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ON ORIENTAL LITERATURE.
FROM several works illustrating Oriental History, Geography, f.ntiquities, and miscellaneous Literature, published within a few years on the Continent, and as yet but little known in England, we have selected three, of which it is our intention to offer brief notices in the present Number of this Journal. The first is by Doctor Hager, an ingenious man of letters, by birth, as we have understood, an Italian, and by family a German, who, about twenty years ago, passed some time in London, where he circulated proposals for a Chinese and English Dictionary, in the publication (perhaps we may say the composition) of which he was not encouraged by our fellow-countrymen, although his literary projects, which were numerous and extensive, found more favor subsequently in France and Italy-and it appears that the Doctor has been honored with knighthood by some continental sovereign, as he now styles himself Cavaliere Hager.
The work under immediate inspection is intituled “ AIOINOE arPro, ossia Forte di Pietra ;" printed very beautifully and on excellent paper at Milan (1816) in a small folio form, containing, however, only between sixty and seventy pages, with a map prefixed. We have been induced to make this lialian Essay the subject of our first notice, rather from its rarity, as the whole edition comprised but one hundred copies, than from any novelty in its contents; for the “ Numismatique Chinoise," a French 'Treatise by the same ingenious author, splendidly published in Paris (1805), has anticipated much of the Volume now before us: which professes to demonstrate that a Tartarian Castle or Fortress situated under the 13d degree of latitude, and called in our own tiines Tash-Kand, or the Stone Tower, is that described by the Greek Geographers, Marinus and Ptolemy, under a name of the same sigmification, tilsvos llúpyos. In the first Number of this Journal (for March, 1810, p. 54) we noticed the“ Numismatique Chinoise," and Dr. Hager's opinion respecting the Stone Tower; an opinion founded on geographical coincidences and obvious etymology, tash in the language of Turkestáo or Tartary, signifying a stone and kand a castle, fortress, &c. Du Halde, Ebn Haukal, and other
writers, confirm this etymology ; and we confess, that to us the argiments used by Dr. Hager in his French Essay appeared sufficiently convincing. We find, however, some additional proofs in the work now under consideration; one more especially, derived from a valuable Manuscript of the fifteenth century preserved in the Royal Library of Brera: a parchment volume with illuminated titles and margins, and maps embellished with, azure, purple and gold, comprising the Geography of Francis Berlinghieri, a noble Florentine, who described in verse the terraqueous globe. The seventh map of Asia, given in this valuable S. places under the 43d degree of latitude the “ TORRE LAPIDEÀ," or Stone Castle, exactly agreeing with the position which Ptolemy assigns to the slouves Núpyos (see Bertii Theatr. Geogr. Vet. Tab. VII. Asiæ). Now the Missionaries employed by the late Emperor of China to ascertain the geographical situation of many places in the Eleuth country, found Tásh Kand under the 49d degree of latitude (see Mémoires concernant les Chinois); and so it appears in D'Anville's Map of Chinese Tartary published in 1734, and in the Atlas of Ortelius, printed in 1570.
Notwithstanding all these coincidences M.Gosselin, an eminent French Geographer, could not discover any indication of the Turris Lapidea in those Scythian solitudes; (Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscrip. Tome XLIX, 1808;) but thought it probably, a mountain that resembled a tower or castle (ibid.); while D'Anville was inclin. ed to seek it in Buccaria, at a rocky fortress now called Aalas. (Géogr. Anc.) But M. Maltebrun in his “Géographie,” Tome I. p. 123, adopted Dr. Hager's opinion, and quotes his "Numismatique Chinoise" when he says, “ Les caravanes marchandes de la Sérique, parties de Bactres, se rendoient à Tasch-kend, qui est la Tour de Pierre de Ptolémée."
