one of the 24 original Ḡuz Turkic tribes.


AFŠĀR, one of the twenty-four original Ḡuz Turkic tribes (T. Houtsma, “Die Ghuzenstämme,” WZKM 2, 1888, pp. 223-24). Now widely scattered in Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan, the Afšārs were first mentioned by Kāšḡarī (Divanü lûğat-it Türk, Ankara, 1939-41, I, p. 56). According to Rašīd-al-dīn, Afšār, the eponymous founder of the tribe, was a son of Yildiz Khan, the third son of Oḡuz Khan (Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ, ed. A. A. Ali-Zade, Moscow, 1965, I/1, pp. 79-80). The name Afšār means “obedient” (J. Németh, A honfoglaló magyarság kialakulása, Budapest, 1930, p. 168).

The Afšārs apparently penetrated into the Middle East at the time of the great Saljuq migrations (5th/11th century). Already in the 6th/12th century, we find two Afšār vassals of the Saljuqs serving as governors of Ḵūzestān (C. E. Bosworth in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 171-72). During the following two centuries, the name Afšār does not appear in any of the chronicles, but the reason for this is probably that the historical works of that time generally use the vague term Turkoman instead of more specific names for any and all Turkic tribes. When we hear from them again in the 8th/14th and 9th/15th centuries, the Afšārs have spread out over much of Iran, and their leaders have become pillars of first the Qara Qoyunlū dynasty (see F. Sümer, “Kara-Koyunlular,” İA, fasc. 58, p. 293) and then the Āq Qoyunlū dynasty (M. H. Yınanc, “Ak Koyunlular,” İA, fasc. 4, p. 253). Under the Safavids, the Afšārs figured prominently in both the Qizilbāš (see C. Huart, “Ḳizil-Bāsh,” EI1 II, p. 1053) and Šāhseven (V. Minorsky, “Shāh-sewan,” EI1 IV, p. 267) tribal confederacies which formed the military backbone of the regime. They also provided the Safavid state with several qūṛčībāšīs (commanders of the royal guard), as well as with numerous field commanders and provincial officials (Ḥasan Rūmlū, II, pp. 10, 58, 70, 87, 103, 121, 125, 133, 136, 143, 184, 192, 208; L. -L. Bellan, Chah ʿAbbas I, Paris, 1932, pp. 20-23, 28, 31, 33-35, 37-38, 56-58, 131, 175, 269; Eskandar Beg, I, p. 140; tr. Savory, p. 225).

But during the Safavid period the Afšār tribe was also further dispersed. There had always been a tendency for tribal leaders who were appointed governors of various provinces or districts to take along their own tribal retinue as servants and bodyguards. However, under the Safavids, who sought to establish a strong central government, this fragmentation process was greatly intensified. The breaking up of refractory tribes, or tribes which were deemed potentially dangerous to the ruling dynasty, became a matter of national policy. Often clans or larger tribal components were moved to frontier areas, where they could both function as shields against foreign incursions and give vent to their predatory propensity by raiding across the border. This process reached its apogee under Shah ʿAbbās I (996-1038/1587-1629), who engineered widespread migrations—sometimes of entire tribes—throughout his vast empire.

The Afšārs regained much of their former strength and influence under Nāder Shah (1148-60/1736-1747), who was a Qirqlū Afšār. (For details, see L. Lockhart, Nadir Shah, London, 1938; and Mohammed Mahdi, Histoire de Nader Chah, London, 1807.) But it is interesting to note that among Nāder Shah’s assassins there were leaders from three different Afšār clans (O. Mann, ed., Das Muǰmil et-Tārīkh-i Baʿd Nādirīje des Muhammed Emīn Abu’l-Hasan aus Gulistāne, Leiden, 1891, p. 15). An Afsharid state in Khorasan survived the death of Nāder Shah and his immediate successors (see Afsharids). It constituted a buffer state between the Zands in Iran and the Dorrānīs in Afghanistan. Its ruler, Šāhroḵ, maintained his independence for nearly half a century. He was tortured to death when Āḡā Moḥammad Khan Qāǰār conquered Khorasan in 1210/1796 (cf. E. Pakravan, Agha Mohammad Ghadjar, Tehran, 1953, pp. 189-209). Although the Afšārs constituted a substantial portion of Qajar army, and Afšār leaders performed valuable services to the Qajar state in helping to suppress rebellions and in fighting against foreign aggressors, Afšār tribe had become so fragmented by then that it had lost all of its former power.

