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Kolesnikov A. Oriental Documents and Letters of A.P.Bergé in the Archives of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies // Manuscripta Orientalia. International Journal for Oriental Manuscript Research. Vol. 2, No 3, September 1996. P. 38-42.


The fund of documents of the famous Russian orientalist A. P. Bergé (1828—1886) preserved in the archives of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies includes a collection of documents and letters in several Oriental languages (Persian, Arabic, Turkic) — over 200 items. The main part of the collection, approximately 90%, is formed by Persian documents. These documents are of much interest both from the point of view of Iranian studies (the vocabulary of the documents' language and the letter style, structure and arrangement of business documents of the 19th and, to a lesser extent, of the 18th century, lexicon of the last century, now out of date or no longer used, etc.) and in a wider sense from the point of view of the investigation of the Russian-Persian relations in the 19th century, of the social and economic life of Iran under the first Qajars. None of these materials have ever been published, neither in the Akty Kavkazskoi Arkheograficheskol Komissii (Acts of the Caucasus Archaeographic Commission) of which Bergé had been the chief editor from 1866 till his death, nor in any other known periodicals.

The Persian part of A. Bergé's collection consists of forty leaves of different formats, each of them representing a single letter or document, and of six “scrolls” of documents and letters glued one to another, often with no logical connection with neighbouring documents, which makes the impression of a random selection. The smallest scroll contains 3 documents, the longest one — 70 documents. There is also a distinct group of letters in Arabic and a series of documents in Persian, Arabic and Turkic, which have nothing to do with official documents and correspondence. A contour portrait of a Persian dignitary, with a calligraphic inscription attached to it, can be mentioned as well.

The variety of the Oriental part of the fund and its informative value do not allow to characterize it briefly and in general terms. It could be done in a summary description, where more attention is given to the Persian part of Bergé's fund…

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Adolf Bergé
Manuscripta Orientalia, selected papers

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