Not so with respect to that country which the ancients called Serica, and wbich Dr. Hager in his former work above quoted, and in the second part of his Italian Essay, endeavours to prove China, and in our opinion, successfully. M. Maltebrun, however, paying little attention to the arguments of Dr. H., declares that although for two thousand years the situation of Serica has been a constant subject among Geographers, it still continues a problem (Mém. de l'Acad.); and he, like Gosselin, would seek it in Tibet, supposing its capital to be Serinagur, near the river Ganges. The absurdity of this notion, Dr. H. undertakes to expose, as well as the error of some who imagined that the ancients were unacquainted with Asia beyond India, and that the Terra incognita of Ptolemy is that part of Asia lying beyond the Ganges. Among those who entertained this erronenus opinion, Dr. H. enumerates the French writers Gosselin and Maltebrun, and the Scotch, Robertson and Pinkerton. Our author, in his preface, expresses much discontent at the indif
ference with which some of his works were treated in Paris, and the partiality shown by the Institute to Frenchmen in preference to foreigners of superior merit. The map prefixed exhibits the route of those Greek merchants sent by Titianus of Macedon from Hierapolis on the Euphrates, to Sera or Thine, in Serica, the country of the Sinæ or Chinese.
We shall next briefly examine a quarto volume, published at Copenhagen in 1817 under the title of “ Historia præcipuorum Arabum Regnorum, rerumque ab iis gestarum ante Islamismum, by Professor Janus Lassen RASMUSSEN: It consists of about 150 pages, containing extracts from Arabic MSS. preserved in the Royal Library at Copenhagen, translated and ably illustrated with notes. We were for a moment inclined, from the title of this work, to entertain hopes that its learned editor had discovered some fragment of Ante-Muhammedan history; we mean, some record actually composed before the seventh century of our era. But his materials are derived from the Tarikh al ommem, or History of various Nations, by Hamzah ben Husein Isfuhani ; and the account of Arabian wars waged before the introduction of Islam, compiled by Nureiri from a work of Abu Obeidah, all three Muhammedan authors; we may suppose, however, that they had access to documents ancient and authentic. Much of the extract from Hamzah Isfahani here given by Professor Rasmussen, relates to genealogical succèssions, and consequently is crowded with proper names; indeed these abound in almost every page, the very first beginning thus : “ Quum accidebat ruptura catarractæ, dispergebantur Arabes Jemenenses ex urbe Mareb in Irakam et Syriam. Ita Tapuchitæ, familia quædam Azditica, inter eos erant qui ad Irakam abiere. Malec nempe, filius Fahmi, filii Ghanemi, filii Dausi, filii Adatsani, Azdita, unus e posteris Nadsri, filii Azdi, cum magno et præstanti numero Azditarum, atque Malec, filius Fahmi, filii Tahmallah, filii Asadi, filii Vabaræ, filii Kodhæ, cum magno præstantique numero Kodhaîtarum, e Tebamah in Bahrein veniebant. Malec, filius Fahmi, Azdita, Maleco Kodhaîtæ, subsistamus, inquit, in Bahrein,” &c. Should this work disappoint in some respects the antiquary's high expectations excited by its title, we can promise to the lover of minute history, and the general Orientalist, considerable satisfaction from the body of notes with which the learned Professor bas illustrated the Arabic text and his own Latin translation,
The next publication to be here noticed is intituled, “ Lettres sur la Perse et la Turquie d'Asie;" describing a journey undertaken so long ago as 1807, yet printed in Paris so lately as the beginning of this present year (1819), in two octavo volumes. The author of those letters is Mons. J. M. Tancoigne, who accom
panied the French Embassy under General de Gardane to Persia, in the character of élève interprète. He proceeded from Constantinople on the 10th of September (1807), crossed the Bosporus to Scutari (the ancient Chrysopolis) on the Asiatic side, and thence to Thehran (or Teheran), where the Persian monarch chiefly resides. At this capital the French mission arrived on the 4th of December, having passed through Pentik (formerly Panticapæa), Ismith (Nicomedia), Isnik (Nicæa), Angora, Tocat, Niksar (Neo Cesaræa), Erzerum, Utch Kilesia, or the “Three Churches" of the Armenian Christians near Mount Ararat, Baiazid, Khoï, Tauris (as the French persevere in improperly calling Tabriz), Zengan, Sultania, and Kasbinn or Kaswin (more correctly Kazdin). Here the Embassy was detained some days longer than M. Tancoigne appears to have wished. But (Tome I. p. 150) the King, who on important occasions