Persian Historiography - EIr (3)

Based on the prior post, we can briefly summarize how the 6 historians are talked about:


1. Bayhaqi - he works in a style closer to modern western historians; but his work is only extant in parts; no clear direct influence on later tradition

2. Jovayni - true beginning of the golden period of Persian historiography; but it is not an universal history and thus less influential than Rašid-al-Din

3. Rašid-al-Din - very influential universal history written in direct prose, including Mostawfi, Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru (and Šams-al-Din, Aždari, Faḵr-al-Din Banākati)

4. Mostawfi - multiple works with genre innovation - Ẓafar-nāma (75,000 couplets; with a continuation in prose with autobiography) and Tāriḵ-e gozidaa (universal history with local history and biographies)

5. Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru - multiple works; integration and continuation of many prior authors; the first major Timurid historian to become standard in Muslim world

6. Mirḵʷānd - "culmination of this tradition of historical writings in the Turko-Mongol period" universal histories; best known in Persian historiography, together with his grandson Ḵᵛāndamir


Looking at these, I would say Rašid-al-Din is the most influential historically, though Mirḵʷānd may be as canonical, especially given historians late in his family.


Inspired by what the EIr articles are saying about these 6 "greatest" historiographers, let us just look at two more figures, one before Bayhaqi and one after Mirḵʷānd

0. Balʿami (9)

The practice of writing history in the Persian language began with ... a translation by Abu ʿAli Balʿami of Ṭabari’s Taʾrikò.

- Balʿami ... actually recast Ṭabari’s history in a very different form, dropping the citation of esnāds and abandoning the annalistic arrangment in favor of a fluid narrative which freely abridged, added, rearranged, or corrected material.

- This Persian version of Ṭabari became extremely popular in the Persian-speaking world, as attested by its complicated manuscript tradition and the various recensions through which it passed.

- It also set the model which would be followed by many subsequent Persian translations of Arabic histories and for Persian historiographical style in general, at least until the emphasis on rhetorical embellishment began to replace the remarkably clear and simple use of language preferred by Balʿami.

- Despite the precedent set by Balʿami, it was still almost a century before original and independent examples of historiography in Persian began to appear.


7. Ḵᵛāndamir (14+12+1+6)

[- mentioned many times together with his grandfather Mirḵʷānd]

The last volume of this work [Rawżat al-ṣafā fi sirat al-anbiyā wa’l-moluk wa’l-ḵolafā], as well as the epilogue—devoted to geography—were obviously written by Ḵᵛāndamir after the death of Mirḵᵛānd.

Ḵᵛāndamir is the author of the Ḵolāṣat al-aḵbār fi bayān aḥwāl al-aḵyār, an abridgement of theRawżat al-ṣafā compiled in or before 905/1499-1500 and dedicated to Mir ʿAli-Šir Navāʾi. The chronicle contains a large part devoted to the description of Herat and its famous inhabitants.

- In 906/1501, Ḵᵛāndamir wrote Makārem al-aḵlāq, a glorified history of the life and good deeds of his patron, Mir-ʿAli Šir Navāʾi. 

- Ḵvāndamir wrote a rare collection of biographies of dignitaries and high state officials, the Dastur al-wozarāʾ, in 915/1509-10

- His main historical work is the Ḥabib al-siar fi aḵbār afrād al-bašar, a world history in four volumes, dedicated to the Safavid governor of Herat Ḵᵛāja Ḥabib-Allāh Sāvaji (d. 932/1526). The narrative extends until 930/1524. The second edition of this work was completed in 935/1529 in India by the author himself

Ḵvāndamir was the first Safavid historian to fuse biography type material with the historical chronicle at the end of each section of his Ḥabib al-siar

- Ḵvāndamir wrote a number of poetic works, which he lists in the preface to his history

Together, Amini and Ḵvāndamir form the first generation of Safavid historians.

- ...most [Safavid] chron-iclers used Miḵvānd’s Rawżat al-ṣafā and Ḵvāndamir’s Ḥabib al-siar

General histories were strongly influenced by and dependent upon the Rawżat al-ṣafā of Mirḵᵛānd (but not the Ḥabib al-siar of Ḵᵛāndamir), which enjoyed great popularity in Central Asia.

Early Timurid-Mughal court culture was essentially late-Timurid culture; in terms of historiography, its founding member was Ḵᵛāndamir, who arrived in India to serve Bābor and became an historian for Bābor’s son Homā-yun. 

In the Qānun-e homāyuni, Ḵᵛāndamir also wrote a brief account of some of Homāyun’s regulations and buildings. 

Amir Maḥmud, son of Ḵᵛāndamir (d. after 957/1550) is the author of the Tāriḵ-e Šāh Esmāʿil-e awwal wa Šāh Ṭahmāsb, also known as the Ḏayl-e tāriḵ-e ḥabib al-siar since it was conceived as a continuation of Ḵᵛāndamir’s chronicle. Although Amir Maḥmud drew heavily on the Ḥabib al-siar in the first part of the book, the second part is entirely original and extends to 957/1550.

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