Ahmad ibn Fadlan
Ibn Fadlan was a 10th-century Arab Muslim traveler, famous for his account of his travels as a member of an embassy of the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad to the king of the Volga Bulgars, known as his Risala. His account is most notable for providing a detailed description of the Volga Vikings, including an eyewitness account of a ship burial. Ahmad ibn Fadlan was described as an Arab in contemporaneous sources. However, the Encyclopedia of Islam and Richard N. Frye add that nothing can be said with certainty about his origin, his ethnicity, his education, or the dates of his birth and death. Primary sources documents and historical texts reveal that Ahmad Ibn Fadlan was a “faqih”, an expert in Islamic jurisprudence and faith, in the court of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir, it appears certain from his writing that prior to his departure on his historic mission, he had been serving for some time in the court of al-Muqtadir. Other than the fact that he was both a traveler and a theologian in service of the Abbasid Caliphate, little is known about Ahmad Ibn Fadlan prior to 921 and his self-reported travels.
Ibn Fadlan was sent from Baghdad in 921 to serve as the secretary to an ambassador from the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir to the iltäbär of the Volga Bulgaria, Almış. On 21 June 921, a diplomatic party led by Susan al-Rassi, a eunuch in the caliph's court, left Baghdad; the purpose of their mission was to explain Islamic law to the converted Bulgar peoples living on the eastern bank of the Volga River in what is now Russia. Additionally, the embassy was sent in response to a request by the king of the Volga Bulgars to help them against their enemies, the Khazars. Ibn Fadlan served as the group's religious advisor and lead counselor for Islamic religious doctrine and law. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan and the diplomatic party utilized established caravan routes toward Bukhara, now part of Uzbekistan, but instead of following that route all the way to the east, they turned northward in what is now northeastern Iran. Leaving the city of Gurgan near the Caspian Sea, they crossed lands belonging to a variety of Turkic peoples, notably the Khazar Khaganate, Oghuz Turks on the east coast of the Caspian, the Pechenegs on the Ural River, the Bashkirs in what is now central Russia, but the largest portion of his account is dedicated to the Rus, i.e. the Varangians on the Volga trade route.
All told, the delegation covered some 4000 kilometers. Ibn Fadlan's envoy reached the Volga Bulgar capital on 12 May 922; when they arrived, Ibn Fadlan read aloud a letter from the caliph to the Bulgar Khan, presented him with gifts from the caliphate. At the meeting with the Bulgar ruler, Ibn Fadlan delivered the caliph's letter, but was criticized for not bringing with him the promised money from the caliph to build a fortress as defense against enemies of the Bulgars. For a long time, only an incomplete version of the account was known, transmitted as quotations in the geographical dictionary of Yāqūt, published in 1823 by Christian Martin Frähn. Only in 1923 was a manuscript discovered by Zeki Validi Togan in the Astane Quds Museum, Iran; the manuscript, Razawi Library MS 5229, consists of 420 pages. Besides other geographical treatises, it contains a fuller version of Ibn Fadlan's text. Additional passages not preserved in MS 5229 are quoted in the work of the 16th century Persian geographer Amīn Rāzī called Haft Iqlīm.
Neither source seems to record Ibn Fadlān's complete report. Yāqūt offers excerpts, several times claims that Ibn Fadlān recounted his return to Bagdad, but does not quote such material. Meanwhile, the text in Razawi Library MS 5229 breaks off part way through describing the Khazars. One noteworthy aspect of the Volga Bulgars that Ibn Fadlan focused on was their religion and the institution of Islam in these territories; the Bulgar king had invited religious instruction as a gesture of homage to the Abbasids in exchange for financial and military support, Ibn Fadlan's mission as a faqih was one of proselytization as well as diplomacy. For example, Ibn Fadlan details in his encounter that the Volga Bulgar Khan commits an error in his prayer exhortations by repeating the prayer twice. One scholar calls it an “illuminating episode” in the text where Ibn Fadlan expresses his great anger and disgust over the fact that the Khan and the Volga Bulgars in general are practicing some form of imperfect and doctrinally unsound Islam.
