BAYHAQĪ, ABU’L-FAŻL MOḤAMMAD B. ḤOSAYN, secretary at the Ghaznavid court and renowned Persian historian, b. 385/995 at Ḥāreṯābād in Bayhaq (modern Sabzavār in Khorasan), d. Ṣafar, 470/August-September, 1077.

Life. In his youth Bayhaqī studied in Nīšāpūr, at that time an important cultural center; he later joined the secretariat (dīvān-e resālat) of Maḥmūd of Ḡazna (Roknī; Nāzim, pp. 142-44; Bosworth, 1963, p. 91), where for nineteen years he worked under Abū Naṣr Moškān (q.v.), becoming his assistant and protégé (Bayhaqī, p. 795). He was given the task of composing or preparing fair copies of important letters at court (ibid., pp. 845-52). He thus observed at close quarters the reigns of Maḥmūd (in part), Amīr Moḥammad, Masʿūd I b. Maḥmūd, Mawdūd, Masʿūd II, Bahāʾ-al-Dawla ʿAlī b. Masʿūd, ʿEzz-al-Dawla ʿAbd-al-Rašīd, the usurper Ṭoḡrel, Amīr Farroḵzād b. Masʿūd (see below), and Ẓahīr-al-Dawla Ebrāhīm, a period extending from 412/1021-22 to 470/1077. Owing to his vantage point near the center of power, he was very well informed about current events. After the death of Abū Naṣr Moškān in 431/1039, Masʿūd appointed Bayhaqī as deputy to Abū Sahl Zūzanī (or Zawzanī; q.v.), the new head of the secretariat. Abū Naṣr had in fact recommended to the sultan that Bayhaqī be chosen as his successor, and the vizier Aḥmad b. ʿAbd-al-Ṣamad had also praised Bayhaqī in the sultan’s presence. Masʿūd is reported to have said in private that, but for his youth, Bayhaqī, who was at that time forty-six years old, would have been named head of the secretariat.

Abū Sahl was not as adept in the affairs of the secretariat as his predecessor had been, and his ways were entirely different; nor was his deputy immune to his bad temper. Bayhaqī therefore wrote a confidential letter of resignation to the sultan, asking for another assignment. Masʿūd, however, encouraged Bayhaqī to carry on and ordered his vizier to instruct Abū Sahl that Bayhaqī should receive proper treatment at the secretariat. Abū Sahl thus treated Bayhaqī with respect as long as Masʿūd lived; later, however, his conduct changed again. Bayhaqī did encounter difficulties after Masʿūd’s death in 432/1041 (ibid., pp. 800-01), perhaps partly because of shortcomings of his own, which he himself occasionally acknowledges.

During the reign of ʿAbd-al-Rašīd (441-44/1049-52) Bayhaqī was appointed head of the secretariat, only to be removed shortly afterward. According to Ebn Fondoq (p. 177), he was imprisoned by the judge (qāżī) of Ḡazna on the charge of having failed to pay the marriage portion (mahr) due to a wife, but ʿAwfī claims in his Jawāmeʿ al-ḥekāyāt (pt. 3, chap. 18) that the cause of his imprisonment was the machinations of his enemies. On the sultan’s orders a slave by the name of Tūmān (or Nūyān, or Yūnān?) plundered Bayhaqī’s property. When Ṭoḡrel—a runaway slave of the house of Maḥmūd—came to power and put ʿAbd-al-Rašīd to death (444/1052), he imprisoned the sultan’s servants in a fortress, to which Bayhaqī was also transferred from the magistrate’s jail. Ṭoḡrel’s rule lasted only fifty days, however; he was then killed, and the Ghaznavids returned to power. Bayhaqī was released.

According to Ebn Fondoq (p. 175), he served as secretary under Sultan Farroḵzād (444-51/1052-59) and at the end of the latter’s reign retired from court service and settled down in Ḡazna to write his history. From Bayhaqī’s own occasional comments on Farroḵzād’s rule in the extant part of his book (pp. 116, 132, 137, 163, 175, 221, 253, 314, 318, 332, 358, 377, 480, 483), however, it does not seem that he worked at Farroḵzād’s court. In fact, he clearly states that during those years he was working on his history. According to Ṣadr-al-Dīn Ḥosaynī in Aḵbār al-dawla al-saljūqīya (Chronicles of the Saljuq state; p. 29), Bayhaqī drafted the peace treaty (ketāb al-ṣolḥ) between the Saljuq Čaḡrī Beg and the Ghaznavids toward the end of Farroḵzād’s reign; he may thus have been invited back to work after his disgrace and incarceration during the reign of ʿAbd-al-Rašīd (see Bosworth, 1977, pp. 48, 52). In any event the contents of Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī clearly show that in his old age, until his death in 470/1077, the author devoted himself entirely to writing.

