ABU’L-MOʾAYYAD BALḴĪ, an early Persian poet and writer of the Samanid period, whose works have almost entirely disappeared. The details of his life are not known, but his works indicate a keen interest in Iranian antiquity, a knowledge of Pahlavi, and good acquaintance with Mazdean tradition. His major work seem to have been a large prose Šāh-nāma which is referred to as Šāh-nāma-ye bozorg, Šāh-nāma-ye Moʾayyadī or Šāh-nāma-ye Bu’l-Moʾayyad which evidently contained, in great detail, episodes which are not found as such in subsequent epic works (see, for example, Moǰmal, p. 2). Tārīḵ-e Sīstān (p. 1) mentions a Ketāb-e Garšāsp by him which was, most probably, a part of his great Šāh-nāma. The dedication of his other book, ʿAǰāʾeb al-boldān, to the Samanid Nūḥ b. Manṣūr (365-87/976-97), establishes the poet’s date (the mention of his name in Baḷʿamī belongs to a version of this work that probably dates from the end of the 4th/10th century). A rather late redaction of this book exists (Ṣafā, Ganǰīna I, pp. 166-68; Bahār, Sabk-šenāsī II, pp. 18-19). Abu’l-Moʾayyad’s verse on the story of Joseph is mentioned in Amānī’s Yūsof o Zolayḵa (5th/11th century).

See also: Abū ʿAlī Balḵī, ʿAǰāʾeb al-donyā.


Tārīḵ-e Sīstān, pp. 13-14, 16-17, 35-37.

Kaykāvūs b. Eskandar, Qābūs-nāma, ed. R. Levy, London, 1951, p. 6; note in Kabus-Namè, tr. E. È. Bertel’s, Moscow, 1953, pp. 218-19.

Ebn Esfandīār, Tārīḵ-e Ṭabarestān I, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl, Tehran, 1324 Š./1945, p. 60; II, tr. E. G. Browne, London, 1905, p. 18.

ʿAwfī, Lobāb (Tehran), p. 264. Maǰmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ I, p. 81.

Bahār, Sabk-šenāsī II, pp. 8, 18-24.

Ẕ. Ṣafā, Ganǰīna-ye soḵan, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969, I, pp. 166-70.

Idem, Adabīyāt I, pp. 401-03, 611-12.

Idem, Ḥamāsa-sarāʾī dar Īrān, Tehran, 1324 Š./1945, pp. 91-94.

G. Lazard, “Abu’l-Muʾayyad Balxi,” Yádnáme-ye Jan Rypka, Prague, 1967, pp. 95-101.

(G. Lazard)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, p. 340

Cite this entry:

G. Lazard, “ABU’L-MOʾAYYAD BALḴĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, p. 340; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-moayyad-balki (accessed on 31 January 2014).