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Title: Iranian Influence on Moslem Literature, Part I
Author: Inostrantzev, Konstantin Aleksandrovich, 1876-1941
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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CHAPTER   I. Arabic Writers as Sources of Sasanian Culture   3

CHAPTER  II. Parsi Clergy Preserve Tradition                25

CHAPTER III. Ethico-didactic Books of Arabs Exclusively
             of Iranian Origin                              38

CHAPTER  IV. Iranian Components of Arabic _Adab_ Literature 53

CHAPTER   V. Pahlavi Books Studied by Arab Authors          65

CHAPTER  VI. Arab Translators from Pahlavi                  76

CHAPTER VII. Pahlavi Rushnar Nameh                          89


(By the Translator).

APPENDIX   I. Independent Zoroastrian Princes of Tabaristan
              after Arab Conquest                           93

APPENDIX  II. Iranian Material in Mahasin wal Masawi and
              Mahasin wal Azdad                            101

APPENDIX III. Burzoe's Introduction                        105

APPENDIX  IV. The Trial of Afshin,
              a Disguised Zoroastrian General              135

APPENDIX   V. Noeldeke's Introduction to Tabari            142

APPENDIX  VI. Letter of Tansar to the King of Tabaristan   159

APPENDIX VII. Some Arab Authors and the Iranian Material
              they preserve:--

                      The Uyunal Akhbar of Ibn Qotaiba     163
                      Jahiz: Kitab-al-Bayan wal Tabayyin   168
                      Hamza Ispahani                       171
                      Tabari                               174
                      Dinawari                             177
                      Ibn al Athir                         179
                      Masudi                               182
                      Shahrastani                          187
                      Ibn Hazm                             192
                      Ibn Haukal                           195


                      Ibn Khallikan                        199
                      Mustawfi                             203
                      Muqadasi                             204
                      Thaalibi                             205


The facile notion is still prevalent even among Musalmans of learning
that the past of Iran is beyond recall, that the period of its history
preceding the extinction of the House of Sasan cannot be adequately
investigated and that the still anterior dynasties which ruled vaster
areas have left no traces in stone or parchment in sufficient quantity
for a tolerable record reflecting the story of Iran from the Iranian's
standpoint. This fallacy is particularly hugged by the Parsis among whom
it was originally lent by fanaticism to indolent ignorance. It has been
credited with uncritical alacrity, congenial to self-complacency, that
the Arabs so utterly and ruthlessly annihilated the civilization of Iran
in its mental and material aspects that no source whatever is left from
which to wring reliable information about Zoroastrian Iran. The
following limited pages are devoted to a disproof of this age-long

For a connected story of Persia prior to the battle of Kadisiya, beside
the Byzantine writers there is abundant material in Armenian and Chinese
histories. These mines remain yet all but unexplored for the Moslem and
Parsi, although much has been done to extract from them a chronicle of
early Christianity. The archaeology of Iran, as I have shown elsewhere,
can provide vital clue to an authentic resuscitation of Sasanian past.
Pre-Moslem epigraphy of Persia is yet in little more than an inchoate
condition. Not only all Central Asia but the territories marching with
the Indian and Persian frontiers, where persecution of the elder faith
could not have been relatively mild, the population professing Islam
have been unable to abjure in their entirety rites and practices akin to
those of Zoroastrianism. Within living memory the inhabitants of Pamir
would not blow out a candle or otherwise desecrate fire. While science
cannot recognise the claims of any individual professing to have studied
esoteric Zoroastrianism hidden in the hill tracts of Rawalpindi, the
myth has a value in that it indicates the direction in which humbler and
uninspired scholars may work. These regions and far beyond, teem with
pure Iranian place-names to this day; and you meet in and around even
the Peshawar district individuals bearing names of old Iranian heroes
which, if the theory of persecution-mongers be correct, would be an
anathema to the bigoted followers of Muhammad.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is, above all, Arabic literature which upsets the easy fiction of
total destruction of Iranian culture by the Arabs. In its various
departments of history, geography and general science Arabic works
incorporate extensive material for a history of Iranian civilization,
while Arabic poetry abounds in references to Zoroastrian Iran. The
former is illustrated by Professor Inostranzev's pioneer Russian essay
of which the main body of this book is a translation. The Appendices are
intended to be supplementary and to be at once a continuation and a
possible key--continuation of the researches of the Russian scholar and
key to the contemned store-house of Arabic letters.

Professor Inostranzev is in little need of introduction to English
scholars. He has already been made known in India by the indefatigable
Shams-ul-Ulma Dr. Jivanji Modi, Ph.D., C.I.E., who got translated, and
commented on, his Russian paper on the curious _Astodans_ or receptacles
for human bones discovered in the Persian Gulf region. He shares with
Professor Browne of Cambridge and the great M. Blochet a unique
scholarly position: he combines an intimate knowledge of Avesta
civilization with a familiarity with classical Arabic. It is not
wilfully to ignore the claims of Goldziher, Brockelmann or Sachau or
the Dutch savants de Goeje and Van Vloten. Deeply as they investigated
Arabic writings, it was M. Inostranzev who first revealed to us the
worth of Arabic: he unearthed chapters embedded in Arabic books which
are paraphrase or translation of Pahlavi originals. He had but one
predecessor and that was a countryman of his, Baron Rosen.

       *       *       *       *       *

In preparing the Appendices, which are there to testify to the value of
Arabic literature especially the annals and the branch of it called
Adab, I have availed myself of the courtesy of various institutions and
individuals. Bombay, perhaps the wealthiest town in the East where
prosperous Musalmans form a most important factor of its population, has
not one public library containing any tolerable collection of Arabic
books edited in Europe. Time after time wealthy Parsis whose interest I
enlisted have received from me lists of books to form the nucleus of an
Arabic library but apparently they need some further stimulus to
appreciate how indispensable Arabic is for research into Iranian
antiquities. The Bombay Government have expended enormous sums in
collecting Sanskrit manuscripts--a most laudable pursuit--and have
published a series of admirable texts edited by some of the eminent
Sanskrit scholars, Western and Indian. But the numerous Moslem Anjumans
do not appear to have demonstrated to the greatest Moslem Power in the
world, or its representative in Bombay, the necessity of a corresponding
solicitude for Arabic and Persian treasures which undoubtedly exist,
though to a lesser extent, in the Presidency. And what holds true of
Bombay holds good in case of the rest of India. Some of the libraries in
Upper India in Hyderabad, Rampur, Patna, Calcutta possess along with
manuscript material cheap mutilated Egyptian reprints of magnificent
texts brought out in Leiden, Paris and Leipzig. Nowhere in India is
available to a research scholar a complete set of European publications
in Arabic, which a few thousand rupees can purchase. The state of
affairs is due to Moslem apathy, politics claiming a disproportionate
share of their civic energy, to Government indifference and to some
extent Parsi supineness and prejudice which, despite the community's
vaunted advancement, has failed to estimate at its proper worth their
history as enshrined in the language of the pre-judged Arab.

Moulvi Muhammad Ghulam Rasul Surti, of Bombay, himself a scholar, lent
me from his bookshop expensive works which few private students could
afford to buy. No western book-seller could have conceived a purer love
of learning or a gaze less rigidly fixed on "business". Sir John
Marshall, Director General of Archaeology in India, continued very
kindly to permit me use of books after I had severed official connection
with his library at Simla. Dr. Spooner who acted for him obligingly saw
that as far as he was concerned no facilities were incontinently
withdrawn from me at Benmore. I have particularly to thank the Librarian
of the Imperial Library, Calcutta, who not only posted me books in his
charge but went out of his way to procure me others. Mrs. Besant and her
wealthy adherents have created at Adyar the atmosphere associated with
the Ashramas and the seats of learning in ancient India so finely
described by Chinese travellers. The Oriental Library there is
unsurpassed by any institution in British or Indian ruled India. It is
to be wished in the interests of pure scholarship that some one
succeeds--I did not--in prevailing on the President of the Theosophical
Society to lend books to scholars who may not be equal to the exertion
of daily travelling seven miles from Madras to Adyar. Her insistence on
a rigid imitation of British Museum rules in India, mainly because so
many of the Theosophical fraternity cut out pages and chapters from
books once allowed to be borrowed by them, inflicts indiscriminate
penalty on honest research and seals up against legitimate use books
nowhere else to be found in India.

I reserve for the Second Part of this book some observations on the
Russian language with reference to Orientalism, and Arabic and Persian
literatures in particular. Only after the outbreak of the War some
interest has been aroused in England in matters Russian generally and a
number of grammars and dictionaries and other aids to the study of this
most difficult language have recently been placed on the market for the
use of students who only a brief three years ago had to depend mainly on
German for acquisition of Russian. This neglect of Russian is wholly
undeserved. It is doubtful if the researches into Oriental histories and
literatures by the Russians have been yet adequately appreciated in
England, the tireless efforts of Dr. Pollen and the Anglo-Russian
Literary Society notwithstanding. It is apparently still presumed that
ripe scholarship in Arabic and Sanskrit is inconceivable except through
the medium of the languages of Western Europe. No unworthy disparagement
of French labours is at all suggested. But it is only fair to Russia to
remember in India that the absence of a Serg d'Oldenberg would leave a
lacuna which must be felt in Buddhist Sanskrit; without Tzerbatski the
Jain literature both Magadhi and Sanskrit would be appreciably poorer;
and that the Continent has produced nothing to exceed the series of
Buddhist Sanskrit texts of Petrograd, where was published the still
largest Sanskrit lexicon. Naturally in the province of Chinese and
Japanese the Russian Academy at Vladivostock stood _facile princeps_
till only the other day its magnificent rival was established in London
under the direction of Dr. Denison Ross. An individual scholar like
Khanikoff, who like most of his countrymen in the last century preferred
to write in French, and a Zukovski has done more signal service to
Persian antiquities than could be honestly attributed to many a German
name familiar to Indian scholars. The distinguishing feature of the
Russian investigator, devoted to the past of Persia, is his uncommon
equipment. The Russian bring to their task a mature study of Semitic
languages and acquaintance with Avesta philology. Arabic literature
teems with allusions to the religions, dogma, customs and the court of
Sasanian Iran. Once intended for contemporaries equally at home in the
Arabic and Persian idioms these references have in course of time grown
obscure to copyists who have mutilated Iranian names of persons and
places and specific Zoroastrian terms which had become naturalised in
the language of the ruling Arabs. It is scholars like Baron Rosen and
Rosenberg who have adequately appreciated the value of Arabic texts in
which are interwoven verbal translations of celebrated Pahlavi
treatises. Two such have been disinterred by the industry and erudition
of Inostranzev.

This is the first book to be translated from Russian into English by an
Indian and the obvious difficulties of the task may be pleaded to excuse
some of the shortcomings of a pioneer undertaking. I look for my reward
in on awakened interest in Arabic books which hold in solution more
information on Persia than any set work on the history of Iran.

It would not be in place to advert to the present state of hapless chaos
in Persia. The most sympathetic outsider, however, cannot help observing
that her misfortunes are less due to her neighbours and their mutual
relations than to her too rapid political strides and adoption of exotic
administrative machinery repugnant to the genius of the ancient nation.
Whatever the attitude of individual Mullas towards non-Moslems in the
past the central authority and the people as a whole are actuated to-day
with a spirit of patriotism which is still the keynote of the character
of Persia's noble manhood and womanhood. It declines to make religion
the criterion of kinship.

The inconsistency in the spelling of Arabic words has not altogether
been avoidable being due partly to a desire to adhere to the orthography
adopted by authors whom I have consulted.


September, 1917.


Iranian literary tradition in the opening centuries of Islam 1

The character of the Persian history during the Sasanian epoch 6

Importance of this epoch according to the Arab writers of the first
centuries of Islam 10

The position of the Parsi community and the centres of the preservation
of Persian tradition during the period of the Khalifat in Tabaristan,
Khorasan and Fars 15

The castle of Shiz in the district of Arrajan in the province of Fars
described by Istakhri, p. 118, 2-4; 150, 14-7; Ibn Hauqal, p. 189, 1-2;
cf. the translator of the _Khoday Nameh_, Behram, son of Mardanshah of
the city of Shapur in the province of Fars 19

This castle was the residence of those acquainted with the Iranian
tradition (the _badhgozar_) and here their archives were lodged 20


To the Iranian element belongs a very rich rôle in the external as well
as the internal history of Islam. Its influence is obvious and constant
in the history of the Moslem nations' spread over centuries. Whenever
the circumstances have been favourable it has been clearly manifest;
when the conditions have been hostile it is not noticeable at the first
glance but in reality has been of great consequence. The causes of this
are very complicated. And it is necessary on account of its universal
value to examine a wide concatenation of facts. But from a general point
of view there is no doubt that it has its roots principally in the
continuity of the historical and cultural traditions. Particular
significance attaches to the circumstance that just in the epoch
preceding the Arab conquest Persia had experienced a period of national
revival after the horrors that its sovereignty had undergone, at the
hands, for instance, of Alexander the Great.[1] Therefore for the study
of Iranian tradition in Islam the period of the Sasanian dynasty
preceding the Arab conquest has a special significance.

[Footnote 1: This is explained by the hatred given expression to in the
Parsi tradition regarding Alexander. Comp. J. Darmesteter _La Legende de
Alexandre chez les Parses. Essais Orientaux_, Paris 1883, pp. 227-251.]

The Sasanian dynasty issuing from a small principality in the south of
Persia--a principality which, properly speaking bears the title of the
"kernel of the Persian nation"--occupies a considerable position in
Persian history. Wide imperial aims were united with a plenitude of
solid organisation of government so perfect that it passed into a
proverb among the Arabs. In this last connection the Sasanian tradition
survived for a long time a number of Moslem dynasties. The powerful
influence which Iranian tradition exercised was felt by the Abbaside
Khahlifs and after them by the Turkish Seljuks. But not only the science
of government, a good deal of other matters of cultural and historical
importance in the latter times have their explanation in the Sasanian
epoch. Placed on the confines of the Greco-Roman world on the one hand,
and China and India on the other, Sasanian Persia served during the
course of a long time as a central mart of exchange of a mental as well
as of a material nature. As against the Achaemenides, emulating the high
Semitic culture of the West and the Hellenistic endeavours preceding the
Parthian dynasty, the Sasanians pre-eminently were the promulgators of
the Iranian principles. Alongside of this, however, although in a
subordinate position, the development of the Hellenistic movement and
the ancient Irano-Semitic syncretism continued to proceed.
Simultaneously an ethical amalgamation proceeded especially in Western
Persia where Semiticism was powerful for a lengthened period,
Nevertheless, the Sasanians continued the unification of the Iranian
inhabitants of central and western Persia. The political system of the
Sasanian emperors[1] was based on this fusion. Before it pales the
importance of the other facts regarding the political organisation of
the Sasanians,--centralisation of government in a manner so that the
elements of feudal constitution made themselves felt throughout the
existence of the empire and even after the Arab conquest, when it left
traces in circles representing Iranian traditions.

[Footnote 1: On the constitution of the Sasanian government, see A.
Christensen, _L'empire des Sasanides, le peuple, l'etat, la cour_,

The Iranophile tendencies which dominated the Sasanian epoch developed
in intimate cooperation with the State religion (Mazdaism) and the Parsi
priesthood. Among the latter continued the production of literary works.
Besides, the redaction of the sacred books was completed in these times.
Among them were conserved and propagated Persian ethical ideals, which
found expression in literary forms, in ethico-didactic tracts, like
those which we notice just in the same circles in later times. To the
same end were preserved national traditions and ritual, some of which
had nothing to do with Mazdaism. The ethical ideals of the church found
strong support in the feudalistic circles comprising the larger and the
smaller landholders, the _dehkans_ who, with particular zeal, preserved
ancient heroic traditions.

Alongside of these national currents in the Sasanian empire there
operated in full force those factors of cultural exchange of which we
spoke above. Of those factors the most important that deserve our
attention are questions regarding education and instruction. In this
connection, Sasanian Persia found itself under powerful influences from
the West. There are sufficient reminiscences of neo-Platonic exiles from
Greece at the Sasanian Court and of the school of medicine in which the
leading part belonged to Hellenic physicians. At the same time in the
same field we have to examine other influences. For Sasanian Persia did
not remain stranger to the sciences of India. We have information
regarding the renascence of the activity of the translators of
scientific works into the Persian language and the tradition of this
activity survived down to the Moslem times. In connection with this
theoretical scientific activity stood high perfection in exterior
culture issuing to a considerable degree from exchange of materials. And
even here the Sasanian tradition has survived the dynasties; in the
study of the commerce and industry as well as the art of the Moslem
epoch we have necessarily to refer back to the preceding times of the
Persian history.

In pre-Moslem Arabia the high development of the civilisation of
Sasanian Persia was well known. Among the subjects of the great Persian
sovereigns in the western provinces of their empire there were a large
number of Arabs who in commercial intercourse carried, to tribes of the
Syrian desert and further south to the Arabian peninsula, reports
regarding the great _Iran Shahar_. Not only legends of the heroic
figures of the Iranian epic--Rustam and Isfandiar--but religious views
and persuasions of the Persians found a place and were spread among the
Arab clans. Thus we know that "fire-worshippers" were settled among the
Arab tribe of the Temim.[1]

[Footnote 1: _See_ for example Ibn Rustah (B.G.A. VII, p. 217, 6-9).]

As regards the political influence of the Persians on the tribes of
Arabia a vast deal has been related in the pre-Moslem epoch. As is
well-known, thanks mainly to the Persian influence, there was a small
Arab kingdom of the Lekhmides in the South-Western portion of the
Sasanian empire[1]. It played its part, most beneficial for Persia,
holding back on the one hand Roman-Byzantine onrush from the West, and
on the other restraining the perpetual attempts at irruption into
Persian territory by Arab nomadic tribes. Not long before the appearance
of Islam, Sasanian influence was extended to the Arabs and the South as
well as Yemen passed into the sovereignty of the Persians. Khusro and
his Court appeared to the Arab an unattainable ideal of grandeur and

[Footnote 1: _Die Dynastie der Lekhmiden in al-Hira, Ein Versuch zur
arabisch-persischen Geschichte zur Zeit der Sasaniden Berlin_, 1899.]