Known works. By far the best-known of Bayhaqī’s works is Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī, the only extant portion of which covers the reign of Masʿūd I (421-32/1030-41; page references to this work are cited from ʿA.-A. Fayyāż’s 1355 edition). In the sources, however, Bayhaqī’s history is also known as Tārīḵ-enāṣerī, Tārīḵ-eāl-e Maḥmūd (Ebn Fondoq, pp. 20, 175; ʿAwfī, loc. cit., and Lobāb al-albāb, p. 28; Jūzjānī, I, pp. 225, 247, 248), Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ, and Jāmeʿ fī taʾrīḵ Seboktegīn (Kašf al-ẓonūn). Furthermore, the author himself called his work Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī (p. 188; see below) and Tārīḵ-eyamīnī (pp. 27, 169), by which he clearly meant a “history of the years of Amīr Maḥmūd” (388-421/998-1030; p. 130).

Ebn Fondoq (pp. 20, 175) says that Tārīḵ-eāl-e Maḥmūd, which was written in Persian, covered the period from the earliest days of Seboktegīn to the beginning of the reign of Sultan Ebrāhīm (451-92/1059-99) and filled more than thirty books “with eloquence and lucidity.” He had seen some of these volumes in the library of Saraḵs, others in the private collection of Ḵātūn Mahd ʿErāq in Nīšāpūr, and a few in various other places, but he had never seen the complete work. From all these comments and from indications in the work itself, it may be surmised that Bayhaqī had written a complete dynastic history of the Ghaznavids, the first book of which was called, or came to be known as, Tārīḵ-enāṣerī after Nāṣer-al-Dīn Seboktegīn, the founder of the dynasty. This surmise is confirmed by the fact that ʿAwfī, in his Jawāmeʿ al-ḥekāyāt (pt. 1, chap. 21, and pt. 2, chap. 7) relates two episodes from the Tārīḵ-enāṣerī pertaining to Amīr Seboktegīn’s early years and before the birth of Maḥmūd. The next three books, Tārīḵ-eyamīnī, or Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī, must have dealt mainly with Maḥmūd’s era. Again it is Ebn Fondoq who points out (pp. 175-77) that Bayhaqī reported sixty-seven snowfalls in Nīšāpūr in 400/1009-10, followed by a famine in 401/1010-11, and related some points of conduct that had to be observed by the sultan’s servants. The extant portion of the work (bks. 5-10) is a treatment of Masʿūd’s time and is known as Tārīḵ-emasʿūdī, though most printed editions are entitled simply Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī. Even from this extant portion of the history, however, certain sections are missing. For example, book 9 ends with an account of Masʿūd’s defeat by the Saljuqs and his intention to go to India; the author then announces (p. 900) that book 10 will contain two chapters dealing with Ḵᵛārazm and Jebāl, Masʿūd’s march to India, and the end of his days. What remains of book 10, however, contains only the chapter on Ḵᵛārazm, drawn from al-Mosāmara fī aḵbār Ḵᵛārazm, a lost work by Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī (q.v.). A portion of book 5 may also be missing.

As for the period after Masʿūd’s death, Bayhaqī notes in his report of a flood in Ḡazna and the repair of the city and its fortress by the Saffarid ʿAmr b. Layṯ, that these events had already been described by Maḥmūd Warrāq in his detailed history, written in 450/1058 but carrying the narrative down to 409/1018-19, and from that point Bayhaqī began the first-hand portion of his account (p. 342), which comes to a close in 451/1059, early in the reign of Sultan Ebrāhīm. The thirty books of his history thus covered at least forty-two years of the Ghaznavid era: the first four books comprising Tārīḵ-enāṣerī and Tārīḵ-eyamīnī, books 5 through 10 comprising Tārīḵ-emasʿūdī (the only extant portion, though parts of bks. 5 and 10 also seem to be missing), and books 11 through 30 covering the nineteen years of the second reign of Amīr Moḥammad b. Maḥmūd, the reigns of Masʿūd II, Bahāʾ-al-Dawla ʿAlī, ʿAbd-al-Rašīd, and Farroḵzād, to the beginning of that of Ebrāhīm (432-51/1041-59). Bayhaqī mentions Farroḵzād’s death at a young age and Ebrāhīm’s succession on 19 Ṣafar 451/6 April 1059, adding that on that day the author himself was busy writing his book (p. 483).

