Over the years, archivists of Tatarstan have been studying this manuscript of Sibawayh’s Kitāb. The history of its appearance in the Kazan Theological Academy still remains unstudied. The first scientist who started the scientific study of the Kazan fragment of this manuscript was Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint-Petersburg A. Khalidov. The scientist, having collated the folios with other manuscript reproductions kept in the Cairo Manuscripts Institute of the Arab League, dated the Kazan fragment to the late 12th- the early 13th century. In the following years, the studies of the manuscript continued. So, in 2009 a French scholar, Dr. G. Humbert, who had written her Ph.D. thesis on the manuscripts of Sibawayh’s “Kitāb” (Paris, 1992), identified them as belonging to a codex found in the Ambrosiana Library in Milan. G. Humbert in her conclusions dates the manuscript before the middle of the 11th century. In February 2018 the author of a codicological study of the Milan fragments of the manuscripts U. Bongianino draws attention to six folios of the codex that were on sale in London in the catalogue of Bernard Quaritch Ltd under the number 11. The above-mentioned and the Kazan folios belong to the same codex and the same conclusions generally apply to them. Both fragments are entirely written on parchment but the state of conservation differs. The Milan fragments contain only slight defects but the Kazan fragments bear water stains, burnt or missing parts of texts. By the time of writing the article on the fragments of Sibawayh’s manuscript, the study contains information on its complete textual sequence, dimensions, and paleography. So far only 25 % of the text has been found, the collection of the data on 75 % of the rest text is still going on and any findings of the research should be considered provisional. A more comprehensive study of the history of the spread of the fragments and the answer to many unstudied questions are required. The Kazan fragments of Sibawayh’s manuscript are an invaluable asset, both as a cultural object and as a witness to the vivid history of the Arabic grammatical tradition in the early centuries.
The Kazan fragments of Sibawayh’s manuscript, Arabic manuscript, the Milan manuscript by Sibawayh, A. Khalidov, G. Humbert, U. Bongianino, “Bernard Quaritch Ltd” catalogue.
Вот уже на протяжении многих лет архивисты Татарстана работают над изучением рукописи Сибавайхи. История ее поступления в библиотеку Казанской духовной академии до сих пор остается неизученной. Первым ученым, положившим начало научного исследования казанского фрагмента рукописи, был доктор филологических наук, профессор Института востоковедения РАН г. Санкт-Петербурга А. Халидов. Ученый после сравнения данных образцов с другими репродукциями, сохранившимися в Институте рукописей Каира Лиги арабских государств, датировал казанский фрагмент концом ХII - началом ХIII в. В последующие годы исследования данной рукописи продолжились, так, в 2009 г. французский ученый, доктор Ж. Хумбер, автор докторской диссертации на тему «“Аль-Китаб” Сибавайхи» (Париж, 1992) идентифицировала их принадлежность к рукописи из фондов библиотеки Амброзина в Милане. Ж. Хумбер своими выводами датирует рукопись серединой XI в. В феврале 2018 г. автор кодикологического исследования миланских фрагментов рукописей У. Бонджианино обратил внимание на шесть фрагментов исследуемой рукописи, которые выставлены на продажу в каталоге «Бернард Куоритч ЛТД» под № 11 в Лондоне. Вышеназванные и казанские фрагменты относятся к одной рукописи и к ним применимы общие заключения исследований. Оба фрагмента написаны на пергамене, состояние сохранности различается. Миланские рукописи содержат только пятна, а казанские имеют водяные пятна, обожженные и отсутствующие участки текстов. В данном исследовании мы полностью описали текстовую последовательность прочтения на момент написания статьи фрагментов рукописи Сибавайхи, ее размеры, подлинность. В настоящее время собрано всего лишь 25 % фрагментов рукописи «Аль-Китаб» Сибавайхи, сбор информации по оставшимся 75 % недостающего текста продолжается и сделанные нами в ходе исследования выводы являются предварительными, требуется более тщательное изучение истории распространения фрагментов и ответить на многие неисследованные вопросы. Казанские фрагменты рукописи Сибавайхи являются бесценным культурным достоянием и свидетелем яркой истории арабографической грамматической традиции в предыдущие столетия.