Some of the estimates which have been made of the total Afšār population in Iran are: J. M. Jouannin, 88,000 individuals (his list of tribes in A. Dupré, Voyage en Perse fait dans les années 1807, 1808 et 1809, Paris, 1819, II, p. 457); J. J. Morier, 20,000 families (“Some Accounts of the Iliyiáts, or Wandering Tribes of Persia, obtained in the Years 1814 and 1815,” JRGS 7, 1837, p. 231); Gazetteer of Persia, 12,000 families (Simla, 1914, II, p. 14); S. I. Bruk, 300,000 individuals (Naselenie Peredneĭ Azii, Moscow, 1960, p. 31). But these estimates are highly unreliable. The Afšārs have become so scattered, and so many have become sedentary (and thereby lost their tribal identity) that it is impossible to form a clear idea of how numerous they are. The names of the principal Afšār clans are: Alplū, Arašlū, Bekešlū, Gündüzlü, Imirlü, Köse Aḥmedlū, Pāpālū, Qāsemlū, Qereḵlū and Qirqlū. The Imirlū clan is probably related to the Imir tribe, one of the original Ḡuz tribes (Houtsma, “Ghuzenstämme,” p. 225). Branches of the Aynallū (variants: Inānlū, Imānlū), Uṣālū (variant: Uṣānlū) and Ustāǰlū tribes were also incorporated into the Afšār tribe.

A brief description of various Afšār groups in Iran follows. There is an important Afšār group in Ormīa and its vicinity, in western Azerbaijan. According to legend, a first wave of Afšārs settled in that region ca. 802/1399-1400, when Tīmūr named a certain Gorgīn Beg Uṣālū governor of that region (B. Nikitine, “Les Afšārs d’Urumiyeh,” JA, 1929, p. 71). But we cannot find any corroborating data in the available historical sources. From present information it appears that the Afšār colony of Ormīa dates from Safavid times and that its founder was one Qāsem Solṭān Imānlū Afšār. During the early years of the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I, Qāsem Solṭān became the leader of a group of Afšārs whose duty it was to protect the marches around Kermānšāh. He fought against the Ottomans with such distinction that he was rewarded, in 1032/1622-23, with governorship of Mosul. But shortly thereafter, owing to the outbreak of a plague, he moved towards western Azerbaijan with his tribe (Eskandar Beg, tr. Savory, pp. 959, 1142, 1229, 1239-41). His son, Kalb-e ʿAlī Beg, was made governor of Ormīa in 1037/1627-28 (ibid, p. 1311). Their descendants formed the Qāsemlū clan, named in honor of Qāsem Solṭān. The Afšārs provided Ormīa with a total of thirty-nine governors, many of whom bore the eminent title of beglarbegī (Nikitine, “Afšārs,” pp. 105-06). The most famous of the Afšār governors of Ormīa was one Fatḥ-ʿAlī Khan Arašlū, who, during the chaos that preceded Karīm Khan Zand’s rise to power, extended his sway over much of Azerbaijan, including Tabrīz and Marāḡa (Fasāʾī, I, pp. 204-15). The Afšārs of Ormīa were frontier warriors. They suffered much not only through being exposed to Ottoman incursions but also through indulging in constant warfare with the neighboring Kurdish tribes (Nikitine, “Afšārs,” pp. 90-105; P. Oberling, The Turkic Peoples of Iranian Azerbayjan, New York, 1964, pp. 68-70). Today, the Afšārs of Ormīa are sedentary. Their clans are: Göklü, Gündüzlü, Qāsemlū, Bekešlū Ostāǰlū, Īmānlū, Arašlū and Ṣārī Beglū (Oberling, Turkic Peoples, p. 70). Although it is impossible to guess their number accurately, they comprise at least 30,000 individuals.

