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Channels of Islamisation

Tarkhan : A Nomad Institution in an Islamic Context1

Tarkhan: une institution nomade en contexte d’islam
Marie Favereau
p. vol. 143

Résumés

Résumé: Tarkhan: une institution nomade en contexte d’islam. Sous les Gengiskhanides, le terme tarkhan n’était pas un simple titre honorifique mais renvoyait à un statut personnel. L’auteur de cet article s’intéresse à son usage spécifique dans le cadre de la Horde d’Or à la fin du xive siècle. Le point de départ de cette étude est le texte d’un yarlïq-immunité accordé par le khan Temür-Qutluq (1391-1399) à un riche propriétaire criméen. L’acte combine un contrat de propriété et une liste d’exemptions de taxes délivrées à titre personnel. L’auteur revient sur les origines de la famille du propriétaire et reconstruit l’histoire de ses propriétés en Crimée. Cette étude de cas permet de mieux comprendre l’organisation socio-économique de la Horde d’Or et montre comment les Jochides utilisèrent ce type de contrat pour convaincre les élites locales de les soutenir. Bien que les tarkhans n’eussent pas à remplir d’office et qu’ils ne fassent pas partie du gouvernement, ils jouèrent un rôle essentiel au niveau régional et furent des agents de transmission incontournables dans la diffusion de l’Islam.

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  • 1 This research was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framew (...)
  • 2 « Muḥammadniŋ oghlānlarï ilkī Ḥājjī Muḥammād wā Maḥmudnī azād tarkhān bolsun ». For a discussion of (...)

Shall the sons of Muḥammad, Ḥājjī Muḥammad the eldest and Maḥmūd, be free Tarkhān! (Temür-Qutluq’s yarlïq, 1398; l.26-28)2

  • 3 According to Golden (2000: 303) the etymology of Tarkhan is unclear. It probably entered Arabic fro (...)
  • 4 The word ulus indicates peoples and territories that belonged to each of the four sons of Chinggis (...)

1The Tarkhan status offered its holder tax exemption and freedom to travel and was known in Mongolia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Originally a high-ranking Inner Asian title, in medieval times the Tarkhan is attested in almost all languages and sources of the neighbours of the Inner Asian nomads, from the Eastern Mediterranean to China (Golden, 2000: 303).3 When the Chinggisids came to power they reinstated this old status and conferred it to a wide range of people in reward for their support. The first Tarkhans were mainly Mongol princes, divines, and religious dignitaries (Juvaynī, 1958: 27; Minovi & Minorsky, 1940-41: 783, 789). They passed on their status to later generations and over time their descendants became distinct social groups in the Mongol empire. Except for a number of Ilkhanid examples (Lambton, 1988: 255), Tarkhan groups remain poorly studied. Yet, contemporary sources reveal that Tarkhans played a significant role in the formation and development of the Mongol uluses, especially in the Golden Horde.4

  • 5 Merchants were also a common category of Tarkhans. The khans guaranteed them important commercial p (...)

2After the split of the Mongol empire into four khanates in the 1260s, the Jochids not only acknowledged hereditary Tarkhans, they also granted the status to new appointees by decision of the khans. As in the old Mongol Empire, under the Jochids a Tarkhan was a person freed from certain financial obligations in exchange for contributions to the “common good.” The local religious elites constituted an important category of Tarkhans since Chinggis Khan and his successors “have decreed that all priests shall be exempt from tribute and tax but, in return, shall pray to God for the khan and his family and bless them” (Atwood, 2004: 239).5

  • 6 On the “ruling tribes,” see Schamiloglu (1984: 283-297). On the involvement of the beks in the Joch (...)

3In the 14th c. the Jochid khan ran the Golden Horde in association with the beks, the heads of the ruling tribes.6 They were the military elite in charge of maintaining social order. Their duties also included the supervision and collection of taxes. The beks were assisted by a range of official secretaries, the bītikchī. Local elites occupied an important, intermediary position between these pillars of central government and regional administrators. Even if local elites were not office holders, they were a vital part of the Jochids’ overall organisation. They took care of local infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, mosques, and fortresses, and carried out the day-to-day work that central government could not afford to manage and control. In exchange for their services, the khan offered grants and tarkhanlïq, the status of Tarkhan. These were personal agreements between the khan and the grantee(s) that were formalised through written contracts. The preamble of these documents contain a list of the officers and deputies to whom the khans gives instructions regarding the specific and individual cases detailed in the order.

  • 7 Grigor’ev (2004) conducted a survey of the yarlïqs granted to the Rus. The immunity diploma granted (...)
  • 8 Published exemption documents and sözümüz-documents are scattered throughout the research literatur (...)
  • 9 For a thorough analysis of this kind of documents and their typologies, see Mirkasim Usmanov (1979, (...)

4The contract in which the rights and duties of the grantee were explicitly enumerated was called a yarlïq (or yarlīgh). This generic term designated an order issued by the highest authorities of the ulus: the khans, the khatuns, and, in some cases, the khan’s deputies, who were either high-ranking military commanders or civil administrators. A yarlïq could be an exemption charter but also a mandate, a nomination statement, a commercial deed, or a decree. Any important social group was liable to be under contract to the khan, including sedentary populations and nomads, as well as Muslims, Christians, and Jews.7 Yarlïqs were originally used in accordance with Chinggisid political practices, but they progressively developed into hybridised contracts that mixed diverse traditions. The latter included Islamic practices and customs surrounding landholding contracts, tax exemptions, and nomination acts. The farmān, decrees, that the Aq Qoyyunlu and Qara Qoyyunlu issued in Anatolia, Persia, Iraq, and Azerbaijan, and the muafiyet-nāme of the Ottomans came to resemble the Jochid and Ilkhanid yarlïqs (Heywood, 2002: 290).8 Recent scholarship has shown that these contracts were never completely standardised and that they did not follow a strict typology (Favereau, 2013: 335-347).9 Their diversity was not only due to pragmatism. Political turmoil and changes in the recruitment of dīwān, chancellery, staff also played a significant role. However, a number of basic structural elements, which will be detailed below, are always found in a yarlïq.

  • 10 See the appendix below which contains a photograph and a translation of the manuscript.

5This study focuses on a yarlïq granted by Khan Temür-Qutluq (r.1391-1399) to a Crimean family. The text is in Turkic, which is noteworthy as the dīwānī language of the Mongol Empire’s successor Islamic states was largely Persian. Apart from the Ottomans, only the Golden Horde used Turkic as an official language for internal communications and diplomatic correspondence with foreign rulers. The yarlïq’s other particularity has to do with the Tarkhan status that the grantee, named Muḥammad, held. Through the case of Muḥammad’s family, this contribution examines what being a “free Tarkhan” meant in the late Golden Horde Period. It shows that Tarkhans, even though they did not fulfil any office and were not part of the ruling inner circle, played an essential role in the overarching administrative system. The khans used the Tarkhan status to bind local landholders to them. These notables had no blood link with the Chinggisid Dynasty, nor were they warriors or officials of any sort. But they were exempted from many obligations, protected against arbitrary administrative acts and fiscal and parafiscal taxes (Legrand, 1979: 161), and enjoyed a relative immunity with regard to certain infractions. This case study does not only describe the benefits attached to this special status, it also reveals how Muslim Tarkhans made use of their fiscal privileges.10

A genuine copy

  • 11 If we count original manuscripts, contemporary translations, contemporary and late copies, and chan (...)
  • 12 Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (1774, Gratz, Styria -1856, Vienna) is also the author of the first mod (...)
  • 13 The Hofbibliothek acquired some 740 manuscripts between 1822 and 1833 (Flügel, III, 1865: XI-XII).
  • 14 Von Hammer-Purgstall’s (1818) facsimile reproduces only the part in Uighur.
  • 15 Bakhshī’s manuscripts were donated as waqf to Ayasofya Library. Some of them were kept in the Archi (...)
  • 16 The political re-use of archival materials from previous Turkic and Mongol states by rising powers (...)