Казанские фрагменты рукописи Сибавайхи, арабографическая рукопись, миланская рукопись Сибавайхи, А. Халидов, Ж. Хумбер, У. Бонджианино. каталог «Бернард Куоритч ЛТД»
The Kazan fragments
On pages 8-9 of Manuscripta orientalia 6/2 (2000), the late Prof. Anas B. Khalidov describes a 48-folio fragment of an Arabic manuscript of the famous Sībawayh’s Kitāb on grammar found in the Kazan National Archives under the call number фонд 10, опись 5, дело 822. These folios were presented to him for identification in September 1998. The date proposed at that time for the fragments was the 5th/11th century and, however after seeing the fragments, Khalidov widened the possible dates to the period between the 4th/10th and 6th/12th centuries. After comparing these folios with other manuscript reproductions in the Cairo Manuscript Institute of the Arab League in December 1998, he concluded that the Kazan fragments should rather be dated to the end of the 6th/12th century or the beginning of the 7th/13th century, which still makes them the oldest Arabic manuscript in Kazan (Khalidov 2000: 9).
Folios 1r° and 41r° (which Khalidov, for some reason, calls the ‘first and last pages’, although the last page is folio 48) bear the seal of the library of the Kazan Theological Academy (spelled библіотеки Казанской духовной академіи) and the Greek call number ΑΡΙΘ. 32 (for Arithmetics?). On folio K1r° (see Plate 1), both the seal and the call number are inscribed upside down. The Theological Academy was active between 1797-1921, with an interruption between 1919 and 1941. Khalidov does not know how nor when this library acquired the Arabic fragments, nor does he mention when the Kazan State Archives acquired them, which is probably when the Theological Academy closed its doors in 1921.
The current call number (ГА РТ, ф. 10, оп. 5, д. 822) is found on four pages: K1v°, 8r°, 9r° and 9v°. Curiously, page K1v° bears the number л. 48; page K8r° bears the number л. 8 об.; and both pages K9r° and 9v° bear the same number л 9 (see Plate 2).
The 48 Kazan folios are not in proper reading order, and the text is interrupted in many places, even after restoring the proper reading order. The chapters and parts of chapters included are 41-45, 104-108, 110, 151-155, 162-164, 167-168, 172-173, 448-460, 470, 475-483, 507-508, 512, 528-530, 535-538, 550-551, 555, 565-567, according to Derenbourg’s (1881-1889) chapter numbering.
I would like to express here my gratitude to the Kazan National Archives who graciously sent me their images, thanks to the help of Ms Leila Almazova (Kazan Federal University).
Identification with the Milan fragments
In June 22-24, 2009, during the MELCOM Conference organised in the Nikolai Lobachevsky Scientific Library at Kazan State University by Ms. Nuria Garaeva of the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books, Dr. Geneviève Humbert, a French scholar who had written her PhD thesis on the manuscripts of Sībawayh’s Kitāb (Paris, 1992, published in 1995), had the chance to see these Kazan fragments and was able to identify them as belonging to the same codex as another 115 folios found in the Ambrosiana Library in Milan under the call number X 56 sup. (personal communication, December 4, 2014). Both the Kazan 48 folios and the Milan 115 folios once belonged to the same codex but were separated, reaching Milan and Kazan probably by different routes. Khalidov knows of a ‘very ancient’ Milan copy that he believes comes from Ṣanʿāʾ, but he does not identify the Milan fragments and the Kazan fragments as being membra disjecta of the same codex. The chapters included in the 115 Milan folios are 327-435, according to Derenbourg’s (1881-1889) numbering and the text is uninterrupted, with the exception that folios 57-58 should be read after folio 50.
The Bernard Quaritch Ltd fragments
Lastly, in February 2018, Mr. Umberto Bongianino, author of a codicological study of the Milan fragments (2015), drew my attention to six folios of the same codex that are on sale in London in the 2018/3 catalogue of Bernard Quaritch Ltd under the number 11. The images of only three pages out of the twelve are available on this catalogue, and are numbered (3), (4) and (5). These six folios were previously on sale in their catalogue number 1424, dated 2013 (item 26), where two other pages were displayed (numbered (6) and (7)). The text is uninterrupted on the first three folios (pages 1-6), then the equivalent of one folio (two pages) of the text is missing, then the text continues on the last three folios (pages 7-12). The folios are numbered on both their recto and verso, against the traditional cataloguing customs in libraries. This could indicate that these folios were never part of a library collection, but rather only private collections. The six folios cover part of chapters 546, 547 and 548, once again according to Derenbourg’s (1881-1889) numbering.
