Topographic Landscape Of The Xviii Century: The Case Of Astrakhan Province


The article is devoted to the study of toponyms recorded in the archival documents dating back to 1742. The material attracted our attention because it is a document-based description of the activity of Tatishchev at the time when he used to be the head of the Kalmyk Commission at the Collegiate of Foreign Affairs and the Governor of the Astrakhan province. These documents are stored in the National Archives of the Republic of Kalmykia and they are undoubtedly important for studying the toponymic space of the Lower Volga Region. The aim of the study is to reconstruct the toponymic landscape of the Astrakhan province according to the route, known as a “military campaign” from Astrakhan to Tsaritsyn. Based on the study, the authors came to the conclusion that the toponyms recorded in the archival documents can be divided into 3 groups. Along with the original Russian terminology, the toponymy of the Lower Volga Region uses nomenclature terms of Turkic origin. Substrate toponyms found in the toponymy of the region are also encountered in a number of modern toposystems of the Russian regions and the eastern regions of Ukraine. The authors believe that the analysis of onomastics of the second quarter of the XVIII century based on the region example will be a new step in the development of historical onomastics in general. The analysis of the identified toponyms recorded in the archival documents can be of interest not only for linguists but also for geographers, ethnographers and cultural experts.

Keywords: Topographic landscapetoponymgeographic termarchival documentsAstrakhan provinceLower Volga


The toponymy of the modern territory of the Lower Volga region, which has been formed over a long period in difficult historical, geographical, and linguistic conditions, is heterogeneous in origin and time of occurrence. In this regard, it is safe to say that the toponymic picture of this region includes substrate toponyms of various linguistic affiliations. It should be noted that despite being studied well the toponymy of the region remains still an issue that needs to be researched, particularly, the historical aspect, how toponyms appeared, were spread and modified with time.

The Lower Volga region has a rich history, and the history of Kalmykia is closely connected with it. This is the territory where various ethnic groups, cultures and languages, which are reflected in the local onomasticon, interacted in the past and are interacting in the present. In this regard, this zone is interesting in terms of detecting unknown onomastic data, the study of which is always urgent and therefore prospective.

The work of top Russian scientists and research teams were devoted to toponyms study as onomastics units, among them the works done by Nikonov (1965, 1974), Superanskaya (2007), Zhuchkevich (1968), Murzaev (1974, 1982), Ageeva (1990, 1989) and others. Among the works of foreign scholars devoted to onomastic research, we should mention the book of the Czech linguist V. Schmilauer “Introduction to Toponastics” (Šmilauer, 1963), the works of Polish scientists Grodzinsky “Essay on the General Theory of Proper Names” Grodzinsky (1973), Karaś (1972), and Latocha (1985).

Linguists also pay much attention to regional onomastics, the systematic study of which began only in the middle of the XX century. The study of regional toponymy, according to Shcherbak (2006), is developing in several directions: 1) collecting toponymic material and describing hydronymy and frontal research of individual regions and regions as administrative units and 2) the study of microtoponymy.

Regional toponymy as a branch of science has come a long way in its development and on this path has achieved notable results in the study of the toponymic system in diachronic and synchronous aspects. It should be noted that the regional onomasticon of the Lower Volga region from the point of historical toponymy, based on the data of different sciences, has not always been examined sufficiently, in particular, there is no systematic description of the toponymy of the XVIII century Astrakhan province (with the exception of the dissertation research published by Vasilyeva (2010) “Historical toponymy of the Astrakhan area XVI–XX centuries”, performed in a historical aspect).

The archival material that we used, in our opinion, is of particular value because it reflects an important period in the history of Russia through the prism of events of a specific time (XVIII century) that took place on a specific territory, from Astrakhan to Tsaritsyn.

The Lower Volga Region has a rich history, and the history of Kalmykia is closely connected with it. This zone, where different peoples, cultures and languages come into contact, reflected in the local onomasticon, is fertile for discovering some unknown onomastic data, the study of which is always in demand and therefore always prospective.

