EQBĀL ĀŠTĪĀNĪ, ʿABBĀS (عباس اقبال آشتیانی, b. 1314/1896-97 in Āštīān, d. 21 Bahman 1334 Š./10 February 1956 in Rome), scholar and man of letters (Figure 1). He was born into a family of poor bathkeepers in Āštīān, a township near Arāk. In order to contribute to the family’s income he started working as a carpenter’s apprentice at a very young age, but his own desire for learning and his mother’s encouragement finally made him start his primary education at the age of fourteen. The family moved to Tehran in 1327/1909, where they made friends with the Najmābādī family who helped Eqbāl attend Šerkat-e Golestān school. He continued his education at Dār al-fonūn where he was employed as the assistant librarian upon graduation around 1919 and later entrusted with teaching Persian.
During his years at Dār al-fonūn, Eqbāl came to know such litterati as Moḥammad-ʿAlī Forūḡī, Abu’l-Ḥasan Forūḡī, Mortażā Najmābādī, ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm Qarīb, Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Rahnemā, and ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Bōḡāyerī, under whose influence he embarked on a career of scholarship that continued until his death. He wrote several high-school textbooks that remained standard for many years to come. The scholarship he demonstrated in these books and in the articles he published in the leading literary periodicals of the time (namely, Dāneškada, Now-Bahār, Forūḡ-e tarbīat, Oṣūl-e taʿlīm, Kāva, and Īrān-šahr) led to his appointment as an instructor in the Teachers College (Dār al-moʿallemīn), where some future scholars (e.g., Mojtabā Mīnovī, Ḥabīb Yāḡmāʾī, Faḵr-al-Dīn Šādmān) were among his students. At the same time he taught history, geography, and Persian literature at the military lycée. In 1303 Š./1924 he was sent to Paris by the Military Council (Šūrā-ye neẓām) as the secretary to the Persian military delegation in France, which supervised the progress of Persian students at the military academy there. Eqbāl used this opportunity to pursue his education at the Sorbonne, where he got a bachelor’s degree in literature. In Paris he met the distinguished scholar Moḥammad Qazvīnī, who had a profound influence on him and whose meticulous methodology in research Eqbāl adopted like a disciple.
Eqbāl returned to Persia in 1308 Š./1929 .The next five years were very productive. He published a number of books and articles, including the books he had worked on during his residence in Paris. He was a member of the delegation representing Persia in the millenium of Ferdowsī in 1313 Š./1934. In 1314 he received a government scholarship for a year of study in Europe. He returned to Persia the next year and became professor of history in the newly founded University of Tehran and a permanent member of the Persian Academy (Farhangestān-e Īrān).
In 1323 Š./1944 Eqbāl founded the monthly periodical Yādgār. Early issues mostly dealt with social and educational topics, but later issues were devoted to scholarly articles and notices on literature and history. Yādgār continued publication for five years, and it is still considered one of the most informative periodicals ever published in Persia.
In 1328 Š./1949 he was appointed the Persian cultural attaché in Turkey and later in Italy, the position he held until his death in Bahman 1334 Š./1956. Eqbāl remained unmarried to the end of his life. He is buried in the shrine of Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm south of Tehran.
Works. Eqbāl was a prolific, multi-sided scholar, whose main interest was in Persian history and literature. His output, excluding articles, includes:
(1) Studies: Qābūs-e Vošmgīr-e Zīārī, Berlin, 1342/1923; Šarḥ-e ḥāl-e ʿAbd-Allāh b. Moqaffaʿ, Berlin, 1306 Š./1927; Ḵānadān-e Nowbaḵtī, Tehran, 1311 Š./1932; Tārīḵ-e mofaṣṣal-e Īrān az estīlā-ye Mōḡol tā eʿlān-e Mašrūṭīyat I: Az ḥamla-ye Čengīz tā taškīl-e dawlat-e tīmūrī, Tehran, 1312 Š./1933, repr. Tehran, 1341 Š./1962; Tārīḵ-e ektešāfāt-e jōḡrāfīāʾī wa tārīḵ-e ʿelm-e jōḡrāfīā, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935; Moṭālaʿāt-ī dar bāra-ye Baḥrayn wa jazāyer wa sawāḥel-e Ḵalīj-e Fārs, Tehran, 1328 Š./1949; Wezārat dar ʿahd-e salāṭīn-e bozorg-e saljūqī, ed. M.-T. Danešpažūh and Y. Ḏokāʾ, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959; Mīrzā Taqī Ḵān Amīr-e Kabīr, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961; Tārīḵ-e jawāher dar Īrān, in FIZ 9, 1340 Š./1961, pp. 5-45.