The rapid conquest of Persia by the Arab warriors proved a complete
catastrophe to the Sasanian empire. But Persian culture was not to be
extirpated by the success of Arab arms. Persia was overwhelmed only
externally and the Arabs were compelled to preserve a considerable deal
of the past. Having lost the position of rulers, the Persian priesthood
preserved intact its control of the indigenous populace in the eyes of
the latter as well as of the foreign Government. The same remark holds
good of the class of landed proprietors.[1] Iranian tradition continued
to live In and with them. Not only what was preserved but all that was
destroyed for long left vestiges in the memory of the conquerors.

[Footnote 1: Regarding the part played by this class in the times of the
Khalifs, see A. Von Kramer _Culturgeschiche des orients unter den
Chalifen_ II. pp, 150, 62.]

Many years after the Arab conquest the ruins that covered Persia excited
the admiration of the Arabs. Their geographers of the ninth and tenth
centuries considered it their duty to enumerate the principal buildings
of the Sasanians reminding the reader that here Khusro built in his time
in bye-gone days a castle, there a mountain fastness, again at a third
place, a bridge.[1] Regarding various ancient structures which had
survived the Sasanian times, we refer, _inter alia_, to Istakhri, (ibid
I), pp. 124; Ibn Hauqal (ibid II) 195; Ibn Khordadbeh (ibid VI) p. 43,
(text); Ibn Rusteh (ibid VII), 153, 162, 164, 165, 166, 167, 189; Yakubi
(ibid VII), 270, 271, 273, &c.

[Footnote 1: _See_ the enumeration of the noteworthy buildings of
ancient Persia as given in Makdisi (B.G.A. III), p. 399, and
Ibn-ul-Fakih (_ibid_ V), p. 267.]

The remains of the structures, monuments of art from the Sasanian times
and the ages preceding them attracted the attention of the Arabs and
they have left descriptions of the same in more or less detail.[1] From
the information of the same Musalman writers we possess accurate
accounts of the inhabitants of Persia and their religions. Thus, for
instance, Yakubi indicates that the inhabitants of Isfahan, Merv, and
Herat, consisted mainly of high-born Dehkans.[2] Makdisi notices a
considerable number of fire-worshippers in several provinces of Persia,
for instance, Irak and Jibal.[3]

[Footnote 1: Istakhri, p. 203, Ibn Hauqal, p, 266, 256, Makdisi pp. 396
and 445, Ibn Rusteh, p. 166.]

[Footnote 2: Yakubi, pp. 274, 279-280.]

[Footnote 3: Makdisi, pp. 126, 194.]


_Relate that the inhabitants of several localities of Kerman during the
entire Umayyad period openly professed Mazdaism._

In a more detailed fashion, however, the Arab writers notice the Mazdian
dwellers of Fars, the heart of the Persian dominion. Makdisi says that
in Fars existed the customs of fire-worshippers but that the
fire-worshipping inhabitants of the capital of the province of Shiraz
had no distinguishing mark on their clothes; from which it follows that
in that age these people were in no way differentiated from the Musalman
subjects.[2] Istakhri[3] and Ibn Hauqal[4] relate that the bulk of the
inhabitants of Fars consisted of fire-worshippers and they were there in
larger number than anywhere else, Fars being the centre of sacerdotal
and cultural life of the empire in the days of Persian independence.
Very minute information is supplied us by these writers[5] regarding the
ancient castles and fire-temples scattered over the whole of Fars in
abundance. The latter is of capital importance since here was the
residence of those two classes of Persian society, noblemen and priests,
who were the staunchest conservators of the ancient national tradition.

[Footnote 1: Istakhri, p. 164; _Ibn_ Hauqal, p. 221.]

[Footnote 2: _See_ Makdisi, pp. 421, 429.]

[Footnote 3: P. 130.]

[Footnote 4: P. 207.]

[Footnote 5: Istakhri, pp. 116-119; also p. 100. Ibn Hauqal, 187-190;
also p. 181.]

It is undoubted that the position of the Parsi community after the
Moslem conquest was comparatively comfortable. Still sometimes it was
darkened by excessive fanaticism and the intrigues of the followers of
other faiths. Although sometimes the Parsis could push themselves
forward to positions of officials and instructors and played an
important part in the history of the Khalifate, generally speaking, this
community was a close one leading a more or less exclusive life, a
circumstance enabling the conservation of national peculiarities and
attachment to antiquity. As time went on, however, the condition of
their existence necessarily became worse and the consequence was the
gradual emigration of a portion of the community from the motherland to
Western India.

In the entire Parsi literature we come across only one historical
composition which recounts this emigration. But the narrative is so
obscure that of the main occurrence in it there must have remained only
a general memory.[1] This book is called the "Kisseh-Sanjan" and was
written at a very late date at the very close of the 16th century, so
that the data given in it have to be looked upon as a reverberation of
ancient tradition.[2]

[Footnote 1: The modern historian and Parsi scholar Karaka, in analysing
the events subsequent to the Arab conquest follows the views of the old
School of writers regarding this epoch as a complete destruction of all
the previous organisation and the triumph of fanaticism of the new
faith. See D.F. Karaka, _History of the Parsis_, Vol I; on the history
of the Parsis subsequent to the Arab invasion _see_ page 22 ff.]

[Footnote 2: E.B. Easrwick, Translation from the Persian of the
"_Kisseh-Sanjan_" or "History of the arrival and settlement of the Parsis
in India." J.B.B.R.A.S., I. 1844, pp. 167-191. (_See_ also Vol. 21,
extra number, 1005, pp. 197-99).]

From the circumstances detailed in this book it appears that the
emigrators after the establishment of Musalman domination passed a
hundred years in a mountainous locality and only after the lapse of
these long years migrated to Hormuz, from where they proceeded to the
peninsula of Gujarat and finally after negotiations with the local chief
settled in Sanjan. Subsequently fresh refugees joined them from
Khorasan. From this last we can infer that the emigration was gradual
and this is confirmed by the fact that in case of migration in a mass
the diaspora of the Parsis would have left some traces in the Arabic
literature. Further there is no doubt that considerable number of Parsis
remained behind in their country and their descendants are the modern
Persian Guebres who, together with the Parsis of India, may be called
the only preservers of ancient Iranian tradition to the present times.

Thus, throughout Persia in the first centuries of Islam national
elements with, changed fortunes persisted in their existence. It is,
however, to be remarked that their success was not uniform in, every
quarter of the country, that their fate depended to a considerable
extent upon the geographical position and the historical life of the
various provinces of the land. Western provinces owing to their
proximity to the centre of the Arab ruling life had more than the rest
to mingle with, the Arab stream, and to participate in the cycle of
events in the Arabic period of the history of the Musalman East. Central
Persia, owing to its geographical position, could not constitute the
point _d'appue_ of the Persian element. For the latter the most
favourably situated provinces were those in the North, East, and South,
Tabaristan, Khorasan, and Fars.


As is well-known throughout the floruit of the Arab empire this province
found itself in almost entire independence of the central power. Local
dynasts called the Ispahbeds enjoyed practical independence and in those
times Arabo-Moslem influences simply did not exist. Local
rulers,--Bavendids, Baduspans, Karenides--appeared successively or
simultaneously following the traditions left to them by the Marzbans or
the land holders and partly the successors of the great King who were
independent from the times of the Arsacide dynasty.[1] Subsequently as
Aliides and Ziyarids, they were closely attached to Shiaism with its
definite expression of Persian sympathy. Nevertheless, this province was
not favourable for a particularly successful national evolution. The
fact was that even in the Sasanian epoch Tabaristan remained a distant
and obscure frontier division and did not take part in the progress of
civilisation of the times. Therefore it could not form the centre of
gravity of Persian life although there is no doubt that in several
respects in this province there were preserved typical features of
Sasanian antiquity.

[Footnote 1: For a general conspectus of the history of the provinces
with regard to their independence during the Sasanian and Arab
domination, _see, e.g._ F. Justi, G.I. Ph., II, pp. 547-49--"History of
Iran from the earliest to the end of the Sasanides" in German--Appendix


It was otherwise with the Eastern provinces of Khorasan, too far distant
from the territary occupied by the Arab settlers, and too densely
inhabited by Iranians to rapidly lose its previous characteristics. On
the contrary, we know from the historians that in this province Iranian
elements remained steadfast throughout the Umayyad dynasty and it was
exclusively due to the support given by Khorasanians to the Abbasides
that the latter succeeded in overthrowing the previous dynasty and
commenced the era of powerful Iranian influences in the history of the
Musalman Orient.[1] Khorasan played a vital part in the development of
the modern Persian literature and especially its chief department,
poetry. The entire early period of the history of modern Persian poetry,
from Abbas welcoming with an ode Khalif Mamun into Merv down to
Firdausi, may be labelled Khorasanian. There flourished the activity of
Rudaki, Kisai, Dakiki, and other less notable representatives of the
early period of modern Persian bards.[2] The culture of poetry was
favoured not only by the geographical position of the province of
Khorasan but by its political conditions. Already in the beginning of
the ninth century in Khorasan there had arisen national Persian
dynasties and under their patronage began the renascence of the Persian
nation (Taherides, Saffarides, Samanides).

[Footnote 1: On the history of Khorasan in the Umayyad period _see_ J.
Wellhausen _Das Arabische Reich und Sein Sturz,_ p, 247 f. and p. 306

[Footnote 2: _See_ the general survey of this period in J, Darmesteter,
"The Origins of the Persian Poesy", in French and E.G. Browne "Literary
History of Persia", I, p, 350 ff.]


Under different circumstances but with considerable significance for the
Persian national ideals lay the Southern province of Fars. Here with
tenacious insistence survived not only national but also political
traditions of ancient Sasanian Persia. Here was the centre of a
government and from here started fresh dynasties. After the Arab
conquest this province came into much more intimate connection with the
Khalifate, than, for instance, Khorasan. But Persian elements were
favoured by its geographical position,--the mountainous character of its
situation and the consequent difficulty of access by the invaders. We
already produced above the information of the Arab geographers of the
tenth century regarding the abundance of fire-temples and castles in
Fars. They relate that there was no village or hamlet of this province
in which there was no fire-temple. Residence was taken up in strong
castles by the native aristocrats whose ideals were rooted in the
Sasanian epoch. Just in these geographers, Istakhri and Ibn Hauqal, is
to be found information of unusual importance, so far as we can judge,
regarding the conservation of the Parsi tradition in Fars These authors
have been up to now not only not appreciated but their significance for
our question has not yet been adequately recognised.

Istakhri and Ibn Hauqal enumerating the castles of Fars declare as
follows regarding the castle of Shiz:[1]

"The castle of Shiz is situated in the district of Arrajana. There live
fire-worshippers[2] who know Persia and her past. Here they study. This
castle is very strong."

[Footnote 1: Istakhri, p. 118, 2-4; Ibn Hauqal, p, 180, 1-2.]

[Footnote 2: In the text occurs the Persian word _badgozar_, that is to
say, the rhapsodists, the relators of the national traditions; on this
word see B.G.A. III, pp. 182-83, and Vuller's _Lexicon Persico-Latinum_
S.V. For a parallel to the archives of the Achamenide empire _see_ F.
Justi, _Ein Tag aus den Leben des konigs Darius._]

Further we read the following in Istakhri (page 150, 14-17):--

"In the district of Sabur on the mountain there are likenesses of all
the noteworthy Persian kings and grandees, of illustrious preservers of
fire, high _mobeds_ and others. Their portraits, their acts and
narratives about them are successively recorded in volumes. With
particular care are preserved these volumes by the people living in a
locality in the district of Arrajan called the castle of Shiz."

From this information we learn that in one of the castles of Fars down
to the tenth century there were preserved manuscripts written probably
in the Pahlavi language containing narratives from Persian history and
illustrated with, portraits after the style of the Sasanian reliefs to
be found in the rocks in the district of Sabur.[1] This strong mountain
fastness was probably little accessible to the Arabs and afforded an
asylum to the _mobeds, dehkans_ and others interested in the past of
their country.

[Footnote 1: That is after the style of the Sasanian bass-reliefs which
were preserved in his time on the rocks in the vicinity of Shapur and
the most famous type of which are the bass-reliefs representing the
triumphs of the Sasanian Shapur I, over the emperor Valentine].

These facts generally important for the history of the preservation of
the epic, historic and artistic traditions of Iran, are particularly
important for the investigation of the sources of the Arabic
translations of the Sasanian chronicles and of the epopee of Firdausi.
As we know, the translators of these chronicles were Persian
"fire-worshippers" or Musalmans who had adopted Islam only externally
and had remained true to the ancient Persian religion. Among them the
foremost is called _Mobed_ belonging to the city of Sabur in the
province of Fars. He is important as a worker in the Iranian historical
tradition and about him we shall have occasion to speak later on. This
_Mobed_ probably made Arabic translations of Sasanian chronicles from
materials in the archives in the castle of Shiz. Further, the
information adduced by us above regarding the castle refers to times a
little previous to the age of Firdausi and undoubtedly among the
materials in these archives were the sources of the Shah Nameh which
were available to Firdausi through intermediate versions. Finally, we
see that these Sasanian histories were illustrated, a fact which is
confirmed by the statement of other Arab writers as we shall see later
on. Generally the district of Arrajan enjoyed its ancient glory with
reference to its cultural connections. Yakut[1] has preserved for us the
information that at Raishahar in the district of Arrajan there lived in
the Sasanian times men, versed in a peculiar species of syllabary who
wrote medical, astronomical and logical works.

[Footnote 1: "_Muajjam ul Buldan_", ed. Wustenfeld, II, p. 887. This
passage has been translated by Barbier de Maynard in his "Geographical,
Historical and Literary Dictionary of Persia", in French, pp. 270-271.
_See_ also Fihrist II, p, 105.]

What we have studied above establishes the existence of Persian literary
tradition in its national form for several centuries after the Arab
invasion. Now we have to survey wherein lie the characteristic features
of this tradition and what were its main contents. And we pass on to
their consideration.


The Parsi Clergy and the Musalman Iranophile party of the Shuubiya 26

The part played by them in the conservation of the Persian literary
tradition 30

The different varieties of this tradition; scientific, epico-historic,
legendary and ethico-didactic 32


We have demonstrated above that in the time subsequent to the Arab
conquest Iranian tradition found a congenial asylum in the bosom of the
Parsi priesthood. There it was maintained and developed orally as well
as in a written form. The most competent among the Persian historians
who employed the Arabic language in those times turned to the Parsi
clergy for information. Of this we have first-hand proof in their own
works and in the quotations from other works preserved in later authors.
For example, they frequently remark "the Mobedan-mobed related to me",
"the _mobed_ so and so told me" and so on. In their quest for ancient
Persian books, too, Arab authors searched for them among the Parsi
priesthood and it was only there that they found them. Thus it was the
merit of the Parsi community that it conserved Iranian traditions daring
unfavourable times and handed them on to Moslem Persia under more
auspicious conditions.

Involuntarily we are led to a comparison, to their advantage, with the
activity of the Iranophile party of the same times in the Moslem
community, the party of the Shuubiya,[1] In their capacity as promoters
of learning and exponents of literature they concentrated their activity
in the cultured centre of the Khalifate at Baghdad and other cities, and
being familiar with Persia played an important part in the development
of Moslem culture of the Middle Ages. But in the preservation of the
Iranian tradition they turned to much restricted and greatly exclusive
Parsi circles. In the second half of the tenth century and in the
eleventh century the currents which were preparing the Persian
renascence party were lost and their significance forgotten. But for
the purpose of illuminating historical questions a careful examination
of these currents deserves our undivided attention. It was owing to them
that literary materials were preserved which were sometimes direct
translations from books belonging to the Sasanian period. The course by
which these materials found their way into Arabic literature can be
definitely traced. They came from Parsi centres through older circles
of Moslem civilisation which were sympathetic towards Persia. Generally
speaking they were trustworthy transmitters. As a matter of fact the
Shuubiya turned only to the Parsi circles for materials and in the
explanation of the material they did not distinguish them from their
other sources. Their sources betray themselves by an exaggerated Parsi
partiality where the penchant of these circles is clearly manifest. And
these are intimately connected with certain questions of daily
life,--the struggle for power between the Arab and the Iranian element
in the Khalifate. Enthusiastic partisans of the Persian element, these
circles as a counterblast to the poverty of civilizing factors of the
pre-Islamic Arab nation, turned to the glories of Persia, principally
of the Sasanian past. Iranophile writers had no need for inventions,
since historical truth was on their side. The effectiveness of their
method was indisputable. In this connection Iranian tradition among the
Musalmans as transmitted by Arab writers must take precedence of a
similar transmission, the Christian literature of the East, where all
possibility was excluded of polemics such as obtained under the Moslem
domination between the pro-Iranian and anti-Iranian parties. It is,
therefore, to be regretted that the literary activities of the Musalman
circles sympathising with Persian culture have descended to us only in
occasional extracts and are sometimes confined only to the titles of
books written by them.

[Footnote 1: For details, Goldziher. _Muhammedanische Studien,_ I,

We noticed above the revival of scientific activities in Sasanian
Persia. This activity for the most part has its significance in its
quality of being a connecting link, in the first place, as the
transmitter of Greek knowledge to the East, and secondly, as the unifier
of this knowledge with the heritage which Sasanian Persia had received
from scientific works belonging to Semitic culture, as well as from the
science of India. The principal representatives of this activity were
not Persians, but Christians, mainly the Syrian Nestorians, and
Monophysites from the school of Edessa.[1]

[Footnote 1: For a general account of the character of this activity see
T.J. de Boer, _History of Philosophy in Islam_, 17-20.]

