AḴTĀJĪ, a term, Mongolian in origin, derived from aḵtā “gelding” and meaning “groom” or, more specifically in the context of the court, “master of the horse.” The word is used in the Secret History of the Mongols (e.g., L. Ligeti, ed., Histoire Secrète des Mongols, Budapest, 1971, pp. 82, 145), with the meaning, according to Haenisch (Wörterbuch zu Manghol un Niuca Tobca’an, Wiesbaden, 1962, p. 3) of the custodian or catcher of horses. Under the Il-khans, Mongol amirs who held the post of aḵtāǰī are frequently mentioned in the sources, especially by Rašīd-al-dīn (Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ III, ed. A. Alizade, Baku, 1957, e.g., pp. 168, 175, 186). They are coupled with other officials such as šeḥnas and qūščīs (falconers) among those who habitually abused the postal courier (yām) facilities (p. 479) and accused, together with armorers, of giving receipts for the purchase of non-existent armor and horses in exchange for bribes (p. 521). Under the primitive treasury practice of the early Il-khans, they are listed among those court officials who used to demand and receive a share in the spoils from the treasurers (p. 538). Regulations for the provisioning of their department at court (the aḵtāǰī-ḵāna) were made by Ḡāzān (p. 537). Records of the nature of their work in the later Mongol period are to be found in the Saʿādat-nāma of ʿAlāʾ Tabrīzī (M. Nabīpūr, ed., Die beiden persischen Leitfäden des Falak ʿAlā-ye Tabrīzī über das staatliche Rechnungswesen im 14. Jahrhundert, Göttingen, 1973, fols. 47b-49a), with particular reference to payment for the purchase of saddles. The variant spellings aqtāǰī, aqtāčī, aḵtāčī are sometimes found.
G. Doerfer, Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen I, Wiesbaden, 1963, pp. 114-18.
E. Quatremère in Raschideldin, Histoire des Mongols de la Perse, Paris, 1836, pp. 108-09, n 43.
(D. O. Morgan)
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 29, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 7, p. 730
D. O. Morgan, “AḴTĀJĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/7, p. 730; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/aktaji (accessed on 13 May 2014).