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New Light on Early Mongol Islamisation: The Case of Arghun Aqa's Family 1


The paper discusses the questions of the alleged conversion of Arghun Aqa, the powerful Mongol governor of great parts of Western Asia in the mid-13th century, to Islam, claimed by the famous Armenian historian Kirakos. While in the end dismissing the historicity of this claim, the paper uses a variety of archaeological, numismatic, epigraphic and literary sources in order to highlight the great role the Islamic beliefs and identity of the surrounding Persianised society played in the continuous Islamic acculturation of Arghun Aqa and his family since the earliest phases of their presence in Iran.

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement 312397. The original version of this paper has been presented on the Second Symposia Iranica (Cambridge, April 8-9, 2015). I am deeply thankful to Professor Michal Biran, Dr Florence Hodous and Dr Yoichi Isahaya for their invaluable help and advice during the work on this paper.

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2 Some notable examples include: Melville, C., “Pādshāh-i Islam: The Conversion of Sultan Mahmud Ghazan Khan”, Pembroke Papers I (1990), pp. 159177 ; DeWeese, D., Islamization and Native Religion in the Golden Horde: Baba Tükles and Conversion to Islam in Historical and Epic Tradition (Pennsylvania, 1994); Amitai-Preiss, R., “Ghazan, Islam and Mongol Tradition: A View from the Mamlūk Sultanate”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies CIX, I (1996), pp. 110 ; Amitai, R., “The Conversion of Tegüder Ilkhan to Islam”, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam XXV (2001), pp. 1525 ; Pfeiffer, J., “Reflections on a ‘Double Rapprochement’: Conversion to Islam among the Mongol Elite during the Early Ilkhanate”, in Beyond the Legacy of Genghis Khan, (ed.) Komaroff, L. (Leiden, 2006), pp. 369389 ; DeWeese, D., “Islamization in the Mongol Empire”, in The Cambridge History of Inner Asia, (eds.) Di Cosmo, N., Frank, A. J. and Golden, P. B. (Cambridge, 2009), pp. 120134 ; Brack, Y., “A Mongol Princess Making Hajj: The Biography of El Qutlugh Daughter of Abagha Ilkhan (r. 1265–82)”, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society XXI, III (July 2011), pp. 331359 ; Amitai, R., Holy War and Rapprochement: Studies in the Relations Between the Mamluk Sultanate and the Mongol Ilkhanate (1260 - 1335) (Turnhout, 2013).

3 Nehemia Levtzion, Anatoly Khazanov and Richard Bulliet, whose main interest lay in the study of the conversion of the non-Muslim population under the Islamic rule, have published some fundamental studies on this issue R. W. Bulliet, “A Quantitative Approach to Medieval Muslim Biographical Dictionaries”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient [April 1970], pp. 195–211; Levtzion, N., “Toward a Comparative Study of Islamization”, in Conversion to Islam, (ed.) Levtzion, N. (New York, 1979), pp. 123 ; Khazanov, A.M., “The Spread of World Religions in Medieval Nomadic Societies of the Eurasian Steppes”, in Nomadic Diplomacy, Destruction and Religion from the Pacific to the Adriatic, (eds.) Gervers, M. and Schlepp, W. (Toronto, 1994), pp. 1133 . In the case of the Mongol conquest of Greater Iran, the situation, however, was structurally different, as the non-Muslim conquerors gradually adopted the religion of the majority of the conquered population.

4 I.e. Shaʾbān 694 (Ḥāfiẓ Ḥussayn Karbalāʾī Tabrīzī, Rawḍāt al-Jinān wa Jannāt al-Janān (Tabriz, 2004), vol. 1, p. 528).

5 Melville, Pādshāh-i Islam, p. 161. See the already mentioned article of Pfeiffer and particularly her remarks concerning the Qonggirad Musa Güregen and some other earlier Mongol converts (idem, Reflections, pp. 372–373).

6 For more see the already mentioned paper by Judith Pfeiffer, the ground-breaking research on the early islamisation on the middle tiers of the Mongol military (Pfeiffer, Reflections, pp. 369–389).

7 The definitions of Khurasan vary in different sources and in different periods of time. I am using the definition of Khurasan of the Mongol times, according to which the Oxus river was a border to the Chaghadaid realm (see more in Noelle-Karimi, C., The Pearl in its Midst: Herat and the Mapping of Khurasan [15th-19th Centuries] (Vienna, 2014), pp. 613 .

8 Turkish arḡun for “half breed” and Mongol aqā for “elder brother” see P. Jackson, “Arghun Aqa,” Encyclopaedia Iranica II [1987], p. 401 and see also Lane, G., “Arghun Aqa: Mongol Bureaucrat”, Iranian Studies XXXII, IV [Autumn 1999], pp. 459482 for the general discussion of Arghun Aqa and his life.

9 The Oyirads were one of the most important tribes of the Chinggisid Empire, closely connected to the ruling clan through matrimonial ties. They served the dynasty mainly in the Yuan realm and in the Ilkhanate, being dispersed across almost all Eurasia. See more about the tribe and its early (pre-15th century's) history in , Wu Ch'i, “Who were the Oirats,” The Yenching Journal of Social Studies III, II (August 1941), pp. 174219 ; Ramstedt, G. J., “Etimologi imeni Oyirat,” Zapiski Imperatorskogo Geographicheskogo Obshestva po Otdeleniyu Etnographii XXXIV (1909), pp. 547558 ; Cuiqin, Bai, Wala shi (Guilin, 2006); Rongkun, Du and Cuiqin, Bai, “Woyila guizu yu Chenjisihanxi lianyin kaoshu”, in Xi menggu shi yanjiu, (eds.) Rongkun, Du and Cuiqin, Bai (Guilin, 2008), pp. 2446 ; D. G. Kukeev, Istori Oyiradov do Sozdani Djungarskogo Khanstva: XIII – XVI vv. (unpublished PhD, 2010); Terentiev, V., “Oĭraty: Ėtnokulturna sostavl shcha politonima i kontury sovremennoĭ etnoistoricheskoy obshchnosti”, Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta: Istori III (2013), pp. 202205 ; and my “Oyirads in the Ilkhanate and the Mamluk Sultanate in the Thirteenth to the Early Fifteenth Centuries: Two Patterns of Assimilation into Muslim Environment,” Mamluk Studies Review XIX (2016), pp. 149–191.

10 Analogous to darughachi (Mong.), “an overseer used by the Mongols to supervise local officials in subject kingdoms”. For more about the office in general see Atwood, C., Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire (New York, 2004), p. 134 , and more about the office in China in Endicott-West, E., “Imperial Governance in Yüan Times”, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies XXXVI, II (1986), pp. 541545 .

11 One of the indicators of his high status, even in the 1240s, can be his participation in the quriltai of Möngke Khan, representing the areas under his responsibility The Chronography of Gregory Abu'l-Faraj: 1225-1286, translation and commentary by A.W. Budge (Amsterdam, 1976), p. 480. He came to Khurasan in the beginning of the 1240s and succeeded in preserving his high status for a very long period of time, dying in 1275 as tax-farmer general (muqāṭi‘-i mamālik), governor of “a very loosely defined Khurasan” and a chief arbitrator of the yarghū courts ( Rashiduddin, Fazlullah, Jami'u’t-Tawarikh: Compendium of Chronicles: A History of Mongols, translation and commentary by Thackston, W. M. (Harvard, 1998), vol. 3, p. 514 – further JT). See Kolbas for a detailed discussion of Arghun Aqa's role in establishing the tax system of the Ilkhanate, Kolbas, J., The Mongols in Iran: Chingiz Khan to Uljaytu 1220-1309 (London and New York, 2006), pp. 121189 and also Lane, Arghun Aqa, p. 478.

