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Old 01-30-2018, 08:31 AM
Jan D. Hodge Jan D. Hodge is offline
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Default Help with Arabic?

In the Arabian Nights tale of Prince Taj al-Muluk and the Princess Dunya, the Powys/Mathers translation gives the name as simply "Taj al-Muluk," and Burton gives the name as "Taj al-Muluk Kharan," which he translates as "Crown of the Kings of amorous Blandishment."

If the name is kept simply as "Taj al-Muluk," how would it be translated, and is it proper to do so? Is "Kharan" an epithet [cf. Richard Lion Heart], and if so does it translate as Burton has it?

Many thanks to anyone who can help with this. Jan
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:54 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Hi Jan,

I'm no Arabic scholar, but google helps a bit. It says "Sūrat al-Mulk (Arabic: سورة الملك‎, "Sovereignty, Kingdom") is the 67th chapter (sura) of the Quran, comprising 30 verses." So al-mulk seems to mean kingdom. Taj is there in Taj Mahal, and is a Persian and Arabic word meaning crown. Al means the.

Cheers,
John
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:55 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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NB it's possible muluk is the plural of mulk. That's beyond my googling.

Cheers,
John
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Old 01-30-2018, 05:06 PM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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You might try PMing Alex Foreman? I seem to recall he lived in Egypt... anyway, he's got more tongues than the tower of Babel!
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Old 01-30-2018, 05:11 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I have no Arabic at all, but "muluk" is basically the word for "king" in Hebrew, though in Hebrew the vowels are different.
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Old 01-30-2018, 05:19 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Further to Roger's point, "Malek": "It is also one of the Names of God in the Qur'an, and is then al-Malik (الملك) or The King, Lord of the Worlds in the absolute sense (denoted by the definite article), meaning the King of Kings, above all earthly rulers. Hence, Abdelmelik ("servant of [Allah] the King ") is an Arabic male name."
To my knowledge, written Arabic has no vowel signs. But yes, AZ Foreman also seems a good idea.

Cheers,
John
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Old 01-31-2018, 11:22 AM
Jan D. Hodge Jan D. Hodge is offline
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Thanks John, Michael, and Roger. That's what I wanted to know. Still curious, though, about "Kharan" --> "amorous Blandishment" [irrelevant to my immediate need, but the erotic possibilities . . .].
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Old 01-31-2018, 12:35 PM
Siham Karami Siham Karami is offline
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Hi Jan,
I’m not a total Arabic scholar, but my husband is and I have some working knowledge of it. So “Taj Al-Muluk” itself means “Crown of Kings.” As for “Kharan”, as spelled in English, it does not bring any actual Arabic word to mind. If you could copy the Arabic spelling it might help. The alternative is that this word could be Farsi? Which uses Arabic letters and has some Arabic words or similar to... Because it’s tricky to transliterate, therein perhaps lies the problem, but off the bat “amorous blandishment” sounds more like a flight of fancy. There is a word normally transliterated “khairan, which means “good”, but it wouldn’t make grammatical sense in this way of using it. I also asked if it could be a name, but was told “no.” As spelled it looks too close to a word “khara” which means excrement. Maybe someone was playing tricks on someone here??

Siham
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:11 PM
Jan D. Hodge Jan D. Hodge is offline
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Siham, the term, the spelling, and the translation come from Burton's translation, and I am aware that he takes great liberties. I guess it's okay to have Taj al-Muluk stand alone as a name, which serves my purpose, and I will simply footnote it as "Crown of the Kings." Thanks for your comments, which I do appreciate.
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Old 02-01-2018, 04:13 PM
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AZ Foreman AZ Foreman is offline
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Tāj al-Mulūk (تاج الملوك) means "crown of kings." It's the kind of name one would not be surprised by. Arabic names and sobriquets are often like that. Royal appellations can take the form "Sword of the Dynasty", "Crown of the Dynasty", "Fighter for the Faith" etc. A friend of mine is named Tāj al-Dīn "Crown of the Faith". Khārān (خاران) does occur with this individual's name in the Arabic text of the Thousand And One Nights. Or at least, according to Googlebooks it occurs in at least one of the printed versions Burton would have had access to. Just reading the story though I note that even the Arabic text simply uses the term Tāj al-Mulūk in many references to the guy, which is also pretty normal.

The word Khārān is unknown to me except as a toponym and personal name in Central Asia.. Simply based on the wordshape, it does not sound like a native Arabic word. My gut says Persian. My Persian is not as good as my Arabic, but Khārān looks on the face of it like it would be a combination of Persian khār "thorn, goad, prick, horn, sting" plus the plural ending -ān. I suppose I can see how you would get "amorous blandishments" from that with a lot of squinting. Maybe. My reference volumes, with the rest of my library, are all back in the US, which is not where I am right now. Still, going through the glossaries and lexica available to me, I am drawing a blank. I can't find anything in Steingass' Classical Persian dictionary that really fits any more than that.

Honestly though I would not trust Richard Burton in, well, anything when it comes to his translation of the Thousand And One Nights. Or anything else for that matter. His version is full of bizarre speculations in the footnotes, inexplicable additions, questionable excisions.

Last edited by AZ Foreman; 02-01-2018 at 04:24 PM.
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