In view of the length of the extant portion, the complete work must have been monumental. In the 6th/12th century, ʿAwfī cited in his Jawāmeʿ al-ḥekāyāt some passages from Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī, as did Jūzjānī in his Ṭabaqāt-e nāṣerī in the 7th/13th century; some volumes of the great history must thus still have been accessible in those times. Saʿīd Nafīsī has compiled two volumes (Dar pīrāmūn-e Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī) containing all passages in later works that are explicitly cited from Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī, as well as passages that he considers to have been taken from Bayhaqī’s lost books; this compilation contains much useful information on Bayhaqī and the Ghaznavids.

Editions. The extant portion of Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī has been published in several editions: (1) The Calcutta edition (1862), edited by W. H. Morley and W. N. Lees and published by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, containing no notes or indexes; (2) the lithographed edition by Aḥmad Adīb Pīšāvarī (Tehran, 1305/1887-88), with annotations including definitions of words and explanations of historical and geographical names, occasional variant readings, but mainly general comments on moral and philosophical issues as they occurred to the author; (3) Tārīḵ-emasʿūdī maʿrūf be Tārīḵ-e Bayhaqī, edited by Nafīsī (Tehran, 1319 Š./1940), containing only half the text; (4) Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī, edited by ʿA.-A. Fayyāż and Q. Ḡanī (Tehran, 1324 Š./1945), containing the complete text, with an introduction, notes, and indexes, (5) Tārīḵ-emasʿūdī, edited by Nafīsī (Tehran, 1319-32 Š./1940-53), with copious notes in three volumes; (6) Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī, edited by Fayyāż (Mašhad, 1350 Š./1971; 2nd ed., Mašhad, 1355 Š./1976), with an introduction and incomplete notes and, in the second edition, a glossary of words and phrases prepared by M.-J. Yāḥaqqī (pp. 1021-90); (7) Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī, edited by ʿA. Eḥsānī (Tehran, 1358 Š./1980) and based on Fayyāż’s edition; (8) Gozīda-ye tārīḵ-eBayhaqī (selections from the Tārīḵ-e Bayhaqī), edited by M. Dabīrsīāqī, Tehran, 1348 Š./1970; (9) an edition of the complete work with glossaries and indexes, as well as a selection, prepared by Ḵ. Ḵaṭīb Rahbar is in press.

Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī has also been translated into other languages. An Arabic version entitled Taʾrīḵ al-Bayhaqī was prepared by Yaḥyā al-Ḵaššāb and Ṣādeq Našʾat and published in Cairo in 1376/1956. A. K. Arends published a Russian translation, Istoriya Masuda (1030-41), in Tashkent in 1962 (2nd ed., Moscow, 1969).

