BĀYQARĀ B. ʿOMAR ŠAYḴ (795/1392-93-826/1422-23?), a Timurid prince and grandson of Tīmūr. Although his age at the time of Tīmūr’s death in Šaʿbān, 807/February, 1405, is given as twelve years (Yazdī, II, p. 734; Faṣīḥ, I, p. 154), he was one of several grandsons of Tīmūr who were married at a great qorïltāy at Samarqand six months earlier (Mīrḵvānd [Tehran], VI, p. 477). He was the youngest son of ʿOmar Šayḵ, who had predeceased Tīmūr in 793/1391. Tīmūr had then given ʿOmar Šayḵ’s young widow, Melkat Āḡā b. Ḵeżer Oḡlān, to another son, Šāhroḵ, who thus became the stepfather of Bāyqarā and his brothers Pīr Moḥammad, Rostam, and Eskandar. For this reason, Pīr Moḥammad held that the brothers were duty-bound to support Šāhroḵ in the struggle over the succession to Tīmūr (Ḥabīb al-sīar (Tehran) III, pp. 571f.). Nevertheless Pīr Moḥammad acted as a virtually independent ruler in ʿErāq-e ʿAjam, and Eskandar even more so in Fārs. When Pīr Moḥammad was murdered in 813/1409 (Jaʿfarī, p. 50), Eskandar took the opportunity to enlarge his domain and then rebelled against Šāhroḵ, proclaiming himself sultan at Isfahan in 815/1412-13. In the hope of bringing Eskandar to reason, Šāhroḵ marched into ʿErāq-e ʿAjam with Bāyqarā and Rostam in his train, and after defeating Eskandar in 817/1414-15 he redefined the administrative areas, making Bāyqarā governor of an area which comprised Hamadān, Borūjerd, Nehāvand, Ḵorramābād, Lorestān, and Kordestān (ibid., pp. 56f., 63; Faṣīḥ, I, p. 218; Ḥabīb al-sīar III, p. 591). Eskandar was handed over to his brother Rostam, who had him blinded. Before long, Bāyqarā was driven out of Borūjerd by the local ruler of Lorestān, Sayyedī b. Malek ʿEzz-al-Dīn. He marched to Shiraz in the hope of getting help from the governor Ebrāhīm b. Šāhroḵ, who was his first cousin, but the latter suspected hostile intentions and challenged him in a battle which Bāyqarā won (Jaʿfarī, p. 64). According to another account, Eskandar had previously been transferred, at Šāhroḵ’s command, to the keeping of Bāyqarā and had then persuaded Bāyqarā to rebel at Shiraz; but Rostam later got hold of Eskandar again and put him to death; Bāyqarā had no allies when he marched to Shiraz but obtained the support of the amirs formerly in Eskandar’s service (Faṣīḥ, I, pp. 221f.). Šāhroḵ now led another expedition to Fārs and besieged Shiraz. With the concurrence of the city’s inhabitants, Bāyqarā surrendered, and through the intercession of his first cousin and friend Bāysonqor b. Šāhroḵ (Ḥabīb al-sīar III, pp. 594f.), he obtained Šāhroḵ’s pardon and was sent away to live at Qandahār under the surveillance of Qaydū b. Pīr Moḥammad b. Jahāngīr b. Tīmūr (Jaʿfarī, p. 66). This took place in Ramażān, 818/December, 1415.
The reports of Bāyqarā’s subsequent adventures differ greatly. One historian (ibid., p. 69) states that he joined Qaydū in a revolt, whereupon Šāhroḵ besieged Qaydū in a castle while Bāyqarā was sent to Samarqand. Another version (Ḥasan Rūmlū, ed. Navāʾī, p. 189; Faṣīḥ, I, p. 252) is that Bāyqarā rebelled against Qaydū, was captured by him, and then at Šāhroḵ’s behest was banished to India; but, according to Kᵛāndamīr (III, p. 596), Qaydū was persuaded by Bāysonqor to keep Bāyqarā at Qandahār, and Šāhroḵ found him there in 820/1417 and then sent him to Samarqand, where he sank into oblivion. Dawlatšāh (ed. Browne, p. 374) states that Bāyqarā went voluntarily to Šāhroḵ’s camp in 819/1416-17, that Šāhroḵ sent him to Oloḡ Beg at Samarqand, and that Oloḡ Beg caused him to be poisoned. According to Faṣīḥ (I, p. 252), however, a man thought to be Bāyqarā turned up in Khorasan in 826/1422-23 and was caught by agents of Šāhroḵ in the Bādḡīs district; after being brought to Šāhroḵ’s camp and questioned about his identity, he was put to death despite uncertainty about whether he really was Šāhroḵ’s nephew. A second story in Dawlatšāh (loc. cit.) concurs with this (see also Ḥasan Rūmlū, ed. Navāʾī, pp. 663f.).
The fog surrounding Bāyqarā’s death may well have arisen because Šāhroḵ was reluctant to incur blame for it from his wife Melkat Āḡā, who had already had to mourn the loss of her sons Pīr Moḥammad and Eskandar. There are also hints of intrigue by Šāhroḵ’s favorite wife Gowharšād against the sons of ʿOmar Šayḵ (ibid., pp. 664f.).
Bāyqarā is effusively described by Dawlatšāh (loc. cit.) as the noblest, fairest, and bravest of Tīmūr’s descendants. He was the patron of the poet Borondoq (Dawlatšāh, ed. Browne, p. 371). He had esthetic interests, which were inherited by his grandson Ḥosayn b. Manṣūr b. Bāyqarā, (875-912/1470-1506), the art-loving sultan of Herat.
ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Samarqandī, Maṭlaʿ al-saʿdayn, ed. Moḥammad Šafīʿī, II (3 parts with continuous pagination), Lahore, 1360-68/1941-49.
W. Barthold, “Bāyḳarā,” in EI2 I, pp. 1133-34.
Šehāb-al-Dīn Ḥāfeż Abrū in F. Tauer, “Continuation du Ẓafarnāma de Niẓāmuddīn Šāmī par Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū,” Archiv Orientální 6, 1934, pp. 429-65 (esp. p. 445).
Jaʿfarī b. Moḥammad Ḥosaynī, Tārīḵ-eKabīr, ed. and tr. ʿA. Zaryāb, “Der Bericht über die Nachfolger Timurs aus dem Taʾrīḫ-i kabīr des Ğaʿfarī ibn Muḥammad al-Ḥusainī,” Ph.D. thesis, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, 1960.
Faṣīḥ Aḥmad b. Jalāl-al-Dīn Moḥammad Ḵᵛāfī, Mojmal-e faṣīḥī, ed. M. Farroḵ, Mašhad, 1339 Š./1960.
H. R. Roemer, “Die Nachfolger Timurs—Abriss der Geschichte Zentral- und Vorderasiens im 15. Jahrhundert,” in R. Gramlich, ed., Islamwissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, Wiesbaden, 1974.
Idem, “The Successors of Timur,” in Camb. Hist. Iran VI, pp. 98-146.
Šaraf-al-Dīn ʿAlī Yazdī, Ẓafar-nāma, ed. M. ʿAbbāsī, 2 vols., Tehran, 1336 Š./1957.
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
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