6As is the case with other Jochid documents, Temür-Qutluq’s yarlïq raises questions about its authenticity.11 As a preliminary, this contribution will therefore briefly clarify the context and history of the manuscript. The yarlïq was offered in 1825 to Joseph Hammer,12 an Austrian diplomat and renowned orientalist, by Anton von Raab, an ambassador at the Ottoman court, who was committed to collecting and purchasing manuscripts for the new oriental collection of the Hofbibliothek in Vienna.13 Hammer gave the manuscript to the Viennese Library, which became the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in 1920, where it is still kept today (Flügel, II, 1865: 322, n. 1155). The manuscript first caught Hammer’s attention around 1818 and he published a first edition of the text later that year (Hammer-Purgstall, 1818: 359-362).14 The manuscript has a number of particularities that have intrigued historians and philologists. Most notable is that the Turkic text is transcribed in two scripts: Uighur, written in black ink, and Arabic, written in red ink. Both are executed in a basic manner by a skilled hand, which allows readers to follow the two lines without difficulty. The handwriting has nothing to do with the chancellery style of the fourteenth-century Golden Horde. The fact that it contains no tamgha, printed seal, makes this even clearer: the Viennese manuscript is not the original diploma that was issued by Temür-Qutluq’s chancellery. Rather, it is a copy of a lost original. A comparison with other materials written in Uighur script in the 14th and 15th c. identifies the scribe as Shaykh-Zāda ʿAbdurrazzāq Bakhshī,15 a professional scribe from Samarqand who was hired by the chancellery of the Ottoman sultans Mehmed II and Bayezid II (Vásáry, 1987: 115-126).16 Several elements show that this copy is a faithful reproduction of the original text.

  • 17 In the eastern part of the empire, where the Great khans ruled, the invocation sentence of the yarl (...)
  • 18 An original yarlïq issued by Toqtamish five years earlier has an identical layout. Here the tamgha (...)

7At least two formal requirements had to be met to make a yarlïq valid. First, because a yarlïq was the materialisation of a khan’s oral order (Herrmann, 2004: 11) the text had to be introduced by the formula “my word” or “our word” (üge manu in Mongol, sözüm, sözümüz in Turkic) followed by the name of the ruler.17 Second, the document had to be certified by a tamgha or a nishān, the imperial signature, or by both (Heywood, 2002: 290). The Viennese manuscript meets these requirements. The text is introduced by “Tīmūr Qutlugh sözüm” and there is an empty space on the right margin of lines 2 and 3, measuring 8 or 9 cm, for a square tamgha.18 In addition, the used form (invocatio, intitulatio, inscriptio, etc.), vocabulary, and formulas are typical for Golden Horde yarlïqs. There is also a correlation between information given in the text, such as proper names, dates, locations, and what is known from other sources. This provides further highly-convincing proof that the yarlïq is authentic.

The yarlïq´s political context

8The yarlïq is dated 6 shaʿbān 800/24 April 1398. In the text, Khan Temür-Qutluq confirms the family rights of a local dignitary called Muḥammad, son of Ḥājjī Bayram Khwāja, over lands and properties in the vicinity of the cities of Qrïm, Qïrq-yer, and Sudak. Even though three years prior it had suffered from war, this part of southeastern Crimea was one of the wealthiest areas of the Golden Horde and contained many old Tarkhan families (l.21-24): “in the tümen of Qrïm and Qïrq-yer, in the city called Sūdāq (Sudak) and in its surrounding area, where, since early on, we can find many Tarkhan”.

  • 19 Toqtamish and Temür-Qutluq were cousins and both descendants of the son of Jochi, Tuqay-Temür. In t (...)
  • 20 On the right (western) and left (eastern) wings of the ulus of Jochi and the distinction between th (...)

9Khan Toqtamish (r.1377-1395), Temür-Qutluq’s predecessor, fought against Temür (r.1370-1405), who controlled the neighbouring Chagatay domain.19 Their war ended in April 1395 after Toqtamish had suffered a crucial defeat in North Caucasus. Temür destroyed the Horde’s main commercial centres and ruined the nomads’ pasturelands in lower Volga, lower Don, and North Caucasus. Togtamish’s winter and summer camps were plundered. On top of his military defeats, Toqtamish had made political miscalculations. He had gained the support of the western beks but lost the backing of the eastern beks (Mirgaleev, 2011, 170-182). His attempt to rule without the consent of the Manghit, the most powerful people of the eastern territories, the “Blue Horde,” led him down a political dead-end.20

  • 21 Edigü’s sister was married to the khan of the left wing, Temür Malik (b. Urus), the father of Temür (...)

10The Manghit, or Nogay Confederation, had pasturelands in western Kazakhstan up to the Yayiq (Ural) and Emba Rivers. Under the leadership of Bek Edigü (ca.1396-1419), they emerged as an autonomous political force. Edigü had secured the Manghits’ position by extorting tax immunity and vast territories east of the Volga from Toqtamish. He then took advantage of the conflict between Khan Toqtamish and Temür. In the early 1390s, he allied with the Jochid contender Temür-Qutluq, who was also his nephew (Trepavlov, 2001: 7, 12, 15, 18, 22, 47).21 Exploiting Toqtamish’s retreat, the Manghit were able to extend their rule over the western territories between 1395 and 1400. By April 1398, the date of the promulgation of the yarlïq, Edigü and Temür-Qutluq had chased Toqtamish out of the Golden Horde. Temür-Qutluq’s camp was located on the shores of the Dnieper River, probably near Kremenchuk in today’s Ukraine (Inostrancev, 1917: 49-50). This was a strategic area for the new khan, who had been fighting against the western beks. With the support of Edigü and the eastern beks he had to assert his power over the western territories, especially in Crimea, where key trading posts like the Genoese Caffa had rebelled against the central government.

  • 22 The title beklerbeki or beglerbeg had several meanings. Here it refers to the highest ruling positi (...)

11In the introductory protocol of the yarlïq, Edigü is mentioned as beklerbeki and head of the tümen of Crimea.22 This large tümen, which had been in the hands of the western beks since the 13th c., had thus fallen under the eastern beks for the first time. Edigü had fought to reach the head of Crimea. Two years earlier, in March 1396, he had besieged Caffa. The Genoese had to be punished for their opposition to the Jochid governor and for supporting Temür. Indeed, when Temür defeated Toqtamish in April 1395, the people of Caffa immediately sent an embassy to the victor with gifts of precious furs (Bernardini, 2002: 394). This explains why Caffa was spared when Temür’s troops devastated the Crimea in August 1395, sacking Sudak and other places.