In general, Ibn Fadlan recognized and judged the peoples of central Eurasia he encountered by the possession and practice of Islam, along with their efforts put forth to utilize and foster Islamic faith and social practice in their respective society. Many of the peoples and societies to Ibn Fadlan were "like asses gone astray, they have no religious bonds with God, nor do they have recourse to reason". A substantial portion of Ibn Fadlan's account is dedicated to the description of a people he called the Rūs or Rūsiyyah. Western scholarship has assumed that he was describing Volga Vikings, the North Germanic tribes travelling the Volga trade route, though the identification of the people Ibn Fadlān describes is uncertain; the Rūs appear as traders. They are described as having bodie
Zheng He was a Chinese mariner, diplomat, fleet admiral, court eunuch during China's early Ming dynasty. He was born as Ma He in a Muslim family, adopted the conferred surname Zheng from Emperor Yongle. Zheng commanded expeditionary treasure voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, East Africa from 1405 to 1433, his larger ships stretched 120 meters or more in length and carried hundreds of sailors on four tiers of decks. As a favorite of the Yongle Emperor, whose usurpation he assisted, Zheng rose to the top of the imperial hierarchy and served as commander of the southern capital Nanjing, his voyages were long neglected in official Chinese histories but have become well known in China and abroad since the publication of Liang Qichao's Biography of Our Homeland's Great Navigator, Zheng He in 1904. A trilingual stele left by the navigator was discovered on the island of Ceylon shortly thereafter. Zheng He was born Ma He to a Muslim family of Kunyang, Yunnan, China, he had four sisters.
Ma He's religious beliefs became eclectic in his adulthood. The Liujiagang and Changle inscriptions suggest that Zheng He's devotion to Tianfei was the dominant faith to which he adhered, reflecting the goddess' central role to the treasure fleet. John Guy mentions, "When Zheng He, the Muslim eunuch leader of the great expeditions to the'Western Ocean' in the early fifteenth century, embarked on his voyages, it was from the Divine Woman that he sought protection, as well as at the tombs of the Muslim saints on Lingshan Hill, above the city of Quanzhou."Zheng He was a great-great-great-grandson of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, who served in the administration of the Mongol Empire and was the governor of Yunnan during the early Yuan dynasty. His great-grandfather may have been stationed at a Mongol garrison in Yunnan. Zheng He's grandfather carried the title hajji, while his father had the sinicized surname Ma and the title hajji, which suggests that they had made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Peterson suggests that the Hajji of both his father and grandfather indicated that Zheng He may have had Mongol-Arab ancestry and that he could speak Arabic.
In the autumn of 1381, a Ming army invaded and conquered Yunnan, ruled by the Mongol prince Basalawarmi, Prince of Liang. In 1381, Ma Haji died in the fighting between the Ming armies and Mongol forces. Dreyer states that Zheng He's father died at age 39 while resisting the Ming conquest, while Levathes states Zheng He's father died at age 37, but it is unclear if he was helping the Mongol army or just caught in the onslaught of battle. Wenming, the oldest son, buried their father outside of Kunming. In his capacity as Admiral, Zheng He had an epitaph engraved in honor of his father, composed by the Minister of Rites Li Zhigang on the Duanwu Festival of the 3rd year in the Yongle era. Zheng He was captured by the Ming armies at Yunnan in 1381. General Fu Youde saw Ma He on a road and approached him in order to inquire about the location of the Mongol pretender. Ma He responded defiantly by saying. Afterwards, the general took him prisoner. One source states that he was castrated at the age of 10 and was placed in the service of the Prince of Yan, while another source indicates that the castration occurred in 1385.
Ma He was sent to serve in the household of Zhu Di, the Prince of Yan, who became the Yongle Emperor. Zhu Di was eleven years older than Ma. While enslaved as a eunuch servant, Ma He gained the confidence of Zhu Di, while Zhu Di as his benefactor would gain the allegiance and loyalty of the young eunuch. Since 1380, the prince had been governing Beiping,which was located near the northern frontier where the hostile Mongol tribes were situated. Ma would spend his early life as a soldier on the northern frontier, he participated in Zhu Di's military campaigns against the Mongols. On 2 March 1390, Ma accompanied the Prince when he commanded his first expedition, a great victory as the Mongol commander Naghachu surrendered as soon as he realized he had fallen for a deception, he would gain the confidence and trust of the prince. Ma was known as "sān bǎo" during the time of service in the household of the Prince of Yan; this name was a reference to the Three Jewels in Buddhism. There is a document saying his name could be 三保.
