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

§ 21. The Khifchākh (Qı̊pchaq)

Marquart's Komanen is a special study on the origin and destinies of the Komans-Qı̊pchaqs; though containing a prodigious mass of rare materials and many valuable suggestions it remains in the author's own words, p. 206, only spade-work ("Pionierarbeit"); cf. important critical remarks by Pelliot in Jour. As., avril 1920, pp. 125-86, and by Barthold, Russ. istor. zhurnal, vii, 1921, pp. 131-56. See also Barthold, Kipčak in EI, A. Bruce Boswell, The Kipchak Turks, in The Slavonic Review, vi, 1927, pp. 68-85 (popular article), and D. Rasovsky, Polovtsı̊, in Seminarium Kondakovianum, vii, 1935, pp. 1-18 (to be continued) with a very good European bibliography [part ii, ibid., viii, 1936, pp. 19-40].

The name Khifshākh < Khifchākh, ̊pchaq is already attested in I.Kh., 31. The Russians called the Qipchaq Polovtsı̊ (from  "yellowish, sallow") to which name in western languages correspond the terms: Pallidi, Falones, Valani, Valwen, &c. This group of names has no correspondence in Muslim literature. [2] Another name under which the Qipchaq were known in the Byzantine empire and Western Europe is , Comani, Commani, which is also found in Idrīsī, who (perhaps quoting from a European source) [3] calls the Qipchaq  and their land  (Jaubert's translation, ii, 395, 399, &c.). The identity of all these appellations is clear from Rubruquis (Paris, 1839, p. 247): "Commani qui dicuntur Capthat

2. But v.i., p. 317, Barthold's interpretation of Sārī.

3. One must, however, keep in mind the still insufficiently explained names  (or ) which Gardīzī quotes on the road to the Kimäk (see note to § 18) and  (variants  and ) given by Rashid al-dīn, ed. Bérézine, Trud V.O., vii, 162, as the name of the tenth tribe of the Uyghurs, cf. Marquart, Komanen, 91 and 58.

316   Commentary   § 21

[*Qipchaq]; a Teutonicis vero dicuntur Valani [read: Falani] et provincia Valania [read: Falania]." The origin of the names Coman-/Qoman remains dark (cf. note to § 14, 1.). The name  (still suspect!) to which Marquart attaches such an exceptional importance might explain the Magyar form Kún but it does not account for Qoman. Even without taking  into consideration we can imagine the derivation of Magyar Kún from Qoman but there is no explanation for the expansion of an earlier *Qūn into Qoman, simultaneously with its supposed survival (?) as Kún in Magyar.

Like the Khirkhīz, Kimäk, and Rūs the Khifchākh are represented in our source as living in the immediate neighbourhood of the Northern Uninhabited Lands. To their south [1] are placed the Turkish Pechenegs. Our source (§ 6, 44.) adds that the Rūs river (Volga above its junction with Kama?) skirted the Khifchākh confines. [2] Were then the Qipchaq imagined to live down-stream from the Rūs on the left bank of the upper course of the Volga? This, however, would be an entirely imaginary construction due exclusively to our author, for Gardīzī, who uses much the same materials, distinctly says that the Khifchaq lived to the east of the Pechenegs. Having substituted north for east our author fitted in the peoples into his scheme without much care for the actual situation.

Gardīzī, 82, mentions the Khifchākh as one of the seven tribes of the Kimäk. Our author seems to refer to a later stage of the Khifchākh emancipation: he admits the vassal dependence of their king upon the Kimäk but considers the Khifchākh as a special tribe, maybe separated from the Kimäk by the territory called Andar az Khifchākh. To what an extent the form of association of the Qipchaq with the Kimäk was changed towards the end of the eleventh century is witnessed by the quotation from Kāshgharī (iii, 22), v.s., p. 305, which shows the Yimäk, i.e. presumably one of the two original clans of the Kimäk, as a kind of poor relatives of the Qipchaq. In a.d. 1318 al-Warraq quotes the Yimäk as a clan of the Qipchaq, cf. Marquart, Komanen, 157.