(2) Texts edited: Ebn Moʿtazz, Ṭabaqāt al-šoʿarāʾ al- moḥaddeṯīn (Arabic), facs. ed. with notes and variants, GMS 13, London, 1929; Rašīd Vaṭvāṭ, Ḥadāʾeq al-seḥr fī daqāʾeq al-šeʿr, Tehran, 1309 Š./1930; Abu’l-Maʿālī Moḥammad al-Ḥosaynī, Bayān al-adyān, Tehran, 1312 Š./1933; Ebn Šahrāšūb, Maʿālem al-ʿolamāʾ, Tehran, 1313 Š./1934; Mortażā b. Dāʿī Rāzī, Tabṣerat al-ʿawāmm fī maʿrefa maqālāt al-anām, Tehran, 1313 Š./1934; Hendūšāh b. Sanjar Naḵjavānī, Tajāreb al-salaf, Tehran, 1313 Š./1934; Abū Manṣūr Ṯaʿālebī, Tatemma al-yatīma, Tehran, 1313 Š./1934 (Arabic). Šāh-nāma (Borūḵīm ed.), vols. 2-6, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935; Amīr Moʿezzī, Dīvān, Tehran, 1319 Š./1940; Lōḡat-e fors, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941; (selection of) Neẓām-al-Molk, Sīāsat-nāma, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941; Ebn Esfandīār, Tārīḵ-e Ṭabarestān, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941; Obayd Zākānī, Kolīyāt, Tehran, 1321 Š./1942; Mīrzā Moḥammad Kalantar, Rūz-nāma-ye Mīrzā Moḥammad Kalāntar-e Fārs, Tehran, 1325 Š./1946; Šaraf-al-Dīn Rāmī, Anīs al-ʿoššāq, Tehran, 1325 Š./1946; Jahāngīr Mīrzā, Tārīḵ-e now, Tehran, 1327 Š./1948; Moʿīn-al-Dīn Šīrāzī, Šadd al-ezār fī ḥaṭṭ al-awzār ʿan zowwār al-mazār (Arabic), Tehran, 1328 Š./1949 (with M. Qazvīnī); Nāṣer-al-Dīn Kermānī, Semṭ al-ʿolā le’l-ḥażra al-ʿolyā, Tehran, 1328 Š./1949; Mīrzā Moḥammad-Ḵalīl Marʿašī Ṣafawī, Majmaʿ al-tawārīkò, Tehran, 1328 Š./1949; Ḥosayn b. Abi’l-Reżā Āvī, Tarjama-ye Maḥāsen Eṣfaḥān-e Māfarrūḵī, Tehran, 1328 Š./1949; Montajab-al-Dīn Jovaynī, ʿAtabat al-kataba, Tehran, 1329 Š./1950 (with M. Qazvīnī); Ḥamīd-al-Dīn Aḥmad b. Ḥāmed Kermānī, al-Możāf elā badāyeʿ al-azmān fī waqāyeʿ Kermān, Tehran, 1331 Š./1952; Moḥammad Ḡazālī, Fażāʾel al-anām men rasāʾel Ḥojjat-al-Eslām, Tehran, 1333 Š./1954; Šarḥ-e qaṣīda-ye ʿaynīya-e Ebn Sīnā, in MDAT 1/4, 1333 Š/1954; Ḥakīm Awḥad-al-Dīn Ṭabīb Rāzī, Ḏayl-e Sayr al-ʿebād-e Sanāʾī, Tehran, 1334 Š./1955; Abū Manṣūr Ṯaʿālebī, Tatemma al-yatīma, Tehran, 1313 Š./1934 (Arabic).
