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A Mongol Decree of 720/1320 to the Family of Shaykh Zāhid

  • V. Minorsky


Through the kindness of Professor F. W. Cleaves I am in possession of an offprint of his important article ‘ The Mongolian documents in the Musée de Téhéran ’.

The first two documents are only insignificant fragments, but Document III, which consists of eight pieces and two endorsements, is nearly complete and full of personal and geographical names. It is a decree issued in the name of the last ilkhan of Persia, Abū-Said (716–36/1316–35), and bearing the date 720/1320 (according to Pelliot: September 1320).

Here is Professor Cleaves's summary of its contents:

‘ It had been reported by the šiγ Badaradin Abul Maqmad Maqmud that, although, by virtue of an edict, he had, in the place of his father the šiγ ǁamaladin, sat on the sujada of the šiγ šaqid Ibrayim and had been appointed over the qaγas-a-yin waγb-ud, his elder brother, Šamsadin Maqmad, not letting him approach, took his edicts and writs and let the foundation go to wrack and ruin.



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page 515 note 1 Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 16 (06, 1953), Nos. 1 and 2, pp. 1107.

page 515 note 2 As suggested by Professor Henning: . The Mongol -aγa- indicates only the length of ā. The practical meaning of the term khāssa in this case remains to be discussed. Were the estates assigned to the shaykhs from the ilkhan's own treasury ?

page 515 note 3 See pp. 4–5, 66.

page 515 note 4 Āthār-e Irān, 1/1, 1936, pp. 3744.

page 516 note 1 Faṭhli Isfahānī, author of the Afḍal al-tavaārīkh, written circa 1026/1617, see Eton College Library M179 (on the binding: 278, vol. 1), fol. 2a, declares that among his other sources he used the Maqāmāt va-maqālāt, otherwise called Siyar-i ṣūfīya and included (?) in the volume (safīna) known as Qara-—which Ṣafi al-dīn himself completed up to the year of his death (735/1334). See Minorsky, , Tadhkirat al-mulūk, 1943, p. 113.

page 516 note 2 The questions concerning this important institution have been discussed several times: Petrushevsky, I. P. ‘ On immunity in Azarbayjan in the 17th to 18th centuries’ (in Russian), C.C.C.P., 4, 1935, p. 58; Minorsky, , ‘ A Soyūrghāl of Qāsim Aqqoyunlu ’, BSOS, 9/4, 1939, pp. 927–60; Belenitsky, A., ‘ On the formation of the institution called soyūrghāl’ (in Russian), , 1941, No. 4, pp. 4358: the earliest mention of soyurghal found under 779/1377–8, see Shaml, Nizam al-din, ed. Tauer, , 77; Sharaf al-dān Yazdī, I, 289 (I am thankful to the Library of the University of Glasgow for the communication of this article); Petrushevsky, , ‘ Sketches of the feudal relations in Azarbayjan and Armenia in the 16th-19th centuries’ (in Russian), Leningrad 1949, see ch. IV ‘ soyūrghāl and muāfī’, pp. 145–83); Lambton, A. K. S., Landlord and Peasant in Persia, 1953, passim, see Index.

page 516 note 3 The Latin formula absque introitu judicum. ‘ Toute l'immunité est comprise dans ces trois mots,’ remarks Fustel de Coulange, Lea origines du système féodal, 1890, p. 368. Pavlov-Silvansky, , ‘ Feudalism in ancient Russia ’ (in Russian), 2nd ed. 1923, p. 32:

page 517 note 1 It is difficult to make further suggestions without knowing the possibilities which the Mongol palæography offers. Qarja/xarja (pp. 26, 30) is probably kharjsustenance ’, cf. Ālamārā, 194: the money previously received as pīshkcash was given to the commanders sent to Gilan by way of ‘ subsidy to (their) sustenance’ . Keyenūwes (p. 28), despite the expected plural, may be *kä;d-nuvēs, some official in charge of the census (kad-khudā suggested on p. 63 sounds different at the end).

page 518 note 1 On the semi-legendary life of this ascetic, who was born in Balkh, lived in Syria and died gome time between 160 and 166/776–81, see R. A. Nicholson in E.I.

