BAYĀT, an important Turkish tribe.

Name and origin. Bayāt was one of the twenty-two Oghuz tribes listed in Maḥmūd Kāšḡarī’s Dīvānloḡāt al-tork (comp. 464-76/1072-83). The tribe had a traditional brand mark and its totem was the falcon. The form Bayāt is used also by Faḵr-al-Dīn Mobārakšāh (603/1206; p. 48) and later authors such as Ḥasan Rūmlū (984/1576), Eskandar Beg (1025/1616), and Moḥammad-Kāẓem (1145/1733) and in the Taḏkerat al-molūk (ca. 1137/1725). The form Bāyāt is found only in Rašīd-al-Dīn’s Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ (early 8th/14th century). The name’s etymology is uncertain; it is the regular plural of bayan “rich” and may come from the probably Mongol Žuan-žuan. In that case Rašīd-al-Dīn’s statement (p. 45) that it means fortunate (bā-dawlat) would happen to be correct.

In the 10th/16th century the name, most often in the form Bayad, occurs in forty-two toponyms in the Ottoman tax records. This number, though much smaller than those of names such as Kayï, Afšār, and Kïnïk, falls in the middle of the scale of toponymic occurrences of Oghuz tribal names in the tax records, the range being from four to ninety-four toponyms per tribe. Bayāt tribesfolk spread far into western Anatolia, their principal areas of settlement being in the provinces of Konya, Bursa, Afyon, Balıkesir and Kütahya. Today the name in forms such as Bayat, Bayatlar, Bayatlı is found in thirty-two mainly western Anatolian toponyms (see Köylerimiz and Türkiye’de meskiûn yerler kılavuzu). The name also appears in toponyms in Iran (Bayāt, Bayātān, Bayātlū, Bayātlar); Razmāra lists two of these near Arāk, one near Zanjān, one near Urmia (Reżāʾīya), one in Ḵūzestān at Dašt-e Mīšān, one near Borūjerd, and one in Khorasan near Daragaz (Farhang II, p. 45, IV, p. 101, VI, p. 66, IX, p. 66). In Soviet territory, five places in Azerbaijan, four in Turkmenistan, and one in Uzbekistan close to the Turkmenistan border bear the names Bayat, Bayat-Khadzhi, and Bayat-Sindzhap and are listed in Defense Mapping Agency, Official Standard Names Gazetteer (cf. idem, 1984, pp. 209-10). In addition, Bayāt is the name of a village south of Baghdad and of small tribal groups in northern Syria and in Turkmenistan on the Āmū Daryā (ca. 39° N, 63° E). Oberling mentions a clan named Bayāt belonging to the Qašqāʾī tribe of Fārs (p. 30).

Cultural contributions. Dede Qorqut, the famous sage of the Oghuz Turks after whom an early Ottoman epic is named, came from the Bayāt tribe. So too did Fożūlī (d. 963/1556), the much admired bilingual (Turkish and Persian) poet. Ḥasan b. Maḥmūd, one of the earliest Turkish historians (9th/15th century), bore the surname Bayātī. The tribe has given its name to a mode in Turkish and Iranian music (See bayāt). It was also renowned for its breed of horses (Sümer, “Bayatlar,” p. 374).

Early history. A substantial proportion of the Bayāt people must have entered Iran in the train of the Saljuq invaders in the first half of the 5th/11th century. There are mentions of a nāʾeb (deputy commander) named Sonqor Bayātī at Baṣra in 513/1119 (Ebn al-Aṯīr, Beirut, X, p. 559) and of a castle in Lorestān which from about this time onward bore the name Bayāt. Jovaynī’s history (comp. in 658/1260) mentions a Bayāt district in connection with events in Lorestān and Kurdistan (ed. Qazvīnī, III, pp. 283, 471). Another section of the Bayāts remained in the Syr Daryā region; they were among the Oghuz rebels who captured the Saljuq sultan Sanjar in 548/1153. Under the pressure of the Mongol invasion in the 7th/13th century they fled, together with other Oghuz tribes, to Syria and Anatolia.