Nāder Shah moved some 3,000 families of Afšārs from Ormīa to one of his favorite resting places, the region around Ṣāyen Qaḷʿa (now Šāhīn Dež), in the valley of the Jaḡātū (now Zarrīna) river, in southern Azerbaijan (Nikitine, “Afšārs,” p. 88). In the early 19th century the valley of the Jaḡātū contained some 300 villages inhabited by 3,500 families of Afšārs, as well as numerous refugees from the Mokrī and Moqaddam tribes and from Kurdistan (H. C. Rawlinson, “Notes on a Journey from Tabriz . . . in October and November, 1838,” JRGS 10, 1840, p. 41). But the economy of the valley was shattered by the arrival of the Čahār Dowlīs, a tribe of Turkicized Lurs. Āḡā Moḥammad Khan Qāǰār (1193-1212/1779-97) had moved them from Fārs to the vicinity of Qazvīn. Now, Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah (1212-50/1797-1834), at the request of ʿAbbās Mīrzā, transplanted them to southern Azerbaijan (R. Ker Porter, Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient Babylonia, etc. . . . During the Years 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820, London, 1822, II, p. 538; V. Minorsky, “Ṣāin-Ḳaḷʿa,” EI1 IV, p. 75). When the Čahār Dowlīs came to the valley of the Jaḡātū, they numbered approximately 4,000 families; they were given substantial holdings stretching from Mīāndoāb to Ṣāyen Qaḷʿa, from which they could draw the revenues on condition that they provide the Persian army with a contingent of cavalry. To make room for the newcomers, however, many Afšārs were forced to return to Ormīa. As the Čahār Dowlīs were little interested in agriculture, the valley’s prosperity steadily declined. Then, during the 1825-27 war with Russia, most of the Čahār Dowlīs deserted the area, settling down in a district which still bears their name, in the Hamadān region. After the war, the valley contained only about 1,000 Afšār families and approximately the same number of Čahār Dowlīs. Both, now in a weakened state, fell prey to the Kurds, who raided the area with impunity (Rawlinson, op. cit., p. 41 ). In 1960, the Afšārs of Ṣāyen Qaḷʿa lived in some 150 villages in an area stretching from Maḥmūd Jīq to Takāb (and, mostly to the north of the road linking these two communities). Many of them spent the summers on the flanks of nearby mountains with their flocks. They were divided into the following clans: Qāsemlū, Qīlīč Ḵānī and Qereḵlū (Oberling, Turkic Peoples, p. 79).

A third group of Afšārs has been inhabiting the province of Ḵamsa (the region around Zanǰān), probably since Safavid times. According to H. Field, these Afšārs originally numbered some 5,000 families but, by 1920, had been reduced to about 1,000 families (Contributions to the Anthropology of Iran, Chicago, 1939, p. 170). Around 1850, Lady Sheil estimated their number at 2,500 families (Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia, London, 1856, p. 397). Most of them have settled down in their former qešlāq (winter quarters), in what is today the dehestān (subdistrict) of Qešlāqāt-e Afšār, on the Qezel Ozūn river, southwest of Zanǰān (Razmārā, Farhang II, p. 212). In the early 1880s, A. Houtum-Schindler also encountered Afšārs on the Īǰarūd plateau, between Zanǰān and the Qezel Ozūn river, and in the village of Čerāḡ Tepe, thirty-two km northeast of Takāb (“Reisen im nordwestlichen Persien, 1880-82,” Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin 18, 1883, pp. 322, 328-29). When still nomadic, their yaylāq (summer quarters) were above Solṭānīya and farther northeast into to hills of Ṭārom (Field, Contributions, p. 170). P. A. Jaubert, who visited Ḵamsa in 1805, wrote that Zanǰān was the chief center of trade of the Afšārs “who are dominant” in the province (Voyage en Arménie et en Perse fait dans les années 1805 et 1806, Paris, 1821, p. 197). The Afšār tribe has also provided the province with many of its governors.

A fourth group of Afšārs has established itself in the vicinity of Tehran. Its yaylāq are on the slopes of the Alborz mountains, and its qešlāq are around Šahrīār and Ḡār, a few miles southwest of Ray (Kayhān, Joḡrāfīā II, p. 112). Jouannin estimated the number of these Afšārs at 7,000 individuals (Dupré, Voyage en Perse, p. 457) and Lady Sheil at 900 families (Life and Manners, p. 397).

A fifth group established itself in Māzandarān, but very little is known about it. Jouannin estimated the number of these Afšārs at 5,000 individuals (Voyage en Perse, p. 457), Lady Sheil at 100 families (Life and Manners, p. 396). But they were apparently absorbed by the surrounding population, for they are not mentioned in any recent source.

