BEH-QOBĀD (Mid. Pers. Vēh-Kavāt), an administrative district created by the Sasanian king Qobād I in the early sixth century along the Babylon branch of the Euphrates. It lay below Beh-Ardašīr and began where the Euphrates divided into two branches six farsaḵs (ca. 36 km) below the offtake of the Nahr Kūṯā. The Sasanian name of the district is attested on late Sasanian seals; Bābel may have been its capital; and there is a seal impression of the mōbad of Bābel in Vēh-Kavāt. Beh-Qobād was conquered by the Muslims in the summer of 16/637 after their victory at Qādesīya. Persian forces were defeated at Bābel and Sūrā. Since this district survived the Muslim conquest, the subdistricts of Beh-Ardašīr were temporarily added to it until 36/657. There is no convincing evidence that Beh-Qobād was a mint for either Sasanian or Arab-Sasanian coins. The earliest evidence for its division into Upper (Aʿlā), Middle (Awṣat), and Lower (Asfal) Beh-­Qobād (Beh-Qobādāt) is in the appointments of gover­nors by Moḵtār in 66/685, and on post-reform dirhams of Middle and Lower Beh-Qobād dated 90/708-09. In neither case are the subdistricts (ṭasāsīj) of these divi­sions (estāns) identified, and their Arabic-writing geog­raphers appear to have switched the subdistricts of Upper and Middle Beh-Qobād. “Middle” (actually Upper) Beh-Qobād lay along that part of the Euphrates called the Upper Nahr Sūrā, and the subdistricts of Sūrā, Barbīsamā (Bīsmā), Bārūsamā, and Bānīqīā are attested in the 1st/7th century. By the 3rd/9th century the subdistricts of Nahr Malek and of Jobba and Bodāt were included. “Upper” (actually Middle) Beh-Qobād lay along the Lower Nahr Sūrā with the subdistricts of Bābel, Ḵoṭarnīya, Upper and Lower Fallūja (Fal­lūjatayn, Falālīj), and Nahrayn attested in the 1st/7th century. By the 3rd/9th century it included ʿAyn-al-­Tamr. At the time of the conquest the remaining subdistricts of Beh-Qobād in the region southeast of the Lower Nahr Sūrā consisted of Forāt Seryā, Hormoz­jerd, Rūḏmestān, and Nestar. By the 3rd/9th century Lower Beh-Qobād appears to have been rotated to the west to include the subdistricts of Kūfa, Ḥīra, Saylaḥīn, and Forāt Bādaqlā. The entire district of Beh-Qobādāt was expected to yield 17,000 korr of wheat, 24,000 korr of barley, and over 1.6 mill dirhams in taxes in the 3rd/9th century.


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(Michael Morony)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: December 15, 1989

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Vol. IV, Fasc. 1, p. 109