AḤSAN AL-TAWĀRĪḴ, a chronological history of Iran and the neighboring countries written by Ḥasan Beg Rūmlū (b. 937/1530-31), a qūṛčī in the service of the Safavid Shah Ṭahmāsb. The first volume includes the historical events of Iran, the Ottoman empire, and Transoxania from 807/1405, the accession of the Timurid Šāhroḵ, to 899/1493-94 during the reign of the Āq Qoyunlū Rostam Beg over western and central Iran and that of Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā in Khorasan. The author treats in great detail the reigns of Šāhroḵ (807-50/1405-47), his son Uluḡ Beg, and their successors, as well as the careers of other Timurid princes such as Bāysonqor, Ebrāhīm Solṭān, and Moḥammad Jūkī. The work includes biographical notices about prominent figures in science, literature, and art and information concerning their work. The second volume continues the account of the events in Iran down to 985/1577, where the narration suddenly breaks off. It covers in detail the last years of the Āq Qoyunlū dynasty in the west and northwest of Iran and the rise of Esmāʿīl II (984-85/1576-78) and includes notices about the Ottoman sultans, the Uzbeks, and the Chaghatay khans on the western and eastern frontiers of Iran.

Ḥasan Beg appears to have written a general history from the beginning of creation until his own time in twelve volumes, of which the present work formed the last two. The suggestion that the first ten volumes were never compiled (Qazvīnī, Yāddāšthā III, p. 345) is contradicted by textual references (vol. II, pp. 141, 460, 495). But these volumes would have contained little original information, just as the history of 9th/15th century Iran is all borrowed from ʿAbd-al-Razzāq’s Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn (for the reign of Šāhroḵ and other Timurid princes), Qāżī Tehrānī’s Tārīḵ-eDīārbakr (for the history of Āq Qoyunlū Turkmans), and Ḥabīb al-sīar (for the reign of Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā, the rise of Shah Esmāʿīl, and the biographical notices about men of letters and science). His source for the history of the Ottomans seems to have been Bedlīsī’s Hašt Behešt.


Ḥasan Rūmlū, Aḥsan al-tawārīḵ, vol. I, ed. ʿA. Navāʾī, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970 (see intro., pp. 24-32); vol. II, ed. C. N. Seddon, Baroda, 1931; new ed., Navāʾī, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978; tr. Seddon, A Chronicle of the Early Ṣafawīs, Baroda, 1934.

Storey, I, pp. 307-08. Discussion of details by Seddon, JRAS, 1927, pp. 307-13; V. Minorsky, BSOS 7, 1934, pp. 449-55, 990-93; E. Glassen, Die frühen Safawiden, Freiburg, 1970, passim.

(ʿA. Navāʾī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 29, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 7, pp. 680-681

Cite this entry:

ʿA. Navāʾī, “AḤSAN AL-TAWĀRĪḴ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/7, pp. 680-681; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahsan-al-tawarik-history-of-iran-hasan-beg-rumlu (accessed on 28 March 2014).