ʿAŠĀYER

“tribes” in Iran. 1. Definitions. 2. Historical background. 3. Population figures. 4. Territorial distribution: (a) Lor and Lak tribes; (b) Kurdish tribes; (c) Turkish tribes; (d) Arab tribes; (e) Baluch and Brahui tribes. 5. Organization. 6. Economy.

 

ʿAŠĀYER, tribes. 1. Definitions. 2. Historical background. 3. Population figures. 4. Territorial distribution: (a) Lor and Lak tribes; (b) Kurdish tribes; (c) Turkish tribes; (d) Arab tribes; (e) Baluch and Brahui tribes. 5. Organization. 6. Economy.

1. Definitions. In Persian texts the words ʿašīra, qabīla, īl, ṭāyefa, ūymāq, ūlūs, and especially their plurals ʿašāyer, qabāyel, īlāt, ṭawāyef, ūymāqāt, ūlūsāt, are often used as synonyms with the general meaning of “tribe,” and in Persian dictionaries they are explained as “lineage, clan, family,” or sometimes “community” or “body of troops.” Such explanations are of no help for understanding the actual diversity of tribal groups.

Another word for tribe, found in old geographical works mainly with reference to the so-called Kurds of Fārs, is romūm, the plural of ramm (cf. rama “flock”), or in some texts zomūm, from zamm. M. Qazvīnī (V, p. 53) considered zomūm al-akrād to be a manuscript error for romūm, while De Goeje (BGA VI, p. 250; Ebn Ḵordaḏbeh, Fr. tr., BGA VI, p. 33 n. 2) preferred the reading zomm on the basis of the Kurdish word zūma (tribe), a suggestion followed by Le Strange (Lands, p. 266) but questioned by Minorsky (EI1 IIb, p. 1135; see also Markwart, Ērānšahr, p. 27; Schwarz, Iran I, pp. 135ff.; Spuler, Iran, p. 241 n. 16). Yāqūt (II, p. 821) defines romūm as camp sites of and districts inhabited by Kurds (maḥāll al-akrād wa manāzelohom). Anyway, in the usage of the present tribes of Iran, ramm and zomm are seldom, if ever, employed (though rama remains current); ūymāq and ūlūs are also obsolete. As will be seen, a large section of a tribe is now usually termed ṭāyefa or tīra.

There is no agreement, even today, on the precise criteria to define tribes and distinguish them from other groups. The effort to find a definition began long ago. One of the first thinkers to discuss the social characteristics of bedouin was the historian Ebn Ḵaldūn (732/1332-808/1406). In his analysis, they are “people who make their living by rearing animals . . . and are obliged to move and roam in search of pastures . . . and water” (Moqaddema, Pers. tr., I, p. 228). The cement which holds such people together in a tribe is the ʿaṣabīya (communal pride) which springs from shared ancestry (elteḥām) and affinity (ṣela-ye raḥem) and finds expression in confederacy (walāʾ) or alliance (ḥelf). Consequently these peoples, unlike sedentary peoples, attach more importance to descent than to domicile (ibid., pp. 243-45).

While Ebn Ḵaldūn’s experience was mainly of the Arab and Berber tribes of North Africa, more or less similar characteristics can be found in other tribes. Among Turkish-speaking groups, the word īl not only meant tribe but also had connotations of obedience and friendship. Rašīd-al-dīn Fażlallāh (ca. 645/1247—719/1319) wrote in his history (Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ, p. 159) that “they (the Tatar people) were at most times friendly and obedient (īl o moṭīʿ) and tributary to the kings of Ḵetāy.” The researches of W. Irons show that among the present Turkmen of Iran the word īl is applied primarily to a group of tents (ūba) whose occupants keep together and live in peace and amity; these groups then form wider confederacies which locally are also named īl (corresponding to the walāʾ of Ebn Ḵaldūn). At the same time īl is used as an adjective to describe relations between tribes, meaning “at peace with” as against yāḡī (at war with). Membership of an ūba and an īl generally depends on genealogy. The members of an īl perceive their community as made up of small and large patrilineal descent groups, the smallest consisting of brothers, i.e., sons of the same father, the next of brothers and nephews, i.e., descendants of the same paternal grandfather, the third of descendants of the same great-grandfather in the male line, and so on back to the common ancestor of the whole īl. (Irons, 1974, pp. 640-42).

P. C. Salzman’s studies of the Balūč in the Sarḥadd district (south and southeast of Zāhedān), such as the Yār Aḥmadzehī and the Gamšādzehī, confirm the importance of descent-based organization. Apart from halts, these tribes are constantly on the move, either to gather dates from palm groves in the Māškel lowland or to find pasturage for their sheep in the Sarḥadd highland. Consequently neither territorial groups such as the bonend, a collection of mud or mud-brick houses and palm-frond huts occupied during the date harvest, in the Māškel nor herding groups such as the halk, a number of families who own a flock and camp together, could become the basis of stable social organization in this district. The reverse is the case because the spatial distribution of the bonends and halks depends on family relationships. In matters such as marriage, prayer, house building, seasonal migration, disputes, etc., lineage is thus the main consideration, not “vicinage.” The territorial groups are themselves formed from descent groups, and their bonds of common descent are reinforced by matrilateral and affinal ties (Salzman, 1972, p. 63).

On a higher plane, Balūčī tribes enter into large and small confederacies on the pattern of Ebn Ḵaldūn’s walāʾ and ḥelf. B. Spooner has described a confederacy of five “leading” tribes of Iranian Baluchistan, namely the Barākzī, Mīr Morādzī, Bozorgzāda, Bolīdaʾī, and Šīrānī, to which the Mobārakī also adhered in 1342 Š./1963. It seems that these tribes, together with others, the Rīgī and the Esmāʿīlzī (Šabaḵš), then had a dominant influence throughout Iranian Baluchistan and that the remaining tribes were all in some way attached to them (Spooner, 1964, p. 60). The nature of these attachments has been described in studies carried out by the Persian Gulf and Sea of ʿOmān Research Center (Markaz-e Pažūhešhā-ye Ḵalīǰ-e Fārs wa Daryā-ye ʿOmān, 1335 Š./1976) about the relations of Zayn-al-dīnī, Raʾīsī, Dāwūdī, Darzāda, and Nowkarī tribes with the chiefs of Mobārakī tribe.

The foregoing remarks on the Turkmen and Balūčīs can not be simply generalized and taken as typical of all the tribes of Iran. The conceptual definitions which have been mentioned do not provide adequate criteria for distinguishing tribes from other groups. In Part 3 below we shall discuss certain operational definitions which have been used in Iran in various attempts to compute numerical strengths of tribes, and we shall see how the lack of agreement on this subject has caused confusion in the estimates of Iran’s tribal population.

2. Historical background. For facts concerning the appearance, and in some cases disappearance, of various tribes in Iran, the reader is referred to A. K. S. Lambton’s article Īlāt in EI2 and to other relevant articles in EI1,2 (see Bibliography). It must be emphasized that in Iran nomadism, in the sense of seasonal migration (kūč), has since remote times been a way of life side by side with village-dwelling and city-dwelling.

According to Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh, quoted with some variations by Ebn al-Faqīh (given here in parenthesis), there were four Kurdish tribes (zomūm) in Fārs, namely the zomm of Ḥasan (Ḥosayn) b. Jīlūya or the Bāzanǰān, that of Ardām (Arǰām) b. Jovānāh (Ḵᵛanǰāh), that of Qāsem b. Šahrabarāz (Šahrīār) or the Kūrīān, and that of Ḥasan (Ḥosayn) b. Ṣāleḥ or the Sūrān (Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh, p. 47; Ebn al-Faqīh, pp. 203-04). Somewhat different

 

are the lists in Eṣṭaḵrī and Ebn Ḥawqal (both mid 4th/10th century), namely the romūm of Jīlūya or the Ramīǰān, of Šahrīār or the Bazanǰān, of Ḥoseyn b. Ṣāleḥ or the Dīvān, of Aḥmad b. Layṯ or the Lavāleǰān, and Aḥmad b. Ḥasan or the Kārīān (Eṣṭaḵrī, pp. 98-99, 113-14; Ebn Ḥawqal, pp. 264-65, tr. Kramers, pp. 261-62). According to Eṣṭaḵrī, there were also thirty-three nomad tribes of Kurds (aḥyāʾ al-akrād) in Fārs, who like the Arabs moved to different pastures in winter and summer, and that altogether they had 500,000 tents (Eṣṭaḵrī, pp. 114-15; Ebn Ḥawqal, pp. 270-71, tr., p. 267; Moqaddasī, p. 446). A hundred years later, however, according to Ebn al-Balḵī (ca. 500/1107), the five Kurdish tribes of Fārs no longer existed, all having been annihilated in wars against the Muslims (p. 168). It would appear that during this period they were largely replaced by Šabānkāra Kurdish tribes. The latter also comprised five main groups, named Esmaʿīlīān, Rāmānīān (cf. Rāmānīya in Eṣṭaḵrī’s list, p. 114), Karzūbīān, Masʿūdīān, and Šakānīān.

Outside of Fārs, there are mentions of the presence of Kurds (the word being used in a broader sense than today and including Lor tribes) elsewhere in Iran and particularly in the western mountainous regions. Yaʿqūbī (3rd/9th century) states in his Boldān that there were Kurds at Ṣaymara, Ḥolvān, Kermānšāh, and some of the villages of Isfahan (Boldān, pp. 269-70, 275). Masʿūdī (Morūǰ III, pp. 253-54, ed. Pellat, II, sec. 1118) refers to Kurdish tribes called Šūhīān (or Šāhīān) at Dīnavar and Hamadān, and Māǰordān at Kankavar (Kangāvar), and more tribes in the province of Jebāl; Eṣṭaḵrī (pp. 87, 274) to Kurds in the vicinity of Takrīt and Samarra and also in the deserts of Khorasan; Ebn Ḥawqal (pp. 215, 228, 336, 370, 443, 446, tr. Kramers, pp. 209, 223, 329, 362, 428-29, 432) to the Haḏbānīya Kurds at Ošnoh (Ošnūya), to the Ḥamīdīya, Lārīya, Haḏbānīya, and other Kurds at Šahrazūr and Sohravard, to Kurds in the Andḵūd (q.v.) district of Jūzǰān and the Qohestān district of Khorasan, and to Kurds in what is now Lorestān (most parts of which then belonged to Ḵūzestān but were later attached to districts of Jebāl). Yāqūt (II, p. 575) mentions the Kurds of a small town named Dašt in the mountains between Erbīl and Azerbaijan.

The abodes of the Kūč and Balūč and the Jāt peoples are placed by early Islamic geographers in the province of Kermān. Ebn al-Faqīh (p. 206) refers to the cities called Qofṣ and Bolūṣ, and Masʿūdī (op. cit., p. 254, ed. Pellat, sec. 1119) writes of the Qofṣ and Balūǰ and the Jatt. Eṣṭaḵrī (p. 163-64) and Ebn Ḥawqal (pp. 309-10, tr. Kramers, pp. 303-05) state that there were seven tribes in the mountains of the Qofṣ and that the Balūč occupied the skirt of the namesake mountains. These reports are repeated in writings of the 7th/13th century (Yāqūt, I, pp. 732-33, IV, p. 147, 150; Abu’l-Fedā, Taqwīm al-boldān, Pers. tr., pp. 380-81; Moḥammad b. Naǰīb Bakrān, Jahān-nāma, p. 58).

