Vladimir Fyodorovich Minorsky (Russian: Владимир Фёдорович Минорский; 5 February [O.S. 24 February] 1877 – 25 March 1966)[1] was a Russian academic, historian, and scholar of Oriental studies, best known for his contributions to the study of history of Iran and the Iranian peoples such as Persians, Laz people, Lurs, and Kurds.

Vladimir Minorsky
Vladimir Minorsky in 1928.
Born(1877-02-05)5 February 1877
Died25 March 1966(1966-03-25) (aged 89)
Resting placeNovodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
Alma mater
SpouseTatiana Shebunina (1894 – 1987)
ChildrenTheodore (Fyodor) Minorsky (1916 – 1950)
Scientific career
FieldsOriental studies

Life and career edit

Minorsky was born on 5 February 1877[1] in Korcheva, Tver Governorate, northwest of Moscow on the upper Volga River, a town now submerged beneath the Ivankovo Reservoir.[2][3] His father was Feodor M. Minorsky and his mother was Olga Minorsky (née Golubitsky). He was a gold medallist of the Fourth Grammar School in Moscow.[2] In 1896 he entered Moscow University to study law, graduating in 1900, then entered the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages where he spent 3 years preparing for a diplomatic career. He made his first trip to Iran (Qajar dynasty) in 1902, where he collected material on the Ahl-e Haqq.[4]

In 1903 he entered the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serving 1904–1908 in the Qajar dynasty (now Iran), first in the Tabriz Consulate-General and then the Tehran Legation, and 1908–1912 in Saint Petersburg.[5] In 1911, jointly the Four-Power (British, Russian, Turkish, and Persian) Commission, he carried out a mission in North-Western Persia to delimit the Turko-Persian border, and also published a monograph on the Ahl-i Ḥaqq religion for which he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Ethnography Section of the Imperial Society of Natural Sciences in Moscow.[4]

One of the most important Kurdish manuscripts he obtained during this period was The Forqan ol-Akhbar, by Hajj Nematollah, which he later wrote about in "Etudes sur les Ahl-I Haqq, I.", Revue de L'Histoire des Religions, tome XCVII, No. 1, Janvier 1928, pp. 90–105.[citation needed] His surveys in Iran also provided invaluable material for his 1915 work, Materialï dlya izucheniya vostoka (Materials for the Study of the East), published by the Imperial Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, St. Petersburg.[6][4]

From 1915-17 he served as Chargé d'affaires in the Russian Legation at Tehran. As the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 made problematic his return to Russia, in 1919 he moved to Paris where he worked at the Russian Embassy.[6] There his expertise in Middle Eastern and Caucasian affairs was useful during the Versaille and Trianon peace settlements.[4]

In 1923 he began to lecture on Persian literature at the École nationale des langues orientales vivantes, where he subsequently taught Turkish and Islamic history. In 1930 he was named Oriental Secretary to the 1931 International Exhibition of Persian Art at Burlington House, London, and in 1932 was made lecturer in Persian at London's School of Oriental Studies. In 1933 he became Reader in Persian Literature and History, University of London; Professor of Persian in 1937; and in 1944 retired.[7] During World War II, SOAS had evacuated to University of Cambridge, and there the Minorskys retired apart from a year (1948–49) at Fuad University, Cairo.[4]

In 1934 Minorsky was one of the distinguished participants in the Ferdowsi Millenary Celebration in Tehran.[8]

In 1960 Minorsky was invited by the Soviet Academy of Sciences to attend the meeting of the Twenty-Third International Congress of Orientalists in Moscow.[9][4] After his death, his ashes were interred in the Novodevichy Cemetery, which was reserved exclusively for outstanding artists, literary men, composers, scholars, etc.; the bulk of his personal library was given to Leningrad.[4]

Minorsky received numerous honors during his lifetime, including being made a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, 1943, Honorary Member of the Société Asiatique of Paris, 1946, and Doctor honoris causa of the University of Brussels, 1948.[9]

Selected works edit

Minorsky was a prolific scholar, having published over 200 books and articles.[10][4]

  • "Ahl-I Hakk", in The Encyclopaedia of Islam.
  • "Notes sur la secte des Ahl-I Haqq", in Revue du Monde Musulman, Volumes XL, 1920, pp. 20–97; XLIV-XLV, 1921, 205–302.
  • Notes sur la secte des Ahle-Haqq, in book form, Paris, 1922, 182 pp., 1920.
  • La Perse au xve siècle entre la Turquise et Venise, Paris: Leroux, 1933.
  • "The Guran", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume, XI, 1943–1946, PP. 75–103.
  • Studies in Caucasian history, Cambridge University Press, 1957.
  • Medieval Iran and its neighbours, London, 1982. Reprint of journal articles in English or French published 1931–1967, with passages in Arabic, Gûrâni-Kurdish, Persian, and Turkic languages.
  • A History of Sharvan and Darband in the 10th-11th Centuries, Cambridge, 1958.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Bolshaya sovetskaya entsoklopediya 1974.
  2. ^ a b Lang 1966, p. 693.
  3. ^ Bosworth 1971, p. v.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Bosworth 2004.
  5. ^ Safanova 2008, p. 223.
  6. ^ a b Lang 1966, p. 696.
  7. ^ Lang 1966, pp. 696–697.
  8. ^ Shahbazi 2012.
  9. ^ a b Lang 1966, p. 698.
  10. ^ Lang 1966, p. 697.

Sources edit

External links edit