Ma received a proper education while at Beiping, which he would not have had if he had been placed in the imperial capital Nanjing, as the Hongwu Emperor did not trust eunuchs and believed that it was better to keep them illiterate. Meanwhile, the Hongwu Emperor purged and exterminated many of the original Ming leadership and gave his enfeoffed sons more military authority those in the north like the Prince of Yan. Ma He's appearance as an adult was recorded: he was seven chi tall, had a waist, five chi in circumference, cheeks and a forehead, high, a small nose, glaring eyes, teeth that were white and well-shaped as shells, a voice, as loud as a bell, it is recorded that he had great knowledge about warfare and was well-accustomed to battle. The young eunuch became a trusted adviser to the prince and assisted him when the Jianwen Emperor's hostility to his uncle's feudal bases prompted the 1399–1402 Jingnan Campaign which ended with the emperor's apparent death and the ascension of the Zhu Di, Prince of Yan, as the Yongle Emperor.
Jan Julius Lodewijk Duyvendak was a Dutch Sinologist and professor of Chinese at Leiden University. He is known for his translation of his studies of the Dao De Jing, he was co-editor of the renowned sinology journal T'oung Pao with French scholar Paul Pelliot for several decades. J. J. L. Duyvendak was born on 28 June 1889 in Netherlands, he matriculated at Leiden University as an undergraduate where he studied philology, was soon introduced to Chinese by Dutch sinologist J. J. M. de Groot. In 1910 Duyvendak moved to Paris where he began more advanced studies in Chinese under Édouard Chavannes and Henri Cordier. From 1912 to 1918, Duyvendak worked as an interpreter at the Dutch embassy in Beijing before gaining a position at Leiden University in 1919. During World War II, Duyvendak worked to protect Jews living in the Netherlands from Nazi forces. Duyvendak became a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1931. In 1942, Duyvendak published one of the first articles in a Western language on the Crab Nebula supernova as observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054 during the Song dynasty.
"The Book of Lord Shang", Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1928 "The True Dates of the Chinese Maritime Expeditions in the Early Fifteenth Century". T'oung Pao, 1938 "Further Data Bearing on the Identification of the Crab Nebula with the Supernova of 1054 AD: Part I, the Ancient Oriental Chronicles", Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 54, no. 318, 1942, pp. 91–94. Tao Te Ching, "The Book of the Way and Its Virtue", London: John Murray, 1954 Demiéville, Paul. "J. J. L. Duyvendak". T'oung Pao. 43: 1–33. JSTOR 4527374. Lanciotti, Lionello. "J. J. L. Duyvendak". East and West. 5: 186–7. JSTOR 29753593. Short bio of Duyvendak at UMass Amherst Letter from Duyvendak to the astronomer Jan Oort & correspondence by Oort and W. Baade
Taicang is a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Suzhou, Jiangsu province. The city located in the south of the Yangtze River estuary opposite Nantong, being bordered by Shanghai proper to the south, while the river delineates much of its northeastern boundary along Chongming Island. Taicang administers seven towns: Chengxiang, Ludu, Fuqiao, Shuangfeng Taicang as a place name to be mentioned in a memorial to the throne of hydrologist Jia Dan during the Song dynasty, "Where lies to the east of Kunshan nowadays", he wrote, "is called Taicang known as Gangshen". Taicang is a natural port. Under the Yuan, the city reached its peak between 1271 and 1368. Under the Ming, Taicang's Liuhe Harbor was the departure point for Zheng He's treasure fleets, it was during this period that the shoals in the Yangtze estuary which became Chongming Island were placed under the supervision of Taicang Prefecture. It was the venue for the 2014 IAAF World Race Walking Cup; the Taicang port is in the east of the city, south of the Yangtze exit into the East China Sea.
