Persian historiography reached its maturity during the period of the 13th-15th centuries, which might broadly be described as the Turko-Mongol era. Compared with earlier centuries, the bulk of the chronicles recording Persia’s history were now written in Persian; and although Arabic sources continue to be important (particularly in the early Mamluk period, to around 740/1340), they contribute only incidental and random information on the former lands of the eastern caliphate (Little; Melville, 1996).

General considerations. This transition, which is symptomatic of a more general reassertion of Iranian culture in the post-Abbasid world, is also signified by the translation of Arabic historical works into Persian during this period. Among these are Hendušāh Naḵjavāni’s (q.v.) Tajāreb al-salaf (comp. 1323), a translation of al-Faḵri by Ebn Ṭeqṭaqā (q.v.), which covers Islamic history to the fall of Baghdad, a backward look at a world that had departed. Its survey of Abbasid caliphs and their viziers, and of the regional dynasties that rose and fell under them, was by the time Hendušāh wrote perhaps sufficiently instructive for him to feel no need to include the opening sections of the Arabic original, a Mirror for Princes that was not without some positive things to say about the new Mongol regime (see Kritzeck). Other translations include an anonymous version of Nasavi Ḵorandezi’s life of the Ḵwārazmšāh Jalāl-al-Din Mingbarni (for the name see Jackson, 2000, p. 209, n. 9), probably made within a few decades of the original composition (639/1241-42), and various local histories, including Ḥosayn Āvi’s translation of Māfarruḵi’s Maḥāsen Eṣfahān (729/1329; see Paul, 2001b), Ḥasan b. ʿAli Qomi’s translation of the Tāriḵ-e Qom (805-06 /1403-04; see Lambton, 1948), and a history of Nišāpur (Frye, p. 12); the Persian Qandiya, the city chronicle of Samarqand, however, seems not to be based on Arabic models (cf. Paul, 1993). By means of these translations, the Persians re-appropriated their own past and perhaps drew instruction from it.

The distinctive nature of Persian historiography, already visible in such earlier dynastic histories as the Tāriḵ-e masʿudi of Abu’l-Fażl Bayhaqi (q.v.) and Ẓahir-al-Din Nišāpuri’s Saljuq-nāma (Cahen, p. 73), and the tradition of local history writing as exemplified by 12th-century authors such as Ebn al-Balḵi (q.v.), Ẓahir-al-Din ʿAli Bayhaqi (q.v.; Pourshariati, 2001), Ebn Esfandiār (q.v.), and others (Lambton, 1991; Pourshariati, 1998; Meisami, 1999), is underlined by comparison with the chronicles in rigid annalistic format that continue to be the dominant form of historiography in the Arab lands (cf. Humphreys, p. 130). Existing tendencies in the arrangement, contents, and language of Persian historiography are consolidated, though not without further development.

The chronological structure of the works produced in this period is often very imprecise, notably in the verse histories discussed below, but also in the prose works, which for the most part are truly narrative in the sense of presenting connected sequences of events as discrete episodes, or dealing with separate topics in turn, such as ʿAṭā Malek Jovayni’s excursus on the yāsā of Čengiz Khan (I, pp. 16-25; tr. I, pp. 23-24). The focus is almost exclusively on the ruler and the actions and personalities of government; extraneous or trivial details tend to be excluded. The importance of the ruler, who often happened also to be the patron or dedicatee of the work, inevitably had an effect on the conceptual framework of the narrative, which is generally organized by reigns. The rulers’ deeds that contributed positively to the expected norms of behavior and prowess were recorded or exaggerated, while those that negated them were either omitted or concealed within elaborate literary contrivances, which required decoding to be understood (Poliakova, 1988). A more unusual, and explicit, assessment of a ruler’s character is found in tabular form in the second version of Moʿin-al-Din Naṭanzi’s Montaḵab al-tawāriḵ-e moʿini (Aigle).

One striking exception to the lack of concern for dates is Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšāni’s (q.v.) chronicle of Öljeitü’s reign (1304-16), which, in an annalistic format, contains, apart from a few extended passages, notices of numerous unconnected events, which are often given an exact, though often inaccurate, date. It is as though this material had been assembled as the basis for a more polished version to follow, perhaps on behalf of Rašid-al-Din (see Morgan, 1997, pp. 182-84). Another characteristic of Kāšāni’s work is his use of the animal calendar (Melville, 1994, pp. 92-93), the year being perceived as starting in spring and the main unit of time being the rhyth-mic alteration between winter and summer quarters. In the histories of Timur, the change of season is often the only indication of the passage of time in the narrative (Humphreys, p. 130).