Some scholars have considered Bayhaqī’s Maqāmāt or Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī, which some historians also call Maqāmāt-e Bū Naṣr Moškān, to be a separate work. Bayhaqī himself (p. 188) reported that he had given the text of the agreement and mutual oath (sowgand-nāma) between Aḥmad b. Ḥasan Maymandī (q.v.) and Sultan Masʿūd in his Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī, by which, however, he meant that part of his monumental history dealing with the era of Maḥmūd of Ḡazna. In another place (p. 794), he says that details of Abū Naṣr Moškān’s life and works are given in the Maqāmāt (Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī in Adīb’s edition); it can be inferred that this work is none other than Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī, and it seems only logical that Moškān’s life and works and the accounts of events attributed to him should have been included in the part of Bayhaqī’s history devoted to Maḥmūd’s era, just as the account of Moškān’s activity during Masʿūd’s reign (421-31/1030-40) is given in the part known as Tārīḵ-emasʿūdī. Sayf-al-Dīn ʿAqīlī, the author of Āṯāral-wozarāʾ, however, refers in a number of places to a work called Maqāmāt-e Bū Naṣr Moškān and its author Abu’l-Fażl Bayhaqī (pp. 8, 154, 161, 178, 186) and reproduces (pp. 180-86) from it the agreement that Bayhaqī says was in Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī (see above). As J. Moḥaddeṯ Ormavī, the editor of Āṯāral-wozarāʾ, has pointed out (p. 178 n. 1), the author’s source was actually Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī. Furthermore, the material quoted from Maqāmāt-e Bū Naṣr Moškān by ʿAwfī in his Jawāmeʿ al-ḥekāyāt (e.g., in pt. 1, chap. 12) is so close to that in Āṯāral-wozarāʾ (pp. 154ff.) that it is clear that both authors drew from the same source. Nafīsī surmised that the Maqāmāt (essays) dealt with various matters connected with Maḥmūd of Ḡazna that Bayhaqī had heard from Abū Naṣr Moškān and that was the reason why the work was entitled Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī and later came to be known as Maqāmāt-e Bū Naṣr Moškān (Nafīsī, 1342 Š./1963, I, p. 95; EI2 I, p. 1131); however, they may have dealt with other matters as well. Ḥ. Moayyad, too, concluded about Maqāmāt-e Bū Naṣr Moškān that it was “apparently a collection of all accounts coming from and/or related to his master” (EIr. I, p. 353). It is apparent, however, that in the extant books of his history, too, Bayhaqī quotes his mentor, copies from his writings (e.g., pp. 89-96), and praises his command of the Arabic and Persian languages (pp. 88, 387). In fact, Bayhaqī’s own style was influenced by that of his mentor—a fact borne out by a comparison between their writings. It is thus clear that Maqāmāt-e maḥmūdī was not a separate work but a portion of Bayhaqī’s great history.

Ebn Fondoq (p. 175) mentions another work by Bayhaqī, Zīnat al-kottāb, adding that there is no book to match it in its field. From the title we may conclude that it dealt with the art of enšāʾ (i.e., writing letters, firmans, etc.). Bayhaqī himself was probably referring to this book when, reporting the events of 425/1034 (p. 550), he wrote that “very elegant” letters were sent from Masʿūd’s secretariat to Turkestan, which “are recorded in a treatise of my compilation but, if added to the present work, they would have made the narrative far too long.” No trace of this work remains.

In a small collection in the Malek public library (Ketāb-ḵāna-ye Mellī-e Malek) there is a manuscript, catalogued as no. 474, which bears the date 656/1258. A few pages of this manuscript (25a-30b) contain a chapter from the writings of “Abu’l-Fażl, the disciple of Abū Manṣūr [Abū Naṣr?] Moškān, secretary to Sultan Maḥmūd.” It consists of 373 Persian words matched with Arabic equivalents. The late ʿAlī-Aṣḡar Ḥekmat published this chapter verbatim in his anthology of Persian prose, Pārsī-e naḡz (Polished Persian; Tehran, 1329 Š./1940, pp. 383-98). An edited version was published separately by Ṣ. Kīā under the original title of the treatise, Čand soḵan ke dabīrān dar qalam ārand (A few words that secretaries employ; Tehran, 1355 Š./1977).

Finally, Ebn Fondoq (pp. 177-78) cites four lines of Arabic verse, two of which he says were written by Abu’l-Fażl Bayhaqī while in prison during the short reign of Ṭoḡrel. Ṣalāḥ-al-Dīn Ṣafadī cites the same lines in al-Wāfī be’l-wafayāt (III, p. 20), presumably copied from Ebn Fondoq.

The importance of Tārīḵ-e Bayhaqī. Bayhaqī owes his reputation to the remaining parts of his history, which constitutes an important source for all aspects of Ghaznavid history in that period. With characteristic intellectual curiosity and zeal, the author expended enormous time and effort in gathering his materials and composing his work (see pp. 130-31, 422-24, 787). As a result Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī is equally valuable as a work of historiography and as a work of literature.

Historiographic importance. An accurate and well-documented history of any period is generally best written after the participants have had time to gain some perspective. Although Bayhaqī personally witnessed many of the events he described and, during his long service at the Ghaznavid court, compiled a wealth of notes (pp. 190, 290, 381, 399, 734), he began writing his history only after many years had passed and he had achieved an emotional distance from earlier affections and animosities (pp. 189, 221-22). The nature of his historiographic method can be gleaned from his criticism, on one hand, of earlier histories written by the servants of rulers and marred by their biased judgments (p. 129) and, on the other, of historians who limited themselves to bare accounts of wars and victories (p. 451). Many writers of Arab histories before Bayhaqī’s time had selected and composed their materials following the method of scholars of religious tradition: determining the accuracy of each tradition by establishing the correct sequence of reporters by whom it had been transmitted. Bayhaqī also used this approach in presenting his sources (see, e.g., pp. 253, 256, for two episodes involving Amir Seboktegīn; p. 510, for the account by a female entertainer named Zarrīn of the dowry of Bākālījār’s daughter, whom Masʿūd had married; p. 549, for a description of the decoration of the royal harem on the occasion of the wedding of Qadar Khan’s daughter Šāhḵātūn with Amir Masʿūd; and pp. 130ff., for a profile of Masʿūd as a young man, as reported by Ḵᵛāja Abū Saʿīd ʿAbd-al-Ḡaffār). But, whereas these historians for the most part simply passed on variant accounts of each event, Bayhaqī displayed a more critical attitude. An author like Ṭabarī, for example, when confronted with variant accounts, did not evaluate their relative accuracy but contented himself with repeating each as it had come to him. As a consequence, his history, though valuable because of its tremendous scope, is not always reliable. Bayhaqī, on the other hand, made an effort to distinguish, in the vast amount of material at his disposal, between what was sound and what was unsound, according to what he knew about the identity and credentials of the respective sources. His extensive knowledge of historical literature (pp. 129, 243) and his critical scrutiny of the works of earlier authors led him to develop a method based on the following principles. He reported events “from observation” or “from judicious listening to a reliable person” (pp. 904-05). Indeed, Bayhaqī did report most events from his own direct observation (pp. 151-52, 190, 201, 290, 293, 325, 328, 372, 659, 692, 734, 837, 840), but, when he relied on informants, he preferred those who had personally witnessed the events they described or had proved themselves trustworthy reporters in other contexts (pp. 130-31, 422-24). Furthermore, he cited all his sources, analyzing their credibility (e.g., pp. 130-31, 253, 256, 510, 549, 906, 909) and assessing which might be accepted (pp. 131, 530, 904-05) and which were of dubious value (pp. 515, 548, 794). Owing to this approach the precision of his work was unprecedented.

Bayhaqī was a thorough and highly perceptive reporter, who overlooked nothing worth relating and probed each question from every conceivable angle so that no aspect was left in doubt (p. 11). He cited many important documents (pp. 1-4, 89-96, 102-05, 268-81, 391-402, 417-21, 439-51, 846-53) and did not hesitate even to include confidential negotiations and agreements (pp. 13-14, 58-60, 69-70, 74-76, 98-99, 227-28, 337-38, 343-46, 417, 613, 634), thus disclosing secrets and exposing rivalries and conspiracies (pp. 159-62, 173, 283-85, 298-301, 304, 325-26, 402-17, 561) that might otherwise have been lost to historians. His attention to detail led him to provide a number of intimate glimpses into the private lives and behavior of his contemporaries (pp. 4-5, 80-81, 87-88, 145-49, 149-50), as well as accounts of customs, ceremonies, and rites. He describes, for example, how Ḥasanak presented himself before the tribunal (dīvān; 228-31); how confidential correspondence was guarded (pp. 29, 410); which titles were used in correspondence and the nuances of various modes of address for officials (pp. 7, 453, 501); and the illiteracy of General Begtoḡdī, commander of the palace guard (p. 388; for further discussion of the richness of detail in Bayhaqī’s work, see Yūsofī, 1357 Š./1978, I, pp. 18-27). Even people of inferior standing (e.g., p. 600) are sometimes mentioned, and minor episodes are often included as substantiation for the author’s arguments. He is precise about the dates, sometimes even the hours, when certain events took place (pp. 26-27, 295, 310, 319, 697) and occasionally gives statistics as well (p. 47). In his brief profiles of individuals information on each subject’s background, disposition, mentality, method of work, and career progression is normally included (pp. 225-28, 313-16, 329-31, 522-24).