  • 23 This explains why Edigü, the beklerbeki and the de facto ruler, could not introduce himself as khan (...)

12Interestingly, the yarlïq states that the preceding khan, called “the elder brother” of Temür-Qutluq, had confirmed the rights of the father of the current Tarkhan. However, ʿAlī Sulṭān, the biological elder brother of Temür-Qutluq, never reigned as khan, nor did he play any significant role in the Horde (Muʿizz al-Ansāb: Folio X; Seleznev, 2009: 35, 174-175). In other words, he was not in a position to grant or confirm any privileges. The appellation “elder brother” used in the yarlïq in fact referred to Toqtamish. The expression of brotherhood is here not to be taken literally. The ruling elite of the Horde, like in the old Mongol empire, was divided between seniors and juniors, called elder brothers and younger brothers. This division reflected a hierarchy of statuses based on seniority and position within the Jochid lineage.23 The khans’ succession pattern was preferential primogeniture, but the Jochids also accepted lateral succession through uncles, brothers, and nephews. In the late Golden Horde, old Mongol socio-political practices and hereditary succession were adhered to. Thus, even though Khan Temür-Qutluq had violently removed his predecessor, he still had to consider legal and confirm the rights emanating from yarlïqs issued during Toqtamish’s reign. This enabled members of the local elite to keep their Tarkhan status in spite of the power struggles at the head of the Horde. This explains why the fierce political competition between Edigü, Temür-Qutluq, and Toqtamish, through twenty years of tension, did not totally disrupt the Crimean sociopolitical landscape at the local level. It follows from Temür-Qutluq’s yarlïq that some rich Muslim notables kept their estates and maintained a strong relationship with the Jochids.

13Besides, the reconfirmation of the yarlïq on such short notice does not necessarily indicate political instability. When a new khan appeared (here Temür-Qutluq) it was common for Tarkhans and other grantees to request a confirmation of their status. In this case who precisely were the yarlïq’s recipients? And what can be inferred from the text of this contract about their relationship with the central government?

Tarkhan from father to son

A Private Property

14The first part of the yarlïq after the preamble concerns the succession rights to the family estate. This was an issue because the previous landowner, the father of the current claimant, had died. Two distinct acts are summarised here: (i) the confirmation that the old family estate remained entirely in the hands of Muḥammad; (ii) an agreement relating to the purchase of new lands by the two sons of Muḥammad (Grigor'ev, 1987: 85-104). The estate in question was a private property. The yarlïq provides precise information about how the family had acquired the land (l.21-26): “in the tümen of Qrïm and Qïrq-yer… [where they have acquired] in the legal form of a sharʿī purchase their lands and rivers”. The petitioner claims that the rights had been in his family since the Mongol conquest of the Crimea (l. 14): “since the time of the deceased Sayin Khan [Batu, r. 1227-1255]”. The khan did not contest this legacy; he confirmed and validated the property rights by listing the owner’s belongings.

15The text suggests that at least two confirmation yarlïqs had been issued for this estate. One was produced under Toqtamish and the other, the current document, under khan Temür-Qutluq. Confirmation yarlïqs were issued when required, for instance to protect a family’s property, when important changes occurred, such as the death of the holder, or when a new khan wanted to secure the loyalty of local communities. Why did Muḥammad request a confirmation? Several elements suggest it was a good time for him to do so.

16The difficult circumstances under which Temür-Qutluq ascended the throne might have required Muḥammad to secure his yarlïq. Muḥammad’s family situation also played a role. From the introductory part of the text, one can infer that Muḥammad’s father, Ḥājjī Bayram Khwāja, had recently passed away and that, in turn, his son wanted to keep the entire estate in the family under his personal supervision. The text furthermore notes that this yarlïq was issued because Muḥammad’s sons had just purchased new lands (Grigor’ev, 1987: 98). The text gives the location of these recent acquisitions and details their contents, which included mills and hammams. It also mentions the proper names of the new holders and their family connections. Hence, the first reason for Muḥammad to ask request a confirmation of his family yarlïq was to secure the succession rights to his family estate.

Tarkhan Status

17Another crucial reason for Muḥammad to ask for the renewal of his yarlïq concerned his Tarkhan status. In this specific case, the hereditary nature of the tarkhanlïq is clear (l.12-15): “Since long ago, from the time of the deceased Sayin Khan, the ancestors of Muḥammad, holder of this yarlïq, live one after the other in accordance with the genuine custom of the Tarkhan possessing a yarlïq”. This did not mean that the family’s Tarkhan status was transmitted automatically. Private property was bequeathed within a family without the involvement of the highest authority of the Horde. However, the Tarkhan status had to be requested through a confirmation yarlïq, also when it had been granted to one’s forebears. In that way the system remained under the control of the khan and the central government. Besides, more than one descendant was eligible to receive the Tarkhan status and the holder could transmit it to his son(s) even before his death. The text says (l.26-28): shall the sons of Muḥammad, Ḥājjī Muḥammad the eldest and Maḥmūd, be free Tarkhan!” This implies that the Tarkhan status could be collective but was not automatically shared by all male family members. In this case, the three grantees were named and thus officially registered as Tarkhan through the yarlïq.

  • 24 Quoted and translated from Abū’l-Ghāzī Bahādūr Khān (1871-1874: 58). The author of this dynastic ch (...)

18Tarkhan status was hereditary but not passed on in perpetuity. Initially it might have been valid for a fixed number of generations: “We call Tarkhan a man immune from all taxes and who always enjoys free access to the khan; who, in case of crime remains unpunished up to nine times. The privileges associated to this title are hereditary to the ninth generation”.24 The number nine, the most auspicious number for the Mongols which they associated with the rites and ceremonies related to investiture (Moses, 1986: 287-294), was an intrinsic component of the tarkhanlïq. According to Niẓām al-Dīn Shāmī, a Persian chronicler of the late 14th c., “a tarkhān had the right to enter freely into Tīmūr’s presence; to commit up to nine transgressions of the law without penalty – a right extended to his descendants” (Subtelny, 1988: 483). The Timurid court historian Khwāndamīr, alluding to a powerful and rich landholder, mentions that “he had the right to approach the sultan up to nine times about any matter, however inopportune, without fear of censure” (Subtelny, 1988: 492). In this context, the number nine is not to be understood literally but implies that the Tarkhan status was in fact sacred.

  • 25 The yarlïq of Ṣāḥib Giray, granted in 1523, is very explicit on this point (l.6-9): “these seven pe (...)
  • 26 See Ḥājjī Giray’s yarlïq to Ḥakīm Yaḥyā issued in 857/1453 (l.53): “qāḍī al-quḍāt mawlānā Ṣadr-i Ji (...)
  • 27 See a.o. the description of Pero Tafur (1926: 138) mentioning the “grand Cadir” as the highest offi (...)