The emphasis on the court and particularly the martial achievements of the ruler, in an era dominated by the Turko-Mongol military chiefs, leaves little space for glimpses into the life of the ordinary people, except as victims of the tax regime and the passage of armies. The authors of local histories are generally closer to the peo-ple of the regions they describe, but it is rather to hagiographical literature that one should turn to bring rural life into focus (see, e.g., Aubin, 1989).

That many outstanding historians flourished in Mongol and post-Mongol Persia could be regarded as paradoxical, given the barbaric character ascribed to the Mongols themselves and the bleakness of Mongol rule (see, e.g., Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 15; Rypka, 1968a pp. 248-49). Apart from any sense in which the florescence of Persian letters generally was the response of a vigorous culture under threat from alien domination, the stimulus to historiographical production was due partly to the fact that the new regime was a truly imperial one, the first to be closely associated with the Iranian plateau since the Sasanians. It soon became aware of the value of promoting a record of its achievements, particularly in so far as this record could be made to fit into the literary mould of the subject population (in China as in Persia; Morgan, 1982, pp. 109-10; Rypka, 1968b, pp. 621-22). Indeed, as Shahrokh Meskoob points out (p. 86), the Mongols’ interest in history was partly also to preserve their own identity from being swamped by the cultures into which they had irrupted.

Considering the not negligible output of Persian historiography in preceding periods (see iii. above; Meisami, 1999), one would not wish to go so far as Bertold Spuler (pp. 127-28, 131) in locating the rise of Persian historiography in the Mongol period. He explains this rise partly as the result of the collapse of the old symbiosis of the traditional dehqān society and its Turkish rulers, who were not greatly interested in the role of history among the Islamic sciences. Nevertheless, it certainly seems that in Persian historiography as in painting, the destruction of the Abbasid caliphate and the advent of the Mongols dramatically liberated Persian creative talents. The exact timing of this apparent coincidence, however, has yet to be examined in detail, and it is clear that in neither case could such mature forms have appeared without a previous period of gestation.

In view of the above, it is no coincidence that Ferdowsi’s Šāh-nāma (pace Spuler, p. 131), was not merely appreciated for its poetical aspect; it is listed as a historical authority by writers throughout the Mongol period (as earlier), from Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (Tāriḵ-egozida, ed. Navāʾi, p. 7) and Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn Kāteb (p. 5) to Mirḵvānd (p. 17). Indeed, as well as providing the subject-matter for the majority of the earliest known Persian miniatures, imitation of the Šāh-nāma and by implication its world view gave a new impetus to the genre of the verse chronicle in the baḥr-e motaqāreb meter (see Ṣafā, pp. 337-54; Mortażawi, pp. 547-625). One of the earliest examples of these, a Saljuq-nāma by Aḥmad Qāneʿi Ṭusi (Ṣafā, Adabiyāt III, pp. 493 ff.; Köprülü, tr., pp. 15-17), was among the sources for the history of Ebn Bibi (q.v.). From the Mongol period, the most noteworthy are the Šāh-nāma-ye čengizi by Šams-al-Din Kāšāni, the Ẓafar-nāma of Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (a versified history of ca. 75,000 couplets), and the Šāhanšāh-nāma of Aḥmad Tabrizi (a poem of about 18,000 couplets dealing with the history of Čengiz Khan and his successors; see Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp. 95-98; Ṣafā, Adabiyāt III, pp. 325-26; Monzawi, Nosḵahā IV, pp. 2996-97; Boyle, 1974; Jahn).

Šams-al-Din’s chronicle (ms. Paris, Bibliothéque Nationale, suppl. persan 1443), written at the request of Ḡāzān Khan (q.v.), may have started as a straightforward versification of Rašid-al-Din’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ, as the author maintains (fol. 6a); but this objective was evidently modified (perhaps following Ḡāzān’s death) by the interpolation of a sequence of sections of advice and exemplary tales, concluding with anecdotes about Alexander the Great, Bahrām Gōr, Anōširvān, and so on (see Blochet, pp. 101-6; Mortażawi, pp. 590-625).