12 See Biran, M., Chinggis Khan (Oxford, 2007), p. 42 and Atwood, Encyclopedia, pp. 297–298 about the institution, as well as Melville, C., “The Keshig in Iran: the Survival of the Royal Mongol Household”, in Beyond the Legacy of Genghis Khan, (ed.) Komaroff, L. (Leiden, 2006), pp. 135164 for the keshig in the Ilkhanate; Shamiloglu, U., “The Qaraçi Beys of the Later Golden Horde: Notes on the Organization of the Mongol World Empire”, Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi IV (1984), pp. 283297 for the keshig in the Horde, Golden and Wenjun, Qu, “Yuan dai qiexue xin lun”, Nanjing daxue xuebao XL, II (2003), pp. 145151 and Xiao, Liu, “Yuan dai qiexue lunzhi xin lun”, Zhongguo shehui kexue IV (2008), pp. 191204 for the keshig in the Yuan.

13 I.e. “secretaries” or “scribes”. See JT, vol. 1, p. 57; ‘ Juvaynī, Ala al-Dīn ‘Aṭā Malik, Genghis Khan: The History of the World Conqueror, trans. Boyle, J. A. (Seattle, 1997), p. 506 ; Lane, Arghun Aqa, p. 460; Doerfer, Gerhard, Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen (Wiesbaden, 1967), vol. 2, pp. 264267 .

14 Two versions about Arghun Aqa's childhood exist. According to Juvaynī, he was a son of a commander of thousand, while according to Rashīd al-Dīn, Arghun Aqa's family was very poor and he had been sold during a famine for a “flank of beef” (Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, p. 505; JT, vol. 1, p. 57). Both versions are possible, but Juvaynī’s version might aim to raise the status of Arghun Aqa upon whom he was dependent (see below).

15 Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, p. 506.

16 For more on Körgüz see Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, pp. 489–505, also cf. Lane, Arghun Aqa, p. 460.

17 Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, p. 507; Allsen, T.T., Mongol Imperialism: The Policies of the Grand Qan Möngke in China, Russia, and the Islamic Lands, 1251-1259 (Los Angeles, 1987), pp. 176177 ; Lane, Arghun Aqa, p. 461. About the title see Aigle, D., “Iran under Mongol Domination: The Effectiveness and Failings of a Dual Administrative System,” Bulletin d’études orientales, Supplément LVII (2008), p. 70, fn. 19.

18 Muʽizz al-Ansāb, translated and edited by Sh. Kh. Vohidov (Almaty, 2006), p. 56 – thereafter MA. As some Russian scholars mention, the quality of this translation is insufficient, especially in the Jochid section (see Sabitov, Zh. M., “Muʿizz al-Ansāb kak istochnik po genealogii Chingisid,” Nauchnyĭ Vestnik Stolizy IV–VI [2011], pp. 105108). The source itself seems to be of great importance for the study of the Mongol and Timurid genealogies. As shown by Quinn, it is indispensable in particular for the study of the Chaghadaid history, as it includes data found in the earlier Shuʽab-i Panjgāne, Quinn, Sh. A., “The Muʽizz al-Ansāb and Shuʽab-i Panjgānah as Sources for the Chaghatayid Period of History: A Comparative Analysis,” Central Asiatic Journal XXXIII (1989), pp. 229253 .

19 Qiu Yihao, “Shuʿab-i Pangāna” and the History of the Ilkhanate - an Annotated Translation and Analysis of the “Ilkhanate's Genealogy” in Shuʽab-i Pangāna” (Beijing, 2013), pp. 190–191 – thereafter SP.

20 This was, for example, the reason for his journey to Qaraqorum in 1251, when he had to explain problems and mishandlings of the taxation in the areas he governed. See Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, pp. 515–516; Jackson, Arghun Aqa, pp. 401–402.

21 Ibid ., p. 402.

22 I.e. an imperial son-in-law of the Golden Lineage, as were his sons Nawrūz and Lagzi (on this term and its implications in the Mongol political architecture see my “Imperial Sons-In-Law on the Move: Oyirad and Qonggirad Dispersion in Mongol Eurasia”, Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi XXII [2016], pp. 161–198). No source, with the exception of Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū, calls Arghun Aqa a güregen, Dhayl-i Jamiʿ al-Tawārikh-i Rashīdī; translation and commentary by E. R. Talyshkhanov (Baku, 2007), p. 130 – further DJTR.

23 JT, vol. 1, p. 57.

24 Notably, a few years before 1295, Nawrūz already assisted in the conversion of Ögedei's great-grandson Ürük Temür, through whom he hoped to regain control over the whole Khurasan, M. Biran, Qaidu and the Rise of the Independent Mongol State in Central Asia (Richmond, 1997), p. 58 .

25 JT, vol. 3, pp. 620–621. Waṣṣāf calls him “the second Abū Muslim”, a title that makes the status of Nawrūz in the Ilkhanate even more remarkable and stresses his importance for Ghazan's conversion, Geschichte Wassaf's, transl. Hammer-Purgstall, (eds.) S. Wentker and K. Wundsam, vol. 3 (Vienna, 2012), p. 131. See Melville's discussion of these titles of Nawrūz in the context of the eschatological discourse adopted by Ghazan (including the adoption of black banners resembling those of the ‘Abbasids). This discourse can be seen as an attempt to fill the vacuum of the Islamic leadership after the fall of the ‘Abbasid caliphate and to create “an alternative overall authority in the Islamic world”, competing with the Mamluk sultans (Melville, Pādshāh-i Islam, pp. 170–171). See also the recent paper of Hope for a new discussion on Nawrūz's role in the Ilkhanid history of the early 1290s in relation to his Islamic beliefs, Hope, M., “The ‘Nawrūz King’: The Rebellion of Amir Nawrūz in Khurasan [688–694/1289–94) and its Implications for the Ilkhan Polity at the End of the Thirteenth Century”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies LXXVIII, III [2015], pp. 451–473.

26 For this he was ready for major concessions, even including islamisation (cf. Hope, The ‘Nawrūz King’, pp. 466–467). It is not clear whether Ghazan gained some personal inclination towards his new faith through the years, but, as Amitai proves, he still wanted to keep the Mongol matrimonial customs at least in the beginning. See Boyle, J.A., “Dynastic and Political History of the Īl-Khans”, in The Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 5: The Saljuq and Mongol Periods, (ed.) Boyle, J.A. (Cambridge, 1968), p. 378 and Amitai, R., “Ghazan, Islam and Mongol Tradition: A View from the Mamlūk Sultanate”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies LIX, I (1996), pp. 110, esp. p. 10. Of course, one could also surmise that the way Ghazan Khan saw Islam was different, at least in the initial stages, from that accepted in the traditional ulamāʾ circles.

27 JT, vol. 3, p. 629; thus also Naṭanzī, Natanzī, Muʿīn-ad-Dīn, Muntakḥab at-Tawārīḫ-i Muʿīnī, (ed.) Aubin, Jean (Teheran, 1957), p. 151 . Shuʿab-i Panjgāne calls him “amīr al-umarā’” in the list of Ghazan's commanders (SP, p. 319). According to Kolbas, during the year before and after 1295, Nawrūz was responsible for the whole administrative sphere of the Ilkhanate. One of his close allies, possibly his brother Lagzi, was in charge of the financial issues, but was not very successful, Kolbas, The Mongols in Iran, p. 296. See more there for a detailed discussion of the financial and administrational policies of Nawrūz's diwān, including the minting of coins (ibid, pp. 296–305).

28 About these events see JT, vol. 3, pp. 636–637; Waṣṣāf, Geschichte, vol. 3, pp. 202–205; SP, p. 319; al-Dhahabi, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Tārīkh al-Islām wa Wafayāt al-Mashāhīr wa al-aʿlām (Beirut, 1987), vol. 60, p. 312 .

29 JT, vol. 3, pp. 636–637 and cf. Hope, The ‘Nawrūz King’, pp. 472–472. Rashīd al-Dīn mentions multiple cases of Nawrūz's provocative behaviour that caused the dissatisfaction of Ghazan and of the court, and Waṣṣāf speaks of “ingratitude” (JT, vol. 3, pp. 633–634; Waṣṣāf, Geschichte, vol. 3, p. 202). It becomes clear from the data presented by Rashīd al-Dīn that in the year which preceded Nawrūz's fall, his relations with different power groups at the court deteriorated (e.g. JT, vol. 3, p. 633, offending Nurin Aqa of the Qiyat tribe; JT, vol. 3, p. 636, offending Sadr al-Dīn Zanjani, the vizier, and JT, vol. 3, pp. 633–644, 636, personally offending Ghazan). In addition, Shuʿab-i Panjāne speaks about disloyalty: “ʿāqibat del digargūn kardand” (SP, p. 319).

30 See also Kolbas, according to whom “the purge was a systemic one, Ghazan removing the extensive bloc of the former imperial governor, Arghun Aqa, his family and adherents”, Kolbas, The Mongols in Iran, p. 387.

31 al-Qāshāni, Abu'l-Qāsem Ibn ‘Alī Ibn Muḥammad, Tārīkh-e Ūljāytū, ed. Hamblī, Mehin (Teheran, 1969), p. 53 ; Die Chronik des Qāshānī über den Ilchan Öljäitü, ed. and comm. Maryam Parvisi-Berger (Göttingen, 1968), vol. 1 (translation), p. 57. Other Persian sources mention his cousin, Amir Hajjī, as another local leader of the Oyirads in Khurasan (e.g. Faryūmadī as mentioned by Paul, J., “Zerfall und Bestehen. Die Ǧaun-i qurban im 14. Jahrhundert”, Asiatische Studien: Zeitschrift der Schweizerischen Asiengesellschaft LXIV, III [2011], p. 705, fn. 46).

32 Bujughan was a daughter of Lagzi Güregen, son of Arghun Aqa, and Bābā, daughter of Hülegü, Qāshāni, Tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 25. In the edition of Hamblī she is called Māmā ( ) – Tārikh-e Ūljāytū, p. 7, which is probably a scribal error (cf. JT, vol. 2, p. 476). She is called YWḤʿAN ( ) in the manuscript used by Parvisi-Berger (ibid, vol. 2, p. 7, l. 5b) and Bujughān ( ) in Tārikh-e Ūljāytū, p. 7. So also Muʽizz al-Ansāb, translated by Sh. Kh. Vohidov (Almaaty, 2006), p. 97 (further MA).

33 She was the seventh wife of Öljeitü and a granddaughter of Arghun Aqa (Qāshāni, 1968), vol. 1, pp. 26, 51; Ch. Melville, “Bologan Khatun”, Encyclopedia Iranica IV (1989), p. 339. On the other hand, Muʿizz al-Ansāb calls the fourth wife “Taghai, from Khurasan, daughter of Amir Yisu, son of Arghun Aqa, former wife of the son of Ghazan Khan” (MA, p. 97). This inconsistency between the sources can probably be explained by a simple mistake of Muʿizz, a later source. Her identity is also confirmed in the report about her visit of the grave of “her husband” Ghazan Khan in Tabriz (Qāshāni, Tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 72 and vol. 2, p. 74, l.50b). She married Öljeitü on June (or July) 2nd, 1305 and died on July 25, 1308, Qāshānī, Tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 78 and Melville, Bologan Khatun, p. 339.

34 The three others were Gunjishkab, first wife of Ghazan Khan, not mentioned as such by Qāshāni and Muʽizz al-Ansāb, cf. JT, vol. 2, p. 473; Qāshāni, Tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 25, Tarikh-e Ūljāytū, p. 7 and MA, p. 97, Hajji Khatun and Öljatai, both daughters of Chichak Güregen, one of the important Oyirad sons-in-law of the late Ilkhanate. The former was the mother of Sultan Abū Said, see Qāshāni, Tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 51 and ibid, vol. 2, p. 45, l. 30b; MA, p. 99.

35 Qāshāni, Tārīkh, p. 53; Smith, J. M., The History of the Sarbadār Dynasty, 1336-1381 A.D. and its Sources (The Hague, 1970), p. 94 , especially fn. 6 and p. 165. Some of the areas of the Jāʾūnī Qurbān, including Nīshāpūr, were taken from them by the Sarbadars in 1340-1 (ibid, 165). Concerning Arghun Shāh, Al-Ahārī claims him to be a son of Nawrūz, but the statement of Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū in his Majmuʿa-ye, edited by Tauer and provided above, seems more reasonable (Abū Baqr al-Qutbi al-Ahārī, Tārīkh-i Sheykh Uweys, translated and commentary J. B. van Loon (The Hague, 1954), p. 64; Cinq opuscules de Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū concernant l'histoire de l'Iran au temps de Tamerlan, (ed.) Felix Tauer (Prague, 1959), p. 27. According to the source, in the mid-14th century the family of Arghun Shāh controlled the area of the Atak and a number of cities, including Nisa, Yazir, Ṭus and Mashhad Cinq opuscules, p. 28; DJTR, p. 161; Smith, The History of the Sarbadār Dynasty, pp. 94, 165, as well as Nīshāpūr (Cinq opuscules, p. 19). Indeed, Dawlatshāh, cited by Minorsky, calls Arghun Shāh “pādshāh of Nīshāpūr and Ṭus” ( Minorsky, V., “Ṭūs”, in The Encyclopaedia of Islam [Second Edition], (eds.) Bearman, P. J. et al., vol. 10 (Leiden, 2000), p. 743 .

36 See, for example DJTR, p. 161. According to Minorsky, this name meant “three [detachments] of the left [wing]”, thus not having any tribal connotation. Minorsky mentions another Persianised version of the name (Jān Qurbān), meaning “those who sacrifice their souls” (Minorsky, Ṭūs, p. 743). According to Paul, the name of the group was derived from Mongolian, meaning “three out of one hundred”; the group itself being originally a tamma troop, J. Paul, “Mongol Aristocrats and Beyliks in Anatolia. A Study of Astarābādī’s Bazm va Razm”, Eurasian Studies IX, I-2 [2011], p. 118. Smith traced them back to the military expeditionary force in Khurasan under Arghun Aqa, while Paul located it after the massacre of Nawrūz's family, Smith, The History of the Sarbadār Dynasty, p. 177; Paul, Zerfall und Bestehen, pp. 699–700. Paul, basing his conclusion on Naṭanzī, claims that only the leadership family was of Oyirad origin, Naṭanzī, Muntakhab al-Tawarīkh, pp. 153–154; Paul, Zerfall, 699-700; cf. Minorsky, V., “Geographical Factors in Persian Art”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London IX, III [1938], p. 634, fn. 4. Smith claims that they occupied those areas around 1335-1336, Smith, The History of the Sarbadār Dynasty, p. 94. Paul stresses that this group is remarkable “for their insistence on Chinggisid legitimacy”, Paul, Mongol Aristocrats, p. 118, which can be seen as a continuation of its leadership's tradition. About its fate in the second half of the 14th century and early 15th century, see Smith, The History of the Sarbadār Dynasty, pp. 67, 94; Manz, B., The Rise and Rule of Tamerlan (Cambridge, 1989), p. 53 ; Paul, Zerfall, pp. 703–726.

37 In his otherwise interesting article, Reid identifies the Jāʾūnī Qurbān and the clan of Arghun Aqa. This is misleading, as the Jā’ūnī Qurban, even though connected to this clan, are a later development and have nothing to do with the early Ilkhanate, see Reid, J., “The Je’ün-i Qurbān Oirat Clan in the Fourteenth Century”, Journal of Asian History XVIII (1984), pp. 190191 and passim .

38 It is very difficult to trace the group after Temür's invasion, even though the mentionings of the Oyirads in the sources continues until at least the early 15th century, on this see more in my “Oyirads in the Ilkhanate and the Mamluk Sultanate”, mentioned above. Moreover, Reid states that during the 16th century some of the descendants of the clan appeared in the Moghul service, Reid, Je’ün-i Qurbān, p. 190. It can also be of interest that at the end of the 19th century the area north of Mashhad was still called a “yurt of Jānī Qurbānī”, “ ”, Muḥammad Ḥasan Khān Ṣanīʾal-Dawla, Maṭlaʾ al-Shams, Teheran edition 1884-1886 (reprint Teheran, 1976), p. 158; Minorsky, Ṭūs, p. 744. Not much is known about it, and even the Timurid section of Muʽizz al-Ansāb does not include commanders clearly identified as Oyirad, except one, named Muḥammad, the amir of Sultan Ḥusayn Bāqarā, the ruler of Herat (1469-1506, except 1470), MA, p. 188; Ando, Sh., Timuridische Emire nach dem Muʿizz al-ansāb: Untersuchung zur Stammesaristokratie Zentralasiens im 14. und 15. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 1992), p. 194 ; about Ḥusayn Bāqarā and his rule see Subtelny, M., Timurids in Transition: Turko-Persian Politics and Acculturation in Medieval Iran (Leiden, 2002), pp. 4373 .

39 More about this dynasty in Hewsen, The Kingdom of Arc'ax, pp. 48–50 and in a very detailed paper of Orbeli, that unfortunately took a rather uncritical perspective on the primary sources, Orbeli, I.A., “Hasan Jalal, Knyaz Hachenskiy”, Izvestiya Imperatorskoy Akademii Nauk, VI Series III [1909], pp. 405436 . The quasi-Arabic name of the prince is probably an example of the tendency, existing in Armenia throughout centuries since the Arabic invasion, that many Armenians adopted the Arabic patronymics (kunya), see more in Minorsky, V., “Caucasica IV”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies XV, III (1953), pp. 504505 and in the connection with the Hasan-Jalaleans in A. Emin, “The Meliks of Eastern Armenia”, p. 4, accessed 10/12/15 via

40 More about this province in Orbeli, Hasan Jalal, p. 405, also Minorsky, Caucasica, p. 526.

41 More about these events in Bedrosyan, R.G., The Turco-Mongol Invasions and the Lords of Armenia in the 13th - 14th Centuries, PhD Dissertation (Columbia University, 1979), pp. 116124, especially p. 119, fn. 1; about the taxation politics of the Mongols in Caucasus see the detailed discussion of B. Limper in idem, Die Mongolen und die christlichen Völker des Kaukasus: Eine Untersuchung zur politischen Geschichte Kaukasiens im 13. und beginnenden 14. Jahrhundert (Köln, 1980), pp. 153–161. The execution was partly due to Jalal's failure to pay the obligatory taxes to the Mongol authorities, but primarily due to the already previously tense relations between Arghun Aqa and Hasan. After the death of Hasan's patron Sartaq, son of Batu and a convert to (Nestorian?) Christianity, Arghun Aqa took avail of the opportunity to kill Hasan in 1256, Dashdondog, B., The Mongols and the Armenians, 1220-1335 (Leiden, 2011), p. 76 ; Orbeli, Hasan Jalal, pp. 423–428.

42 Gandzakets'i, Kirakos, History of the Armenians, translation R. Bedrosian (New York, 1986), Chapter 44 (n. pag.), accessed 01/09/2015 via

43 The only exception is the remark in the Armenian chronicle of Stepanos the Bishop, in which Arghun is called Arghun Aladin, i.e. with the Islamic addition “al-Dīn”, see Galstyan, A.G., Armyanskie Istochniki o Mongolakh [Moscow, 1962], p. 35 .

44 Cf. Gregor telling the story of Chormaghan, who, together with two other Mongol commanders, intended to kill the whole population of the conquered countries. God, tells the chronicler, killed two of them, but did not kill Chormaghan, who opposed those terrible plans in the last moment. The chronicler then cites Ögedei Khan as saying: “It is the will of God that we take the earth and maintain order. . . Those, however, who do not submit to our command or give us tribute, slay them and destroy their place, so that the others who hear and see should fear and not act thus.” (History of the Nation of the Archers [The Mongols] by Grigor of Akancʿ Hitherto Ascribed to Maгakʿia the Monk, translated by R. P. Blake and R. N. Frye (Cambridge, 1954), pp. 31–33.

45 Boyle, J. A., “Kirakos of Ganjak on the Mongols”, Central Asiatic Journal VIII (1963), p. 199 . It should also be mentioned that Kirakos was taken captive by Chormaghan in 1236 and served the Mongols as kātib (scribe), therefore he was a direct eyewitness of the events (Kirakos, History of the Armenians, Chapter 24; Cowe, S. Peter, “Kirakos Ganjakec'i or Arewelc'i”, in Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History, (eds.) Thomas, D. and Mallett, A. (Leiden, 2012), p. 438 .

46 The anti-Mongol rhetoric is obvious in the source from its description of the Mongol conquests. Thus, describing the conquest of Armenia and Georgia by Chormaghan, the chronicler calls the Mongols “locusts”, “torrential rains”, “wolves” and “swift mountain goats”, referring to their “bestial” nature, as well as the “fanatical and willy army”, Kirakos, History of the Armenians, and see also the title of the 20th chapter of his book – “How the Tatars arose to pollute the entire world”. His description of the conquest of the city of Ani conveys fear and pain: “. . . tender bodies, once washed with soap, lay blackened and swollen. Those who had not gone out of the city were led away barefoot into captivity; and those who had communed in the holy blood and body of the Son of God now ate unclean, sickening meat and drank foul mare's milk”. Ibid, Chapter. 27 a similar description can be found in the Chapters 22 and 30 of this source.

47 Ibid, Chapter. 44; Jackson, Arghun Aqa, p. 402; Lane, Arghun Aqa, p. 467.

48 See Dashdondog, The Mongols and the Armenians, pp. 11–13 for a discussion of Kirakos and his work.

49 Hope, The ‘Nawrūz King’, pp. 457–458.

50 Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, p. 247; JT, vol. 2, p. 482; Minorsky, Ṭūs, p.743.

51 Aleskerova, N., “Sufism in Azerbaijan”, The Caucasus and Globalization I (2007), p. 113 ; A. Alikberov, “Sufism and Sufi Brotherhoods in the Caucasus”, Paper presented at the international conference The Role of Sufism and Muslim Brotherhoods in Contemporary Islam. An Alternative to Political Islam?, Edoardo Agnelli Centre for Comparative Religious Studies, Turin, 20th-22nd November 2002, p. 2; Giyasi, J., “Sufiyskaya svyatynya – zhemchuzhina musulmanskoy architektury”, Nasledie I (2008), p. 40 .

52 Aleskerova, Sufism in Azerbaijan, p. 113. The exact history of the construction of this khanqah is not clear, as the textual sources seem not to include any information concerning its building. Therefore, the only existing information comes from the inscriptions in the territory of the khanqah, the oldest one referring to the year 1243/4, see more in Giyasi, Svyatynya, pp. 40–41; Sheblykin, I. P., Pamyatniki azerbaijanskogo zodchestva epohi Nizami (Baku, 1943), p. 40 .

53 The title “Shirvanshahs” stands for the several lines of Persianised rulers who controlled the area of Shirvan in the eastern Caucasus during the centuries since the mid-Abbasid times in the 9th century until the Safavid interventions of the 16th – early 17th centuries (see more about the Shirvanshahs in W. Barthold and C. E. Bosworth, “Shīrwān Shāhs”, EI² IX (Leiden, 1997), pp. 488–499.

54 The reason behind Arghun Aqa's decision to sponsor the erection of the minaret exactly in that place could be his need to strengthen his position as a Mongol governor in Azerbaijan, in that strategically and economically important trade area.

55 Tārīkh-i Waṣṣāf, published in Sbornik materialov otnosyaschichsya k istorii Zolotoy Ordy, vol. 2, translated and edited by V.G. Tizenhausen (Moscow and Leningrad, 1941), p. 86; cf. also von Hammer-Purgstall, J., Geschichte der Ilkhante, das ist der Mongolen in Russien, v. II (Darmstadt, 1843), p. 272 . See more about the architectural specifications of the khanqah in Dadashev, S. A. and Useynov, M. A., Arkhitektura Azerbaizhana (Moscow, 1948), p. 20 ; Giyasi, Svyatynya, pp. 40–45. About the importance of the geographical location of the khanqah see also Sheblykin, Pamyatniki, p. 40; Dadashev and Useynov, Arkhitektura, p. 20; Neymat, M. and Kulieva, V., “Azerbaijan's Cultural Relics in the Global Civilizational Context”, The Caucasus and Globalization II, I (2008), p. 129 .

56 In fact, there are two inscriptions with two different dates on the minaret: one speaking of Muḥarram 654 ah (1256) and the other of Rajab 693 (1294). The second date might be the date of the reconstruction of the minaret, see more in Bretanizkiy, L. S. and Weimarn, B. V., Iskusstvo Azerbaizhana: IV-XVIII vekov (Moscow, 1976), p. 35 ; Neymat, M., Korpus epigraphicheskikh pamyatnikov Azerbaydzhana. Arabo-Perso-Tyurkoyazichnye nadpisi Baku i Apsherona XI – nachala XX veka (Baku, 1991), p. 47 ; Giyasi, Svyatynya, p. 42.

57 Seid-Zade (as cited by Neymat, Korpus, p. 47) read the inscription differently from Neymat, and thus not the name of Arghun Aqa, but the name of Shirvanshāh Keykavus I (1294-1317) appeared in the text. The text given above is the English translation of the author from the the Russian translation given in Neymat, Korpus, pp. 46–47, proved against the relatively bad image of the inscriptions provided in the same book. I was not able to see this inscription in situ. Though many scholars have been interested in this khanqah, the minaret and his inscriptions have not been studied intensively enough. In his important article, Aleskerzade concentrated on some of the inscriptions of the mosque only, see A. Aleskerzade, “Khanekah kitabelerine dair be'zi geidler” Bulletin of the Azerbaijan Filiation of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR VI [1942], pp. 25–29. In his fundamental work on Azerbaijan architecture, Bretanizkiy did not focus on the inscription which is of interest for this paper idem, Zodchestvo Azerbaizhana XII-XV vv. i ego mesto v architekture Perednego Vostoka (Moscow, 1966), p. 93. Neymat republished it in 1991, idem, Korpus, pp. 46–47.

58 This policy of supporting religious institutions and structures seems to have been known to the Mongol conquerors since relatively early. See the example of Sorghoghtani Beki, who sponsored the construction of a madrasa in Bukhara (known as Madrasa-i Khāni) about a decade earlier (JT, vol. 2, p. 401; Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, p. 108, fn, 31. Cf. the discussion of the Chinggisid architectural policies in the Chaghadaid realm in Biran, M., “Rulers and City Life in Mongol Central Asia (1220-1370)”, in Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life, (ed.) Durand-Guédy, D. (Leiden, 2013), pp. 257283 .

59 According to Neymat, the inscription can be understood as a sign of the establishment of the corresponding waqf from the money of Arghun Aqa, which was to be used for the reconstruction of the minaret (Neymat, Korpus, p. 12). This cannot be directly derived from the text, the last sentence being more likely an indication of the readiness of Arghun Aqa to sponsor the construction further in the case of need. Besides this, we are not aware of any waqfiyya connected with the place and/or including the name of Arghun Aqa. In general, it is very peculiar that nothing can be found about any waqf established by any of the members of the family of Arghun Aqa, especially taking into consideration the long period of their presence in Khurasan and the multiple awqāf which were established by all types of the Ilkhanid population during the Mongol rule, see Lambton, A., “Awqāf in Persia: 6th-8th/12th-14th Centuries”, Islamic Law and Society IV, III (1997), pp. 298318 and Hoffmann, B., Waqf im mongolischen Iran: Rasīduddīns Sorge um Nachruhm und Seelenheil (Stuttgart, 2000). It is possible that they were overtaken by other Mongol nobility or by the royal court after the fall of Nawrūz.

60 Neymat, Korpus, pp. 7–8.

61 Minorsky supposes that the personal estates of Arghun Aqa were located in Radkān, Minorsky Ṭus, p. 743. See more about the meadow in Qazvini's Nuzhat al-Qulub, but interestingly he does not mention the tomb tower in his “Ṭus” section, Qazvini, The Geographical Part, pp. 149–150. Hafiz-i Abrū does not say anything special concerning Rādkān either, Abrū, Ḥāfiẓ-e, Ḫorāsān zur Timuridenzeit, translated and edited Krawulsky, D. (Wiesbaden, 1982-1984), vol. 1, p. 93 and vol. 2, p. 229.

62 Ṭus was the location of Arghun Aqa's diwan for a long period of time. Shams al-Dīn I of Kart, for instance, visited Arghun Aqa there on his way home from Möngke Khan and stayed there for seven days, al-Harawī, Sayfī Ibn Yaʿqub, Tārīkh Nama-i Harāt (Calcutta, 1944), p. 172 . The area of Radkān was chosen by Arghun Aqa probably due to the richness of that area, cf. Hamdallah Qazvini: “Round Tus lies the pasturage known as Rāyikān Meadows, [. . .] and they are among the most celebrated in the world” – Qazvini, Hamdallah Mustawfi, The Geographical Part of the Nuzhat al-Qulub, translation and commentary by Le Strange, G. (Leiden, 1919), pp. 149150 .

63 The general structure of the tomb tower (cylindrical bodies and a conic roof) complies with some of the usual types of the Iranian tomb towers, found mainly in northern and central Iran at least back to the 11th century ad M. van Berchem, “Arabische Inschriften aus Armenien und Diyarbekr”, in Lehmann-Haupt, C. F., Materialien zur älteren Geschichte Armeniens und Mesopotamiens (Berlin, 1906), p. 159, fn.1; Diez, E., Die Kunst der islamischen Völker (Berlin, 1915), pp. 7174 ; Daneshvari, A., Medieval Tomb Towers of Iran: An Iconographical Study (Lexington, 1986), pp. 25, 30. Some of the scholars, among them Ernst Diez, connected this form of Iranian tomb towers with the form of a nomadic tent (see more in Daneshvari, Medieval Tomb, pp. 5–8 and elsewhere).

64 Colonel Charles Yate mentioned in his travel diaries, published in 1900, that there are three oral traditions concerning the “owner” of this tomb tower. It was sometimes ascribed to Arghun Aqa, but according to the two other versions this building was connected either with Sultan Sanjar (r. 1118-1157) or with Alp Arslan (r. 1063-1072), who allegedly built it in 1063 in order to commemorate the proclamation of Malik-Shah as his heir, C. E. Yate, Khurasan and Sistan, (reprinted Nendeln/Liechtenstein, 1977), p. 363.

65 The Iranian scholar Abdulhamid Moulavi supposed that this is the burial place of Nawrūz, idem, “Farhādgerd”, Name-ye Astān-e Quds XXXIII-XXXIV [1971], p. 124. However, as we are aware that Nawrūz was humiliated, decapitated and his head was hung on the Nubi Gate of Baghdad, this seems rather unlikely, cf. JT, vol. 3, p. 640.

66 The discussion concerning the date was started by van Berchem in his very detailed analysis of 1918. Van Berchem dismissed the possibility of this tomb being the one of Arghun Aqa, claiming that the type of the script of the inscription, which he identified as square kufi, couldn't appear so late in the 13th century. Therefore, he suggests that the missing word could be “ithnayn”, dating the construction of the tomb to the early 13th century, van Berchem, M., “Die Inschriften der Grabtürme”, in Diez, E., Churasanische Baudenkmäler (Berlin, 1918), pp. 107109 . Still in the early 1920s, Ernest Herzfeld supposed that the missing word “thamanayn”, being most likely from his point of view, points to the year 680 ah (1281-1982), thus connecting the erection of the tomb tower with the period of time close to the death of Arghun Aqa in 1275, Herzfeld, E., “Die Gumbadh-i 'Alawiyyan und die Baukunst der Ilkhane in Iran”, in A Volume of Oriental Studies Presented to Edward G. Browne on his 60th Birthday, (ed.) Arnold, T. W. and Nicholson, R. A. (Cambridge, 1922), pp. 192193 . This was challenged a few years ago by Sheila Blair, according to whose analysis the only word fitting into the gap would indeed be “ithnayn”, thus dating the establishing of the building to the early 13th century, Blair, S.S., “The Madrasa at Zuzan: Islamic Architecture in Eastern Iran on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion”, Muqarnas III [1985], p. 87 ; cf. van Berhem, Die Inschriften, p. 107. Additionally, the part of the inscription which includes the name of the buried person was also not well preserved. Van Berchem was not able to read it, Herzfeld supposed the tomb was built for Arghun Aqa, but did not attempt to decipher the missing word. He also stated that the type of square kufic used for the inscription was more of naskhi style, not clearly kufic. He thus supposed that this script was influenced by the Chinese seal script and could not be found in Iran before the Mongol times, Herzfeld, Die Gumbadh-i 'Alawiyyan, p. 193. Not addressing this remark of Herzfeld, Blair, however, reads the name as “Amir ‘Abdallah”, pointing out that the gap for the name should have included 10 to 12 letters, thus rejecting the version of Herzfeld. What can be useful, however, is the fact that, if the deciphering of the additional parts of the inscription made by Blair is correct or close to the original, the descendants of the deceased erected the building and included the word “Allah” in it, cf. van Berchem, who reads the part of the inscription as “. . . möge Allah ihnen verzeihen. . .”, ibid, Die Inschriften, p. 107. Blair suggest her own reading of the inscription without giving the exact copy of it in her article, thus making the analysis of her reading somewhat problematic, see more in Blair, The Madrasa, p. 91, fn. 90. The question remains open, as also the folk legends preserved do not mention “Amir ‘Abdallah”. Gropp considered the building to be of the Khwarezmian time, referring to Blair as well, Gropp, G., Archäologische Forschungen in Khorasan, Iran (Wiesbaden, 1995), p. 213, fn. 119.