A sixth group of Afšārs made its way to the Darra-gaz region, north of Mašhad, in Safavid times. According to Mohammed Mahdi, these Afšārs, who were from the Qirqlū clan, migrated thither from northwest Iran during the reign of Shah Esmāʿīl I (907-30/1501-24); they established their yaylāq around the Mīāb-e Kapkān spring, on the flanks of the Allāho Akbar mountain range, and their qešlāq in the “Dastgerd-e Darra-gaz” area (Nader Chah I, p. 39). A. Kasravī maintains that they were moved into Khorasan along with a group of Čamišgazak Kurds by Shah ʿAbbās I to seize the districts of Nesā and Abīvard from the Uzbeks (Čehel maqāla, Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, p. 126). But Eskandar Beg (pp. 93, 140) mentions a certain Afšār leader Ḵosrow Solṭān Kūroḡlū, whom he describes as having played a role in the disputes which flared up in Khorasan following the death of the Uzbek chief ʿObayd (946/1539-40). This would indicate that there were Afšārs in that province already during the reign of Shah Ṭahmāsp I (930-84/1524-76). Mohammed Mahdi writes that, in the course of his campaign against Afghanistan in 1729, Nāder Shah moved an additional 12,000 families of Afšārs into Khorasan; among these 2,000 families were of the Qirqlū clan (Nader Chah, p. 191). There are probably thousands of persons in the Darra-gaz, Abīvard and Kalāt-e Nāderī regions who are descendants of those Afšārs. According to Bruk, there are also Afšārs south of Boǰnūrd and Qūčān, and between Sabzavār and Nīšābūr (Naselenie, p. 31). The Qirqlū Afšārs of Khorasan reached the pinnacle of their strength and influence during the reign of Nāder Shah, who was a member of that clan and was born in a tent near Darra-gaz (today often also called Moḥammadābād).

A seventh group of Afšārs has been situated, at least since early Safavid times, in Kermānšāh province. Jouannin estimated their number at 7,000 individuals (Voyage en Perse, p. 457). Their descendants are now found in the dehestān of Jolga-ye Afšār (east of Hamadān) and around Kangāvar, near which there is village named Afšārān (cf. H. L. Rabino, “Kermanchah,” RMM 38, March, 1920, p. 17; Razmārā, Farhang V, p. 107). These Afšārs served as frontier warriors and participated in many wars against the Ottoman empire.

An eighth group of Afšārs settled down in what is today southwest Iran in Saljuq times. Its earliest known leader, Šomla, became governor of Ḵūzestān ca. 550/1155 (cf. Bosworth, Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 171-72). In Safavid times these Afšārs, the principal clans of whom were the Gündüzlü, the Arašlū and the Alplū, were very numerous and were to be found in Kūh Gīlūya (Kohgīlūya), Rām Hormoz, Dawraq and Šūštar (cf. Kasravī, Čehel maqāla, pp. 80-83). During the Safavid period and the reign of Nāder Shah they produced numerous governors of Ḵūzestān and Kūh Gīlūya, as well as of Dezfūl and Šūštar (Sayyed ʿAbdallāh Šūštarī, Taḏkera-ye Šūštar, Calcutta, 1924, pp. 42ff., 96-100; Eskandar Beg, tr. Savory, pp. 225, 677; Ḥasan Rūmlū, pp. 121, 133, 136, 208). But they were also involved in continual squabbles with their Lur and Arab neighbors, and they staged several major rebellions against governmental authority (cf. P. Oberling, “The Turkic Tribes of Southwestern Persia,” Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher 35, fasc. B, 1964, p. 165). The latter culminated in the revolt of the Arašlūs and Gündüzlüs of Kūh Gīlūya against an unpopular governor in 1005/1596-97. Allāhverdī Khan, who was sent by Shah ʿAbbās I with a punitive expedition, suppressed the rebellion with consummate brutality, massacring thousands of tribesmen in the process (Eskandar Beg, tr. Savory, pp. 699-701).