Mostawfi’s Ẓafar-nāma (ms. London, British Library, Or. 2833), by contrast, is altogether a more sober work, again largely based on Rašid-al-Din for the early sections, but thereafter, particularly for the reign Abu Saʿid (q.v.), an original source of information that never loses sight of its primary objective: to report events, however much these are punctuated by the author’s observations on the working of fate and presented with Mostawfi’s running commentary on the inevitable consequences of the actions he records. A facsimile edition of the text has been produced recently by Rastgār and Purjawādi.

As for Tabrizi’s Šāhanšāh-nāma (ms. London, British Library, Or. 2780), it was commissioned by Sultan Abu Saʿid but completed after his death, in 1337, seemingly at the Jalayerid court, and dedicated to the vizier, Masʿud-šāh Enju. It is full of factual detail about the last years of the Ilkhanate, and a work of greater complexity, in both language and structure, than those mentioned above. So far, it has only received the attention of art historians (e.g., Robinson, pp. 40-41; see also Melville, 1999b). Both these works were used and quoted by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru (q.v.) in his continuation of Rašid-al-Din’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ (Melville, 1998).

Another product of the Jalayerid court is the Ḡāzān-nāma (q.v.) of Aždari, which loosely follows the sequence of events reported by Rašid-al-Din and shows something of the process whereby Ḡāzān Khan was given a legendary persona and portrayed as the founding figure of the post-conquest, Persianized phase of Turko-Mongol rule in Persia. Significantly, it was written for the Jalayerid Shaikh Oways (r. 1356-74), and the only known copy was made for the Āq Qoyunlu sultan, Uzun Ḥasan (r. 1457-78), both rulers from the same mold (Melville, 2003).

Also in this genre is the Daftar-e delgošā, written by Ṣāḥeb in 1320 about the Šabānkāra ruler, Mobārez-al-Din (r. 1226-60; see Takmil-Homāyun); a Timur-nāma by Šaraf-al-Din ʿAli Yazdi (Mortażawi, pp. 574-86), and, at the end of the period, the Timur-nāma of ʿAbd-Allāh Hātefi (q.v.), who also composed a Šāh-nāma for the first Safavid ruler, Esmāʿil I (see Blochet, pp. 108-13; Ṣafā, Adabiyāt IV, pp. 438-47; Mortażawi, pp. 562-74). Such compositions threw a long shadow, most immediately in the work of Qāsem Jonābādi, who wrote a Šāh-nāma-ye Šāhroḵ as well as epic poems for the Safavids Esmāʿil I and Shah Ṭahmāsb I (Mortażawi, p. 586; Bernardini).

These largely neglected verse chronicles are worth studying, quite apart from their “factual” contents. In their deliberate archaizing and backward-looking poetic language, they appear to be ennobling the deeds of the Mongol military class in the trappings of a long-lost age, rather as Jean Froissart’s Chroniques celebrated the dying of the chivalrous ideal in 14th-century France. They also illustrate, first, the development of a genre of popular historical romances that was to flourish in the Safavid period (see v. below), and second, the fact that historical writing is intimately bound up with literary creativity and should not be regarded as a distinct scientific genre.

While verse chronicles represent rather an extreme example of the literary character of historical writing, the pretensions of many authors are apparent in the highly ornate language of their work, including the frequent insertion of lines of poetry of their own or others’ composition (cf. the work of Rāvandi, in Meisami, 1994; idem, 1999, pp. 291-92; idem, 2000). Although this is commonly seen and lamented as a particular defect of mature (and later, overripe) Persian historiography (see, e.g., Rypka, 1968a, pp. 249, 314-15), it is a direct product of the Arabic language, which so lends itself to embellishment of expression: Arabic histories provided some immediate models at the outset of this development, as in the translation by Jorbāḏqāni (603/1206-07) of Abu Naṣr Moḥammad ʿOtbi’s al-Ketāb al-yamini, the highly-colored Arabic history of the Ghaznavids, and the anonymous translation of Šehāb-al-Din Moḥammad Nasavi’s Sira of the Ḵʷārazmšāh Jalāl-al-Din, already referred to. Jovayni’s Tāriḵ-e Jahāngošā (comp. 1260) is very ornate in parts, both in formulaic descriptions of nature, such as the spring (e.g., I, pp. 109-10; tr., pp. 138-39) and in passages of panegyric or when treating sensitive subjects in a generalized manner (e.g., the destruction of Samarqand; see I, pp. 95-96; tr., I, pp. 122-23); but at other times he conveys information in a straightforward way (cf. Poliakova, 1984, pp. 244-47).