19The tarkhanlïq had to be confirmed, apparently one generation after another, by the holder of the status himself. This fact is clearly expressed in the text (l.16-19): “His [Muḥammad’s] father, Ḥājjī Bayram Khwāja, had received it from the khan, our elder brother, and [now] it is [Muḥammad’s turn] to have this yarlïq confirmed and to make a request to us”. According to other yarlïqs, the grantees had to take the initiative to come to the khan’s court to make the request.25 One of the great advantages of the tarkhanlïq was to offer special access to the ruler. The Persian secretary and historian ʿAṭā Malik Juvaynī wrote in the 1250s that Tarkhans were “those who are exempt from compulsory contributions, and to whom the booty taken on every campaign is surrendered; whenever they so wish they may enter the royal presence without leave or permission” (Juvaynī, 1958: 37-38; Golden, 2000: 303). Yet, one can wonder how Tarkhans could have accessed the khan in practice. Muḥammad and his father were provincial landowners and did not live at court. They needed an intermediary, someone who was in a position to organise the audience and to make their case among the entourage of the ruler. Even if it is not explicitly stated in the text, this intermediary was most likely a qāḍī. We can infer this on the basis of other yarlïqs that do mention an intermediary, who often appears to have been a qāḍī.26 Christian and Muslim sources of the 13th to 15th c. attest that qāḍīs played a preeminent role in the Golden Horde.27 They are always mentioned in the preamble ranking the deputies of the khan. In Temür-Qutluq’s diploma they were listed in first position, even before the muftis and the shaykhs. They were active locally, often in the entourage of the provincial governors, and at central court, especially in the retinue of the khatuns. Their knowledge and ability to write legal contracts made them the most suitable intermediaries between the local Muslim elite and the Jochids.

20Thus, in theory three privileges were attached to the Tarkhan status, namely: the option for confirmation, special access to the ruler, and the right for transmission. However, in practice, confirmation was required only at certain times, special access was only possible via bottom-up channels and through the intercession of qāḍīs, and transmission was hereditary but depended on the two aforementioned conditions. In any case, the duration of the Tarkhan status was more problematic than Persian sources suggest.

The official confirmation of the grantee’s social position

  • 28 The immunity yarlïq of Toqtamish to Bek Ḥājjī and his kin in 782/1381 was also granted to wealthy l (...)

21The available sources do not enable us to trace the ancestors of Muḥammad back to the conquest period, but there is more information about the social position of his family at the end of the 14th c. They were neither poor peasants nor simple farmers. Only influential people were awarded fiscal immunities.28 The yarlïq served as an official confirmation of the well-established position of wealthy notables. Muḥammad’s family was likely one of the richest in the area. According to the text of the yarlïq, the grantee and his relatives were landholders living on their estate. The places mentioned in the exemption help us to locate their land in the triangle between Qrïm, Caffa, and Sūdāq. These places are now situated in Russia and are called Staryj Krym, Feodosia, and Sudak, respectively. At the end of the 14th c. they were the major trading posts of the Crimea. The commercial life of the peninsula depended on the dynamics and interconnections of three communities living side-by-side within this urban triangle: Armenians, Karaims or Karaite Jews, and Muslim Turks called Tatars.

22The estate of Muḥammad’s family was located near Qrïm, the inland regional capital. According to the Russian historian Arkadij Grigor’ev (1987: 100) the family lived in the city. His hypothesis is based on the study of two gravestones discovered during the excavation of a thirteenth-fifteenth-century Muslim cemetery of Qrïm (1925-26). One gravestone reads “Allāh! This grave is of Muḥammad’s son [two unreadable names], called liberal and Magnanimous”, the other “this grave is of Bayram Khwāja”. This Bayram Khwāja is most likely Muḥammad’s father, who is named Ḥājjī Bayram Khwāja in the yarlïq.

23Qrïm and Caffa were situated very close to each other, the distance between them being only 25 km. They were also economically interdependent. Caffa was a port while Qrïm had no access to the sea. In Qrïm local traders needed to sell and buy their products in Caffa, which was the administrative centre of all the Genoese settlements in the Golden Horde and a gateway to the Black Sea. They could also go to Sudak, which was only slightly further away. In the 13th c. Sudak was the leading harbour of the area, the Venetians dominated it and called it Soldaia. The city was so famous that travellers often named the Black Sea, the Sea of Sudak (Ibn ʿAbd al-Ẓāhir, 1976: 215). However, by the end of the 14th c., the city had passed into the hands of the Genoese and lost its former splendour. Politically it was Qrïm, also known as Solkhat, that held the dominant position in the peninsula. The khan’s deputies lived there (Egorov, 1985: 88). In the yarlïq the whole region was called (l.21-22): “the tümen of Qrïm and Qïrq-yer”. We know that in the second half of the 15th c., when the Crimean Khanate formed, Qïrq-yer replaced Qrïm as the new capital of the tümen. It is interesting to note here that the two places were already associated administratively before the 15th c.

  • 29 One can surmise this from the list of their tax immunities: “From the tarkhāns and from their peopl (...)
  • 30 “The storage fee, the barn tax […] shall not be taken”, “They shall not take their goods without ju (...)

24Muḥammad’s family owned rich lands. The list of their possessions offers an impression of their prosperity (l.28-30): “To their lands and rivers, vineyards and gardens, hammams and mills, in the places that they have continuously possessed”. In addition to their cultivated lands, orchards, and vineyards, they raised livestock and cattle and had tabanlïq, dependent people, who probably included peasants and merchants in their employ.29 They possessed storage facilities, farm buildings, and unspecified goods.30 The other taxes that they were relieved from, the qïsmat, qubçīr, and yasagh, as well as the so-called qalān, salīgh, burj, and kharaj, were mainly related to land ownership. The estates they owned were located in an economically active area, which made them even more valuable. They were also involved in commercial activities as local traders: they lived on their lands and farmed and traded their own products, especially dairy products, cereals, and wine. Their immunities and commercial privileges covered a specific zone around Caffa, Qrïm, and Sudak, where they did not have to pay road fees and could sell or ship their products freely (l.38-41): “in roads and places, at entrance or exit, in Qrïm or Caffa, whatever product they buy or sell, the customs duty [tamgha] and the tax for the weighing [tartnaq] shall not apply”.

25Edigü and Khan Temür-Qutluq had obvious political and economic reasons to support the commercial activities of Muḥammad’s family. First, the customs duties raised by the Jochids on trade were very lucrative, and they were keen to maintain control of this revenue source, but the Crimean area needed time to recover economically after the destruction caused by the Timurid armies a few years prior. Second, the Genoese in Caffa chose to support Toqtamish and then Temür against Edigü and Temür-Qutluq. Edigü was now keen to weaken them. By allowing this rich Muslim family not to pay taxes in Caffa, Edigü offered them a real advantage in comparison with the Genoese who had to pay levies on commercial goods. Wealthy local landowners were a counterweight to Genoese power.

  • 31 For the original Turkic text and an English translation, see Vásáry (1982: 293-294). The text is da (...)
  • 32 Vásáry (1982: 293-294) proposed the reading “akhī a[ghalarï] ”, which he translates as guildsmen or (...)

