|Title||GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF SILLĀ IN MUSLIM ASTRONOMICAL LITERATURE OF THE THIRTEENTH TO SIXTEENTH CENTURIES CE|
Mohammad Bagher Vosooghi
Vol. 21 No. 1
pp. 65~79 (all 15 pages)
Korea, Persian Islamic, Islamic, Manuscript, Sillā, Astronomy
The Muslim world has been learning about Korea for a long time. Historical evidence shows that some of this knowledge predates the Islamic era; indeed, Iranian merchants have nurtured ties since the era of the Sillā dynasty (57 BCE–935 CE). For centuries after the house’s fall, the name stuck: References to Korea as Sillā, Shillā, and Basillā appear in Iranian historical and literary texts until the sixteenth century. By the thirteenth century, however, as Sino-Iranian connections grew, Muslims began to adopt a new name, Kao-li or Korea. Still, astronomers and geographers continued to use the name Sillā, as evidenced in astronomical texts written in the eleventh, thirteenth, and sixteenth centuries. In the fourteenth century, an interesting change in the evolution of the word Sillā occurred: Islamic ephemerides, diaries that chronicle astronomical positions, began to record the name Sillā in the same location along an eastern prime meridian as the toponym Kangdez. The origins of Kangdez—for example, whether it developed from an Iranian or Indian tradition—is unclear. Nonetheless, this widely used dual naming of a single geographical location persisted in Islamic astronomical texts into the sixteenth century. This article traces the transfer of geographical knowledge about Sillā and Kangdez into and throughout the Muslim world through the works of five generations of well-known Muslim astronomers, with a focus on their lesser-known works. It seeks to specify the manner in which astronomical knowledge about the location of Sillā and Kangdez circulated among Muslims from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries.