TALISMAN, s. This word is used by many medieval and post-medieval writers for what we should now call a moollah, or the like, a member of the Mahommedan clergy, so to call them. It is doubtless the corruption of some Ar. term, but of what it is not easy to say. Qu. talamiza, ‘disciples, students’? [See Burton, Ar. Nights, ix. 165.] On this Prof. Robertson Smith writes: “I have got some fresh light on your Talisman.

“W. Bedwell, the father of English Arabists, in his Catalogue of the Chapters of the Turkish Alkoran, published (1615) along with the Mohammedis Imposturae, and Arabian Trudgman, has the following, quoted from Postellus de Orbis Concordia, i. 13: ‘Haec precatio (the fatiha) illis est communis ut nobis dominica: et ita quibusdum ad battologiam usque recitatur ut centies idem, aut duo aut tria vocabula repetant dicendo, Alhamdu lillah, hamdu lillah, hamdu lillah, et cetera ejus vocabula eodem modo. Idque facit in publicà oratione Taalima, id est sacrificulus, pro his qui negligenter orant ut aiunt, ut ea repititione suppleat eorum erroribus.…Quidam medio in campo tam assiduè, ut defessi considant; alii circumgirando corpus,’ etc.

“Here then we have a form without the s, and one which from the vowels seem to be ti’lima, ‘a very learned man.’ This, owing to the influence of the guttural, would sound in modern pronunciation nearly as Taalima. At the same time ti’lima is not the name of an office, and prayers on behalf of others can be undertaken by any one who receives a mandate, and is paid for them; so it is very possible that Postellus, who was an Arabic scholar, made the pointing suit his idea of the word meant, and that the real word is talami, a shortened form, recognised by Jawhari, and other lexicographers, of talamidh, ‘disciples.’ That students should turn a penny by saying prayers for others is very natural.” This, therefore, confirms our conjecture of the origin.

1338.—“They treated me civilly, and set me in front of their mosque during their Easter; at which mosque, on account of its being their Easter, there were assembled from divers quarters a number of their Cadini, i.e. of their bishops, and of their Talismani, i.e. of their priests.”—Letter of Friar Pascal, in Cathay, &c., p. 235.

1471.—“In questa città è vna fossa d’acqua nel modo di vna fontana, la qual’è guardata da quelli suoi Thalassimani, cioè preti; quest’ acqua dicono che ha gran vertù contra la lebra, e contra le caualette.”—Giosafa Barbaro, in Ramusio, ii. f. 107.


“Non vi sarebbe più confusione
S’a Damasco il Soldan desse l’assalto;
Un muover d’arme, un correr di persone
E di talacimanni un gridar d’alto.”

Ariosto, xviii. 7.

1554.—“Talismánnos habent hominum genus templorum ministerio dicatum.…”Busbeq. Epistola. i. p. 40.

c. 1590.—“Vt Talismanni, qui sint commodius intelligatur: sciendum, certos esse gradus Mahumetanis eorum qui legum apud ipsos periti sunt, et partim jus dicunt, partim legem interpretantur. Ludovicus Bassanus Iadrensis in hunc modum comparat eos cum nostris Ecclesiasticis.…Muphtim dicit esse inter ipsos instar vel Papae nostro, vel Patriarchae Graecorum.…Huic proximi sunt Cadilescheri.…Bassanus hos cum Archiepiscopis nostris comparat. Sequuntur Cadij…locum obtinent Episcopi. Secundum hos sunt eis Hoggiae,1 qui seniores dicuntur, vt Graecis et nostris Presbyteri. Excipiunt Hoggias Talismani, seu Presbyteros Diaconi. Vltimi sunt Dervisii, qui Calogeris Graecorum, monachis nostris respondent. Talismani Mahumetanis ad preces interdiu et noctu quinquis excitant.”—Leunclavius, Annales Sultanorum Othmanidarum, ed. 1650, 414.

1610.—“Some hauing two, some foure, some sixe adioyning turrets, exceeding high, and exceeding slender: tarrast aloft on the outside like the maine top of a ship…from which the Talismanni with elated voices (for they vse no bels) do congregate the people.…”—Sandys, p. 31.

c. 1630.—“The Fylalli converse most in the Alcoran. The Deruissi are wandering wolves in sheepes clothing. The Talismanni regard the houres of prayer by turning the 4 hour’d glasse. The Muyezini crie from the tops of Mosques, battologuizing Llala Hyllula.”—Sir T. Herbert, 267; [and see ed. 1677, p. 323].

1678.—“If he can read like a Clerk a Chapter out of the Alcoran…he shall be crowned with the honour of being a Mullah or Talman.…”—Fryer, 368.

1687.—“…It is reported by the Turks that…the victorious Sultan…went with all Magnificent pomp and solemnity to pay his thanksgiving and devotions at the church of Sancta Sophia; the Magnificence so pleased him, that he immediately added a yearly Rent of 10,000 zechins to the former Endowments, for the maintenance of Imaums or Priests, Doctours of their Law, Talismans and others who continually attend there for the education of youth.…”—Sir P. Rycaut, Present State of the Ottoman Empire, p. 54.
TALIYAMAR, s. Sea-Hind. for ‘cut-water.’ Port. talhamar.—Roebuck.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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