Bayhaqī demonstrated profound knowledge of his own society and the problems of his age and analyzed the causes of events with exceptional penetration (Yūsofī, op. cit., I, pp. 27-31). Yet he was unfailingly fair and objective in his judgments (e.g., pp. 27-28, 221-22, on Abū Sahl Zūzanī; p. 68, on Amir ʿAlī Qarīb; p. 298, on the general Ḡāzī; pp. 88, 179-80, 501-02, 785, 792,799, on Abū Naṣr Moškān; and pp. 128-29, 800-01 on himself; for further information on Bayhaqī’s commitment to truth and his historiographic method, see Yūsofī, op. cit., I, pp. 3-49; Zaryāb; Savory). What Bayhaqī has to say about events previous to his own time may sometimes be questionable, as when he quotes an earlier source to the effect that Ašnās and Afšīn are the same person (p. 168); in fact Ašnās, a Turk, was an important official at the court of the ʿAbbasid caliph al-Moʿtaṣem whereas Afšīn was a famous Iranian general in the caliph’s service. But the main value of his history lies in the information it contains about the Ghaznavid period.

Because of Bayhaqī’s carefully considered judgments and his critical remarks on Masʿūd and others (pp. 76, 77, 222, 223, 283, 298, 339, 340, 456-59, 479, 531-32, 600, 602, 663) his book is a many-faceted and informative history, rather than simply an arid recital of events. Furthermore the text is permeated with wisdom (pp. 112-28), moral ideas, and profound observations (pp. 234-35, 247, 308, 466, 480-86), often arising from perceived parallels with past events (pp. 31-39, 126-28, 168-72, 213-21, 236-43, 249-67, 456-59, 525, 533-43, 581-83, 617-19, 671-78, 865-68, 888-89). Persian and Arabic verses are quoted abundantly throughout the book (pp. 67, 71-72, 83-84, 152-53, 234-35, 244-45, 290, 308-10, 361-71, 466-67, 480-83, 487-97, 525, 788-89, 796-98, 854-62), a practice that may seem inappropriate (e.g., pp. 425-28) or redundant to the modern reader. But Bayhaqī wished to “adorn the history” (pp. 39, 169), to “teach moral lessons” (p. 243), and to “affect hearts” (p. 678), and it is fair to say that he achieved his ends: He has written a reliable history that is also delightful to read.

As literature. Bayhaqī was one of the most gifted and graceful writers of Persian prose. In the age in which Bayhaqī worked the position of court scribe (dabīr) was a highly regarded one (see Kaykāvūs b. Eskandar, pp. 207-15; Čahār maqāla, ed. Qazvīnī, pp. 19-41). Such a scribe had to be highly proficient in both Arabic and Persian and adept at composition of various types of letters. High intelligence, quick wit, and good sense were also required, as the state administration depended on experienced secretaries (see Bayhaqī, p. 88). It was not unusual for an able and judicious court secretary to become a vizier (see Kaykāvūs, p. 215). From his history it is clear that Bayhaqī had total command of Persian and Arabic, an elegant writing style, and great erudition. He was eminently qualified to serve as a secretary at the courts of his time.

Although strictly committed to the quest for truth, Bayhaqī wrote with a novelist’s flair, as may be seen in passages about Masʿūd’s ḵᵛīš-ḵāna in Herat (pp. 145-49), the story of Bū Bakr Ḥasīrī and Aḥmad b. Ḥasan Maymandī (pp. 197-207), the hanging of Ḥasanak (pp. 221-35), and the imprisonment of Amir Yūsof (pp. 322-29). This quality arises partly from the depth of his delineation of character and his description of what he knows about each individual’s thoughts and behavior, as in his characterizations of Abū Sahl Zūzanī (pp. 27,188-89, 222), Amir Yūsof (p. 322), Sultan Masʿūd (passim), Abū Naṣr Moškān (pp. 179-80, 501, 785, 792, 794, 795, 799), Aḥmad b. Ḥasan Maymandī (pp. 188, 191, 208, 465), Aḥmad b. ʿAbd-al-Ṣamad (p. 479), and even of lesser figures. Nor does he overlook outward appearance and dress, as in the stories of Amir Moḥammad in captivity (pp. 4-5) and Ḥasanak (p. 229). Large assemblies are also evocatively described, as in his accounts of the magnificent welcome given to Masʿūd by the inhabitants of Nīšāpūr and Ḡazna (pp. 41, 333-34) and of the sultan’s army on the march to Marv in 431/1039-40 (p. 824). Bayhaqī is particularly adept at setting the scene for each episode, vividly describing faces and figures, garments, and weapons: the hanging of the vizier Ḥasanak (pp. 232-34), Aḥmad b. Abī Doʾād’s mounted visit to Afšīn’s house and Bū Dolaf’s captivity there (pp. 216-17), the Ḡazna flood (pp. 340-42), the forests along the road to Āmol (pp. 189, 593), the natural beauty of Gorgān (p. 580), the sultan’s enthronement and his audience (bār, q.v.; pp. 20, 41-42, 51-52, 334, 372, 382, 438, 597, 688-89, 697-98, 713-15) celebrations, various ceremonies, occasions when towns were decorated with lights (čerāḡānī, see Âčerāḡ; pp. 17, 49, 333, 384, 548), the arrangement of the seats of the shah and his courtiers and men of state on ceremonial occasions (pp. 20, 41-42, 51-52, 62-63, 173, 196-97, 199, 313, 382, 384, 476-77, 656; see also court), the manner in which dīvāns were arranged in the royal palace (pp. 175, 335, 378, 585, 645, 652).

