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(3,842 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. De
1. The word. Zindīḳ , pl. zanādiḳa , abstract/collective noun zandaḳa , is an Arabic word borrowed (at least in the first instance) from Persian, and used in the narrow and precise meaning “Manichaean” (synonym: Mānawī , or the quasi-Aramaic Manānī ), but also loosely for “heretic, renegade, unbeliever”, in effect as a synonym for mulḥid , murtadd or kāfir . The earliest attestation of the word, in any language, is in the Middle Persian inscription of the Zoroastrian high priest ¶ Kirdīr on the so-called Kaʿba-yi Zardus̲h̲t, from the end of the 3rd cent…

S̲h̲āh “king”, and S̲h̲āhans̲h̲āh

(1,050 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
“king of kings”, two royal titles in Persian. They can be traced back to the Achaemenid kings of ancient Persia, who, from Darius I (521-486 B.C.) onwards, refer to themselves in their inscriptions both as xšāyaθiya “king” (from the root xšay- “to rule”, cognate to Sanskrit kṣáyati “possess” and Greek κτάομαι “acquire”) and as xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām “king of kings”. Even earlier the title “king of kings” had been used by the rulers of Assyria and of Urartu (in the Caucasus) and it is not unlikely that the Persians adopted it from the latter (see O.G. von Wesendonk, The title “King of Kings” , in O…

Sīn and S̲h̲īn

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, the 12th and 13th letters of the Arabic alphabet. Both letters have the same form ( rasm ), which derives from that of the Aramaic letter s̲h̲īn , and are distinguished only by diacritics, s̲h̲īn having three dots above, while sīn is in principle unpointed ( muhmal ), though in carefully written manuscripts it can be distinguished by a V-shaped sign above the letter, or else by three dots below. In the Eastern form of the abd̲j̲ad [ q.v.], sīn occupies the position of Aramaic semkat̲h̲ and, like this, has the numerical value 60, while s̲h̲īn has the position of Aramaic s̲h̲īn ( = 300), but in th…


(597 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
(p.), the name of a mythical bird. There are two passages in the Avesta referring to the “bird Saēna-” ( mərə γ ō saēnō ; Yašt 14: 41) or the “tree of Saēna-” ( vanam yam saēnahe ; Yašt 12: 17); the latter specifies that this tree stands in the middle of Lake Vourukaša, that its name is “all-remedies” and that it bears the seeds of all plants. The word saēna is etymologically identical with Sanskrit śyēná- , “eagle, falcon”, but it is not clear from the two Avestan passages whether it designates a species of bird (though the fact that Saēna- is used…

Wīs u Rāmīn

(510 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, a long narrative poem in Persian by Fak̲h̲r al-Dīn Asʿad Gurgānī [ q.v.], written not long after 441/1050 and dedicated to Abū Naṣr b. Manṣūr, the governor of Iṣfahān on behalf of the Sald̲j̲ūḳids. The story, which is set in the distant and unspecified past, deals with the love affair between Wīs, the wife of King Mōbad of Marw, and Rāmīn, her husband’s younger brother. It tells of how the two lovers meet, how they are eventually discovered, and how Rāmīn rises in rebellion against his brother, in the end …

Taḳī al-Dīn

(413 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
Muḥammad b. S̲h̲araf al-Dīn ʿAlī al-Ḥusaynī al-Kās̲h̲ānī, commonly called Taḳī Kās̲h̲ī , Persian scholar of the 10th-11th/16th-17th centuries. He was a pupil of the poet Muḥtas̲h̲am Kās̲h̲ī, whose dīwān he edited. His fame rests on his monumental compendium of Persian poetry K̲h̲ulāṣat al-as̲h̲ʿār wa-zubdat al-afkār , of which the first version was completed in 993/1585 and the enlarged second version in 1016/1607-8. It contains notices of well over 600 poets from the 5th/11th century up to the author’s own contempora…


(425 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, Kitāb , “the Letter of Tansar”, a political treatise from Sāsānid Persia, known in the Islamic world through an Arabic translation, probably by Ibn al-Muḳaffaʿ [ q.v.], from a lost original in Pahlavi. It was ostensibly written by “Tansar” (a misreading, in Pahlavi script, for Tusar, perhaps an abbreviation of * Tus-artēs̲h̲tār , Avestan Tusa-raθaēštar- “T. the warrior”), the chief priest of the first Sāsānid king, Ardas̲h̲īr I ( ca. 224-40), to Gus̲h̲tāsp, the king of Ṭabaristān, encouraging him to submit to Ardas̲h̲īr and, more generally, justifying the Sāsāni…

