Ērān ud Anērān
Webfestschrift Marshak 2003


To the Question of Origin of the Name Hashimgird

Shamsiddin Kamoliddin

In historical geographical works of Arab geographers of III/X th century (al-Istakhri and Ibn Haukal) is mentioned a town (madina) named Haashimjird or Haashimgird, which was situated on distance of one marhala, i.e. one day of march by caravans, from Termidh on the road to the Bab al-Hadid (Iron Gates)1. Ibn Haukal has added that this town was situated on the bank of Jayhun river, i.e. Amudarya, between Termidh and Farabr2. In the Persian geography “Hudud al-‘Alam” (The Regions of the world) has mentioned Haashumkirt - a borough (rusta) with a numerous sheep and cattle (chahar-pay)3. So, from this data follows, that in IX - X th centuries Haashimgird was a center of separate agricultural district, situated on the bank of Amudarya river near Termidh, and the people, which lived there were making the animal husbandry.

The name of Haashimgird consists from two parts - an Arabian name Haashim and topoforming word -gird (jird). The forming word -gird (with the variants -gard, -kard, -kird, -kirt, -jird) has been belonged to before Islamic toponymic layer of the Western Iranian circle of place names, and was widespread on the territory of Iran and Transcaucasia as in ancient times, as in early medieval ages. On the territory of Central Asia it has been brought and spread mainly in the Southern regions of Central Asia - Northern Khorasan and Tokharistan4. So, the name of medieval town Washjird or Washgird, which has been situated in the valley of Wakhsh in Northern Tokharistan, was connected with the name of protector God of Wakhsh river, i.e. Amudarya. To the cult of this God was consecrated the temple built in ancient times on the bank of the river5. The hero of ancient mythology Siyawush, according to the legend, has built in Turan a few towns, and among has been mentioned a town named by his name - Siyawushgard (or Siyawushgird)6.

In medieval ages on the distance of 4 farsakhs from Marw city in Khorasan was situated the village named Balashjird., which, according to the legend, has been founded by the king of Perses Balash ibn Fayruz7. With the names of Sasanian rulers of different rang apparently were connected the names of such villages of Marw district as Buzanjird8, Sasanjird9 and Farkhadhjird10. Emanating from the semantic of the forming word -gird (jird), it should be considered, that the origin of some other toponyms, including this word also by any way was connected with the names of people. The toponyms with the word -gird (-kird, kard, -kirt, -jird), originated from the ancient Persian -kart (krta), which means “created, founded”, mainly always have been formed from the names of people11. It belogs to such medieval villages of Marw district as Junujird12, Parwanjird13, Bursanjird14, Gulashjird15, and of Tokharistanian villages such as Sanwanjird16, Dastajird17, Siyahjird18 and Hashamjird19. The medieval town of Kalif, which was situated in the basin of Middle flow of Amudarya river, the Perses named Uwaisgard by the name of one of ashabs, i.e. the companions of the Prophet Muhammad Uwais al-Karani (died 37/657)20.

In the more Northern districts of Central Asia (Sogd) have been fixed only three toponyms with -gird (-jird): Vazgird, Vingird and Gargird. There is an opinion, that an appearance of such kind of toponyms in the territory of Central Asia was connected with the spreading of Christianity in VI - VII centuries from Marw, which was the center of Khorasanian Christians21. However, our materials testify that the process of the forming of place names with the help of word -gird (-jird) on the territory of Central Asia was continued later in the period of early Islam. This testify for example the names of Uwaysgard and Hashimgird, which have been formed from the Arabic names Uwais and Hashim. Unlike from Iran, where till now there are a great number of the names with -gird (-jird), in the territory of Central Asia such names almost not preserved. There are only two toponyms, including this forming word in changed form -khurt (-khurd). These are the villages Pashkhurd situated in Sherabad district of Surhandarya wilayat and in Bukhara vilayat of Uzbekistan22. In many cases the forming word -gird (jird) was changed by another forming word of Western Iranian origin -abad, the penetration of which into the territory of Central Asia was not earlier than VII - VIII centuries23.