I am also thankful to Bernard Quaritch Ltd for graciously providing me the colour images of the fragments they hold for sale.
Description of the codex as a whole
The Milan fragments have been described, sometimes only briefly mentioned, in different places. Al-Munaǧǧid (1960: Plate 17) published the reproduction of two images (M1r° and M114r°) from a microfilm copy held by the Manuscript Institute of the Arab League in Cairo and dated the manuscript from the 4th/10th century. Löfgren & Traini (1975: 134, item CCLIII), briefly describes the fragments in the Ambrosiana catalogue of manuscripts. Endress (1982: 282-283) mentions their existence. Humbert (1995: 170-172; 199-203) has a developed codicological and palaeographical description of the fragments, based on microfilm images. Bongianino (2015: 5-19), who actually saw the original fragments in Milan, completes this description by comparing them with other manuscripts from the same supposed origin. The Kazan fragments have been briefly described by Khalidov (2000: 8-9), after he saw them in 1998. And as for the Bernard Quaritch Ltd folios, a short description is found in their catalogues of sale (2013: item 26; 2018: item 11).
Since the Kazan and the Bernard Quaritch Ltd fragments belong to the same codex, the same conclusions generally apply to them. I will recall here the major codicological and palaeographical elements of Humbert (1995) and Bongianino (2015), and mention what is specific to the Kazan fragments. I have not yet seen any of these fragments, but only high definition colour images.
Binding and conservation
The Milan fragments are entirely written on parchment, including the two restored folios M61 and M115. As for the Kazan fragments, they are also written on parchment, including the first eight restored folios K1 to K8, which are written by a different hand in a more recent style. The Bernard Quaritch Ltd folios are also written on parchment.
Whereas the Milan fragments were restored very professionally in 1959 in Grottaferrata (Bongianino 2015: 5), the Kazan fragments bear very aggressive restoration marks. Folios K1 to 10, 14, 15, 26, 28, 29, 32, 37 and 38 have been patched, sometimes on the text itself. Maybe a proper restoration could display the hidden text.
It is not possible at this point to say much about the binding. Apparently, the Milan folios were bound together during their 1959 restoration. To be sure, most of the gatherings were still sewed properly before the restoration. It is not clear from the pictures whether the Kazan folios have been bound together, nor is it clear whether some stitching still remains. As for the six Bernard Quaritch Ltd folios, they are bound together by a modern binding.
The folios are in different states of conversation. Except for folios M1, 60, 112, 113, 114 and 115, which are partly destroyed (sometimes including part of the text they bore), the Milan fragments and the Bernard Quaritch Ltd fragments are in a far better condition than the Kazan fragments. They only bear stains, but nothing which prevents reading. More than a third of the Milan folios (41 folios) bear defects in the skin, including one folio with a hole in the middle of the page (M45). On the flesh sides, the ink has usually faded away, but reading is still possible. The same remarks apply to the six Bernard Quaritch Ltd folios. They are in a very good conservation state, with only a few (water?) stains. The fifth folio (pages B9-10) is damaged on its outer margin, but the text is not lost.
Among the Kazan fragments, some are in a good condition (K19, 20, 21, 39, 40, 42, 44, 45, 46, 48). The folios K32 … 37, 12, 13, 16, 17, 38 … 34 … 35 … 27, 22, 23 … 24, 25, 30 which contain contiguous text (with lost folios) bear the same burn trace in the bottom right corner on the recto (see Plate 3). They were burnt before being separated and reshuffled in the new folio order. Some folios have been cut or torn and part of the text is now missing (K36 or 43, for example). Many folios bear (water?) stains (K18, 21, 31, 33…) In some folios, the ink did not hold well, because of the flesh side (K31v°, 36v°, 41r°, 47v°) or for some other reason that is not discernible on the images (K10r°, 15r°, 31r°, 39v°, 40r°, 46v°). Folios K14 and 15, which bear a nearly contiguous text, have been crumpled, probably together with folio K10, whose text is also nearly contiguous to theirs. All in all, some folios are in an extremely severe condition of degradation (K14, 15, 28, 29) and large parts of the text are lost or hidden behind the patches (see Plate 4).
