Welcome to the TibArmy Online Lexicon (TOL) of Tibetan military terminology. This resource has been developed under the auspices of the ERC-funded project TibArmy (www.tibarmy.hypotheses.org, 2016-2023). It addresses the fact that a great number of Tibetan terms used in the context of the military are scattered across various Tibetan dictionaries and glossaries, some of which are not available online, or do not even appear in dictionaries at all. It thus aims to be a tool that will facilitate research on the military history of Tibet.
The TibArmy Online Lexicon hopes to cover every field of military terminology based on a wide variety of textual sources from archival documents to historical, biographical and literary representations of warfare in Tibetan. These areas comprise ranks and officer titles; the names given to various wars, skirmishes and incidents; terminology associated with military billeting and drilling; uniforms and equipment; weapons and armor; rituals used in a military context; and terminology used for strategies, tactics and engagements. In the field of weapons and armor, the TibArmy lexicon includes the entire “Tibetan-English Glossary of Arms and Armor Terms” published by Donald La Rocca (2006, see credit page of this website), whose pioneering work in this field we would like to acknowledge here. See our page “Sources” for further explanation on which dictionaries and lexicons were consulted to build the TOL.
Each word entry includes two main sections: first, the “reference works” (dictionaries and lexicons) where the word appears, if any; and second, “historical occurrences”, i.e. quotes from historical sources where the word can be found. In addition, each word entry is assigned one or several thematic categories (weapons, war actions, officers' titles, etc.).
The TOL is a historical lexicon in the sense that it seeks to document the diachronic development of Tibetan military terminology over the centuries, with the appearance and disappearance of terms, as well as possible changes in meaning over time. It is thus possible to search and filter results according to one of the three possible filters 1) historical sources 2) centuries 3) thematic categories, or by combining filter requests.
This is a collective work in progress. You too can contribute and expand the lexicon by adding a new word, or another historical source to a word already included in the dictionary, or additional meanings based on additional sources. We welcome contributions by anyone, so if you would like to suggest a term for inclusion, add to an existing entry, if you would like to become an active contributor, or if you have any comments that will help us improve our tools, please go to the comment section under each word or send us a message via the contact form.