1816: Tartarian tales, or, a thousand and one quarters of hours

ISeenItFirst

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Dunno if anyone reading this book, but I'm about 35 pages in and find it both fascinating and entertaining.

In the book it mentions "Many" as a famous Chinese painter. Sounds a lot like Monet? Having briefly perused his work, there could be some clues here. He has some intersting paintings.

I would like to compare the locations in the stories to some of the old maps as well.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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Well, if you find something worth sharing, please do.
 

ISeenItFirst

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Well, if you find something worth sharing, please do.
It's so intersting, I doubt I stop reading before the end. But I do make some spaces for researching.

Another intersting tidbit. Says that Baghdad sits on the Tigris, which sounds about right, but also it says that Baghdad "has long been the place of abode of the caliphs of egypt" which doesn't seem to jive with what we think we know.

Another one, not so intersting, but I found it funny.

Sivri-hissar a town in natolia (Anatolia? Most of present day Turkey? Fits the geography of the story somewhat) is famous for having dumb people.

Referred to as foolish and "famous for their simplicity" which in the context I took to mean he was calling them simpletons. Lol.

"The Daggial is the antichrist of the mohemetans"

I can not find any reference to a Daggial, mohemetan or otherwise.

"There was a prince named Fanfur that reigned in China in the year 1269.17"

This is a footnote, at the bottom of a page. The "17" is on the next line, but I cannot find any indication on any other page that this is extraneous. It appears to be intended to be part of the date, but I've never seen a date such as this and my searches for Fanfur produced no meaningful results. It is not a page number, I'm way past 17 and the the pages are in a larger and different font.
 
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jd755

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Mohemetan
From here. Mahométan : Définition simple et facile du dictionnaire and google translate.

It is said of someone who professes the religion of Muhammad that he is a Mahometan. The term Mahometan is derived directly from "Muhammad". It is an old term, which meant until the beginning of the twentieth century Muslims.

The Daggial
From here Brewer, E. Cobham. Dictionary of Phrase & Fable. Dabbat [the Beast].
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.

Dab’bat [the Beast].

The Beast of the Apocalypse, which the Mahometans say will appear with Antichrist, called by them dag’gial. (Rev. xix. 19; xx. 10.)
 

ISeenItFirst

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Each new story starts before the previous ends, for the most part.

I didn't research mohemetan, it was clear by the context. In the text, the word they use for Muslim however, seems to be musselman. I'm not sure if there is a difference or a distinction, but my initial guess isnthat it seems the musselmen referred themselves as such but foreigners might call them mohametans.

And now, a prince has just slain a giant, and has revealed that he himself is the son of a giantess. Goodness gracious, I'm hooked on these stories.

And OMG, his father had pygmie ancestry. He was the son of a small, pygmie related king, and a giantess queen from Indonesia (Sumatra in the text, listed as the location of Achem, which seems to ring a bell, but I can't place it.

Apparently, as is customary for pygmies, he was born after 4 and a half months, then 4 and a half moinths later, another child.

So, now we know. Pygmies have half the gestation period of full sized humans.

Oh my, I misunderstood. He was a twin, but he was born in 4.5 months, while the twin, taking more after his mother, was tall and born in 9 months. So the claim is, twins born 4.5 months apart.

And he apparently killed the giant on a land bridge to Sumatra!!??!!?? There is just so much here.

Someone with a mind for names a places needs to read through this to see what connections can be made. I posted the first and only hard date I have found in the stories so far. I have seen some familiar names, but a rose is just another flower to me.

The hits are coming hard and fast now. Already we had princes that knew the languages of animals where there is "more wisdom and nature " than anything men have to say. Now we have a talking turtle making promises for fairies.

Giants, pygmies and faeries all introduced in one page.

Indian woman described as having skin white as snow.

Footnote says java Sumatra and Borneo make up the principle islands of the Sound. I can not find the symbol for the note in the text.

Says Borneo has a capital by the same name, but by modern accounts it didn't seem they the locals even called the island Borneo. Not sure.