It is Šehāb-al-Din Waṣṣāf’s continuation of Jovayni (comp. in 1323, but covering events in Persia only to 1319) that infamously takes ornamentation to its extreme, and up to the limits of intelligibility, so that even substantive details are presented in a stylized way. Waṣṣāf is often said to have regarded the historical information that he recorded merely as a vehicle for a display of rhetorical artifice (see Quatremère, in Rašid-al-Din, ed. and tr. Quatremère, p. lxviii), though his preface (ed. Hammer-Purgstall, pp. 10-11) contains a standard disclaimer of any literary ability and inclination. His success (as indicated by the high number of surviving manuscripts: over one hundred listed in Storey, I/1, pp. 268-69, one-fifth of which date from before 1500; see also Monzawi, Nosḵahā VI, pp. 4280-86) nevertheless reveals the profound appreciation of such a tour de force on its own terms rather than as a work of historiography.

E. A. Poliakova (1984, pp. 252-53), considers this formal abstraction to be driven by the influence of a burgeoning Sufism that was indifferent to the concrete world. While the increased appeal of Sufism during the Mongol period is often attributed to peoples’ need for spiritual solace in the face of the brutal harshness of contemporary life, a more compelling reason for the historians’ use of excessive verbiage is that it obscures the horrors of the time without denying their existence. The fact that such works were incomprehensible to the rulers to whom they were presented ensured good opportunities for ambiguity, concealment, and double-entendres (cf. Kappler). It also explains why other authors state, disingenuously, that they were asked to write in clear and simple language by their patrons (e.g., Neẓām-al-Din Šāmi, I, pp. 10-11; Woods, 1987, p. 83).

Waṣṣāf’s example was certainly influential, for instance perhaps on Moʿin-al-Din Yazdi (Kotobi, editor’s introd., p. 16), whose scholarly but verbose history of the Muzaffarids, Mawāheb-e elāhi (events up to 767/1365), was regarded as excessive by the later author Maḥmud Kotobi, who saw his own work as a continuation of Mostawfi’s Tāriḵ-e gozida (Kotobi, p. 27) Moʿin-al-Din’s work was admired by Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn (p. 120) and apparently adapted by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru for that section of his Majmuʿa (see Tauer, 1968; Woods, 1987, p. 97), but no analysis of this borrowing has yet been made. It is interesting that Fażl-Allāh Ḵonji Eṣfahāni, in his categories of historians, includes Jovayni, Waṣṣāf, Moʿin-al-Din, and the Arabic work of ʿOtbi in the same group, not only because of their focus on a particular dynasty or ruler, but also noting their “great felicity of expression” (Ḵonji, pp. 91-92, tr. pp. 10-11); such also, he says, is Yazdi’s history of Timur, the Ẓafar-nāma (comp. ca. 832/1424-25), more properly called Fatḥ-nāma-ye ṣāḥeb-qerāni (Ando), which also served as a stylistic model for later historians (cf. Rypka, 1968a, p. 318, n. 7). This trend, after the relative sobriety of the Timurid period, was taken further under the Safavids before collapsing under its own weight in the spectacular bombast of Mirzā Mahdi Khan Es-trābādi (see HISTORIOGRAPHY vi.).

The resort to this high literary style partly reflects the fact that many authors were secretaries (monši) by background and training (cf. Dabiri-nežād, pp. 28-29). Jovayni, a high official under the first three Il-khans, left a collection of enšāʾ (q.v.) documents (see Paul, 1999), as did ʿAli Yazdi and Moʿin-al-Din Esfezāri (q.v.), a secretary under the Timurid ruler Solṭān-Ḥosayn Bāyqarā (q.v.; Tauer, 1968 p. 434). Waṣṣāf was a revenue official in Fārs, as was Mostawfi in the Ṭārom district. This experience ensured that they were well-placed to witness and understand the events of their time (cf. Āqsarāʾi’s reference to his own experience in the divāns of Mongol Anatolia, pp. 34-35). Historians frequently intruded their own presence into their work (cf. Khalidi, pp. 200-204; Lowry), though this trend had been visible from the outset (Meisami, 1999, p. 289). They also had access to official documents, a particularly important element in the work of the Ilkhanid vizier Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh, who wrote furthermore with unusual directness. His remarkable frankness in exposing the defects of early Mongol rule in Persia can partly be attributed to his personal influence and partly to the educational or instructive aspect of the work, with its emphasis on the need for justice and good deeds, which puts him in the same mould as his great predecessor, the Saljuq vizier Neẓām-al-Molk (d. 1092).

Thus, despite the transformation of the bases of arbitrary political power as enjoyed by the Turko-Mongol rulers, or perhaps in response to them, a common ethical purpose threads through the work of historians of the period, as expressed in their views on the values (fawāʾed) of history. As articulated at varying length by Rašid-al-Din (e.g., ed. Dabirsiāqi, pp. 1-2), Āqsarāʾi (pp. 4-5), Ša-bānkāraʾi (see Aubin, 1981, pp. 217-18), Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru (1996-99, I, pp. 76-88; Tauer, 1963), Marʿaši (1954, pp. 4-7), Ḵonji (pp. 80-86; tr., pp. 7-8), Mirḵvānd (I, pp. 10-13), and others, these ideas show little sign of development from the views of ʿAli b. Zayd Bayhaqi (q.v., pp. 7-17; Meisami, 1999, pp. 211-13): the lessons of history have a value for rulers and their subjects, even people of low rank, who delighted in hearing readings from books on this form of knowledge (ʿelm; see Mirḵvānd, I, p. 15). As this last statement indicates, histories were intended to be recited as well as read (a well-known example of this being the case of Timur, reported by Ebn ʿArabšāh, q.v.; see Woods, 1987, p. 82). The oral nature of much “historical” information was thus, to some extent, preserved, despite the emphatically literary form of adab (q.v.) in which it was compiled and transmitted to later authors.

Survey of historical writing. Turning to a brief review of the main historical works of the period, it is useful to notice the links between them and the formation of a continuous literary tradition that extends from Jovayni (d. 1283) to Mirḵvānd (d. 1498), as well as the sources on which this tradition was based (see also Tauer, 1968, esp. pp. 438-45; Lambton in EI2).

Jovayni’s history, as noted above, derives its authority in large part from his own participation in events, to which he refers, basing his section on the Mongols on his own experiences and verified information provided by others (I, pp. 6-7; tr., I, pp. 9-10), though he does mention earlier works on the Kʷārazmšāhs (cf. Barthold, pp. 31-32) and on the Ismaʿilis, salvaged from the sack of Alamut (see Daftary, pp. 94-95). Jovayni sought to rationalize the disasters that had befallen Islam in his time and explain them as a manifestation of God’s purpose (Boyle, 1962, p. 133); it is hardly surprising, given the circumstances in which he wrote, that he champions the legitimacy of the Toluids, who had seized control of the Mongol empire after the death of Güyük (see Jackson, 1978, esp. pp. 198-202). His work both inspired the continuation of Waṣṣāf and served as an important source for the work of Rašid-al-Din, conceived on a much larger scale but nevertheless indebted to his predecessor (see Boyle, 1962). Rašid-al-Din also relied very largely on oral information, partly provided by Ḡāzān Khan himself for Mongol history, partly from various native informants about the other peoples of the world with whom the Mongols came into contact (the Turks, Chinese, Indians, Franks, and Jews), which justifies the title of World History given to his Compendium of Chronicles (Boyle, 1971; cf. Arberry, p. 156). For the sections of the work in the second volume covering Islamic history, which are largely still unpublished, Rašid-al-Din tends not to mention his sources; the only parts for which the matter has been studied are those on the Ismaʿilis and China (Rašid-al-Din, ed. Dānešpažuh and Modarresi; idem, ed. Wang Yidan; Daftary).

Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi in his Tāriḵ-e gozida (ed. Navāʾi, p. 7) lists both Jovayni and Rašid-al-Din among his eminent predecessors, particularly the latter, who inspired Mostawfi with his love of history and to whom his work was dedicated. His Ẓafar-nāma relies on, but does not follow closely, the Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ up to the reign of Öljeitü/Uljāytu; thereafter, as in his account of the wars in Gilān, Mostawfi makes use of reliable oral information (fols. 712b, 736a; Melville, 1999a). His own continuation of the Ẓafar-nāma is written in prose, more suitable for the dark days that it describes, in a confessedly autobiographical account of the last years of the Ilkhanate (Mostawfi, 1986, p. 435).

Both Mostawfi’s works and the continuation (to 1392) written by his son, Zayn-al-Din, were incorporated into the continuation of Rašid-al-Din’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, which was carried out at the command of Šāhroḵ and brought down to the latter’s reign in successive recensions and reworkings. As noted by John Woods, who analyzes Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru’s use of earlier Timurid historiography, particularly his sanitization of the more Mongol elements in the interesting history by Mo ʿin-al-Din Naṭanzi (Montaḵab al-tawāriḵ), Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru set Timur’s career in the general context of Mongol and Islamic history and continued the western Iranian traditions of Rašid-al-Din, integrating the writings of his predecessors with his own recollections to form a uniform narrative (Woods, 1987, pp. 97, 99). Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru himself states that he was continuing the work of Balʿami (see AMIRAK BALʿAMI), Rašid-al-Din, and Neẓām-al-Din Šāmi (see Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, 1938, pp. 62-63; idem, 1996-99, I, p. 71; Blochet, p. 58). Parviz Aḏkāʾi connects Rašid-al-Din and Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru by their common association with Hamadān (pp. 307-83).

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Samarqandi (q.v.) came from the religious classes and was qāżi at court from 1437, from which position he witnessed events in Herat and Samarqand. In his Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn, he relies very heavily on Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru’s Zobdat al-tawāriḵ up to 1427, when the latter ends, but he also refers directly to Moʿin-al-Din Yazdi’s Mowāheb-e elāhi (see ed. Navāʾi, pp. 8, 166, 234) and evidently used ʿAli Yazdi’s Ẓafar-nāma; thereafter, his chronicle is based on official documents, personal observations, and oral reports. His work, continuing to 1469 or soon after, was much used by Mirḵvānd, although the latter does not mention him in his list of authorities (Mirḵvānd, I, pp. 17-18), and only brought his own chronicle, the Rawżat al-ṣafā, down to the same year, 1469. Mirḵvānd represents the culmination of this tradition of historical writings in the Turko-Mongol period, which, with the exception of Jovayni’s work, were essentially “universal” chronicles linked in a sort of literary chain of authorities (esnād) of authority. Recent work by Adam Jacobs has shown that the early portions of such works, dealing with the rise of Islam and the successors to Moḥammad, can provide useful clues as to the religious orientation of the author and his ideological milieu.

Other links in the chain of general histories, mentioned by Mirḵvānd and earlier by Mostawfi, were the Neẓām al-tawāriḵ of Bayżāwi (ca. 1275; see Melville, 2000) and Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšāni’s Zobdat al-tawāriḵ (to the fall of Baghdad), of which the section on the Ismaʿilis has been edited (for a comparison with the corresponding text of Rašid-al-Din, see Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšāni; Daftary), as well as the section on the Saljuqs, derived from the Saljuq-nāma of Ẓahir-al-Din Nišāpuri (cf. Cahen, pp. 73-76; for a parallel text from the Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ, see Rašid-al-Din, ed. Ateş; idem, tr. Luther; A. H. Morton is currently working on these relationships and on establishing the text of Nišāpuri). Other general works include Juzjāni’s Ṭabaqāt-e nāṣeri (see Morgan, 1982, pp. 110-13) and, very reliant on Rašid-al-Din, the history of Faḵr-al-Din Banākati (q.v.), which Mirḵvānd lists under Arabic sources, suggesting that he had not actually seen it. A briefer annalistic work, to 1441, was produced by Faṣiḥ Aḥmad Kvāfi.