Ṣābir b. Ismāʿīl al-Tirmid̲h̲ī, S̲h̲ihāb al-Dīn, usually known as Adīb Ṣābir

(392 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
a Persian poet of the first half of the 6th/12th century. His dīwān , which has been published twice (ed. ʿAlī Ḳawīm, Tehran 1331 S̲h̲ ./1952-3, and ed. M.ʿA. Nāṣiḥ, Tehran 1343 S̲h̲./1964), consists almost entirely of panegyrics praising the Sald̲j̲ūḳ sultan Sand̲j̲ar (511-52/1118-57), the Ḵh̲wārazms̲h̲āh Atsi̊z (521-68/1127-72) and various persons at their respective courts, in particular Sand̲j̲ar’s raʾīs-i Ḵh̲urāsān , Mad̲j̲d al-Dīn ʿAlī b. Ḏj̲aʿfar al-Musawī, the poet’s principal patron. The rivalry between his two royal master…


(501 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
(p.) “province”, “provincial capital”, “[large] town”. The word continues Middle Persian s̲h̲ahrestān , which has the same meanings, though it is certainly possible that it goes back even further to an unattested Old Persian * xšaça-stāna- . In any case, it is derived from s̲h̲ahr [ q.v.]—or its ancestor—and -stāna “place” (in compounds); a s̲h̲ahristān is thus literally a “place of kingship”, i.e. the seat of the local representative of royal power (the provincial capital) and then also the region over which that representati…


(817 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, the 28th letter of the Arabic alphabet, with the numerical value 10. It stands for the semivowel y and for the long vowel ī , which the grammarians analyse as short i ( kasra ) plus yāʾ . For the shortening of final before hamzat al-waṣl , see wāw . ϒāʾ is also used, like alif and wāw, as a “support” for medial or final hamza [ q.v.], reflecting presumably the ancient Ḥid̲j̲āzī dialect loss of hamza in certain positions with concomitant glides. In word-final position, alif maḳṣūra (that is to say: long ā not followed by hamza) is written sometimes with alif and sometimes with yāʾ. In the latter c…


(295 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
(better Sōzanī), Muḥammad b. ʿAlī (or Masʿūd?) al-Samarḳandī, Persian satirical poet of the 6th/12th century. A native of Nasaf (Nak̲h̲s̲h̲ab), he eulogised several of the Ḳarak̲h̲ānid rulers of Samarḳand, from Arslān S̲h̲āh Muḥammad II (495- ca. 523/1102- ca. 1129) up to Ḳi̊li̊č Ṭamg̲h̲āč K̲h̲ān Masʿūd II ( ca. 556-74/ ca. 1161-78), but also several of the Burhānid ṣadr s of Buk̲h̲ārā [see ṣadr . 1], the Sald̲j̲ūḳid Sand̲j̲ar [ q.v.] and others. Dawlats̲h̲āh, who appears to have seen Sūzanī’s grave in Samarḳand, says that he died in 569/1173-4, and adds that bef…


(2,588 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
(a.), or, with the usual weakening of final hamza , Ṣābī , plural Ṣābiʾūn , Ṣābiʾa , Ṣāba , in English “Sabian” (preferably not “Sabaean”, which renders Sabaʾ [ q.v.]), a name applied in Arabic to at least three entirely different religious communities: (1) the Ṣābiʾūn who are mentioned three times in the Ḳurʾān (II 62, V 69, XXII 17) together with the Christians and Jews. Their identity, which has been much debated both by the Muslim commentators and by modern orientalists, was evidently uncertain already shortly after the time of Muḥamma…


(841 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, Muʾayyid al-Dīn Abū Ismāʿīl al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī al-Muns̲h̲iʾ al-Iṣbahānī, secretary, Arabic poet and alchemist. He was born in 453/1061 at Iṣfahān, and his poems give ample testimony of his lasting attachment to his native town. He entered the service of Sald̲j̲ūḳs at the time of Malik S̲h̲āh and went on to become chief secretary under that ruler’s son, Muḥammad I, with the tides muns̲h̲iʾ , mutawallī dīwān al-ṭug̲h̲rāʾ and ṣāḥib dīwān al-ins̲h̲āʾ ; in short, he was the second most senior official (after the wazīr ) in the civil administration of the Sald̲j̲…