The rebellion of 1005 dangerously weakened the Afšārs of southwest Iran. The Kaʿb Arabs, the Baḵtīārīs, and other tribes put increasing pressure on them to yield their choice pasture grounds, causing many to flee. The Afšār territories were even further reduced when, during the period of anarchy that followed the assassination of Nāder Shah (1160/1747), the Kaʿb Arabs seized the Dawraq region. The Afšār refugees from Ḵūzestān and Kūh Gīlūya made their way to Kermānšāh province and to the district of Ormīa (where, among the Afšārs of that region, there was until recently a clan by the name of Kūh Gelū, which is another name for Kūh Gīlūya; cf. C. A. de Bode, Travels in Luristan and Arabistan, London, 1845, pp. 114-15; and Nikitine, “Afšārs,” p. 75). Today the remaining Afšārs in southwest Iran are the Güdüzlüs of Šūštar and the Afšār clan of the Aḡāč Erī tribe of Kūh Gīlūya. The Afšārs of Šūštar live in the quarter of that city called Boleytī and in some nearby villages. They comprise some 250 families (Oberling, “The Turkic Tribes of Southwestern Persia,” pp. 169-70). The Afšārs of Kūh Gīlūya live, for the most part, in the village of Čam Tang, near Hendīǰān. They comprise some 100 families (ibid., p. 177).

There are two small groups of Afšārs in Fārs province. The first, Afšār Kermānī, forms a clan of the Kaškūlī Kūček tribe of the Qašqāʾī tribal confederacy and, in 1958, comprised some 120 families (Iranian Army Files). More than a century ago, Lady Sheil, who called this group “Qāǰār Afšār,” described it as a mixture of Turks and Leks, comprising some 350 families, 250 of which were Turkic (Life and Manners, p. 398). The Afšār Kermānīs probably joined the Qašqāʾīs when the latter and other Turkic nomads temporarily moved to Šīrǰān in Kermān province in the early 1830s as a result of a dispute with the governor-general of Fārs. Today, the Lek component is a separate clan of the Kaškūlī Kūček tribe. The second Afšār group is called Afšār Ūšāgī, and forms a clan of the Aynallū tribe of Fasā. Whether this group followed the Aynallūs to Fārs from central Iran or was also picked up in Sīrǰān in the 1830s is not known. But there were probably previous Afšār migrations into Fārs. It is possible that some Afšārs accompanied Manṣūr Beg Afšār when he was made governor-general of Fārs in 904/1498-99 (Ḥasan Rūmlū, p. 10). In all likelihood, the Alplū Afšār governors of Kāzerūn, who ruled the area for nearly 250 years starting with the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I (Fasāʾī, II, pp. 251ff.), had their own tribal retinue. Finally, Bellan mentions a group of Afšārs which inhabited the Abarqūh region in the early years of the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I (Chah ʿAbbas I, pp. 28, 35).

There are at least three groups of Afšārs in Kermān province. The first Afšārs to set foot in the province probably did so in the 10th/16th century. In any case, the first Afšār governor, Šāh-qolī Solṭān, was appointed in 933/1526-27, during the reign of Shah Ṭahmāsp I (A. ʿA. Wazīrī Kermānī, Tārīḵ-eKermān, Tehran, 1961, p. 437). In 943/1536-37, he participated in Shah Ṭahmāsp’s fourth campaign in Khorasan (Ḥasan Rūmlū, p. 125). There were eight more Afšār governors of Kermān up to the Zand dynasty (Tārīḵ-eKermān, pp. 268, 437-38). Two of these, Yūsof Khan and Walī Khan, served as qūṛčībāšīs at the beginning of Shah ʿAbbās I’s reign (Bellan, Chah ʿAbbas I, pp. 21, 28). The last of the Afšār governors of Kermān, Šāhroḵ Khan, took possession of Kermān during the period of turbulence that followed the death of Nāder Shah. He defeated the Sīstānīs and the Balūč, and for a decade ruled as a semi-independent potentate in southeast Iran. But he was routed and killed by Karīm Khan Zand in 1172/1758-59 (Sir P. Sykes, Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, London, 1902, pp. 67-68).

