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The Arabian hound, the saiūqī– further consideration of the word and other observations on the breed

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2009

Extract

The name salūqī was that given by the Arabs, from, at the latest, the beginning of Islam, to the medium-sized gazehound with long pendulous ears which had hunted in the area of the Near and Middle East for perhaps thousands of years. As far as we are aware, the earliest occurrence of the word in Arabic literature is in a poem of Yazīd b. Dirār al-Muzarrid, who was born before Islam and who talks of banāt salūqiyyayn, ‘the offspring of two salūqīs’. Although the actual term salūqī does not, to my knowledge, occur in the classical hunting songs (ṭardiyyāt) of the Abbasid era, it is a word in general use in animal literature and that of the chase right through the medieval and late medieval periods. The word has survived to this day in the areas of the Arab World where the hound is still to be found, notably in the Hijaz and Najd areas of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

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Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies 1980

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References

1 I have described the hound in some detail in a joint article with Allen, M. J. S., ‘Some notes on hunting techniques and practices in the Arabian Peninsula’, Arabian Studies, II, 108–47 (hereafter AS), particularly 120–5Google Scholar. See also p. 111 for photographs.

2 cf. Mufaḍḍaliyyāt, ed. Lyall, C. J., Beirut, , 1920, 61Google Scholar, quoted by both François Viré, A propos des chiens de chasse salūqī et zaġārī’, Revue des Études Islamiques, XLI, 2, 1973,231–40 (hereafter REI) and myself, AS, 139, n. 22Google Scholar.

3 Whose most important exponents were Abū Nuwās and Ibn al-Mu'tazz. Cf. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Ra'fat al-Bāshā, Shi'r al-ṭard, Beirut, 1974Google Scholar, who has brought together the most important examples of the genre.

4 e.g. in Jāḥiẓ (d. 246/869), Ḥayawān; Kushājim (d. 350/961), al-Maṣāyid wa-'l-maṭārid; the anonymous Bayzarah, written in the late fourth/tenth century century; Usāmah b. Munqidh (d. 584/1188), al-I'tibār, to quote just a few of such works which are available in published form.

5 AS, 121–2. Cf. also map, p. 121.

6 cf. V.'s Salūqya, 232 f. Under the rules of CA phonetics such a form as this is impossible. It must be Salūqiyyah, or possibly Salūqiyah. The latter is in fact the vocalization given in the edition of the Mu'jam used by , V., that of Beirut, 1957Google Scholar.

7 , V., REI, 236Google Scholar. I have been able to establish in personal correspondence with V. that he uses the French word lévrier to mean gazehound and it should not be translated greyhound, as the translator of V.'s article. ‘Bayzara’, in EI (second ed.) did.

8 In the introductory chapter which I prepared for the edition and translation of Faḍl al-kilāb ‘alā kathīr mimman labisa’ 'l-thiyāb, with DrHaleem, Muhammad Abdel, Warminster, 1978, xxviixxviiiGoogle Scholar.

9 The expression ‘patrie d'origine’, p. 236, is a clear indication of his thinking.

10 REI, 233.

11 Escurial MS 893. The point might be made that, as we have seen, the earliest reference to the word salūqī is at the latest very early Islamic and none of V.'s examples, Alf laylah, Qazwīnī (d. 682/1283) and 'Alī b. 'Ῐsā (late third/ninth century) predates that!

12 Supplément aux dictionnaires arabes, I, 676, s-l-q.

13 In Cl. Denizeau, , Dictionnaire… Syrie, Liban et Palestine, Paris, 1960Google Scholar, s-l-q.

14 AS, II, 136 (glossary), should have included the following entry, unfortunately missing from the final form of the article: SALUKI–Slūgī, fem. salgah, plur. salag, silgān.

15 Not al-Yāqūt, as on V.'s p. 233 on two occasions.

16 REI, 233.

17 My italics.

18 AS, 122 and Faḍl al-kilāb, xxvii–xxviii.

19 It is true that the Arabs did eventually come to know other hounds, though these latter appeared late on the Arabian scene and I am confident that V. is correct (REI, 232 and his discussion of the zaghārī) in attributing their introduction into the Near and Middle East to the Crusaders.

20 cf. Lane, Lexicon, s-l-q. The Lisān gives the definition: (ta'anahu) fa-aqāhu 'alā janbihi; the Qāmūs suggests: sara'ahu 'alā qafāhu.

21 In other words a s-l-q intensive form would mean the creature ‘constantly and/or violently casting down (the quarry)’, ‘constantly and/or violently smiting (the quarry)’, etc. The fa''āl intensive is particularly common in the names given by the Arabs to their salūqi dogs; e.g. Ghallāb, Khaṭṭāf, Qaṭṭāf, Saddāḥ, etc. Cf. AS, 127.

22 The form fa'ūl (salūq) is itself an intensive and certainly a nisbah can be formed from an adjective, though there would seem to be no reason why, in this case, a nisbah should be required. Cf. Wright, W., Arabic grammar, Cambridge, 1955, I, 137 and 150Google Scholar .

23 I, 676. It is clear that V. has relied very heavily on this article when discussing the sulāq/sulāqī alternatives in REI, 233.

24 REI, 233.

25 Ed. L. P. Harvey, Oxford, 1974. Cf. also Linda Fish Compton, Andalusian lyrical poetry, New York, 1976, 24Google Scholar, translating the same kharjah which appears in a muwashshah in Ibn Sanā' al-Mulk's Dār al-ṭirāz. Her translation of salāliq as greyhounds is of course totally unacceptable: cf. AS, 120.

26 cf. Peninsula colloquial ṣagāgīr, plur. of ṣaggār, falconer; cf. AS, 146.

27 But cf. n. 22 above.

28 Some time ago it did occur to me that one ought to investigate the possibility of the word salūqī being derived from one of the languages of the areas of the Near and Middle East in which the hound is known to have thrived before the Arabs. My enquiries with colleagues specializing in Iran, Ancient Egypt and in the Mesopotamian cultures suggest that this could not have been the case.

29 p. 122.

30 Faḍl al-kilāb, xxvii–xxviii.

31 I have, for example, counted a total of 12 Seleucias in the area Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, present-day Iran and the area north of the Gulf where the Seleucid dynasty held sway. Cf. Grosser Historischer Weltatlas, München, 1953Google Scholar, map 21a. The dynasty was Greek by culture (Σελɛ⋯κɛια), founded by Seleucus (Σ⋯λɛυκος) Nicator, a general of Alexander.

32 Although it need not be argued more fully here, there is the further possibility that the word salūqī might refer to a person, himself from Salūq or Salūqiyyah, and who might have bred and/or kept salūqīs and thus given his name to them. This is, however, mere speculation, for which there is no evidence.

33 cf. slūgī of the Arabian Peninsula.

34 cf. Fadl al-kilāb, xxxvii.

35 Kitāb al-Bukhalā', ed. al-Ḥājirī, Ṭāhā, Cairo, 1963Google Scholar, and ed. Aḥmad al-'Awāmirī and 'Ali al-Jārim, Cairo, 1939. Both editions have this reading, though V., misquoting Pellat, C., Le livre des avares, Paris, 1951, 154Google Scholar, who actually has this same reading, gives the version yusall ua yulqī, which he translates ‘qu'il soit dégainé et il abat’, not the translation of Pellat.

36 e.g. that 'uṣfūr, sparrow, is derived from 'aṣā wa-farra, ‘he was disobedient and fled’!

37 For a detailed description of the salūqi's quarry, see AS, 130–3.

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