We can thus probably identify three different groups of folios that have different histories and which were later gathered in Kazan. The first group is K32 … 37, 12, 13, 16, 17, 38 … 34 … 35 … 27, 22, 23 … 24, 25, 30 with their similar burning marks. The second group is K14 … K15 … K10 with the same crumple marks and stains.
The third identifiable group is K1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. They contain a contiguous text, a rule was used to align the text on the right and on the left sides of the pages, and the text is written by a more recent hand (see Plate 1). Since the text which these eight folios contain is not contiguous to the text in the other available fragments, we cannot affirm that they were meant to replace missing folios of the same codex. It could very well be the case that they belong to another codex that happens, by chance, to contain a text that was not already found in the existing fragments, and that were catalogued together with the other Kazan fragments.
Here is the complete reading order of the folios that were at our disposal at the time we wrote this article (K = Kazan; M = Milan; B = Bernard Quaritch Ltd; … = missing folios):
… K1 to K8 … K14 … K15 … K10 … K46, K39 … K40, K47 … K28 … K29 … M1 to M50, M57, M58, M51 to M56, M59 to M115 … K32 … K37, K12, K13, K16, K17, K38 … K34 … K35 … K27, K22, K23 … K24, K25, K30 … K33 … K36 … K41 … K44 … K42 … K43 … K26 … K31 … B1 to B6 … B7 to B12 … K9 … K11 … K18 to K21 … K45, K48 …
The size of the folios varies in the different descriptions. The Kazan folios are the smallest ones, and measure 25×17.2 cm (Khalidov 2000: 8). The Milan folios are the largest ones, and measure 29×19 cm (Bongianino 2015: 5). The Bernard Quaritch Ltd folios measure 27×17 cm (2013: item 26; 2018: item 11). The discrepancy between the folio sizes is certainly due to the multiple restorations and cutting that some of these fragments went through, particularly the Kazan fragments.
The number of lines vary between 19 and 22, with a minimum of 17 and a maximum of 23, or even more if one includes the glosses, which are not always easy to distinguish from the first hand. This means that the copyist did not rule the pages before writing. According to Bongianino (2015: 9), the copyist drew and then erased vertical rules on the original folios. Traces of these rules are not visible on the images I have.
However, the restored folios are of a different type, both in Milan and in Kazan. The Milan fragments contain two restored folios, M61 and M115. They bear text only on one side (M61v° and M115r°), the other side being either a ǧuzʾ title page (M61r°) or a blank page (M115v°). The two written sides were written by the same hand and contain 17 lines. A rule is still discernible on folio M61v°, probably drawn with a drypoint; however, folio M115r° is too damaged to see.
The Kazan fragments also contain restored folios, K1 to 8. They bear a regular pattern of 23 lines, as well as ruling marks on the four sides of the text on certain folios (K1r°, K5r°, K5v°, K6r°, K6v°, K7r°, K7v°, K8r° and K8v°), which seem to have been drawn with a drypoint (see Plate 1).
The Milan fragments reveal that the manuscript is divided in ʾaǧzāʾ (‘parts’, singular ǧuzʾ). The Milan fragments consist of the ninth and tenth ǧuzʾ, the title page of which has reached us (folio M1r° and M61r°). These ʾaǧzāʾ probably circulated separately for pedagogical reasons.
It is only thanks to the Milan fragments that we are able to draw any conclusions regarding the gatherings of this codex, because these fragments contain large parts of contiguous text. The Milan fragments consist of regular quinions, six per ǧuzʾ, that are organised according to Gregory’s rule (except for folio 61 which has been inserted at the beginning of the first quinion of the tenth ǧuzʾ, and except for the last quinion of the tenth ǧuzʾ which is incomplete and much disturbed). According to Déroche (1995: 45), this is a very typical format for Islamic parchment codices.
As for the Kazan and Bernard Quaritch Ltd fragments, it is impossible to infer any conclusive information, due to the paucity of contiguous folios they contain.
According to the total word count of the Kitāb (277,939 in my soft copy) and the word count of the 169 existing folios (73,157 words according to my provisional edition of the 115+48+6 existing folios), we can estimate that the complete codex contained around 642 folios, meaning that around 473 folios are still missing (642-169). See on Plate 5, an attempt at a visual rendering of the existing and missing parts of the text. Highlighted in yellow is the text on the Kazan fragments, in green, the Milan fragments, and in blue the Bernard Quaritch Ltd fragments.
If we now assume that the codex was divided in regular ʾaǧzāʾ of six quinions, meaning that each ǧuzʾ contains 60 folios, as is the case in the Milan fragments, we can infer that the whole codex contained eleven ǧuzʾ (i. e, a total of 660 folios) in order to contain the 638 estimated folios, according to the word count.
Altogether, the folios that remain today of this codex of Sībawayh’s Kitāb roughly contain 25 % of the complete text (73,157/277,939 words). And the 6 folios on sale in London by Bernard Quaritch Ltd leave little doubt that the missing 75 % of the text should be scattered in private libraries around the world.
Relying on François Déroche’s judgment, to whom she showed the microfilm images of the Milan fragments, Geneviève Humbert believes the chances are good that the manuscript was copied in the region of Kairouan before the middle of the 5th/11th century (Humbert 1995: 172). As for the two restored folios (M61 and 115), Bongianino (2015: 6, 8) thinks they were added by the Maġribī restorer, probably in 514/1120-1121.
As for the Kazan fragments, the same conclusion applies to the original folios K9 to 48: they were copied in the region of Kairouan before the middle of the 5th/11th century. As for the first eight restored folios, Umberto Bongianino (personal communication, February 23, 2018) thinks that they could have been written by an Egyptian hand of the 6th/12th-7th/13th century. Interestingly, this is the conclusion reached by Khalidov (2000: 8) for the entire fragment. Does this mean that Khalidov based his estimation only on the first eight restored folios?
I have not yet had the time to do a thorough assessment of the fragments, but it is already very clear that many hands have written on them, both maġribī and oriental. We have already mentioned the restored folios, but the original folios themselves bear many glosses and corrections, and some of these glosses and corrections have themselves been corrected. See, for example, folio K9r° (Plate 2): a second hand has erased the lines 14 to 17 and written above the original lesson. A third hand has then added parentheses around some of the corrected words in line 15. It is not completely clear who added the correction in the margin in front of line 16, which completes a missing expression in the text. And we cannot rule out that this correction was done by the first hand itself.
One of the later hands has clearly added most of the vowels signs, but the first hand had apparently written some of them. This is clear from passages that a later hand struck through. In this case, this later hand did not bother to add the short vowels, and only some are written by the first hand. See for example on folio K12v°, line 16 (see Plate 3). The word مصدَرُ carries a fatḥa on the dāl and a ḍamma on the rāʾ which are of the same original ink as the consonants. Compare this now with the word ڡالمصدَرُ on line 19 where the same fatḥa and ḍamma are written in the original ink, but the other vowels, the fatḥa on the mīm and the sukūn on the ṣād, are written in a lighter ink. It seems that the later hand which struck through the first word did not bother itself with adding the vowels to it, but when adding the vowels on the whole page, it added them where they were missing in the second word.
The copyist very often leaves a blank line in the middle of the text, or jumps to the next line before completing it, especially on the pages where there is no chapter title. This jump sometimes corresponds to a new meaning unit (K10r°, 13r°, 16v°…), but most of the time there is no apparent reason (K9r°, 11r°, 11v°, 18r°…). Bongianino (2015: 15) comments on this by saying that the aim of the copyist is probably to avoid pages filled with text where no chapter title is found, because these pages would otherwise be visually too heavy.
As for the style of the Arabic letters in the original folios, Bongianino (2015: 16) describes it as ‘semi-maġribī’, i.e. gathering features from both the angular and the rounded maġribī styles.
Lastly, an interesting feature of folios M2v°-55v° (i.e. belonging exclusively to the ninth ǧuzʾ), a later, oriental hand dated 714 (1314-1315) has added an abjad numbering to the chapters, along with other collation marks (Bongianino 2015: 9). Humbert (1995: 172) mentions that no other manuscript of the Kitāb has numbered chapters.