Bayhaqī’s dramatic gift for recounting clashes among personalities and personal reactions to events is another example of his literary skill, especially noteworthy in passages on the relations between the statesmen of Maḥmūd’s era (pedarīān) and those of the era of his son Masʿūd (pesarīān), the courtiers’ reaction to the news that Aḥmad b. Ḥasan Maymandī had been named grand vizier (pp. 188, 192), and the encounter between Abū Sahl Zūzanī and Ḥasanak before the tribunal (pp. 229-30).

The book is rich in beautifully composed dialogue: Amir ʿAlī Qarīb’s sincere talk with Abū Naṣr Moškān before his departure for Herat (pp. 58-60); Altūntāš’s speech before Sultan Masʿūd at the arrival of Amir ʿAlī Qarīb at Herat and Masʿūd’s reply (pp. 63-64); and the clash between Zūzanī and Ḥasanak at the tribunal (pp. 230-31).

Bayhaqī was an accomplished writer, who could adapt his style to suit his material, ranging from complete, detailed reports to episodes recounted with great economy but nevertheless enriched with charming imagery. Furthermore, like an able novelist, he brings together a diverse array of characters and events within an overall structure. The inclusion of instructive aphorisms at the end of each historical episode and sometimes elsewhere in the narrative is another attractive feature of Bayhaqī’s book.

Bayhaqī’s vast vocabulary in the Persian language permitted him an astounding range of expression (see pp. 1021-90; Zarrīṇčīān). Furthermore, like all writers of taste and ability, he invented and combined many elegant words and phrases, thus lending a unique polish to his own style and enriching the Persian language as a whole. His complete understanding of the meanings and the nuances of words and his precision in using them enabled him to avoid loading his prose with synonyms and redundancies; be was always concise and to the point. Bayhaqī’s prose is thus both dynamic and harmonious, with distinct high and low pitches and variation between deliberate and more animated tempos. It is also in harmony with the substance, serving to reinforce the ideas expressed. (For a discussion of the power of Bayhaqī’s prose and its various manifestations, see Yūsofī, in Yād-nāma; idem, 1356 Š./1978, I, pp. 203-35.) Bayhaqī, like all his educated contemporaries, was thoroughly familiar with Arabic literature. Arabic words and occasionally entire Arabic phrases are incorporated into his prose; sometimes even his Persian phraseology is influenced by Arabic (for the grammatical and lexical peculiarities of Bayhaqī’s prose, see Bahār, Sabk-šenāsī II, pp. 66-95, esp. pp. 70-73, 85-87, on Arabic elements).


N. Ahmad, “A Critical Examination of Baihaqī’s Narration of the Indian Expeditions During the Reign of Masʿūd of Ghazna,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 34-83 (also in Afghanistan 24/4, 1972, pp. 68-92).

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A. K. Arends, “Āṯār-e mafqūd-e Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī dar bāra-ye tārīḵ-e Ḵᵛārazm, ṭebq-e manābeʿ-e Tārīḵ-e Bayhaqī,” Payām-e novīn 1/5, 1337-38 Š./1958-59, pp. 95-96.