Although the big Turkish immigrations into Iran did not begin until later, the presence of Turks is occasionally mentioned in writings of the early Islamic centuries. Masʿūdī (ibid.) mentions Ḡūz (i.e., Ḡozz) and Ḵarloḵ Turks around Beṣtām and Bost in Sīstān, and Eṣṭaḵrī (pp. 245, 253, 281) mentions Ḵalaǰ who lived in the southern districts of Khorasan and the lands between Sīstān and India and “had the build, appearance, and clothes of Turks and all spoke Turkish.” From the accounts of Eṣṭaḵrī (loc. cit.) and Ebn Ḥawqal (pp. 419, 426, 452, tr. Kramers, pp. 407, 413, 437), it would seem that the Ḵalaǰ had long been established in that region. These two writers (Eṣṭaḵrī, p. 214; Ebn Ḥawqal, p. 383, tr. p. 373) also state that in the province of Astarābād (i.e., Gorgān) there was a rebāṭ named Dehestān which lay on the frontier with the Ḡozz Turks and was frequented by Turks coming from Ḵᵛārazm. According to Ebn Bakrān (p. 72) the original abode of the Ḡozz had been in the district of Tārāb on both banks of the “Jayḥūn of Čāč” (i.e., the Sayḥūn or Syr Darya). Later a large group of them passed through the province of Balk into the district of Ḵottalān (north of the Amu Darya), whence they burst out in the mid 6th/12th century and invaded Khorasan, penetrating ultimately to Kermān. The same author also mentions the Manqešlāq Turks around the Kūh-e Sīāh near the Ābaskūn (Caspian) Sea and the Yazer Turks around Šahrestāna and Farāva (two outposts of Khorasan on the edge of the desert sands of Ḵᵛārazm) and a fortress called Ḥeṣār-e Ṭāq (ibid., pp. 72-73).

The available evidence shows that the great expansion of nomadism in Iran was not a consequence of either the Arab or the Saljuq Turkish invasions, but began with the Mongol conquests in the 7th/13th century (Lambton, in EI2 III, p. 1096). In the subsequent history of Iran, Turkish and Turkman tribes played leading parts. The tribal regimes of the Saljuqs and the Mongols were followed in the 9th/15th century by those of the Timurid and then the Qara Qoyunlū and Āq Qoyunlū Turkmen. The Safavid dynasty (907/1501-1135/1722) won and kept power with the aid of an army consisting primarily of Qizilbāš Turkman tribes (ūymāqāt) such as the Šāmlū, Ostāǰlū, Ḏu’l-qadr, Qaǰar, Afšār, Rūmlū, and Tekelū. After the consolidation of the Safavid regime, Shah Ṭahmāsb (r. 930/1524-984/1576) and especially Shah ʿAbbās I (r. 996/1588-1038/1624) took steps to disband the unruly Qizilbāš tribes, but after the regime’s fall certain Qizilbāš tribes decisively influenced the course of events. Nāder-qolī arose from the Ḵorāsānī branch of the Qereḵlū tīra of the Afšār tribe and, after crushing the Ḡalǰāʾī (Ḡalzay) Afghans, founded the Afšār dynasty. After a short period of rule by the Kurdish (or Lor) clan of Zand in the second half of the 12th/18th century, the government of Iran fell into the hands of the another set of Qizilbāš chiefs, those of the Ašāqabāš section of the Qajar tribe.

From a report which was compiled for the Qajar government in 1215/1800 and gives figures of local revenues and military strengths in Iran in 1128/1715 (reproduced by Dānešpazūh in FIZ 20, pp. 396-423), it is possible to outline the territorial distribution of the tribes (not counting the Afghans, Balūč, and Lezgians) at the end of the Safavid period. In this document (pp. 406-15) the tribes are divided into two categories, those of Iranian origin and those “from outside,” i.e., of immigrant origin but domiciled in Iran.

The first category comprises two main and some other groups. One main group is the Lor, made up of four tribes: the Feylī near Ḵorramābād, whose sections migrated seasonally to within three days march from Baghdad; the Lak and Zand, whose winter quarters were in the mountains of ʿErāq (-e ʿAǰam) up to the domain of ʿAlī Šokr; the Baḵtīārī, who lived in ʿErāq (-e ʿAǰam) between Kūh-e Gīlū (= Kūhgīlūya), Behbahān, and Šūštar; and the Mamaysanī (= Mamasanī), who lived in Fārs. The other main group in this category consists of the Kurdish tribes: the Garrūs; the Kalhor; the Mokrī, whose abode stretched from Hamadān to the border of the Marāḡa district; and the Zaʿfarānlū, Saʿdānlū, Kavānlū, and Davānlū Kurds in the north of Khorasan. The remaining groups said in the document to be of Iranian origin are the Jalāyer around Marv-e Šāhīān, the Qarāʾī between Torbat (-e Ḥaydarīya) and (Torbat-e) Jām, the Langar, and the Jolāʾī. (In the other sources the Jalāyer and the Qarāʾī are counted as Turks).

In the category of tribes “from outside,” the first group named is that of the Turkish tribes: the Afšār, including the Šāmlū, Qereḵlū, and Sarvānlū, around Ṭūs in Khorasan and Orūmī (Urmia) in Azerbaijan and in several other parts of Iran (although the Bayāt-e Donbolī are stated in the document to have belonged to the Afšār tribe, they later broke away and made themselves the masters of Ḵoy and Salmās, later Šāhpūr); the Šaqāqī with summer and winter quarters in Azerbaijan and Gīlān (in other sources the Šaqāqī and Donbolī tribes are described as Kurds); the Qajar around Astarābād in Gorgān, Īravān (Erivan) in Azerbaijan, and Marv-e Šāhīān in Korasan (in the document the Zangana tribe, which is Kurdish, in Kermānšāh province and the Qaragūzlū tribe in Hamadān province are counted as Qajar) and the Šāhsīvan (= Šāhsevan) living partly in Fārs and partly in Azerbaijan and Gīlān. The Qašqaʾī (= Qašqāʾī) tribe in Fārs is also mentioned in the document.

The other group of tribes “from outside” is that of the Arab tribes: the Čaʿab (Kaʿb) at Dawraq (the later Fallāḥīya and the present-day Šādagān); the Mawlāʾī at Hawīza; the Arab tribe in Fārs; and the Mīšmast Arabs in the Toršīz and Qāʾenāt districts, the Zangūʾī Arabs in the Ṭabas district, and the ʿOmarī Arabs, all in Khorasan (pp. 406-15). This document shows that the geographical distribution of the tribes of Iran had very nearly acquired its final shape before the end of the Safavid period.

3. Population figures. Figures of the tribal population of Iran betray obvious confusion. R. F. Thomson (“La Perse,” pp. 17-18), on the basis of J. Sheil’s Notes on Persian Eelyats, reckoned the tribal population in the mid 13th/19th century to be about 1,700,000 or approximately 39 percent of the total population of Iran, and Lady Sheil took it to be about one half. Most other

 

writers, however, think that it was not then more than one third. In the later decades of the century, the proportion was generally put at not more than one quarter, as shown in Table 22; estimates by European writers.

In the 20th century, statistics of the urban and rural population have been greatly improved, but knowledge of the size of the tribal population has remained vague. One reason has been the difficulty of taking censuses of persons with no fixed abode, but the main cause has been the use of different definitions for computing tribal numbers. Sometimes tribes have been implicitly identified with ethnic groups; for example, Zolotarev assumed that all the non-Persian-speaking groups were tribal. At other times the implicitly or explicitly used criterion has been attachment to a tribal organization. A more refined use of this criterion was advocated by the late Iranian anthropologist N. Afšār Nāderī (Afshar-Naderi). To determine whether a community is tribal, he considered it necessary and sufficient to ascertain the existence of (1) a tribal organization, i.e., an īl (confederacy) divided into ṭāyefas (tribes or sections), tīras (clans or subsections), and awlādīyāt (lineages), and (2) a common territory. On this definition, all persons conscious of relationship to a lineage, clan, tribe, and confederacy belong to the tribal population (Afshar-Naderi, pp. 4-5).

If the above definition is accepted, groups which are now sedentary but have preserved a tribal organization ought to be counted as tribal. However, such a broad definition has not been generally accepted since many consider only nomadic and potentially nomadic groups as tribal. In the Iranian national census of 1355 Š./1976, the definition was even narrower, being restricted to nomadic groups which were on the move or encamped in tents at the time of the count (generally in Ābān/October-November). (Markaz-e Āmār-e Īrān, 1355 Š./1976, p. 11). The instructions stated that “tribes-people who have become sedentary, or if not sedentarized, are at the time of the census living in ordinary dwelling-units or for the time being in shacks and reed or palm frond huts in their summer or winter quarters, will be counted as part of the normally resident families” (op. cit., p. 77).

In the agricultural census of 1353 Š./1974, the only families counted as tribal were those “not possessing permanent domiciles and dwellings constructed of hard materials . . . but living in black tents” (Markaz-e Āmār-e Īrān, 1353 Š./1974, p. 1). Since most tribes, even if wholly nomadic, live in houses built of unbaked bricks or mud and straw in their winter and summer quarters, the narrowness of these two definitions, particularly the last one, and the discrepancy between them and previously used definitions are self evident.

With so much conceptual disagreement over and above the inherent difficulty of counting families on the move, it is not surprising that the estimates which have been made differ very considerably. In Table 23, estimates from the period 1335 Š./1956-1355 Š./1976 are classified according to the criteria which were used in their compilation. By this means the discrepancies in the figures are to some extent explained.

As regards the figures of 1974 in Table 23, three points require explanation. (1) The figure of 297,000 in the last column is not fully comparable with the other figures in the same column because it excludes tribes-people who were actually on the move but owned houses made of mud or unbaked bricks in their winter or summer quarters. (2) The figure of 877,000 is an estimate by the present writer based on the census figure of non-sedentary (as officially defined) and semi-sedentary families, namely 166,645 families, multiplied by the average family size, namely 5.26 persons. (3) The distinction between “tribal” and “mobile” in the last column refers to membership and non-membership of an organized tribe.

All in all, the figures in Table 23 show that, even if the broadest definition is followed, the proportion of the tribal population to the total population has significantly declined, if only because of the more rapid increase of the urban and sedentary village-dwelling population. From about 25 percent at the start of the 20th century, the proportion fell to 14 percent at the most in 1976. If the definition “nomadic or potentially nomadic” is accepted as the soundest criterion of tribalism in modern conditions and the figures under that heading are used, the proportion fell to only 7 percent in 1976. On the subject of the ethnic composition of the tribes of Iran, the available information is also scarce and more or less unreal. From the report of Mīrzā Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Mostawfī (Dānešpažūh, op-cit., pp. 396-421), it can be inferred that in the early 12th/18th century the proportions of the ethnic groups in the total tribal population excluding the Balūč and the Brāhūʾīs were 54 percent Lor and Lak, 33 percent Kurdish, 11 percent Turkish, 9 percent Arab, and 2 percent Jalāyer, Qarāʾī, and Jolāʾī. Figures from the late 19th century are summarized in Table 24. The consistency of the figures, apart from those of Zolotarev, is not surprising because the remaining four authors were influenced by each other’s estimates.

For the period 1956-76 no reliable estimates are available. The published lists of the tribes are in general so defective that it would be misleading to use them as evidence of ethnic distribution. For example, the list in the encyclopedic volume Īrānšahr (Tehran, 1342 Š./ 1963, pp. 116-26) provides no data on the number of families in Turkman tribes, the Arabs of Ḵūzestān, and the Balūč of Sīstān and Baluchistan. The figures given by C. S. Coon (EI2 III, p. 8, table II) seem very unbalanced; his estimate of 1,200,000 for the population of the Arab tribes of Iran is far removed from later estimates of a maximum of 200,000. A list published in 1360 Š./1981 by the Markaz-e ʿAšāyerī-e Īrān is also open to question.

4. Territorial distribution. As already noted, we do not yet possess a comprehensive and accurate list of the tribes of Iran and their locations. In the present state of knowledge and in the absence of agreement on uniform definitions, compilation of such a list would hardly seem practicable. For example, it can often be seen that one writer treats a ṭāyefa forming part of an īl as an independent tribe, and that another writer treats the same unit as a tīra forming part of a ṭāyefa. The available lists are therefore not mutually comparable. Moreover the tribes themselves constantly evolve. The name, composition, abode, means of livelihood, and even language of a tribe can change. Nevertheless, a good deal of information about the territorial distribution of the main tribes of Iran can be obtained from the published sources, particularly Kayhān’s Joḡrāfīā II, Razmārā’s Joḡrāfīā-ye neẓāmī-e Īrān, Īrānšahr, the reports of the Plan and Budget Organization (Sāzmān-e Barnāma wa Būdǰa), 1355 Š./1976, the Tribal Affairs Center (Markaz-e ʿAšāyerī), and P. Hand’s Survey of the Tribes of Iran.

In the present article, the ethnic categorization of the tribes is generally based on present conditions rather than historical origins, because many tribes which are today regarded as Kurdish or Turkish were in past times described as Lor or Lak, and vice versa. For example, the Torkāšvand of Hamadān are of Lor origin, but after moving to their present abode and coming into contact with Kurdish neighbors, such as the Jomūr, they gradually adopted the Kurdish language (Borqāʿī, Čador-nešīnān, p. 3); they have therefore been placed in the category of Kurdish tribes. Although there are linguistic and ethnographic grounds for belief that the Gūrān in the provinces of Bāḵtarān (formerly Kermānšāhān) are not of Kurdish origin (Minorsky, “The Gurān,” pp. 75-103), they are today counted as Kurds. Likewise the Āqā Jārī, now counted as one of the Lor tribes of the province of Kūhgīlūya and Boir Aḥmad, were originally Turks; according to Ḵᵛāǰa Rašīd-al-dīn Fażlallāh, a section of the Ḡozz (Oḡūz) Turks who camped in scrub lands were called Āḡāč-Īrī, i.e., scrub-dwellers (Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ, I, p. 108). In Sīstān there is a small tribe known as the Kurds, of well attested Kurdish origin, that is now so assimilated to the Balūčī culture that they have to be classed as a Balūčī tribe. Many more instances could be cited.

(a) Lor and Lak tribes. The Lor tribes live mainly in the mountains of southwestern Iran, but a few small groups are found in Khorasan and in the Sīrǰān and Rūdbār districts of Kermān province.

Information about the Lori-speaking Mamasanī (Mām Ḥasanī or Moḥammad Ḥosaynī) in Fārs is scarce, but it is known that a Mamasanī confederacy seized Šūlestān district early in the 12th/18th century and thereby established another Lor domain, hence forth known as Mamasanī, between Kūhgīlūya and Shiraz. The šahrestān of that name, lying north of Kāzerūn and west of Ardakān and having its center at Nūrābād, is today occupied by the four main Mamasanī ṭāyefas, namely the Takeš, Jāvīd (or Jāvī), Došmanzīārī, and Rostam. They are now almost entirely sedentarized.

North and west of the district lies the abode of other Lor tribes collectively known as the tribes of Kūhgīlūya and Boir Aḥmadī. Formerly part of Fārs, the territory became a separate ostān (province) in 1355 Š./1976. According to reports written in the 1960s, the inhabitants were then divided into three tribal groups, the Jākī, Bāvī, and Āqā Jarī. The Jākīs were originally divided into two moieties, one called Čahār Bonīča comprising the Boir Aḥmadī, Čerāmī, Došmanzīārī, and Nūʾī; the other called Līrāvī comprising the Līrāvīs of the mountain and the Līrāvīs of the plain. The Līrāvīs of the mountain were made up of tribes called Bahmeʾī, Ṭayyebī, Šīr ʿAlī, and Yūsofī. The Bāvīs were centered on Bāšt and Kūhmarra, and despite an opinion that they are an offshoot of the Bāvī Arabs of Ḵūzestān, they all speak the Lorī language. The Āqā Jarī originated in a confederacy of Turks, Tāǰīks, and Lors, as shown by the names of their constituent tīras, Afšār, Bīgdelī, Jāma-Bozorgī, Jaḡatāʾī, and others; some of them are definitely remnants of the Šāhsevans who governed Kūhgīlūya in the Ṣafavīd period. (Bāvar, 1324 Š./1945; Ẓarrābī, 1340 Š./1961; Lomʿa, 1346 Š./1967; Afšār Nāderī, 1347 Š./1968; Ṣafīnežād, 1347 Š./1968). The tribal formations still existing in the province in the early 1980s were named as the Boir Aḥmad, Čerām, Bābūʾī, Došmanzīārī, Ṭayyebī, and Bahmeʾī.

The Baḵtīārī or Great Lor tribes are one of Iran’s most important seasonally migrant communities. Their territory lies in the central Zagros north and west of the Kūhgīlūya territory. They are divided into two component parts (bolūk), the Haft Lang and the Čahār Lang. The first official appointment of a Baḵtīārī il-khan took place in 1284/1867 by the order of Moḥammad Shah Qāǰār. This office and that of the īlbegī, which ranked second in the tribal hierarchy, were abolished in Reżā Shah’s reign. The Haft Lang tribes migrate annually between southeastern districts of Ḵūzestān (Andīkā, Masǰed-e Solaymān, Šūštar, Īḏa) and the district of Čahār Maḥāl(l)-e Baḵtīārī (Šahr-e Kord, Borūǰen). They are divided into four tribes (bāb), the Dūrakī, Bābādī, Baḵtīārvand (or Behdārvand), and Dīnārānī. The Jānakī (or Javānakī) tīra, also affiliated to the Haft Lang, is now sedentarized in the district of the same name in Ḵūzestān. The Čahār Lang tribes have, for the most part, winter quarters in the šahrestāns of Dezfūl and Īḏa in Ḵūzestān and summer quarters in the šahrestāns of Darān (Farīdan) in Isfahan and Alīgūdarz and Borūǰerd in Lorestān. They consist of four tribes (bāb), the Mamīvand, Moḥammad Ṣāleḥ (or Mam-Ṣāleḥ), Mūgūyī, and Kayānerṯī. The Zalaqī tribes are sometimes counted as part of the Čahār Lang. Many tīras of the Čahār Lang tribes have become sedentary. (Owžan Baḵtīārī, 1344 Š./1965; Wezārat-e Ābādānī wa Maskan, 1348 Š./1969; Sāzmān-e Barnāma wa Būdǰa, 1355 Š./1976, pp. 9-57; De Bode, 1845; Rawlinson, 1839, pp. 26-116; Wilson, 1925, pp. 205-25; Garthwaite, 1969; Garthwaite, 1978, pp. 173-97; Digard, 1979).

The Little Lor tribes live in the ostāns of Lorestān and Īlām (a separate ostān since 1353 Š./1974), i.e., the region between the Dez river in the south and east, the Iraqi frontier in the west, and the ostān of Bāḵtarān (formerly Kermānšāhān) in the northwest and west. Many of these tribes are now sedentary, but some still migrate seasonally in search of pasture between the lowlands north and west of Andīmešk and the highlands in the north and west of the region. As a result of the compulsory sedentarization policy of the years 1313 Š./1934-1320 Š./1941, these Lor tribes were to some extent fragmented. Parts of a single tribe can now be found living in different districts.

The territory of the Bālā Gerīva tribe covers the baḵš (district) of Malāvī southwest of Ḵorramābād and lies between the Kūh-e Haštād Pahlū to the north, the Ḵorramābād-Dezfūl highway to the west, and the Dez river to east and south. The two districts of the Weysīān, around Kargāh in the north and the Alvār-e Garmsīrī in the south of Malāvī, can perhaps be appropriately classified as belonging to the Bālā Gerīva. Settled in this territory is the principal remnant of the Dīrakvand tribe, which was formerly made up of four ṭāyefas called Bahārvand, Qalāvand, Mīr, and Zaynīvand. Various remnants of the Mīr, now mostly sedentarized, are to be found in Ṣeymara, Kargāh-e Bālā Gerīva (Malāvī), and the Alvār-e Garmsīrī area. A section of the Bahārvand ṭāyefa, which is said to have originally comprised two tīras called Morād ʿAlīvand and Ḵord ʿAlīvand, still roams between the Alvār-e Garmsīrī area and Ḵorramābād; but several tīras and offshoots, such as the Ḵord ʿAlīvand, Rašnū, Šālvand, and Naǰafvand, have become independent units and settled around the Āb-e Čūlhūl. The Zaynīvand ṭāyefa has been sedentarized at Ṣaymara near Darrašahr. Two ṭāyefas of the Jūdakī tribe, namely the Āqā Reżāʾī and the Āqā Mīrzāʾī, have settled around the Āb-e Čūlhūl and Kargāh, and fragments of the Mīr ṭāyefa and the Qalāvand ṭāyefa in the Dašt-e Lāla (plain of the wild tulips). In past times this plain was part of the territory of the Pāpī (= servant) tribe, and the sedentarized Moḥammad Jaʿfarī ṭāyefa of the tribe still lives there. The Manāsarī section of the Pāpī tribe, comprising the ṭāyefas of the Morādī, the Yaʿqūbvand, Madhūnī, Mālzīrī, Kešvarī, Līrīāʾī, and others, lives in the east of the šahrestān of Ḵorramābād.

The area in the Pīš(-e) Kūh zone lying roughly between the Kūh-e Safīd in the south and the summits of the Kūh-e Garī in the north is called the Selsela. It includes the fertile plain of Alaštar. The ṭāyefas and tīras of the Selsela comprise the Ḥasanvand, Yūsofvand, Kowlīvand, Karam-ʿAlī, Falak-al-dīnī, and some more small tīras. Almost all are now sedentary. Their language is Lorī.

The area called Herū consists essentially of the baḵšes of Čaḡalvandī and Zāḡa in the east of the šahrestān of Ḵorramābād. Čaḡalvandī is the abode of the important Beyrānvand tribe, Zāḡa that of the Bāǰūlvand tribe which is made up of ṭāyefas called Sagvand, Dālvand, and Qāʾed Raḥmat. These two tribes are said to have moved from Fārs to Lorestān long ago.

The area called Ṭarhān lies between the Ṣeymara and Kašgān rivers in the west of the ostān of Lorestān and includes the baḵš of Kūhdašt in the šahrestān of Ḵorramābād. The Lor tribes of Ṭarhān are the Sūrī and the Emrāʾī, and ṭāyefas called ʿAlīvand, Ḵᵛošnāmvand, Garmaʾī, and Šīrāvand also live there. Besides these, there are some Lak ṭāyefas in Ṭarhān, among whom the Garāvand, Ādīnavand, Kūnānī, Āzādbaḵt, and Owlād-e Qobād may be mentioned.

Dolfān (locally called Delfo), is the northern baḵš of Lorestān. It is said to derive its name from Abū Dolaf, the Arab chief who made himself the master of northern Lorestān in the 3rd/9th century. A man taken prisoner by the Dolaf tribe and known after his return as Dolafī reputedly had five sons, Īvat, Mūma, Bīžan, Kākā, and Mīr Beg, each of whom founded a ṭāyefa bearing his name. To these must be added another ṭāyefa, the Čāvārī (or Čāvdārī). All live in the baḵš of Dolfān and at most times in the dehestān (sub-district) of the same name. The language of the Dolfānī tribes is Lakī (see Ḥ. Īzadpanāh, Āṯār-e bāstānī o tārīḵī-e Lorestān II, Tehran, 2535 = 1355 Š./1976, pp. 292-99).

The baḵš of Čegenī is occupied by the Ṭūlābī, Čegenī, Sādāt-e Ḥayāt al-Ḡaybī, and other ṭāyefas.

The Bālāvand, Zardalānī, and Ṭarhānī tribes live close to Ṭarhān but within the ostān of Īlām.

(Sākī, 1343 Š./1964; Kelkī et. al., 1343 Š./1964, p. 27; Sāzmān-e Barnāma wa Būdǰa, 1355 Š./1976, II, pp. 1-49; Feilberg, 1952; Black-Michaud, 1974, pp. 210-88).

(b) Kurdish tribes. During the century between ca. 1880 and 1980, most of the Kurdish tribes of Iran became sedentary. They have not however lost their ethnic culture or even their affiliations. The Kurdish populated parts of modern Iran lie mainly in the ostāns of Bāḵtarān (formerly Kermānšāhān), Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan, Īlām (Pošt(-e) Kūh), and the north of Khorasan. There are also relatively small communities of Kurds in Kermān, Fārs, Varāmīn, Tehran, the Rūdbār district of Gīlān, and elsewhere, even in Baluchistan.