Problem Statement

The relevance of the study is due primarily to the fact that today there is no work on the toponymic system viewed in the diachronic aspect. There is no systematic description of the toponymy of the Astrakhan province of the XVIII century. Toponyms of this region, considered from the point of historical toponymy that is based on the data from various sciences, are not always introduced deeply enough. The archival material that we used, in our opinion, is of particular value because it reflects an important period in the history of Russia through the prism of events of a specific time (XVIII century) that took place on a specific territory, from Astrakhan to Tsaritsyn.

Research Questions

The object of the study is the toponyms recorded in the documents of the National Archive of the Republic of Kalmykia: “Events of the month of August” and “Day note from August 10 to the 17th”, which are a daily record of cases, events, meetings with people, orders and decisions made by Tatishchev from August 1 to October 26, 1742. (Further in the text it will be called as Notes). The “Notes” that we analyzed are dated back to 1742 and they record the toponymy of the area from Astrakhan to Tsaritsyn. This area stretches over 400 kilometers as a line on the opposite sides of the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain and is divided into two parts: Kalmyk (Volga) steppe and Kyrgyz (Zavolzhsky) steppe.

The considered material of “Notes” is interesting in content because it is evidence of important historical events and the complex work of Tatishchev to prevent a bloody struggle between the Kalmyk owners over the khan’s throne. The subject of the study is to consider how terms covered by the landscape function in the composition of toponyms in the diachronic aspect.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of this work is to reconstruct the toponymic landscape along the route of a military troop led, from Astrakhan to Tsaritsyn, dated from August 1 to October 26, 1742.

To achieve this goal, the following objectives were set: 1) to select toponyms in the text that reflect the route (called above) in the sequence as given in the Notes; 2) to conduct a lexical-semantic analysis of the names of geographical objects; 3) to determine the role of geographic terminology involved in the formation of toponyms.

Research Methods

Any geographical object is studied in a certain aspect, reflecting the ultimate goal of the study, but the study comprehensibility is achieved through various methods. Toponymic units of a local region can be distributed by a) in relation to its geographical reality (water reservoir, hills, etc.); b) time and conditions of occurrence; 3) language source; 4) etymological and semantic content; 5) the graphic norms of the language; 6) distribution of the name and the migration route of it.

As known, these problems cannot be solved by one method alone. In our opinion, only a set of methods belonging to different sciences allows us to draw real, scientifically-based conclusions. So, the descriptive method, which is the main method of studying linguistic units, consists in a sequential description of linguistic units in terms of their structure and functioning. The geographical method is based on the use of popular terms of geography, indicating the characteristic features of the geo object, its generic and species characteristics. Popular terms, being common names, define a specific concept and are genetically related to a geo-object.

Toponymy is a special language of nature, the language of the Earth, its verbal expression. Figuratively, it can be put it this way: with the help of toponyms, the Earth, the world around "narrates” about its history, development and its special characteristics. Toponymic studies allow us to reconstruct past events. The names of toponyms contribute to the identification of dynamic processes of changes and development of the topographic landscape. The relationship of the toponymic unit and the term is a universal regularity of toponymy.


In our analysis, toponyms, reflecting the route of the military campaign headed by Tatishchev, are classified according to the semantics of geographical terms integrated into toponyms. As an example:

a) toponyms with the terms of the terrain (urochische, zajmische, yar", buyarak", etc.).

b) toponyms with the terms of water bodies (priverh", uhvost'e, reka, luka, etc.)

c) toponyms with the terms of settlements (gorod", stanica)1. Toponyms with terms of terrain

1.1. Urochische (urochishche)– a geographical term, which, according to Murzaev, means “a place that differs in natural conditions from the surrounding territory; landscape boundary, natural boundary” (Murzaev, 1984, p. 54). The common Slavic suffix -ishche, used to denote the terrain, indicates the ancient Russian origin of the term: cf. strel'bishche, zimovishche, pozharishche.

