The tremendous number of the known Oriental sources on the history of Turkey have not yet been studied sufficiently well. Their publication is not an easy thing. Many sources have not yet been brought to light, catalogued and described. It has been partly due to the fact that they are in libraries and private collections in many countries and not always are accessible; some manuscripts have been enumerated in various catalogues, descriptions and publications, but there is hardly an institution in the world that would boast of an exhaustive collection of such publications. Therefore, any serious re-search work is possible only under the condition that the necessary composite reference materials are prepared. This makes it expedient to coordinate the efforts of historians of various countries aimed at the finding of manuscripts with the prospect of publishing a collective work discribing all existing sources on Turkey’s history and at studying the most valuable sources and preparing of joint works on the problem of sources[1]. Soviet scholars, Y. Borshchevsky and Y. Bregel among them already emphasized the necessity of the compilation of a bio - bibliographical work on the Iranian and Tajik manuscripts. In their article recently printed in the magazine “Peoples of Asia and Africa” these scholars offered their project of such a publication. A similar project could be adopted as the basis for the compilation of a composite reference work on the sources on Turkey’s history.

Soviet Orientalists having a long tradition of work on various manuscripts arc successfully following that tradition. This work is conducted in several directions. The first is the acqusition and syste-matization of manuscripts which began in our country long before the October Revolution, when the interest in the East found its main manifestation in collecting manuscripts in Oriental languages. Archeological, geographical and special expeditions collected Oriental manuscripts. A number of scholars and practical workers also collected manuscripts and then donated them to the Asiatic Museum (on the basis of which the Institute of Oriental Studies was established in 1930), various scientific and educational establishments in Tashkent, Dushanbe, Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan. The expansion of the manuscript stocks of these institutions has become especially intensive in the Soviet period. At the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences alone there are now about 70 thousand volumes of manuscripts, xylographs, lithograph publications and old books which are at present a great rarity. If we add that many volumes contain several works, then the total number of Oriental authors’ work is much bigger. Besides, the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies has in its library a great number of various documents in Oriental languages and whole collections formerly belonging to 70 Orientalists, as well as a big photograph library. The Institute’s manuscript collection comprises manuscripts dating from the hoary past to the 20th century. While there are only a few manuscripts representing the ancient period, quite extensive manuscript collections are dated in the Medieval and modern periods.

The sources in the possession of the Institute are written in 45 languages of the East, with Arabic, Persian an Turcic manuscripts being quite prominent among them[2].

A very great number of manuscripts - thousand of volumes - are kept in other scientific institutions of our country, for instance, in the State Manuscript Library of the Armenian SSR called the Matenadaran. In the Manuscript Institute of the Georgian SSR, in the Republican Manuscript Library of the Azerbaijan SSR, at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Uzbek Academy of Science.

The manuscript sources kept in the USSR are of various kinds - works on general history, geography and other sciences, for example, astronomy, medicine, theology; works on history, geography, philology of the states formerly existing in the territories of contemporary Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, the Soviet Trans-Caucasian and Central Asian Republics; works on the history, geography, languages, literature (prose and poetry) and folk art of individual regions, cities and tribes. These works arc especially valuable because they contain a lot of important data not found in the works of general nature. There are among the manuscripts a great many official documents - edicts of Shahs, Sultans and their vicegerents, letters, patents, deeds, official correspondance and so forth. Therefore, it has been the paramount task of Soviet scholars to systematize these sources, to make up and publish their catalogues and thus to bring to light the most valuable works.

The work on systematization and cataloguing of manuscripts has become especially active in recent years when Soviet scholars have prepared several important publications, and among them, a short alphabetical catalogue of Persian and Tajic manuscripts published by the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences[3], eight-volume catalogue of Oriental manuscript collection of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences[4], a catalogue of Oriental manuscripts of the Tajic Academy of Sciences[5], a catalogue of Arabic, Turkic and Persian manuscripts in Tibilisi[6], a catalogue of the Republican Manuscript Library in Baku[7], etc. Prominent Soviet scholars A. Semyonov, V. Voronovsky, A. Tveritinova, N. Miklukho-Maklai, A. Boldyrev, V. Tsercreteli, A. Mirzoyev, O. Akimushkin, M. Salak-hetdinova, V. Kushev and others took part in the preparation of the abovementioned publications.