What was the share in these operations of the Persians themselves it is
hard to tell. But at all events, it was not considerable.[1] The general
character of this activity does not leave particular room for wide
creative science, since it has expressed itself pre-eminently in
compilations, translations of philosophical, astronomical, astrological,
medical, mathematical and ethical commentaries on Greek and some Indian
authors. It was not in this field that the activity of the Persian
sacerdotal community in the Sasanian epoch was concentrated. And
latterly in the period of the development of analogous scientific work
dining the eastern Khalifate under the Abbasides the principal role
belonged just to the same class of scholars, Christian Syrians, with
just this difference that the activity of the latter continued among the
Musalman alumni of various nationalities whilst in Sasanian Persia their
operations were cut short by the unfortunate circumstances of the Arab
inroads. It is interesting that in the Abbaside period the translations
made from the Persian authors or authors belonging to Persia appertain
to a certain special _genre_ of works of a technical nature, books on
warfare[2], on divination, on horse-breaking[3], on the training of
other animals, and on birds[4] trained to hunting. These special
treatises were of no abstract scientific contents but referred to the
practical demands of life.

[Footnote 1: As regards philosophical traditions of Sasanian Persia in
the Musalman epoch principally we may refer to the influence of the
system of "_Zervanism_" on the adherents of the system of "_Dahar_", de
Boer 15 and 76.]

[Footnote 2: See my studies on the _Ain-Nameh_.]

[Footnote 3: See my book on _Materials from Arabic Sources for Culture
History of Sasanian Persia_.]

[Footnote 4: Fihrist 315.]

A different kind of importance attaches to histories devoted to
government and national life of the Sasanian period and to the epic and
literary tradition of Persia. Their value as history has been
acknowledged and appreciated by the progressive circles of the Musalman
community. Contemporary researches directing the greatest attention to
this aspect of Iranian movement appreciated its value and thanks to
their works, we are enabled to speak with some clearness regarding
books of exceeding importance. Traces of ancient Iranian epic tradition
are observable in some Greek writers, Ktesias, Herodotus, Elian, Charen
of Mytelene and Atheneus. But it has survived in a considerable quantity
in the Avesta.[1]

[Footnote 1: The principal works for investigating the Persian
historical and literary tradition are, besides the introduction to his
edition and translation of the Shah-Nameh by Mohl, Noeldeke's German
_History of the Persians, and Arabs at the time of the Sasanians_, his
introduction, and his Iranian national epic G.I.Ph. II, 130--212; Baron
Rosen, _On the question of the Arabic translations of the Khudai Nameh_
(Paraphrase by Kirst in W.Z.K.M.X, 1896); H. Zotenberg, History of the
Kings of Persia by Al-Thalibi, Arabic text with translation, especially
Preface, XLI-XLIV. A number of profound ideas and ingenious suggestions
are made in the various articles and reviews by Gutschmid. (See Appendix
V, p. 141).]

The most recent and pregnant exposition is by Lehmann.

It existed also in official writings of the Sasanian times, recensions
of which, we possess in several Arab histories and in the Shah Nameh.
Like the scientific literature these writings were subjected to a final
redaction towards the close of the Sasanian dynasty and it is this
recension that has mainly come down to posterity. Alongside of official
writings of a general character, there existed various books of
epic-historical contents, for instance, the _Yadkari-Zariran_.[1] As in
these writings, so in the versions appearing from them at later times,
the materials embodied were of a kindred nature, like the Romance of
Behram Chobin, Story of Behram Gor, the narrative of the introduction
into Persia of the Game of Chess. Besides these there were writings
relating to local histories. It is noteworthy that the epic element was
and is preserved with persistence by the Parsis. Mohl notes that the
majority of Persian epic poems, excepting the Shah Nameh, has been
preserved only in manuscripts belonging to Parsis[2]. Farther
development of this phase of Persian literary tradition bifurcated into
two directions. It has been shown that the official chronicles of the
Sasanian times exercised influence on the development of the Musalman
science of history. On the other hand, the epic was resuscitated in
heroic romances and tales[3]. Alongside of the historical traditions and
the epos stands the romantic poesy which has entered into Musalman
literature in a marked degree in the shape of Iranian tradition. At the
time this species of poetry prospered in Arabic literature there was a
strong Persian influence and some of its representatives were
undoubtedly inclined to Persian literary motifs, for instance, the
Shuubite Sahal Ibn Harun.[4]

[Footnote 1: We refer mainly to the epic cycle of Soistan for the views
of the authorities on which see Mohl (LXII) and Noeldeke _National
Epic_, 80-81. As a supplement to the bibliography furnished by Noeldeke
see V. Rugarli, the _Epic of Kershasp_, G.S.A.I., XI, 33-81, 1898.]

[Footnote 2: LXVII, note 2.]

[Footnote 3: On the process of the latter nature see Mohl LXXII ff.
Regarding one of the principal representatives of the later stage of
this development see Abu Taher Tarsusi, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1, 115.]

[Footnote 4: Fihrist 120, 1-13. For this kind of poetry see Fihrist 306,
8-308, 14, and compare also the books characterised at page 314, 1-7.]

To the same type of literary monuments we have to add the vast field of
story literature. Although a considerable portion of it belongs to the
province of migratory subjects, and although to Persia belongs often
only the rôle of the transmitter, nevertheless, collections of stories
of this class undoubtedly had their assigned place in the Sasanian epoch
and the dependence of the core of the _Thousand and One Nights_ on the
Persian stories collected in the _Hazar Afsan_[1] is indisputable. We
shall not, therefore, stop here further regarding facts which have been
decided more than once. We will only observe that in connection with the
Persian literary age of the Sasanians we have to indicate a series of
works of the character of epic tales arisen from the ancient historical
period of the western boundary of Persia and representing "stories of
the Babylonian kingdom" which have been enumerated among the books of
this class and also among Persian books,--a circumstance which proves
that these tales originated in Sasanian literature. Finally, just as in
historical and especially in narrative literature, Persian tradition
survived to the Musalman times so also it continued to live in the
writings of the ethico-didactical category. The importance of the
Pahlavi translation of the book of _Kalileh and Dimneh_ for the
migration of this collection of tales to the West is well-known. The
significance of Pahlavi translations is not less evident with regard to
the _Hazar Afsan_ in connection with the _Thousand and One Nights_.
Still Persian tradition in the field of ethico-didactic literature has
been studied and appreciated much less than in the historical and story
literature. We have now to examine a few questions in connection with
the Persian tradition regarding the ethico-didactic literature of the
early Musalman epoch. We shall devote the following chapter to its

[Footnote 1: Fihrist 304, 10-305, 2. Fihrist 306, 6; Fihrist 305, 7.]


The ethico-didactic books in the Fihrist (315, 19-316, 25) 38

They are almost exclusively of Persian origin 38


Opinion on the importance of the influence of ethical and didactical
works of the Sasanian times on the literature of this class of early
Moslem epoch, generally speaking has been expressed in scientific works
and has found admittance into a few general surveys of Persian
literature. To the literary monuments go back a number of books on what
is called _Adab_, good behaviour or agreeable manners, in modern Persian
literature. Besides several literary monuments of later ages,[1] for the
solution of this question, capital importance attaches to the
information given in the _Fihrist_ of an-Nadhim which is the fundamental
source of the history of entire Arabic literature bearing on our period.
Further on we shall draw upon this work with the object of determining
this species of literary tradition in Arabic books of the first
centuries of Islam.

[Footnote 1: P. Horn, Geschichte der persischen Letteratur, _(Die
Letteraturen des Ostens in Finzeldarslellungen_ Bd VI) 38, and _Die
Mittelpersische Letteratur_, 237.]

Great importance for this problem lies in that portion of the Fihrist
which when first edited had elicited little interest, and where are
enumerated the titles of books of ethico-didactic character, Persian,
Greek, Indian, Arabic, by well-known authors and by anonymous
writers[1]. We are aware that in the Fihrist there are partly Arabic,
partly Persian, titles of books which have come down to us in a
mutilated form, but at the same time some of them have reached us in
their correct shapes and others are often easily restorable.

[Footnote 1: Fihrist 315, 19-316, 23.]

In this section of the Fihrist we have in all forty-four titles of
books. Among them a large number can be directly traced to Persian
origin and a portion were evidently written under Persian influence. To
the first class we have no hesitation in assigning fourteen names of
books, since as we shall see, two of them or possibly three pertain to
one and the same work. We will examine these titles in some detail.

1. The first book is by Zadan Farrukh and is a testament to his son[1].
Although we are not able to recall a book of this title among the
Pahlavi literature that has come down to us, still the general character
of this work is presented to us in perfect definiteness. It is
undoubtedly one of the testaments or counsels, the so-called _Pand
Nameh_ or _Andarz_, of a father to a son, or some one person to another,
and the typical representatives of which in the Pahlavi literature
appear to be the well-known book of testament of Adarbad to his son, the
book of advice to his son by Khosro Anushirvan and the book of counsel
to the latter by his Wazir, Buzurj Meher[2].

[Footnote 1: In the text the term is Zadan Farrukh, but Justi already in
his _Iranisches Namenbuch_ in 1895 proposed the reading Zadan Farrukh.]

[Footnote 2: As regards the first, see my _Materials from Arabic
Sources,_ page 68-69. For the second, West Pahlavi literature G.I. Ph.
II, 112. For the third, in Pahlavi verse West 113. For Musalman times
see Schefer Chrestomathy 3-6 and Salemann and Zukovski, Persian Grammar
page 41-49. Also compare _Melanges Asiatiques_ IX, 215. In Arabic
Anthologies especially of the character of what is known as
Furstenspiegel the maxims of this wise Wazir are very frequently quoted.
See for instance, _Sirajul Mulk_ of Tartushi, also compare the
bibliography in V. Chaubin, of Arabic works, Leige 1892, page 66.]

Alongside of this most celebrated _Pand Nameh_ in the Pahlavi
literature are also famous a number of other analogous literary
monuments traceable to definite persons, while some are anonymous. They
are of a nature, for instance, of a simple testament from father to

[Footnote 1: West 109-111, and 113-115.]

As we have already observed, and as we shall have occasion to speak
further, this category of literary remains undoubtedly survived in the
Musalman literature and partly in the literature of the Arabs. For the
study of the Pahlavi literature this class of tracts has already evoked
attention and has called forth several editions and translations. We
notice that their interest goes beyond that of Pahlavi literature proper
and they are important also for the history of the literature of
Musalman nations. Moreover, they are of interest from a general point of
view, for the study of Musalman culture. In fact, by their very
character these works are brief catechisms with no pretensions to
abstract theoretical acquaintance with the sacerdotal tracts, composing
another important section of Pahlavi literature, but immediately
connected with the daily ordinary life. It goes without saying that
whoever read them in the original, their interest did not lie in their
theoretical character, but that they were rendered into Arabic and
modern Persian languages with a view to the same practical end. Hence
however monotonous they are,[1] whatever wearisome character these books
possess, they are of great interest for the purpose of comparison with
similar productions of Musalman literature and for the purpose of
establishing their influence in the unfolding of ethical ideas of the
Musalman east, which are far from being clearly made manifest. This side
of the question deserves, in my opinion, in these days ampler attention
and research.

[Footnote 1: See Noeldeke "_Persische Studien_" II, S.B.W.A, 1892, 29,
Noeldeke remarks, with reference to this class of literature, "that the
investigation of this fatiguing business demands an unusual amount of
patience", see for instance, the comparison instituted between ethical
norm in the Parsi and in the Musalman Literature by Darmesteter in
_Revue Critique_, 21, 1-8.]

2. The second book in the Fihrist is attributed to a _Mobedan-mobed_
that is, head of the Parsi clergy, who in Arabic texts is sometimes
called simply Al-Mobedan and whose name was not understood by Flugel[1].
The same word is met with in a mutilated form in another place in the
Fihrist[2]. (119-20).

[Footnote 1: Fugel took it for a dual, and consequently divided the name
into two.]

[Footnote 2: The book next following is called _Kitab kay Lorasp_ and
apparently it had to do with questions connected with Persian literary

He is mentioned by Ali Ibn Rayhani, Arabic author, who stood in near
relationship to the Khalif and who was partial to the Zindiks, that is,
in this case, to the Dualists. He is a reputed author of several books
among which there is one whose title was restored by Justi in the
_Namenbuch_[1]. The conjecture of Justi that this name should be read
Mihr Adar Jushnas is fully supported by a sketch of it in a passage of
interest to us in the Fihrist. Justi hesitated to declare whether this
was the name of the book or of its author. But in another place in the
text this word is accompanied by the designation Al-Mobedan from which
we can undoubtedly conclude that this book was ascribed to a particular
person, the supreme _Mobed_ Mihr Adar Jushnas. Therefore, this title of
the book should be read as that of the book of Mihr Adar Jushnas, the
Mobedan. This book stands at the head of the works we are considering in
the Fihrist. Therefore, we can fully trace it to the Persian literary

[Footnote 1: _Namenbuch_ Mahr Adar Jushnes.]

3. Similarly there can be no scepticism regarding the individual nature
of the book called the _Book of the Testament of Khusro to his son
Ormuz_, the admonition given to the latter when he handed over to him
the reins of government and the reply of Ormuz. Flugel already perfectly
correctly noticed that by Kisra we must here understand Kisra
Anushirvan. In this way in this book or in the first half of it we have
certainly the _Andarz Khusro_, the celebrated work in the Pahlavi
literature which has been preserved up to our times and which has been
translated into the European languages.[1] It contains a number of
counsels of Khusro to his son and occupies the place of importance in
this species of literature. It is of a pseudo-epigraphic character.

[Footnote 1: See West, 112. The full title is: _Andarz-e-Khusro Kavadan.

4. With this book is identical another mentioned just there but a little
further and entitled the _Book of Counsels of Kisra Anushirvan to his
son_ who was called "a well of eloquence". In this way these third and
fourth titles indicate one and the same book sufficiently known in the
Persian literary tradition in which we are interested.

5. To the same category belongs another book ascribed to the Kisra. It
is possible that in this book we have a treatise identical with the one
referred to above as the book of the Testament of Khosro Anushirwan,
since in several redactions his testaments are represented as advice to
his son while in some they stand as admonition directed to the general

[Footnote 1: Salemann, _Mittel-persische Studeîn, Melanges Asiatiques_,
ix, 1888, 218.]

6. Under the sixth heading appears a _Book of Counsels of Ardeshir
Babekan to his son Sabur._ This work which was sufficiently known and
made use of in the early Moslem period has not come down to us in the
original Pahlavi. We know of the existence of a verse translation of
this book in the Arabic made by Belazuri (Fihrist, 113 and 114).
Moreover, this work was considered as a model composition (probably as
represented by Belazuri), and in this connection it was comparable
(Fihrist 126, 15-19) to _Kalileh wa Dimneh,_ the Essays of Umar Ibn
Hamza,[1] Al Mahanith,[2] the tract called _Yatima_ of Ibn al Mukaffa,
and the Essays of Ahmed Ibn Yusuf, secretary of Mamun. In view of the
importance attached to this and the following _risalas_ by the author of
the Fihrist, it would be interesting to have their editions and

[Footnote 1: A relative of the Khalif Mansur and Mahdi, a secretary of
the former Fihrist, 118, 8-12. In the _Kitab al Mansur wal Manzum_ of
Ahmed ibn Abi Taher (_vide_ Baron B.P. Rosen, _On the Anthology of Ahmed
ibn Abi Taher_, Journal of the Russian Oriental Society, Vol. III, 1889,
page 264). The essay probably referred to is called _Rasalat fi al
Khamis lil Mamun_. (Or Rislat al Jaysh). See Fihrist, II, 52.]

[Footnote 2: This was probably the title of the epistle of Umar Ibn
Hamza to Ali ibn Mahan preserved by the same Ahmed ibn Abi Taher. As
regards persons by the name of Mahan in the Musalman period see Justi
_Namenbuch_ 185.]

Extracts from this testament especially from its concluding portion,
have been handed down to us in the _Kitabat Tambih._[1] They relate to
the prophecy of Zaradusht regarding the destruction of the Persian
religion and empire in the course of a thousand years after him.[2]

[Footnote 1: By the same Ahmed ibn Abi Taher has been preserved the
Essay of this Ahmed ibn Yusuf on "Thankfulness"--_Risalat Ahmed ibn
Yusuf fishshukr_ which possibly is referred to by the author of the
Fihrist. See also there the highly important _Risalat ibn Mukaffa

B.G.A. VIII, 98, 16-99, 1. Macoudi, _Le livre de l'avertissement et de
la revision_, trad. par Carra de Vaux, Paris, 1897, 141-142.]

[Footnote 2: In connection with this prophecy, as regards the changes
which were made in the chronological system of the Persian history see
A. Gutschmid, _Kleine Schriften,_ III, Leipzig, 1892. 22-23, and 97,

It is highly interesting that just like the well-known testament by
Tansar to the king of Tabaristan this testament was written at a
considerably later period, in the time of Anushirwan.[3]

[Footnote 3: See on this question Christensen 111-112 and Appendix VI.]

Regarding the general character of this apocryphal testament we may
judge by the counsels of the founder of the Sasanian dynasty which have
come down to us in various Arabic and Persian historical works and in
the Shah Nameh.

7. The 7th title refers to the book of a certain _mobedan mobed_ on
rhetorical passages which were analogous probably to the anonymous _Pand
Namehs_ which are found in the Pahlavi literature.

8. The 8th is the book on the correspondence between the Kisra and a

[Footnote 1: Does not this appear like a book containing the
correspondence on the well-known episode in the history of the Persians
in Yemen and the letters which were exchanged between the Marzban or
Mavazan and Khosrau Parviz? (See Noeldeke, Tabari 237, 264, 350-351).]