Bāḵtarān (Kermānšāhān) is an important area of Kurdish settlement. Here the Jāf confederacy, until its break-up after the first world war, is said to have numbered 40,000 families under a single chief. Many of the dispersed remnants of the former confederacy still live in the province: Among them are the Javānrūdī tribe, consisting mainly of the Rostam Begī ṭāyefa, in the dehestān of Javānrūd, and the Ṯalāṯ tribe, consisting of the Qobādī, Walad Begī, and Bābā Jānī ṭāyefas. Many of the Qobādīs are now settled in the dehestān of Azgala. The Walad Begīs have homes in Ravānsar, in the southwest of Javānrūd, and in the south of Bāyengān, and winter pastures at Sar-e Qaḷʿa. Most of the Bābā Jānī tribesmen have become sedentary farmers and stockbreeders in the dehestān of the same name.

 

Also counted as Jāf are the Owrāmān (Avromān) tribes, who are divided according to their abodes into the Owrāmān-e Lahūnī in Nowsūd and Pāva in Bāḵtarān, and the Owrāmān-e Taḵt in Kurdistan. The very small Īnāqī (or Īnāḵī and Emāmī groups are also remnants of the Jāf confederacy.

The Sanǰābī tribe, one of the most important in Bāḵtarān, apparently came into being in the second quarter of the 19th century as a coalition of groups of immigrants into the area from Fārs, Iraq, and Lorestān (M. K. Mokrī, “Ašāyer-e Kord,” Yādgār 5/1-2, p. 85). They used to move between summer quarters in the Māhīdašt plain in the west of Bāḵtarān and winter quarters in the Zohāb district on the Iraqi frontier, but are now either settled, for the most part in the Māhīdašt, in the dehestān of Sanǰabī in the šahrestān of Eslāmābād (formerly Šāhābād-e Ḡarb), or make only short transhumances, though some still move annually to Zohāb where they grow crops and rear livestock. The principal Sanǰābī tīras are the Dālīān, Čalābī (or Čālāvī), and Ḵorda-Dasteǰa. Some groups, such as the Pīr ʿAlī and Būlī tīras, speak dialects which differ from the main Sanǰābī dialect.

The Gūrān tribe is one of the oldest in this region. Its center is the village of Gahvāra in the dehestān of Gūrān. The Qalḵānī ṭāyefa was formerly included in the tribe, but the present ṭāyefas of the Gūrān are the Bīvanīž (Bīvanīǰ), with summer quarters north of Kerend and winter quarters in Zohāb; the Čūpānkāra, now mostly sedentarized around Qaḷʿa-e Qāżī; the Ḥaydarī, who move between Sīāvāna (north of Kerend) and Tang-e Zohāb; and the Tofanġčī, now sedentarized in the north of the dehestān of Gūrān. In religion the Gūrān are generally Ahl-e Ḥaqq (q.v.). They are thought to be of non-Kurdish origin. The Qalḵānīs, who lived in the dehestān of the same name in the north of the baḵš of Kerend, are today regarded as a separate tribe.

The majority of the Kalhor, another big Kurdish tribe, live in Bāḵtarān and either are sedentarized or move between summer and winter quarters within the province, though a few migrate annually to the Mehrān-Dehlorān belt in Īlām. The following components of the Kalhor have been mentioned: the Čenār o Kenār tīra, the ṭāyefas of the Ḥasanābād area 40 km southwest of Šahr-e Bāḵtarān (Kermānšāh), a Kalhor tīra in the Māhīdašt, and “foreign” ṭāyefas who are not pure Kalhor and probably came from Pošt-e Kuh (Īlām) and Ḵūzestān, as well as some others.

The tribes of Kerend, a collection of small tribes most of whom broke away from larger tribes, are the Bābā Jānī, Jāf-e Gandombān (an offshoot of the Ṯalāṯ), Sīmānī-ye Gāsūr, Jowzaga (Ahl-e Ḥaqq, originally Gūrān), Kolāh-pahn (related to the Kalhor), and Ḥabībavand (immigrants from Pošt-e Kūh).

Other tribes of Kurds, Laks, and Lors whose presence in Bāḵtarān is mentioned are the Jalīlvand at Dīnavar, the Jomeyr (or Jomūr), the Torkāšvand, and the Zūla. The last three make annual migrations from Bāḵtarān to Hamadān province and to the Mehrān-Dehlorān belt in Īlām, some going as far as Ḵūzestān. (Keyvānpūr Mokrī, 1326 Š./1947-1327 Š./1948; Sāzmān-e Barnāma wa Būdǰa, 1355 Š./1976, II. pp. 1-81; Borqaʿī, 1352 Š./1973).

In Īlām (the old Pošt-e Kūh), Kurdish, Lak, and Lor tribes converge and are so intermingled that identification of them as such is not easy (Kayhān, Joḡrāfīā II, p. 465). The Kurdish tribes of the ostān live on the baḵšes of Ābdānān and Zarrīnābād and parts of Mehrān, Dehlorān, and Mūsīān; they are the Jāyervand, Mamsīvand, Koll-e Kūh, Qāʾed-e Ḵorda, Dīnārvand, and Dast-ʿAlīvand. The principal mixed Kurdish-Lorī tribes are the Arkawāzī, Malekšāhī, Gačī, Šūhān, Ḵezel, Bīǰanvand, Hendomīnī, ʿAlīšīrvān, and Mīšḵāṣ, and there are some others. In addition, there are tribes which annually migrate to Īlām from Hamadān, Bāḵtarān, and Lorestān, e.g., the Zangana, Zūla, Kalhor, Jomeyr, and Beyrānvand. (Sazmān-e Barnāma wa Būdǰa, 1355 Š./1976, III, pp. 1-44; Refʿatī, 1356 Š./1977).

On the tribes of the ostān of Kurdistan proper, not much information is available. Most have become fully sedentary or only make short transhumances. Among the numerous tribes reported to be settled in the šahrestāns of Sanandaǰ and Marīvān are the Kūmāsī in the dehestān of the same name in the east of Marīvān, the Kalātarzān (or Kalāntarzān) between Kūmāsī and Sanandaǰ, and the Kaškī and Kamāngar ṭāyefas in the baḵš of Kāmyārān south of Sanandaǰ. The now sedentarized Kohnapūš and Kānī Sāsānī ṭāyefas also live in Marīvān. The Solṭānī ṭāyefa of the Owrāmān-e Taḵt tribe is settled in Owrāmān in the south of the šahrestān of Marīvān. Around Dīvāndarra in the north of the šahrestān of Sanandaǰ, specifically in the dehestāns of Qarā Tūra, Ūbātū, and Sārāl, live various ṭāyefas of the Galbāḡī tribe, such as the Qomrī, Kāmelī, Jūǰarašī (Čūḵarašī), Morād Gūrānī, Qalqālī (or Qālqālī), etc. The Hendomī tribe lives at Ḥasanābād, north of Sanandaǰ and south and west of the Galbāḡī territory, and is made up of ṭāyefas called Moḥammad Morādī, Tārī Morādī, and Āḵa Sūrī.

The tribes and ṭāyefas in the šahrestān of Saqqez are also numerous and varied: Geverg of Saqqez (related to the Geverg of Sardašt and Mahābād in West Arbaijan), Feyżallāh Begī, Tīla Kūh (or Tīlakū), Kalālī, Kalhor, Ardalān, Wakīlī-e Qabāḡlū, Dehbokrī of Saqqez, Saršīv of Saqqez, Ḵorḵora, and Gūra of Qaḷʿa-ye Dīvānī. The Jāf of Saqqez, consisting of the Mīkāʾīlī, Šāṭerī, Tīrḵālī, Esmāʿīl Ḡadīrī, and other ṭāyefas, are settled in the dehestāns of Saršīv of Saqqez, Ḵorḵora, and Tīlakū; they are considered to be offshoots of the Morādī (as opposed to Javānrūdī) tribe of the Jāf. Among the tribes of the šahrestān of Bāna, ṭāyefas called Aḥmadī, Loṭfallāh Begī, Šahīdī, and Bahrām Begī have been mentioned. (Mardūḵ, 1351 Š./1972; Sāzmān-e Barnāma wa Būdǰa, 1355 Š./1976, III, pp. 1-32).

The Kurdish tribal zone stretches into West Azerbaijan. The Bīlbās tribe, in three ṭāyefas, the Mangūr, Pīrān, and Māmaš, is dispersed over the šahrestān of Pīranšahr and part of the šahrestān of Mahābād; these groups are in effect sedentary, finding pasturage for their flocks either “vertically” in the mountains or “horizontally” in the plain, but in either case close to their homes. The Mokrī and Dehbokrī tribes live in the šahrestān of Mahābād (formerly Sāvoǰ Bolāḡ) in settlements at Šahr-e Veyrān, Āḵtāčī, Behī, and Gūrek-e Mokrī. The Gūrek tribes occupy the dehestāns in the north of the šahrestān of Sardašt, and the Melkārī, Ālān, Baryāǰī, and other tīras of the Sūsnī tribe live in the south and west of the same šahrestān. The Harakī tribe moves between summer and winter quarters in the dehestāns of Targavar, Dašt, and Margavar. The well-known Šakkāk tribe is settled in the baḵšes of Barādūst and Ṣūmāy, west of the Lake Urmia on the frontier with Turkey. The abodes of the Zarzā and the Qara Pāpāq are reported to be around the town of Ošnūya, and that of the Sādāt, around the villages of Dašt and Mangūr. The Mīlān tribe, said by some to be one of the two tīras of the Jalālī tribe (the other being called Qizilbāš), is of Kurdish origin but today mainly Turkish-speaking; they are settled near Mākū (Maǰīdzāda, 1342 Š./1963; Šāmlū, 1342 Š./1963, pp. 21-25; Sāzmān-e Barnāma wa Būdǰa, 1355 Š./1976, I, pp. 103-49).

In the Safavid period certain Kurdish tribes were forced to move to the north of Khorasan, and today there are scattered settlements of Kurds descended from them between Saraḵs in the extreme northeast and the frontier post of Čāt in Gorgān. The two principal remaining Kurdish tribes of Khorasan are the Zaʿfarānlū, made up of numerous ṭāyefas such as the Kīkānlū, Bīčarānlū, Seyfkānlū, ʿAmmārlū, etc., and the Šādlū comprising the Dīvānlū, Bārzānlū, and Qara Čūrlū (Čūllū). A considerable number of ʿAmmārlū Kurds, whose ancestors were likewise forcibly transported, live in the southeast of the Rūdbār district in the ostān of Gīlān (Pūr-Karīm, 1348 Š./1969, pp. 23-30: Tawaḥḥodī, 1359 Š./1980).

(c) Turkish tribes. The Turkish-speaking tribes of Iran are scattered over many regions. Their establishment in the country began with the first incursions of Turkish-speaking peoples and continued in the periods of the Saljuq, Mongol, Timurid, and Safavid rule. For a variety of reasons, rulers of these dynasties shifted tribes to distant parts of Iran: to employ the tribe for guarding a frontier, to fragment it, to punish it, or to reward and encourage it. One conspicuous example is the dispersal of the Afšār tribe, sections of which are to be found in Khorasan, West Azerbaijan, Ḵūzestān, Fārs, and Kermān.

The principal Turcophone tribe in Fārs is the Qašqāʾī. In the Qajar period, the tribe was administered by its īl-ḵānī and his deputy and chief executive, the īl-begī, and was apparently not yet organized on the basis of ṭāyefas. Today the tribe is a union of approximately 200 tīrasof Turkish, Lorī, Kurdish, and Arab origin, but all speaking the same Ḡozz Turkish dialect. There was formerly a large number of ṭāyefas, but today they have been incorporated into six main ṭāyefas, named Darra-Šūrī, Kaškūlī-e Bozorg, Kaškūlī-e Kūček, Fārsīmadān, ʿAmala, and Šešbōlūkī. The Qašqāʾī territory starts at Lār and stretches through the southern parts of Fārs almost to Behbahān. In spring and early summer the different ṭāyefas of the tribe traverse distances of between 400 and 500 km to reach their summer quarters. With the exception of a small group whose summer pastures (called the Sarḥadd-e Kūček) lie in the eastern part of the Dašt-e Aržan near Kāzerūn, the Qašqāʾī tribes-people have their main summer pastures (called the Sarḥadd-e Bozorg) in the area stretching from Eqlīd and Ābāda westward to the Kūh-e Denā and northward to near Šahreżā (Bahman Bīgī, 1324 Š/1945; Peymān, 1347 Š./1968; ʿAǰamī, 1352 Š./1973; Oberling, 1974).

Three of the tribes which belonged to the Ḵamsa confederacy in Fārs, namely the Īnānlū, Bahārlū, and Nafar are Turcophone. Since the last quarter of the 19th century, they have either become fully sedentary in eastern districts of the province or have been absorbed into other tribes.

The Īlsevan (formerly Šāhsevan) tribes in East Azerbaijan are another important Turcophone group, comprising the Gīklū, ʿĪsālū, Qūǰā, Ḥāǰǰī Ḵōǰālū (or Ḥāǰǰī Ḵᵛāǰa), Moḡānlū, and others. In Safavid times they belonged to the Qizilbāš. Their present territory lies in the north of the ostān between Ardabīl and the Soviet frontier. The Īlsevans (Šāhsevans) around Ardabīl are now wholly sedentarized, but some of the ṭāyefas around Meškīnšahr still move annually between the foothills of Mount Sabalān and the Moḡān Plain. Elsewhere, Īlsevan tīras named Baḡdādī and Īnālū are settled around Sāva, Qom, and Qazvīn. The Īnānlū of the Ḵamsa confederacy in Fārs are thought to have originally been an Īlsevan tribe.

Among the other Turcophone tribes of Azerbaijan are those of the šahrestān of Arasbārān (Ahar), with winter quarters in the strip along the Aras river near Ḵodā-āfarīn and summer quarters in the Arasbārān mountains and the Ahar-Meškīnšahr highland; and those of the šahrestān of Marand, with winter quarters along the Marand-Bāzargān highway and spring and summer quarters in the Meškīnšahr district (Bāybūrdī, 1341 Š./1962; Karīmzāda, 1352 Š./1973; Sāzmān-e Barnāma wa Būdǰa, 1355 Š./1976, III, pp. 1-27; Op’t Land, 1961; Schweizer, 1970, pp. 81-148; Tapper, 1971).

The Turkmen of Iran live almost entirely in the šahrestāns of Gorgān and Gonbad-e Qābūs in Māzandarān and Boǰnūrd in Khorasan as far as Qūčān. Their two big ṭāyefas, the Yomūt and the Gūklān, came to Iran long ago. The Yomūt was originally divided into two branches, the Āq Ātābāy, made up of the Āq, the Ātābāy, and the Šarīf, and the Jaʿfarbāy, made up of the Yār ʿAlī and the Nūr ʿAlī. The position today is that there are three mutually independent ṭāyefas, the Jaʿfarbāy, the Ātābāy, and the Āq Ātābāy. The Jaʿfarbāy live in the baḵš of Gomīšān on the Caspian coast, the Ātābāy in that of Āq Qaḷʿa (formerly Pahlavī Dež), and the Āq Ātābāy around Gonbad-e Qābūs. The Gūklān likewise were originally divided into two big branches, the Bozorgtāy and the Dūdūrḡa, but today they have largely abandoned their former organization. The territory of Gūklān is a baḵš bearing its name, lying north of Gonbad-e Qābūs and stretching as far as Boǰnūrd. The majority of the Takka Turkmen live in Soviet Turkmenistan, but a number of them are domiciled in Iran in the baḵš of Jargalān in the šahrestān of Boǰnūrd. The Qarnas, originally belonging to the Gūklān but now independent, are settled in the Golī-Dāḡī. The Noḵūrlī Turkmen live in the dehestān of the same name in Jargalān (Pūr-Karīm, 1341 Š./1962-1348 Š./1969; Lugashev, 1359 Š./1970; Irons, 1974, pp. 635-37).

In addition to the Turkmen, there are other Turkish tribal groups in Khorasan, but these are now too intermixed with the indigenous local people to be easily distinguished from them. Moreover, some no longer speak Turkish and have adopted Persian. Among these groups which were originally Turkish tribes, the following deserve mention: The Tīmūrī around Torbat-e Jām, the Barbarī at Bālā Jām and Farīmān, the Īlsevan (Šāhsevan) at Baḡbaḡū near Mozdūrān between Mašhad and Saraḵs, and the Qarāʾī around Roštkᵛār southeast of Torbat-e Ḥaydarīya (Šāh-ʿālamī, 1308 Š./1929; Ivanov, 1926, pp. 143-58).

In the ostān of Kermān there is an offshoot of the Qarāʾī, known as the Qarāʾī of Kermān, with summer quarters around Tangū Pāʾīn and Ḵāna Sorḵ in the mountains northeast of Sīrǰān and winter quarters south of the town along the Sīrǰān-Bandar-e ʿAbbās road as far as ʿAlīābād and Nāzīābad. The most important Turcophone tribes of Kermān are the Būčāqčī and the Afšār; the former are still nomadic, spending the summer in the Čahār Gonbad district near Sīrǰān and the winter in ʿAyn-al-bayar and Čāh Qaḷʿa on the borders of Kermān and Fārs. The Afšār tribes-people of Kermān, who are known as the Afšār-e Tafreqa and perhaps came to the province after the collapse of the Afsar dynasty in Khorasan, spend the winter in the plain of Ārzūya west and south of Esfandaqa in the šahrestān of Jīroft and the summer around the town of Bāft and the villages of Fatḥābād, Gūḡar and Ḥošūn not far from the summer pastures of the Būčāqčī. Both the Būčāqčīs and the Afšārs speak Turkish with a large admixture of Persian words and are well acquainted with the local dialect of Persian (Wazīrī Kermānī, 1953 Š./1974; Bāstānī Pārīzī, 1355 Š./1976, I; Stober, 1978).

(d) Arab tribes. From remote times, and particularly after the Arab conquest, right up to the Qajar period, Arab tribes immigrated into Iran. With the passage of time most of the early immigrants merged into the local populations, and today their descendants are scarcely distinguishable from their neighbors. Such are the Arab tribes of Khorasan, including the Bohlūlī in the baḵš of Ḵᵛāf, Baḵūzī in the baḵš of Bāḵarz (Tāyebād), Ḵazāʾī at Guša-ye Ḵazāʾī, Ḵāvarī at Qara Zar, Nādī around Bīrǰand and Sarbīša, Abū Baḵš east of Sedeh, and the Arabs living in the baḵš of Nehbandān south of Bīrǰand in a locality called the ʿArabkāna.

The Arab tribes of Ḵūzestān, however, have kept their identity better. They are scattered over a zone stretching from the Arvand-rūd (Šaṭṭ al-ʿArab) and Persian Gulf in the south to Šūš in the north and lying roughly to the west of the Baḵtīārī territory. The main tribe in the south of the ostān is the Banī Kaʿb, comprising the Moḥaysen, Edrīs, Naṣṣār, Āl Boḡobeš ʿAsākera, and various other sections and ṭāyefas; they live in dispersed groups on Mīnū (formerly Ḵeżr) island near Ābādān, at Ḵorramšahr (the old Moḥammara), in the baḵš of Šādgān (formerly Fallāḥīya), on both banks of the Kārūn up to ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan and Edrīsīya, and further north near Ahvāz. Also settled in the baḵš of Šādgān is the Ḥanāfera tribe. In the šahrestān of Ahvāz, the Bāvī tribe is settled in the baḵš of Bāvī, which extends from Esmāʿīlīa to Ahvāz, Weys, Zargān, and Mūrān. The Āl Kaṯīr tribe (q.v.), comprising the Saʿd, Bayt Karīm, ʿAnāfeǰa, Żayāḡema, and others, live in the same šahrestān west and south of the Dezfūl river up to the Nahr-e Hāšem and also between the Dezfūl river and the Šūštar river. The Montafaǰ (Montafeq) or Banī Mālek Arabs cultivate lands between Sabʿa Omm al-Tamsīr on the left bank of the Kārūn. The Čanāna are settled in the šahrestān of Dezfūl, and the Gandazlū in an area east of Šūštar.

The well-known Banī Ṭorof tribe is settled in the Dašt-e Āzādagān (formerly Dašt-e Mīšān) around the town of Hūzagān (formerly Hawīza), and consists of seven ṭāyefas, the Sovārī, Marzaʿā, Šorfa, Banī Ṣāleḥ, Marvān, Qāṭeʿ, and Sayyed Neʿmat. North of the lands of the ʿAnāfeǰa of the Āl Kaṯīr, in the area called Mīānāb, between the Kārūn and Karḵa rivers, dwell several Arab tribes, of which the best known are the Kaʿb (probably an offshoot of the Banī Kaʿb of southern Ḵūzestān), the ʿAbd-al-Ḵānī, the Mazraʿa, the Āl Bū Rāwīya, and the Sādāt. These tribes gradually immigrated into Iran during and after the early years of the Qajar period.

There are also some Arab tribes-people settled in part of the Mūsīān district in the south of Īlām (Qāʾem-maqāmī, 1324 Š./1945 and 1324-25 Š./1945-46; ʿAbd al-Ḡaffār Naǰm-al-molk, 1341 Š./1962).

Outside Ḵūzestān, the Īl-e ʿArab of the Ḵamsa confederacy is an important tribe; it is divided into two sections, the Šaybānī and the Jabbāra, and numerous tīras. They migrate annually from Lorestān in the south of Fārs to the Eqlīd district in the north, where their summer quarters are flanked on the east by those of the Persian-speaking Bāṣerī, another Ḵamsa tribe.

(e) Balūčī and Brāhūʾī tribes. Most of the Balūčī and Brāhūʾī tribes of Iran live in the ostān of Sīstān and Baluchistan, but Balūčī groups have also settled in other provinces: in Hormozgān (Bandar-e ʿAbbās), in Kermān, mainly in the baḵš of Kahnūǰ in the šahrestān of Jīroft, in Khorasan, and in Māzandarān in the Torkman Ṣaḥrā (the plain between the Gorgān and Atrak rivers). The majority of the members of the Sārānī, Raḵšānī, Bārānī, Jahāndīda, and Malekzehī ṭāyefas, who lived mainly in the baḵš of Mīānkangī in the šahrestān of Zābol, have now emigrated to the Torkman Ṣaḥrā. The Balūč of Khorasan are in general sedentarized and intermixed with the local people, but some distinct communities still remain, scattered from Saraḵs in the northeast to Bīrǰand and Ṭabas in the south. In the last named districts, tīras called Nūqānī, Deh Morda, and Brāhūʾī remain, sometimes living together with other groups such as the Tīmūrīs. Some of the Balūčī ṭāyefas of Sīstān, such as the Nārūʾī and the Brāhūʾī, migrate annually to the highlands of Nehbandān, and Bīrǰand in Khorasan.

In the Qajar period, many parts of Baluchistan were ruled de facto by the chiefs (sardārs) of the Nārūʾī tribe. When the central government began to establish its authority, the sardārs moved to the Nīkšahr-Bent-Fannūǰ area in the southwest of the province and kept control there. The leadership of the tribe was held by three families, first the Šīrḵānzāda, then the Šīrḵānzehī, and finally the Šīrānī who still live in the area. Another section of the Nārūʾīs is domiciled in Sīstān and in the northwest of the šahrestān of Zāhedān, where its sardārs have their seat in the baḵš of Noṣratābād.

The Rīgī tribe, one of the biggest Balūčī groups in Iran, has an extensive territory stretching from Zāhedān and Mīrǰāva to Ḵāš and onward toward Īrānšahr; it is divided into several tīras, among which are the Bolākzehī, Šahkaramzehī, and ʿĪsāzehī. Another tribe in the Zāhedān-Ḵāš belt is the Esmāʿīlzehī (formerly Šahbaḵš), which arose from the union of the Esmāʿīlzehī and Ḥasanzehī ṭāyefas; its members are now engaged in stockbreeding in a small area in the Noṣratābād district.