The initial meaning of the word urochishche is “condition, deal”. There is a clear connection with the verbs “urochit', urech'sya” that mean “to name, to appoint, henceforth, to predict”. Thus, from the very beginning, this word was used to call a real place, which is indicated in some kind of agreement. The first meaning of the word (urochishche) was associated with the activities such as mowing grass, cutting down trees, etc., and then some geographical terms were designated with this concept. Examples from Notes:

1. [“Tajnyj sovetnik" i s hansheyu Dzhanom" ot urochishcha Klyuchej poekhal po ⱷbede i v Caricyn" priekhal togo zh chisla pered vecherom"”].

Urochishche Klyuchi. According to the dictionary of M. Fasmer, the word "klyuch" appeared from Orthodox ključ'. Compare the general Slavic klyuch (key), Czech klič, Polish. klucz, etc., are closely related to the Indo-European skl (hook), Latin clāvus (nail) and cladō (lock), etc. with the general meaning “object unlocking something closed” (Fasmer, 1964–1973). The name, in our opinion, is associated with water sources or springs, which are typical to this area, i.e. here it is used in the meaning of “a source of life-giving moisture, falling from the ground and breaking through stones”.

2. [“Posle poludnya v" 4 chasa tajnyj sovetnik" s hansheyu│poekhali i ὡtekhav" verst'│s" 20 ostanovilis' protiv" Kruglovo │uhvost'ya v" urochische Krymskom"│zatone gde nochevali”].

Urochishche Krymskom" zatone (place in the Crimean backwater) is located on the right bank of the Volga above Astrakhan. The toponym is composite consisting of three elements: the geographical term urochishche, an adjective with the root morpheme Krymskom" + aff. -sk-, geographical topoterm zaton. According to the “Definition Dictionary of the Russian Language”, zaton is “a river gulf that has washed ashore” (Ozhegov & Shvedova, 2012). There is no information about the Crimean Backwater, but, as it seems to us, this toponym is related to the location of urochishcha Krymskom" zatone on the right bank of the Volga, which in the XVIII century was called Krymskij (Crimean (or mountain)) side of the Volga, and the opposite side of the Volga was called – zaton (backwater).

3. [“... posle obeda tajnyj sovetnik" iz zajmischa Dɤbovki tako zh" i hansha Dzhan" pereekhav" verst" s" 15 ostanovilsya nochevat' v" urochische Slyudyanom" Bɤyarake”].

Urochishche Slyudyanoj Buerak. The name is three-component: slyudyanoj (mica) – an adjective formed with the root slyud- (from the word slyuda) + aff. -yan-, cf.: Bulgarian slyuda, Czech slída, Slovak sľúda, slieda, etc. (Fasmer, 1964-1973). The geographical term Buerak (Buerak), denoting a ravine, moat, hollow, was formed from Turkic bajyr that means “hill, slope” (Murzaev, 1984). It should be assumed that the name of the geographical object indicates the constituent rocks. In this case, it is associated with the object and is motivated by a transparent layered mineral (mica) or “slyuda”, which is part of it. As evidence to this, we can provide the example Slyudanaya gora (Mica Mountain), which was located on the steppe coast, near the shores of the salt lake Baskunchak.

4. [“…tajnyj sovetnik" i s" hansheyu Dzhanom" ot uhvost'ya Sarpinskago ostrova pereekhali verst" z desyati ostanovilis nochevat' ob ɤrochische Koropatkina Erka”].

Urochishche Koropatkina Erka. There is no information about the location of Urochishche Koropatkina Erka. The toponym is a complex three-component formation: the geographical term is urochishche, the possessive adjective Koropatkin (Koropatkin), formed, possibly, from the basis of the noun kuropatka + aff. -in-, and the geographical term yorka, which means “an island on the river, composed of loose river sediments, silty, sandy” (Murzaev, 1984).

1.2. Zajmische (zajmishche) – in the Volga region, in the central regions, on the Don “wide meadow or forest floodplain”, “floodplain meadows covered with water during spring spills” (Murzaev, 1984).

Examples from Notes:

1. [“...popoludni chasov" v" pyat' tajnyj sovetnik" so vsemi ot Kalmykovskago uhvost'ya otstupya otekhal" verst' s" 5 v" Kalmykovskom" zajmische ostanovilsya”].

