ORDOBAZARETS.

A scholarly internet pal of mine has a “curious terminological question” that’s come up in her research, and she solicits comments from my readership, who she rightly says “combine sufficient arcane knowledge with broad interest in these areas,” about this tentative paragraph:

The term gosti (which emphasizes in its root the trader as traveler) was used for traders to the south and east, to the Nogai, Persia, Crimean or Central Asian khanates. For men engaged in trade to the north and west, the terms used were kuptsy (which emphasizes the trader’s buying activity) and torgovye liudi, “men of trade.” But there existed a special term in Russia for traders from the steppe, ordobazarets, a “bazaar trader from the lands of the Horde,” and the words bazaar and karavan were used freely in Russian documents without tranlation or commentary when referring to traders from the steppe.

I googled ордобазарцы, and it appears to be quite rare—a couple hundred hits in general and 38 in Google Books (many of which are repetitions of the same text). Anyone know anything about this stuff?

Comments

  1. Hardly arcane, but Hobson-Jobson does specifically mention Russians as well as the better-known Urdu Bazar.

  2. I remember reading a reproduction of a treaty between some Novgorodian prince and some Germanic state on the Baltic, and it used the купцы almost exclusively, although the term гости did come up once or twice.

  3. Just a suggestion, but the steppe area of Russia was controlled by the Golden Horde from 1240 to about 1500. The area was also known as the Kipchak Khanate and was serviced by a northern extension of the Silk Road which ran north of the Caspian Sea and ended in the steppe. Perhaps this trade was carried out in a style particular to the region.

  4. Ordu is military in Turkish (apparently origin of Urdu). Could that be related? Bazaars at military camps?

  5. Yandex (more Russian-morphology-friendly) gets 557 hits. Anyway, ордобазарец is a rare word. It’s used principally in historical texts and as nick at specific forums. At «VostLit» (Восточная литература) there’s a definition of ордобазарец: ‘торговец, состоящий в орда-базаре, т. е. большой группе лиц, обслуживающих ставку правителя (орду); иногда орда-базаром называлась и сама ставка’ (trader who belongs to orda-bazar, i. e. large group of people who serve a General Headquarters (Orda); sometimes Headquarters itself was called orda-bazar).

  6. It appears that ordobazartsy were first linked to the town Orda-Bazar, the capital of the ‘tartars’ (mongols) around 1220s, when most of Russian principalities fell to Batu Khan (Батый). They were traders and, probably, levy collectors with privileges granted by the Khan. Alternatively, the word may have simply meant anyone coming from Orda-Bazar. There is a different historism: ordyntsy (ордынцы, hence, widely spread surname Ordyntsev and Ordynka, the street in Moscow, 33,500 g-hits) – the group of people in the princes’ employ who were to serve the needs of khanate envoys. It could be that ordobazartsy and ordyntsy at some point merged.
    As the khanate fragmented and separate khanates were fought off or defeated by the Russians in the North and Tamerlan in the South (Nogai Orda/Horde), the word must have changed the meaning and began to denote any traders from any of the several ‘tartar’ khanates. At the beginning of 16th Century the treatment of ordobazartsy was the subject of a dispute between the Great Prince of Moscow Vassily III and the Khan of Crimea, a powerful tartar state at the time. The dispute is described in Soloviev’s history of Russia.
    In the 15th Century Orda-Bazar was the centre of minting for the region. Orda-Bazar coins, found in the Crimea and adjacent areas are highly prized by numizmats and archeologists.
    I’d say the definition your correspondent suggests is broadly correct.

  7. Hat, is your pal sure that the terms gost’ and kupets were used to describe traders from different places? It seems more likely that different words were used in different time periods. I can’t nail this down right now, but gost’ and kupets seem to have been used interchangeably in ancient texts (although gost’ is probably the older word – I think) and then kupets took over later (when it was considered a social class).
    There may have also been some differences connected with the city-state conditions for traders in the very distant past (Novgorod had freer trade than, say, Moscow), which might have affected usage. The gosti in most places were only permitted to conduct wholesale trading. That is, usage may have been determined not by where the traders came from, but by the conditions in the place where they traded. But that would only apply to a particular period, if, in fact, the distinction was made. Later gost’ morphed to mean a guest and kupets became the standard word for a trader.
    I’ve never come across ordobazarets, but it surely appeared during the period of the Horde’s dominion.

  8. Remember “дикобраз”? There is another rare word for the animal in Russian – “ежачина”. Do you know something about it?

