This section presents the results of heuristic search, namely a list of previously unstudied textual sources, as well as the results of comparative structural analysis applied to edicts of the XIV–XVI centuries. A classification of the existing edicts was proposed, which is based on a novel methodological approach. Finally, the section reports on the results of discourse analysis.
The list of previously unstudied textual sources comprises documents known as Edicts from Sygnak, which include the following patents from the cities of Sygnak, Sayram and Turkestan located in the Syr Darya basin:
Patent of 1400/1401 from Timur Amir—by this document, Amir Timur appoints Siraj al-Din Shaykh as shaykh al-Islam in Sygnak and grants him tarkhanate, i.e., exemption from taxes. Copy, written in the Turkic language;
Patent of 1543/1544 from Abu'l-Ghazi Abd ar-Rahim-Khan-Bahadur-Sultan—according to this document, Sirat-Shaykh-nakib was appointed as a judge of Sygnak. Original version, written in the Turkic language;
Patent of 1597/1598 from Abu'l-Ghazi Abdallah-Khan-Bahadur-Sultan—according to this document, Shaybanid Abdallah-Khan II gave a number of irrigation canals to the residents of Sygnak (at the request of Maulana Kamal al-Din). Original version, written in the Persian language;
Patent of 1634/1635 from Abu'l-Ghazi Ubaydallah-Khan-Bahadur-Sultan—this document confirmed the rights of the mazar (religious institution) Ziya ad-Din-Shaikh Sygnaki for Hisarchuk spring near Sygnak (similarly to the Patent of 1597/1598 from Abu'l-Ghazi Abdallah-Khan-Bahadur-Sultan). In addition to the provision of Allama-yi Sygnaki’s descendants with the waqf lands (waqf is an inalienable charitable endowment under Islamic law) they were also given the privileges of tarkhanship. Original version, written in the Turkic language;
Waqf Charter from Timur Amir to the mosque Ahmed Yasawi in Turkestan, issued in the late XIV − early XVI centuries—according to this document, at the end of the XIV century or the beginning of the XV century, Amir Timur endowed Khoja Ahmed Yasawi mausoleum with a number of irrigated lands along with irrigation canals as a waqf. Original version, written in the Persian language (as of today, the Charter is kept in the collection of documents of the Abu Rayhan Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan) .
These sources were selected based on the following criteria: (1) the textual source was considered to be reliable through critical analysis; (2) the size of the text is enough to extract meaningful information; (3) the content of the written source enables the establishment of structural, genetic, and transformational connections between facts. Therefore, textual sources under study were arranged in accordance with the objective connections between them .
Edicts from Sygnak can be broken into several sections, which appear in earlier and later documents:
Invocation, where reference to God appeared;
Intitulatio, where the name and title of the person from whom the document was issued appeared;
Inscriptio, where addresses of the person to whom the document was meant for appeared;
Notificatio, where the announcement appeared;
Dispositio, where a decision that has been made is detailed;
Sanctio, where the instructions were given;
Corroboratio, an authentication of the document;
Eschatocol, which was a closing protocol.
For discourse analysis, a representative corpus of texts is required and a set of criteria should be developed. The choice of texts and criteria depends on the discourse being analyzed, on the research interest, and on a problem the scholar is intended to solve. In full-fledged investigation, on should keep in mind that textual sources arise against the background of specific events in the society. The textual analysis of edicts shows that these documents reflected, to a certain extent, the needs of nomadic society of that time. The structure and content of edicts are something more than just a sign of progress in the clerical culture, as commonly suggested. Edicts became what they are as a result of social shifts in agrarian legal and other relations. In general terms, written sources emerged as a solution that improved the purpose-driven performance of distinct institutions.
Based on data from the edicts, nomadic tribes in the XIV century had strong institutions of tarkhanship and soyurghal, which permitted the inheritance of a tarkhan title and a piece of land on condition that the holder perform military service in the Golden Horde. Edicts indicate that feudal lands and allotments, especially winter pastures, had clear borders that were protected by their owners. This is evidenced by the following phrase from the edict by Abul-Ghazi. “The winter residence of Shah-Bekht Khan [the grandson of Abulkhair Khan] was located one oasis up the river from that of Berke Sultan [the son of Yadiger Khan],” it says . This assertion shows that pastures that belonged to Shah Bekht Khan shared borders with pastures that belonged to Berke Sultan. Furthermore, both land plots had owners. Another proof of the existence of feudal land ownership is the transfer of land by inheritance, governed by the proprietorship or soyurghal grants.
Until now, scientists made judgments about the land-law institution of soyurghal based on tarkhan grants or narrative sources of external origin. Even through the translations of soyurghal grants have long been available, their nature and specifics have not been the focus of extensive research. Future studies should close this gap because soyurghal grants represent one of the most significant and valuable groups of edicts issued during the Golden Horde period.