The center of the Taicang port is on 31°37′00" North, 121°14′00" East. The port line stretches 24.3 miles. Taicang is in a humid subtropical climate zone with distinctive seasons; the average year round temperature is 15.5 Celsius. Precipitation is around 1078.1 mm. ABA Chemicals, a chemicals manufacturing company, is headquartered in Taicang. Jincang Lake, Taicang Taicang guide on www. Jiangsu.net
Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, better known by his pen-name Saadi known as Saadi of Shiraz, was a major Persian poet and prose writer of the medieval period. He is recognized for the depth of his social and moral thoughts. Saadi is recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition, earning him the nickname "Master of Speech" or "The Master" among Persian scholars, he has been quoted in the Western traditions as well. Bustan is considered one of the 100 greatest books of all time according to The Guardian. Saadi was born in Shiraz, according to some, shortly after 1200, according to others sometime between 1213 and 1219. In the Golestan, composed in 1258, he says in lines evidently addressed to himself, "O you who have lived fifty years and are still asleep", it seems. He narrates memories of going out with his father as a child during festivities. After leaving Shiraz he enrolled at the Nizamiyya University in Baghdad, where he studied Islamic sciences, governance, Arabic literature, Islamic theology.
In the Golestan, he tells us. In the Bustan and Golestan Saadi tells many colourful anecdotes of his travels, although some of these, such as his supposed visit to the remote eastern city of Kashgar in 1213, may be fictional; the unsettled conditions following the Mongol invasion of Khwarezm and Iran led him to wander for thirty years abroad through Anatolia, Syria and Iraq. In his writings he mentions the qadis, muftis of Al-Azhar, the grand bazaar and art. At Halab, Saadi joins a group of Sufis. Saadi was captured by Crusaders at Acre where he spent seven years as a slave digging trenches outside its fortress, he was released after the Mamluks paid ransom for Muslim prisoners being held in Crusader dungeons. Saadi visited Jerusalem and set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, it is believed that he may have visited Oman and other lands in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. Because of the Mongol invasions he was forced to live in desolate areas and met caravans fearing for their lives on once-lively silk trade routes.
Saadi lived in isolated refugee camps where he met bandits, men who owned great wealth or commanded armies and ordinary people. While Mongol and European sources gravitated to the potentates and courtly life of Ilkhanate rule, Saadi mingled with the ordinary survivors of the war-torn region, he sat in remote tea houses late into the night and exchanged views with merchants, preachers, wayfarers and Sufi mendicants. For twenty years or more, he continued the same schedule of preaching and learning, honing his sermons to reflect the wisdom and foibles of his people. Saadi's works reflect upon the lives of ordinary Iranians suffering displacement and conflict during the turbulent times of the Mongol invasion. Saadi mentions honey-gatherers in Azarbaijan, fearful of Mongol plunder, he returns to Persia where he meets his childhood companions in Isfahan and other cities. At Khorasan Saadi befriends a Turkic Emir named Tughral. Saadi joins him and his men on their journey to Sindh where he meets Pir Puttur, a follower of the Persian Sufi grand master Shaikh Usman Marvandvi.
He refers in his writings about his travels with a Turkic Amir named Tughral in Sindh and Central Asia. Tughral hires Hindu sentinels. Tughral enters service of the wealthy Delhi Sultanate, Saadi is invited to Delhi and visits the Vizier of Gujarat. During his stay in Gujarat, Saadi learns more about the Hindus and visits the large temple of Somnath, from which he flees due to an unpleasant encounter with the Brahmans. Katouzian calls this story "almost fictitious". Saadi came back to Shiraz before 1257 CE / 655 AH. Saadi mourned in his poetry the fall of Abbasid Caliphate and Baghdad's destruction by Mongol invaders led by Hulagu in February 1258; when he reappeared in his native Shiraz, he might have been in his late forties. Shiraz, under Atabak Abubakr ibn Sa'd ibn Zangi, the Salghurid ruler of Fars, was enjoying an era of relative tranquility. Saadi was not only welcomed to the city but was shown great respect by the ruler and held to be among the greats of the province; some scholars believe that Saadi took his nom de plume from the name of Abubakr's son, Sa'd, to whom he dedicated the Golestan.
