Dear Friends and Fellow Researchers,
another year with 12 months full of intensive efforts to trace, copy, read and digest still more source material on the history of our main topic — the Yuezhi/Rouzhi/Wuzhi, i.e. the Asioi/Iatioi, Asiani/Asi, Arsi/Arshi — has gone by.
In this time, my “sparring partner” John Hill (half a world away in Cooktown/Australia, but connected by e-mail as closely as if he were living next door) has been a great inspiration in our ongoing lively discussions. These help me so much to clarify and formulate my findings.
And over us hover in benevolent guidance two university teachers : Prof. Victor H. Mair, Sinologist at Penn U, and Prof. Harry Falk, Indologist at Berlin FU. They represent the two worlds in which the Yuezhi (Arsi) grew up in antiquity and rose to fame. To retrace the history of this phenomenal people of swift horse archers, one has to be at home in the worlds and cultures of ancient China, India and Greece — a break-neck endeavor.
Also, early last year I introduced myself to the “Bayerische Staatsbibliothek”, the State Library at Munich. In two days time I copied excerpts of so many books I had been unable to find here in Berlin in so many years. In this way, too, I became familiar with the online catalogue OPACplus of the great Bavarian Library, famous for its fabulous collection of rare books. I also noted that the BSB has started to put these “rara” online for anyone with access to a computer to read and even download. This “Digital Library” is a new development with tremendous implications for all future in-depth research work world-wide.
At present doing research on Strabon 11.8.2 — the “list” of nomad peoples that stormed and destroyed Greek Bactria in the second century BCE — I found out from the oldest Strabon editions that the original reading Tacharoi has been amended (mistakenly!) to Tocharoi by Carolus Henricus Tzschucke, Lipsiae 1806. Whereas the truly corrupt Sakarauloi kai (for the original Sakaraukai), still found in the text today, can be traced back all the way to the first Latin translation of Strabon’s Geography by Guarinus Veronensis and Gregorius de Tipherno, Venetiae 1472 …
A first task in 2012, then, should be a longer discussion of “Strabon 11.8.2” which became the topic in the box text of my New Year’s card for 2012 (see below) — to which I append a few quick remarks here.
Another task would be to update my excerpts from Western Yuezhi literature (monographs and Journal papers), originally typed into the computer 1998–2001. At the time, I had these printed out, first in one volume of some 1,000 pages, soon followed by a volume of additions of another 500 pages, and had presented the books to a few close friends.
Now I am trying to find out whether or not I can convert these age-old WordPerfect6.0 + TwinBridge3.3 files to pdf. In this format I could make that collection of helpful Yuezhi texts available to all by placing it here on my website.
In a second step I could add the most important quotes from the mass of source material I collected in the years since 2001. In pdf, the files would be fully searchable and thus become very helpful tools for anyone doing research on the Yuezhi — including myself.
If this were still not enough work for the new year, I could also try to do a second edition of my “Shiji 110 / Hanshu 94A. The Xiongnu” — correcting the great amount of mistakes I found since, and then adding a novum : an English translation to the ancient Chinese notes in the Shiji and Hanshu that were ignored in toto by Hulsewé/Loewe and Watson.
So there’s no lack of ideas what to do in the great year of the Dragon 2012 !