The toponym Kalmykovskoe zajmishche (or Kalmyk Balka), previously related to the Astrakhan province, has now been lost. The time of its appearance has not been determined. The name is two-component: the adjective Kalmykovskoe (Kalmykovskoe), is formed from the ethnonym Kalmyk + aff. -ov- + -sk-, and the nomenclature term zajmishche. Kalmyks are a Mongol-speaking people, who migrated from the territory of the western part of Mongolia to the Lower Volga in the XVII century. This time was a difficult political period for the country. Russia was at war with Poland, Crimea, the Ottoman Empire, and Sweden. In the middle of the XVIII century, the largest political state unit, the Kalmyk Khanate, was formed as part of the Russian state.

2. [“...posle obeda tajnyj sovetnik"јz zajmischa Dɤbovki tako zh" i hansha Dzhan" pereekhav" verst" s" 15 ostanovilsya nochevat' v" urochische Slyudyanom" Bɤerake”].

Zajmishche Dubovka (Zaimische Dubovka) as a fortified guard line against the Kirghiz-Kaisat raids in the XVIII century that was located along the right bank of the Volga. Dubovka (Dubovka) belongs to the type of Russian geographical names. It is formed, perhaps, from the adjective dubovyj (oak), the name consists of the root morpheme dub + aff. -ov- + -k-. The name indicates the dense oak groves surrounding the previously Volga coastal areas and these groves are preserved to our days.

1.3. YAr" (yar) means “cool and steep, twist (but not cliff)”; “precipice, rapids, ledge by the wall, branched bank of a river or lake, ravine, abyss, washed and collapsed shore” (Dahl, 1980, p. 85); ”high steep bank washed by the river” (Murzaev, 1984). The geographical term yar" in Notes is often found in the names of settlements and localities of the Lower Volga Region (for example, CHernyj YAr", Krasnyj YAr", Nasonovskij YAr", Polovoj YAr"). Examples from Notes:

1. [«26 chisla po obede tajnyj sovetnik", bregadir" Kolcov maijor" Tatischev" s hansheyu i protchimi vsemi ot Polovogo YAra poekhali i ne doezzhaya do CHernogo YAra za dvenadcat' verst" na Grachevskom priverhe ⱷstanovilis'”].

Polovoj YAr (Polovoy Yar) was located on the right northern bank of the Lower Volga. The name is compound. It includes an adjective formed from the Russian word pol (floorboards, flooring, floor mastic), + aff. ov; nomenclature term “yar” is Turkic by origin.

CHernyj YAr (Cherny Yar) was founded in 1627 and served as a fortress (called the Black Ostrog) to protect the Volga Trade Route. Seven years later, it was transferred to a high hill (yar) from the left to the right side of the Volga due to the falling of its coast. The toponym consists of two components: the adjective “chernyj”, indicating color (black) or having a metaphorical meaning as “a strange, mysterious place with dark forces (witches, sorcerers)” and the geographical term “yar” (high), indicating object characteristics.

2. [“…ot Nasonovskago YAru tajnyj sovetnik" s hansheyu pereekhav" verst" s" sem' obedal"”].

Nasonovskij YAr (Nasonovsky Yar) (another name is Nasonych (Nasonych)) is located on the right side of the Volga, in the area of Rygorod and Ushakovka (villages) and means “an even, deserted place, ten kilometers long”. The toponym is a combination of the anthroponym Nasono (Nasono) + suf. -sk- and the term “yar” (Turk. jar) “a steep coast”. The history of this toponymic unit is explained by a wild-growing medicinal plant – poppy, once growing on the banks of the river, popularly called “nason” (nason).

1.4. Buyarak" (Buyarak), according to V. Dahl, it is “a dry ravine, a water-hole, a water-drain” (Dahl, 1978). The origin of the term is rather Turkic: according to E. Murzaev (1984), “most etymologists refer to the Turkic bajyr – a hill, a slope.”