On the basis of above mentioned data, it could be surely supposed, that an appearance of the names with the forming word -gird (-jird) in the Southern regions of Central Asia was connected with influence of Sasanian traditions, and the names with the forming word -abad - with the epoch of Arabian conquest and following mass migrations of Western Iranian population into the territory of Central Asia.

So, the name Hashimgird is not local of origin, and had been brought to the local land, most likely, during the period of Arabian conquests. There is in Central Asia one more example of name forming with the word -gird in early Islam times. According to Mahmud ibn Wali, the Perses called the medieval city of Kalif as Uwaysgard by the name of Uways al-Karani, who was killed in 37/657 during the battle between caliph 'Ali and Mu 'awiya in Siffin city on Euphrat river. Approximately in this time, apparently, has been founded the town of Hashimgird near Termidh city24.

The first part of the name Hashimgird, without any doubt, is Arabian name Hashim, what was pointed before by V. V. Bartold and the author of these lines. E. V. Rtveladze in one of his last works expressed an opinion, that "The toponyms formed from the names of people are almost absent in the historical toponymy of Central Asia"25. However, this opinion, in our view, is mistaken, because in the historical toponymy of Central Asia there are great number of toponyms formed from the names of people as in ancient times, as in Middle ages.

V. V. Bartold supposed, that this town has been named in honor of Hashim ibn Banichur (died in 243/857-58) - the Turkish owner of Wakhsh and Helawerd26. We have also expressed an opinion that the town could be named in times of the governor of Khorasan Abu Muslim (ruled in 130 - 137/747 -755) in honour of Hashim - a common ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad, the caliph 'Ali and the 'Abbasids27. E. V. Rtveladze incorrectly interpreted our opinion and attributed to us an idea of renaming of Hashimgird in honor of Abu Hashim 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad28, while in the real text we marked only a connection of this person with foundation of the religious sect "hasimiyya". It is known that the 'Abbasid party in the early period of its propaganda was a shi'a sect named "hashimiyya", the name of which was connected with the name of the above mentioned ancestor. Therefore as the 'Abbasids, as the 'Alids, named themselves "Hashimites", i.e. the descendents of Hashim. The 'Abbasid party in its struggle with the Umayyads in a great extent were based on a support of the 'Alids, thanks to which it really came to the power in Arabic caliphate. The most part of the forces of the sect consisted from the people of Khorasan and Mawarannahr origin, which accepted Islam. Therefore etymological connection of the name Hashim in the name of Hashimgird with the antroponym of sect’s name logically is very probable.

Recently there was made an attempt to connect the name of Hasimgird with the name of negative personage of Avestian circle AESMA - the demon of a wrath, a fury, a robbery and a murder29. However, this opinion, in our view, is very free imagination and fib of the author, has not under itself any basis, and more over, it defies to sound and common sense. Firstly, the author contradicts to himself: from one side he comes out against the etymology of the name Hashimgird from Arabian name Hashim and says, that “in the territory of Central Asia there are almost no the names of cities or villages formed from the names of people”30, and from other side the author himself proposes its etymology from another name - the name of the demon AESMA.

Secondly, in textual sources the first part of this town is written not in the form ﻢﺷﺣ - Kh.sh.m, as the author supposes, but in the form ﻢﺷ ﺎﻫ - Haashim, what fully corresponds with the writing of Arabian name Haashim. The name of Kh.sh.m. gird in that writing, which understanding the author, belongs not to the town of Haashimgird, situated near Termidh city, but to the quite another locality - the village of Kh.sh.m jird, situated on the way from Walwalij to Baglan to the South of Amudarya river31. Therefore, the etymology of Termidh’s Haashimgird should be built not on the base of ancient Iranian mythological circle, but on the base of Arabian antroponymy, as V. V. Bartold and the author of these lines were correctly supposed before. We consider, that the attacks of the author on the opinion of V. V. Bartold are not substantiated, because until now it remains actual. It is known from textual sources, that Haashim ibn Banichur (died in 243/857-58) has owned Wakhsh and Helawerd. But it not means that he has owned only these two towns. With the same success he could be an owner of Termidh and its region, though it has not been fixed in textual sources, which passed down to our time. Besides, we have not information who has exactly ruled in Termidh in the second quarter of IX th century, i.e. during the ruling of Haashim ibn Banichur.