The Bayāt tribes of Syria, Anatolia, and Iraq. The presence of Bayāt, Afšār, and Begdīlū (q.v.) tribes in Syria and southeastern Anatolia is attested in sources from the 8th/14th century. They played an important part in the establishment of the Dulkadïr (Ḏu’l-Qadr) state and spread into the Sivas-Yozgat region. Another section continued to live between Aintab and Aleppo and later joined the Āq Qoyunlū confederacy. In the 10th/16th century and thereafter, Bayāt tribal groups were scattered over a vast expanse from Anatolia through Syria and Iraq to eastern Iran. In Syria their strength declined rapidly. The available information, derived mainly from Ottoman tax records, which give names of clans, numbers of households, and numbers of individuals, indicates that Bayāt groups then lived in the following regions (outside Iran). 1. The Bayāts of Aleppo and Aintab, who were gradually reduced to the level of a small tribe through emigration of many of their members to Anatolia and Iran. Today their main surviving groups are named Pahlavānlū and Rayḥānlū. Small Bayāt groups recorded as having lived around Damascus, Ḥamā, and Tripoli must have been offshoots of the Aleppo Bayāts. 2. Two Bayāt groups lived in the Diyarbakır (Dīār Bakr) region under the Boz ulus. 3. Much more important were the Šām Bayātī (Şam Bayadı) in Anatolia, who as their name indicates had migrated from Syria; being subjects of the Dulkadïr state, they were also called Dulkadïrlï Bayāt. For the most part they settled around Gedük in the Yozgat district, where they were known as the Boz Ok. Later they became Shiʿites and joined the Safavids. Other Šām Bayātī groups found abodes in the Yeni-Il (north of Malatya), around Amasya where they were known as the Ulu-Yörük, around Ankara, around Maras…, and as far afield as Kütahya and Antalya. Information about the times and circumstances of their migrations is scarce, the only recorded fact (Oḡuzlar, p. 232) being that the Boz ulus and Yeni-Il Bayāts moved to central Anatolia in 1022/1613. Nevertheless the 11th/16th-century and present-day toponyms show that Bayāt tribespeople must have played a considerable part in the conquest and colonization of Anatolia. 4. The Bayāts of Iraq, consisting of thirteen clans, lived mainly around Kirkuk. They are still there today, some pursuing their old way of life but most now working in sedentary occupations.

The Bayāt tribes of Iran. The Bayāt presence in Iran is not attested before the 10th/16th century, when two separate groups are mentioned. The “genuine” or Āq (White) Bayāt tribe lived mainly around Kazzāz (34° N 49° 26’ E., southeast of Hamadān) and then had 10,000 tents (Defense Mapping Agency, Names Gazetteer, p. 6; idem, 1984, s.v. “Bayāt”). Although pre-16th-century evidence is lacking, it seems probable that these Bayāts came from northern Syria with the Āq Qoyunlū. In Shah Ṭahmāsb’s reign begs from the tribe were governors of Hamadān and districts on the Ottoman frontier, and in Shah ʿAbbās I’s reign Bayāt amirs and troops were sent to Azerbaijan, with the results that Bayāts settled in that province also. At the same time small groups established themselves at Darband and Šābrān. The Āq Bayāt tribe produced a large number of prominent amirs, whose names are mentioned in the chronicles of Ḥasan Rūmlū and Eskandar Beg and elsewhere. Although the Bayāts are reckoned in the Taḏkerat al-molūk (pp. 16-17, 193) to be less powerful than the Šāmlū and the Ḏu’l-Qadr, they are put fifth by Don Juan of Persia (1604), who himself belonged to this tribe, among the thirty-two noble families and clans “in whose hands the government is placed,” being “most noble and comparable to dukes.” Many Bayāt amirs were appointed to high positions outside the tribal area, e.g., Gadā-ʿAlī Solṭān to the governorship of Mākū in Shah ʿAbbās I’s reign, others to similar posts in the Īravān (Erevan) district, and Ḥosayn-ʿAlī Beg to the leadership of an embassy to Spain in 1006/1598 (Sümer, 1950, p. 385). The second main group, distinguished by the name Qara (Black) Bayāt, lived in Khorasan, for the most part around Nīšāpūr. Moḥammad-Kāẓem, calls them the Nīšāpūrī Bayāts. They were much involved with the Turkman tribes of Ḵᵛārazm. When Shah Esmāʿīl I conquered Khorasan, they acknowledged Safavid sovereignty. The Uzbek ruler ʿAbd-Allāh Khan (991-1006/1583-98), who seized much of Khorasan, placed them under the authority of his son ʿAbd-al-Moṇʿem Khan (ibid, p. 387). Nevertheless they remained loyal to the Safavids and rendered such valuable services to Shah ʿAbbās I that he rewarded them with a promise of tax exemption. Qara Bayāt amirs continued to hold the governorship of Nīšāpūr in Nāder Shah’s reign and thereafter. In addition, there was a third Bayāt group, known as the Bayāt-e Šām or Bayāt-e Qājār, evidently, a branch of the Šām Bayātī of Syria and Anatolia. They must have come to Iran with the Qajar tribe in the wake of the Āq Qoyunlū. In the 10th/16th century the Qajars lived in Azerbaijan, mainly around Ganja and Barḏaʿa; it is not clear which of the Qajar amirs were of Bayāt descent. In the 12th/18th century a village near Ganja bore the name of the Bayāt-e Šām and a certain Moḥammad-ʿAlī Khan, who belonged to this tribe, was an amir in the service of ʿĀdel Shah Afšār. Under the Qajars, particularly in Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah’s reign (1212-50/1797-1834), several amirs from the tribe rose to prominence.