Some of Saadi's most famous panegyrics were composed as a gesture of gratitude in praise of the ruling house and placed at the beginning of his Bustan. The remainder of Saadi's life seems to have been spent in Shiraz; the traditional date for Saadi's death is between 1291 an
Chinese surnames are used by Han Chinese and Sinicized ethnic groups in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines and among overseas Chinese communities. In ancient times two types of surnames existed, namely xing or clan names, shi or lineage names. Chinese family names are patrilineal. Women do not change their surnames upon marriage, except in places with more Western influences such as Hong Kong. Traditionally Chinese surnames have been exogamous; the colloquial expressions laobaixing and bǎixìng are used in Chinese to mean "ordinary folks", "the people", or "commoners". Prior to the Warring States period, only the ruling families and the aristocratic elite had surnames. There was a difference between clan names or xing and lineage names or shi. Xing were surnames held by the noble clans, they are composed of a nü radical, taken by some as evidence they originated from matriarchal societies based on maternal lineages. Another hypothesis has been proposed by sinologist Léon Vandermeersch upon observation of the evolution of characters in oracular scripture from the Shang dynasty through the Zhou.
The "female" radical seems to appear at the Zhou period next to Shang sinograms indicating an ethnic group or a tribe. This combination seems to designate a female and could mean "lady of such or such clan"; the structure of the xing sinogram could reflect the fact that in the royal court of Zhou, at least in the beginning, only females were called by their birth clan name, while the men were designated by their title or fief. Prior to the Qin dynasty China was a fengjian society; as fiefdoms were divided and subdivided among descendants, so additional sub-surnames known as shi were created to distinguish between noble lineages according to seniority, though in theory they shared the same ancestor. In this way, a nobleman would hold a xing; the difference between xing and shi was blurring for women since the Spring and Autumn period. After the states of China were unified by Qin Shi Huang in 221 BC, surnames spread to the lower classes. Many shi surnames survive to the present day. According to Kiang Kang-Hu, there are 18 sources from which Chinese surnames may be derived, while others suggested at least 24.
These may be names associated with a ruling dynasty such as the various titles and names of rulers and dynasty, or they may be place names of various territories, towns and specific locations, the title of official posts or occupations, or names of objects, or they may be derived from the names of family members or clans, in a few cases, names of contempt given by a ruler. The following are some of the common sources: Xing: These were reserved for the central lineage of the royal family, with collateral lineages taking their own shi; the traditional description was what were known as the "Eight Great Xings of High Antiquity", namely Jiāng, Jī, Yáo, Yíng, Sì, Yún, Guī and Rèn, though some sources quote Jí as the last one instead of Rèn. Of these xings, only Jiang and Yao have survived in their original form to modern days as occurring surnames. Royal decree by the Emperor, such as Kuang. State name: Many nobles and commoners took the name of their state, either to show their continuing allegiance or as a matter of national and ethnic identity.
These are some of the most common Chinese surnames. Name of a fief or place of origin: Fiefdoms were granted to collateral branches of the aristocracy and it was natural as part of the process of sub-surnaming for their names to be used. An example is Marquis of Ouyangting, whose descendants took the surname Ouyang. There are some two hundred examples of this identified of two-character surnames, but few have survived to the present. Names of an ancestor: Like the previous example, this was a common origin with close to 500 or 600 examples, 200 of which are two-character surnames. An ancestor's courtesy name would be used. For example, Yuan Taotu took the second character of his grandfather's courtesy name Boyuan as his surname. Sometimes titles granted to ancestors could be taken as surnames. Seniority within the family: In ancient usage, the characters of meng, shu and ji were used to denote the first, second and fourth eldest sons in a family; these were sometimes adopted as surnames. Of these, Meng is the best known.
Occupation From official positions, such as Shǐ, Jí, Líng, Cāng, Kù, Jiàn, Shàngguān, Tàishǐ, Zhōngháng, Yuèzhèng, in the case of Shang's "Five Officials", namely Sīmǎ, Sītú, Sīkōng, Sīshì and Sīkòu.