, &c. I shall also observe that, according to Sir William Jones's System of Orthography, (published in the Asiatic Researches, vol. i., and recommended by the Oriental Translation Committee,) the letter 4 (having an accent above) is used in expressing Arabic or Persian names, to represent the broad or long sound of our a in fall, call, and as Amul, Sháráz. The letter {, accented in the same manner, expresses the sound of our ee in peer, feel, and as in Shirāz above mentioned: and it, likewise accented, denotes the sound of our oo in boot, moon, &c.; thus in Kūfah. Without accents those letters (a, i, and u,) have their short sounds: a, as in man, battle ; thus Kazvín, Tabráz, Marv, &c. : i in imp, as Isfahán, Mirbát : u, as in bull, full, &c.; thus Suhrvard, Dábul; but in Persian words the u is never pronounced like our u in pun, mutter, &c. Although the short a may be the proper symbol, the short e, as Sir William Jones remarks in his work above quoted, may “be often very conveniently used" to express the first vocal sound; and in the word America (with which he exemplifies his

remark) we find both the short a and e : thus he writes chashm (...), raft (~s), ber (2), perveresh (Coog), &c. But on this subject it seems unnecessary to dwell; and I shall only add, that in the first work, the “Tahkík al Irāb,” all the names of places are printed (at least where they first occur) in the Arabic or Persian characters; and of the “Takwim al Buldán,” the whole text is printed, as, in fact, the short descriptions contain little besides the names of places, with the degrees of longitude and latitude. Of these, a few have been omitted by the Persian transcriber: and as the reader will find noticed in two or three places, some words, or letters, have been partly effaced by accidental injury, but not so much as to affect the sense in any material degree.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »