JOVAYNI (JOVEYNI), designation of a family of men of the pen and statesmen of the 13th and 14th centuries in Iran. Men of this family held high positions in the government under the Saljuq, Ḵārazmšāh, and Il-khanid dynasties, and many of them held the position of ṣāḥeb(-e) divān (in charge of state finance).

The family’s history goes back to Fażl b. Rabiʿ, the chamberlain (ḥājeb) of the ʿAbbasid caliph Hārun al-Rašid (r. 786-809) and, following the fall of the Barmakids (q.v.), replaced the Barmakid Yaḥyā as vizier, in which capacity he continued under al-Rašid’s son and successor al-Amin (r. 809-13; Ebn Ṭeqṭaqā, p. 129; Ebn Fowaṭi, pp. 1034-35; Qazvini, pp. yb-yh). Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad b. ʿAli, the forefather (by four generations) of brothers ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā-Malek and Šams-al-Din Moḥammad was given an audience by Sultan Takeš b. Il-Arslān Ḵārazmšāh (r. 1172-1200) in the village Āzādvār of Jovayn, when the king arrived there on his way to Ray in 1192 against the last Saljuq ruler of central Persia. He won the king’s favor with an improvised couplet that he composed at his suggestion (Jovayni, II, p. 28). Montajeb-al-Din Badiʿ Kāteb Jovayni, an uncle of Bahāʾ-al-Din and an author, was one of the minions of the Saljuqid Sultan Sanjar and the head of his secretariat (divān-e enšāʾ; see ʿAwfi, I, pp. 78-80; Qazvini, pp. yd-yz).

Šams-al-Din Moḥammad b. Moḥammad b. ʿAli Jovayni, the grandfather of brothers ʿAṭā-Malek and Bahāʾ-al-Din, was the state treasurer (mostawfi) of ʿAlāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad Ḵārazmšāh (r. 1200-20) and his son Jalāl-al-Din Menguberti (r. 1220-31; Ḵāndamir, III, p. 104; Qazvini, pp. yz-yj).

Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad b. Moḥammad, the ṣāḥeb(-e) divān, the father of ʿAṭā-Malek and Šams-al-Din, was in the service of the Mongol governors ruling Iran for the great khan in Mongolia during the interval between the conquests of Čengiz Khan (q.v.) and the arrival in Iran of Hulāgu (Hülegü) Khan (q.v.), the founder of the Il-khanid dynasty. Jentemor, the Mongol ruler of Khorasan and Māzandarān, appointed Bahāʾ-al-Din the ṣāḥeb divān of the area under his command around 1232-33, and in about 1235-36 dispatched him in the company of Gorguz (Körgüz), one of his associates and his future successor in Khorasan, to the court of Ogtāy (Ögedey) Khan. The khan treated Bahāʾ-al-Din kindly and gave him a pāyza and a decree (yarliḡ) with āl tamḡā (a large square red seal, q.v.), and appointed him the ṣāḥeb(-e) divān of all western territories of the empire. Bahāʾ-al-Din continued to work under Gorgoz and his successor Arḡun during their rule over Khorasan and Māzandarān. He also ruled as the deputy of Gorgoz in Khorasan during the latter’s trip to Mongolia and served as the ruler of Gorjestān and Azerbaijan under Arḡun (Jovayni, 1911-37, II, pp. 256-58; Rašid -al-Din, II, pp. 855-56; Qazvini, k-kā; Eqbāl, p. 169).

Most members of the Jovayni family were men of learning and a number of them were authors themselves from whom some excellent works of prose and poetry have remained. They associated with poets and scholars, whom they patronized generously. Outstanding poets such as Saʿdi of Shiraz and Homām of Tabriz panegyrized them, and distinguished scholars such as Naṣir-al-Din Ṭusi and Ṣafi-al-Din Ormavi dedicated their works to them (Qazvini, pp. ṣd-ʿb). According to Moḥammad Ḏahabi, any writer presenting his work to them would be rewarded with one thousand gold dinārs (dinār-e zar-e sorḵ; Qazvini, p. ṣd).

ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā-Malek b. Moḥammad. He was the governor of Erāq-e ʿAjam under the Il-khanids and is the author of Tāriḵ-e jahāngošāy (q.v.; b. 1226, d. Moḡān, 1283). He entered public service against the advice of his father before the age of twenty (Jovayni, 1912-37, I, pp. 5-6; Ḏahabi, p. 83; Ebn Fowaṭi, p. 1036), became the personal secretary of Amir Arḡun, and accompanied him on a number of his trips to China and Mongolia to report on the finances of western territories to the Mongol Emperor (Qazvini, pp. kā-kh). After the arrival of Hulāgu Khan in Persia, ʿAṭā-Malek became one of his close associates and accompanied him in his westward expedition that included reducing the Ismāʿili stronghold of Alamut (q.v.) in 1247 and ended in the conquest of Baghdad and the fall of the ʿAbbasid caliphate eleven years later. After Hulāgu took possession of the castle of Alamut, ʿAṭā-Malek secured his permission to examine the books kept in the rich Ismāʿili library there. He selected and saved astronomical instruments of the observatory as well as many precious books, but he had all books about Ismāʿili beliefs burned, except one on the life of Ḥasan-e Ṣabbāḥ, which he used in his history (Jovayni, 1912-37, III, pp. 186-87, 269-70; Qazvini, pp. kz-kḥ). Hulāgu appointed him the governor of ʿErāq-e ʿArab and Ḵuzestān in 1259, one year after he conquered the city and put an end to the ʿAbbasid caliphate (Jovayni, 1982, p. 60). He held his ruling position during the rule of Hulāgu’s son and successor, Abaqa Khan (r. 1265-82, q.v.), though apparently acting on behalf of Amir Soḡon-čaq (Sunjāq). He ruled in Baghdad for twenty-five years, sparing no effort to improve the living conditions of the farmers by cutting taxes and rebuilding villages. He had a canal dug off the Euphrates from Anbār to Najaf and Kufa, for which he spent more than 100,000 gold dinars of his own fortune (Ebn Fowaṭi, p. 1035; Ḏahabi, p. 81; Qazvini, pp. lā-lb).

In these years and in a turbulent time when rivalry among warlords, courtiers, and bureaucrats was tense, ʿAṭā-Malek and his brother Šams-al-Din Moḥammad were facing many enemies and ill-wishers who were actively trying to undermine them. ʿAṭā-Malek has related the story of intrigues and harassments of Qarābuqā, the Mongol chief of police of Baghdad, and his deputy, as well as vilifications by the influential businessman, Tāj-al-Din ʿAli b. Moḥammad Ḥasani, known as Ebn Ṭeqṭaqā, the father of the historian Ebn Ṭeqṭaqā. His most tenacious enemy and that of his brother, however, was Majd-al-Molk Yazdi, who had been inspector of the state finance (mošref-al-mamālek) since 1280-81. ʿAṭā-Malek has described the misfortune that he endured during this period in his treatise, Tasliat al-eḵwān (pp. 62-144) and another untitled work as its complementary. Majd-al-Molk was finally found guilty for misappropriating state funds and was executed (1282). ʿAṭā-Malek died on 4 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 681/5 March 1383 in Moḡān and was buried in Čarandāb Cemetery in Tabriz (Qazvini, p. nṭ).

Aḥmad Takudār (Tegüder; r. 1282-84, q.v.), who succeeded his brother Abaqa to the Il-khanid throne, appointed Ḵāja Hārun, the son of Ṣāḥeb Divān Šams-al-Din Moḥammad to replace his uncle as the governor of Baghdad (Jovayni, 1982, pp. 95-136; Rašid-al-Din, II, pp. 1117, 1126-29; Waṣṣāf, pp. 92-108; Qazvini, pp. nṭ-s). ʿAṭā-Malek and his brother Šams-al-Din had Shiʿite tendencies (Jaʿfariān, p. 25).

Šams-al-Din Moḥammad b. Moḥammad Jovayni, known as Ṣāheb Divān, was the younger brother of ʿAṭā-Malek. He served as grand vizier to three Il-khanid rulers from 1262 under Hülegü Khan until the death of Aḥmad Takudār (Jomādā I 683/August 1284) and the establishment of Arḡun’s reign, who put him to death (4 Šaʿbān 683/16 October 1284; Šabānkāraʾi, p. 266; Qazvini, pp. nḥ-ṣā). Contemporary works refer to him briefly, and ʿAṭā-Malek has not mentioned him in his historical work. According to Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (p. 595), Šams-al-Din was holding positions of ṣāḥeb(-e) divān and chancellor for over twenty years. He served as the grand vizier in the reigns of Hulāgu’s successors (Abaqa and Takudār) and was commissioned to other posts and duties as well. In the strife between Abaqa’s brother, Takudār, who had converted to Islam and adopted the name Aḥmad, and Abaqa’s son, Arḡun, over the succession of Abaqa Khan, Šams-al-Din sided with Takudār. Takudār, who had lost his supporters, was eventually captured and killed on Arḡun’s order, who had securely established himself on the Il-khanid throne. Šams-al-Din fled to Isfahan, planning to migrate to India. Considering the situation of his family and dependents, and encouraged by a decree (yarliḡ) of general amnesty, he returned to the Il-khan’s camp, where he was accused by some of his enemies of having poisoned Arḡun’s father, Abaqa, to death. He was summarily tried and ordered to pay a huge ransom to save his life, and, having failed to raise the amount demanded, he was executed by the gate of Ahar (q.v.) in Azerbaijan (4 Šaʿbān 683/16 October 1284; Rašid-al-Din, pp. II, pp. 1156-160; ʿAqili, p. 351).