The Yār Aḥmadī (Šahnavāzī) and Gamšādzehī were apparently once ṭāyefas of the Dāmanī tribe, but are now more or less independent. Yār Aḥmadī tribes-people, based around Gazv in the Ḵāš district, migrate annually from the west side of the Pošt-e Kūh to Taftān, and then to palm groves in the Māškel lowland for the date harvest. The Gamšādzehīs, whose abode lies to the southeast around Gošt and Jālq and in the foothills of the Kūh-e Safīd, are made up of the Dādḵodāzehī, Morādzehī, Moḥammadzehī, and several more tīras. The Rīgī, Esmāʿīlzehī, Yār Aḥmadzehī, and Gamšādzehī rank as the four main tribes of the Sarḥadd (i.e., the northern part of Iranian Baluchistan).

Further south, in the šahrestān of Sarāvān, lies an area occupied by the large Dohānī tribe centered at Mūltān; they likewise migrate annually for the date harvest.

The Bārakzehī (also called Bārānzehī) tribe in the šahrestān of Īrānšahr, and the Bolīdaʾī tribe in the baḵšes of Rāsk in Īrānšahr and Daštyārī and Qaṣr-e Qand in the šahrestān of Čāhbahār, have now become sedentary. The last named tribe has the leadership (sīādat) of sections of the Raʾīsī and Rend tribes-people. In addition to these, the area is the home of the Darzādagān, who were described in 1307/1928 and later as the Darzāda ḡolāms (i.e. servants) and are evidently the survivors of an old system of slavery, and of the Zayn-al-dīnīs, who are dependents of the Mobārakī sardārs. Scattered over the baḵš of Daštyārī down to the coast are some more or less independent ṭāyefas of the Sardārzehī tribe, namely the Jadgāl, Jat, Latīk, Kūsa, Mīr, Sītār, Ṣāberū, and Lagūr. The Hūt tribes-people are settled around Konārak. The Raʾīsī ṭāyefa is an important one, living at Sarbāz, Čānf, and Pīp in the east of the baḵšes of Nīkšahr and Qaṣr-e Qand. In past times the Raʾīsīs had a firm alliance with the Mobārakīs, who reside at Čānf, but this has lapsed.

The Lāšār ṭāyefa is settled in the dehestān of the same name in the baḵš of Bampūr, and the Bāmerī ṭāyefa occupies the western part of the baḵš of Bampūr up to the Jāz Mūrīān swamp.

Balūčī and Brāhūʾī ṭāyefas are also to be found in Sīstān (the šahrestān of Zābol), e.g., the Brāhūʾī, Nārūʾī, Bārānī, Mīr, and Sārānī. The Kurds of Sīstān must also be counted among them.

As regards the Brāhūʾīs, the almost unanimous opinion is that they are not Balūč. According to one report they are a tīra of the Mamasanī tribe of Fārs. Another view is that they stem from the Kūč (or Kurd) people mentioned together with the Balūč by early Islamic geographers. In any case, the tribes of today are too intermingled to be easily identifiable as Brāhūʾī or Balūčī. Many pastoral Brāhūʾī tīras, such as the Zīrkārī, Naḵaʿī, Mālekī, and Čandal, take their flocks annually to the Qāʾenāt district in Khorasan.

In all probability the Balūč were driven from Kermān into Balūčestān after the penetration of the Saljuq forces into Kermān. Balūčī tribes, however, are to be found in Kermān province today: amongst others, the Sarābandī in the šahrestān of Bam, and a section of the Hūt at Kohan ʿAlī in the southeast of the baḵš of Kahnūǰ, near the Jāz Mūrīān.

In the ostān of Hormozgān, the Ṭāherzehī ṭāyefa is settled in the area stretching from the port of Jāsk to near Mīnāb and into the Bašāgerd mountains. A section of the Anūšīrvānī ṭāyefa, whose original home was in Sarāvān, also now lives in the šahrestān of Mīnāb between Jāsk and Sīrīk.

The Mid tribe is to be found all along the coast from Gavāter in the east of Sīrīk in the west (Markaz-e Pažūheš-e Ḵalīǰ-e Fārs wa Daryā-ye ʿOmān, 1354 Š./1975 and 1355 Š./1976; Spooner, 1964, pp. 53-57; Spooner, 1967; Salzman, 1972, pp. 60-68).

5. Organization. As far as the tribes of Iran are concerned, tribal organization is a system designed to integrate the nuclear families into the tribal community, to enable them to perform functions for which they are responsible, and also to secure the tribe’s unity. Ethnic identity alone (e.g., being Lak, Lor, or Kurdish) is not a sufficient basis for lasting unity. Many of the tribal confederacies in Iran are in fact made up of ethnically different ṭāyefas and tīras, and conversely no tribal confederacy includes the whole of an ethnic group. In general, tribal organization at the lower level is based on kinship and at the higher levels on administrative and political alliance. In many tribes the structure is of a more or less uniform type which has been described as “segmentary lineage organization;” but there are also variations from one tribe to another depending on factors such as the degree of the tribe’s integration or dispersion, the source and nature of its economic activity, etc. Some examples are given below.

The Turcophone Qašqāʾī confederacy (īl) came into being as an alliance of Turkish, Ḵalaǰ, and also Lor, Kurdish, and Lak tīras. The names of twenty two Qašqāʾī tīras in the late 13th/19th century are given by the historian Fasāʾī, and some of these names, such as Balīlavand, Feylī, and Jāma-Bozorgī, show that the particular tīras were Lor and Lak (Fasāʾī, p. 313). It seems that, as the number and the populations of the tīras grew, the īlḵānī appointed certain khans who were each to direct the affairs of a group of tīras, thereafter named a ṭāyefa (Peymān, 1342 Š./1963, p. 220). From the printed data (if trustworthy) it can be seen that with the passage of time the number of the ṭāyefas fell while the number of the tīras rose. The number of the ṭāyefas in the Qašqāʾī confederacy in the period 1313 Š./1934-1320 Š./1941 was reported as 27 (ibid., p. 225), and the number in 1341-42 Š./1962-63 as 9, two of which, the Ṣafī Ḵānī and the Raḥīmī, had practically been absorbed into others (ibid., p. 232). In later publications, only six ṭāyefas are mentioned: the Darra-Šūrī, Šeš-Bolūkī, ʿAmala, Fārsīmadān, Kaškūlī-e Bozorg, and Kaškūlī-e Kūček. The Qarāčaʾī ṭāyefa is sometimes said to belong to the Qašqāʾī and sometimes to be independent (Āyatallāhī, 1357 Š./1978, p. 9). The number of the tīras in the Qašqāʾī confederacy in 1311 Š./1932 was reported as 90 (Kayhān, pp. 79-85), and the number in 1340 Š./1961 and subsequent years as between 180 and 200. Clearly a process of change has resulted in multiplication of the tīras within each ṭāyefa. For example, the number of the tīras in the Fārsīmadān ṭāyefa rose from 12 in 1313 Š./1934-1320 Š./1941 to 20 in 1341 Š./1962-63 (Peymān, 1342 Š./1963, p. 234), and reached 21 in 1352 Š./1973 (ʿAǰamī, 1352 Š./1973, p. 2) and 1353 Š./1974 (Āyatallāhī, 1357 Š./1978, p. 9). In 1352 Š./1973 the Fārsīmadān ṭāyefa comprised 2080 families, and the ʿAmala, described as a tīra of it, comprised 79 families or 400 persons.

Despite the frequency of kinship between families within a tīra (due mainly to preference for endogamy), a tīra is not necessarily a kin-based unit. Together with ethnic and genealogical considerations, historical and political reasons for cohesion have been essential factors in the genesis of tīras. That is why many tīras took the name of the founder, e.g., the Ḥasan Āqāʾī tīra of the Kaškūlī-e Bozorg. This practice is by no means general, however, because in addition to ancestry, names of tīras refer to geographical provenance (e.g., the Mūṣūlū or Mawṣel-lū of the ʿAmala and Fārsīmadān), to land owned by the tīra (e.g.; the Kezenlū of the Darra-Šūrī ṭāyefa from their property at Kezen), to ethnic origin (e.g., the Lak and Qara Qovānlū or Qara Qoyunlū of the Darra-Šūrī), to occupation (e.g., the Āhangar, i.e., smith, tīra of the Šeš-Bolūkī, and the Salmānī, i.e., barber, Darzī, i.e., tailor, and ʿĀšeq, i.e., minstrel, tīras of the Darra-Šūrī), and the like (Peymān, 1342 Š./1963, p. 203).

In the Qašqāʾī confederacy, the tīras are divided into smaller units called bonkū. A bonkū is a group of families who make the seasonal migrations together and jointly use particular grazing grounds; in fact it is a sort

 

of cooperative society analogous to the bona in a village community. Other names for this type of group are ūba, būlūk, and eḥšām (Peymān, 1342 Š./1963, p. 151). The families within the bonkū are usually related, but non-kinsmen may also join. One example of this is the admission of čūpānkāras (guards for sheep and goats) and dārūgās (guards for camels), who either alone or accompanied by their families camp together with the members of the bonkū.

Sometimes, but not always, the bonkū is divided into pastoral and agricultural cooperative units named bīla or bīlak. The number and size of the bīlas undergo constant change depending on the number of animals to be tended and the amount of agricultural and manual work to be done. The daily routines of the Qašqāʾī confederacy’s people are actually arranged in bīlas and bonkūs. Consequently the tīras and ṭāyefas are somewhat abstract entities.

The subdivisions of the confederacy are of course nut limited to the ṭāyefa, tīra, bonkū, and bīla. Sometimes a unit intermediate between the tīra and the bonkū is found, particularly in large tīras. This is why in some cases a single tīra has several headmen (kadḵodās). Such a unit may fittingly be termed a sub-clan.

Seen as a whole, the Qašqāʾī confederacy is a pyramid headed by the īl-ḵānī and made up of ṭāyefas, each headed by a kalāntar (mayor or warden), tīras, each headed by a kadḵodā, and bonkūs, each headed by a rīš-safīd (white-beard, i.e., elder). Thanks to this organization, the Qašqāʾī tribes could be centrally controlled and led on semi-military lines. It must be added that the changes affecting the tribal system which took place after the Second World War did not leave the Qašqāʾī confederacy untouched. Their traditional structure was greatly weakened, particularly at the higher levels. It deserves study, however, as an example of the organization of a tribal confederacy.

More or less similar structures, with mainly terminological variations, are found in other confederacies. The Baḵtīārī confederacy, consisting of the two big groups (bolūk) of the Haft Lang and the Čahār Lang, was originally divided into a number of tribes, such as the Dūrakī, Behdārvand, and Bābādī in the Haft Lang, and the Mamīvand, Moḥammad Ṣāleḥ, Mūgūyī, and Kīānerṯī in the Čahār Lang. The Baḵtīārī term for these tribes is bāb, though ṭāyefa is sometimes also used. In contrast with the Qašqāʾī practice, each tribe (bāb) is considered to be itself a confederacy (īl); for example, the Dūrakī īl or bāb, which has always supplied the leading khans, is seen as a confederacy of its seven ṭāyefas, named Zarāsvand, Gandalī, Mūrī, Osīvand-e Bāmedī, Asterekī, Čārbūrī, and Sūhūnī (Digard, Persian tr., 1358 Š./1979, p. 60). Each ṭāyefa is made up of several tīras; the Zarāsvand, for example, of tīras named Tūšmal, Ālāsvand, Mīr, Zanbūr, and Īhāvand (Wezārat-e Ābādānī wa Maskan, 1348 Š./1969, alef, p. 235). Pasturage rights spring from membership of a ṭāyefa (Karīmī, 1357 Š/1978, pp. 67-83). Each tīra is made up of several descent groups of the extended family type, which are called taš (i.e., ātaš ) or awlād; during the seasonal migrations, each of these groups functions as a herding unit (māl) and camping unit (ordū) with from two to twelve tents pitched side by side (Digard, op. cit., p. 59).