26As stated above, Qrïm-Solkhat was the political centre of the peninsula and renowned for its important Muslim population. The fact that these wealthy notables lived in the capital of the region suggests that they enjoyed a dominant position locally. We possess little information on the functioning of Tatar cities in south Crimea, but there is trace evidence for the existence of councils where leaders of the urban elite interacted and took decisions on local affairs. In the text of a yarlïq-contract (sharṭnāmā) granted by Khan Mengli Giray to the heads of the three major communities in Qïrq-yer – Jewish, Armenian, and Muslim – the notables are identified through names and titles: there were thirteen representatives for the Muslims, eight for the Jews, and eight for the Armenians.31 The Muslim grantees are called akhī, which, in this context, can designate the members of trade and religious guilds.32 Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, travelling in the first half of the 14th c., had already documented active akhī involvement in the economic life of the Golden Horde. He mentioned several zāwiyyas, hermitages, where the notables of the towns welcomed travellers. In Qrïm, Shaykh Zādah al-Khurāṣānī hosted Ibn Baṭṭūṭa; in Azāq, Shaykh Rajab an-nahr Malikī offered him a festive meal and he heard about akhī Biçaqçī, a famous member of a futūwwa (a religious, trade, and urban guild) who used to feed travellers (Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, II, 1858: 359, 368-69; DeWeese, 1994: 131). In addition to the amīrs and other Jochid deputies, the shaykhs functioned as social magnets and acted as leaders of the local Muslim elite. Ibn Baṭṭūṭa describes how Shaykh Zādah al-Khurāṣānī was surrounded with the qāḍīs, faqīhs, imams, and predicators of Qrïm. The level of organisation of these trade and sufi guilds is difficult to reconstruct, but even if we cannot see them as institutionalised networks, they appear to have represented the Muslim urban elite in Crimean cities and been among the main interlocutors of the khan. Muḥammad’s kinsmen belonged to this world of akhī’s, shaykhs, local qāḍīs, predicators, and traders. This Tarkhan family, in addition to its wealth, was locally influential through active patronage in the city. An example of their patronage will be discussed below in connection with the fourth reason why Muḥammad requested this yarlïq.

A prayer for the Khan

  • 33 A duʿa is a personal supplication in Islam, which asks God for forgiveness and favours. Duʿa teller (...)

27Qrïm was a focus of Muslim missionary activity, which manifested itself in the commissioning of religious buildings within the city and in the suburbs. The Muslim community was well-established from the first Islamisation of the area under the Seljūqs. During Golden Horde times the Muslim elite consisted of different layers. Its highest members were listed in yarlïq preambles: qāḍīs, muftis, shaykhs, and sufis. All of them were essential middlemen who connected the court with the main cities of the Horde. Since the 13th c., imams, shaykhs, and duʿa tellers had been prominent figures in the administration and often zealous supporters of the Jochids.33 As we saw, qāḍīs also played an increasingly important role as intermediaries between local life and the khan’s court (DeWeese, 1994: 122-142). At another level the Muslim elite consisted of influential notables, like Muḥammad and his kin. The title “ḥājjī” borne by his father and by his son did not make them official dignitaries. It was conferred on pious people even if they had not performed the ḥājj. They were not involved in the administration like the qāḍīs or the imams but they publicly fulfilled religious duties and took active part in the local life of the Muslim community. They also invested in buildings devoted to the Islamic faith.

28The relations between the khan and the Tarkhans can be characterised as a kind of contractual bond. The yarlïq-contract fulfilled mutual needs. The grantee gained benefits from the khan but also had duties. Two levels need to be considered here: the legitimacy agreement and the actual financial exchange. By submitting his request to the khan, the Tarkhan explicitly acknowledged the legitimacy of the ruler. In return, the khan confirmed the Tarkhan status and the rights attached to it. We saw that this yarlïq harks back to the arrival of the Mongols in Crimea and concerns rights that were established at the very beginning of the Golden Horde. The long-term relationship of which this continuity of rights was part created a link between two spheres, the local one (Muḥammad’s kinship) and the central one (the Jochids), and bound them together from the time of conquest.

29At another level, the financial exchange between the two spheres played a key role. Muḥammad’s kinsmen were neither military officials, nor members of the clergy or noblemen. The khan granted them tax exemption without making them responsible for local tax collection in exchange for local sponsorship. Grigor’ev (1987: 100-101) documented the ties between this family and the city of Qrïm. He pointed out that the old Friday mosque was called the Ḥājjī Muḥammad mosque. The building, now destroyed, is described by the Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi, who visited it in the 17th c.:

  • 34 In the recent edition in Latin letters the editor changed Shādī khan to Şādī Geray Hān by mistake ( (...)

There is a dated inscription on the portal of the Friday mosque of Ḥājjī Muḥammad, situated near the gate of Caffa [in the city of Qrïm]. On it the following is written: this blessed and virtuous mosque was built in the days of the rule of the greatest sultan and most magnanimous khaqan Shādī […] by the insignificant slave, permanently in need of the mercy of god, Muḥammad, son of Ḥājjī Bayram Khwāja in the month of rajab 807 (January-February 1405) (Evliya Çelebi, t. 7, 1928: 663).34

30The construction of this mosque, financed by Muḥammad, took place only six years after the promulgation date of the yarlïq. It confirms that the Tarkhans were established people committed to the development of their city. Their local patronage was a public expression of their wealth and influence. Even if the khans Toqtamish and Temür-Qutluq were the ones involved in the grant, the name of the ruler on the portal of the mosque is Shādī-bek (r.1400-1407), their successor and Temür-Qutluq’s brother. For the Tarkhans, the institution of khanship was as important as individual rulers.

  • 35 Local religious patronage was also a way to perform a service to the ruler. Many examples are attes (...)

31In the text of the yarlïq, the role and duty of the grantees as pious members of the elite is underlined. In return for tax exemptions, Muḥammad and his relatives were requested to pray for the Jochids: “Living a peaceful and quiet life, morning and evening and during the holy hours, they shall always offer prayers [duʿa] and gratitude to us and to the descendants of our descendants [urugh urughimizgha]”. The legitimacy agreement between the Tarkhan and the central power thus resulted in the construction of a mosque and the establishment of funded worship services.35

Free from qalam and qadam

  • 36 The most elaborate formula for Tarkhan immunity is “muʿāf wa-musallam wa-tarkhān wa-ḥurr wa-marfūʿ (...)
  • 37 Along with religious men and merchants, artisans were protected categories. It might have played a (...)

32Besides tax exemptions, the khan offered Tarkhans his protection against the qalam and qadam, his own official servants. Indeed, Tarkhans were not free in general but more precisely “free from bureaucratic processing (qalam) and interference by government agents (qadam)” (Inalcik, 2006: 124). In Temür-Qutluq’s yarlïq, the formula appears at the end of the text (l. 45-46): “They shall be protected against all forms of oppression and exaction and exempted from paying the extraordinary taxes”.36 As we saw, the immunity offered by the Tarkhan status was an old feature, perhaps its oldest, and this protection from state violence, oppression, and corruption was gradually extended to diverse forms of exemption.37 This was a constant throughout the Mongol Period from the time of the empire to its successor states.

  • 38 See Lambton (1953: 102). It here concerns a farmān from 773/1372 issued by the Jala’irid Sultan in (...)
  • 39 This is my translation. The original text was published by Kurat (1940: 62-80) and Bennigsen (1978: (...)

