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Daily Arithmetic of Pashtun Tribal Rulers: Numbers in The Khataks’ Chronicle

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The Khataks’ Chronicle compiled by the Pashtun tribal rulers Khūshḥāl Khān (d. 1689) and Afżal Khān (d. circa 1740/41) abounds in figures, which relate to calculation of people and things, as well as measurement of time and distances. Within dominant human statistics the most numerous and diverse in numbers are calculations of military strength, often divided into main arms (foot, horse, guns), and war losses. Demographical data proper include numbers of descendants in lineages and occasional statistics of tribal populace. Among frequently calculated things are money (in Mogul rupees) and cattle. Time intervals in tribal stories are usually short and measured generally in nights and days, while distances between key geographical objects—in kurūhs (≈ 2-2,2 km). Although most figures are likely to be approximate (usually round after 20), The Crhonicle’s authors aimed at being very careful with all numerical data, which, on the whole, are to be considered historically adequate. Almost all basic lexemes of Pashto numbers are found in The Chronicle. The largest numbers are sums of money in rupees related to the Moguls’ military budgets (1,700,000; 900,000; etc.). Of particular note are archaic forms of hundreds (dwaṣū, terṣū, etc.) and reflexes of vigesimal calculation. Numerical data in The Khataks’ Chronicle well describe the place, which elementary arithmetic occupied in the education of Pashtun tribal rulers in the mediaeval and pre-modern times and may serve as a primary resource for studying the inventory of numbers in early written Pashto.

Affiliations: 1: St. Petersburg State University


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