9-10. The 9th and the 10th titles relate to books of questions directed
on a certain occasion by the king of Rome to Anushirwan and on another
occasion by the king of Rome to another emperor of Persia.

11. The 11th book refers to the order of Ardeshir to bring out from the
treasury books written by Wisemen on "Government."

12. The 12th book was written for Hormaz, son of Kisra, _i.e.,_ Kisra
Anushirwan on the correspondence between a certain Kisra and

[Footnote 1: Are we to understand under this name a reference to the
well-known Jamasp Hakim occurring in Pahlavi literature (Weat, 110)?

On the Persian wisdom of Jamasp, see C.H.L. Flise, cher _Kleinere
Schriften_ 3 Leipzig, 1888, 254-255, and Justi _Namenbuch_, 109.

The name, however, cannot be clearly read, Hadahud (see Fihrist, 316,
13) where instead of Mardyud should be read Mardwaihi. In the same book
162, 6, instead of Zaydyud should be read Zaiduya. As regards the name
Hadahud generally, see Justi, 177, who mentions a son of Farrukhzad.]

13. The 13th book is attributed to a certain Kisra and it is added that
it treated of gratitude and was written for the benefit of the public.

14. Finally, the 14th heading referred no doubt to one of those Persian
books written by Persians bearing Persian names and embodying various
stories and anecdotes.

Of the remaining 30 books, 11 belong to the Moslem period but were
composed at the time of complete Persian influence on Arabic literature.
We have three books on Adab written for Khalif Mahdi, Rashid and for the
Barmecide Yahya ibn Khalid. Then there are nine books by authors who are
partly unknown and partly belong to the same period of Persian influence
and who have been mentioned in other places in the Fihrist.

Of the remaining 19 books a considerable number is to be found to have
issued from Persian sources. Of Persian origin probably were two books
translated by the aforesaid Mihr Adur Jushnasp--one relating to 'Adab'
and the other on 'house-building.'

The book on the refutation of the Zendiks by an unknown author was
probably derived from Parsi circles. For, especially in the reign of
Mamun there existed various controversies with the followers of Mazdaism
and Dualists.[1]

[Footnote 1: A. Barthelémy, Gujastak Abalish. _Rélation d'une Conférence
Théologique, presidée par le Calife Mamoun_, Paris, 1887. (Bibliotheque
de l'école des hautes études, sciences philologiques et historiques,
LXIX., fascicule.)]

Further, undoubtedly under Persian books must be reckoned the book of
the 'Counsels' of ancient kings and the book of the 'Questions' to
certain Wisemen, and their Answers. If these are not of direct Persian
origin they are similar in contents to Persian books. Two books included
in this list, namely, one by a certain Christian on ethico-didactical
subjects as is stated in the title itself, drawn from Persian, Greek and
Arabic sources, and the other, a book translated by the author of the
Fihrist himself containing the anecdotes regarding the people of a
superior class and of the middle class--these two books on account of
their contents embody the experiences relating to ethico-didactical
questions and were of the nature of compilation similar to the book of
Ibn Miskawaihi of whom we shall speak later on. Finally, all the
remaining books relate to that class of anecdotal and didactic
literature which spread so wide among Arabic writers through Pahlavi and
originating from Indian authors. Such books were, for instance, the
story of Despair and Hope, the Book of Hearing and Judgment, the Book of
the two Indians, a liberal man and a miser, their disputation, and the
judgment passed on them by the Indian prince, etc. That our assumption
is highly probable is confirmed by the mention among these books of the
book of the philosopher and his experiences with the slave girl

[Footnote 1: This book no doubt is a portion of the well-known fable Lai
d'--Aristote preserved in certain ancient monuments of Arabic
literature. The same book is mentioned among Persian books in another
place in the Fihrist. (305-6). Kitab Musk Zanameh, w[=a] shah Zanan.
These two books have been variously transcribed by the copyists.]

The name has been much mutilated and serves as an example of the degree
to which Persian titles have been corrupted. Nevertheless, thanks to the
circumstance that the name of the slave girl has come down to us, in the
Arabic version of the story we are able to trace the title adduced in
the Fihrist.[1]

[Footnote 1: Le Livre des beautes et des antithesis attribute a Abu
Othman Amr ibn Bahr al-Djahiz texte publie par G. Van Vloten, Leyde,
1898, 225-257; E. G., Browne, "some account of the Arabic work entitled
Nihayatu'l-irab fi Akhbari'l Furs wa'l-Arab," particularly of that part
which treats of the Persian kings, J.R.A.S. (900, 243-245).]

This name is Mushk Daneh or a grain of Musk. The book of Musk Daneh and
the _mobed_ became famous in Arabic literature as a separate Persian

[Footnote 2: Similarly the title Shahzanan in the Fihrist is possibly
Mobedan, (See Browne 244, 2, 3, 11, 15; 245, 4, 15; and Van Vloten 255,
16; 256, 1, 4, 14; 257, 7, 9; or Shaikh al mobedan, Browne 245.)]


The Persian, sources of the compilation of Ibn Miskawaihi 54

Preponderance of the Persian element in the evolution of the Musalman
morals 57

The "Book of Adab" by Ibn al Muqaffa and other similar Arabic works 59


At the head of works under the title of ethico didactic writings, which
have come down to us stands a group most characteristically denominated
_Adab ul Arab val Furs_ belonging to the pen of a writer of the 10th and
11th centuries, Ibn Miskawaihi whose name is pronounced in Persian Ibn
Mushkuya. At the basis of this collection lies the ancient Persian
pseudepigraphical book _Javidan khired_, or "Eternal wisdom." But in the
body of it there is a series of literary monuments of Sasanian
literature and its descendants.[1] The author is known, besides, by his
philosophical works, as a historian[2] and as such he is particularly
important for the history of the Buides.[3] And his Persian origin would
point to his sympathy for Persian literary tradition. As a matter of
fact, his ethico-didactic collection is based on a book of the Sasanian
epoch. It would appear that this circumstance has undoubted significance
for the determination of the influence in the compilation of Moslem
ethical ideals. However, in contradiction to this basal fact and
notwithstanding that in the province of the development of Islam as a
religion, Persian element played an important part,[4] the development
of the Moslem ethical tracts in contemporary literature, for the most
part, is dependent upon more antique, specially Greek, tradition. J.
Goldziher recognizing the importance of the influence of Parsism on
Islam says the exact demonstration of the dependence of these phenomena
on the culture historical facts, whose consequences they are, would be
the most interesting task which those studying Islam in its present
position can place before themselves. Many of the dominating views
regarding the original spirit of Islam would receive the needed
correction by such investigation.

[Footnote 1: On this work and its manuscripts see my _Material from Arab
sources_ 68-69.]

[Footnote 2: For Miskawaihi as a philosopher see Boer 116-119.]

[Footnote 3:--He was the treasurer and a close friend of the Buide

[Footnote 4: For a general sketch of Moslem ethics in ancient times see
Carra de Vaux, _Gazali_, 129-142, and _Encyclopaedia of Islam_ 4,

Let us examine three points regarding the influence on Moslem morals and
general conduct. In the first place stand the moral writings of
ecclesiastical character. The morality is rooted in and based on the
moral of the Bible and then on the developed Moslem law and has absorbed
in itself some of the elements of the ethics of Christianity. In the
second place, there is a series of ethical documents of a most valued
nature in the shape of proverbs, dicta, maxims, fables, constituting a
kind of moral philosophy, often independent of each other, varied in
their character, and different as to time and the place of their
compositions. Here we may separate a certain stratum of Persian element,
and an analysis of them may reveal partly contemporary knowledge and
partly elements of foreign religious ethics. The third but not the last
place in importance is occupied by the Greek ethical tradition in which
latterly are discernible important Christian constituents. Recent
studies have yielded us as their result, this structure of Musalman
ethics. But it is to be noted that the theoretical deductions at first
sight do not find confirmation in facts. For we do not know which Greek
books on ethics were translated in the beginning of the period of the
scientific development of Islam, and for the support of our thesis we
have to point to the possibility of oral transmission of Hellenic
ethical tradition through Syriac scholars, although this circumstance
does not militate against our hypothesis. Besides a small amount of
translations from Greek ethical works, especially the books of
Aristotle, there are observed among the works embodied in this tradition
a series of pseudographs which, however, can have only an external
relation with the Greek sciences and which would rather lead to the
second group of the influences on Musalman ethical monuments namely, the
group of monuments of "Oriental wisdom." The most typical of the
pseudographical _wisaya_, or "Testaments" are ascribed to Aristotle,
Pythagoras, and others. To our mind, they are derived from Persian
tradition to the same extent, if not in a larger extent than from the
Christian. Actual studies demonstrate that the basal work for this epoch
was the book above-mentioned of Ibn Miskawaihi which as we saw above,
issued from Persian literary tradition. And the character of that
tradition can be explained from exterior circumstances without an
analysis of its contents. The fact is that Ibn Miskawaihi worked upon
that class of Persian material, for instance the _Pand Nameh_ or
_Andarz_, which had nothing to do with the province of the indefinite
gnomic literature but which had the character of a catechism and
therefore expresses a definite system of religious morals, the morals of
Parsism.[1] The appreciation of the influence of Parsism on Islam has
only just commenced. But we are already in a position to emphasise the
great influence, which Parsi ethics have exercised on Islam and this
influence has been attested by a number of Greek and Christian
witnesses. So far, for an acknowledgment of this influence serves a
purely external fact, namely, a glance at the bibliography of the
ancient ethico-didactic tracts in the Musalman literature and an
examination of the contents of the book of Ibn Muskawaihi. A number of
additional facts confirm this hypothesis.

[Footnote 1: For a general review of the morals of Parsism see A.V.W.
Jackson's G. I. Ph. Vol. II, 678-683.]

Well-known is the importance enjoyed in the beginning of the epoch of
the development of the Arabic Musalman literature, by the activities of
the Parsi Ibn al Muqaffa.[1] He is famous as the first commentator of
the Greek books on logic in Arabic literature, but he is particularly
renowned as the efficient supporter of the Persian literary tradition
and its translator into the Arabic literature. His rendering of _Kalila
and Dimma_ is well-known. It enjoys a prime role in the migration of
this collection of stories to the West. Well-known also is his
translation of the Persian book of _Khoday Nameh_,--that is, the
official chronicle of the Sasanian times and of the _Ain Nameh_, the
Institutes of the time. We shall have occasion to speak about these
books later on. To him also belong the books closely connected with the
Sasanian epoch, namely, the _Book of Mazdak_ the _Book of Taj_ to which
we shall refer further on. It is interesting that he is also the reputed
author of two books on Adab, perhaps among the most ancient ones in
Arabic literature.[2] One of these books called the Smaller was probably
contained in the other which is called the Larger and has the purely
Persian title of Mah farra Jushnas. (This is how the title is to be read
according to Hoffmann and Justi).[3] Since the interest of Muqaffa was
concentrated in the province of Persian culture it is indisputable that
his activity was not confined in this direction to one book and the
contents of the book have vestiges in a high degree of dependence on
Persian motifs. This is proved by a variety of circumstances. We have
descended to us his book called _Al Yatima_, a tract on that aspect of
morals which was especially diffused in the Sasanian epoch and was
devoted to politics and in form represented the species of writings
called Furstenspiegel.[4] A tradition of this kind of literature for
long continued to live in the Musalman writers and the typical
representative of the species seems to be the famous _Siyasat Nameh_, of
Nizam-ulmulk, the Saljuk Wazir. On some occasions it directly serves as
a source for the internal history of the Sasanian domination. It bears
particularly on didactic literature though it has been as yet very ill
studied from the comparative standpoint. The Sasanian influence is
perfectly obvious. Some portions of Al Yatima of Ibn Muqaffa may be
parallelled to corresponding remnants from Pahlavi literature in the
_Kabus Nameh_ and the _Siasat Nameh._[5] We know further that books
under the title of Persian Adab were spread among those who sympathised
with Mazdaism and Manichism in the circle of Moslem society.[6] These
books by their character were comparable to books on Mazdak but also to
Kalila wa Dimna.

[Footnote 1: Fihrist, 118, 18-29, and Ibn al Qifti's _Tarkh al hukama_
edited by Lippert, page 220, 1-10.]

[Footnote 2: Brockelmann, On the rhetorical writings of Ibn all Mukaffa,
Z.D.M.G. 53, 231-32.]

[Footnote 3: Hoffmann "Extracts from Syrian acts of Persian martyrs",
1880 page 289 note, and Justi, _Namenbuch_ 186.]

[Footnote 4: Precise information regarding its contents is rather to be
found in Ibn al Qifti than in the _Fihrist_. In the former the heading
is _Fi taat us Sultan_, in the latter _Fi rasail._ See _La perle
incomparable ou_ l'art du parfait courtisane de Abdallah ibn al-Muqaffa,
1906. See the French translation from the Dutch rendering of this

[Footnote 5: On the political ideas of the latter see Pizzi, Le idee
politiche di Nizam-ul-Mulk G.S.A. 1., 131-141.]

[Footnote 6: Tabari "Annales" Vol. 3, 1309, 9-15, and Browne A literary
History of Persia, 1, 332.]

Besides Muqaffa a number of writers of the epoch of the development of
Arabic Musalman literature interested themselves in themes connected
with Persian antiquities. One of them, Aban Ibn Abdul Humiad ar Rakashi
otherwise known as Aban al-Lahiki chose a number of themes from ancient
Persian literature and according to the Fihrist versified them (119,
1-6-163, 7-10). Such subjects were--_Kalila and Dimna,_ the _Book of
Barlaam and Yuasef, the Book of Sindbad_, the _Book of Mazdak_ and
finally books on two popular representative of the Sasanian dynasty,
namely, the _Book of the acts of Ardasher_ and the _Book of the acts of

[Footnote 1: Versification of the history of Anushirvan is also to be
met with in later Parsi literature, see, Sachau, Contribution to the
knowledge of the Parsi literature, J.R.A.S. 1870 page 258.]

Another author, Ahmed Ibn Tahir Taifur, wrote according the Fihrist
(146, 21) a special Book of Hormuz son of Kisra Anushirvan.[1] No doubt,
further more, writers of Persian origin followed in their books on
_Adab_ Persian models. Such probably was the book of Adab by an author
whose name has been mutilated in the Fihrist (139, 15, 18). There is
another class of writings which bears relation to this one and which is
mentioned in the Fihrist. It is quite possible that on this literary
Persian tradition, were based also some of the tracts under the title of
"_Books on counsels_" a considerable number of which we meet with in the

[Footnote 1: See the essay of Baron Rosen on the anthology of Ahmed Ibn
Abi Tahir.]

[Footnote 2: 78, 15; 105, 10; 293, 12; 204, 17-18; 204, 29; 207, 21;
210, 23; 212, 22-23; 217, 4-5; 220, 25; 222, 14; 234, 23; 281, 20; 282,

Ethico-didactical treatises in the form of counsels, maxima or
testaments, constitute a singular group of literary mementos the genesis
of which in the Musalman literature maybe established only after an
examination of similar books in the Persian writings of the Sasanian
times. Examples of a like class of testaments, literary compilations
under the title, for the most part, of pseudo-graphs going up to
pre-Moslem period we have already noticed in the _Book of the counsels
of Ardasher_ and the _Pand Nameh_ of Kisra Anushirvan.


The _Taj Nameh_ as mentioned in the Fihrist page 305, and page 118, and
repeatedly referred to in the _Uyunal Akhbar_, Part I, of Ibn Kutayba 65

The Persian book with illustrations mentioned by Masudi in his _Kitab at
Tambih_, page 106-7 and the illustrations in the scrolls in the castle
of Shiz 68


We have indicated in the preceding chapter the translations of Ibn al
Muqaffa from Persian books into Arabic. Besides those of an
ethico-didactic contents, among them there were books of historical
character. All these translations have not come down to us. Extracts of
these renderings into Arabic, however, have been preserved in the
original and sometimes in paraphrase. Unusually important was the
translation of the book called the _Khuday Nameh,_ the value of which
has long been appreciated by science. Questions of vital importance in
connection with this history are its relation to the _Shah Nameh_ and
the examination of its various translations in the Musalman period. The
loss of this book, perhaps the most important monument of Middle Persian
literature, is to be particularly deplored in that with it has perished
the connecting link of the historical evolution of Iran, incorporating
the religious and clerical legislature in an official redaction. Of
capital importance also was another book called the Ain Nameh[1] or the
Book of Institutes, a valuable source of the internal history of the
Sasanian Empire, comprising a descriptive table of official dignitaries
or the _Gah Nameh._[2] Judging by the clue given in the Fihrist (118,28)
it would appear that the _Book of Taj_ also was a historical one since
it has been explained that the book treated of the "Acts of Anushirwan."
As a matter of fact, among the books written by the Persians on epic and
historical subjects and indexed in the same Fihrist (305, 8-13) has been
mentioned the _Book of Taj._[3]

[Footnote 1: See below and also my book on _The Materials from Arabic
sources,_ &c., 63-66. Like Masudi in his _Kitab_ at Tambih, Asadi in
his _Lughal al-Furs_ (Asadi's _neupersischen Worterbuch Lughat al-Furs,_
edited by P. Horn, 1897, 110, 1), identifies the word _ain_ with the
word _rasam,_ practice or custom. As regards the word _ain_ in the
Iranian languages see Horn _Grundriss der neu persischen Etymologie_,
15-16; Hubschmann, _Persische Studien_ 11, and B.G.A. IV, 175, and VIII,
Glossarium IX. To understand the ancient usage of the term the modern
Parsi expression _Dad wa ain din_ in the sense of religious law and
custom helps us. In this phrase the word _dad_ corresponds to the modern
Musalman _shariyat_ and the word _ain_ to _adat_. Regarding its special
meaning in the Umayyad times see J. Wellhausen _Das Arabische Reich und
sein Sturz_ 189.]