33The Yuan and the Ilkhanate are the best-documented cases. The texts of the reforms that Rashīd al-Dīn led at the time of Ghazan (r. 1295-1304) show that one of the main duties of the khan was to secure the rights of privilege holders by protecting them from his own agents, such as tax collectors and travelling officials. During the Post-Ilkhanid Period, the tendency was for soyūrghāl, tuyūl, iqṭāʿ, and all types of assignments to become unified and represent “grants of immunity to the holders from all interference by government officials”.38 In the cases of the Golden Horde and early Crimean khanate, it was also an essential feature that appeared in immunity yarlïqs as one of the final clauses. We can here quote a diploma granted by Khan Ḥājjī Girāy to Ḥakīm Yaḥyā in 857/1453, in which some exemptions are very similar to those in our document, especially the guarantee that officers were not allowed to enter the house of the holder, nor to make requisitions or to make him pay taxes (l.47-50): “whoever causes pressure, prejudice, cruelty and harm to Ḥakim Yaḥyā – to whom we grant this yarlïq and whom we made Tarkhan – let misfortune strikes him!”39 The same provisions, phrased in various ways, can be found in other immunity yarlïqs (Muhamedyarov & Vásáry, 1987: 183-184, l.8-9; 192-94, l.15-19).

Conclusion

  • 40 The situation appears to have been different in the Ilkhanate, where tarkhanlïq was less significan (...)

34Under the Chinggisids the term Tarkhan was not a purely honorary title but referred to a personal status. The development of this old institution in the Golden Horde shows great continuity with early practices of the Mongol empire. Interestingly, the Tarkhan status did not develop into a landholding status but remained a personal status. Tarkhanlïq should not be confused with any of the forms of landholding that developed especially in agrarian areas.40 As we saw, tarkhanlïq was originally a nomad institution and as such referred to persons rather than to specific territories. It could be associated with private property, as in the case of Muḥammad’s family, and/or other privileges granted to landowners. However, this should not confuse us: tarkhanlïq was neither a direct delegation of authority, nor an authorisation to collect taxes, and even less so a property rights regime.

  • 41 See Ḥājjī Giray’s yarlïq to Ḥakīm Yaḥyā, l.47-48: “basa yukarda uluj iṣ(i)ngni k(a)rap ni kim türlü (...)
  • 42 This important clause is given clearer expression in other yarlïqs, “kayda tilerse barsun kayda til (...)
  • 43 If Muḥammad, or his sons, were to sell their entire estates, or a part of them, they cannot sell th (...)

35Using Temür-Qutluq’s yarlïq, we can better define what Tarkhan meant in the late-fourteenth-century Golden Horde. Judging by Muḥammad’s reasons for requesting a confirmation of his contract, the main components of the Tarkhan status were: protection against government agents; special access to the ruler;41 tax immunity; freedom of travel;42 heritable, albeit with restrictions; personal and non-saleable use.43 All these clauses were part of a larger system in which the Tarkhan status was connected with other social and economic dimensions including private property, landholding, and rights of tax collection. The Golden Horde administrative organization mainly consisted of contractual relationships between the khan, his deputies, and Tarkhans, groups of free men. These dynamic relationships allowed cooperation at the local level and created a sense of responsibility towards social peace and collective services. When tarkhanlïq was not combined with ruling capacities (e.g. when it conferred the right to collect taxes), it helped local elites to strengthen their position, especially against the qalam and qadam, and as such may have lessened local appetites for independence.

  • 44 Examples can be found, amongst others, for Qïrq-yer, Azāq, Kazan, Ḥājjī-Tarkhān (Astrakhan), Mājar, (...)

36Immunities granted to army members (or ex-military officers) and immunities granted to pious notables and merchants should be considered separately. Unlike the soyurghal and iqṭā grantees who tended to be disconnected from local life, the Tarkhans were deeply involved in everyday affairs. They were freed from military and financial obligations but were bounded to the khan. Their distinctive economic status made them responsible for undertaking collective projects in Qrïm and other cities of the Golden Horde.44 The account of Muḥammad and his family shows that in these places Muslim Tarkhans contributed to Islamisation. In their case, loyalty, religious infrastructure, and local work were exchanged for tax immunity. The wealth they did not spend on taxes was used for communal investments. This phenomenon may explain why certain areas of the Golden Horde particularly flourished and how religious buildings were financed. In Crimea, “where since early on we can find many tarkhān”, prosperity depended largely on local collaboration: here ruler and elite shared the same interests. Through the Tarkhans, the khan did not need to rely on force to motivate free men to contribute to the “common good” and to worship him and the descendants of his descendants.

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Annexe

Appendix I

The text of the yarlïq in translation:

(l.1) The word of Tīmūr-Qutluq45

(l.2-3) To the princes of the right wing and the left wing, (l.4) to Edigü who stands at the head of the tümen;46 to the beks of Thousand, Hundred, and Ten, (l.5-6) to the qāḍīs and the muftis of the cities of the south, to the shaykhs and sufis, (l.7-8) to the secretaries of the dīwān, to the custom officers and the weighers, to the envoys on the roads and the messengers, (l.9-10) to the watches, patrols, and guardhouses, to the persons in charge of the jam [postal system] and the ones in charge of the supplies, to the hawkers and the tamers, (l.11) to the boat keepers, to the bridge keepers and to all who, in the bazaar [administration] (l.12-15) work. Since long ago, from the time of the deceased Sayin Khan, the ancestors of Muḥammad, holder of this yarlïq, have lived one after the other in accordance with the genuine custom of the Tarkhān possessing a yarlïq. (l.16-17) His [Muḥammad’s] father, Ḥājjī Bayram Khwāja, had received it from the khan, our elder brother, (l.18-20) and [now] it is [Muḥammad’s turn] to have this yarlïq confirmed and to make a request to us. Considering his request as a legitimate one, we have granted our suyūrghāl [privilege] to Muḥammad. We ordered: let him be Tarkhān! (l.21-22) From that day on, in the tümen of Qrïm and Qïrq-yer, in the city called Sūdāq (l.23-26) and in its surrounding area where since early on we can find many Tarkhān, from Indirçi and its village and the well-known fortress [?47], [where they have acquired] in the legal form of a sharʿī purchase their lands and rivers, shall the sons of Muḥammad, (l.27-32) Ḥājjī Muḥammad the eldest and Maḥmūd, be free Tarkhān! Regarding their lands and rivers, vineyards, and gardens, hammams and mills, in the places that they have continuously possessed, all the free [persons or lands?] since long ago and their villages, their farmers and ortaq [merchants]: (l.33-34) whoever they may be, they shall not harm them! They shall not take their goods without justification! (l.35-37) The tax on the vineyards, the qurut [levy on curds]48 of Inkinçi and Üskübol [places?], the storage fee, the barn tax, [and ] from their tabanlïq [people], qïsmat, qubçīr, and yasagh, as well as the so-called qalān, (l.38-40) salīgh, burj, and kharaj, shall not be taken!49 In roads and places, at entrance or exit, in Qrïm or Caffa, whatever product they buy or sell, the tamgha [customs duty] (l.41) and the tartnaq [tax for weighing] shall not apply! From the Tarkhān and from their tabanlïq [people], (l.42-46) tax for the roads and the guard patrols shall not be demanded! Their ulagh [horses and other animals for the jam] shall not be requisitioned! For night and day watches, they shall not be asked! No food and no forage shall be taken [from them]! They shall be protected against all forms of oppression and exaction and exempted from paying the extraordinary taxes. Living a peaceful and quiet life, (l.47-52) morning and evening and during the holy hours, they shall always offer duʿa [prayers] and gratitude to us and to urugh urughimizgha [the descendants of our descendants]. After stating so and to make them obey him [Muḥammad]: a yarlïq with a golden nishān [seal] and a red tamgha has been issued at the date of 800, (l.53-55) the year of the tiger, the month of shaʿbān, the sixth day [24 April 1398]. Written on the banks of the Dnieper River, in the vicinity of Mujāvirān.50