Almost all historians have praised Šams-al-Din for his patronage of learning, his generosity, efficient management, and keen interest in development works (Rašid-al-Din, p. II, 49; Waṣṣāf, p. 55; Mostawfi, p. 593; Šabānkāraʾi, pp. 264, 266; ʿAqili, p. 276). Šams-al-Din wrote poetry in both Persian and Arabic, including verses composed just before his death as an account of his life. Some of his poetry, and a number of his official writings have been preserved, including a letter requesting Šams-al-Din Kart, the ruler of Herat, to come to the court of Abaqa (Rašid-al-Din, II, 1106).

Šams-al-Din accumulated a huge wealth. According to Waṣṣāf, his income from his properties amounted to 360 tumans a year (Waṣṣāf, p. 56; comp. cf. Rašid-al-Din, II, p. 1158; Mostawfi, p. 593; ʿAqili, p. 276). Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh (II, pp. 1489-492) refers to Šams-al-Din’s collusion with tradesmen who had bribed ladies of the royal family and army commanders to issue drafts to the treasury for the price of arms that had not been delivered.

Šams-al-Din’s Children. Among his many children, Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad and Šaraf-al-Din Hārun were fond of literary and scientific learning. Hārun was talented and clever, and well-versed in prose and poetry. He made Ṣafi-al-Din ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Ormavi, the contemporary musicologist, his companion, and was learning from him. Ṣafi-al-Din called his major work on music, al-Resāla al-šarafiya, after Hārun’s name and dedicated it to him (Waṣṣāf, pp. 60-61). Hārun was considered one of the learned men of his time. He married Rābeʿa, known as Sayyeda Nabawiya, a granddaughter of the last ʿAbbasid caliph, al-Mostaʿṣem (r. 1242-58), who bore him several children. Hārun was executed in Jamādā II 658/July-August 1286 as a result of a slander by Faḵr-al-Din Mostawfi (a cousin of the historian Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi), and Rābeʿa died the same day (Waṣṣāf, p. 65; Mostawfi, p. 597; Qazvini, pp. sā-sb).

Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad was assigned, during the tenure of his father under Abaqa, as the governor of Isfahan and Erāq-e ʿAjam (central Iran) and Yazd. He was a short-tempered, cruel, vengeful, and unforgiving man, and during his rule people of Isfahan were living in constant fear and uneasiness. His success in cracking down on outlaws and restoring security to the city was the one silver lining to his rule. Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad was envious of his brother Hārun’s excellence and literally skills. He died in December 1279 and was survived by his father.

In 1289 Arḡun ordered all the children of Ṣāḥeb Divān to be executed, and subsequently four sons of Šams-al-Din (Yahyā, Faraj-Allāh, Masʿud, and Atābak) were put to death in Tabriz, and his grandson ʿAli was killed in Isfahan. Maḥmud, his other grandson, was saved from execution, but overcome by fear, he developed breathing difficulties and died a few years later. Of Ṣāḥeb Divan’s male offspring, only Zakariyāʾ, who was in Abḵāz at the time, would survive (Rašid-al-Din, II, pp. 1174-75). Šams-al-Din Moḥammad’s children were supporters and partisans of scholars, literary figures, and artists (Eṣfahān-iān, p. 18).

ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā-Malek’s children. Manṣur, ʿAlāʾ-al-Din’s son, was brought from Ḥella to Baghdad the same year Šams-al-Din was executed, and was put to death by the bridge of the city. Waṣṣāf-e Ḥażra visited the tombs of ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā-Malek, his brother Šams-al-Din Moḥammad, and their seven sons at Čarandāb cemetery when he was in Tabriz in 1293. He gives a moving and heart rending account about their tragic outcome (Waṣṣāf, pp. 141-43). A daughter of ʿAṭā-Malek married the renowned Sufi Shaikh Ṣadr-al-Din Abu’l-Majāmeʿ Ebrāhim b. Shaikh Saʿd-al-Din Moḥammad Jovayni in 1272-73 (Qazvini, pp. sb-sj).



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(Hashem Rajabzadeh)

Originally Published: June 15, 2009

Last Updated: April 17, 2012

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