[Footnote 2: Most probably in connection with the materials of this book
stood A collection of Persian genealogy written by the well-known Ibn
Khurdadbeh (Fihrist 149, 4), representing a peculiar antithesis to the
numerous selections of Arab tribal and family genealogies.]

[Footnote 3: Here are first mentioned the two books translated by Jabala
ibn Salim, namely, the _Book of Rustam and Isfandiyar_ and the _Book of
Behram Chobin_ (the well-known Romance of the King about which, sea
Noeldeke's Tabari 474-478), and further the _Book of Shahrzad and
Aberviz_ (which no doubt was connected with the _Thousand and one
Nights_), the _Book of Kar Nameh_ or the "Acts" of Anushirwan belonging
to the same class of books as the _Kar Nameh of Ardashir_. Then the
books that interest us are the _Book of Taj_, the _Book of Dara and the
Golden Idol_, the _Ain Nameh_, the _Book of Behramgor and his brother
Narseh_ and finally, one more _Book of Anushirwan._]

It is possible that the book of Ibn al Mukaffa was not the first
translation of the Persian book since this title is applied by not a few
other Arabic writers of the time to some of their own works. (For
example, Abu Ubaida, See Goldziher _Muhammed Studien_ 1,198).

In his time Baron Rosen called attention to quotations from a certain
_Book of Taj_ in _Uyunal Akhbar_ of Ibn Qutaiba.[1] These quotations are
only to be found in the first part of the _Uyunal Akhbar_. All these
quotations, eight in number, bear a didactic character, and excepting
three, refer back to Kisra Abarviz and contain his testament to his sons
(two), secretaries, treasurers and _hajibs_. Of the remaining three one
bears on general maxims of practical politics. Another is a testament of
an ancient Persian king to his Wazir. And the third is a maxim of one of
the secretaries of a king. In this manner all these citations are of an
ethicodidactic nature; only they have been invested with a historical
environment and under ordinary circumstances would represent the general
type of writings on political conduct for rulers, standing for the class
of literature designated _Furstenspiegel_. A similar class of citations
is preserved in the "speeches from the throne" and the counsels of the
Sasanian kings which we come across in various Arab historical and
anthological works bearing on Sasanian Persia, as also in the Shah

[Footnote 1: Baron Rosen, Zur arabischen Literatur geschichte der altern
zeit, 1. Ibn Qutaiba; _Kitab Uyunal Akhbar_ (Melanges Asiatiques, VIII,
1880, 745-779, especially 774-775). These citations correspond to those
in the edition of Brockelmann as follows: 21, 12-16; 27, 11-15; 32, 2-8;
44, 13-45, 4; 67, 13-66, 8; 84, 8-16; 107, 2-17; 120, 16-121, 5.]

Gutschmid already noticed in his time that by the Persian historians to
each Sasanian ruler was ascribed a maxim and indicated that with
reference to Ardashir and Anoshiravan these maxims may be taken as the
basis since the _Book of Counsels_ of the former was well-known and a
large number of edifying proverbs of the latter had found admittance
into the national language.[1] Let us add that, as we showed above,
there has been preserved a similar class of _Books of Counsels_, the
reputed author of which is Anoshiravan. The putative dicta of the other
Sasanian kings Gutschmid considered as fabricated being designed to be
brief characterisations of each of them. Gutschmid further advanced the
conjecture that these apophthegms formed the texts under the portraits
of the kings in the book which was used by Hamza Ispahani[2] and which
was seen by Masudi.[3] According to the information supplied us by the
latter (Masudi) he saw this book in Istakhr in an aristocratic Persian
family, and that it included, besides information of a scientific
character, the history of the Persian kings and their reigns and a
description of the monuments erected by them.[4] In the book were the
portraits of the Sasanians and it was based on the documents found in
the royal archives. And the portraits also were prepared from the
materials deposited there. The book was completed in A.H. 113 (A.D.
731), and it was translated for the Khalif Hisham from the Persian into
the Arabic language.

[Footnote 1: Gutschmid, Kleine schriften, III, 35-36.]

[Footnote 2: About this book see Gutschmid, III, 150-151.]

[Footnote 3: B.G.A. VIII, 106, 5-107, 5. Translation by Carra de Vaux
150-151. See Christensen 90-91.]

[Footnote 4: Gutschmid 150, 151.]

We called attention above to the information supplied by Istakhri and
Ibn Haukal regarding the castle of Shiz and the preservation in it of
the archives and the portraits of the Sasanian kings. It is highly
probable that for the reproduction of these portraits of the sovereigns
the authors were guided as much by the bas-reliefs, not far from this
castle, as by the tradition regarding them which was embalmed in older
books belonging to the class mentioned by Masudi which undoubtedly
existed in the Imperial archives.[1] Along with the literary tradition
there must have survived the artistic tradition. It is highly probable
that the peculiar Persian art of illuminating manuscripts which was yet
unknown according to Masudi in his own time,--the embellishing of books
with gold, silver, and copper dust was practised by the Manichians whose
calligraphy[2] delighted the Musalman authors and whose style of
illustrating manuscripts must have been fashioned after the art
displayed in those books which in the tenth century were preserved in
the castle of Shiz[3] and which at an earlier period were widely
desseminated among the Parsi circles.

[Footnote 1: Connected with ancient tradition, but dependant upon modern
science, are the portraits of the Sasanian kings in the recently
published _Nameh Khusrawan_, Tehran 1285, (A.D. 1868).]

[Footnote 2: In connection with the art of the Persian calligraphist and
illustrative of the Sasanian epoch stand the indications of the ancient
Moslem writers regarding the Avesta, which is reported to have been
inscribed by Zoroaster in gold ink on parchment and also writings in
gold ink of certain ancient Persian books. According to the _Zafar
Nameh_, Anushirwan directed that the maxims of Buzurjamihr should be
written down in golden water,--(ba-abizar). From early Sasanians also
comes the custom of writing on valuable parchment or paper. Masudi
speaks of the purple ink of these books.]

[Footnote 3: See Browne, "A Literary History", I, 165-166.]

Now we revert to the supposition of Gutschmid. Had he known the
quotations from the _Book of Taj_ in _Uyunal Akhbar_ he would have
adduced them in confirmation of his hypothesis, and he would have
compared the book mentioned by Masudi with the _Book of Taj_ referred to
among the Persian books enumerated in the Fihrist. On the basis of the
last-mentioned work it may be affirmed that in the Sasanian times there
existed a certain _Taj Nameh_ comparable to the _Khuday Nameh_ and _the
Ain Nameh_. The extracts in the _Uyunal akhbar_ do not contain anything
of a special nature with reference to king Anushirwan so that the _Book
of Taj_ on the "Acts of Anushirwan" mentioned in the Fihrist among the
books of Ibn al Mukaffa could hardly have comprised what has been quoted
in _Uyunal akhbar_. The materials at our disposal are too scanty to
establish its relation with the Sasanian _Book of Taj_.[1]

[Footnote 1: The supposition (Zotenberg, Thaalibi XLI,) according to
which Firdausi saw an illustrated "Book of Kings" rests on a
misunderstanding. The fact is that certain verses have been incorrectly
translated by Mohl (IV, 700-701, Verses 4071-4075).

Mohl translated the passage as follows: "There was an aged man named
Azad Serw who lived at Merv in the house of Ahmad son of Sahl; _he
possessed a book of kings in which were to be found the portraits and
figures of the Pehlwans_. He was a man with a heart replete with wisdom
and a head full of eloquence, and a tongue nourished with ancient
tradition; he traced his origin to Sam, son of Nariman, and he knew well
the affairs regarding the fights of Rustam."

A more correct translation would be: "There was a certain old man by
name of Azad Serw living in Merv with Ahmad son of Sahl. _He had a Book
of Kings. In figure and face he was a warrior_; his heart was full of
wisdom, his head full of eloquence, and in his mouth there ever were
stories of the ancient times. He traced his origin back to Sam, son of
Nariman, and preserved in his memory many a tale of the battles of


The list of the translators from Persian into Arabic as given in the
Fihrist, (244, 25-245, 6) 75

The different categories of these translators

Omar ibn al Farrukhan of Tabaristan (Fihrist 273, 14-18) and his _Kitab
al Mahasin_ 79

Other authors of books of analogous titles in the first centuries of
Islam,--the relation of these books to the books of "Virtues and
Vices" (cf. Baihaqi, pseudo-Jahiz) and the connection of these books
with the Parsi religious idea of the licit and the illicit,--_Al Mahasin
wal Masavi_, and the _Shayast la Shayast_. 83


In the Fihrist (244, 25-245, 6) are stated a number of names of the
principal translators from the Persian into the Arabic language.
Assuredly this list is far from complete. The author names only a few
calling attention to only particular translators. The passage in
question in the Fihrist has been more than once utilised. The entire
section has not been exhaustively examined. We believe that from it we
can infer the general character of the contents of those translations
which were prepared from Persian into Arabic and can gather some further
indices regarding this list of names.

To examine the list of translators in order. First of all as may be
expected is mentioned Ibn al Muqaffa about whom the Fihrist speaks in
detail at another place. Then follow the family of Naubakht; Musa and
Yusuf, the sons of Khalid; Abul Hasan Ali ibn Zyad at Tamimi--of his
principal translations is mentioned "the Tables of Shahriyar;" Hasan ibn
Sahal mentioned at the head of astronomers; Balazuri; Jabala ibn Salem,
secretary of Hisham; Ishak ibn Yazid, translator of the Persian history
entitled _Khuday Nameh_; Muhammad ibn al Jahm al Barmaki; Hisham ibn al
Kasim; Musa ibn Isa al Kisravi; Zaduya ibn Shahuya al Isfahani; Muhammad
ibn Behram al Isfahani; Behram ibn Mardanshah, Mobed mobedan of the City
of Sabur in Fars; Umar ibn al Farrukhan of whom special mention is made
by the author of the Fihrist.

An examination of the aforesaid names of translators in order would, it
seems to us, afford material for the solution of the problem regarding
the different varieties of Persian literary tradition in the first
centuries of Islam. Ibn al Muqaffa stands in the first place belonging
to him by right. He was a genuine encyclopaedic translator familiar with
the Arab society with all its influence of spiritual Sasanian life of
Persia finding expression in its literature. He translated scientific,
epico-historical, and ethico-didactic books. Hence we can understand
that in the Fihrist has been assigned to him a special notice as noted
by us above.

The family of Naubakht, mentioned next, represents a group of scholars
mentioned separately in the Fihrist.[1] The head of the Naubakhts, was
an astronomer to the Khalif Mansur and his son Abu Sahl succeeded to his
father's occupation. The grandsons of Naubakht wrote books on astronomy
as well as jurisprudence. Persian literary tradition is earliest
recognised in the astronomical works of the grandsons of Naubakht. The
author of the Fihrist places this Hasan ibn Sahl, as already indicated
by Flugel, at the head of astronomers. And the same scientific character
no doubt was attached to the activities of Musa and Yusuf,[2] the sons
of Khalid mentioned there as well as at Tamimi, the author of the
astronomical tables _Zichash Shahriyar_. In this manner these
translators mentioned after Ibn al Mukaffa constituted in a manner a
peculiar group of scholars who prepared translations from Pahlavi into

[Footnote 1: 176, 20-177, 9; 177, 9-19; 274, 7-13; 275, 25-6. See Ibn al
Kifti 165, 1-5 and 409, 3-14.]

[Footnote 2: See Ibn al Kifti, 1711, 10-11.]

Balazuri and Jabala ibn Salem have already been mentioned above. The
first translated into verse a Book of the Counsels of Ardeshir and the
second the Book of Rustam and Isfandiyar as well as the romance of
Behram Chobin. In this way the themes handled by these writers may be
called epico-historical and ethico-didactic. Purely historical questions
interested the seven succeeding translators from Ishaq ibn Yazid to
Mobed Behram. These persons are sufficiently known in their special
departments of literature. They were the translators into the Arabic
language of the _Khuday Nameh_.[1] Accordingly we may group them in a
class by themselves.

[Footnote 1: Compare the essay of Rosen mentioned above _On the
question of the Arabic translations of the Khuday Nameh_, 173-176, and

The next author mentioned at this place in the Fihrist as a translator
stands by himself,--Umar ibn al Farrukhan. He is altogether unknown as a
translator of historical works. Hence he was not included in the group
of persons mentioned before. On the other hand, had he been set down in
this passage of the Fihrist as a translator of scientific works he would
have been assigned a place not at the close of the list but in the
middle of the translators of this class of books, that is, after Ibn
Muqaffa and in the midst of the descendants of Naubakht and other
persons mentioned above. Therefore we think that Umar ibn Farrukhan was
a translator of another species of work or, may be, works. In support of
our assumption we must call attention to that place in the Fihrist where
are enumerated the books of this author and to which an-Nadhin himself
refers in the analysis of the number of translators from Persian into

Besides this place in the Fihrist, Umar ibn Farrukhan of Tabaristan has
been mentioned in two other places. Once briefly,[1] (268, 25-26) as the
annotator of the astronomical book of Dorotheya Sidonia and in another
place (277, 14-18) in a few lines[2] specially devoted to him. Here he
is mentioned as the annotator of Ptolemy as translated by Batrik Yahuya
ibn al Batrik and as the author of two books, one of astronomical
contents and the other entitled _Kitab al Mahasin_, that is the book of
good qualities and manners.[3] This latter book demands a few lines from

[Footnote 1: Ibn al Qifti 184, 9--10.]

[Footnote 2: Ibn al Kifti 241, 20-242, 12. (This has been pointed out in
the Fihrist Vol. II, 110-111, and in ZDMG XXV, 1871, 413--415.) Further
mention of him in the same book 98, 9 and 184, 10.]

[Footnote 3: An account of the literary activity of this author was
given in the work of H. Suter, _Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der
Araber und ihre Werke_, Abhandiungen Zur Geschichte der mathematischer
Wissenschaften Supplement zum, 45 Jahrgang der Zeitschrift fur
Mathematik und Physik, Leipzig, 1900, 7-8. Haji Khalfa cites only the
astrological books of Omar Ibn Farrukhan I, 198 and V, 35, 386. See also
Justi _Namenbuch_ 95, Nos. 15 and 19.]

Umar ibn Farrukhan is mentioned in the section of books on astronomy,
mathematics, physics, mechanics, and music. In this group are mentioned
a number of writers who composed works on these sciences, beginning with
Euclid and ending with the contemporary authors of an-Nadhin. In the
midst of them, an-Nadhin has also mentioned the grandsons of Naubakht.
Not one of them wrote any _Kitab al Mahasin_ which appears, therefore,
to be the independent work of Umar ibn Farrukhan. This book, further,
could not have been of a scientific astronomical, or mathematical nature
as is obvious from its subject-matter which related to good manners and
conduct. This book has been mentioned in this group only because here
are enumerated the works of Umar ibn Farrukhan. And good manners and
conduct constituted, as we saw above, a favourite theme of Parsi
literature: wherefor the book heads the list. Similar to it are the
contents not only of _Andarzes_ and _Pand Namehs_ but of a series of
tracts on religious subjects. Hence we think that it was mainly owing to
this book that Umar ibn Farrukhan was included among the number of
principal translators from Persian into Arabic and came to be enumerated
among the translators to whom is ascribed a certain amount of
speciality. For he was the solitary representative of his category of
translators of ethicodidactic books intimately connected with the
problems of the Paris religion. Possibly Umar ibn Farrukhan was the
first to introduce this species of literature into Arabic, and we must
add, employed for his material as well as ideas Parsi tracts. Originally
from Tabaristan, he, in the words of Ibn al Qifti, was introduced to Abu
Maashar al Balkhi, stood well with Jaffer the Barmecide, and
subsequently with Fazl ibn Sahl, the Wazir who recommended him to his
sovereign al-Mamum. And for this Khalif Mamun he prepared a number of
translations. The sympathy of these persons for the Persian literary
tradition could not have been confined to the translation of scientific
works, but must have extended to the preservation of Persian
ethico-didactic tradition in literature.

Books with the title of _Kitab al Mahasin_ are to be met with in the
Fihrist, if not often, several times. A book with this title (77, 21)
has been ascribed to the celebrated Ibn Qutaiba. It was composed
doubtless after the book of Umar ibn Farrukhan, for Qutaiba flourished
at the close of the reign of Mamun and his literary activities could be
referred to the ninth century. Qutaiba undoubtedly interested himself in
Persian literary materials. Hence it can be concluded that his _Kitab al
Mahasin_ was not foreign to the materials and in form could be the first
imitation of Farrukhan. Further it is interesting to note that books
with this title were attributed especially to Shia authors such as Abu
Nadar Muhamed ibn Masud al Ayashi who wrote _Kitab al Mahasin al Akhlak_
or a book of good morals (195, 10) and Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Khallid
al Barki who wrote _Kitab al Mahasin_ (2213-4, also 7-9). And the
interest of Shia authors in Persian tradition was unquestionable. A book
with the same title of _Kitab al Mahasin_ is ascribed to a certain Ibn
al Harun, (148, 17) an author who has been assigned in the Fihrist a
place among the writers on Adab and as responsible for a book called
_Kitab al Adab_. Now the discussion of Adab as we said above is
intimately connected with Persian tradition. And this tradition probably
survived in the books which had for their theme "the good qualities of
Adab."[1] We believe that all these books were devoted to Persian
literary tradition, in close relation to which stands the book on "good
qualities and manners" mentioned in the Fihrist as translated from the
Persian language into Arabic by the man from Tabaristan, Umar ibn al

[Footnote 1: For instance, _Mahasin al Adab of Ispahani_, see
Brockelmann, _Geschichte der Arabischen Litterature_ I. 351.]

