Hudud al-'Alam, The Regions of the World
V. Minorsky
 

§ 45. The Inner Bulghār.

Marquart, Streifzüge, 503-6, 517-19; Westberg, K analizu vostoč. Istoč., in Zhurnal Min. Nar. Prosv., February 1908, pp. 387-9.

The term undoubtedly belongs to Balkhī for only the two geographers who remodelled his work mention the Bulghār al-dākhil. Iṣṭ., 226, writes: "the Rūs trade with the Khazars, Rūm, and Great Bulghār (Bulghar al-a'ẓam). They border from the north on the Rūm; their numbers are great and their might is reported to be such that they have imposed the
 


§ 45   The Inner Bulghar   439

kharāj on those of the Rūm and Inner Bulghār who live near to their country. The Inner Bulghār are Christians." I.Ḥ., 286, gives a considerably different version: "the Great Bulghār border on the Rūm from the north; their numbers are great and their might is reported to be such that in the old days (qadīman) they imposed the kharāj on those of the Rūm who lived near them. As regards the Inner Bulghār there are among them Christians and Muslims." To this I.Ḥ. adds that in his time (fī waqtinā hādhā) no trace (baqiya) was left of the Bulghār, Burṭās, and Khazar for the Rūs having attacked them appropriated their lands. Those who escaped from the Rūs lived scattered in the neighbouring places "in view of their attachment to their lands and in the hope that they would be able to enter a pact with the Rūs and place themselves again under the latter's authority". [1]

These parallel passages reflect some vagueness and confusion in the original source. The term "Inner Bulghār" is evidently opposed to "Outer Bulghār" (Bulghār al-khārija) which name is given by Iṣṭ., 10, to "a small madina (town, or country) having few dependencies and known only as the trading centre of those [northern] countries"; cf. a more complete description of the Volga Bulghār in Iṣṭ., 225. [2] The Inner Bulghārs were identified by Westberg, l.c., with the Black Bulghārs mentioned both in Const. Porph., De admin, imp., ch. 12 and 42, and in Russian chronicles (as raiders of the Crimean Chersonese). [3] However, in the introductory part of his work, Iṣṭ., 7, describing the breadth of the earth and starting from the Ocean and Gog and Magog goes on as follows: "then [the line] skirts the farther side (ẓahr) of the Ṣaqāliba, crosses the land of the Inner Bulghār and Ṣaqāliba and goes along the Rūm country and Syria." Marquart, o.c., 517, interprets this passage in the sense that Inner Bulghār and Ṣaqāliba both, as a sort of hendiadyoin, refer to the Danubian Bulghārs ("so weist das darauf hin, dass beide Namen bereits Wechselbegriffe geworden waren"). This interpretation [4] is hardly correct and the impression of the
 

1. I.Ḥ., 281, places the devastation of Bulghār by the Rūs in 358/968-9 referring undoubtedly to Sviatoslav's eastern raids. As Barthold has suggested in his Mesto prikaspiyskikh oblastey v istorii musul. mira, Baku 1925, p. 43, the date properly refers to I.Ḥ.'s sojourn in Ṭabarīstan where he collected the information on Sviatoslav's raid of 965.

2. The difference between the Inner and Great Bulghar is not clear. The latter name according to I.Ḥ.'s improved text refers to the Danube Bulghār. In older Greek sources the "Old, or Great Bulghār" refers to the seats of the Uturghur, to the east of the Maeotis, cf. Marquart, Streifzüge, 503. In the explanation of Bulghār al-a'ẓam Marquart, ibid., 518, hesitates between the Volga and Danube. In Russian chronicles (1236) the "Great town of Bolgar" () is the town on the Volga. Similarly the Hungarian Dominican monk Julian who, in search of the Hungarian kinsmen, travelled in A.D. 1234-6 beyond the Volga calls the country of the Volga Bulghars Magna Bulgaria, see G. Fejér, Cod. diplom. Hungariae, Budapest 1829, iv/i, p.54.

3. Marquart, Streifzüge, 503, places the Black Bulghars between the Dniepr and the Khazar lands, and further identifies them with the Kuturgur mentioned in Syriac and Byzantine sources.

4. Marquart refers to the Tanbīh, 141, where the Burghar are defined as a sort of Slavs. [Cf. p. 429, 1. 25.]


440   Commentary   §§ 45-6

text is that the Inner Bulghārs lived north of the [Western] Ṣaqāliba, or in close contact with them, cf. the indications of the present paragraph.

Our author tries to weld together the data found in Iṣṭ. and in his other source but the result of this operation cannot be trusted. The details on the Ṣaqāliba as the western neighbours of the Inner Bulghārs and on the Russo-Bulghār wars hail evidently from Iṣṭ., 7 and 226. The Mirvāt  living to the east of our Bulghār along the Black Sea (cf. §§ 3, 6. and 46) reflect a wrong interpretation of the source which is better preserved in Gardīzī (v.s., § 22 on the basic error with regard to the Majgharī territory).

To sum up: our chapter is worth only as much as is due to Iṣṭ. who himself knows very little about Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Westberg's theory is too specious and Marquart seems to be right in identifying the Inner Bulghār with the Danubian Bulghārs. Our author must have taken the different names found in his sources for four distinct peoples:
 
I.Kh. Burjān (§ 42, 16.)
I. Rusta  Bulgharī (§ 42, 18.)
Iṣṭ Inner Bulghār (§ 45)
source common with Gardīzī V.n.nd.r (§ 53) (?)

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