Another report gives the same list of Baḵtīārī subdivisions with slight differences of detail; īl or bāb (tribe), ṭāyefa, tīra, taš, karbū (see below), and ḵānavār (family) (Wezārat-e Ābādānī wa Maskan, 1348 Š./1969, alef, pp. 32-33). In any case the close resemblance between the Baḵtīārī and Qašqāʾī structures is striking. The māl and the karbū (a smaller unit) among the Baḵtīārīs correspond to the bonkū and bīla among the Qašqāʾīs and are herding groups; the taš or awlād is a descent group, and so too in one respect is the bonkū; the tīra and the ṭāyefa are administrative and political subdivisions, despite the importance of common descent or origin in the initial formation of tīras. Animal ownership lies with the ḵānavār, which is also the consumption unit.

The Bāṣerī tribe, one of the components of the Ḵamsa confederacy in Fārs, is relatively small and probably for that reason has not developed a hierarchical structure of the type found in the province’s Turkish and Arab tribes. It is divided directly into thirteen tīras, named Kolombaʾī, ʿAbdūlī, Labū Mūsā, Jūčīn, ʿAlī Šāhqolī, Ẓohrābī, Farhādī, Ḥanāʾī, Karamī, Sarvestānī, ʿAlī Qanbarī, Ahl-e Qolī, and Īl-e Ḵāṣṣ. Most of these tīras, and especially the populous ones, are made up of several awlād; in the Farhādī tīra, for example, there are two awlād, one called Bahmanī, of 65 families (ḵūna), the other called Farhādī, of 42 families. All, or more often some, of the members of an awlād, depending on the season and the year, form an ordū (camping group) ranging in size from 2 to 5 tents in winter and from 10 to 40 tents in other seasons, and they move together in search of pasturage for their flocks. It is therefore clear that the Bāṣerī subdivisions are simplified forms of the basic elements of tribal structure (Amānallāhī, 1360 Š./1971, pp. 194-95; Barth, 1961, pp. 25, 51).

In some tribes the meanings of ṭāyefa and tīra are reversed; the tribe is first divided into tīras, and then the tīra into ṭāyefas. This is the practice among the Kūhgīlūya and Boir Aḥmadī tribes and also those of Īlām. In the case of the Bahmeʾī tribe, first the tribe is divided into two sections called Moḥammadī and Aḥmadī, then each section into three tīras, and then each tīra into several ṭāyefas. The taš (or daha or čāla) is here a component of the ṭāyefa, and of course is made up of families (bohūn, i.e., tent). In seasonal migrations and agricultural operations, the taš acts as the herding unit (Afšār-e Nāderī, 1347 Š./1968, pp. 41-59). The same structure is found in the other tribes of the Kūhgīlūya ostān (Ṭāherī, 1355 Š./1976, p. 3). In some cases splitting of the herding units into smaller units named qāš is also mentioned. The subdivisions of the tribes of Lorestān show no real difference from those just described. They are īl, ṭāyefa, tīra, and dūdmū (i.e., dūdmān), but it is clear that in the local usage īl is equivalent to ṭāyefa, ṭāyefa to tīra, tīra to taš, and dūmdū to māl in the terminology of the big tribal confederacies such as the Baḵtīārī and the Qašqāʾī (Amānallāhī, p. 161 ).

This type of organization is not confined to the tribes of the central Zagros. Tribes living in the very different environment of Sīstān and Baluchistan have developed rudiments of similar structures. This is apparent from a report on the Zayn-al-dīnī Balūčīs of the area around Espaka in the dehestān of Lāšār. They have at times been attached to the Šīrānīs and the Zamānīs, and they are under the influence of the Mobārakīs. In one respect they are a Mobārakī ṭāyefa. The Mobārakī sardār exercises supervision through the instrumentality of the headman of the Zayn-al-dīnī ṭāyefa, who is known locally as the master (a relic of the British presence in the region). Since the Zayn-al-dīnīs still make seasonal migrations to sheep pastures, their ṭāyefa is divided into herding groups named ḥašam. All the component families of a ḥašam are of the same lineage (in the local terminology, of the same šalvār, i.e., trouser). Land, pasturage rights, and livestock are jointly owned by the ḥašam. If the number of the ḥašam’s animals passes beyond a certain limit, the ḥašam has to be split into groups which are called halk, also lowgān (i.e., group of lowgs “huts”) or davār or mītag. Neither the ḥašam nor the halk has a fixed membership, because the number of the component families is changed in accordance with the number of the animals. When the animals owned by a halk increase too much, some of the families are transferred together with the surplus animals to another halk which owns fewer animals, and the balance between families and animals is thereby maintained. A halk’s affairs are managed by its elder (rīš-safīd or master). In the mid 1970s, probably because the Balūč had been turning to agriculture and, above all, finding industrial-type work, the manpower-livestock ratio was unbalanced, and in some cases the number of families in a halk far exceeded the requirement for tending the animals. The dividing line between ḥašam and halk is often unclear, the former being sometimes used with the meaning of the latter.

In close proximity to the Zayn-al-dīnīs live some of the Nārūʾīs, who in the past were a large and tightly knit tribe. Since the Nārūʾīs are today mainly engaged in agriculture, units such as the halk are not found among them. Instead, every Nārūʾī tīra has a “master” who is in fact the chief of an independent ṭāyefa or tribe. The same situation is found in other tribes which have ceased to be primarily pastoral; e.g., in a ṭāyefa of the Darzādas of the village of ʿĪsā ābād north of Espaka, who have no ḥašams or halks but have a single chief through whom they maintain contact with the Mobārakī sardār. At the village of Hīčān in the dehestān of Nīkšahr, in which the Mobārakī, Raʾīsī, Darzāda, Dāwūdī, and Nowkarī ṭāyefas are settled, the halk has been maintained, even though there is no more need for it, but has acquired the character of a kin group consisting of families whose houses are side by side (Markaz-e Pažūheš-e Ḵalīǰ-e Fārs wa Daryā-ye ʿOmān, 1354 Š./1975, 1355 Š./1976, 1356 Š./1977).

As regards tribes in the north of Iran, a study of the Yomūt Turkmen of the Gorgān plain is available. Some of them are still mobile and mainly engaged in stock breeding and are known in local parlance as the čārvā (pastoral) people as opposed to the čomūr (agricultural) people. Mainly among the čārvā people, groups called ūba, each comprising between 25 and 100 families, are found. Pasturage and water rights in a defined area are jointly owned by all the members of an ūba. Within each ūba, small groups of two to ten (usually four to seven) men are formed annually for the cooperative performance of tasks and use of draft animals and implements. The families concerned are immediate relatives (fathers, sons, brothers, etc.), and they all camp together. Even so, the memberships of these small groups continually change.

Through the union of several ūbas, an entity known to the Yomūt Turkmen as an īl is formed, e.g., the Jaʿfar Bāy, Yelqī, and Qoǰūq īls. On this plane, īl means much the same as tīra or ṭāyefa among the Zagros tribes; but on a higher plane, the word īl is used to denote a confederacy of īls in the first sense, e.g., the Īl-e Šarīf, which is a confederacy of the Īl-e Jaʿfar Bāy, Īl-e Yelqī, and others. An īl in either sense is a structure based on patrilineal descent groups. Although these groups more or less coincide with the territorial groups such as the ūba, the membership of an ūba sometimes includes families not belonging to its main descent group; in the Yomūt parlance, such families are neighbors (qūnšī) (Irons, 1972, pp. 90-93).

(6) Economy. Sheep and goat breeding is the economic mainstay of the tribes of Iran, particularly those not yet sedentarized. They also breed large animals—bovines, buffalos, camels, horses, mules, and donkeys—for ploughing and load-carrying, and in some cases for their milk and hair. Yet it would be wrong to conclude that the tribal economy rests solely on stockbreeding. Even for wholly nomadic tribes, agriculture, at least of the rain-fed (deymī) type, has long been an important resource, and it has become much more so in the recent past. The principal crops sown by the tribes are wheat, barley, and in some cases rice. When conditions permit, they also grow vegetables and plant orchards. Planting date palms is a widespread activity among Arab and Balūčī tribes. In addition to stockbreeding and agriculture, annual collection of wild plant and tree products, such as gum tragacanth, pine resin, wild almonds, acorns, and other nuts, is of considerable importance. In several tribes, acorn flour, sometimes mixed with wheat flour, is used to bake a sort of bread. With few exceptions, tribes-people engage in handicrafts, particularly carpet making and the weaving of gelīms and ǰaǰīms (smooth and rough woven rugs) and also embroidery, in which the Balūč have a tradition of skill. These manufactures, if sold, augment the incomes of tribal families, though the carpets and gelīms are often retained as financial reserves or future dowries for daughters. Employment of tribesmen as laborers on farms and as shepherds within the tribe has long been widespread, but work opportunities for them on development projects and highways and in cities are a recent phenomenon. Canvas weaving, felt making, and construction of canvas or felt tents and brushwood or palm frond huts for use as family homes are important functions performed within the tribe. In a full economic analysis, all the above-mentioned activities should be taken into account.

It must be added that in past times raiding was an important source of income and wealth for tribes. They consequently did not see robbery as dishonorable. Names still borne by certain tīras and ṭāyefas, such as sāreq or dozd (thief), galazan (rustler), ūḡorī (marauder), are reminders of those times.

Nevertheless, the principal occupation of the nomadic tribes is sheep and goat breeding. Their income, wealth, and power all depend on its vicissitudes. Great variations in the number of animals per tribe and per family are found in the different tribal communities. These are shown in Table 25 together with data on average animal ownership, flock composition, and cultivated area per family. It will be seen from Table 25 that the average number of sheep and goats per family varies between 6 and 120 from one tribal unit to another, while the actual numbers range between 0 and 350 from one family to another. The flock compositions are equally varied; for example, the ʿAẓīm ḥašam of the Zayn-al-dīnīs had a flock consisting solely of goats and no large animals except camels, whereas the Bāṣerī ordū had a flock of which 64 percent were ewes together with an assortment of large animals. The last line of Table 25 was obtained from the nationwide census of nomadic tribes taken by the Statistics Center of Iran; as noted above, the definition of the tribes in this census was so narrow that its figures unfortunately cannot be taken as generally valid for the whole tribal population. Not surprisingly, on this restricted definition, the average area under cultivation by nomadic tribes as calculated from the census return is less than one hectare per family, whereas in other computations it is between 3 and 8 hectares per family.

The animal products supplied by the tribes of Iran are normally lambs and kids for meat, wool, goat hair, ghee, dried whey (kašk), and in some cases sheep cheese. The sheep sold for meat are yearling or immature lambs (šīšak) and, to a less extent, ewes which have become sterile after seven or eight lambings. The estimates of tribal output of animal products given in different publications are not fully consistent. In some statements the figures are theoretical, being based on the assumption that the animals are adequately nourished. In that case the birth rate of ewes and she-goats, after allowance for infant mortality, could of course be 90 percent or, given the possibility of two lambings in a year, even higher. Often in calculations of pastoral income, a suckling lamb or kid has been taken as equivalent to a ewe or she-goat. The same assumption is made with regard to lactation periods and milk yields and in the inferred estimates of ghee and whey output. Yet even in normal conditions, the lactation period of ewes and she-goats varies between 100 and 120 days and the daily milk yield between 200 and 600 grams. Moreover about 25 percent of the ewes and she-goats for one reason or another do not yield milk at all. Wool output is likewise far from uniform, varying between 800 and 2500 grams per sheep according to the breed (Forūḡ, 1355 Š./1976, pp. 10-11). If the Statistics Center’s figures can be taken as representative, roughly 40 percent of the sheep and goats do not yield wool and hair (Markaz-e Āmār-e Īrān, 1355 Š./ 1976, alef, p. 19). Such being the case, the discrepancies in the figures given in different reports is not surprising. Comparison of the two sets of estimates quoted below in Table 26 will sufficiently illustrate the problem.