The existing editions of the Kitāb and their manuscript basis
There are five main editions of the Kitāb: by Hartwig Derenbourg (Paris, 1881-1889), by Kabīr al-Dīn ʾAḥmad (Kolkata, 1887), the Būlāq edition (Cairo, 1316-1317 AH/1898-1900), the edition by ʿAbd al-Salām Hārūn (1966-1977), and the edition by Muḥammad Kāẓim al-Bakkāʾ (Beirut, 2015).
1. The edition of Hartwig Derenbourg (Paris, 1881-1889). This edition is mainly based on four manuscripts, which Derenbourg calls A, B, C, and L. Whenever possible, he chose A for the text and collated B, C and L in the margins. The manuscript that Derenbourg calls A (= Humbert: Ça) is an 18th-century copy made on a descendant of an autograph of al-Zamaḫšarī (538/1144). This descendant (= Humbert 2Ç), dated 647/1249 was probably discovered in Cairo in the 18th century and copied many times: 17 copies have reached us and A is one of them. A = Ça = Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, arabe 3887 (supplément arabe 1155). See Humbert (1995: 297-300).
2. The edition of Kabīr al-Dīn ʾAḥmad (Kolkata, 1887). The editor does not mention which manuscripts he worked on. This edition is partly princeps and completely independent from the other existing editions. The text contains the same corpus of inner glosses that is found in all known manuscripts, except that of Ambrosiana (Humbert 1994: 9, note 1). It is full of typos and there are no collation notes.
3. The Būlāq edition (Cairo, 1316-1317 AH/1898-1900) has the same exact text as that of Derenbourg, no manuscript was collated. It only adds some marginal glosses from al-Sīrāfī and al-Šantamarī (Humbert 1995: 30).
4. Hārūn’s edition (Cairo, 1966-1977) is eclectic. He used Derenbourg’s edition as the basis of his edition (noted ṭāʾ, for maṭbūʿ, ‘printed’) and collated two different manuscripts that are late: Dār al-Kutub Naḥw Mīm 65 (probably from the 18th century = Humbert: V8), Dār al-Kutub Naḥw 141 (dated 1139/1726-27 = Derenbourg: G = Humbert V6). Humbert has not consulted these two manuscripts. See Humbert (1995: 196).
- . The edition of al-Bakkāʾ (Beirut, 2015) is based on Baġdād ʾAwqāf 1351 (dated 1202 according to al-Bakkāʾ and 1204/1789-90 according to Humbert = Humbert V10). Al-Bakkāʾ says that he has collated Mawṣil 6184 Ṣāʾiġ 14/11 as well as Hārūn’s and Būlāq’s editions. Humbert has not consulted Baġdād ʾAwqāf 1351 and she does not mention the existence of Mawṣil 6184 Ṣāʾiġ 14/11. She mentions Ṣāʾiġ 252 (= V13) which she believes to be the same manuscript (personal communication, June 8, 2017). See Humbert (1995: 196).
In addition to these editions which were based on actual manuscripts (at least in part), new publications of the Kitāb regularly appear that are mere compilations of the previous editions, although they sometimes present themselves as new critical editions. See for example the publication of Émile Badīʿ Yaʿqub (Beirut, 2009) or Muḥammad Fawzī Ḥamza (Cairo, 2015). Yaʿqūb made an eclectic selection of either Derenbourg’s or Hārūn’s edition, with no justification and no manuscript collation. He has only filled the margins with lexicographical notes and identifications of the poetical verses. As for Ḥamza, he simply reproduced Būlāq’s edition and added in the margins a selection taken from two different commentaries.
In the end, it seems that Derenbourg remains the best critical edition, based on an excellent manuscript (A = Ça), and served as reference for the later editions.
The main interest of the Milan-Kazan fragments lies mainly in the fact that the text they bear has escaped al-Mubarrad’s (d. 285/898) ‘authoritarian stranglehold’ on the text (Humbert 1995: 92). In other words, all the other manuscripts of the Kitāb that we know of today (around 75 manuscripts), contain a recension that originates in al-Mubarrad’s version of Sībawayh’s Kitāb.