page 518 note 2 From Ṣafvat, 73, one may understand that Alīvān was Barzand (half-way between Ardabīl and the Araxes). Otherwise Alīvān is only known in the ancient Armenian Geography as a canton of Paytakaran, see BSOAS, 15/3, 1953, p. 513. Dār-i būm, which occurs in a qaṣīda of Qaṭrān (see below p. 524), may be another name of Dār-i marzīn, which is mentioned in the Nuzhat al-qulūb, p. 82, as one of the dependencies of Ardabil. The confusion of būm and marz may be due to the common hendiadys marz-u būm. Generally speaking Dār-i marz is Gilan, and Dār-i marzīn must have lain in its neighbourhood.

page 518 note 3 The story of the Sanjān may be some remote echo of the Rawādī Kurds who ruled in Tabriz (circa 373–463/956–1070), see Minorsky, , ‘ Studies in Caucasian History’, 128, 167–9. On their expedition to Ardabil see below, p. 524. The Nuzhat al-qulūb, 76 (tr. 79), mentions in Tabriz a gate and a quarter called Sanjān.

page 518 note 4 Might not the story be connected with the well-known saying al-ahrād ṭāifatun min al-ajinna, ‘ the Kurds are a tribe of jinns ’ ?

page 518 note 5 Shihāb al-dīn's mausoleum in Ahar is an imposing building. In 1905 I was told in Ahar that its (?) date was 731/1330. He himself must have died considerably earlier. The author of the Tārīkh-i Shaykh Uvays (circa A.D. 1360), ed. Van Loon, J. B., The Hague 1954, p. 2, called Abū Bakr (a Sunni!) al-Quḍbī al-Ahrī, must have belonged to Shihab's family.

page 518 note 6 Who may have received his laqab in honour of his father's murshid Jamāl al-dīn, see above.

page 519 note 1 This Maḥmūd-ābād was later submerged by water. Consequently it is different from the present-day Maḥmūd-ābād (M.-āvār) lying some 20 km. N.W. of Lankoran.

page 519 note 2 The Nuzhat al-qidūb, p. 92 (tr. 94), mentions Gushtāsfī as a district of Arrān, near the estuaries of the Araxes and the Kur, ibid., pp. 212,218. This definitely points to the neighbourhood of the present-day Sāliyān. See Khanykoff, in JA, 1862, 20, 62, on the ruins called ‘ Gershasip ’ (*Gushtasip) 7 km. north of Sāliyān. On a mound called ‘ Koursengua’ Khanykoff found a tomb-stone dated 732/1331; cf. also Semenov, P., Slovar Rossiyskoy Imperii, 1873, 4, 379.

page 519 note 3 It is strange that in the Mongol decree Zāhid is called šaqid, i.e. *shahīd ‘ a martyr ’. This term may stand here in the general meaning of ‘ the late ’.

page 519 note 4 cf. the story of an Armenian princess in Minorsky, ‘ Studies’, 156.

page 520 note 1 His kunya ‘ Abul-Maqmad’ is a puzzle. It cannot be ‘ Abul-Muhammad’ for the name Muhammad takes no article. The mistake may be of the ignorant Mongol scribe who disfigured many Arabic terms, but as on pp. 29 and 30 the same kunya is spelt Abul-Mqd, it is likely that some different name was originally meant (Abul-?).

page 520 note 2 Despite the respect he (previously ?) showed to the Jamālid (see above, p. 519). The story of the Silsila, 98, about the visit of Abū-Said to ArdabU (?) suggests that Shaykh Ṣafi was on rather cool terms with the īlkhān. He did not hurry to meet the latter and only sent him some roasted meat by his servant.

page 520 note 3 What precious material the Ṣafvat contains is shown by the mention of a Georgian raid on Ardabil (after 600/1203), which is confirmed by the Georgian sources, see Khanykoff, , ‘ Le sac d'Ardabil vers l'année 1209 ’, in Mélanges Asiatiques, 1, 580–3.

page 520 note 4 C.C.C.P., i, 199–228 (now reprinted in an abridged form in Miller, B. V., , 1953, 254–62).

page 522 note 1 Ṣafvat, p. 74 (Silsila, 89): the dying Zāhid was carried to Siyāv-rūd‘ to the place where now stands the blessed mausoleum of the shaykh ’. cf. B. V. Miller, loc. cit., 1930, p. 21 (with references to I. N. Berezin and I. Azimbekov).

page 522 note 2 ‘ The house of B.lī ’. was a Daylamite name; see, for example, the name of Marzubān's father-in-law, Miskawayh,II, 133.

page 522 note 3 Bela-suvār is now an important frontier settlement. According to the Nuzhat, 90 (tr. 92), ‘ it was built by a Bāyid amir whose name was Pīla-suvār, i.e. “ a great horseman ” ’. In fact pilla in Gīlakī means ‘ great’. Several Daylamite amirs whose names are spelt in Arabic *Bila-suwār (?) are mentioned in Miskwayh, i, 402, II, 12.

page 522 note 4 A branch of the Uryanqat was called ' the woodsmen Uryanqat' and lived to the east of Lake Baykal. Even for them the conditions of the Lankoran jungle would have been unbearable.

page 523 note 1 Meaning by that, of course, the presence of his spirit or emanation.

page 523 note 2 The village Jurali, immediately south of Bila-suvār, must owe its name to the tribe Jūra.

page 524 note 1 One can place on record a passage in Ṣafvat, 17, according to which, when the young Ṣafi went on pilgrimage to Mount Savalān, a Turk shouted to him ‘ in the Mongol [sic] language ’. The Nuzhat, 83, mentions the winter-quarters of some Mongols in Darāvurd, on the lower course of the Ardabil river, near the Mūghān steppe.

page 524 note 2 Kasravi, , Pādshāhān-i gum-nām, 2, 1308–1929, pp. 94–5. The poet says: ‘ (Mamlān) had not yet started on the campaign (ghazā), when misfortune fell on the heads of the defeated, from S.mnān. Kasravi restored *suniyān ‘ people of ’ (in which case we have to understand that the north-western neighbours of Mūqān contributed to the defeat of the rebels to whom the ‘ amir of Mūqān ’ had given protection). See Minorsky, ‘ Studies ’, Index, under .

page 524 note 3 See Minorsky, ‘ Studies in Caucasian history ’, p. 115.

page 524 note 4 See Dīvān, ed. al-Kasuli, Alī ’Abd, Tehran 1316/1937, pp. 140, 308 (marthiya), 574, 634, 781.

page 524 note 5 Mentioned in Ḥamdullāh's Nuzhat al-qulūb, 81 (tr. 84) as having been one of the strongholds of Bābak. In the author's time its district paid a considerable sum of revenues (85,000 dinars) to Ardabil. [I have heard it suggested in Persia (1954) that the author's name should be read *Ḥumadallāh.]

page 525 note 1 Qāsim al-anvār, who lived in 757–837/1356–1433 and was closely connected with the Safavid family, tells in one of his poems (Bib. Nat., suppl. persan 707, f. 208b) a story about the sipahbad of Gilan Jalāl al-dīn Ḥusayn who was issued from a sayyid family and whose throne (takht) was in Astārā.

page 525 note 2 The tentative identification of the two other names by Henning Kenlece > Xalijali and Sidil > Issi seems far-fetched, and it is even possible that the three villages did not form one territorial group. [I see that the original Russian map gives ARTA].

page 525 note 3 Orand belongs to the mountainous district Zuvand which seems to have known better days. In 1927 a treasure-trove consisting of 500 Byzantine coins was found at Veri in the same region.They were all struck at the time of Michael VII Ducas (1067–78) and Nicephore III (1078–81). As suggested by V. M. Sīsoyev, Baku 1929, the coins may have been obtained by some local chief serving in Asia Minor. [Earlier, in 1910, another very rich treasure-trove was found in Belabur, west of Lankoran. It contained Byzantine gold coins of Alexis Comnenus (1081–1118), etc.]

page 526 note 1 Affiliated, I suppose, to the noble families in Persian Talish.

page 526 note 2 cf. Minorsky, Lankorān, Mūqān, and the supplement on Mūqān in E.I.

page 526 note 3 See Minorsky, , Soyūrghāl, BSOS, 9/4, 943; Minorsky, , Tadhkirat al-mulūk, p. 199.

page 526 note 1 In his article, A Chancellery Practice of the Mongols ’, Harvard JAS, 12. 1951, 493526, Prof. Cleaves has discussed the methods of validating official documents by the Mongols, but I have had some difficulty in following the intricacies of the system. Was our Document III unfinished, or was the scribe responsible for having acquainted the four dignitaries with the content ? The meaning of the term üjig discussed by Cleaves, Prof. in another article, HJAS, 12. 1952, pp. 478–9, also seems to need some further elucidation.

page 526 note 2 On his mosque in Tabriz see Tiesenhausen, V.'s interesting quotation from al-Ayni's Iqd al-jumān, see Zapiski V.O., 1886, 1, 115–8.

A Mongol Decree of 720/1320 to the Family of Shaykh Zāhid

  • V. Minorsky


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