67 The reconstruction of the name is given according to Aubin, Eugène, idem, La Perse d'aujourd'hui: Iran, Mésopotamie (Paris, 1908), p. 60 , van Berchem was not able to read it, reading four letters of the name as “mīrī” ( ), van Berchem, Arabische Inschriften, pp. 159–160. I am not aware of this name or anything similar appearing in the sources.

68 Earlier known as Kuhne Shahr, this city fell victim to the earthquake of 1930, during which the tomb under discussion was destroyed as well.

69 Van Berchem, Die Inschriften, p. 108. On the image made by A. Sevruguin around 1900 the tomb is already without conic roof, but its earlier form can be reconstructed (see more about the image on the archival page of the image of the Smithsonian database, accessed 30/01/2016 via!308724!0).

70 Herzfeld mentions that she was a wife of the Ilkhanid vizier Taj al-Dīn ‘Alishāh, the great rival of Rashīd al-Dīn, but I have not found the primary source on which he could have based this assumption (Herzfeld, Die Gumbadh-i 'Alawiyyan, p. 193).

71 “Kullu man ‘alayha fānin” – “All that is on it (the earth – I.L.) will perish”.

72 The Juvaynī family, whose land estates were located in the Juvaynī areas of Khurasan, served as administrators (more precisely as ṣaḥib-e divān, the chiefs of secretariat) of both the Seljuk (1037–1157) and the Khwarazmian (1138–1230/1) dynasty, Atwood, Encyclopedia, p. 281. A very detailed description of the relation of the Juvaynī family and the Mongols can be found in Lane, G., Early Mongol Rule in Thirteenth-century Iran: A Persian Renaissance (London, 2003), pp. 177212 ; cf. also Lane, G., “Persian Notables of the Ilkhanate,” in Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change, (eds.) Amitai, R. and Biran, M. (Honolulu, 2015), pp. 182213 for the general discussion of the Persian elite serving the Mongols (including the Juvaynī family as well).

73 Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, pp. 507, 509, 512–513.

74 JT, vol. 2, pp. 480–481; Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, p. 523. In 1259, he was appointed governor of southern Iraq including Baghdadand of Khuzistan, Atwood, Encyclopedia, p. 292. For more about the actions of ‘Aṭā Malik during his governmental service see, for example, his obituary by al-Dhahabī, idem, Tārīkh al-Islām, vol. 59, pp. 80–83.

75 Atwood, Encyclopedia, p. 292.

76 Atwood, ibid, p. 292; H. Gilli-Elewy, “Al-Ḥawādiṯ al-ğāmiʿa: A Contemporary Account of the Mongol Conquest of Baghdad, 656/1258”, Arabica LVIII, V (2011), pp. 172–174, cf. al-Dhahabī, Tārīkh al-Islām, vol. 59, pp. 80–81.

77 ‘Aṭā al-Malik al-Juvaynī devoted two chapters in his Tārīkh-i Jahān Gushāy to the detailed account of the life and career of his patron (see Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, pp. 505–524, Chapters 30 and 31).

78 “Jamāl al-Dīn repented of what he had said and ↱excused himself; and returning from thence he joined the Amīr Arghun at Merv. The latter ↱now contracted a friendship with the Khwājah Fakhr al-Dīn [Bihishtī] such as had not ↱previously existed between them, and they set out for court in Rabīʿ I 654/March-April 1256.” (Juvainī, Genghis Khan, p. 522).

79 Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, pp. 244, 246.

80 Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, pp. 248, 513–515, 519. Then he was also confirmed by Möngke Khan as a deputy of Arghun Aqa (Song Lian et al., Yuanshi [Beijng, 1976], vol. 3, p. 45).

81 Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, p. 522.

82 Even though these sources were written by Muslim scholars with their own agenda, this fact still seems to be of significance.

83 Lane, Early Mongol Rule, p. 108, Tārikh-i Shāh-i Qarākhitayān, (ed.) Moḥammed Ibrāhīm Bāstānī Pārīsī (Teheran, 1976), pp. 181–184 (further TSQ). About the Khitai people see Quade-Reutter, K., “. . . denn sie haben einen unvollkommenen Verstand” - herrschaftliche Damen im Grossraum Iran in der Mongolen- und Timuridenzeit (ca. 1250 - 1507) (Aachen, 2003), pp. 5559 ; Biran, M., “Kitan Migrations in Eurasia (10th–14th Centuries)”, Journal of Central Eurasian Studies III (Oct., 2012), pp. 85108 , for this dynasty specifically pp. 92–95. It is of importance that Qutb al-Dīn tried to connect his family with that of Arghun Aqa just before or immediately after he had returned from his fifteen-year-long exile and had been reestablished in Kerman (see more in Quade-Reutter, Damen, pp. 80–81). This attempt can be seen as a direct confirmation of the high position of Arghun Aqa in the area and should be seen in the framework of the matrimonial networks of the Kerman rulers, which had been established also with the Ilkhans and Chaghadaids, and the dynasties of Yazd, Luristan and Fars (Biran, Khitan Migrations, p. 93). TSQ describes Arghun Aqa as “hākim-i waqt wa farmāndah-i ‘aṣr” – “the governor of the time and decree-giver of the era” – stressing his high status (TSQ, p. 155).

84 As translated by Lane in idem, Early Mongol Rule, p. 108; TSQ, p. 182.

85 TSQ, p. 183–184; Quade-Reutter, Damen, pp. 91–92. In 1279, after her husband left Kerman and went to exile, Bigi Khatun was taken to the Ordo of the Ilkhan with her children. Bigi had at least two children – Dundī Shāh Khatun and Shāh ‘Ala al-Dīn Ḥasan Shāh (Quade Reutter, Damen, pp. 215–216).

86 JT, vol. 3, p. 618.

87 Lane, Early Mongol Rule, p. 97.

88 Waṣṣāf, Geschichte, vol. 3, pp. 204–205. The relations between Arghun Aqa and the rulers of Herat were not always perfect. According to Tārīkh Name-i Herat, Malik Majīd al-Dīn Kālyūnī (d. 1242), a ruler of Herat in the early 1240s, connected himself directly with Batu Khan, got a ruling yarliq from him and ignored or even humiliated the messengers and orders from Qaraqorum and its representative in the area of Arghun Aqa, see more in Sayfī, Tārīkh, pp. 164–165; Lane, Early Mongol Rule, pp. 153–154. This changed slowly first under the rule of Majīd al-Dīn's son Muḥammad (1242-1244) and then with the enthronement of Shams al-Dīn I of Kart (1245-1278) and especially after the visit of the latter to the court of the Great Khan Möngke in 1251 – Sayfī, Tārīkh, pp. 168–172; Lane, Early Mongol Rule, pp. 155–156. Arghun Aqa even granted Shams al-Dīn a robe of honour, as a sign of special gratitude to a higher-standing Mongol authority (Sayfī, Tārīkh, p. 172; and see also Allsen, T.T., Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire [Cambridge, 1997] for a very detailed discussion of the cloth and its importance in Mongol Eurasia).