Our opinion expressed before regarding probable origin of the name Haashimgird from the name Haashim - the common ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad, caliph ‘Ali and ‘Abbasids, by the name of which was named the shia sect “hashimiyya” during the ruling of Abu Muslim, in our view, also has not lose its actuality.

Thirdly, we are absolutely not agree with the opinion, that the localities, and more over, the cities in ancient times could be named by the names of demonic forces. The author himself recognizes, that there are no any examples for such case no in ancient, no in medieval toponymy of Central Asia. It is known, that the cities and other localities, usually, always named by the names of positive mythological personages (for instance, Wakhsh, Nanay, Baykand etc.), and by the names of negative personages - named only the ruins of ancient towns (Kala-yi Zakhhok-i Maron). We are not agree at all with deeply mistaken opinion of the author, that “in imagination of ancient population some places could be a cloister of demonic forces, and these images have been carried automatically to the names of towns and villages, which were founded by the people in that place”32. According to “Avesta”, when Akhura Mazda created the places Aryanam Vaijo, Gava and Mauru, in the contrary to them the death carrying Anhra Manyu created n o t p l a c e s (our spacing), as think the author, but “misfortunes or bad properties: the red snake and the winter, the creation of devils, skati (the nasty plant), mard and vitush33.

Besides, the practice of renaming of localities, and even using different names for the same locality was widely spread in Central Asia beginning from the most ancient times. And it was connected with coexistence and close interaction of different cultures in the same territory. For example, the narrow mountain passage in the border between Sogd and Tokharistan named in Persian as Dar-i Ahanin, and in Turkish - Temir Qapug, the town of Shaugar situated in the basin of Sirdarya named also Karatag, the Tyan-Shan mountains the Chinese named Tsun-Lin, and Turks named Tangri-tag, the lake in the South of Bukhara in medieval ages named in Sogdian Samjan, and in Turkish - Karakul, etc. Therefore, the people could not by no way to give the names of demonic forces to the towns and other localities, which have been founded by them. Because they could rename the old name easily. And there are too much examples for that in the historical toponimy of Central Asia. For example, the medieval town Kesh situated in Kashkadarya valley was renamed to Shahrisabz, and Nakhshab - to Nasaf; the town Hamewaran situated in upper flow of Amudarya river was renamed to Karatag, and the town of Amul - to Chorjou, etc. The practice of renaming of toponyms continues actively till the present day. The clear example for that is Tajikistan, where many ancient toponyms in Soviet period were renamed to the Soviet names, and at present all historically formed Turkish toponyms renames artificially to the Iranian ones.

The author for substantiating his idea as a parallel brings an example of ancient Egypt, which has been named in ancient Tibetian map as “a country of demons, stealing the people”. However, the author overlooks, that Egypt was named so only in Tibetian map, and maybe also by the Iranians of early Parthian epoch. Such negative names could be given to countries only by strangers, which had hostile or unfriendly attitude to that country or people. As to Egyptians themselves, they worshiped to the God of the Sun - Ra, and they never called their country by such name, and could not call it so34. Consequently, ancient population of Termidh, which professed as Zoroastrism, as Buddhism by any way could not call the town, which they founded, by the name of demon. All the more so, the Iranians, came Central Asia with the Arabs during their conquering wars, also could not call it by such name. On the base of presence of the Arabian name Haashim in the body of the name Haashimgird, and the time of spreading of place name’s forming word -gird (-jird) in the territory of Central Asia, we are more aptitude to the idea, that Haashimgird was built particularly by the “mawali”, i.e. the Iranians or Iranian Turks, which accepted Islam in early Arabic caliphate.

So, on the base of above mentioned data, we suppose, that the attempts to connect the name of the town of Haashimgird with the name of AESMA - the demon of a wrath, a fury, a robbery and a murder, are not successful, and have not any basis, and consequently, can not be accepted. The only acceptable supposition at the present stage of researches still remains the idea of the origin of this name from Arabian name Haashim.