(3) Translations: “Une notice sur le Ghilan et le Mazandaran par M. le Colonel Trézel” (publ. with P. Jaubert, Voyage en Arménie et en Perse, Paris 1821) as Yāddāšthā-ye ženerāl Terezel ferestāda-ye Nāpelʾon be samt-e Hend, Tehran, 1308 Š./1929; Alfred de Gardane, Mission du Général Gardane en Perse sous le Premiér Empire: Documents historiques publiés par son fils as Maʾmūrīyat-e Ženerāl Gārdān dar Īrān, Tehran, 1310 Š./1931; R. S. Poole, The Coins of the Shahs of Persia, London, 1887 as Ṭabaqāt-e salāṭīn-e Eslām, Tehran, 1312 Š./1933; Moḥammat b. Zakarīyāʾ Rāzī, al-Sīrat al-falsafīya as Sīrat-e falsafī-e Rāzī, Tehran, 1315 Š./1936; Jean Baptiste Feuvrier, Trois ans à la cour de Perse, as Se sāl dar darbār-e Īrān, Tehran, 1326 Š./1947.
For Eqbāl’s articles see Īraj Afšār’s Fehrest-e Maqālat-e fārsī (4 vols., Tehran, 1348-69 Š./1969-90). A selection of them (101 articles) was published by Moḥammad Dabīrsīāqī (Tehran, 1350 Š./1971), who is now preparing the publication of all of Eqbāl’s articles in six volumes.
Eqbāl’s literary estate is kept in the Central Library of the University of Tehran. It includes, inter alia, a Persian translation of the section on the Koranic sciences in Storey’s Persian Literature and editions of ʿAyyūqī’s Varqa wa Golšāh, Abu’l-Ḥasan Deylamī’s Sīrat-e Ebn Ḵafīf, and Abū Dolaf Yanbūʿī’s al-Resāla al-ṯānīya.
Ī. Afšār, ʿAbbās Eqbāl Āštīānī,” FIZ 3, 1334 Š./1955, pp. 411-16.
Idem, “Marg-e Eqbāl,” Soḵan 7, 1335 Š./1956, pp. 94-96.
Idem, “Wafāt-e Āqā-ye ʿAbbās Eqbāl Āštīānī,” MDAT 3/3, 1334 Š./1955, pp. 67-71.
Idem, “Aṯār-e čāpnašoda az ʿAbbās Eqbāl,” Našrīya-ye Ketāb-ḵāna-ye markazī-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān 1, 1337 Š./1958, pp. 61-66.
Idem, “Šarḥ-e aḥwāl o fehrest-e āṯār-e ʿAbbās Eqbāl,” in Q. Ṣāfī, ed., Majmˊūʿa-ye goftārhā-ī dar bāra-ye čand tan az rejāl-e adab o tārīḵ-ye Īrān, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978, pp. 151-61.
M. Dabīrsīāqī, ed., Majmūʿa-ye maqālāt-e ʿAbbās Eqbāl Āštīānī, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990, intro.
H.ṟ Yāḡmāʾī, “ʿAbbās Eqbāl,” Yāḡmā 9/1, 1335 Š./1956, pp. 44-46.
Idem, ʿAbbās Eqbāl,” Yāḡmā 31, 1357 Š./1978, pp. 607-9.
E. A. Doraoshenko, tr. A. Āzmūda as “Dar bāra-ye naẓarīyāt-e tārīḵī-e ʿAbās Eqbāl” in Haft maqāla az Īrānšenāsān-e Šūrawī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 151-81.
M. Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, “Maṭbūʿāt o Eqbāl Āštīānī,” Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 19, 1355 Š./1976, pp. 10-20.
M. Najmābādī, “Ostād-am ʿAbbās Eqbāl,” Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 19, 1355 Š./1976, pp. 602-8.
Originally Published: December 15, 1998
Last Updated: December 15, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 5, pp. 518-520
Īraj Afšār, “EQBĀL ĀŠTĪĀNĪ, ʿABBĀS,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, VIII/5, pp. 518-520, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/eqbal-astiani (accessed on 30 December 2012).