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  • Author or Editor: István Vásáry x
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The article aims at summarising the evidence of European sources concerning the towns of the Middle Volga region. First, the Hungarian Anonymus's Gesta Ungarorum is scrutinised, then the Western travellers' accounts are considered. The result is that prior to the 14th century only Bulgar, the capital of Volga Bulgaria was known to medieval West. In the second part of the paper the works of 14th-15th-century European cartography are investigated. The names and locations of three towns (Bulgar, Kremencuk and Jüketau) are dealt with in detail. The final conclusion is that these maps, though they are precious contemporary sources, must be handled with special caution and criticism.

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From 1091 onwards the nomadic confederacy of the Cumans had played an eminent historical role in the Balkans. The present paper investigates the Cuman participation in the fight of Byzantium with the Latins, during and after the Fourth Crusade in 1204, and comes to the conclusion that the Cumans' historical role in the restoration of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185-1186 and in the following events of the upcoming two decades is undeniable. The Cumans had no strategic aims, their primary and short-time goal being robbery and pillage. Though their employment in campaigns and battles as mercenaries was of prime importance for both the Vlakho-Bulgarians and the Byzantines and the Latins, they did not present a real long-term menace to the statehood of either of the waring factions.

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Since the publication of Hammer-Purgstall’s path-breaking monograph (1840) on the history of the Golden Horde much has been written on this westernmost Tatar state, but some basic problems have remained unsolved ever since. One of the most obscure periods in the history of the Golden Horde is the twenty years’ anarchy (called bulqaq in Turkic) after Berdibek Khan’s death in 1359/60 (AH 761), lasting until 1380, the date of the establishment of Tokhtamish’s rule. With Berdibek’s death Batu’s line extinguished, and a cruel fight began among the Jochid families for the throne. Originally the western part of the Golden Horde (alias Right Wing or White Horde) was held by Batu’s house seated in Saray, and their jurisdiction nominally extended also to the eastern part of the Golden Horde (alias Left Wing or Blue Horde) where Batu’s elder brother Orda and his own successors sat on the khanal throne in Sığnaq. Practically they enjoyed total independence in matters of inner affairs, but had no coinage of their own. For long it was thought that the first eastern khan to mint coin in 770 AH (1369/70 AD) was Urus Khan, ancestor and predecessor of Girey and Jānibek, founders of the Kazak khanates in 875 AH (1470/1 AD).But some contradictory statements also appeared time and again as if a certain Mubārak-ḫoja was the first khan to mint coin in the east. Savel’ev and Markov published a few coins of Mubārak-ḫoja that were allegedly dated to 728 and 729 (perchance to 738 and 739). These dates contradicted our historical knowledge derived mainly from the Persian historian Naṇanzī’s narrative. But Jakubovskij, Safargaliev, and Ağat, bothered by the contradiction of the data, tried to reconcile the numismatic evidence with that of the written sources with no avail.The solution of the question lies in the exact date on Mubārak-ḫoja’s coins. The present paper refutes the former dates 728, 729 (or 738, 739), suggested by Savel’ev and others, as misinterpretations, and endeavours to prove that the correct dates are 768 and 769. This indisputable numismatic evidence of Mubārak-ḫoja’s coins enables us to reinterpret a whole chain of events and eradicate a number of inveterate misbeliefs. Above all, Mubārak-ḫoja minted his coins in 768 and 769 AH (07.09.1366–15.08.1368), i.e. forty years later than supposed hitherto by the majority of researchers. Now it becomes clear that Mubārak-ḫoja was the first khan to mint coins in the Blue Horde, as a sign of declaring independence in Sığnaq, capital of the Blue Horde. All this happened already during the period of the bulqaq , the great upheaval subsequent to Berdibek Khan’s death in 1259/60. Urus Khan then took over power in Sığnaq in 770 AH (1368/69), and from that time onwards the khanal mint in Sığnaq began to issue coins with a regular flow.

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The “Genealogy of the Tatar Sovereigns” ( Rodoslovnaia tatarskikh tsarei ) preserved in various (official and private) genealogical books of the 16th–17th centuries is a unique and precious monument of both Tatar and Russian history. This text owes its existence to the lively interest of the Russian state in the inner relations of the declining Tatar states towards the middle of the 16th century. Its genesis cannot be disconnected from the Russian conquests of Kazan and Astrakhan. The bulk of the genealogies was compiled in the 1550s and based on Tatar sources. A critical analysis of these genealogies, comparing every piece of data with other contemporary (Russian and Oriental) sources, is a task yet to be accomplished, but the significance of these texts is beyond doubt. What I tried to do in this paper was to emphasise and analyse a few noteworthy aspects of this group of monuments.

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The Old Church Slavonic word ковъчегъ ‘box, coffin’ can be derived from Protobulgarian * qovčaq , a synonymous form of the related Turkic word qaburčaq ‘id.’ which in turn was the source of Hung. koporsó ‘coffin’. The Church Slavonic and the Hungarian words came from different Turkic dialects and were borrowed into the respective languages under different geographical and chronological circumstances, though both of them can be considered ancient, pre-ninth-century loanwords.

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The paper gives an overview of earlier research on the Turkic loan words in Hungarian from the Middle Ages until the work of L. Ligeti. It discusses the main achievements of Ligeti, who would be a hundred years old this year. Finally the paper outlines the main aims and methods according to which the authors work on a new etymological dictionary of the Old Turkic elements in the Hungarian language. Three sample articles close the paper.

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New Publications on Uygur Texts Translated from Chinese Chi, Pang-yuan-Wang, David Der-wei (eds): Chinese Literature in the Second Half of a Modern Century: A Critical Survey

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