ĀSTARKĪ (or AŠTARKĪ), one sub-tribe (qabīla) of the six which presently constitute the Dūrkī tribe (ṭāyefa) of the Haft Lang confederation (īl) of the Baḵtīārī people. The Āstarkī are divided into five clans (tīra)—Bahrāmasarī, Kovešša, Kāʾīvand, Tūšmāl, and Čārborī. (There was formerly a sixth clan, the Qāʾedšahī; but it detached itself and joined the Mamīvand tribe of the Čahār Lang confederation, as did some Bahrāmsarī families). Their summer and winter pastures lie in Ḵūzestān between the region of Jāhbolaḡ and Borborūd (in Borūǰerd sub-province) and Dezfūl. The Āstarkīs of the Čahār Lang, according to the present writer’s research, summer near Zallaqī-e Baḵtīārī and winter in the area of Dārsafīd and Ābgarmak (also in Ḵūzestān).
The Āstarkī are named in the Šaraf-nāma of Šams-al-dīn Šaraf Khan Bedlīsī (d. after 1005/1596-97) as one of the twenty-seven Kurdish and Lur tribes who returned to western Iran from Syria during the reign of Atābeg Noṣrat-al-dīn Hazārasp (600-50/1203-52) of Greater Lorestān (ed. V. Velyaminov-Zernov, St. Petersburg, 1860-62, I, pp. 26-27). These peoples had previously left the Zagros region as parts of the armies of the atābak of Mosul ʿEmād-al-dīn Zangī (521-41/1127-46) and of the Ayyubid Ṣalāh-al-dīn (Saladin). Having settled in Lorestān, these tribes gradually became independent of the atābaks and were able to form the Baḵtīārī confederacy. After the Timurid Ebrāhīm b. Šāhroḵ expelled the local dynasty in 828/1424-25, Greater Lorestān came to be known as the Baḵtīārī country (ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Khan Lesān-al-salṭana Sepehr Malek-al-mowarreḵīn, Ḵolāṣat al-aʿṣār fītaʾrīḵal-Baḵtīār [Tārīḵ-eBaḵtīārī], repr. Tehran, 2535 = 1355 Š./1976, p. 80). The Āstarkī led the confederacy at this early stage; and as late as the reign of the Safavid Shah Ṭahmāsp I (930-84/1524-76), a certain Tāǰ Amīr from that tribe was the paramount chief. He was killed in battle (954/1547-48) with Amīr Khan Mūṣellū the governor of Hamadān, when the latter attempted to collect taxes in arrears. Mīr Jahāngīr Khan then became paramount chief, and the Baḵtīārī divided into two confederations (ibid., pp. 80-81). The Āstarkī declined and were incorporated within the Dūrkī tribe. In this process many families were absorbed into other groupings (e.g., some clans became part of the Āl-e Ḵamīs of Ḵūzestān).
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 17, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 8, p. 847