Co-related with these books on "good qualities" stand, in our opinion,
the books on "good morals and their opposite," or "goodness and
wickedness," _Kutub al Mahasin wal Azdad_, or _Kutub al Mahasin wal
Masawi_. Although in the Fihrist we do not come across books with this
title, we have a book so named from the beginning of the tenth century
whose author was Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al Baihaki.[1] Under the title of
_Kitab al Mahasin wal Azdad_ we likewise possess a work ascribed to
Jahiz.[2] Both these books evidently go to a common origin.[3] It is
quite possible that antithesis was originally not excluded from these
_Kutub al-Mahasin_, from which were developed a special species of
educative treatises,--those on "good qualities and their opposites."
Continuing our comparison with the Parsi literature, we notice that a
similar kind of antithesis is most commonly employed there.

[Footnote 1: Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al Baihaki, _Kitab al-Mahasin val
masavi_, herausgegeben von Dr. F. Schwally, Geissen 1902.]

[Footnote 2: _Le livre des beautes et des antithesis attribue a Abu
Othman Amr ibn Bahr al-Djakiz_, texte arabe publie par G. Van Vloten
Leyde; 1898.]

[Footnote 3: See the review by Barbier de Meynard of the edition of
_Mahasin wal Azdad_ in the Revue Citique, 1900, 276.]

In the Parsi ecclesiastical literature of an ethical nature we find
definitely settled what is "proper" and, on the other hand, what is
"improper."[1] It is well known that books under this title,--"the
proper and the improper" or "the licit and the illicit"--are to be found
among the Pahlavi tracts the time of whose composition can be fixed
somewhere between the seventh and the ninth centuries A.D.[2] Comparing
the Pahlavi tracts with reference to these questions with Arabic books
on good and bad qualities and manners, we have to bear in mind the
general features, general outline, as well as the conditions of
civilisation of the period when these books were written, in other
words, the circumstances of their intimate relation generally of a
cultural nature, particularly of a literary form obtaining between the
Arab and Persian nations, and between Islam and Parsism. Not only in
detail, but also in their nature these books must be differentiated in
proportion as were different the clergy who wrote these ethical tracts
from didactic works of a strong legendary element belonging to the pen
of secular people. These literary monuments must be differentiated quite
as much as their authors and with reference to them we may institute the
same parallel which we suggested above between the Parsi clergy and the
Iranophile party of the Shuubiya.

[Footnote 1: Shayed-na-shayed.]

[Footnote 2: _Shayast la-shayast_ West Pahlavi Texts, Part I, 1880.
Sacred Books of the East, Vol. V. 237-407.]

Furthermore, associated with these literary features was also that class
of Arabic books, so well known and the period of which interests us, the
books on _Questions and Answers._[1]

[Footnote 1: Kitab al Masael wa Jawabat.]

And this is precisely the form in which some of the better known of the
Parsi books have been cast, for instance, the _Minog-i-Khrad_[1] and the
_Dadistan_[2] The second of these books decidedly belongs to the ninth
century. Its contents no doubt, were strongly divergent from others
owing to its dependence on altered conditions.

[Footnote 1: Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XXIV, 1-15.]

[Footnote 2: Sacred Books of the East XVIII, 1-277.]

We have already indicated the importance of the citations in early
Arabic anthologies incorporated from Persian historical works.[1] This
nature of quotations are to be found also in books on "good and bad
morals and conduct." Further we find embedded in Arabic works a
considerable amount of matter of great importance, a circumstance of
vital moment for the investigation of the survival of Persian literary
tradition. A number of passages similar to those found in these books
are undoubtedly embodied in various Arabic anthologies. We give below
from the two works _al Mahasin wal Masavi_ and _al Mahasin wal Azdad_
extracts bearing on Persian subjects.[2]

[Footnote 1: See Noeldeke "National Epos" 13.]

[Footnote 2: See Part II.]

The list of Persian subjects comprised in these Arabic books afford us a
sufficient idea of the wealth and variety of the material on these
points to be recovered from Arabic discourses on manners and morals.


The Book of Ali Ibn Ubaida ar Raihani


We spoke above about the Arabic writer Ali ibn Ubayd ar Rayhani who was
prone to Persian cultural tradition in general and to the literary
tradition in particular. Besides the ethico-didactic book, _Mehr Adar
Jushnas_, he is the reputed author of a book on Adab which has a Persian
title (Fihrist 1, 119, 22 and II, 52),[1] and also another book the
title of which could not be deciphered by Flugel when he edited the text
of the Fihrist, (Fih. 119, 21). The title consists of two words which
can be read conjecturally as _Rushna nibik_.[2] Such a name of a book we
know to exist in Middle Persian literature.[3]

[Footnote 1: _Kitab Adab Jawanshir_].

[Footnote 2: As regards the mutilation of Persian proper names in the
Fihrist, such comparatively wellknown books as _Khuday_ Nameh appear in
some of the manuscripts of the Fihrist as Baktiyar Nameh instead of
_bakhuday Nameh_; see Rosen's essay on the Translations of the Khuday
Nameh, 177.]

[Footnote 3: West; Sacred Books of the East Vol. V. page 241, note 1,
and Sacred Books of the East Vol. III, 169. [The first authority is not
quite clear to me. The second authority is evident: "writing which the
glorified Roshna, son of Atur-frobag, prepared--for which he appointed
the name of the _Roshan Nipik_." Tr.] _Re_ the name of Rushen see Justi
_Namenbuch_ 262 under the word Rozanis.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Books of this title in Pahlavi literature related to a variety of
religious problems and treated of ethicodidactic themes. The same title,
further, we find in the Middle Persian literature. This is the title of
the wellknown book of Nasir-i-Khusrao, namely, _Rushnai Nameh_, a
considerable portion of which manifests Shia and Sufistic influences and
which by its nature must have been connected with ethico-didactic
literature.[1] It is quite possible that Ar Rayhani interested himself
in Persian of ethics and morality literature and in Persian _Adab_ and
gave his book the name of the 'Book Light' which treated of questions of
this nature. This book formed, as no doubt its author did, the uniting
link between the didactic Parsi clerical writings and the ethical
literature of Islam.

[Footnote 1: GIPh Vol. II, 280.]

Now reading as Rushana Nibik the title of the book of Ar Rayhani
occurring in the Fihrist, we establish a historical fact in literature.
Not only redactions of Persian historical books like _Khuday Nameh_ and
the _Ain Nameh_, not only diverse monuments of Persian ethico-didactic
literature but also books with Pahlavi titles appear in the index of the
books of the flourishing period of Arabic literature in Fihrist. This is
a phenomenon of outstanding importance for the appreciation of the
significance of Persian literary tradition in the first centuries of



In the mountains to the south of the Caspian Sea the Persians defended
themselves longer than in the rest of the Empire against the Arab
invasion. Here the Arsacide princes had permitted the local tribes to
rule, for these tribes were probably from the first almost independent
and only acknowledged their paramountcy and paid tribute. They had the
title of Spadhapati or in modern language _Ispehbed_ which was turned
into the Arabic _Isfehbed_. One of them, Gushnasp Shah, is named as a
contemporary of Ardashir I. It was only so late as in the time of Kawadh
that this king succeeded in establishing a Sasanian prince, his son
Keyus, as Shah of Tabaristan in 530. At the death of his father he
contested the throne with Khusrow I, and was therefore slain by the
latter in 537. His son Shapur remained in Persia, and a prince of the
Arsacide house of Qaren, named Zarmihr, son of Sokhra was appointed
governor. The administration of Rae, Derbend and a portion of Armenia
was before now entrusted to Jamasp, a son of Peroz, who was succeeded by
his son Narsi, while another son, Behvat, father of Surkhab became the
ancestor of the kings of Shirvan who were known as Shirvan Shahs.
Narsi's son was Peroz, the father of Farrukhan Gilanshah, whose capital
accordingly was Gilan and who in 643 concluded a peace with the Arabs.

Gil Gaubareh, the son of this prince, united, with the consent of
Yezgird the III, who could not prevent him, Gilan with Tabaristan, where
the dynasty of Zarmihr had come to an end. It cannot be doubted that
Sasanian princes became the governors of these territories. The sons of
Gaubareh were Daboe (660-676) and Patospan, in Pahlavi Patkospan or
governor, in modern Persian Baduspan. Daboe was succeeded by his brother
Khurshed (676-709). We possess coins struck by him in the years 706-709.
Then came Daboe's son Ferkhan more correctly Farrukhan, the Great
(709-722); he defeated several attempts on the part of the Moslems to
penetrate the country. Our authorities are Tabari (vol. 2 p. 1321);
Kitaboloyun (22-8); Zahireddin (45, 10.273, 14); Mordtmann (ZDMG 19,
494). His son Dad-Burzmihr died according to Zahireddin in 748, still
his son Khurshed II already struck in 734 his first coin. He was
defeated by the Arabs and took poison which he used to carry in his
signet ring in 759.

The Masmoghan or the "priest-prince," the successor of Zarathustrotema
of Ragha or modern Rai, who had his seat in the city of Demawend or the
Castle of Ustunavend, and who was the son-in-law of the Ispehbed, was
defeated and the daughters of both the princes were married to members
of the house of Abbas.

The descendants of the Badusepan, whom Zahireddin carefully traces in
all the branches of the family, ruled over Ruyan, Rustamdar, Nur and
Kujur, down to the year 1453, when they divided themselves into two
branches which continued to reign till 1567, and 1576.

Another dynasty was the mountain rulers of Qaren, which is named after
its founder. The first Qaren was the son of Sokhra, the brother of
Zarmihr. These princes were also styled _Ispehbeds_. A descendant of
Qaren was Vindad-Hormizd, who in conjunction with Shervin I of the house
of Bavend, and with the Badusepan, Shahriyar I, conquered the Arabs in
783, but subsequently surrendered himself to Hadi and went to Baghdad
till the latter became Khalif in 785. There is some confusion in the
chronology of this dynasty also. A few rulers appear to be wanting
because between the beginning of the dynasty in 565 to its close in 839
the average reign of the six princes would come to 45 or 46 years.
Maziyar, son of Qaren, and grandson of Vindad-Hurmizd was at first
defeated by Shahryar the son of Shervin of the Bavend dynasty and took
refuge with the Khalif Mamun in 816-17, and returned after the victory
over Musa Ibn Hafs in 825 but was himself worsened by the Arabs in 839
and executed. Thereupon Tabaristan came into the power of the Tahirides,
the nominal governors of the Khalif in Khorasan. Our authorities are
Beladhori 134, 14; Masudi 7, 137; Kitab ol Oyun 399, 6; Yaqut 3, 284, 4.
506, 10; Abulfida 2, 212, 2.

The Bavend dynasty is a continuation of the Masmughans. Their original
ancestor Bav who is characterised as son of Shahpur, son of Kayos,
received from Khusraw II the governorship of Istakhr, Adharbaijan and
Tabaristan, but retired himself into a fire-temple in the time of queen
Azarmidukht. When the Arabs in 655 had advanced to the vicinity of Amul,
the Mazenderanis invited him to lead them and he was the founder of the
Bavend dynasty called after him. Now Bav was killed by Valash in 679,
who did not belong to the dynasty and it was only 8 years later on that
the son of Bav, Suhrab, more correctly Surkhab, came to the throne. With
the last potentate of this first line of the Bavends was united by
marriage the house of Ziyar which produced two celebrated princes of
Gurgan, Vashmgir and Qabus. The other line, the "mountain kings" proper,
sprang from a son of the last prince of the first line and was
extinguished with the murder of Rustum by Sayed Husain in 1210. A third
offshoot originating from a collateral branch of the second enjoyed
princely power from 1237-1349.

The Arabs had their governors in Tabaristan who in the first period
minted coins with Sasanian impress and with Pahlavi legends; they were,
however, from time to time expelled by the people. These coins struck by
the Arabs after the model of the Pahlavi mintage were first deciphered
by Olshausen. Ibn Khaldun is compelled to admit that "the Arabs are of
all the people the least capable to govern a country."

[Translated from Justi's contribution to _Grunddrisder der iranischen
Philologie_. Vol. II, p. 547 seq.--G.K.N.]

To the above concise sketch of the history of Tabaristan for the period
which concerns us, which I have translated from Justi, one of the most
sympathetic writers on Iran, a few paras may be added from the
fascinating history of _Ibn-Isfandiyar_ which professor Browne has made
accessible to us.

Long after the Sasanian dynasty had fallen, and the rest of Persia had
been subdued by the Arabs the Ispahabeds continued to strike their
Pahlavi coinage and maintained the religion of Zoroaster in the
mountains and forests of Tabaristan; and their struggles with the Arabs
only ended about A.D. 838 by the capture and cruel execution of the
gallant Maziyar, son of Qaren, son of Wanda-Hurmuz. For a vivid
portrayal of the last days of this unfortunate scion of the lost empire
of the Iranians the reader is referred to the vivid page of this English
authority, who has reproduced the story of Zoroastrian aggressions in
all its original spirit. And nothing less could be expected from a
profound and sympathetic scholar to whom "All that concerns Maziyar is
of supreme interest because it stands for the old Persian national and
religious ideal". (p. XII). Those who still hold in the teeth of
historical fact that the empire and religion of Iran were overturned at
one fell stroke by the ferocious Arabs may be referred to the alliance
between the Ispahbed Shirvin and Windad-Hurmuz which brought it about
that from one end to the other of a large track of country, "without
their permission no one dared enter the highlands from the plains, and
all the highlands were under their control. _And when a Moslem died they
would not suffer him to be buried in that country_". (p. 131). [italics
mine, G.K.N.]

I will not further quote at length from this volume as it is in
English but I cannot resist the temptation to call attention to page
146, which supplies a typical instance of conversion by persuasion and
not persecution. Further note that the Khalif Mamun had a Zoroastrian
astrologer whose Zoroastrian name the Khalif arabicised into Yahya ibn
Mansur (p. 146). Though Maziyar outwardly embraced Islam he was probably
in secret a Zoroastrian inasmuch as he continued to have a large Magian
following and "conferred various offices and distinctions on Babak,
Mazdak, and other Magians _who ordered the Muhammadan mosque to be
destroyed and all trace of Islam to be removed_." (p. 152-3). [Italics
mine, G.K.N.] The Khalif Al-Muatasim was no less lenient in matters
religious than some of the _Khulfa i rashidin._ In the year 854-55 he
deputed one of his nobles to bid a Zoroastrian chieftain "break his
Magian girdle and embrace Islam, which he did and thereupon received a
robe of honour from the Khalif." (p. 157). At page 157 we notice the
extortionate practices of a Magian.


"In the time of the Arabs we find an actual principality whose ruler
bore the title of _Masimogan_ or the elder of the Magians. To him also
belonged the cities of Wima and Shalamba (Istakhri 209; Ibn Khurdadbeh
118; Ibn-al Faqih 284) as well as the territory of Khwar. [Magian
princes during Khalifat (Tabari 12,656).]

"The first definite mention of the _Masmoghan_ occurs in the year 131
A.H., in which Abu Muslim called upon the former to surrender and as he
declined despatched Musa Ibn Kaab against him who however failed to
effect anything against him. (Ibn al Athir vol. 5,304). It was only
under Mamun that the mountainous country of the _Masmoghan_ was
subjugated. The last prince, whose brother Aparwez fought on side of the
Arabs, was taken prisoner and confined with his two daughters in the
mountain fastness of Ustunawand in 141 A.H. (Tabari Vol. 2, 137).

"The exact time of the rise of this principality is unknown. For the
_Masmoghan_ Mardanshah who is mentioned by Saif in a treaty with Suwaid
Mukarrin under Omar (Tabari 1, 2656), belongs positively to the time of
Muhallab, 98 A.H. I surmise, however, that the Dynasty of the Magian
Baw, the father of the renegade Mahgundat, whose Christian name was
Anstasious, who became a martyr to Christianity in 628, originated from
the village of Warznin in the territory of Rai (Acta Anstasii Persae, p.
26 & 56), and is connected with the Bawend dynasty which appeared just
at this place in 167, and is definitely traced to the Magian Baw. (The
authorities for the above are Tabari vol. 3, 1295 and Zahirud-din 205,
see also ZDMG 49, 661.)

"Baw is a pure Magian name and is a transcription of the Avesta _Bangha_
(Yesht 13,124). Another transliteration of the same word is Bohak, a
name borne by a hero of Ispahan who with his six sons and an army joined
Ardeshir (_Karnamak_ 4, 3, p. 22-19; Neoleke 46). It was also the name
of a son of Hobakht, the chief _Mobed_ under Shapur II. Bahak, son of
Fredon, was the ancestor of Aturpat Mahraspand (Bundahesh 33; West
Pahlavi Texts 1, 145). Another form of the same name is B[=a]we, who was
the _Astabed_ or _magister officiorum_ of the Persians (Josua Stylite
ed. Wright 59). The first ruler of the Bawend dynasty who enters history
is Sharwin ibn Surkhab (Tabari 3, 519). By the Arabs he was at first
made a vassal controlling the slopes of the Alburz (Ibn al Faqih 304;
Yakut 3, 283), and probably assumed the title _Padashkhwargar-shah_
which his descendants continued to hold in the time of al Beruni
(_Chronology,_ p. XL, No. 7). In Yakubi (vol. 2, 479) he even bears the
title of King of Tokharistaxi. After him is named Mount Sherwin on the
boundary of Komish (Tabari 3, 1275; Ibn al Fakih 305; Belazuri 339, 7).
In the year 201, that is, A.D. 816-17, however, the governor of
Tabaristan, Abdallah Ibn Khurdadbeh, the father of the historian and
geographer, invaded Larijan and Sarijan and annexed them to the empire
of Islam. He likewise conquered the mountain land of Tabaristan and
compelled Shahryar, the son of Sherwin, to surrender (Tabari 3, 1014).