The purpose of this short paper, besides providing information on the work of Soviet scholars on Oriental manuscripts, is to bring to the attention of our Turkish colleagues certain rare and unique Persian manuscripts in the library of the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences published by our researchers[8].

These sources contain mainly data primarily of Turkey’s political history, her relations with Iran in late Middle Ages and modern time and are of different kinds : there are among them the so called “local histories”, works dealing with individual rulers, works on medieval philology and documentary sources. The latter comprise, for instance, a 17th century manuscript which is a collection of copies of diplomatic correspondance and official documents of the beginning of the rule of the Safevid Shah Abbas I (1587-1629). The collection contains 64 diplomatic letters and documents written in the Persian and Turkic languages. It was the correspondence between Abbas I and the Osmanian Sultans Murad III and Muhammed III, letters of Abbas’ mother to the mother of Muhammed III, and other documents. The collection is similar, as regards its contents, to the collection described by Beeston, but does not repeat it[9].

The Turkish-Iranian, relations were reflected in other Iranian sources and an important place among them belongs to the unique three-volume manuscript of the 18th century “Namehii alamara-ii Nadiri” by Muhammed Kazim. The second and third volumes of the manuscript had been discovered in 1919, and the first volume was found in 1939. The only manuscript of the entire work is in the collection of the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Sciences of the USSR Academy of Sciences (location number D-430) ; it was described by N. D. Miklukho-Maklai, a great specialist in Persian and Tajic manuscripts, who headed the work of publication of the above-mentioned catalogue of manuscripts, and author of a number of their decriptions[10].

As Muhammad Kazim’s manuscript was not published, its complete text could for a long time be used only by a small number of Soviet Oriental scholars. As regards foreign scholars, L. Lockhart made use of microfilms of the second and third volumes, sent to him. All scholars who worked with this source, including the author of the present paper, noted great merits of M. Kazim’s work. In recent years N. D. Miklukho-Maklai has worked successfully on the publication of the manuscript supplying it with a preface, annotated table of contents and indexes[11].

The author of the manuscript -the Merv vazir Muhammad Kazmi- wrote it in the middle of the 18th century dedicating his work to the rule of Nadir-shah Afshar. Being a contemporary and eye witness of the events described, Muhammad Kazim gives in his work the most varied information not only on the history of Iran, but also on the history of her neighbours, including Turkey, and on the Iranian-Turkish relations, which are either absent or only cursorily mentioned in other sources of the same period. In particular, he writes in more detail than other known Oriental sources, of the invasion of Turkish troops into the countries of Trans-Caucasia and Western Iran in 1723-24, of the hostilities between the Iranian and Turkish armies in 1731-35 and 1743-46 (vol. I, pp. 23a-24a, 92a-110a, 157a-168a, 190a-191b, 195a-200a, 209a-212b, 215a-223a, 226b-250a, 286b-310a; vol. III pp. 142a-156a and others). One should point out that Muhammad Kazim glorifying Nadir-shah and his military talent described the course of military operations during the Iranian- Turkish wars in more detail and considerably more objectively than other Iranian historiographers of his time (for instance Mehdi-kahn Asterabadi). Giving interesting data on the Turkish troops and generals, he dwells in detail both on the victories of Nadir and on the grave defeats suffered by his forces in the battles with the Turks, for example, Nadir’s defeat in the battle with the Turkish army under Topal-Pasha (vol. I, pp. 215a-223a).

Muhammad Kazim tells interesting details regarding Turkey’s stand on a number of important international issues of the time, of the exchange of embassies, diplomatic negotiations and terms of armistices and peace treaties (vol. I, pp. 231a-232a, 253a-254a; vol. II, pp. 25b-26b, 305b-307b; vol. III pp. 33a-34a, 237b and others). He also writes of Turkey’s views on religion, particularly about the introduction of the Jaffarite doctrine of Islam by Nadir-shah, of the abrogation of the Iranian-Turkish treaties of 1743 because of Turkish Government’s refusal to give recognition to that doctrine (vol. III pp. 4b-6b, 83b-88b and others), of Turkey’s policy in the conquered lands (vol. I, pp. 104b-109a). Of great interest are the data on Turkey’s contacts with the tribes of the frontier areas as well as with the Dagestan rulers who rose against Nadir-shah, of the military support rendered by Turkish Government to the pretenders Sam- Mirza and Sefi-Mirza who claimed the Iranian throne (vol. III pp. 100b-103b, 127b-127b) (?), 133a-135b,etc.).