never fails to consult bis astrologers, had informed General de Gardane that the fourth day of December would be auspicious for the Embassy, and therefore he fixed on that day for its entrance into his capital : meanwhile the governor of Kaswin exerted himself in fcasting and amusing his European guests; he treated them one evening in his palace with illuminations of various-colored paper lanterns and fireworks, and on the next day with a puppet-show. Four days after their arrival at Thebran, the French Ambassador and gentlemen of his mission were admitted to an audience of the King, from whom they had previously received Kheloats, or dresses of honor. When the chaplains of the Embassy were introduced, the King assured them that he had directed his mollahs, or priests, to pray for the prosperity of France; and in return he hoped that they would implore Heaven for blessings on bis reign. (p. 169.) Feth Ali Shah, the Persian sovereign, whose throne is of white niarble, supported on many small columns, seemed to be from forty to forty-four years of age, handsome, with a majestic appearance ; eyes large and black, and thick eye-brows, which did not, however, give to his countenance that expression of ferocity which M. T. expected to find in an Asiatic despot. He celebrates the royal beard, flowing down to the very girdle, and of such beauty, as to. have frequently inspired the Persian Muses. (p. 169.) His Majesty is the liberal patron of learned men, and more particularly encourages those who cultivate poetry, in which delightful art he is himself reported to have made considerable progress. (In the Classical Journal No. XIV. the reader will find some specimens of the Persian Monarch's verses.) Letters XV, XVI, and XVII, contain a précis historique of all the dynasties which have ruled over Persia from the earliest ages to the present time. In this compilation we perceive some names of which the spelling might
be corrected, such as Dehbakht, for Dehak or Zohak as sometimes written; Siarek for Siavekhs or Siavesh; Gustap for Gushtasp; and Bairam (p. 194) should be Bahram or Baharam. In the eighteenth letter our author describes the climate, productions, commerce and population of Persia, a country called by its own inhabitants Irán. He then notices the different sects and tribes, Mohammedans, Jews, Armenians, and Parsis, or Guebres (more properly Gabrs). These last-named are the descendants of those ancient Persians, the disciples of Zeratusht or Zoroaster, who still a kind of religious veneration to fire; and both from their antiquity and character M. Tancoigne declares them the most interesting race of all the Persians. It is allowed, says he, by the Mohammedans who oppress and persecute them, that those fire-worshippers, chiefly residing in Kirman and in or near the city of Yezd, are the most honest, industrious and estimable subjects of the Persian Government. In this favorable report our French author perfectly agrees with Sir William O'S ELEY, whose. Travels lately published contain a whole chapter on the subject of those Gabrs or fire-worshippers.
We learn from M. T. that in 1808 the King's, sons amounted to forty two-if we can believe an account delivered on good authority their number was increased to above sixty in the year 1816.
Literature and Languages form the subject of letter XXVI (tome II), but here we find an extract froin the Gulistan of Sadiprolix and not very interesting, and already familiar to European readers through the medium of Latin, French, German and English translations, which have been published in different countries : surely our ingenious élève interprète might have selected some manuscript work which would have furnished a fair specimen of Persian composition, and at the same time gratified us by its novelty, and extended our acquaintance with Eastern writers,
From Tbehran our author returned (Letter xxvII) to Kazvin on his way towards Europe ; be visited Trebisond and Sivope on the Black Sea; this city is now called Sinub by the Turks, and still exhibits the remains of Mithridates's palace, and of an aucient gymnasium. He at length reached Constantinople, (Letter XXXII) and his account of the revolutions and extraordinary transactions that occurred there in 1807 and 1808 is well written, and may be regarded as a curious document. These volumes are ornamented with plates, colored in imitation of original Persian pictures, and illustrating costume, mavnes, and domestic life.
There are now before us two other French Volumes of travels in the East, published this present year (1819), and a Latin work on several ancient monuments of Media and Persia, which was printed in 1818: VOL. XX. CI. JI, NO. XXXIX,