  9. Hat, is your pal sure that the terms gost’ and kupets were used to describe traders from different places?
    She’s a historian writing a book about the period, so I’m pretty sure she’s sure.
    Thanks, all, for informative and helpful responses!

  10. There is another rare word for the animal in Russian – “ежачина”. Do you know something about it?
    It’s derived from ежак, a dialectal form of еж ‘hedgehog.’ Мария Александровна Рыбникова in her Введение в стилистику (1937) writes:

    Находятся читатели, которые выискивают у Даля слова и словечки, забавляются диалектическими редкостями, вроде „скукожился” или „ежачина”, и сводят к старине, к консервативному недомыслию и к чудачеству весь труд исследователя.

  11. dikozabr has been pulled from the brink of extinction – over 1,000 hits, English+Russian.

  12. Hat, is your pal sure that the terms gost’ and kupets were used to describe traders from different places? It seems more likely that different words were used in different time periods.
    Thanks for all your helpful comments. I’m not sure about gost’/ kupets, and your surmise might be right. That distinction came from an article written by Janet Martin [footnotes left out of original query]; she is a meticulous medieval Russian historian who specializes in trade. But if it sounds questionable to you, I think I should check back with her and see if she still thinks her conclusion is on target; she may have come across other evidence since then.

  13. Trond Engen says:

    Later gost’ morphed to mean a guest and kupets became the standard word for a trader.
    Couldn’t that meaning of gost’ have been present from the beginning? That would seem to be more in line with Germanic and fit well with your notion that kupets is younger and connected with professional specialization.

  14. marie-lucie says:

    I agree with TE. Considered from the point of view of the bazar, all the traders coming from afar could be considered “guests”. The later term “kupets” must refer more specifically to their commercial role.

  15. Well, I’m neither a historian nor a medievalist, so I may be talking through my hat. But I wonder if she saw ordobazarets – someone from the Horde bazaar/camp — and then started looking for signs that gost’ and kupets also referred to the place they came from. And once you look for something, you tend to find it. It’s particularly confusing because usage might have depended on time period and place. In any case, Brokgaus and Efron say the words were used interchangeably in early texts.
    Yes, gost’ is related to a bunch of words that all meant “foreigner” or even “enemy.” Gost’ was a traveler from afar — which, at first, only meant a trader (no ecotourism in the 15th century…). But then the trader meaning disappeared and the traveler from afar or guest meaning stayed. If you’ve been to St Pete or Moscow, you’ve seen the Gostiny Dvor, which from the standpoint of today’s language sounds like “Guest Court” but was originally the place where foreign traders stayed.

  16. The word gosti must have quickly lost its main meaning as (large-scale, wholesale) traders after the reform of 1720 when Peter the Great introduced the merchant estate (kupecheskoye soslovie) and abolished gosti’s corporations.
    According to this Russian wikipedia article, before that, in the 17th Century, gost’ had a specific meaning, it was a merchant ‘title’ granted by the tsar and carried with it special privileges, including the right to trade abroad. There were only about 30 ‘titled’ gost’s at the time. It was the highest rank for a merchant. Gost’ had annual sales of 20,000 rubles when a boyarin (nobleman) had about 700.
    That is a regimented meaning of gost’ in the 17th Century, but the word’s existence is documented from the 10th Century. Kuptsy were citizens only trading locally without travelling afar to buy their wares, while gosts were wholesale merchants trading with other cities and countries. They traded North and South, East and West. There were gosti in Pskov and Novgorod, the two Northern Russian republics independent from Muscovy until 1470s.
    I am curious to see where Janet Martin got that distinction from. Could it be from the special status of the Muscovy Company, who established themselves in Russia in 1550s? They were seen as gosti, but Ivan the Terrible granted them more privileges than others had, which lead to some costly misunderstandings.

  17. >Well, I’m neither a historian nor a medievalist, so I may be talking through my hat. But I wonder if she saw ordobazarets – someone from the Horde bazaar/camp — and then started looking for signs that gost’ and kupets also referred to the place they came from.

  18. “The term gosti (which emphasizes in its root the trader as traveler) was used for traders to the south and east, to the Nogai, Persia, Crimean or Central Asian khanates.”
    I don’t know for which periods or regions this distinction is claimed, but I doubt it was unviversal or used in all time periods. Arkhangelsk has a “gostinnyj dvor” and I was told that overseas traders would stay there – and if you look on a map, you see that those overseas traders would have come from the North and West and should have been kupcy, not gosti according to that definition. (IIRC, Arkahngelsk was an important entrepot for the Anglo-Russian trade in the 16th century.)

Speak Your Mind

*