Examples from Notes:

1. [“...ot Suhova Buyaraka po utrɤ ot"ekhav" verst' z" 25 ostanovilis' obedat' bliz' Kamennoj pochty. Po obede paki v put' otpravilis' i ekhav" verst" z" desyat' ostanovilis' nochevat' v" urochische Dubovke”].

Buerak Suhova (Buerak Sukhova), according to the state registry, is located on the left bank of the Volga. The name corresponds, in our opinion, to the widespread type of otthroponymic geographical names: the geographical term “buerak” and the surname of the person with whom this place may be associated. This nomenclature term has been noted in the National Corpus of the Russian Language since 1818, which indicates the functioning of the appellative in everyday speech. The term is actively used as part of toponyms in the Black Sea region, the Volga region, the Southern Urals, and Siberia.2. Toponyms with terms of water bodies

2.1. Priverh' (priverh) means “the upper part of the Volozhka, the source of the lateral tributary on the Volga” (Murzaev, 1984). The term is derived from the ancient hydrographic term “verhov'e” (headwater), combining a group of words with the root morpheme “verh” and the general genetically primary meaning “beginning of something, a peak” (Barandeev, 2014).

Examples from Notes:

1. [“… a kak rossvetalo to i tajnyj sovetnik" so vsemi poekhali i poekhav verst s" 25 chasu v" 11-m priekhali bliz Enataevskogo priverha i ostanovilis'”].

Enataevskij priverh. The name of the toponym came from the name of the river Enotaevka. The name of the toponym is composite consisting of two elements: possessive adjective Enotaevskij (Enotaev + aff. -sk-) and the geographical term “priverh”.

2. [“26 chisla po obede tajnyj sovetnik" bregadir" Kolcov maijor" Tatischev" s hansheyu i protchimi vsemi ot Polovogo YAra poekhali i ne doezzhaya do CHernogo YAra za dvenadcat' verst" na Grachevskom priverhe ostanovilis'”].

Grachevskij priverh. The name is connected with the village that had the same name – Grachevskaya, a settlement in the Enotaevsky district of the Astrakhan region, which acquired its name along the river Gracheevka (Grachevka), and it, in turn, by grachevnik (from the word “grach” that means in English “rook”) – “the forest occupied by the rook colony”. The name Gracheevskij priverh has two components in its composition: the possessive adjective gracheevskij (a bird of the raven family, widespread in Russia) + aff. -evsk- + geographical term “priverh”. In the past, in Gracheevskij priverh, there was the Gracheevsky fortress and a post office, which operated here until the 60s of the XIX century.

2.2. Luka is “a large, long bend of the river” (Murzaev, 1984): bend, curvature, river inversion, arc, a low or wooded cape, a flood meadow surrounded by a river (Dahl, 1979). The term has common Slavic roots: cf. ancient Russian “luka” means “bend, flow, shore, forming a bend”; Bulgarian “l"ka” denotes “bend, flood meadow”; Serbian-Croatian “luka” means “valley, grassy plain, grove” (Murzaev, 1984). In the meaning of “bending of the river channel,” the term is found in the ancient Russian monuments of the XV–XVII centuries. Later, the term “luka” began to denote the area nearby “the meaning arose as a result of the semantic transference by adjacency in space” (Barandeev, 2014).

Examples from Notes:

1. [“…otpravilis' po utru i pereekhav" │32 versty obedali na Bobrovom"│ostrove ot Bobrovogo ostrova│otpravilis' i nochevali v Kopanovskoj Luke│razstoyaniem" 40 verst"”].

Kopanovskaya Luka (Kopanovskaya Luka) is located on the right bank of the Volga. Kopanovskaya Luka is associated with the village of Kopanovskaya, the oldest settlement in the Astrakhan region, founded in 1764. The village served as a border zone from Tsaritsyn to Astrakhan. The name comes from the term “kopan'”, i.e. “a shallow well without a log house, a pit for collecting temporary water” (Murzaev, 1984).

2. [“... i dorogoyu tajnyj sovetnik" s hansheyu Dzhanom ekhal v" odnoj kalyaske i priekhav" v priverh" Korov'ej Luki ot onago lagarya verst" s" 24 ostanovilis uzhe noch'yu”].

