Tue

12

Mar

2013

Persian Historiography - EIr (2)

Based on the 6 names of Persian historians given in the EIr's chronology, I looked at their coverage in the Historiography articles where they should be in, and what it says about them (number in bracket is number of mentions within the sub-article).

 

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/historiography-iii

 

1. Abu’l-Fażl Bayhaqi (18)

- composed a monumental history in some thirty volumes on the reigns of the early Ghaznavid sultans

Only one volume and some fragments, covering the years 421-32/1030-41, survive today. Even in this sadly truncated state, however, it is clear this work is one of the true masterpieces of the world’s historical literature

Bayhaqi set forth the philosophical principles underlying his work in a short “discourse” (ḵoṭba) on the purpose and methods of history ... In Bayhaqi’s view, history is the means by which humans satisfy their natural curiosity about the past and, in the process, increase their intellectual capacity to distinguish truly between good and bad, joy and sorrow. Such knowledge is useful, but it cannot be regarded as predictive since the future is known only to God. It is also commemorative, in that it keeps alive the story of past notables and remembrance of the historian himself. Historical knowledge can be acquired only by rigorous effort through traveling and making inquiries (exactly the meaning of the Greek historía) in order to obtain either oral reports from trustworthy informants or to consult appropriate written sources; in all cases, the historian must insist on the rationality and credibility of what is reported and reject the fabulous and foolish.

Bayhaqi emphasizes that everything he reports is based on either his own eyewitness knowledge or material taken from sources of impeccable reliability. 

He apparently kept a kind of diary or journal of his experiences as well as copies of archival material and later used these as the raw material for his history, shaped by the reflections and perspectives he could bring to them with the advantage of hindsight.

in the case of topics of which he has little direct knowledge, he turns to sources he considers the best and most authoritative (as with Biruni’s history of Ḵʷārazm); these sources are frequently named and their reliability assessed.

- It should also be noted that Bayhaqi constructed his prose with meticulous care and precision; he is remarkably effective at recreating the settings and sharply delineating the character of the personalities involved in the events he describes. His subtle and deceptively plain language suggests much more than it says explicitly, although the variety of interpretations given his accounts by modern scholars suggests that we are still far from knowing exactly how it should be read. 

In sum, the Tāriḵ-e Bayhaqi, with its combination of authoritativeness, richness of detail, literary polish, and methodological sophistication, has no peer among the works discussed here and precious few in any other historiographical tradition.

 

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/historiography-iv


2. ʿAtā Malek Jovayni (13)

Jovayni’s Tāriḵ-e Jahāngošā (comp. 1260) is very ornate in parts ... but at other times he conveys information in a straightforward way

- Turning to a brief review of the main historical works of the period, it is useful to notice the links between them and the formation of a continuous literary tradition that extends from Jovayni (d. 1283) to Mirḵvānd (d. 1498), as well as the sources on which this tradition was based

Jovayni’s history derives its authority in large part from his own participation in events, to which he refers, basing his section on the Mongols on his own experiences and verified information provided by others, though he does mention earlier works on the Kʷārazmšāhs and on the Ismaʿilis, salvaged from the sack of Alamut.

- Jovayni sought to rationalize the disasters that had befallen Islam in his time and explain them as a manifestation of God’s purpose; it is hardly surprising, given the circumstances in which he wrote, that he champions the legitimacy of the Toluids, who had seized control of the Mongol empire after the death of Güyük.

- His work both inspired the continuation of Waṣṣāf and served as an important source for the work of Rašid-al-Din, conceived on a much larger scale but nevertheless indebted to his predecessor. 

Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi in his Tāriḵ-e gozida lists both Jovayni and Rašid-al-Din among his eminent predecessors, particularly the latter, who inspired Mostawfi with his love of history and to whom his work was dedicated.

Mirḵvānd represents the culmination of this tradition of historical writings in the Turko-Mongol period, which, with the exception of Jovayni’s work, were essentially “universal” chronicles linked in a sort of literary chain of authorities (esnād) of authority.

 

3. Rašid-al-Din (21)

Šams-al-Din’s chronicle, written at the request of Ḡāzān Khan, may have started as a straightforward versification of Rašid-al-Din’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ, as the author maintains

Mostawfi’s Ẓafar-nāma is altogether a more sober work, again largely based on Rašid-al-Din for the early sections

- ... these works were used and quoted by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru in his continuation of Rašid-al-Din’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ ... Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru himself states that he was continuing the work of Balʿami, Rašid-al-Din, and Neẓām-al-Din Šāmi

Another product of the Jalayerid court is the Ḡāzān-nāma of Aždari, which loosely follows the sequence of events reported by Rašid-al-Din

They also had access to official documents, a particularly important element in the work of the Ilkhanid vizier Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh, who wrote furthermore with unusual directness. His remarkable frankness in exposing the defects of early Mongol rule in Persia can partly be attributed to his personal influence and partly to the educational or instructive aspect of the work, with its emphasis on the need for justice and good deeds, which puts him in the same mould as his great predecessor, the Saljuq vizier Neẓām-al-Molk (d. 1092).

- [Jovayni's] work both inspired the continuation of Waṣṣāf and served as an important source for the work of Rašid-al-Din, conceived on a much larger scale but nevertheless indebted to his predecessor.

- Rašid-al-Din also relied very largely on oral information, partly provided by Ḡāzān Khan himself for Mongol history, partly from various native informants about the other peoples of the world with whom the Mongols came into contact (the Turks, Chinese, Indians, Franks, and Jews), which justifies the title of World History given to his Compendium of Chronicles.

- For the sections of the work in the second volume covering Islamic history, which are largely still unpublished, Rašid-al-Din tends not to mention his sources; the only parts for which the matter has been studied are those on the Ismaʿilis and China.

Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi in his Tāriḵ-e gozida lists both Jovayni and Rašid-al-Din among his eminent predecessors, particularly the latter, who inspired Mostawfi with his love of history and to whom his work was dedicated.

- Other general works include Juzjāni’s Ṭabaqāt-e nāṣeri  and, very reliant on Rašid-al-Din, the history of Faḵr-al-Din Banākati

 

4. Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (13)

Ferdowsi’s Šāh-nāma was not merely appreciated for its poetical aspect; it is listed as a historical authority by writers throughout the Mongol period (as earlier), from Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi and Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn Kāteb to Mirḵvānd

From the Mongol period, the most noteworthy are the Šāh-nāma-ye čengizi by Šams-al-Din Kāšāni, the Ẓafar-nāma of Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (a versified history of ca. 75,000 couplets), and the Šāhanšāh-nāma of Aḥmad Tabrizi (a poem of about 18,000 couplets dealing with the history of Čengiz Khan and his successors)

- Mostawfi’s Ẓafar-nāma is altogether a more sober work, again largely based on Rašid-al-Din for the early sections, but thereafter, particularly for the reign Abu Saʿid, an original source of information that never loses sight of its primary objective: to report events, however much these are punctuated by the author’s observations on the working of fate and presented with Mostawfi’s running commentary on the inevitable consequences of the actions he records.

 - Waṣṣāf’s example was certainly influential, for instance perhaps on Moʿin-al-Din Yazdi, whose scholarly but verbose history of the Muzaffarids, Mawāheb-e elāhi (events up to 767/1365), was regarded as excessive by the later author Maḥmud Kotobi, who saw his own work as a continuation of Mostawfi’s Tāriḵ-e gozida

 - Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi in his Tāriḵ-e gozida lists both Jovayni and Rašid-al-Din among his eminent predecessors, particularly the latter, who inspired Mostawfi with his love of history and to whom his work was dedicated.