"But after the death of Shahryar, in 825-26, Maziyar Ibn Qaren contested
the kingdom with his son Shapur and in alliance with the Moslems invaded
Mount Sherwin, captured the sons of Shahryar and put them to death.
(Tabari 3, 1093, Belazuri 339 and Ibn al Fakih 309.) However, a son of
Shahryar named Qaren who had been detained at the court of Maziyar later
on joined the Arabs and after the fall of Maziyar was restored to his
paternal estate.

"As regards the Avesta expression _Ragha Zarathushtrish_ in the Yasna 9,
18, it refers to political conditions of a much anterior age not yet
reached by our historical investigations."

[Translated from Marquarts, _Eranshahr_, p. 127 _seq_-G.K.N.]



Professor Inostranzev gives a list of passages of Iranian interest which
are to be found in the _Mahasin-wal masawi_ and in the _Mahasin wal
azdad_ giving references to pages in the European editions.
Unfortunately I have not been able to procure the latter and cannot
verify the allusions. I, however, reproduce below the Iranian subjects
touched upon in these two Arabic books on _adab_ in the Cairo editions.

Iranian material from the Mahasin-wal masawi, Part I, p. 1. A dictum of

P. 82, A story of King Kobad.

P. 96, A story of Anushirwan, "the wisest of men of his time in Persia".

P. 110, A story of King Ardeshir.

P. 122, Reference to a custom of the Persian kings and a story of

Iranian material from the Mahasin-wal masawi Part II.

P. 62, A story about Shiruya, son of Aberwez.

P. 74, A dictum of the Persians on eloquence.

P. 75, A story about Buzarjmahir.

P. 123, A story about Anushirwan.

P. 125, A story about King Kobad and a MOBED.

P. 131, A story of Anushirwan.

P. 133, A dictum of Buzarjmahir.

P. 154, A story of Hurmuz, son of Anushirwan.

P. 155, A story of Bahramgor.

P. 155, A story of the sense of justice of King Anushirwan.

P. 166, A story of Anushirwan.

P. 169, Reference to a ZAND book in connection with Islam.

P. 170, A story of an Arab who acted as interpreter in Arabic to a
Persian King.

P. 178, A story as narrated by Kisrawi about Kisra, son of Hormuz.

P. 178, Reference to a Majus or Zoroastrian.

P. 194, A story of Shiruya, son of Kisra.

P, 199, A quotation from Ibn-ul Muqaffa.

P. 203, The story of Sabur-zul-aktaf.


P. 14, Story of King Abarwez.

P. 17, Story of the Kisra.

P. 35, Quotation from al Kisrawi, relating a story about Kisra, son of
Hormuz. In this story the unfortunate general Afshin, the governor of
Ashrushna, is plainly designated a _Majus_ or Zoroastrian.

P. 51, A dictum of Bahramgor.

P. 51, The conversation between the MOBEDAN MOBED and King Aberwez.

P. 51, Reference to the book of "our" (Zoroastrian) religion _(Kitab

P. 110, Reference to an inscription on a stone slab discovered in the
treasury of a Persian king.

P. 163, The story of Balash as narrated by Kisrawi, (on this story Baron
Rosen bases his investigation of the Pahlavi _Khodaynama_.)

P. 168, An anecdote of King Aberwez.

Professor Inostranzev finds the following Iranian material in the
Mahasin-wal masavi and the Mahasin-wal azdad (MM=Mahasin-wal Masavi, and
MA=Mahasin wal-azdad):

MA, 21,  4 to 10--MM, 490,  2 to  7.
MA, 37, 12 to 14--MM, 128, 11 to 12.
MA, 53, 14 to 16--MM, 571,  1 to  3.
MA, 78,  5 to  9--MM, 202,  2 to  5.
MA, 79,  2 to  6--MM, 202, 14 to 16.
MA, 79,  6 to 11--MM, 202, 16 to 203, 2.
MA, 168,20 to  3--MM, 310, 16 to 18.
MA, 170, 2 to  3--MM, 313,  7 to  8.
MA, 173, 8 to 16--MM, 372, 11 to 18.

In connection with the importance of Kisrawi as regards the Persian
literary material, these are the extracts from him in the two Arabic

MA, 168, 20 to 269, 3--MM, 310, 16 to 18.
MA,  53, 14 to     16--MM, 571,  1 to  3.
MA, 359, 13 to 364, 6--MM, 376,  1 to  9.

In view of the remarks by Browne (_Literary History_,471 to 475)
regarding the significance of Persian words and expressions in the
ancient Arabic literary works for the history of the Persian language,
of particular importance are the excerpts from Kisrawi, MA 168,20 to
269, 3--MM, 310, 16 to 18, where occur Persian phrases from the maxims
of Anushirwan "which as I think have been handed down to us in pure
Pahlavi." Interesting is the interpretation of the Persian word _Mihman_
at another place in the same Arabic books, _viz_:--MA, 79, 6 to 11=MM,
202, 16 to 203, 2.


[Translation of Noeldeke's _Burzoe's Einleitung zu dem Buche Kalila wa


[Sidenote: Burzoe's Introduction not fabricated.]

The Arabic redaction of the Indian tales which we know under the name of
_Kalila wa Dimna_ had two unquestionably genuine Introductions, that of
the compilator Ibn Moqaffa himself who died in 142 A.H., and that of
Burzoe who in the time of King Khusrow I, (A.D. 531 to 579) brought the
book from India and translated it into the written Persian language of
the time, the Pehlevi. The circumstances regarding the mission of Burzoe
to India are still not clear. At any rate Ibn Moqaffa did not write as
we read them now.

Nevertheless it is by no means improbable that he had affixed to his
book a report which, however, wan subsequently mutilated, of necessity,
in diverse ways. The preface by Ala-ibn-Shah or Behbod, which has also
been printed by de Sacy, which is found in a few manuscripts and which
is not known to the ancient translations is a later and entirely
valueless excrescence.

The Introduction of Burzoe stood in the Pehlevi work which Ibn Moqaffa
had before him. According to certain manuscripts this Introduction has
been compiled--or however we translate the ambiguous term _tarjuma_--by
Burzgmihir, the prime minister of Khusrow, much better known in polite
literature than in history.

[Naturally I do not deny altogether that Burzgmihir was a historical
personage but he possessed by no means the importance which the
tradition in question ascribes to him. The ascription is purely an
erroneous inference from the above-mentioned report of the
circumstances touching the mission of Burzoe, has not the slightest
inherent probability, and is besides wanting not only in other
manuscripts but also in all the older translations.]

We cannot question the fact that this section of the Arabic work in the
main reproduces the Introduction composed by the Chief physician Burzoe
himself to the book translated by him into Pehlevi from an Indian
language. That language as Hertel has shown was Sanskrit, which fact,
however, does not preclude the possibility of an Indian interpreter
translating the original text to the Persian who spoke a modern Indian
tongue. Several passages speak to the fact that the author of the
Introduction is the physician. Why should Ibn Moqaffa pretend that
Burzoe earnestly studied medicine and practised it? Moreover, the
section is familiar with those principles of Indian medicine of which
Ibn Moqaffa could otherwise know little and the exposition of which he
had no call to deal with. The entire situation seems to me to harmonise
with the circumstances of the Persian physician. Specially noteworthy is
the encomium on the Persian sovereign.

[Sidenote: Ibn Moqaffa took liberties with the Pehlevi.]

This is, however, not equivalent to saying that the Arabic text is an
exact replica, down to details, of the original of Burzoe. In the first
place it has to be observed that Ibn Moqaffa was no pure translator at
all but a regular redactor of his model. His object was to prepare a
work suitable to the taste of his highly educated readers and at the
same time entertaining and instructive. He proceeded, therefore, not
only with a tolerably free hand as an artist in words but added good
many things of his own. Above all here we have to bear in mind the trial
of Dimna. That this chapter is an addition by a Muslim who would not let
pass in silence the acknowledgement of clever but demeaning intrigue was
already recognised by Benfey and we need not doubt but that it
originated with Ibn Moqaffa. I would also claim, for Ibn Moqaffa the
somewhat unimportant history of the anchorite and his guest. The manner
of his narrative we learn from his own preface. It is especially to be
noted that here also as in the trial of Dimna he recounts anecdotes
after the Indian fashion.

[Sidenote: Ibn Moqaffa's religious scepticism.]

It is accordingly not impossible that in our Burzoe chapter there are a
few things which have originated not with the Persian physician of old
but with Ibn Moqaffa; and this, I presume, as I showed long ago,
specially from the disquisition on enquiry into the uncertainty of
religions. It appears much more to fit in with Ibn Moqaffa than Burzoe.

Ibn Moqaffa exchanged the religion of his Persian fathers for Islam only
in his mature years,--certainly not because he saw in the latter perfect
verity but because probably he was not satisfied with Zoroastrianism
with which he was intimately familiar or with any of the other religions
which in his time flourished openly or in secret in Iraq which was "the
heart of the Empire". To such a man the scepticism of our section is
natural, a fact which does not make it impossible that certain
principles which were common to all the religions intimately known to
the author remained also self-evident to Ibn Moqaffa,--such as God as
the Creator, and the next world with its reward and penalties. Had Ibn
Moqaffa, in his own name confessed to such religious doubts publicly no
patron could have saved him from capital punishment. On the other hand
he ran no risk in ascribing the questionable exposition to the Persian
long since dead, who, however, supposing that he harboured such doubts
could not have given expression to them as a physician attached to the
Imperial Court of Persia. The belief in an inexorable fate which is
evident in this chapter as well as in the entire portion attributable to
Ibn Moqaffa could have been cherished, no doubt, also by a Mazdyasnian.
This doctrine, therefore, speaks neither for nor against the authorship
of Ibn Moqaffa. Equally far from decisive is the exhortation to pure
morality which finds expression there.

I am confirmed in my view that the passage on the unconvincing nature of
religions proceeded from Ibn Moqaffa by a few couplets in the
_Shahnama_. (Mohl vol. 5, 53 ff; Macan 1293). The king of India called
Kaid has several dreams which are interpreted to him by the sage Mihran.
The third dream, about four men pulling at a fine piece of cloth, each
towards himself, without tearing it, is thus explained by him:

"Know that the piece of cloth is the religion divine end that the four
men who pull at it have come to preserve it. One of the religions is
that of the Dihkans, the fire-worshippers, who may not take in hand the
Barsom without pronouncing the prayer formula.

"[The Dihkans were properly speaking the small landed nobility of the
Sasanian times and as such were representatives of the ancient Persian
religion; _barsom_ and the prayer formula or _baz_ are well-known
components of their ritual.]

"Another religion is that of Moses, which is called the Jewish religion,
maintaining that none besides itself is worthy of praise; the third
religion is of Greece, belongs to men of piety and brings equity to the
heart of princes (this is Christianity). The fourth is the pure faith of
the Arab which raises the head of the intelligent out of dust. Thus they
struggle for the preservation of their religion and pull the cloth
towards the four sides away from each other and become enemies for the
sake of religion."

[Sidenote: Ibn Moqaffa no sincere Muslim]

This passage the basic principle of which accords with the reflections
on religion in our chapter I would now with greater positiveness than
before trace to Ibn Moqaffa (ZDMG 59, 803). It did not find a place in
the old Pehlevi "_Book of Kings_" because the latter could recognise
only the national religion as the right one and could not have taken
into consideration Islam, even supposing that the last redaction of the
official Sasanian history took place at a time when Muhammadanism had
already come into existence. But Firdausi did not at all invent the
material of his narrative. He merely compiled it and the major portion
of the compilation goes back to the shape which Ibn Moqaffa had given to
the ancient tradition (see what I have to say on this in my National
Epic of Iran, _Grundriss der iran philogie_). In actuality Ibn Moqaffa
was not believed to be a sincere Muslim. He is frequently stigmatised as
Zindik or heretic (See _Aghani_ 13.81, 18 ff. 18, 200, 25 ff. Ibn
Qotaiba, _Uyun_ 71, 9; further Ibn Khallikan 186, p. 125.)

[The term zindiq probably originally denoted a certain rank among the
Manichaeians or a similar religion and was then applied to suit a
variety of infidels. The etemology, Aramaic Zaddiqy, has been recognised
by Bevan.]

Again the passage does not fit in with the tenor of the entire section.
For Burzoe who was at a loss with regard to the physician's art, the
main question is, whether he should or should not become an ascetic,--a
question which must concern Ibn Moqaffa but little. The suitability of
the addenda hardly admits of proof but we may state that Ibn Moqaffa did
not simply interpolate but wove them artfully in his text and he might
have omitted something here and there.

[Sidenote: Burzoe influenced by Buddhism]

It seems to me highly probable that Burzoe allowed himself to be
influenced by the Buddhist romance, the original of which has perished
and the best representative of which, is preserved to us in the Arabic
_Bilauhar wa Budasf_ (See _Barlaam und Joasaph_ by E. Kuhn). Many a
passage of our chapter is strongly reminiscent of the sentences of the
romance, for instance, the dangers to the body remind one of those
related at p. 53; the four principles or _akhalat_ appear at p. 9, and
the parable of the man in the well is common to both. The parable which
stands at the close of the chapter is, unless one is greatly mistaken,
directly taken from the romance with little modification. It stands in
the whole of _Kalila wa Dimna_ isolated, deviates in manner and tendency
entirely from the story and also from what has issued from Ibn Moqaffa
but is consistent with the monastic predilections of Burzoe. And his
appraisement of the life of the recluse does not appear spontaneous but
something to which he has laboriously compelled himself. One may surmise
that it was really alive only in India. How far it was practised in
actual life must remain unproved. We must not omit to mention that
Burzoe points out that for an ideal physician his art earns also rich
earthly profits.

[Sidenote: English translation of the Introduction a desideratum.]

So far as I know, of this chapter there is no translation in a European
language except in the English by Knatchbull which appeared in 1819,
which reproduced the imperfect text of de Sacy and is otherwise
defective. Wolff did well to omit it in his German translation of
_Kalila wa Dimna_ of 1837, for he could not have produced a correct
rendering of de Sacy's text which was not completed till 1873 by Guidi.

[Sidenote: Difficulties of translation.]

Even now it is impossible to make a translation of Burzoe's Introduction
which can stand the test of philology. We must first see whether with
the use of all available manuscripts and a careful collation of other
text sources we cannot arrive at a tolerably settled Arabic text. And
that is, so far as I can conclude from my not quite insignificant
material, not very probable. At all events a searching examination of
all the manuscripts in the great Paris library is essential. The various
texts of the book are considerably divergent. Arbitrariness and
carelessness of transcriber have disfigured Ibn Moqaffa's work of art
just because it presently became a favourite book of entertainment. The
language at all events remains approximately correct in the manuscripts.

Grammatical mistakes easy of correction are not seldom met with but pure
vulgarisms occur only in a few copies like that of Berlin. The
numberless variants have not much significance for the translator when
it is only a question of synonyms, since for them the same European
expression can do duty. And though it is not certain whether in the case
of a multitude of non-essential or wholly analogous expressions the
shorter or the extended text is the original one, that does not
substantially affect the translation. There is scarcely any harm in
curtailing the frequent tautology of this chapter. We should be well
advised in case of successive synonymous abstract nouns and verbs such
as occur frequently in Arabic to translate by a simple expression with
an emphatic adjective or adverb. But not seldom the difference becomes
great. It is a difficult situation when we are uncertain whether the
passage which is found in several manuscripts and not in others is the
original one. As a rule we have to decide in favour of the majority but
as sometimes we do come across actual interpolations in some, so their
existence is not impossible in others, although we can not be positive
on the subject.

[Sidenote: A monumental piece of literature.]

The matter would have been less troublesome for me had I been able
straight way to declare as the best the tradition of any of the
manuscripts familiarly known to me or any old translation. That,
however, is not so. I have to judge each case by itself and to proceed
eclectically as much as my philological conscience permits. Finally, by
means of my rendering I believe I have reproduced the import of this
monumental piece of literature without showing absolute partiality to
the Arabic document. My rendering is wanting doubtless in the elegance
with which Ibn Moqaffa handles the language which in his time had
acquired the capacity of treating even abstract subjects with lucidity.
May a later hand improve upon my translation!

Only those who attempt it can appreciate how difficult it is to make a
tolerable European translation even of an easily intelligible Arabic
text. A literal translation would be wooden. We have often to alter the
entire construction and to insert all manner of words foreign to the
Arabic to make the context clear. On the other hand the translator must
avoid employing the same expression in rapid succession, a procedure
which is common in Arabic even if we make allowance for the _figura
etymologica_ and the like.

[Sidenote: Ibn Qutaiba and Ibn Moqaffa.]

I only know two passages in this chapter which are quoted by Arabic
authors. Brockelmann informs me that no quotation from our chapter
occurs in the unpublished portion of the _Uyun_ of Ibn Qutaiba. Unless I
am mistaken the excerpts in this book from _Kalila wa Dimna_ are not
always correct. Ibn Qutaiba was concerned more with the sense than with
the phraseology of Ibn Moqaffa.


Who undertook to transcribe and translate this Indian Book (Kalila wa

[Sidenote: Autobiographical.]

My father belonged to the Warrior class, my mother came of an eminent
priestly family. One of the earliest boons which the Lord conferred on
me was that I was the most favourite child of my parents and that they
exerted themselves more for my education than for my brothers. So when I
was seven years old they sent me to a children's school.

[This was required to be mentioned in his case inasmuch as it could not
have been necessary or usual for a child of distinguished parentage in
early Persia to be educated in a public school.]

When I had learnt the ordinary writing I was thankful to my parents and
perceived something in knowledge.

[In spite of the wide divergence in the Arabic texts and translations
the sense of the original is clear. Note the reference to the difficult
nature of the Pehlevi syllabary. Only the Spanish version has a good
deal more about the schooling.]

[Sidenote: Appreciation of the healing art.]