Priverh Korov'i Luki was located on the right bank of the Volga River, at the site of the main headquarters of the princes of Tyumen. The name composes from several components: the word “priverh” + the adjective “korov'i” (instrumental case, pl.). It is motivated by the word “korova” (a cow) – artiodactyle domestic animal (female) + the geographical term “luka”.

The term is quite active in the toponymy of the Volga region (Korovia Luka, Samarskaya Luka, Kopanovskaya Luka of the Central Russia), founded in Eastern and Western Europe.

2.3. Reka [river] – a stream of water which is bigger in size than a small river or brook or rivulet (Dahl, 1980). In the time of V.N. Tatishchev, as documented, rivers and small rivers were clearly distinguished. Among the rivers, there were Volga, Don, Yaik, Akhtuba, Kuma and others, and among the small rivers, there were Karakol, Solyanka and others.

Examples from Notes:

1. [“…a nyne de kaj│sackoj men'shej ordy vladeniya Abulgair" hana s" 3000│kibitok" pereshed za YAik" sidyat│nizhe Inderskih gor" razstoyaniem" 2 dni konnoj ezdy│pri kotoryh glavnym Tyules" Batyr a promchie Abulgaira kochɤyut" za YAikom"│pri rechke Karakol" kotoraya│vpala v" YAik" a ot gorodka│YAickago ezdy 10 dnej otkuda oni ot Dzhanibeka Batyrya po│slany i priekhali syuda v" de│vyatoj den'”].

Reka YAik (River Yayk). The ancient name of the river Yayk came from the Turkic word yayk [jajyk], and had the meaning "spilling, flooding". In fact, the river in a spring flood spreads widely across the steppe. This name is preserved in many Turkic languages. However, the river [YAik] was renamed to Ural in 1775 at the behest of the Empress Catherine II who wanted to remove from the people’s memeory the peasant rebel under the leadership of Yemelean Pugachev.

Reka Karakol' (Karakol River), the name goes back to the Turkic kara – “black”, kol – “a water body (river, lake, sea)”. The term kol in toponymy is found in various phonetic variations: köl, kol, köl, göl, kööl, küel, höl. Element köl is known from the Balkans to Western China and Eastern Siberia, as example, lake Akgol, Karagol in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Lake Gok-Gol – in Azerbaijan. In Kalmykia, there is a place called after the Golganoyol River, Gashunkol.

2.4. Uhvost'e (Uhvostie) – the downstream pointed end of the island, alternating in the riverbed, as opposed to the headboard; source, beginning of the river (Dahl, 1980).

Examples from Notes:

1. [“5 avgusta posle poludnya v" 4 chasa tajnyj sovetnik" s hansheyu│poekhali i ⱷtekhav" verst"│s" 20 ostanovilis' protiv" Kruglovo│uhvost'ya v" urochische Krymskom"│zatone, gde nochevali”].

Uhvost'e Krugloe. The name may have arisen by an association with a circular shape of a hydro-object (cf. lake Krugloye).

2. [“12 avgusta popoludni chasov" v" pyat'│tajnyj sovetnik"│ so vsemi ot Kalmykovskago│uhvost'ya otstu│pya otekhal" verst' s" 5│v" Kalmykovskom" zajmische ostanovilsya”].

Kalmykovskoe uhvost'e (Kalmykovskoe uhvostie). Adjective kalmykovskoe is formed from etnonima of kalmýk (kalm. khalmg, khalmgud; and mong. khalimag). Composite toponim includes the adjective "kalmykovskoe – kalmykovskoe", formed by affixal method (root morpheme Kalmyk, aff. – ov, – sk ), and term uhvost'e. In the lower stream of the Volga River, toponyms with the Kalmyk component are quite common: the summer of Kalmynka; Kalmyk beam, Kalmyk river, Kalmyk hill, Kalmyk island, Kalmyk yer, Kalmyk ilmen, Kalmyk backwater, Kalmyk lake, Kalmychek lake. However, the toponym Kalmykovskoe uhvost'e is currently lost.