The work under review pays less attention to the internal situation of the Osmanian Empire than to the external policy problems. But even in this case a historian would find many interesting facts and details, for instance, in the third volume where there arc small chapters dealing exclusively with the internal conditions and certain developments which took place in the Osmanian Empire in the early 40s of the 18th century (see vol. III 4a-5a, 138b-141a, etc.).

Of manuscripts dealing with the history of individual regions, cities and tribes, mention should be made of the work of the first half of the 19th century entitled “Kashif al-I’Ijaz” (“Revealer of a Miracle”). Its author was Muhammed Ibrahim ibn Karim Khama- dani, a Shiah Persian, citizen of Kerbela, born at Khamadan. His work and its manuscripts have not yet been published; moreover, they were never mentioned in any printed publication. For the first time the work came to light in the above-mentioned catalogue prepared by Leningrad scholars and in an article by N. Miklukho- Maklai[12]. There are two manuscripts of the work bound together at the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Sciences. Both of them were written by the same copyist in the first half of the 19th century. The work consists of a preface, an introduction, several chapters and a conclusion (over 130 pages in all). The time of its writing is 1244 year of Hijra (1829).
As an eye-witness and contemporary of the events, the author gives a detailed account on the policy of Turkish authorities in the Arabian Iraq, on the risings of the Shiah population of the city of Kerbela which took the form of religious strife between the Shiahs and the Sunnites, on the activities of the Turkish viccgerent Daud- Pasha, etc. The manuscript İs of interest to those who study the history of Turkey and her provinces, in particular, the Arabian Iran.

Materials on Turkey’s history are found not only in the historical works in the Persian language, but also in the works of fiction and philological writings of the Middle Ages and modern time, including works of lexicographical nature. There arc in the library of the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences valuable, from the scientific point of view, explanatory and two-language dictionaries, and among them Turkish-Persian and Persian-Turkish dictionaries dated in the 15th-19th centuries. They were copied in Turkey and Iran, The greater part of the dictionaries is known in few copies and lias not yet been published. The dictionaries provide us with the names of various instruments of labour, articles for domestic use, social terms, geographical denominations, names of various historical persons, agricultural vocabulary, etc. Being glossaries of Turkic and Persian vocabulary, such dictionaries are, at the same time, important sources on the history, geography and ethnography of those countries. S. Bayevsky, senior research worker of the Institute, has made the study of these dictionaries the subject of his research.

Soviet scholars do not confine their efforts to the finding of Oriental manuscripts, their systematization and cataloguing. They arc engaged in the important work of their description, study and investigation. In recent years a number of source studies were published in Moscow, Leningrad and the Union Republics; scientific editions of the manuscript texts of sources having more or less bearing on the subject under discussion were printed or prepared for publication. Among them are the work by Muhammad Kazim, already mentioned here, collection of Persian and Georgian sources from the Tbilisi manuscript libraries, documents from the Matcnadaran, including Turkish taxation lists. Several papers on the Turkish and Iranian sources were also published. N. Miklukho-Maklai and S. Boyevsky are authors of several scientific descriptions of Persian and Tajic manuscripts which have been published as independent issues. These are descriptions of geographical and biographical works, of one - and two - language dictionaries; descriptions of historical writings, works of fiction (prose, poetry and folk literature) have been and are being prepared for publication. Medieval manuscripts containing important data on the cultural history of Turkic peoples are now in print. But it is not our task in this paper to analyse all works mentioned here. As it has been already stated our intention was only to bring to the notice of our Turkish colleagues some rare and valuable Persian sources kept at the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies and up to now unknown and unused, as well as to give the Turkish specialists an idea on what is done by Soviet Orientalists in the field of finding, systematizing, describing and publishing manuscripts.