Alongside this imperial tradition associated with the Ilkhanid and Timurid courts, but otherwise inspired by similar motives and written within a similar normative framework, were the histories of the Āq Qoyunlu (q.v.) Turkmans, namely Abu Bakr Ṭehrāni’s Ketāb-e Diār-bakriya (covering the period to 1478) and Fażl-Allāh Ḵonji’s ʿĀlamārā-ye amini, which provides a continuation to 1490 (Woods, 1999, pp. 219-20). Like Jovayni (I, p. 118; tr., I, p. 152), Ḵonji laments the peripatetic life following the court, which made composition difficult, as did the lack of books (p. 95; tr., p. 7). As in other cases, these histories are effectively based on personal experience and oral report, and despite protestations to the contrary, not free from partisanship (for recent studies of Ḵonji’s attitudes, see Haarmann; Jacobs).

Together with Ḥasan b. Šehāb’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ-e ḥasani (a history of Yazd and Kermān up to 1451), Ebn Bibi’s al-Awāmer al-ʿalāʾiya (ca. 1282, dedicated to Jovayni), and Maḥmud Āqsarāʾi’s Mosāmerat al-aḵbār (to 1323, concerning late Saljuq and early Mongol Anatolia; Köprülü, tr., pp. 10-12), as well as others already mentioned, such as Maḥmud Kotobi’s Tāriḵ-e Āl-e Moẓaffar, these works are primarily dynastic histories. Some other important works of the period emphasize the totality of local or regional history rather than the deeds of current rulers. As one would expect, local history productions in the Turko-Mongol period tend to issue from regions well-removed from imperial centers of power, at times of greater political independence, and in places with well-developed traditions of local historiography. Thus, from the south of Persia, we have Faḵr-al-Din Zarkub’s Širāz-nāma (1343), Nāṣer-al-Din Monši Kermāni’s Semṭ al-ʿolā (1320), and Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn’s Tāriḵ-e jadid-e Yazd (1458), based on a slightly earlier 15th-century work by Jaʿfar b. Moḥammad, and others which he lists (pp. 5-6; cf. Miller). For the Caspian provinces, Ebn Esfandiār is followed by Awliā-Allāh Āmoli’s (q.v.) Tāriḵ-e Ruyān (ca. 1362), and Ẓahir-al-Din Marʿaši’s histories of Ṭa-barestān (1476) and Gilān (1489), a tradition carried on well into the Safavid period (see Melville, 2000). Herat is served by the work of Sayf b. Moḥammad Heravi, Tāriḵ-nāma-ye Herāt (to 1321) and Moʿin-al-Din Esfezāri’s Rawżāt al-jannāt fi awṣāf madinat Herāt (ca. 1491; cf. Paul, 2001).

Embedded within several of these works are sections of biographical and topographical information, which should certainly be seen as complementary, if not integral, to historical writing. The interconnectedness of these forms, which cannot be elaborated here, is clearly demonstrated by Mostawfi’s Tāriḵ-e gozida, which concludes with chapters containing biographies of prominent scholars and poets and an account of his home town, Qazvin, and its leading families, thus combining in one work elements of “universal” chronicle, local history, and biographical dictionary. This argues against a rigid categor-ization of the historical literature of the Turko-Mongol period, and for the treatment of each work on its own terms, a task that has still to be accomplished before the richness of this tradition can be fully appreciated.



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Idem, “Persian Local Histories: The Tradition Behind Them and the Assumptions of Their Authors,” in Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti and Lucia Rostagno, eds., Yād-nāma in memoria di Alessandro Bausani I, Rome, 1991, pp. 227-38.

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Idem, “The Historian and the Poet: Rāvandī, Nizami, and the Rhetoric of History,” in Kamran Talattof and Jerome W. Clinton, eds., The Poetry of Nizami Ganjavi: Knowledge, Love, and Rhetoric, New York, 2000, pp. 97-128.

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Idem, “The Contribution of Arabic Sources to the History of Mediaeval Iran,” in Sociétés et cultures musulman d’hier et aujourd’hui, Les chantiers de la recherche, Strasbourg, 30 juin–3 juillet 1994, AFEMAM Lettre d’information no. 10, Paris, 1996, pp. 313-17.

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Idem, “The Īlkhān Öljeitü’s Conquest of Gilān (1307): Rumour and Reality,” in Reuven Amitai-Preiss and David O. Morgan, eds., The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy, Leiden, 1999, pp. 73-125.

Idem, The Fall of Amir Chupan and the Decline of the Ilkhanate, 1327-37: A Decade of Discord in Mongol Iran, Papers on Inner Asia 30, Bloomington, 1999.