As another draft idea, in our view, can be accepted a supposition about probable connection of this name with Haashim ibn Hakim, known as Muqanna‘ (died in 166/782-83 or 169/785-86), holy leader of the religious movement of “the people in white clothes”, existed until XII century. Firstly Muqanna‘ participated in the movement of Abu Muslim, and than became a leader of the great anti-caliphate and anti-Islam uprising, which covered the whole Central Asia, and continued more than 10 years (156 - 169/769 - 785)35. The last researches allow to suppose, that the information of medieval historians about anti-Islamic direction of Muqanna‘ s ideology was exaggerated very much, and that Muqanna‘ himself was orthodox Muslim and scores himself only a follower of Abu Muslim. Recently have been found coins of Muqanna‘, in the verse of which there is Kufic legend: “Allah ordered fidelity and justice”, and in the reverse - the legend: “Haashim, wali Abi Muslim”36. We think, that each of above mentioned three suppositions, connecting the origin of the name of Haashimgird with the Arabian name Haashim, has the right to existence as draft ideas, which can be testified or rejected by further researches in this direction. By another words, this name in equal level could belonged as to Haashim ibn Banichur, as to Haashim - the ancestor of the ‘Abbasids, and as to Haashim ibn Hakim Muqanna‘.

So, the research of historical toponymy of Central Asia allows to share out rich stratums of geographical names, have been formed from the names of people, and belonged to different historical epochs. The rich materials of antropo-toponymy of Central Asia needs to taking further researches, which will give a possibility of more detailed lighting of historical problems connected with it.

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Shamsiddin Kamoliddin
Professor, Doctor of history, Leading Research Fellow of the Institute of history of Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences
Tel.: (99 87) 162 38 73 (Inst.)
(99 871) 45 89 24 (Home)
or shams-kamol[@]yandex.ru


1 Al-Istakhri. Viae regnorum. P. 337.

2 Ibn Haukal. Opus geographicum. P. 518.

3 Hudud al-‘Alam. P. 114.

4 Khromov A.L. O strukturnih osobennost’yah. S. 10.

5 Pichikiyan I.R. Klad Oksa. S. 35 - 43.

6 Pugachenkova G.A. Shah-name. S. 202.

7 At-Tabari. Annales. Ser. II. P 1969, 1970; As-Sam‘ani. Al-Ansab. Vol.. 2. P. 292.

8 Ibid. Vol. 2. P. 330.

9 Ibid. Vol. 8. P. 5; Vol.8. P. 358.

10 Ibid. Vol. 9. P. 289.

11 Khromov A.L. O strukturnih osobennost’yah. S. 10.

12 As-Sam‘ani. Al-Ansab. Vol. 2. 367; Vol. 3. P. 324.

13 Ibid. Vol. 2. P. 176.

14 Ibid. Vol. 2. P. 151.

15 Ibid. Vol. 10. P. 513.

16 Jacut. Mu‘djam al-Buldan. Bd. 3. S. 170.

17 Ibn Khordadbeh. Kitab al-Masalik. P. 32; Al-Moqaddasi. Descriptio. P. 347.

18 Al-Istakhri. Viae regnorum. P. 338; Ibn Haukal. Opus geographicum. P. 517.

19 Bayhaqi. Istoriya Mas‘uda. S. 681.

20 Mahmud ibn Wali. More tayn. S. 72.

21 Khromov A.L. O strukturnih osobennost’yah. S. 10.

22 Nafasov T. Ozbekiston. 157-bet.

23 Khromov A.L. O strukternih osobennist’yah. S. 11.

24 Mahmud ibn Wali. More tayn. S. 72.

25 Rtveladze E.V. Gorod demona. S.20.

26 Bartold V.V. Turkestan. P. 123.

27 Kamaliddinov Sh.S. Istoricheskaya geografiya. S. 129.

28 Rtveladze E.V. Gorod demona. S. 20.

29 Rtveladze E.V. Gorod demona. S. 21.

30 Idem. S 20.

31 Bayhaqi. Istoriya Mas‘yda. S. 681.

32 Rtveladze E.V. Gorod demona. S. 21.

33 Idem. S. 22.

34 Korostovtsev M.A. Religiya. S 138 - 224.

35 Kadirova T. Iz istorii. S. 117 - 127.

36 Kochnev B.D. Moneti Mukanni. S. 32 - 33.

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Actualizado el 24/07/2004

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