Some of the population estimates of the Afšārs of Kermān are: Jouannin, 6,000 individuals (Voyage en Perse, p. 457); Sheil, 1,500 families (Life and Manners, p. 398); Sykes, 10,000 families (letter to Marquess of Salisbury, dated May 14, 1900, F.O. 60, n. 621); Kayhān, 5,000 families (Joḡrāfīā, p. 94); Field, 4,275 families (Contributions, pp. 234-35). The Afšār groups in Kermān province are : 1. The Afšār Jahānšāhīs. Their elders claim that this group originated in northwest Iran and that it settled in Kermān province after a prolonged stay in the neighborhood of Fasā and Jahrom in Fārs. They could be related to the Jahānšāhlū clan of the Afšārs of Zanǰān mentioned by Field (Contributions, p. 170) and to the Afšār Ūšāḡīs of Fasā. In 1957, they numbered some 1,200 families. They were still nomadic and lived in Sīrǰān (P. Oberling, Turkic Peoples, pp. 108-09). 2. The Afšār ʿAmūʾīs: Their elders claim that this group was moved to Kermān province from the Ormīa region by Nāder Shah. In 1957, they numbered some 400 families. They were still nomadic and lived in Sīrǰān (ibid, pp. 109-10). 3. The Bučāqčīs: Their elders claim that this group was once affiliated to the Afšārs of Zanǰān and Ray and that it was moved to Kermān by Nāder Shah. In 1957 they numbered some 500 families. They were still nomadic and lived in Sīrǰān (ibid., pp. 116-19). The Bučāqčīs were notorious robbers. Sykes described their chief as the “Robin Hood of Persia” (Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, p. 435). The Bučāqčīs played an important role in the anti-British uprisings in southern Iran during World War I—especially in the so-called “Sīrǰān Episode” of August-October, 1916 (cf. P. Sykes, A History of Persia, 3rd ed., London, 1951, II, pp. 464-65). 4. The Afšār Mīr Ḥabībīs: There might still be remnants of this group around Bardsīr, in Sīrǰān. It was mentioned by Sykes (Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, p. 73) and Field (Contributions, p. 235); Sykes estimated their number at twenty-five families. A recent description of the Afšārs in Kermān is to be found in the study of G. Stöber.

In addition, there are many groups of Afšārs in Turkey. They are described in detail in the following sources: A. Refik, Anadolu’da türk aşiretleri, 966-1200, Istanbul, 1930, pp. 47-48, 53-54, 76-77, 81-82, 100, 106-07, 112-13, 121, 131, l45-47, 169-71, 176-83, 186-87, 191-92, 200-01, 209-10, 212, 214, 219; F. Sümer, “Avşarlar’a dâir,” Fuad Köprülü armağani, Istanbul, 1953, pp. 453-78: F. Köprölü, “Avşar,” İA, fasc. 11, pp. 36-37. There are also many Afšārs in Afghanistan. Bruk estimates their number at 30,000 individuals (Naselenie, p. 31 ). J. P. Ferrier, who traveled in Afghanistan in 1845, estimated that the Afšārs comprised three-fourths of the population of Andḵūy; and when he visited the town of Čahāršanba near Maymana, he found there a mixed population of Afšārs, Jamšīdīs and Qipčaqs (Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, and Beloochistan, London, 1856, pp. 197, 204). Ferrier believed that the ʿAlī Īlī Turkomans of the Andḵūy region are of Afšār origin, but G. Jarring has expressed doubt regarding this theory (On the Distribution of Turk Tribes in Afghanistan, Lund, 1939, p. 49). ʿAbd-al-Karīm Boḵārī (p. 261) claimed that the Afšārs of Andḵūy were moved there from Khorasan by Shah ʿAbbās I. There must still be Afšārs in the region of Farāh and Asfozār (today called Sabzavār) in western Afghanistan, which was long an Afšār fief. The first known Afšār governor of that area was Aḥmad Solṭān, who was appointed to that position by Shah Esmāʿīl in 928/1522 (Ḥasan Rūmlū, pp. 87, 106-07). There might also be Afšārs among the descendants of the thousands of “Qizilbāš” troops left behind by Nāder Shah to garrison Kabul, Herat and other cities of Afghanistan during his invasion of India in the late 1730s.



The most useful general sources on the Afšārs of Iran are: A. Kasravī, “Afšārhā-ye Ḵūzestān,” “Enteqād-e maqāla rāǰeʿ be Ṭarzī Afšār,” and “Īl-e Afšār,” Čehel maqāla, Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, pp. 80-85, 96-97, and 122-28.

F. Köprülü, “Avşar,” İA, fasc. 11, Istanbul, 1949, pp. 28-38 (an abbreviated version of which is “Afshār,” EI 2 I, pp. 239-41).

B. Nikitine, “Les Afšārs d’Urumiyeh,” JA, 1929, pp. 67-123.

G. Stöber, Die Afshār Nomadismus im Raum Kermān, Marburg, 1978.

L. Lockhart, Nadir Shah, London, 1938. J. R. Perry, Karīm Khan Zand, Chicago, 1979.

(P. Oberling)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 28, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, pp. 582-586

P. Oberling, “Afsar,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, pp. 582-586; an updated version is available online at (accessed on 14 March 2014).