I recently had occasion to discuss the Persian names for Transoxiana, the region of Bukhara and Samarkand; now, thanks to this MetaFilter post, I’ve found the mother lode of papers about the place itself, which has always fascinated me: Transoxiana, “Journal Libre de Estudios Orientales.” Just the papers by Shamsiddin Kamoliddin alone are enough to keep me mesmerized for hours; check out To the Question of the Origin of the Samanids and On the Origin of the place-Name Buxārā (i.e., Bukhara). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the internet.


  1. rootlesscosmo says

    Well, let me just add that this blog is a splendid example of why I love the Internet.

  2. John J Emerson says

    It seems to be a legit academic organization which has done the sensible thing and published everything free on the internet.
    I really hate JSTOR and the dozen others who charge ten or twenty dollars for articles. As I understand, none of the money goes to the authors (who are usually subsidized anyway), and very little to the print journal. Hardly anyone is willing to pay $2-$5 a page for an article (I’ve bought three key articles in my life, out of dozens that interested me), so I imagine that all the money comes from library subscriptions. My guess is that various commercial entities are making windfall profits off the easy task of posting articles on the internet. (Not large profits, but exorbitant profits based on the small investment and small contribution the profiteers make).

  3. John Emerson says

    If you like that kind of thing you really should read Pelliot’s “Notes on Marco Polo”. He goes on at great length about the Mongol, Turkish, Persian, Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Arabic, Armenian, Syriac, Latin, Greek, Russian, Italian, French, and other versions of various names that appear in Marco Polo’s text.
    It’s almost unreadable because, as I’ve said elsewhere, it’s sort of intermediate between primary and secondary research. Pelliot goes through the literature, plucks out the relevant passages, and lays them all out for you with very minimal comment (mostly on the historical linguistics of the passages, dialect forms and historical transformations).
    My copy is inaccessible at the moment but I remember that there were fifty pages on words for “cotton” and other fabrics in various languages.

  4. John Emerson says

    I was also going to say that Pelliot (like Aurel Stein, Sven Hedin, and others) was a pedant swashbuckler, riding camels through deserts, fighting off bandits, and bribing sinister monks to gain access to the most obscure manuscripts ever. (Tokharian A and B! I forgot Tokharian A and B! And Sogdian!)
    None of them are in good odor with anti-imperialists, for reasons I understand, but I’m confident that the net effect of their work has been positive.

  5. I really hate JSTOR and the dozen others who charge ten or twenty dollars for articles.
    I hear ya, though it’s IngentaConnect that pisses me off the most. It’s the only place that carries Arabica and I’ve been dying to get my hands on the latest issue.

  6. It’s a fabtastic site, right down my alley. And this is the first time that being able to read Spanish has been helpful for my Central Asian studies, so that journal has made my lifetime study plan a smidgen more rational.

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