ʿAwfī, Jawāmeʿ al-ḥekāyāt wa lawāmeʿ al-rewāyāt. Idem, Lobāb, ed. Nafīsī, pp. 567, 622-23 nn. Ḥ. Baḥr-al-ʿOlūmī, “Tārīḵ-e Bayhaqī yā āʾīna-ye ʿebrat,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 53-67.

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M.-E. Bāstānī Pārīzī, “Yād-e Kermān dar Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 39-52.

Š. Bayānī, “Zan dar Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 68-90.

T. Bīneš, “Raveš-e ʿelmī dar ketāb-e Bayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 91-102.

Bosworth, Ghaznavids. Idem, Later Ghaznavids. Idem, “Early Sources for the First Four Ghaznavid Sultans (977-1041),” Islamic Quarterly 7/1-2, 1963, pp. 10-14, repr. in idem, The Medieval History of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, London, 1977, no. XIII. Idem, “The Poetical Citations in Baihaqī’s Taʾrīkh-i Masʿūdī,” in XX. Deutscher Orientalistentaġ . . . 1977 in Erlangen. Vorträge, ZDMG, Suppl. IV, Wiesbaden, 1980, pp. 41-56. M.-T. Dānešpažūh, “Bayhaqī-e fīlsūf,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 174-81.

Ebn Fondoq, Tārīḵ-eBayhaq, ed. A. Bahmanyār, 2nd ed., Tehran, n.d. Elliot, History of India II, pp. 53-154.

ʿA. Eqbāl Āštīānī, “Ḵᵛāja Abu’l-Fażl Bayhaqī,” Oṣūl-e taʿlīm o tarbīat 2/6, pp. 1-10, repr. in Majmūʿa-ye maqālāt-e ʿAbbās Eqbāl Āštīānī, ed. M. Dabīrsīāqī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 60-74.

Idem, “Yak ṣafḥa az mojalladāt-e mafqūda-ye Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” Armaḡān 13/1, pp. 25-35, repr. in Majmūʿa-ye maqālāt, pp. 282-89.

M.-ʿA. Eslāmī Nodūšan, “Jahānbīnī-e Abu’l-Fażl Bayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 1-38, repr. in Jām-e jahānbīn, 3rd ed., Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 303-345.

Idem, “Yak sarnevešt-e momtāz. Ḥasanak-e Wazīr,” in Jām-e jahānbīn, 3rd ed., Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 295-302.

G. Fallāḥ Rastegār, “Ādāb o rosūm o tašrīfāt-e darbār-e Ḡazna az ḵelāl-e Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 412-67.

Ḥ. Farzām, “Arzeš-e aḵlāqī-e Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 293-411.

ʿA.-A. Fayyāż, “Nosḵahā-ye Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 530-607.

R. Gelpke, Sultān Masʿūd I von Ġazna. Die drei ersten Jahre seiner Herrschaft (421/1030-424/1033), Munich, 1957.

A. Ḥabīb-Allāhī, “Maʾāḵeḏ-e ašʿār-e ʿarabī-e Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī wa moʿarrefī-e gūyandagān-e ānhā,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 744-77.

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Idem, “Šāh-bahār-e Bayhaqī,” Yaḡmā 18/2, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 57-60.

Idem, “Taḥqīq-e barḵī az amāken-e Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 137-52 (see also Āryānā 28/4, 1348-49 Š./1969-70, pp. 1-12; Yaḡmā 23, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 457-60).

Idem, “Bayhaqī wa Afḡān Šāl,” Āryānā 28/2, pp. 1-4 (see also Yaḡmā 21, 1347 Š./1968, pp. 231-36).

Y. Hashemi, “The Lacunae in Baihaqī,” Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society 16, 1968, pp. 136-44.

Ḡ.-S. Homāyūn, “Čand noqṭa-ye tāza dar bāra-ye Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” in Yād-nāma, pp. 778-98 (see also Adab 8/3-4, 1339 Š./1960, pp. 107-25).

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J. Matīnī, “Sīmā-ye Masʿūd Ḡaznavī dar Tārīḵ-eBayhaqī,” ibid., pp. 530-607.

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M. Mīnovī, “ʿEbrat-e tārīḵ,” Yaḡmā 8, 1334 Š./1955, pp. 145-53, 193-203.

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Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: December 15, 1988

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