Appendix II

Agrandir
Agrandir

[Légende des 3 photos du manuscrit] :

Temür-Qutluq’s yarlïq, Oriental manuscript Cod.Mixt.650

©Austrian National Library

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Notes

1 This research was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no 615040, Nomadic Empires: A World-Historical Perspective. The earliest form of this paper, entitled Tarkhan: The Free Citizen Of The Khan. A Case-Study Of The Golden Horde At The End Of The Fourteenth Century was written within the framework of the NWO Horizon project on Eurasian Empires in 2011-2014. My heartfelt thanks go to Maaike van Berkel, Jeroen Duindam, and Jos Gommans for their thoughtful feedback and constant support.

2 « Muḥammadniŋ oghlānlarï ilkī Ḥājjī Muḥammād wā Maḥmudnī azād tarkhān bolsun ». For a discussion of the equivalent formula « ḥurr (free) wa-tarkhān », see Busse (1959: 167) and Subtelny (1988: 500).

3 According to Golden (2000: 303) the etymology of Tarkhan is unclear. It probably entered Arabic from the Soghdian trgh'n or the Middle Persian trWn < Turk, tarkan (pl. in Mongolian tarkat). The latter appears to have been part of the imperial protocol that the Türks inherited from the Rouran Empire (end of 4th c.-mid. 6th c.). For interesting early examples of Tarkhan see Esin (1977: 323-332) and Kuwayama (1989: 89-134).

4 The word ulus indicates peoples and territories that belonged to each of the four sons of Chinggis Khan and their descendants.

5 Merchants were also a common category of Tarkhans. The khans guaranteed them important commercial privileges as they brought wealth to their ulus. A few copies of Tarkhan-grants to merchants have been preserved in the Venetian and Genoese archives. Some of the Latin and Italian texts have been published by Mas Latrie (1868: 580-595; see also Grigor’ev & Grigor’ev, 2002). For the Tarkhans in the Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire see Bennigsen, 1978: 401-402.

6 On the “ruling tribes,” see Schamiloglu (1984: 283-297). On the involvement of the beks in the Jochid Dynasty, see Favereau & Geevers (2018: 477-480).

7 Grigor’ev (2004) conducted a survey of the yarlïqs granted to the Rus. The immunity diploma granted by the Timurid ruler Shāhrukh to Buddhist monks in 825/1422 is comparable to a yarlïq (Deny, 1957: 253-266). Contractual relationships also existed with nomads. See for instance the case of Edigü and the Manghit yurt in Trepavlov (2001: 15-16). See also the yarlïq granted in 782/1381 by Toqtamish to the nomad chief and wealthy herder Bek Ḥājjī (Berezin, 1851: 11-15, 43-49).

8 Published exemption documents and sözümüz-documents are scattered throughout the research literature. For the period and area covered in this article, see the documents issued by Temür in 804/1401 and his son Mīrān-shāh in 798/1396 (Fekete, 1977: 63-65; 71-75). An interesting Tarkhan under Temür is detailed in Bernardini (2008: 64-65). For Ilkhanid and pre-Safavid examples, see a tax exemption dated 782/1380 in Herrmann (2004: document XXVII). For Türkmen examples, see Minorsky (1937-38: 927-960) and Busse (1959: 149-168, documents 1 to 4, issued in 857/1453, 875/1471, 884/1479, 904/1490).

9 For a thorough analysis of this kind of documents and their typologies, see Mirkasim Usmanov (1979, 1978-1979: 46-51) and Dariusz Kołodziejczyk (2011: 266-300).

10 See the appendix below which contains a photograph and a translation of the manuscript.

11 If we count original manuscripts, contemporary translations, contemporary and late copies, and chancellery records, there are about a hundred documents dating to the early period (14th to 16th c.) and more than three hundred documents if we include the late period (17th to 18th c.). However, there are fewer than ten original Turkic manuscripts dating to the 14th century. See chapter 1 of Favereau (2004).

12 Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (1774, Gratz, Styria -1856, Vienna) is also the author of the first modern monography on the Golden Horde (Hammer-Purgstall, 1840).

13 The Hofbibliothek acquired some 740 manuscripts between 1822 and 1833 (Flügel, III, 1865: XI-XII).

14 Von Hammer-Purgstall’s (1818) facsimile reproduces only the part in Uighur.

15 Bakhshī’s manuscripts were donated as waqf to Ayasofya Library. Some of them were kept in the Archives of Topkapı Saray in the 19th c.

16 The political re-use of archival materials from previous Turkic and Mongol states by rising powers of the time, like the Ottomans and the Russians, is a topic in its own right and deserves its own study.

17 In the eastern part of the empire, where the Great khans ruled, the invocation sentence of the yarlïqs was “by the yarlïq of XX (name of the ruler)”; this expression was apparently reserved for the Great Khan who had precedence over the regional khans who themselves used the expression “my word” üge manu/sözüm (Matsui, 2007: 61-62).

18 An original yarlïq issued by Toqtamish five years earlier has an identical layout. Here the tamgha appears on the top right of the document in lines 2 and 3 (Berezin, 1850: 12).

19 Toqtamish and Temür-Qutluq were cousins and both descendants of the son of Jochi, Tuqay-Temür. In the 1360-1370s, Toqtamish’s father and Khan Urus,Temür-Qutluq’s grandfather, started to struggle.

20 On the right (western) and left (eastern) wings of the ulus of Jochi and the distinction between the White Horde and the Blue Horde, see Judin (1992: 22-48).

21 Edigü’s sister was married to the khan of the left wing, Temür Malik (b. Urus), the father of Temür-Qutluq. He was Edigü’s nephew on his mother’s side.

22 The title beklerbeki or beglerbeg had several meanings. Here it refers to the highest ruling position after the khan. The beklerbeki also represented the beks. Edigü was originally elected bek by his people (il/el’), the Manghit. The tümen, originally a military contingent consisting in theory of 10.000 men, was also an administrative division established by the Chinggisids. The tümen of Qrïm covered not only the Crimean Peninsula but also the steppes between the lower Dnieper and the lower Don.

23 This explains why Edigü, the beklerbeki and the de facto ruler, could not introduce himself as khan in the official documents. Even if he was a son-in-law, as he had married a khan’s daughter, he was not a descendant of Jochi through the male line. On throne succession rules in the Golden Horde, see (Favereau & Geevers, 2018: 466-470).

24 Quoted and translated from Abū’l-Ghāzī Bahādūr Khān (1871-1874: 58). The author of this dynastic chronicle was a Jochid khan ruling in Khiva (r.1644-1663). For early periods, Abū’l-Ghāzī Bahādūr Khān used thirteenth- and fourteenth-century materials.