89 Geschichte Waṣṣāf vol. 3, pp. 638–640; pp. 204–205. Interestingly enough, a few decades after these events both sides – the rulers of the Jā’ūni Qurbān clan and a grandnephew of Fakhr al-Dīn of Kart, Ghiyath al-Dīn Pīr ‘Ali – again created matrimonial ties (the latter getting a bride from the Jā’ūnī Qurbān, see Cinq opuscules, p. 58). Their son, Pīr Muḥammad, became a güregen of Temür, marrying the niece of the latter, Sivinj Qutlugh Aqa, L.G. Potter, “Herat under The Karts: Social and Political Forces”, in Views from the Edge: Essays in Honor of Richard W. Bulliet, (eds.) Yavari, Neguin et al. (New York, 2004), p. 197 .

90 The clan of Arghun Aqa was connected not only to the Muslim ruling clans. The anonymous Georgian source of the 14th century also informs us that one of his sons was married to Tamara, daughter of David VII Ulu of the Eastern Georgia. The same source mentions, however, that Arghun Aqa's son, who remains unnamed, was despised by his wife for being an “infidel pagan” and she left him while he was at the court of the Ilkhan in 1275, mourning his father (“Gruzinskiy Chronograph XIV veka o narodakh Kavkaza”, transl. G.V. Zulaya, Kavkazskiy etnographicheskiy sbornik VII [1980], p. 201). The religious affiliation of this person, as well as his name, remain uncertain.

91 This is highly probable as Arghun Aqa stayed in Khurasan since the early 1240s, as mentioned above.

92 JT, vol. 2, p. 482. See the remark there concerning Arghun Aqa's wives presenting the tuzghu (food offering) to Hülegü Khan.

93 Juvaynī, Genghis Khan, p. 513. In theory, this could be connected to the later Chaghadaid claim that Khurasan was their own domain, but this remains unclear (see more about this issue below, fn. 112).

94 JT, vol. 3, p. 594.

95 The eldest son of Arghun Aqa, whose name is not known, died during the Mongol punitive operation against Herat in 1270, after Abaqa Khan's defeat of Baraq, as reported by Sayfī, idem, Tārīkh, pp. 332–333 and see more about the battle and its context in Biran, M., “The Battle of Herat [1270]: A Case of Inner-Mongolian Warfare”, in Warfare in Inner Asia, (ed.) Cosmo, Nicola Di (Leiden, 2002), pp. 175220 .

96 According to the sources, he had this name already in 1256 (see above, fn. 65).

97 He was the “monarch's [Ghazan Khan's – I.L.] favorite” (JT, vol. 3, p. 629).

98 Yol Qutluq appears in the entire chronicle of Waṣṣāf only once as a representative of Arghun Khan in Shīrāz in an attempt of the latter to limit the powers of the local rulers and return tax payments to the State's treasury etc. Geschichte Waṣṣāf translation Hammer-Purgstall, (eds.) S. Wentker and K. Wundsam, vol. 2 (Vienna, 2010), pp. 192–193.

99 JT, vol. 1, p. 57.

100 Apparently Erdai Ghasan ( ) of Waṣṣāf (Geschichte Waṣṣāf's vol. 3, p. 205). According to Paul, who cites Faryūmadī, he and Hajji were both the favourites of Öljeitü (Paul, Zerfall, p. 705). However, both are not mentioned in the section of Öljeitü by Muʿizz al-Ansāb (MA, pp. 97–99), in which it is claimed that Oyiratai Ghazan was murdered in 1297 (ibid, p. 94). This, however, is not correct – see above, p. 6.

101 JT, vol. 3, p. 640.

102 Ibid .

103 Waṣṣāf states that Nawrūz's brothers Oyratai Ghazan and Menkli Boka served Prince Temür, son of Abkan (name unrecognisable) (Geschichte Waṣṣāf's vol. 3, p. 205).

104 Ibid , pp. 204–205.

105 SP, p. 320. It is not clear whether some of the names are referring to the same people, e.g. “Hajjī” might be the shorter version of “Narin Hajjī”, “Arghun Hajjī” or “Terghan Hajjī”.

106 As far as I am aware, the title “Hajjī” can only be used in an Islamic context, meaning the person who made a hajj.

107 See his paper, fn. 3.

108 However, not all names include these particles, yet those who do appear at least in the three sources mentioned above. This strengthens the possibility that the particle “Hajjī” was indeed a part of the name of those specific children of Arghun Aqa and was not added later.

109 His name is certainly not Mongol, but Persian, and, interestingly enough, we do not know anything about his earlier (Mongol?) name, if it ever existed.

110 For the discussion of these coins see Petrov, P. N. and Aleksandrov, A. S., “Chaghadaid Dirhems with the Name of Amir Nawrūz Minted in Badachshan,” Numismatika 1 (2011), pp. 89 (in Russian).

111 See more about the rebellion in Biran, Qaidu, pp. 57–58; Hope, The ‘Nawrūz King’, pp. 459–463. The connections between the Chaghadaids and the Ögedeids on the one side and Nawrūz on the other in the turbulent years of the late 1280s-early 1290s are another interesting development not directly related to the topic of this paper. It should be stressed, however, that the Chaghadaids had long seen Khurasan as an area of their interests, see, e.g., M. Biran, “The Battle of Herat”, pp. 186–187. The events of the years preceding and shortly following the rebellion of Nawrūz should partly be seen in the light of these claims. Indeed, tight connections were established between Nawrūz and the Chaghadaids with the Ögedeids in that period. On the one hand, Nawrūz gave one of his daughters to Sarban, son of Negübei, one of the Chaghadaid princes, around 1289, shortly before the rebellion (JT, vol. 3, p. 595). On the other hand, already after returning with the army of Qaidu to Khurasan, he started playing his own game, giving one of his daughters to the Ögedeid prince Ürük Temür and probably converting him to Islam shortly afterwards (Biran, Qaidu, p. 58).

112 A region on today's border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The issue of Nawrūz ruling in Badakhshān is unclear, as in the years 1291-1292 Badakhshān was ruled by one Dawlat Shāh ibn ʿAli Shāh, the local ruler. This demands further clarification and one can hope that further findings from the Badakhshān mint will clarify the situation.

113 It appears in the ZENO ( database under the number Z/43814.

114 Sign of property, used in the nomadic cultures, in our case a sign of the Chinggisid ruler under whose governance the area of the mint was situated. About tamghas in the Mongol world see Petrov, P. N., “Tamgi na monetakh mongolskikh gosudarstv 13–14 vv. kak znaki sobstvennosti”, Trudy mezhdunarodnykh numismaticheskikh konferenziy, Murom 2003 (Moscow, 2005), pp. 170171 .

115 More about this type of tamgha, which appears on the dirhams of Badakhshān in the 1290s and refers to the house of Duwa, in Petrov, Tamgi na monetakh, p. 172.

116 It appears in the ZENO database under the number Z/42722.

117 More about this type of tamgha in Petrov, Tamgi na monetakh, pp. 176–177.

118 Only the words lā ’ilāhā ’illā / Allāh Muhammad can be recognised.

119 Furthermore these coins bear a close resemblance to those of Dawlat Shah minted in the very early 1290s in Badakhshan as well. This fact and the temporal closeness of the two mints give rise to the question of whether Nawrūz did not in fact depose of Dawlat Shāh for a very short period of time in Badakhshān. See Gumayunov, S.V. and Petrov, P. N., “Monety Badakhshana konza 13-nachala 14 vv. kak istochnik dlya rekonstrukzii istoricheskikh sobytiy”, Trudy IV mezhdunarodnoy numizmaticheskoy konferenzii, Bolgar 2005 (Moscow, 2008), p. 104 for the example of such coins.