- His Ẓafar-nāma relies on, but does not follow closely, the Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ up to the reign of Öljeitü/Uljāytu; thereafter, as in his account of the wars in Gilān, Mostawfi makes use of reliable oral information.

- His own continuation of the Ẓafar-nāma is written in prose, more suitable for the dark days that it describes, in a confessedly autobiographical account of the last years of the Ilkhanate.

- Both Mostawfi’s works and the continuation (to 1392) written by his son, Zayn-al-Din, were incorporated into the continuation of Rašid-al-Din’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, which was carried out at the command of Šāhroḵ and brought down to the latter’s reign in successive recensions and reworkings.

Other links in the chain of general histories, mentioned by Mirḵvānd and earlier by Mostawfi, were the Neẓām al-tawāriḵ of Bayżāwi (ca. 1275) and Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšāni’s Zobdat al-tawāriḵ (to the fall of Baghdad), of which the section on the Ismaʿilis has been edited, as well as the section on the Saljuqs, derived from the Saljuq-nāma of Ẓahir-al-Din Nišāpuri.

The interconnectedness of these forms, which cannot be elaborated here, is clearly demonstrated by Mostawfi’s Tāriḵ-e gozida, which concludes with chapters containing biographies of prominent scholars and poets and an account of his home town, Qazvin, and its leading families, thus combining in one work elements of “universal” chronicle, local history, and biographical dictionary. 

 


http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/historiography-iii

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/historiography-v


5. Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru (13+12)

- (Mostawfi’s Ẓafar-nāma and Tabrizi’s Šāhanšāh-nāma) Both these works were used and quoted by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru in his continuation of Rašid-al-Din’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ.

Moʿin-al-Din’s work was admired by Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn and apparently adapted by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru for that section of his Majmuʿa

Both Mostawfi’s works and the continuation (to 1392) written by his son, Zayn-al-Din, were incorporated into the continuation of Rašid-al-Din’s Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, which was carried out at the command of Šāhroḵ and brought down to the latter’s reign in successive recensions and reworkings.

- As noted by John Woods, who analyzes Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru’s use of earlier Timurid historiography, particularly his sanitization of the more Mongol elements in the interesting history by Mo ʿin-al-Din Naṭanzi (Montaḵab al-tawāriḵ), Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru set Timur’s career in the general context of Mongol and Islamic history and continued the western Iranian traditions of Rašid-al-Din, integrating the writings of his predecessors with his own recollections to form a uniform narrative. Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru himself states that he was continuing the work of Balʿami, Rašid-al-Din, and Neẓām-al-Din Šāmi. Parviz Aḏkāʾi connects Rašid-al-Din and Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru by their common association with Hamadān.

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Samarqandi came from the religious classes and was qāżi at court from 1437, from which position he witnessed events in Herat and Samarqand. In his Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn, he relies very heavily on Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru’s Zobdat al-tawāriḵup to 1427, when the latter ends.

Several major chronicles date from the Timurid period, and the works of authors such as Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, Mirḵᵛānd, or Ḵᵛāndamir spread all over the Muslim world and became standards for the centuries to come.

Šāmi’s chronicle ... was used and extended by later historiographers, notably Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru

Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru (d. 833/1430) started his career at Timur’s court and flourished under Šāhroḵ. He is the author of several chronicles of the early Timurid dynasty, based on Šāmi and Naṭanzi, and on other sources which are lost today. He is the author of the Ḏayl (Continuation) of the Ẓafar-nāma-ye Šāmi, written in 814/1412, and the Tāriḵ-e Šāhroḵ (three versions are known, the narrative carried down to 816/1413, 819/1416, and 830/1426-27 respectively). The Ḏayl and the second revision of the Tāriḵ-e Šāhroḵ were included in his compilation known as Majmuʿa-ye Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, while its third version forms the last section of his Zubdat al-tawāriḵ, included in Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru’s world history titled Majmaʿ al-tawāriḵ. The Zubdat al-tawāriḵ is dedicated to Mirzā Bāysonḡor, son of Šāhroḵ.