The income obtainable from animal products is of course dependent on the prices of the various items. The price of a lamb, for example, was 500 rīāls in 1341 Š./1962 and 5,500 rīāls in 1359 Š./1980. It has been calculated that the weighted average of prices of animal products rose in the 18-year period 1341 Š./1962-1359 S./1980 approximately 8.6 fold, i.e., at an average annual rate of 12.7 percent (Amānallāhī, 1360Š./1981, p. 69). Since the average annual rise of the (urban) cost of living index in the same period was 7 percent, the terms of trade appear to have moved in favor of animal breeders at an average annual rate of 5.7 percent. The greater part of this growth in their income arose after 1357 Š./1978.

It is customary among the tribes to keep female lambs and kids for increase of the flock and to sell male lambs and kids when they have been out to graze for one year. Tribesmen who own no animals or for some reason have lost those which they owned can stay in the tribal community and, after working some years as shepherds for others, eventually acquire or reacquire a flock of their own.

The share of the tribes in the whole Iranian livestock sector is thought to be normally about one third or even one half, though no accurate statistics have been taken. The Statistics Center’s tribal census of 1353 Š./1974, with its narrow terms of reference, returned figures which are too low. In it the tribes, defined as wholly nomadic, were found to own only 10 percent of the country’s 75,000,000 livestock units (1 sheep or goat = 1 unit, 1 donkey = 3 units, 1 cow or ox = 4 units, etc.), specifically, sheep 11 percent, goats 21 percent, bovines 4 percent, horses 3 percent, mules 9 percent, donkeys 6 percent, and camels 46 percent. There can be no doubt, however, that the numbers of the livestock grazing on natural pastures are far greater than these.

As mentioned above, many tribes, while retaining their tribal structure, have in recent times made agriculture their principal activity. The present circumstances of such tribes will not be discussed here. It has already been noted that agriculture was a significant element in the traditional tribal economy. The kūč (transhumance) is combined with dry farming in both the qešlāq (winter quarters) and the yeylāq (summer quarters). For example, the Qašqāʾī tribesmen plough land in their qešlāq in the month of Esfand (February-March), replough it in the month of Farvardīn (March-April) before their move to their yeylāq, sow the seed in the autumn after their return to the qešlāq, and reap the crop late in Farvardīn or in early Ordībehešt of the following year, just before their next kūč to the yeylāq. Early in the autumn they plough and sow in the yeylāq before their move to the qešlāq, and they reap the crop in the summer after their return. In the yeylāq they sometimes cultivate vegetables as well as cereals (wheat, barley, and a little rice). By leaving half of the ploughed areas in fallow, they always have land available for sowing and cropping (Peymān, 1347 Š./1968, pp. 89-90).

In the case of another tribe, the Bālā Gerīva of Lorestān, which does not make long migrations like those of the Qašqāʾī but has summer and winter quarters only about 90 km or ten days trek apart, a different rhythm of cultivation and migration has been described. They reap their wheat crop early in the month of Tīr (June-July), plough and sow in the month of Šahrīvar (August-September), and then leave the land to itself. In the following year, after their return from the highlands (sardsīr), they again plough and sow wheat as soon as the first rains fall in the second half of Šahrīvar or early in the month of Mehr (September-October). They then spend the winter in the garmsīr. They set out for their yeylāq in the middle of Farvardīn (Amānallāhī, 1360 Š./1981, pp. 47-48).

As already noted, the making of carpets, gelīms, ǰāǰīms, and ḵorǰīns (saddlebags) is pursued on a large scale by Iran’s tribes. For tribes which themselves produce the requisite wool, these activities were particularly advantageous when the wool price was low. Carpet making in the tribes is done solely by women and girls, who do not use cartoons but know the design by heart. In past times, tribal carpets were made entirely of wool, the warp and weft threads as well as the pile yarn being woolen; but the urban practice of using cotton warps and wefts, or at least cotton warps, took root in certain tribes after ca. 1960. The wool requirement for a square meter of carpet averages 3 kg of washed and spun wool, but varies locally and of course depends on the fineness of the knotting. Tribal carpet designs are geometrical, i.e., always have straight lines parallel, vertical, or at a 45° angle to each other, and never have curved lines; this is the main feature distinguishing tribal from urban carpets. A tribal carpet loom is not a vertical frame like the urban dār, but a horizontal brace which can be quite easily fixed, unfixed, and transported. (Edwards, 1953).

See also AFGHANISTAN iv.

 

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Markaz-e Pažūheš-e Ḵalīǰ-e Fārs wa Daryā-ye ʿOmān, Darāmad-ī moǰmal bar moṭālaʿa-ye ʿašāyer-e Sīstān wa Balūčestān, 2 vols., Tehran, 1354 Š./1975 (Sāzmān-e Barnāma, stencilled).

Idem, Ṭāyefa-ye Mobārakī: Hīčān, Espaka, ʿĪsāābād, Zayn-al-dīnī, wa Čānf, 5 vols., Tehran, 1355 Š./1976 (ibid., stencilled).

Idem, Ṭāyefa-ye Mobārakī, 2 vols., 1356 Š./1977 (ibid., stencilled).

Markaz-e ʿAšāyerī-e Īrān, Jamʿīyat wa taqsīmāt-e īlī-e Īrān, Tehran, 1360 Š./1981 (stencilled).

Mīrzā Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Mostawfī, Āmār-e mālī o neẓāmī dar Īrān dar 1128 yā tafṣīl-e ʿasāker-e fīrūzī māʾāṯer-e Šāh Solṭān Ḥosayn Ṣafawī, published by M. T. Dānešpāžūh in FIZ 20, pp. 396-421.

ʿA. Naǰm-al-molk, Safar-nāma-ye Ḵūzestān, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962.

Wezārat-e Ābādānī wa Maskan, Barrasī-e īlāt o ʿašāyer-e Baḵtīārī wa pīšnehādāt-i barāye ābādānī-e sarzamīn-e ānhā, alef, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.

Idem, Barrasīhā-ye īlāt wa ʿašāyer-e Balūčestān, ba, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969 (stencilled).

Aḥmad-ʿAlī Khan Wazīrī Kermānī, Joḡrāfīā-ye Kermān, ed. M. -E. Bāsfānī Pārīzī, Tehran, 1353 Š./ 1974.

2. Works in other languages. N. Afshar Naderi, The Settlement of Nomads, Tehran, 1971 (Institute for Social Studies and Research of Tehran University).

A. Aghajanian, “Ethnic Inequality in Iran: An Overview,” IJMES 15/2, 1983, pp. 211-24.

D. Balland and Ch. M. Kieffer, “Nomadisme et Sécheresse en Afghanistan: L’examples des nomades Paštun du Dašt-e Nāwor,” Pastoral Production and Society, Cambridge, 1979.

F. Barth, Nomads of South Persia, Oslo and London, 1961.

L. Beck, “Nomads and Urbanites,” Middle Eastern Studies 18/4, 1982, pp. 426-44.

J. Black-Michaud, “An Ethnographic and Ecological Survey of Luristan, Western Persia: Modernization in a Nomadic Pastoral Society,” Middle East Studies 10/2, 1974.

C. S. Coon, “Iran. Demography and Ethnography,” in EI2 IV, pp. 7-11.

G. N. Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, 2 vols., London, 1892; 2nd ed., London, 1966.

C. A. De Bode, Travels in Luristan and Arabistan, London, 1953.

J. -P. Digard, “De la nécessité et des inconvénients pour un Baxtyâri, d’être Baxtyâri,” Production pastorale et sociéte′, Paris, 1979.

Idem, “Nomadisme et organisation territoriale de Baxtyâri d’Iran,” ibid., no. 13, 1983.

A. C. Edwards, The Persian Carpet, London, 1953.

E. Ehlers and G. Stöber, “Entwicklungstendenzen des Nomadismus im Iran,” in Nomadismus, ein Entwicklungsproblem, ed. J. Scholz, Berlin, 1982 (ample bibliography).

C. G. Feilberg, Les Papis, Copenhagen, 1952.

G. R. Garthwaite, The Bakhtiari Khans: Tribal Disunity in Iran, doctoral thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 1969.

Idem, “Pastoral Nomadism and Tribal Power,” Iranian Studies 11, 1978.

P. Hand, Survey of the Tribes of Iran, U.S. Army, 1963 (stencilled).

A. Hotoum-Schindler, “Persia I. Geography and Statistics,” in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 10th ed., London, 1902.

W. Irons, “Nomadism as a Political Adaptation: The Case of the Yomut Turkmen,” American Ethnologist 1/4, 1974.

W. Ivanov, “Notes on the Ethnology of Khurasan,” Geographical Journal 67, 1926.

A. K. S. Lambton, “Īlāt,” in EI2 III, pp. 1095-1110.

E. Lorini, LaPersia economica contemporanea e la sua questione monetaria, Rome, 1900.

V. Minorsky, “The Gūrān,” BSO(A)S 2, 1943, pp. 75-103.

P. Oberling, The Qashqāʾi Nomads of Fārs, The Hague, 1974.

C. Op’t Land, The Shah-savan of Azarbaijan, Tehran, 1961 (Institute for Social Studies and Research of Tehran University, stencilled).

H. Rawlinson, “Notes on a March from Zohab at the Foot of the Zagros along the Mountain Roads of Khuzistan (Susiana) and from thence through the Province of Luristan to Kirmanshah in the Year 1836,” JRGS 9, 1839.

J. Reid, Tribalism and Society in Iran 1500-1629, Malibu, Calif, 1983.

B. Spooner, “Kūch and Balūch and Ichhyophagi,” Iran 2, 1964, pp. 53-67.

Idem, Religious and Political Leadership in Persian Baluchistan, doctoral thesis, Oxford University, 1967.

P. C. Salzman, “Adaptation and Political Organization in Iranian Baluchistan,” Ethnology 10/4, 1971.

Idem, “Multi-Resource Nomadism in Iranian Baluchistan,” in W. Irons and N. Dyson-Hudson, eds., Perspective on Nomadism, Leiden, 1972.

G. Schweizer, “Nordost-Azerbaidschan und Schah Sevan-Nomaden,” in Strukturwandlungen im nomadisch-bäuerlichcn Lebensraum des Orients, Wiesbaden, 1970.

Lady M. L. Sheil, Glimpses of Life and Manner in Persia, London, 1856.

Sobotsinskiĭ, “Persiya,” in C. Issawi, ed., The Economic History of Iran, 1800-1914, Chicago, 1971.

G. Stober, Die Afshar: Nomadismus im Raum Kerman (Zentral-Iran), Marburger Geographische Schriften 76, Marburg, 1978.

E. Sunderland, in Camb. Hist. Iran I, pp. 611-83.

R. L. Tapper, The Shahsevan of Azarbaijan: A Study of Political and Economic Change in a Middle Eastern Tribal Society, doctoral thesis, University of London, 1971.

Idem, Pasture and Politics, Economics, Conflict, and Ritual among the Shahsevan Nomads of Northwestern Iran, London, 1979.

Idem, ed., The Conflict of Tribe and State in Iran and Afghanistan, London and New York, 1983.

R. F. Thomson, “La Perse, sa population, ses revenus, son armée, son commerce,” Bulletin de la Société de géographie de Paris, 1869.

A. T. Wilson, “The Bakhtiaris,” Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society, 1926.

See also the following articles in EI1-2: Afshār, Bakhtiyārī, Balūčistān, Ghuzz, Kāshḳāy, Kurdistan, Lak, Lur, Lur-i Buzurg, Lur-i Kūčik, Luristān, Mūḳān, Sāwdj-Bulāḳ Seldjuḳs, Shāh-sewan, Shaḳāḳī, Shūl Shūlīstan, Turkomans, Urmīya.

For more recent studies see Abstracta Iranica I-VII, Leiden, 1978-84. See also Camb. Hist. Iran I, pp. 409-18, and IV-VI, indices.

(F. Towfīq)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 16, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 7, pp. 707-724