Humbert says that she was unable to trace the exact origin of this Milan-Kazan recension. She notices that the Milan fragments carry (on folio M1r°) the name of ʾAbū al-Ḥasan ʾAḥmad b. Naṣr, who is barely known to the grammatical tradition (Humbert 1995: 189). According to al-Suyūṭī, in his Buġyat al-wuʿāh (I, 164), ʾAbū al-Ḥasan ʾAḥmad b. Naṣr’s teachings where transmitted by one of Ṯaʿlab’s (d. 291/904) disciples, namely ʾAbū ʿUmar al-Zāhid. This scholar’s full name is Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wāḥid b. ʾAbī Hišām ʾAbū ʿUmar al-Zāhid (d. 345/956-957), and he was called ġulām Ṯaʿlab “Ṯaʿlab’s young disciple”. Humbert’s conclusion (1993: 138) is that the Milan recension of the Kitāb may have a link with Ṯaʿlab, al-Mubarrad’s Kufan main opponent. It is however impossible to go beyond this point, given the data presently available to us.
The aggressive corrections that the Milan-Kazan fragments bear are the result of at least two collations, one being dated around the year 715/1315 by correctors who either put the variant readings between brackets, struck them through, or even deleted them based on a collation with copies containing the recensions of al-Naḥḥās (d. 338/949?) and al-Rabāḥī (d. 358/969) (Humbert 1995: 189-190). In other words, these collations aimed at aligning the Milan-Kazan text with the received text that originates in al-Mubarrad’s version of the Kitāb, in both its Western and Oriental recensions.
There are still many obscure points surrounding these fragments of Sībawayh’s Kitāb. First of all, only 25 % of the text has so far been found, so any finding above should be considered provisional. Next, very little is known about the way the existing fragments reached Milan, Kazan or London. The Milan fragments bear the seal of Eugenio Griffini (1878-1925), who donated them to the Ambrosiana Library (Beltrami 1926: LXXIV-LXXV), but it is still unclear how and where he acquired them himself. The Kazan fragments once belonged to the Kazan Theological Academy, but I do not know of the history of their Arabic manuscripts collection. The same goes for the Bernard Quaritch Ltd fragments.
As far as the text is concerned, I am currently working at the edition of these fragments. Hopefully, we will soon be able to have a better image of this non-Mubarradian version of Sībawayh’s Kitāb. However, more research will still be needed regarding the way this version was transmitted: Who is ʾAbū al-Ḥasan ʾAḥmad b. Naṣr, whose name is attached to the Milan fragments? Who are his masters and disciples? Do they mention studying the Kitāb? What grammatical views do they hold? Do they oppose al-Mubarrad’s grammatical views?
Finally, on a more technical note, perhaps the Kazan National Archives could consider restoring the fragments they hold. They are an invaluable asset, both as a cultural object and as a witness to the vivid history of the Arabic grammatical tradition in the early centuries.
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List of Plates
Plate 1: Folio K1r°, example of a restored folio in the Kazan fragments, Egyptian hand of the 6th/12th-7th/13th century?
Plate 2: Folio K9r°, example of corrections by multiple hands.
Plate 3: Folio K12v°, example of vocalisation by multiple hands.
Plate 4: Folio K14r°, example of an extremely severe condition of degradation.
Plate 5: Visual rendering of the surviving parts of the text. In Yellow, the text contained in the Kazan folios, in green, in the Milan folios, and in blue, in the Bernard Quaritch Ltd folios.
Сведения об авторе
Друэль Жан, директор Доминиканского института востоковедения, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Jean N. Druel, Director of the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies, e-mail: email@example.com.
В редакцию статья поступила 02.03.2018 г., опубликована:
Друэль Ж. Казанские фрагменты рукописи «Аль-Китаб» Сибавайхи (на англ. яз) // Гасырлар авазы ‒ Эхо веков. ‒ 2018. ‒ № 1. ‒ С.
Submitted on 02.03.2018, published:
Druel J. N. Kazanskie fragmenty rukopisi «Al'-Kitab» Sibavajhi [The Kazan parchment fragments of Sībawayh’s Kitāb. In Eng.]. IN: Gasyrlar avazy ‒ Eho vekov, 2018, no. 1, pp.