The research practice has shown that additional information can be found through the exploration of stylistic nuances and terminology of the formal text. One of these nuances is the use of the word “sözum” (my word) in the intitulatio, which function was to indicate the person making the proclamation . All of the edicts extant had this component, which implied the highest command, decree, or order. It exists alongside the phrase “a degree with tamgha of [name of the person issuing the degree]” in corroboratio, where tamgha was a tribal sign . These discourse structures were used to give patents a name until the middle of the XVI century. Since the second half of the XVI century, all privileges in corroboratio were called yarlyks or edicts (written commandants). There were also different terms used in the main test of the document to differentiate the edicts, namely mulk-nameh, berat, and maaf-nameh.
Edicts were drawn up in full accordance with the norms of the language used to create stamps. In tarkhan grants of the Golden Horde, each section of the document is of fundamental importance. Based on the presence or absence of structural elements, a scholar can determine if the document is integral and authentic. The classification of official acts can thus be performed by comprehensively examining the levels of the discourse and its thematic hierarchy. This can help scholars investigate the evolution of feudal and other institutions of nomadic society.
The analysis of Edicts from Sygnak indicated that documents in this collection of written sources belong to the category edicts. Diplomatic analysis confirmed that the Charter from Timur Amir to the mosque Ahmed Yasawi is an endowment document waqf-nameh. The organization of this document is consistent with the official acts of the XIV–XVI centuries. The primary structure of waqf-nameh can be divided into three parts (introductory protocol, main text, and closing protocol) and 8 sections. Now, let us examine the Charter to the mosque Ahmed Yasawi. The structure of its introductory protocol (invocation, intitulatio, and inscriptio) is similar to that in the Patent of 1400–1401. The main text of the document (notificatio, sanctio, and corroboratio) comprises all of the elements integral to waqf-nameh. Finally, there is no closing protocol.
The Patents of 1400/1401, of 1543/1544, of 1597/1598, and of 1634/1635 comprise a number of structural elements specific to edicts. Classifying structural elements (parts and sections) of edicts and differentiating the changeable and unchangeable components of the text is conducive to the reconstruction of the edict.
In modern historiology, documents analysis involves the use of methods from multiple academic disciplines that are concerned with document structure and handwriting. Research methods from related disciplines, such as linguistics and philology, can also be used in document analysis. Discourse analysis is a new technique used in linguistics, which can further be applied alongside methods from the humanities.
The results of discourse analysis in this study revealed the following. The discourse repertoire of Edicts from Sygnak is rather unique. The use of clarification-giving headings, such as maaf-name, mulk-nameh, berat, bitik, etc. in the dispositio section of the edicts enables the classification of authentic textual sources collected under the title of Edicts from Sygnak. Classifying edicts from the cities of Sygnak, Sayram, and Turkestan, the following types of documents were distinguished. Among five edicts issued in Syr Darya between XIV and XVI centuries, one is a soyurghal grant, two waqf deeds, and other two charters of privilege to military officers. However, all documents have elements of tarkhan grants (exemption from taxes and land consolidation).
Particularly noteworthy are the key words that travel from one edict to another. They designate relevant issues and reflect both time-specific ideas and stereotypes, as well as social and economic priorities. Based on edicts, one can trace changes in agricultural production models of the nomads, as well as exogenous and endogenous issues influencing social development during the formation of statehood in the XIV-XVI centuries. Thus, official acts (edicts) reflect the result of the mutual influence of sedentary and mobile lifeways . Edicts from Southern Kazakhstan are dominated by waqf deeds, which are similar to that from Timur Amir to the mosque Ahmed Yasawi and from Abu-l-Ghazi Ubaydallah-Khan-Bahadur-Sultan. It is questionable, however, whether there were waqf lands in the settled agricultural oases and cities in the southwestern Zhetysu, since there is no information about those in the written sources . There are evidences on the widespread possibility of land ownership for Muslim clergy across cities in the Syr Darya basin. Those areas have long been the center of settled culture, agriculture, and trade, favored by the nomadic population of Desht-i Qipchaq. The Muslim clergy had enough economic power to influence the nomadic society, as evidenced by several waqf documents.
The nomadic traditions have influenced the content of official acts. There were many institutions, such as freedom of travel, securing of land to clans and tribes, etc. In tarkhan grants, one of the most valuable privileges was the right to free travel. Another privilege, most likely originated from the mobile lifeway, was the exemption of mobile tribes from various taxes . Consequently, the rights and obligations enshrined in the edicts stemmed from the very essence of the nomadic way of life. The rulers or khans took care not only to settle the non-populated areas but also to maintain the traditional, that is, mobile system of living, and edicts are the reflection of those efforts.
The arguments behind certain speech patterns are crucial in document reconstruction. Grigoryev has recreated 6 different edicts. These documents were rather well analyzed, but the comparison of speech patterns and structural elements between the authentic main text and its Russian translation revealed interpolations, transpositions of words and phrases and other inconsistencies . The proposed research procedure will allow establishing the authenticity of edicts.
Edicts from khans objectively and promptly reflect the socio-economic changes occurred in the Golden Horde and subsequent khanates throughout the history. Single facts and events can only be established based on data available in edicts, since other authentic historical sources do not cover many socio-economic processes of the past. In these circumstances, edicts become a truly invaluable source on medieval history.