Kamāl-al-Din Razzāq Samarqandi (d. 887/1482), court official in the service of Šāhroḵ, wrote a chronicle of the Timurid dynasty titled Maṭlaʿ al-saʿdayn wa maj-maʿ al-baḥrayn, for which the Zobdat al-tawāriḵ of Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru was the main source

The Tāriḵ-e Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru (or Joḡrāfiā) is an important contribution to the topography of Khorasan in the early Timurid period

 

6. Mirḵʷānd (10+9)

it is no coincidence that Ferdowsi’s Šāh-nāma, was not merely appreciated for its poetical aspect; it is listed as a historical authority by writers throughout the Mongol period (as earlier), from Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi and Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn Kāteb to Mirḵvānd

Turning to a brief review of the main historical works of the period, it is useful to notice the links between them and the formation of a continuous literary tradition that extends from Jovayni (d. 1283) to Mirḵvānd (d. 1498), as well as the sources on which this tradition was based.

- [ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Samarqandi's] work, continuing to 1469 or soon after, was much used by Mirḵvānd, although the latter does not mention him in his list of authorities, and only brought his own chronicle, the Rawżat al-ṣafā, down to the same year, 1469.

- Mirḵvānd represents the culmination of this tradition of historical writings in the Turko-Mongol period, which, with the exception of Jovayni’s work, were essentially “universal” chronicles linked in a sort of literary chain of authorities (esnād) of authority. 

Other links in the chain of general histories, mentioned by Mirḵvānd and earlier by Mostawfi, were the Neẓām al-tawāriḵ of Bayżāwi (ca. 1275) and Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšāni’s Zobdat al-tawāriḵ (to the fall of Baghdad), of which the section on the Ismaʿilis has been edited, as well as the section on the Saljuqs, derived from the Saljuq-nāma of Ẓahir-al-Din Nišāpuri.

Several major chronicles date from the Timurid period, and the works of authors such as Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, Mirḵᵛānd, or Ḵᵛāndamir spread all over the Muslim world and became standards for the centuries to come.

The historiography of the later Timurid period can certainly be viewed as dominated by a line of historiographers: Mirḵvand,Ḵᵛāndamir, and—in the early post-Timurid period in Herat—Amir Maḥmud.

- Moḥammad b. Borhān-al-Din Ḵᵛānd-šāh known as Mirkᵛānd (d. 903/1498), from a Bukharan sayyed family established in Balkh, is probably the best known Persian historiographer, together with his grandson Ḵᵛāndamir.

- Mirḵᵛānd spend his adult life in the service of the Timurid court at Herat under the patronage of Mir ʿAli-Šir Navāʾi. He wrote a world history in seven volumes and an epilogue (ḵātema), titled Rawżat al-ṣafā fi sirat al-anbiyā wa’l-moluk wa’l-ḵolafā, extending until the reign of Solṭān-Ḥosayn Bāyqarā (875-912/1470-1506) and his descendants in Herat.

- The last volume of this work, as well as the epilogue—devoted to geography—were obviously written by Ḵᵛāndamir after the death of Mirḵᵛānd. Ḡiāṯ-al-Din b. Homām-al-Din Moḥammad known as Ḵᵛāndamir (d. 941/1534-35), Mirkᵛānd’s grandson by a daughter, ...

Mirḵᵛānd’s Rawżat al-ṣafā and Kᵛāndamir’s Ḥabib al-siar are monuments of late Timurid prose historiography for their flowery and highly intricate style as well as for the careful historical approach to the sources the authors used and collated, both written and oral.

- Mirḵᵛānd’s and Ḵᵛāndamir’s works subsequently enjoyed a widespread and continuous popularity, as can be seen from hundreds of manuscripts still extant that have been copied over the centuries in all parts of the Muslim world.

 

 

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