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Livshits V. A. Sogdian epigraphy of Central Asia and Semirech’e / Tr. from the Russian by T.Stableford. Ed. by N.Sims-Williams. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 2015. (Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum. Part II: Inscriptions of the Seleucid and Parthian periods and of Eastern Iran and Central Asia. Vol. III: Sogdian.)


Preface to the English edition

This collection of V.A. Livshits’ writings on Sogdian documents and inscriptions from Central Asia and Semirech’e, first published in Russian in 2008 and awarded the Ehsan Yarshater Book Prize by the International Society for Iranian Studies in 2010, incorporates substantially revised versions of many of his earlier publications, notably his pioneer edition of Legal Documents and Letters from Mount Mug (СДГМ II, 1962).

For the opportunity to publish an English version of this important volume the Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum is grateful to the author, Vladimir A. Livshits; to Boris V. Erokhin, Director of the Publishing House of the Faculty of Philology of the St Petersburg State University, the original publisher; and not least to the translator, Tom Stableford, formerly Regional Specialist at the Taylor-Bodleian Slavonic and Modem Greek Library, University of Oxford. Thanks are also due to the Union Academique Internationale and the British Academy for their financial support; to Irina F. Popova and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences for the photograph reproduced below as fig. 95; to the editors of the publications in which certain articles originally appeared in English (see p. 313 below); and to several colleagues who kindly assisted the editor by answering his questions or checking parts of the text: Adam Benkato, Bi Bo, Desmond Durkin-Meisteremst, Frantz Grenet, Pavel Lur’e and Professor Livshits himself.

The present volume differs from the original Russian edition in a few respects, which it may be helpful to explain. Some corrections by the author have been incorporated and minor errors and misprints corrected. Several photographs which seem to have been accidentally omitted in the Russian edition have been added (with plate-numbers ending with letters a, b, с etc., so as not to disturb the original numbering). To help the reader to locate references to the Russian edition, the original page numbers are inserted in [square brackets]. Similarly, in the few cases where it has been necessary to change the numbering of the footnotes because of differences between English and Russian word-order, the original footnote numbers are specifically indicated. In the signatures of the Mug documents and the Kyrgyz inscriptions the Russian letters Б, В (б, в) etc. have been retained in order to avoid the ambiguity which arises from transliterating Б as B. In the bibliography, Cyrillic authors’ names are transliterated in order to allow the two (Roman and Cyrillic) bibliographies in the original edition to be combined in a single list, the rest of such entries being left in Cyrillic script; likewise, where Russian works not listed in the bibliography are referred to in the text, the details are generally left in the original script so that those readers able to make use of these works are not put to the trouble of converting the bibliographical details back into Cyrillic. Finally, all Chinese words cited in the commentaries are now given in the standard Pinyin transcription, the original characters being added wherever this seemed likely to be useful.

Nicholas Sims-Williams
Cambridge, 23 March 2015

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Аннотация, Preface to the English edition, Contents, Vladimir Aronovich Livshits, Foreword

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