120 See the already mentioned article of Pfeiffer for a detailed analysis of the Sufi-Hülegüid relations of the early Ilkhanate, mainly in the period of Ahmad Tegüder, which, however, does not deal with the influence of the Khurasani Sufis (Pfeiffer, Reflections, pp. 376–388).

121 By the followers of Ibrāhīm b. ’Adham (d. 779–80?) of Basra (see more in C. Melchert, “Sufis and Competing Movements in Nishapur”, Iran XXXIX [2001], pp. 237–247 about the early stages of the Khurasanian Sufism and its relations with other mystical and ascetics schools, as well with the established schools of law). See also idem, “The Transition from Asceticism to Mysticism in the Middle of the Third/Ninth Century”, Studia Islamica LXXXIII (1996), pp. 51–70 for this period with a special focus on the development of the mystical schools.

122 Malamud, M., “Sufi Organizations and Structures of Authority in Medieval Nishapur”, International Journal of Middle East Studies XXVI, III (Aug., 1994), p. 427 . See more about the Khurasani Sufism also in Chabbi, A. J., “Remarques sur le développement historique des mouvements ascétiques et mystiques au Khurasan: IIIe/IXe siècle - IVe/Xe siècle”, Studia Islamica XXXXVI (1977), pp. 5–72 and Melchert, Sufis, pp. 237–247.

123 Malamud, Sufi Organizations, p. 436.

124 Elias, J. J., “The Sufi Lords of Bahrabad: Sa'd al-Dīn and Sadr al-Dīn Hamuwayi”, Iranian Studies XXVII, I–IV (1994), p. 53 .

125 Paul, J., Herrscher, Gemeinwesen, Vermittler: Ostiran und Transoxanien in vormongolischer Zeit (Beirut and Stuttgart, 1996), pp. 207211 . This fact, however, is more a sign of the growing importance of the Sufi sheikhs and not of the diminishing of the other groups, which earlier bore this function, such as the traditional ‘ulamma or local nobility (Paul, Herrscher, p. 211 and cf. Paul, J., “Islamizing Sufis in pre-Mongol Central Asia”, Cahiers de Studia Iranica XXXIX [2008], pp. 297317).

126 See more about him in Die Fawā'iḥ al-Ǧamāl wa-Fawātiḥ al-Ǧalāl des Naǧm Ad-Dīn Al-Kubrā: eine Darstellung mystischer Erfahrungen im Islam aus der Zeit um 1200 n. Chr., edited by and commentary by F. Meier (Wiesbaden, 1957), pp. 8–52. See also the remarks of Ibn al-Karbalā’ī on the anti-Mongol sentiments of Najm al-Dīn (idem, Rawḍāt al-Jinān, vol. 2, pp. 326–327), as well as on his death. Most of the writers (except Zakarīyya’ al-Qazvīnī) considered Najm al-Dīn, who had died during the conquest of Khwarazm by the Mongols, a martyr Ibn al-Karbalā’ī, Rawḍāt al-Jinān, vol. 2, p. 328; see Meier, Die Fawā'iḥ al-Jamāl, pp. 53–60 for a detailed discussion of the death of Najm al-Dīn and the comparative research of the sources.

127 The exact date of his death is not clear. According to Ḥamdallāh Qazvīnī he died in the year 658/1260, see more about the discussion in Elias, The Sufi Lords, p. 69, fn, 34.

128 DeWeese mentions seven of them, including Sa'ad al-Dīn, DeWeese, D., “The Eclipse of the Kubravīyah in Central Asia”, Iranian Studies XXI [1988], p. 47 .

129 Elias, The Sufi Lords, p. 59. He also established a khanqah in Āmul, probably a city in Mazendaran, but not much is known about it, al-Dhahabī, Tārīkh al-Islām, vol. 55, p. 454, despite the fact that Ṣadr al-Dīn was born in that city (Elias, The Sufi Lords, p. 67). Concerning the city Aubin says “Car Baḥrābād est devenu, à l’époque mongole, un des centres religieux du Khurassan”, Aubin, J., “Réseau pastoral et réseau caravanier: les grand'routes du Khurassan à l'époque mongole”, Le monde iranien et l'islam I [1971], p. 126 .

130 Al-Dhahabī, Tārīkh al-Islām, vol. 55, pp. 454–455, translation of the Mongol JPP database, report 7106. Elias, The Sufi Lords, pp. 58–59. About the JPP database see more at

131 Elias, The Sufi Lords, p. 67.

132 Al-Dhahabī goes as far as calling him “Shaykh of Khurasan”, idem, Tārīkh al-Islām, vol. 61, p. 202, as does Ibn Ḥajar, Shihāb al-Dīn Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalānī, al-Durar al-Kāmina fī ’Aʿayān al-Maʾa al-Thāmina (Beirut, 1993), vol. 1, pp. 67–68. Both father and son have “al-Juwayni” in their laqab, which hints at their origin in or any other connection with the area, see al-Dhahabī, Tārīkh al-Islām, vol. 55, p. 454 and ibid, vol. 61, p. 202.

133 Al-Dhahabī, Tārīkh al-Islām, vol. 61, pp. 203–204; Elias, The Sufi Lords, p. 67, fn. 77.

134 See more on them in L. S. Northrup, From Slave to Sultan. The Career of al-Mansur Qalawun and the consolidation of Mamluk rule in Egypt and Syria (678–689 ah/ 1279-1290 ad) (Stuttgart, 1998), pp. 41–43.

135 Al-Jazarī, Javāhīr al-Sulūk (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Ms. Arabe 6739), as cited by Melville, Pādshāh-i Islam, p. 162, and cf. the discussion of these events in Hope, The ‘Nawrūz King’, pp. 468–470. Unfortunately, I could not see the original manuscript.

136 Melville, Pādshāh-i Islam, p. 165. That Nawrūz knew the sayings of ascetics is mentioned as well, for example, by al-Birzālī (“. . . [Nawrūz] was a Muslim who memorized many of the zuhdiyyāt (ascetic poems – I.L.) and adhkār (Sufi recitation texts – I.L.). He had great purpose in his belief and love to the Islam and to its people” [al-Qāsim bin Muḥammad al-Birzālī, Tārīkh al-Birzālī [Beirut, 2006], vol. 2, p. 415, translation of the JPP database, rep. 2950]). Other sources, for example al-Dhahabī, stress that Nawrūz was well-versed in raqāʾiq (“heart softening” texts), adhkār and the Qur'an (idem, Tārīh al-Islām, vol. 60, pp. 37–38).

137 The exact place of the conversion is not clear. According to al-Birzālī, it was “in Khurasan, close to Rayy” (idem, Tārīkh al-Birzālī, vol. 2, p. 415). Al-Jazarī gives it as “Lārman (?) in the Rayy district” (Melville, Pādshāh-i Islam, p. 162), while al-Dhahabī says “[Ghazan] converted on Shaʿbān in Khurasan . . . close to al-Rayy” (idem, Tārkīh al-Islām, vol. 60, pp. 37–38) and Ibn al-Karbalā’ī calls it “Lār-i Rayy” (idem, Rawḍāt al-Jinān, vol. 1, p. 528). The different definitions of Khurasan lead in some cases to the inclusion of some location in Khurasan when it is not considered part of it in another.

138 Her mother was Kawkabi, a concubine of Abaqa Khan (JT, vol. 3, p. 516). Her origin and beliefs are not clear, though she was probably not Mongol, but of Arabic or Turkic origin (‘kawkab’, Arab., means “star” or ‘planet’). However, whether her origin had anything to do with her religious beliefs and whether there were any influences on Nawrūz or whether she was given to Nawrūz due to her beliefs remains unclear.

139 The available sources do not allow for a clear conclusion, but also from the cited text the possibility that Nawrūz and Sadr al-Dīn knew one another personally before 1294 cannot be excluded.

1 The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement 312397. The original version of this paper has been presented on the Second Symposia Iranica (Cambridge, April 8-9, 2015). I am deeply thankful to Professor Michal Biran, Dr Florence Hodous and Dr Yoichi Isahaya for their invaluable help and advice during the work on this paper.

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