v. HISTORY, PRE-ISLAMIC PERIOD. See ECBATANA.
Hamadān was captured by the Arabs after their victory at the battle of Nehāvand, which took place in 19/640, or 21/642 (Ṭabari, I, p. 2647; Ṭabari, tr. XIV, p. 17), or 23/643 (Balāḏori, Fotuhá, p. 309). The date varies according to different sources (see further Frye, p. 105; Ṭabari, tr. XIV, p. 17, note 90). A Persian general, Ḵosrow-Šonum, (Ṭabari, tr. XIII, p. 210, note 717) confronted the Arabs at Qaṣr-e Širin, and subsequently withdrew to his base and gave sanctuary to the Persian soldiers fleeing from the battlefield. When the Arabs arrived at the gates of Hamadān, one of the important local rulers (šahriārs; see Ṭabari, tr. XIII, p. 211, note 725) by the name of Dinār made peace with the commander of the Arab forces, Ḥoḏayfa b. Yamān, and agreed to the payment of tribute (jezya). The proposed document offering peace and protection was signed by the Arab generals Noʿaym b. Moqarren Mozani and Qaʿqāʿ b. ʿAmr Tamimi, who had reached Hamadān in pursuit of the defeated army. The name Māh Dinār used in Arabic sources referring to the district of Nehāvand was, according to Ṭabari, coined after the name of this ruler (Ṭabari, I, pp. 2628, 2635; Ṭabari, tr. XIII, p. 212; Balʿami, ed. Rowšan, p. 515).
Despite the decisive defeat at Nehāvand, the resistance against the Arab invasion persisted in various parts of the country, and the people of Hamadān revoked their treaty of peace. The Caliph ʿOmar b. al-Ḵaṭṭāb (d. 23/643) dispatched four armies to Persia to crush the resistance. The already mentioned Noʿaym b. Moqarren was sent to Hamadān at the head of an army of 12,000. The governor of Hamadān, a certain Ḵiš (Balʿami, ed. Rowšan, p. 522), or Koftār (Ebn al-Aʿṯam, II, p. 64) who claimed descent from Bahrām Čōbin (q.v.; Mostawfi, p. 180) prepared to defend the city. The Arab army besieged the town and eventually conquered it for the second time in 22/642. When Noʿaym b. Moqarren learned that Ḵošnum and other leaders had joined forces in Daštabi (the present-day Buʾin Zahrā) near Qazvin, he renewed the peace treaty with the city, appointed Yazid b. Qays al-Hama-dāni as its governor, and moved with his army to meet Ḵošnum and his allies. Along the way he conquered towns and villages as far as Jarmiḏān (the present day township of Āb-e Garm). He met the Persian forces on the banks of the Vājrud river, the present-day Āvaj river, in the northern valley of the Ḵaraqān range. In the large-scale battle that followed, the Persians suffered a heavy defeat and left behind many casualties (22/624). The Arabs hailed this as signaling an end to Persian resistance and Noʿaym himself celebrated the victory in a poem (Ṭabari, I, p. 2652; Ṭabari, tr. XIV, p. 23).
It seems, however, that Hamadān did not give up resisting Arab rule even after the decisive defeat at Vājrud. It is reported in the events of 23/643 that once Noʿaym left for the conquest of Ray and Khorasan following his victory at Vājrud, Moḡira b. Šoʿba, who had replaced ʿAmmār b. Yāser as governor of Kufa, sent Jarir b. ʿAbd-Allāh Bajali (d. 54/674) to Hamadān. The people of Hamadān rose up against him and in the course of the battle Jarir was injured in the eye by an arrow. He is said to have remarked that the loss of an eye was his offering to the Almighty, who had thus adorned his face (Ebn Qotayba, pp. 294-95; Ebn Aʿṯam, II, p. 68). At the end of the same year (23/643) Jarir conquered Hamadān and its surroundings again by force, and made peace with the populace on terms similar to those of the Nehāvand settlement. According to some sources, Moḡira himself led the expedition against Hamadān, with Jarir in command of his vanguard. According to yet another tradition, when the third Caliph ʿOṯmān (d. 35/635) appointed Saʿd b. Abi Waqqās as the governor of Kufa, he appointed ʿAlāʾ b. Wahb ʿĀmeri as governor of Hamadān, but the people of Hamadān once again broke the peace agreement and had to be forcefully subdued by ʿAlāʾ b. Wahb (26/644). They agreed to pay tax on their land (ḵarāj) as well as the poll tax (jezya), in addition to 100,000 dirhams in cash to safeguard the security of their property, women, and children (Balāḏori, p. 309; Ebn al-Aṯir, III, p. 23). During the remaining years of ʿOṯmān’s caliphate (23-35/643-55), Jarir continued to rule in Hamadān, while ʿOṯmān’s viceroys in Māh were Wahb b. ʿAbd-Allāh of Banu Qays, followed by Mālek b. Ḥabib Yarbuʿi, and Nosayr b. Ṯur ʿEjli, who was succeeded by his son Serri (Balāḏori, p. 309; Kalbi, I, p. 165; Ṭabari, I, p. 3058; Yaʿqubi, Taʾrikò I, p. 176). The next Caliph, ʿAli b. Abi Ṭāleb (35-40/655-60), came to Basra in 36/656 and dismissed the governors appointed by ʿOṯmān, including Jarir. This drove Jarir to join Moʿāwia in his campaign against ʿAli (Yaʿqubi, Taʾrikò II, p. 214; Masʿudi, Moruj III, p. 117). After the battle of Ṣeffin, ʿAli made ʿAmr b. Salema his representative and governor of Hamadān (Abu’l-Šayḵ, I pp. 87-88; Monqori, pp. 15-20, 105). He was most likely the eponym of the Banu Salema Arabs of Hamadān, who appear in the sources on Hamadān until the 9th century. Historical sources also indicate that two other Arab tribes, the Banu Ḥanẓala and Banu Johayna, also settled in the Hamadān area (Aḏkāʾi, 1989, p. 20), while, according to a report from the year 77/969, some of the Banu ʿEjl and Rabiʿa tribes were also settled in Hamadān (Ṭabari, II, p. 994).
The conquest of Persia continued under the Omayyads and contingents of Arab tribes moved from their two centers of Baṣra and Kufa towards Persia, eventually settling in its cities and their surroundings. Occasionally they would execute the local Zoroastrian landowners (dehqān, q.v.) and divide their property among themselves (Zarrinkub, pp. 431-32), and at other times they would make peace with the local population by designating them as their own clients (mawāli) in return for a share of their wealth. Starting in the early years of the conquest in the 7th century, Hamadān, like Isfahan, Qom, and Kāšān, was on the migration route of the Arab tribes, a place of settlement and a seat of government. The ḵarāj (property tax) of Jebāl (Māhayn) and Hama-dān and their dependencies at the time of Moʿāwia amounted to about 40 million dirhams (Yaʿqubi, Taʾriḵ II, p. 233).
A faction of the Banu ʿEjl, having joined the revolution that began in Khorasan and ended with the fall of the Omayyads, moved to the Jebāl in the early 8th century. They settled there and acquired landas eqṭāʿs (q.v.) in the area between Hamadān and Isfahan, which was referred to as the Karaj of Banu Dolaf (the present-day Arāk, q.v.). The caliph eventually assigned to them the government of Jebāl. Abu Moslem Ḵorāsāni (q.v.), the leader of the revolution against the Omayyads, was raised among these Banu ʿEjl, who were known, as implied above, as Banu Dolaf. The Abbasids rewarded the Banu ʿEjl for their services by granting them a number of eqṭāʿs in the area. They reached the height of their power under Ḥārun al-Rašid and al-Maʾmun, when Abu Dolaf Qāsem b. ʿIsā ʿEjli Karaji (185-226/801-41) ruled over the entire Jebāl province (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 27-38). After the murder of Abu Moslem, Jebāl became a hotbed of nationalistic movements of the Ḵorramis and Mazdakites, and its populace was actively involved in the uprising of Sonbād. The Caliph al-Manṣur sent one of the same ʿEjli amirs at the head of an army of 10,000 (136-37/754-55), to quell the uprising, which he did in a battle that took place between Ray and Hamadān (Masʿudi, Moruj IV, p. 145).
The office of the tax-collector in Hamadān belonged to the already-mentioned Banu Salema tribe. The government in the city had been hereditary in this tribe since its migration to the city in the middle of the 7th century. They were charged with the levying of taxes (ḵaraj) on all estates and villages in the area as far as the borders of Qom and Qazvin. Complaints against them were so frequent that when Hārun al-Rašid reached Hamadān (189/804) on his way to Khorasan, he issued orders for reforms concerning the measurement of lands, the administrative divisions of provinces (welāyāt), and the assessment and levying of taxes (Qomi, pp. 29, 189-90, 204; Mostawfi, p. 777). The ḵarāj levied on Hamadān and Daštabi at that time amounted to 11,800,000 dirhams (Hamadān’s share of 6,000,000 dirhams was cut by half) in cash in addition to 1,000 mans of pomegranate and rhubarb concentrated juice and 20,000 raṭls (both man and raṭl are units of measurement which vary in quantity according to locality) of honey of the Alvand piedmont (Jahšiāri, p. 360) in kind. After Hārun al-Rašid, Hamadān became the main zone of warfare between the army of Khorasan supporting al-Maʾmun and that of his brother, al-Amin, coming from Iraq (190/810). At first ʿEṣma b. Ḥammād Hamadāni was in charge of the forces of al-Amin in Hamadān, but later al-Amin sent ʿIsā b. Māhān as the commander of a military force of 40,000 and the governor of Jebāl, and he also instructed Abu Dolaf ʿEjli to join ʿIsā at the head of 5,000 men. Ṭāher b. Ḥosayn, known as Ḏu’l-Yaminayn, led the army sent by al-Maʾmun. ʿIsā b. Māhān was defeated in a battle near Ray, in which he also lost his son (Šawwāl 190/September 806). Al-Amin sent another army of 20,000 under ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān b. Jabala, who met Ṭāher near Hamadān. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān was defeated and withdrew into the city. Ṭāher cut the city’s water supply, and ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān, under siege and doubtful of the loyalty of the local population, had to sue for peace (Ḏu’l-qaʿda 190/October 806). These events paved the way for the eventual victory of al-Maʾmun (Yaʿqubi, Taʾriḵ II, p. 438; Ebn al-Aʿṯam, VIII, pp. 225-300; Ṭabari, I, pp. 798, 827, 855).
Disturbances and movements seeking independence continued during the caliphate of al-Maʾmun with the uprising of the Ḵorramis, Mazdakites, Deylamites, and the Bāteniya, and they were often met by forces led by the above-mentioned Abu Dolaf ʿEjli (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 42-43). According to one tradition, Maʾmun gave the government of Dinavar and Hamadān to Abu Jaʿfar Moḥammad b. Jahm Barmaki, an astronomer and author of Persian descent, who is also known as a translator of Pahlavi books (Ebn Qotayba, ʿOyun al-aḵbār IV, p. 36; Qazvini, V, pp. 57-59).
With the death of Maʾmun and the caliphate of al-Moʿtaṣem (218-27/833-41), the people of Hamadān and Jebāl began to turn to Zoroastrian, Ḵorrami, and Bāṭeni religions, and the movement spread over an extensive area from Azerbaijan to Fārs and Isfahan. People rose up in rebellion in the whole area at a pre-arranged date, killed government functionaries (ʿommāl), and then set up camp in the Hamadān plain in preparation to join Bābak (q.v.), the leader of the Ḵorrami movement. The caliph dispatched an army of 40,000 men against them under Esḥāq b. Ebrāhim (Ḏu’l-ḥejja 218/833), who routed them. They dispersed, leaving behind 60,000 dead; some evidently reached Azerbaijan and Armenia (Ebn al-ʿAybi, pp. 138-39; Balʿami, ed. Rowšan, p. 1254; Neẓām-al-Molk, pp. 291-93; Ḏahabi, p. 103). Then the Caliph al-Moʿtaṣem sent Afšin (q.v.) against the Ḵorramis. Abu Dolaf ʿEjli (d. 226/840), who harbored strong resentments against Afšin, was at this time the governor of Jebāl and in charge of the military operations against the Deylamites.
The ʿEjlis ruled over part of Jebāl for one hundred years from 185/801 to 285/898, producing a number of famous amirs. At times Hamadān and Isfahan fell within the area ruled by them (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 43, 104). The administration of Hamadān up to the middle of the 3rd/9th century was in the hands of the Banu Salema tribe. From among them Abu’l-Wafāʾ Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-ʿAziz b. Salema has been mentioned as a poet and an erudite man of letters. In the mid-9th century C.E., a branch of Ḥasani sayyeds (the ʿAlawis of Hamadān) moved to Hamadān, where they rose increasingly in prestige and power, and eventually the honorific title of the headship of the town, a kind of elected mayor, became hereditary in their family up to the 13th century (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 159 ff.; idem, 1989, pp. 20-28).
With the weakening of the ʿAbbasid Caliphate (9th-11th cent.), the northern and western parts of Persia became virtually independent under Deylamite, Kurdish, and Lor rulers. Asfār b. Širuya Deylami conquered the entire Jebāl, including Hamadān and Karaj in 317/929, after the fall of the Banu ʿEjl dynasty in the 10th century, and called forth the Samanids of Khorasan. After him, one of his generals the Ziyarid Mardāvij (316-26/928-38), who rallied the Deylamites around him, emerged as the dominant figure. However, Mardāvij himself did not have sufficient resources to pay his men, and was obliged to consign various cities of Jebāl to his generals. He captured Hamadān in 319/931 and inflicted a four-day massacre on the city for its resistance against him (Masʿudi, Moruj V, pp. 262, 266-67). After Mardāvij, the Buyid ʿEmād-al-Dawla ʿAli (320-38/932-49; q.v.) was able to bring the entire area under his control with the assistance of the Ḵorrami, Shiʿite, and Zoroastrian factions. He agreed to pay the caliph in Baghdad an annual sum of 200,000 dinars for taxes levied on Hamadān and Dinavar (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 113-14; Eqbāl, p. 130).
Hamadān suffered damages in an earthquake of 345/956, and six years later it was the scene of sectarian conflicts, in which many people lost their lives (Frye, p. 105). In 366/976, the Buyid Rokn-al-Dawla Ḥasan divided his realm among his sons, giving Hamadān, Ray, and Qazvin, along with their dependencies, to Amir Faḵr-al-Dawla (r. 373-87/983-97). Faḵr-al-Dawla’s territory became the foundation of the Deylamite and Kakuid principality of Jebāl. After him, his sons Majd-al-Dawla (r. 387-420/997-1029) and Šams-al-Dawla (r. 387-412/997-1021) ruled over Ray and Hamadān respectively. Later, ʿAlaʾ-al-Dawla Kākuya, a cousin of their mother, ruled in Isfahan, and for a while brought Hamadān under his sway, after defeating its last Deylamite ruler Samāʾ-al-Dawla (r. 412-14/1021-23), son of Šams-al-Dawla. But ʿAlaʾ-al-Dawla Kākuya was himself driven out of Hamadān in 421/1030, when the Ghaznavid Sultan Masʿud I led an expedition against him (Eqbāl, pp. 163, 178, 181-84, 246). It must be noted in this connection that the same period witnessed the emergence of the power of some chieftains of the Barzekāni Kurds. Their leader, Abu’l-Fawāres Ḥasanuya/Ḥasanwayh b. Ḥasan Barzekāni (r. 348-69/958-79), captured a large part of Kurdistan (including Dinavar, Nehāvand, Šāpur-ḵᵛāst, Yazdegard, and Asadābād) in about 348/958 and made Sarmāj, a fortress to the south of Bisotun, his capital. The Ḥasanuya amirs ruled in parts of western Persia for about sixty years (345-405). The most celebrated among them was Abu Najm Badr b. Ḥasanuya (r. 369-405/981-1014), renowned for his sagacity and largesse. He was a stalwart supporter of the Deylamites of Jebāl against the Samanids of Khorasan (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 119-25).
Plate I. Distant view of Hamadān and Mount Alvand in early 20th century.
Hamadān fell to the Saljuqs in the first half of the 5th/11th century, and in the 6th/12th century, following the disintegration of the Saljuq empire, it became the capital of the branch that ruled over ʿErāq-e ʿAjam. Hamadān flourished significantly under these Saljuqs; a number of monuments dating from this period, such as Gonbad-e ʿAlawiān, are still standing. It was under the same Saljuqs that the aforementioned ʿAlawi/Šarif clan of Hama-dān, who traditionally held the city’s mayoral position from the mid-9th century to the mid-13th century, reached the zenith of their power. Two distinct periods can be recognized concerning the internal politics of Hamadān: first, From about 250-450/864-1058, when the ʿAlawi clan was predominant, and second, from about 450-650/1058-1252, when the ʿAlaʾ-al-Dawla family, whose members have been called the mountain kings (šahriārān-e kuhestān) in some panegyrics, were in control (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 159-236, 282).
Like most Persian cities, Hamadān had its share of the ravages of the Mongol invasion. It was laid waste and a large number of its people lost their lives during the two Mongol onslaughts on the city in 618/1221 and 621/1224. Later a township arose on the north side of the city and was dubbed “New Hamadān” (Hamadān-e Now) until the city itself began to regain some degree of prosperity and significance under the Ilkhanids. Hulāgu Khan used it as a camping ground (āmādgāh) in 655/1257 and Abāqā (q.v.) died there (680/1281).
Plate II. Bridge over the river at Hamadān, Alvand in the background.
The political history of ʿErāq-e ʿAjam and Hamadān in the 8th/14th century, more specifically from the ascension of Ḡāzān Khan to the Ilkhanid throne in 694/1295 to 795/1392, when Timur (Tamerlane) started his second five-year campaign, is linked to the history of the Il-khanids, Chobanids (q.v.), and Jalayerids, as well as to that of a few (contemporaneous) members of the Mozaffarid dynasty. From 738/1337 to 787/1385, ʿErāq-e ʿAjam was ruled for the first twenty years by two Chobanid rulers, Shaikh Ḥasan-e Kuček (738-44/1337-43; q.v.) and Malek Ašraf (744-58/1343-57), then by the Jalayerids, Sultan Oways (757-76/1356-74) and Sultan Ḥosayn (776-84/1356-82; see Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 244-50; idem, 1994, pp. 4607-4661). Hamadān also lay on the path of Timur during his three campaigns in the period from 788/1386 to 807/1404. After Timur, and even during his lifetime, the control of Hamadān and other cities of ʿErāq-e ʿAjam often changed hands among the Timurid princes. After the death of Šāhroḵ b. Timur (r. 807-51/1405-48), the Qara Qoyunlu Turkmen captured Hamadān, and it became part of the domain of ʿAlišakar Bahārlu (Bārāni), an amir in the service of Jahānšāh Mirzā Turkamān (841-72/1437-67); ʿAlišakar’s sons ruled over their father’s realm after him. Hamadān for a time regained its former prosperity with the rise of the Safavids (908/1503), under whom the so-called ʿAli-šakar’s domain (qalamrow-e ʿAlišakar), or Hamadān, was the administrative center of ʿErāq-e ʿAjam (Taḏkerat al-moluk, ed. Minorsky, pp. 44, 104, 163, 171).
During the 17th and 18th centuries when western Persia was often devastated by the Ottoman army, Hamadān suffered a great deal of damage and loss of life. In 1136/1724, the city was ravaged and occupied by Aḥmad Pasha, the governor of Baghdad, and most of its population were killed. Eight years later, Nāder Shah Afšār recaptured the city, chasing the Ottomans as far as Baghdad. During the Zand period (1751-89), Hamadān (still referred to as Qalamrow by the chroniclers) was under their sway. It was during this same period that the Qaraguzlu tribe emerged as an influential element in the politics and military affairs of the city. Hamadān fell to Āḡā Moḥammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, in 1205/1789, and he had the old fortress situated on MosÂallā Hill demolished.
Thanks to its favorable strategic location, Hamadān regained some of its prosperity as a commercial center in the course of the 18th century, but the local population was continuously oppressed and mistreated by the Qaraguzlu chieftains, leading to frequent popular protests and disturbances.
Hamadān joined the Constitutional Movement (q.v.) at the outset, and this led to the early establishment of modern institutions of local government, such as a city council and departments of education, justice, etc. During World War I, Hamadān was frequently occupied by the Ottoman, British, and Russian forces in turn, and it went through a period of severe famine. However, there was a revival of the city after the war, particularly in the cultural and educational spheres (Aḏkaʾi, 1992, pp. 10-11).
For an extensive bibliography of Hamadān, see Parviz Aḏkāʾi, Ketābšenāsi-e Hamadān, Hamadān, 1373 Š./1994.
ʿAbd-Allāh b. Moḥammad Abu’l-Šayḵ, Ṭabaqāt al-moḥaddeṯin I, Beirut 1987.
Parviz Aḏkāʾi, Farmānfarmāyān-e gomnām, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988.
Idem, “Abu’l-Wafāʾ Hamadāni,” Taḥ-qiqāt-e eslāmi IV/1-2, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 20-28.
Idem, Rāhnemā-ye Hamadān, Hamadān, 1371 Š./1992.
Idem, “Hamadān dar sada-ye haštom,” in Nāmvāra-ye Doktor Afšār VIII, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994, pp. 4607-61.
Idem, Hamadān-nāma, Hamadān, 1380 Š./ 1991 (containing a Persian version of the present article).
Balāḏori, Fotuḥ. Abu ʿAli Moḥammad Balʿami, ed. Rowšan. Moḥammad b. Aḥmad Ḏahabi, [Ketāb] Dowal al-eslām, Hyderabad, 1337/1919.
Ebn al-Aʿṯam al-Kufi, al-Fotuḥ, Hyderabad, 1968-75.
Ebn al-Aṯir. Ebn al-ʿEbri, Moḵtaṣar al-dowal, repr. Qom, 1403/1982.
Ebn Qotayba, al-Maʿāref, ed. Ṯarwat ʿOkāša, Cairo, 1960.
Idem,ʿOyun al-aḵbār, ed. Aḥmad Zaki, Cairo, 1925-30.
ʿAbbās Eqbāl, Tāriḵ-e-mofaṣṣal-e Irān, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967.
Richard N. Frye, “Hamadhān,” in EI2. A. V. Williams Jackson, Persia Past and Present, New York and London, 1906, pp. 146-50.
Ebn ʿAbdus al-Jahšiāri, Ketāb al-Wozarā, Pers. tr., Abu’l-Fażl Ṭabāṭabāʾi, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.
Masʿudi, Moruj, ed. Pellat. Abu Naṣr Monqori, Waqʿat Ṣeffin, ed. ʿAbd-al-Salām Hārun, Cairo, 1382.
Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi, Tāriḵ-e gozida, ed. ʿAbd-al-Hoṟsayn Navāʾi, Tehran, 1339 Š./1960.
Neẓām-al-Molk, Siar al-moluk, ed. Hubert Darke, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961.
Moḥammad Qazvini, Yāddāšthā-ye Qazvini, 10 vols., ed. Iraj Afšār (Iradj Afshar), Tehran, 1337-1354 Š./1958-1975.
Qomi, Tāriḵ-e Qom, ed. Sayyed Jalāl-al-din Ṭehrāni, Tehran, 1313 Š./1934.
Ḥasan Rumlu, ed. Navāʾi, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970.
Ṭabari, and Ṭabari, tr. Yaʿqubi, Taʾrikò, ed. M. T. Houtsma as Historiae, Leiden, 1883.
ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Zarrinkub, Tāriḵ-e-Irān baʿd az eslām, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964.
Originally Published: December 15, 2003
Last Updated: March 6, 2012
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Vol. XI, Fasc. 6, pp. 608-612