Some of these places have location data that lines up with current maps. But the history of the locations don't seem to add up.

Lots of godlike beings called genius or genii (plural). Many of the stories involve one or two of them

We have dates like 1269.17 coupled with words like "nonplus" which is purportedly from the 1500s, and some other mentions that confuse the etymology. Like sabres and poniards.

"Nanquin is one of the chief cities of China, where it is certain that Fanfur reigned."

Nanjing is a good fit, but no record of Fanfur. Wiki states that a king from Borne died there in 1408, and if so, it might get a mention in this story somewhere.

Now We have a blue centaur in the mix.

Achem may be Aceh, and Fanfur, may be Fansur.

Getting close to the end I think.

Someone could make a screenplay of this and have a killer fantastical blockbuster on their hands methinks.
 
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Jacob

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It's so intersting, I doubt I stop reading before the end. But I do make some spaces for researching.

Another intersting tidbit. Says that Baghdad sits on the Tigris, which sounds about right, but also it says that Baghdad "has long been the place of abode of the caliphs of egypt" which doesn't seem to jive with what we think we know.

Another one, not so intersting, but I found it funny.

Sivri-hissar a town in natolia (Anatolia? Most of present day Turkey? Fits the geography of the story somewhat) is famous for having dumb people.

Referred to as foolish and "famous for their simplicity" which in the context I took to mean he was calling them simpletons. Lol.

"The Daggial is the antichrist of the mohemetans"

I can not find any reference to a Daggial, mohemetan or otherwise.

"There was a prince named Fanfur that reigned in China in the year 1269.17"

This is a footnote, at the bottom of a page. The "17" is on the next line, but I cannot find any indication on any other page that this is extraneous. It appears to be intended to be part of the date, but I've never seen a date such as this and my searches for Fanfur produced no meaningful results. It is not a page number, I'm way past 17 and the the pages are in a larger and different font.
Mohemetans is refering to Muslims and Daggial is refering to Dajjal.

Here is some information on Dajjal:
Al-Masih ad-Dajjal (Arabic: المسيح الدجّال‎ Al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl, "the false messiah, liar, the deceiver") is an evil figure in Islamic eschatology. He is to appear, pretending to be al-Masih (i.e. the Messiah), before Yawm al-Qiyamah (the Day of Resurrection). He is an anti-messianic figure, comparable to the Antichrist in Christian eschatology and to Armilus in medieval Jewish eschatology.
Source: Al-Masih ad-Dajjal - Wikipedia
 
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whitewave

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I've started reading it and it's an obvious fiction in the style of the Arabian Nights and the one telling the stories to please the king is analogous to Shahrazad, keeping the king entertained in order to preserve their own life. The tales are entertaining and I suspect that when I reach the end of the book the storyteller will have saved their life as did Shahrazad. So far it's a nice diversionary read from the rigors of research and, as with all fictional tales, gleanings of truth can be had that reveal cultural norms of the times in which they were written. I don't read a lot of fiction but when I do it's with an eye toward ferreting out those hidden-in-plain-sight historical nuggets.
 

ISeenItFirst

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Well, I've finished it. I don't read much fiction either, but I did thoroughly enjoy the stories.

As for how much truth there is? I don't know, but I have been able to locate some of the places on maps old and new. I mean, as far as main stream history goes tartary is itself a fiction, more or less.

The storyteller secures his life long before the end, closer to the beginning really.

I also wonder what was lost in the translation, surely this isn't an originally English work. Some of the names are clearly not names, but descriptors. My favorite was a name that meant "effeminate: with little beard"

Footnotes describes the names by the language and meaning. I think all of them noted were either Arabic or Persian.

I am finding some evidence to corroborate some of the people and places, but it does seem that the stories themselves cover a long time span, even though many of the stories do overlap, some seem to be from well before or after the main plot lines.

Achem seems likely to be Aceh. I just found some Utoobs that have some more info, if it is at all applicable I'll pop it in here.
 
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