Idem, “The Caspian Provinces: A World Apart, Three Local Historians of Mazandaran,” Iranian Studies 33/1-2, 2000, pp. 45-91.

Idem, “From Adam to Abaqa: Qāḍī Bayḍāwī’s Rearrangement of History,” Studia Iranica 30, 2000, pp. 67-86.

Idem, “History and Myth: The Persianisation of Ghazan Khan,” in É. Jeremiás and I. Vásáry, eds., Irano-Turkic Cultural Contacts in the 11th-17th Century, Budapest, 2003 (forthcoming).

Isabel Miller, “Local History in Ninth/Fifteenth Century Yazd: The Tārīkh-i Jadīd-i Yazd,” Iran 27, 1989, pp. 75-79.

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David O. Morgan, “Persian Historians of the Mongols,” in idem, ed., Medieval Historical Writing in the Christian and Islamic Worlds, London, 1982, pp. 109-24.

Idem, “Rašīd al-Dīn and Ġazan Khan,” in Denise Aigle, ed., L’Iran face à la domination mongole, Tehran, 1997, pp. 179-88.

Manučehr Mortażawi, Masāʾel-e ʿaṣr-e Ilḵānān, Tehran, 1980.

Jürgen Paul, “The Histories of Samarqand,” Studia Iranica 22, 1993, pp. 69-92.

Idem, “Some Mongol Inshāʾ-Collections: The Juvayni Letters,” in Charles Melville, ed., Mediaeval and Modern Persian Studies: Proceedings of 3rd European Conference of Iranian Studies II, Wiesbaden, 1999, pp. 277-86.

Idem, “The Historians of Herat,” Iranian Studies 33, 2001a, pp. 93-115.

Idem, “The Historians of Isfahan: Mafarrukhi’s Kitāb maḥāsin Eṣfahān,” Iranian Studies 33, 2001b, pp. 117-32.

E. A. Poliakova, “The Development of a Literary Canon in Medieval Persian Chronicles: The Triumph of Etiquette,” Iranian Studies 17, 1984, pp. 237-56.

Idem, “Timur as Described by the 15th Century Court Historiographers,” Iranian Studies 21, 1988, pp. 31-44.

Parvaneh Pourshariati, “Local Histories of Khurāsān and the Pattern of Arab Settlement,” Studia Iranica 27, 1998, pp. 41-81.

Idem, “Local Historiography in Early Medieval Iran and the Tārīkh-i Bayhaq,” Iranian Studies 33, 2001, pp. 133-64.

Basil W. Robinson, Persian Miniature Painting from Collections in the British Isles, London, 1967.

Jan Rypka, “Persian Literature to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century,” in idem et al., History of Iranian Literature, ed. Karl Jahn, Dordrecht, 1968a, pp. 71-351.

Idem, “Poets and Prose Writers of the Late Saljuq and Mongol Periods,” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, 1968, pp. 550-625.

Ḏabih-Allāh Ṣafā, Ḥamāsa-sarāʾi dar Irān az qadimtarin-e ʿahd-e tāriḵi tā qarn-e čahārdahom-e hejri, Tehran, 1954.

Bertold Spuler, “The Evolution of Persian Historiography,” in Bernard Lewis and Peter M. Holt, eds., Historians of the Mid-dle East, London, 1962, pp. 126-32.

Nāṣer Takmil-Homāyun, “Āšnāʾi bā šabānkāragān; moʿarrefi wa taḥlil-e Daftar-e delgošā,” Honar o mardom 16, no. 188, 1978, pp. 54-57, nos. 189-90, pp. 8-10, nos. 191-92, pp. 72-80; 17, 1979, no. 193, pp. 18-21.

Felix Tauer, “Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū sur l’historiographie,” in Mélanges d’Orientalisme offert à Henri Massé, Tehran, 1963, pp. 10-25.

Idem, “Persian Learned Literature from its Beginnings up to the End of the 18th Century: History and Biography,” in J. Rypka et al., History of Iranian Literature, ed. Karl Jahn, Dordrecht, 1968, pp. 438-59.

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Idem, The Aqquyunlu: Clan, Confederation, Empire, 2nd ed., Salt Lake City, 1999.

(Charles Melville)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 22, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 4, pp. 348-356