(596 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
(or perhaps better, S̲h̲uhayd) b. al-Ḥusayn al-Balk̲h̲ī al-Warrāḳ al-Mutakallim, Abu ’l-Ḥasan, a philosopher and a poet in Persian and Arabic, died (according to Yāḳūt, followed by al-Ṣafadī) in 315/927. He was a contemporary and close friend of the polymath Abū Zayd al-Balk̲h̲ī and of the Muʿtazilī theologian Abu ’l-Ḳāsim al-Balk̲h̲ī (see al-balk̲h̲ī ; the three Balk̲h̲īs were the subject of a joint biography, used by Yāḳūt) and a bitter rival of the famous philosopher Abū Bakr al-Rāzī [ q.v.]; the latter wrote a polemic against S̲h̲ahīd on the subject of pleasure ( al-lad̲h̲d̲h̲a

Ras̲h̲īd al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. ʿAbd D̲j̲alīl al-ʿUmarī, known as Waṭwāṭ

(901 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, secretary and prolific author in Arabic and Persian. A reputed descendant of the caliph ʿUmar, he was born either in Balk̲h̲ or Buk̲h̲ārā, but spent most of his life in Gurgānd̲j̲, the capital of K̲h̲ w ārazm. He died, according to Dawlats̲h̲āh, in 578/1182-3, in his 97th year, which would put his birth in 481/1088-9; Yāḳūt (at least in the published text) has him die 5 years earlier. Ras̲h̲īd al-Dīn was chief secretary ( ṣāḥib dīwān al-ins̲h̲āʾ ) under the K̲h̲wārazms̲h̲āh Atsi̊z (521-51/1127-56) and his successor Īl-Arslān (d. 568/1172). His loyalty to Atsi̊z earned him …


(414 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
or S̲h̲awarwa , banū , conventional readings for the name of a family of Ḥanafī clerics and men of letters in Iṣfahān during the 6th/12th century. The name has not been explained and should perhaps be read rather as (Persian) S̲h̲aβ-rō “black-face”. Although several members of the family are listed in biographical works, the only one about whom we have precise knowledge is S̲h̲araf al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Muʾmin b. Hibat Allāh b. Muḥammad b. Hibat Allāh b. Ḥamza al-maʿrūf bi -S̲h̲awarwa. a religious scholar who spent time in Damascus and…

Sayfī ʿArūḍī Buk̲h̲ārī

(207 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, a Persian prosodist and minor poet at the Tīmūrid court in Harāt during the second half of the 9th/15th century. He is remembered for his text-book of Persian prosody ʿArūḍ-i Sayfī , which he completed in 896/1491; this has been published several times in India, notably with an English translation and extensive commentary in H. Blochmann’s The prosody of the Persians according to Saifi , Jami , and other writers, Calcutta 1872, a work which played an important role in making Persian poetical theory accessible to European students. But now that older and more det…


(177 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
(p.) “town”. The word goes back to Old Persian xšaça- (cf. Avestan xšaθra- , Sanskrit kṣatrá- ; all from the same root as New Persian s̲h̲āh [ q.v.]), “kingship, royal power”, thence “kingdom”. The latter meaning is still the usual one for Middle Persian s̲h̲ahr and it survives in the S̲h̲āh-nāma , especially in set phrases such as s̲h̲ahr-i Ērān (used metri causa instead of Ērān-s̲h̲ahr “kingdom of the Aryans”, the official name of the Sāsānid empire), s̲h̲ahr-i Tūrān , s̲h̲ahr-i Yaman , etc. But already in the earliest New Persian texts, the usual mean…


(439 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, the pen-name of several Persian poets of various periods, among them the author of the Saʿādat-nāma , a collection of moral precepts in some 300 verses, wrongly ascribed, in mss. and in the printed editions, to the famous 5th/11th-century Ismāʿīlī poet Nāṣir-i K̲h̲usraw [ q.v.]. This poem was first published by E. Fagnan, together with a (rather inadequate) French translation, from a Paris manuscript in ZDMG, xxxiv (1880), 643-74, reprinted (from Fagnan, with some emendations) in the appendix to the edition of Nāṣir’s Safar-nāma published in Berlin, Kavi…


(792 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
, the 27th letter of the Arabic alphabet (or the 26th, if hāʾ is placed after wāw ), with the numerical value 6. It has two principal functions in Arabic orthography, standing either for the semivowel w or for the long vowel ū . Traditional Arabic grammar reduces these two functions to one by analysing ū as short u ( ḍamma ) plus wāw. Wāw also serves (like alif and yāʾ ) as a “support” for medial or final hamza [ q.v.], reflecting, according to the most commonly held view, the situation in the ancient dialect of Mecca, where ʾ appears to have shifted to w in certain positions. In the words ulāʾika and ulū , w…
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