The total strength of the Bayāts of Iran in the Safavid period was estimated at 40,000 families. Sedentarization of the Bayāt tribes began well before Reżā Shah’s reign, in some cases (e.g., the Bayāts of Mākū) at the instigation of hereditary local chiefs (Oberling, 1974). Today they are entirely sedentary and live mainly around Zanjān.



General works: Faruk Sümer, “Bayatlar,” Istanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi türk dili ve edebiyat dergisi, 1950, pp. 374-98; idem, “Bayat,” in Türk ansiklopedisi V, pp. 439-41; idem, Oğuzlar (Türkmenler), 2nd ed., Ankara, 1972, pp. 222-37; idem, Safevî devletinin kurulus…u ve gelis…mesinde Anadolu türkmenlerinin rolü, Ankara, 1972, pp, 192-93.

Early history: Maḥmūd al-Kāšḡarī, ed. R. Dankoff and J. Kelly, Compendium of the Turkic Dialects, 3 vols., Cambridge, Mass., 1982 (cf. I, p. 102).

Ḵᵛāja Rašīd-al-Dīn Fażl-Allāh, Tārīḵ-eoḡūz, ed. K. Jahn, Die Geschichte der Oḡuzen des Rašīd ad-Dīn, Vienna, 1969, p. 45.

Faḵr-al-Dīn Mobārakšāh, Tārīḵ-eMobārakšāh, ed. E. Denison Ross, London, 1927, p. 48.

Jovaynī, ed. Qazvīnī, I, p. 25.

Place names: Köylerimiz, Istanbul, 1933, p. 92.

Türkiye’de meskûm yerler kılavuzu, Ankara, 1946, p. 135.

Defense Mapping Agency, Official Standard Names Gazetteer, no. 42 (U.S.S.R), Washington, D.C., I, A-B, p. 345.

Idem, Gazetteer of Iran, 2 vols., 2nd ed., November, 1984.

P. Oberling, The Qashqāʾi Nomads of Fārs, The Hague, 1974, pp. 30, 226.

Iranian sources: Ḥasan Rūmlū, ed. Seddon; Eskandar Beg, tr. Savory, pp. 226,1311-12.

Taḏkerat al-molūk, ed. Minorsky (e.g., pp. 16-17, 193).

N. D. Miklukho-Maklay, ed., Moḥammad Kāẓem, Nāma-ye ʿālamārā-ye nāderī, 3 vols., Moscow, 1960-66 (II, p. 30a: Bayāt-e Andḵodī; III, p. 131b: Bayāt-e Bāzārī, and pp. 6a, 111a: Bayāt-e Nīšāpūrī).

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 بیات bayat  bayaat  

(G. Doerfer)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: December 15, 1988

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 8, pp. 882-884