25 The yarlïq of Ṣāḥib Giray, granted in 1523, is very explicit on this point (l.6-9): “these seven persons have come to us and applied. Since they have been made tarkhans by our former khan brothers, we also granted them, and I made these mentioned persons tarkhans by the grace of God, may He be exalted, and by the intercession of Muḥammâd, prophet of God”. See the translation and original text in Muhamedyarov & Vásáry (1987: 192-193).

26 See Ḥājjī Giray’s yarlïq to Ḥakīm Yaḥyā issued in 857/1453 (l.53): “qāḍī al-quḍāt mawlānā Ṣadr-i Jihān ötündü” (“on a proposal from the great qāḍī mawlānā Ṣadr-i Jihān”). This text has been published by Kurat (1940: 66-67, 77) and Bennigsen (1978: 38, facsimile).

27 See a.o. the description of Pero Tafur (1926: 138) mentioning the “grand Cadir” as the highest official of the Khan’s camp near Solkhat (Qrïm) especially in charge with the “housing” within the camp.

28 The immunity yarlïq of Toqtamish to Bek Ḥājjī and his kin in 782/1381 was also granted to wealthy local herders (Berezin, 1851: 11-15, 43-49).

29 One can surmise this from the list of their tax immunities: “From the tarkhāns and from their people [tabanlïq], tax for the roads and the guard patrols shall not be demanded” (l.41-42), “their ulagh [horses and other animals for jam] shall not be requisitioned!”; “the qurut […] shall not be taken” (l. 43-44).

30 “The storage fee, the barn tax […] shall not be taken”, “They shall not take their goods without justification!” (l. 34, 36).

31 For the original Turkic text and an English translation, see Vásáry (1982: 293-294). The text is dated 1478-79 but the manuscript is a draft or a later copy and the beginning of the text is partially damaged (so maybe more than 13 Muslim names were originally mentioned). In the list of the Muslim notables, the first appears as “mawlānā ʿAbd allāh khaṭīb ”. Five others have the titles of ḥājjī. There are also one khwāja, one ḥājjī khwāja, one shaykh, and one pīr. Three individuals have no title.

32 Vásáry (1982: 293-294) proposed the reading “akhī a[ghalarï] ”, which he translates as guildsmen or guildsmasters.

33 A duʿa is a personal supplication in Islam, which asks God for forgiveness and favours. Duʿa tellers were particularly important in diplomatic contexts and often sent as ambassadors to other Muslim rulers.

34 In the recent edition in Latin letters the editor changed Shādī khan to Şādī Geray Hān by mistake (Evliya Çelebi, Istanbul, t.7, 2003: 253). This mistake did not appear in the 1928 edition in Arabic letters.

35 Local religious patronage was also a way to perform a service to the ruler. Many examples are attested under the Giray Khans of Crimea. In exchange for money sent by Poland-Lithuania, Tatars were charged with the upkeep of trade infrastructure, fortresses, and religious buildings (Favereau, 2013: 344).

36 The most elaborate formula for Tarkhan immunity is “muʿāf wa-musallam wa-tarkhān wa-ḥurr wa-marfūʿ al-qalam wa-maqṭūʿ al-qadam” (Subtelny, 1988: 84). See the immunity yarlïq issued in 782/1380, l.13 (Herrmann, 2004: 179).

37 Along with religious men and merchants, artisans were protected categories. It might have played a role in the birth of a social group dedicated to crafts, especially in connection with metal working (Legrand, 1979: 161-162). In Modern Mongolian, Darkhan retained the meaning artisan, craftsman, as well as one exempt from taxes. Besides the Mongols who were charged with the cult of Chinggis Khan in the Ordos, an area set aside for religious reasons, were also called Darkhad (pl. for Darkhan) (Doerfer, II, 1965: 460-74, §879; Clauson, 1972: 539-540; Golden, 2000: 303).

38 See Lambton (1953: 102). It here concerns a farmān from 773/1372 issued by the Jala’irid Sultan in Tabriz for a shaykh, son of the ancestor of the Safavids.

39 This is my translation. The original text was published by Kurat (1940: 62-80) and Bennigsen (1978: 33-38).

40 The situation appears to have been different in the Ilkhanate, where tarkhanlïq was less significant and soyurghal was widespread. This important difference between the Ilkhanate and the Golden Horde deserves its own study.

41 See Ḥājjī Giray’s yarlïq to Ḥakīm Yaḥyā, l.47-48: “basa yukarda uluj iṣ(i)ngni k(a)rap ni kim türlük sözi bulsa ötüne tursun tidimiz” (“Besides let him raise his eyes to our sublime threshold and express whatever he wants to say”) (Kurat, 1940: 66, 77; Bennigsen, 1978: 38, facsimile).

42 This important clause is given clearer expression in other yarlïqs, “kayda tilerse barsun kayda tilerse yürüsün ”, “wherever he wants to go, he can go” l. 36-37 in Ḥājjī Girāy’s yarlïq to Ḥakīm Yaḥyā (Kurat, 1940: 66, 77; Bennigsen, 1978: 38, facsimile).

43 If Muḥammad, or his sons, were to sell their entire estates, or a part of them, they cannot sell their immunity as well. The Tarkhan immunity was attached to families and in any case had to be requested from the khan.

44 Examples can be found, amongst others, for Qïrq-yer, Azāq, Kazan, Ḥājjī-Tarkhān (Astrakhan), Mājar, Sarāychuq, and Khwārazm.

45 This text has been translated into German (Hammer, 1818; Vámbéry, 1870), Russian (Berezin, 1851; Radlov, 1889; Samojlovich, 1918), Turkish (Kurat, 1940; Özyetgin, 1996), and English (Grigor’ev, 1987, only a partial translation). For a full edition of the text, complete with annotation and a French translation, see Favereau (2004: 91-120). I studied and compared all these translations. Mine is based on the original Turkic text in Arabic script.

46 A tümen was a military-administrative unit that coincided with a defined territory (cf. footnote 22). On the term itself and its evolution in a Jochid context, see Fedorov-Davydov (1973: 122-124).

47 The obscure parts might stem from orthographical mistakes in the copy.

48 Kurut was a “tax raised on cows in milk” (Grigor’ev, 1987: 99; see also Lambton, 1953: 88).

49 The kharaj under the Mongols had nothing to do with the Islamic tax levied on non-Muslim populations. Like qïsmat, qubçīr, yasagh, qalān, salīgh, and burj, kharaj was a generic term for a yearly tax (a basic land tax). Qubçīr (also qubçur) and qalān (also qilān) were cattle taxes for nomads and agricultural labour or public works for settled subjects. As well as yasagh, these taxes were introduced by the Mongols based on the principle of the census. The Chinggisids always favoured a counting system per tent or house. Regarding the multiplicity of taxes levied (in this yarlïq more than ten types of dues are enumerated ), see Lambton (1953, 101-104) and Smith (1970: 46-85), who attempted to connect tax terminology with historical reality.

50 The reading of this name is uncertain. I was not able to find a similar name in contemporary sources. However, we know that this place was located in the Dnieper area, probably near today’s Kremenchuk.

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Marie Favereau, « Tarkhan : A Nomad Institution in an Islamic Context », Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée [En ligne], 143 | octobre 2018, mis en ligne le 12 octobre 2018, consulté le 17 novembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/remmm/10955

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Marie Favereau

Oxford University

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