Marquart, ibid., 100, must be right in assuming that the Qipchaq first profited by the victory of the Ghūz over the Pechenegs. To characterize the further succession of nomad tribes in southern Russia suffice it to mention [3] the following facts: in 1036 Yaroslav of Kiev inflicted the final crushing defeat on the Pechenegs. Under 1054 Russian chronicles for the first time mention the appearance both of the Torks (= Ghūz) and the Polovts (= Qipchaq). The former were evidently fleeing under the pressure of the latter. Henceforth for 170 years up to the Mongol invasion

1. Read: west (?), cf. Gardīzī on the Pechenegs, v.s., p. 314, line 20.

2. On the other hand the northern boundary of the Turkish Pechenegs was the mysterious river Rūthā (§ 6, 45.) which is not mentioned in connexion with the Khfchakh. We may imagine then that, on our author's Map, the Rūthā divided the Rūs and Pechenegs only on the right bank of the Volga. [Or should we read eastern, instead of northern, boundary, cf. supra note 1.]

3. Here we cannot discuss the migrations farther south and west. See now Rasovsky, o.c. [The first attack of the Pechenegs on Kiev is recorded in the Russian Chronicle under A.D. 968.]

§§ 21-2   The Khifchakh (Qipchaq)   317

(a.d. 1224) the Qipchaq remained masters of the steppes down to the Caucasus.

Explaining the process of formation of the Qipchaq tribe Marquart assumes three gradual stages of its mongolization (?). According to Gardīzī the original Kimäk separated from the Tatār (following Marquart, o.c., 95, in the seventh century); for a second time the Qūn, a clan of the Mongolian Marqa mentioned in 'Aufī (see note to § 20) put into movement the original tribes in the beginning of the 11th century, o.c., 55, 57; for a third time the foundation of the Qipchaq (in the Yüan-shih: *Kin ch'a) state is explained by the arrival towards A.D. 1120 of some princes whose original habitat was near Jehol in Northern China, o.c., 115, 117, 137. Many of these facts still need confirmation and their interpretation by Marquart is subject to considerable caution (see the reviews of Marquart's book by Pelliot and Barthold and the latter's Vorlesungen, p. 114).

It remains to mention here that in 'Aufī's much discussed passage the chain of moves among the nomadic tribes is opened by the invasion of the Qūn (Q.rī) into the Sārī land (zamīn-i Sārī). The inhabitants of Sārī (ahl-i Sārī) [1] press the Ghūz-Türkmäns and the latter move into the southern seats of the Pechenegs (§ 47). Barthold in his review of Marquart's Komanen thinks that by Sārī the Qipchaq are meant, and this hypothesis is certainly supported by the fact that the Qipchaq were the people who drove before them the Ghūz () and gave their own name (Dasht-i Khifchākh) to the steppes formerly associated with the name of the Ghūzz. Barthold even suggests that sārī< sarı̊, in Turkish "yellow", is not an unsuitable name for the people known in the west under the names: Polovtsi, Pallidi, &c. [One wonders whether the original group of the Qipchaq had something to do with the "Yellow" clans of the western T'u-chüeh, v.s., § 17.]

Against Barthold's hypothesis is the fact that in 'Aufī's text ahl-i Sārīcan only be interpreted as "people of [the territory called] Sārī". However, the name of the Sarı̊-su could form a connecting link with some "Yellow" tribe (v.s., p. 284, n. 5). Moreover, on the road supposed to lead to the Sarı̊-su (notes to § 18) lay the sands called by the Turks  (v.s., p. 315, n. 3). Had this latter name anything to do with the Qomans it would pave the way to the demonstration that the "people of Sārī" were not different from the "Qomans" (= Qipchaq).

1. The text as it stands does not suggest any leadership of the Qūn over the people of Sārī.

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