3. c) toponyms with the terms of settlements (gorod", stanica)

Gorod", gorodok" – ostrog fortified tynom, a settlement (Dahl, 1978).

In the documents of V.N. Tatishchev we meet the names of cities (Saratov, Samara, Orenburg, Astrakhan, Kazan, etc.) and small towns (Selitreno Zharko gorodok, Krasny Yar, Cherny Yar, etc.), with which business communication was supported.

[“Tajnyj sovetnik" govoril│chto hansha Dzhan" s dochermi ee│ otpravlena v" Saratov" i tamo│budet" do Ukazu”].

Saratov city was founded on the right bank of the Volga River in 1590. In the XVIII century, it was supposed to serve as a protective fortress for the southern borders of the state. A common explanation of the city name came from Turkic. Sarytau – “yellow mountain” where Sary – “yellow”, tau – “mountain” (Pospelov, 1988).

Thus, the “research journey” along the route of the “military campaign” (led by Tatishchev from Astrakhan to Tsaritsyn) helped to identify the features of the topographic landscape of the Astrakhan province of the XVIII century.


In the documents reviewed, the toponymic space of the Lower Volga of the XVIII century from Astrakhan to Tsaritsyn has been recorded. These toponymic units were not yet the subject of scientific research, but they are significant for the history of the toponymy of the Lower Volga, being associated with two modern regions (cities) – Astrakhan and Volgograd.

So, toponyms found in documents can be divided into 3 groups. The first group of toponyms is associated with the terms of terrain, the second one with water bodies' terms, and the third one with settlements' terms. The “journey”, headed by Tatishchev, allowed finding unknown, lost in modern toponymy names of geographical objects that are not in the registers and on topographic maps of the Astrakhan and Volgograd regions.

Thus, the analysis of the topographic landscape of the Astrakhan province of the XVIII century allowed drawing the following conclusions.

1. The toponyms mentioned in Notes, in their composition, more often represent a two-place combination of a geographical term and an onyme that distinguishes it from a number of other similar objects (Urochishche Klyuchej, Kalmykovskoe zajmishche, Polovoj YAr, CHernyj YAr, Suhova Buerak, Enotaevskij priverh). Three-word toponyms are presented less frequently (Urochishche Krymskij Zaton, Urochishche Koropatkina Erka, Priverh Korov'i Luki). These examples of toponyms include a term indicating a feature of the landscape or a water body, and a two-term name, which includes the term and an adjective indicating ownership or belonging to an object. In two-word and three-word toponyms, the geographic term has the main semantic load since it is inseparable from the toponym and allows forming a clearer idea of the geographical object.

2. Geographical terminology involved in the formation of toponyms of the Astrakhan province of the XVIII century is the core of geo-terms of Slavic origin (urochishche, zajmishche, luka, priverh, uhvost'e), which are common not only in southern Russian dialects but also in Northern Russian. In toponymy, there are also nomenclature terms borrowed from the Turkic languages, for example: gully (Turkic bajyr – hill, slope), yar (other Turkic jar – “ravine”).

3. The topographic landscape of the region, presented in Notes, contains substrate toponyms that are involved in the formation of a number of modern toposystems of the Russian regions and the Eastern regions of Ukraine.

4. The toponymic material recorded in the archival documents of the XVIII century reflects the features of the landscape, flora and fauna of the region, and indicates the ethnic contacts.

5. It should also be noted that the toponyms recorded in the archival documents compiled by V.N. Tatishchev from August 1 to October 26, 1742, reflect the transitional stages in the spelling of the XVIII century when the use of the letter [SHCH] was avoided. In Notes, the letter [SHCH] is practically not used, instead of which the author uses a combination of letters sch (eg: esche – “eshche”; zajmische – “zajmishche”; obeschat' – “obeshchat'”; tovarischi – “tovarishchi” and others).

Summing up the results of this study, the authors hope that the material under consideration on the toponymy of the Astrakhan province may be of scientific and practical interest not only for linguists but also for geographers, historians, ethnographers, and specialists in other fields.


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