GOWHAR ḴĀTUN, a Saljuq princess who became the second wife of the Ghaznavid Sultan Masʿud III (r. 492-508/1099-1115). Because the Saljuq Sultan Malekšāh (q.v.) sent her from Ray to Ḡazna with a lavish wedding cortège, on which his vizier Neẓām-al-Molk had expended 100,000 dinars, she is known in the sources for Ghaznavid history as the Mahd-e ʿErāq “bride from ʿErāq[-e ʿAjami or Western Persia”] (Ḥo-sayni, pp. 16, 58; Ebn al-Aṯir, ed. Tornberg, X, p. 111, ed. Beirut, X, p. 168).

All the historical sources which mention her (Ḥosayni, Ebn al-Aṯir, Juzjāni) describe her as a daughter of Malekšāh’s and sister of Sanjar, married to the Ghaznavid prince at an unknown date; the liaison was probably part of the policy of détente between the two empires in the later part of Malekšāh’s and Ebrāhim’s reigns. When Masʿud III died and was succeeded by his son Malek Arslān or Arslānšāh (q.v.), the latter treated his stepmother Gowhar Ḵātun with indignity, provoking Sanjar into sending military aid to his rival for the succession, his half-brother Bahrāmšāh (q.v.; Juzjāni, Ṭabaqāt I, pp. 240-41, tr. Raverty, I, p. 107). The historical sources also mention that Prince Masʿud had first married a daughter of Alp Arslān (q.v.); this may be the source of the information in Faḵr-e Modabber Mobā-rakšāh’s Ādāb al-ḥarb wa’l-šajāʿa (pp. 154-55) that Masʿud’s bride was actually a daughter of Čaḡri Beg Dāwud (q.v., d. 452/1060), which seems chronologically less likely.



Bosworth, Later Ghaznavids, pp. 54-55.

Idem, “The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World,” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, p. 94.

Faḵr-e Modabber, Ādāb al-ḥarb wa’l-šajāʿa, ed. Aḥmad Sohayli Ḵᵛānsāri, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967.

Ṣadr-al-Din Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAli Ḥosayni, Aḵbār al-dawla al-saljuqiya, ed. Moḥammad Eqbāl, Lahore, 1933, pp. 16, 58.

Ghulam Mustafa Khan, “A History of Bahrām Shāh of Ghaznin,” IC 13, 1949, pp. 64-66.

(C. Edmund Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 2002

Last Updated: February 17, 2012

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Vol. XI, Fasc. 2, p. 179