Not: Rus doğubilimcilerinden M. Arunova, 1970 yılı Ağustosunda Moskova'da toplanan XIII Milletlerarası Tarihi Ilimler Kongresi'nde Türk Tarih Kurumu Delegesi Prof. B. S. Baykal'ın yaptığı bildiri üzerine söz almış ve konu üzerindeki düşüncelerini açıklamıştır. Sonradan bu düşüncelerini daha da geliştirmiş ve böylece bu yazı meydana gelmiştir.
Yazısında M. Arunova, Türk Tarihi hakkında mevcut doğu kaynaklarının pek zengin olduğunu, bunlardan bir çoğunun henüz ilim âleminde tanınmadığını, tanınanların da gereği gibi etüt edilmemiş bulunduğunu, bunların yayınlanması işinin çeşitli nedenlerle pek kolay olmadığını belirttikten sonra yayın işinin ne şekilde ele alınması üzerindeki düşüncelerini ortaya koymakta ve bu meyanda milletlerarası kollektif bir çalışmanın zorunluluğuna işaret etmektedir.
Bundan sonra Sovyet Kitaplıklarında bulunan Farsça kaynaklardan, bunların Türk Tarihi için öneminden bahsetmekte ve Sovyet bilginlerinin bugüne kadar bu alanda yaptıkları çalışmaları anlatmaktadır.


  1. Suggestions of this kind were made by us at the Modern History Section of the 13th International Congress of Historical Sciences.
  2. For details see D. I. Tikhonov’s “Oriental Manuscripts of the Institute of Oriental Studies” in the “Uchenya Zapiski Instituta Vos tok ove de nia AN SSSR”, V .VI. 1953.
  3. O. F. Akimushkin, N. D. Miklukho-Maklai, V. V. Kushev, M. A. Salakhetdinova. “Persian and Tajic Manuscripts of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences. A Short Alphabetical Catalogue. Parts 1 and 2” Moscow, 1964.
  4. Oriental Manuscript Collection of the Academy of Sciences of the Uzbek SSR. Volumes I-VIII. Tashkent 1952-67.
  5. Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts of the Academy of Sciences of the Tajik SSR. Vols MH. 1960-68.
  6. Catalogue of Arabic, Turkic and Persian Manuscripts of the A. Keklidze Manuscript Institute. Tbilisi, 1969.
  7. Academy of Sciences of Republic of Azerbayjan USSR, The Republic Manuscript Fund. Manuscript Catalogue I, Baku, 1963.
  8. See O. F. Akimushkin, N. D. Miklukho-Maklai, V. V. Kushev, M. A. Salakhetdinova. Op. cit. and also N. D. Miklukho-Maklai. “Some Persian and Tajik Historical, Biographical and Geographical Manuscripts of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences, in “Uchenye Zapiski IVAN”, XVI, 1958.
  9. See N. D. Miklukho-Maklai, O. F. Akimushkin, V. V. Kushev, M. A. Salakhetdinova. Some Rare and Unique Persian and Tajik Manuscripts in the Collection of the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Paper presented in 1960 at the 20th International Congress of Orientalists. M. 1960, A.E.Y. Beeston, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindustani and Pushtu manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, part HI, Oxford, 1954, N. 2711.
  10. For the first mention of the manuscript (volumes II and III see V. V. Bartold. On Some Oriental Manuscripts. “Izvestiya Rossiiskoi Akademii nauk”, Ser. XIII, pp. 927-930. The description of the manuscript see in N. D. Miklukho- Maklai’s articles. On the first volume of M. Kazim’s work in the “Sovetskoye Vostokovedeniye” vol. V. M. - L., 1947, The manuscript “Alamara-ii-Nadiri”in “Uchenye zapiski IVAN”, vol. VI, M. - L, 1953. / The work by Muhammad Kazim also was used by I. P. Petrushevsky “Studies in the History of Feudal Relations in Azerbaijan and Armenia in the 16-19th centuries” L. 1949; M. Arunova, K. Ashrafyan. “The State of Nadir-shah Afshar”. M. 1958. L. Lockhart, Nadir shah. London, 1938, and others.
  11. Muhammad Kazim “Nameh-ii Alamara-ii Nadiri”, vol. I-III. M. 1960, 1964, 1966; see also; translations of excerpts from the work. “Materials on the History of Turkmenians in Turkmenia”, vol. II. M. - L. 1938; Muhammad Kazim. “Nadir-shah’s Expedition to India, Translation, preface and commentary by P. P. Petrov. M. 1961.
  12. N. Miklukho-Maklat. Some Persian and Tajik Historical Manuscripts “Uchenye Zapiski IVAN” vol. XVI., M. - L. 1958, pp. 248-49.