ĀḠĀJĪ (or AḠĀJĪ, ĀḠAJĪ, ĀḠĀČĪ), title of a court official in the administrations of the Ghaznavids and Saljuqs; it apparently existed as early as the Samanids, judging by the epithet of the poet Āḡāǰī Boḵārī. The functions of this position are not specifically defined in the historical literature but only implied. It appears from the Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī (pp. 169, 344, 472, 511, 595, 648, 650) that the āḡāǰī was the intermediary who delivered important letters and messages to the amir or sultan, especially when the latter was in private audience or not receiving anyone. This function is especially associated with the position of ḥāǰeb “chamberlain” (and, in Saljuq usage, “chancellor”), and in fact two Saljuq ḥāǰebs (of Toḡrel Beg and Alp Arslān) are said to have held the post of āḡāǰī (Rāvandī, Rāḥat al-ṣodūr, Tehran, 1333 Š./1954, pp. 98, 117).

The title itself is considered to be Turkish (e.g., M. Qazvīnī’s note in ʿAwfī, Lobāb [Tehran], p. 241 ), but it does not appear in Turkish lexicons. It remains uncertain whether the word should be derived from Turkish aḡīčī, which Kāšḡarī (Dīwān loḡāt al-Tork, Arabic text, ed. B. Atabay, Ankara, 1940-43, pp. 83, 122) derives from aḡī (silk, brocade) and defines as ḵāzen dībaǰ (the keeper of silk fabrics). But the description of an aḡīǰī in a chapter of the Turkish maṯnawī Qūqā va ḡūbīlīk by Yūsof Oloḡ leaves little doubt that this word meant “treasurer” only. Ḥ. Anwarī suggests that āḡāǰī is a name, not a title (Āyanda 8, 1361 Š./1982, pp. 664-69).


See also G. Doerfer, Turkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen II, Wiesbaden, 1965, p. 72.

Ahmet Caferoğlu, Uygur sözlüğü, Istanbul, 1934-38, p. 5.

(ʿA. Zaryāb)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 28, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, p. 606

Cite this entry:

ʿA. Zaryāb, “ĀḠĀJĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, p. 606; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/agaji-title-of-a-court-official-in-the-administrations-of-the-ghaznavids-and-saljuqs (accessed on 15 March 2014).