And the first branch of science to which I felt inclination was
medicine. It had a great attraction for me because I recognised its
excellence and the more I acquired it the more I loved it and the more
earnestly I studied it. Now when I had progressed sufficiently far to
think of treating invalids I took counsel with myself and reflected in
the following manner on the four objects for which mankind so earnestly
strive. "Which of them shall I seek to acquire with the help of my art,
money, prosperity, fame, or reward in the next world"? In the choice of
my calling the decisive factor was my experience that men of
understanding praise medicine and that the adherents of no religion
censure it. I found, however, in medical literature that the best
physician is he who by his devotion to his vocation strives only after a
reward in the next world; and I resolved to act accordingly and not to
think of worldly gain, so that I may not be likened to the merchant who
sold for a worthless bead a ruby by which he could have acquired a world
of wealth. On the other hand, I found in the books of the ancients that
when a physician strives after the reward in the next world by means of
his art he thereby forfeits no fraction of his worldly guerdon but that
therein he is to be compared with the peasant who carefully sows his
plot of ground to acquire corn and who subsequently without further
effort gets along with the harvest all manner of vegetation.

[The cultivator along with the harvest gets grass and vegetation which
may serve as a pasture for cattle.]

[Sidenote: Burzoe starts practice.]

I, therefore, directed my attention to the hope of securing recompense
in the next world by curing the sick and was at considerable pains in
the treatment of all the deceased whom I hoped to cure and even such as
were past all such hopes, whose suffering I endeavoured at least to
alleviate. I personally attended those I could; but where this was not
possible I gave the patients the necessary instructions and also sent
medicine. And from none of those whom I so treated did I demand payment
or other return. I was jealous of none of my colleagues who was my
equal in knowledge and who excelled me in repute and riches; although as
a matter of fact he was lacking in equity and good manners. When,
however, my soul felt inclined to impel me to be jealous of such and to
be covetous of a situation like his I met it with severity in the
following manner:--

[Sidenote: Burzoe addresses his own soul. The physician's arduous

[Sidenote: A simile.]

O soul, dost not thou differentiate between what is useful and what is
injurious to thee? Dost thou not cease wishing for the acquisition of
that which secures for every one a small gain but which entails severe
exertion and privation and which, when he must at last relinquish it,
procures him much sorrow and severe punishment in the next world? O
soul, thinkest thou not of that which succeeds this life and forgettest
it because of thy avarice for the things of this world? Art thou not
ashamed to live the evanescent terrestrial life in the company of men of
feeble intellect and fools? It belongs not to him even who has something
of it in his hand: it does not endure with him and only the infatuated
and the negligent depend upon it. Desist from this irrationality and
bend all thy might, so long as in thee lies, to exert thyself for the
good and for divine recompense. Beware of procrastination. Reflect on
the fact that our body is destined to all manner of unhappiness and
permeated with the four perishable and impure principles which are
enclosed in it, which struggle against each other, defeating each other
by turn, and thus support life which itself is transient. Life is like a
statue with several limbs. When properly adjusted each in its right
place, they hold themselves together on a single pivot but which, when
the latter is taken off, fall to pieces. O soul, do not deceive thyself
owing to intercourse with friends and companions and do not strain
thyself after it, inasmuch as this intercourse brings no doubt joy but
also much hardship and tribulation and finally ends in separation. It is
like a ladle which men use for hot soup, so long as it is new but when
it breaks they have done with it--burn it. O soul, allow not thyself to
be moved by family and relations to amass property for them so that
thyself should perish. Thou shouldst, then, be like fragrant incense
which is burnt only for the enjoyment of others. They are like a hair
which men cherish so long as it remains on the head but cast it off as
impure as soon as it falls. O soul, be steadfast in treating the
diseased and give it not up because thou findest that the physician's
profession is arduous and people do not recognise its uses and high
value. Judge only thyself whether a man who cures in another a disease
making him feel once more fresh and whole is not worthy of a great
reward and handsome remuneration. This is the case with one who has
solicitude for a single individual; how much more then is this so in the
case of a medicineman who for meed in the next world thus acts towards
a, large number of men, so that they after torturing pains and maladies,
which shut them out from the enjoyment of the world, from food and
drink, wife and child, feel once more as well as ever before. Who indeed
merits larger reward and nobler retribution? O soul, do not put away
from thy sight things of the next world because thou hungerest after
passing life. For thou, in thy haste to acquire a triviality
surrenderest the valuable; and such people are in the position of the
merchant who had a house full of aloe wood and who said, "If I were to
sell this by weight it would take me too long" and therefore gave it
away wholesale for a trifling price.

[Sidenote: Autobiographical]

After thus I had replied to my soul and thereby explained matters to it
and guided it aright it could not deviate from truth, yielded to
righteousness and abandoned what it was inclined to. Accordingly I
continued to treat the sick for the sake of my reward in the next world.
This, however, by no means prevented my acquiring a rich portion of
earthly goods before my journey to India as well as after my return from
the kings, and that was more than I was ambitious of or had hoped for,
for a man in my position and my calling.

[Sidenote: Limitations of the healing art.]

Thereafter I again reflected on the healing art and found that the
physician can employ no remedy for a suffering patient which so
completely cures his disease that it does not attack him again or that
he is immune from a worse disorder. While, therefore, I was unaware how
I could effect a perfect cure secure against the recurrence of a
disease, I saw that on the other hand acknowledge of the next world was
a permanent absolute protection against all distempers. Accordingly I
conceived a contempt for the healing art and a longing for religious

[Sidenote: Uncertainty of religious Verity.]

[Sidenote: Burzoe inquires of religious heads on matters divine: his

When, however, this occurred to my mind it was not clear to me how
matters stood with reference to religion. I found nothing in the
writings on pharmacy which indicated to me the truest religion. So far
as I saw there were many religions and creeds and their adherents were
again disunited. Some inherit their religion from their fathers; others
are compelled to adhere to it by fear and pressure; others again aim at
worldly advantages, enjoyments and renown. Everyone claims for himself
the possession of the true and right faith and denounces that of others
as false and erroneous. Their views on the world and other problems are
entirely conflicting yet each despises the other, is inimical to and
censures every other creed. I then resolved to turn to the learned and
leaders of every religions community with a view to examining their
doctrines and precepts in order possibly to learn to distinguish between
verity and nullity and implicity to give my adhesion to the former
without altogether accepting as true what I did not understand. So I
analysed, investigated and observed, but I found that all those people
only held before me traditional notions. Each landed his faith and
reviled that of others. It was, therefore, evident to me that their
conclusions rested on mere imagination and that they did not speak with
impartiality. In none did I find such fairness and integrity that
reasonable people could accept their dicta and declare themselves
satisfied with them. When I perceived this it was impossible for me to
follow any one of the religions and recognised that if I put faith in
one of them of which I knew nothing I should fare like the betrayed
believer in the following story.

[Sidenote: Anecdote of the credulous burglar.]

Once upon a time a thief set out at night and along with his companions
got up on to the roof of the house of a man of opulence. As they entered
they awoke the owner who noticed them and perceived that at that hour
they were on the roof with evil intent. He awoke his wife and gently
said to her, "I see that up on the top of our roof there are thieves. I
will pretend to sleep, wake me up in a voice loud enough to be heard by
those on the roof and say to me, 'My husband, do tell me how you came by
so much wealth and property.' When I make no reply whatever ask me very
pressingly again." The woman accordingly asked him as she was ordered so
that the house-breakers heard it all. The man replied, "My wife, luck
has led you to great prosperity, so eat and drink, keep quiet and do not
ask about it, because if I told it to you, some one would easily hear it
and get something by it, which neither of us would like." She, however,
persisted, "But my husband, do tell me, surely there is no one here to
overhear us." "Well then, I will tell you that I have acquired all this
wealth and goods by theft." "How did you manage it, when in the eye of
the people you are still irreproachably honest and no one suspects you?"
"By means of an artifice in the science of thieving: it is so handy and
easy that no one can have any suspicion whatever." "How so?" "I used to
manage this way: On a moonlight night I would go out with my companions,
get up to the roof of the house of the person I wanted to rob as far as
the sky light through which the moon shone and then uttered seven times
the charm _Sholam Sholam Sholam_. I would then embrace the rays and
slide down into the house without any body noticing my intrusion. Then
at the other extremity of the moon-beams I again would seven times
repeat the magic word and all the money and treasures in the house
became visible to me. I could take of them whatever I would. Once more I
would embrace the beams and rehearsing again seven times the magic word
mount up to my companions and load them with all I had. Next we stole
away unscathed."

When the robbers overheard this they rejoiced exceedingly and said: "In
this house we have got a spoil which is more valuable to us than the
gold which we can get there; we have acquired a means by which God
delivers us from fear and we are secure against the authorities." So
they watched for a long time and when they had made sure that the master
of the house and his wife had gone to sleep the leader of the robbers
stepped up to the spot where the light streamed through the hole, spoke
Sholam Sholam seven times, clasped the rays with the intention of
dropping down along them and fell head foremost on the floor. The
husband sprang to his feet with a club and thrashed him to a jelly
asking him, "Who are you?" And he replied, "The deceived believer: this
is the fruit of blind faith."

[Sidenote: More religious investigation and more despair.]

[Sidenote: A dilemma.]

Accordingly, after I had grown sufficiently circumspect not to credit
what might probably lead to my perdition, I started again investigating
religions to discover the true one. But I again found no reply whenever
I put questions to any one and when a doctrine was propounded to me I
found nothing which in my judgment merited belief or served me as a
guiding principle. Then I said, "The most reasonable course is to cling
to the religion in which I found my fathers." Yet when I sought
justification for this course I found none and said to myself, "If that
be justification then the sorcerer also had one who found his
progenitors to be wizards." And I thought of the man who ate indecently
and when he was rebuked for it he excused himself by saying that his
ancestors used to feed in the same gross way. Since, therefore, it was
impossible for me to keep to the religion of my forbears and since I
could find no justification for it, I desired once more earnestly to
bestir myself and most carefully to examine the various religions and to
consider minutely what they had to offer us. But then suddenly the idea
struck me that the end was near and that the world would presently come
to a close for me. Thereupon I pondered as follows:--

[Sidenote: Meditation of despair.]

Perhaps the hour of my departure has already arrived before I could
wring my hands. My deeds were once still such that I could hope they
were meritorious. Now perhaps the prolonged hesitation over my search
and investigation would turn me away from the good deeds which I
practised formerly, so that my end would not be such as I strove for,
and owing to my wavering and vacillation the fate of the man in the
following anecdote would overtake me.

[Sidenote: An anecdote: fatal hesitation.]

A certain man had a love affair with a married woman. She had made for
him a subterraneous passage opening into the street and its entrance was
constructed close by a water jar. This she did for fear lest her husband
or some one else should surprise her. Now one day when her paramour was
with her word was brought that the husband was standing at the door. The
lover hastened to get behind the jar but it had been removed by some one
so he came to the woman and said, "I went to the passage but the jar of
which you spoke was not there." To which the woman, said "You fool, what
have you got to do with the jar? I mentioned it to point to you the way
to the passage." "I could not be sure, since the jar was not near the
passage, you should not have spoken of it to me and misled me." "Now
save yourself, enough of your stupidity and hesitation." "But how shall
I go since you spoke to me of the jar and even now confuse me?" Thus he
remained there till the master of the house came up and seized hold of
and belaboured him, and handed him over to the authorities.

[Sidenote: Burzoe follows good principles common to all creeds.]

[Sidenote: The properties of righteousness.]

Since I was apprehensive of the risks of shilly-shallying I resolved not
to expose myself to the danger and to confine myself entirely to such
works as all men regard as benevolent and which are consonant with all
the religions. I refrained, therefore, from assault, murder and robbery,
and guarded myself against incontinence and my tongue from falsehood and
all utterance calculated to harm any one, avoided the smallest
deception, indecency of language, falsehood, calumny and ridicule and
took pains that my heart wished ill of no one and that I did not
disbelieve in resurrection and retribution and punishment in the next
world. I turned away my mind from wickedness and adhered energetically
to good, perceived that there is no better associate or friend than
righteousness and that it is easy to acquire it with the help of God. I
found that it has more tender solicitude for us than father and mother
that it leads to good and gives true counsel like one friend to another,
that use does not diminish but rather multiplies it, and that when
employed it does not wear out, but is constantly renewed, and becomes
more beautiful; that we need not fear that the authorities will snatch
it from us, the enemy will rob or miscreants disfigure it, or water
drown or fire will consume it, wild beasts attack it or that any thing
untoward will happen to it. He who contemns righteousness and its
consequences in the next world and permits himself to be seduced from it
by a fraction of the sweets of this passing world, he who passes his
days with things which do not permit piety to approach him, fares as
did to my knowledge the merchant in the following story.

[Sidenote: The careless Jeweller.]

A merchant had many precious stones. To bore a hole through them he
hired a man for a hundred pieces of gold a day and went with him to his
house. As soon however, as he set to work, there was a lute and the
workman turned his eyes towards it. And upon the merchant questioning
him whether he could play upon it he replied, "Yes, right well." For he
was indeed proficient in the art. "Then take it" said the merchant. He
therefore took it and played for the merchant the whole day beautiful
melodies in proper tune so that the jeweller left the caset with the
precious stones in it and filled with joy kept time, nodding his head
and waving his hand. In the evening he said to the jeweller, "Let me
have my wages," And when the latter said, "Have you done anything to
deserve the wage?" he replied, "You have hired me and I have done what
you ordered me to do." So he pressed him till he received his hundred
pieces without any deduction, while the gems remained unbored.

[Sidenote: Aversion to pleasures of the world: Buddhistic pessimism.]

The more I reflected upon the world and its joys the deeper grew my
aversion towards them. Then I made up my mind entirely to devote myself
to the life of the blessed and the anchorite. For I saw that asceticism
is a garden the hedge of which keeps off at a distance eternal evils,
and the door through which man attains to everlasting felicity. And I
found that a divine tranquility comes over the ascetic when he is
absorbed in meditation; for he is still, contented, unambitious,
satisfied, free from cares, has renounced the world, has escaped from
evils, is devoid of greed, is pure, independent, protected against
sorrow, above jealousy, manifests pure love, has abandoned all that is
transitory, has acquired perfect understanding, has seen the recompense
of the next world, is secure against remorse, fears no man, does none
any harm and remains himself unmolested. And the more I pondered over
asceticism the more I yearned for it so that at last I earnestly thought
of becoming an ascetic.

[Sidenote: The trials of an anchorite: the greedy dog.]

But then apprehension came upon me that I should not be able to support
the life of a hermit and that the ordinary way in which I had grown up
would prove an hindrance. I was not sure that, should I renounce the
world and adopt asceticism, I should not prove too feeble for it.
Moreover, should I give up such good works as I had previously performed
in the hope of salvation, I should be in the position of the dog who
with the bone in his mouth was going along a river. He saw his
reflection in the water, suddenly dashed forward to seize it and
consequently let fall what he had in the mouth without securing what he
wanted to get. So I grew uneasy regarding the recluse's life and was
afraid lest I should fail to bear it and thought therefore rather to
continue the career of my life.

[Sidenote: Worldly Monastic life.]

[Sidenote: A series of similes.]

However, it occurred to me to compare the discomforts and straits of
monasticism, which I feared I should be unable to support, with the
wants of those who remain in the world. Then it became clear to me that
all the joys and pleasures of the world turn to discomforts and bring
sorrow. For the world is like salt water. The more one drinks of it the
more thirsty one becomes; like a bone found by a dog on which he still
sniffs the flavour of flesh, he bites to get at it but only to tear the
flesh of his teeth and make his mouth bleed and the more he struggles
the more he makes it bleed; like the vulture that has found a piece of
flesh, it attracts other birds in a flock so that for a long time it is
in trouble and flies till at last, quite exhausted, it drops its prey;
like a pot filled with honey and with poison at the bottom, he who eats
of it has a short enjoyment but at last death by venom; like a dream
which rejoices the sleeper who finds when he awakes his joy vanished;
like lightning that brings brilliance for a moment but quickly
disappears, he who builds his hope upon it abides in darkness; like the
silk worm the more it spins itself into the silk the more impossible it
finds to come out.

[Sidenote: More internal struggle.]

After I had pondered thus I once more proposed to my soul to elect
asceticism and had yearning for it. Nevertheless I opposed it with: It
will not do that I should seek refuge from the world in asceticism when
I think of the evils of the world and then again seek refuge in the
world from asceticism when I consider the privations and discomforts of
the latter. I continued in a state of prolonged vacillation without firm
determination like the Kazi of Merv who at first heard one party and
decided in his favour and against the other and then heard the other and
gave judgment in favour of the latter as against the first. And when
again I reflected upon the frightful discomforts and straits of
monasticism I said, How trifling it is all in comparison with eternal
peace. And then once more thinking of the joys of the world I exclaimed,
How bitter and pernicious they are which lead to perpetual perdition and
its horrors; how can a man not regard as sweet the little bitterness
which is succeeded by sweet that endures and how can a man not regard as
bitter a bit of sweet that ends in greater and abiding bitterness? If it
was offered to a man that he should live a hundred years but that every
day he should be hacked to pieces and should be called to life again the
following day and so on, provided that at the close of the century he
should be delivered from the torture and pain and be in security and
delight, he would account as nothing the whole years. How can a man then
not bear the few days of asceticism, the inconveniences of which are
succeeded by much that is beautiful? And we know that the entire world
bears privation and torment and that man from his origin as foetus till
the end of his days is subject to one suffering after another. Moreover,
we find the following in books of medicine.

[Sidenote: Man in embryo: his torments till and after death.]

[Sidenote: Tribulations of human existence.]

When the liquid, of which the perfect child is to be built, enters the
uterus of the woman, and mixes itself with her liquid substance and her
blood it becomes thick and pulpy. Next the liquid is stirred by a wind
and becomes like sour milk and later on hard like curdled milk. After a
certain number of days the individual members become separate. If it is
a man child its face is turned to the back of the mother; if it is a
female it is turned towards the belly. In the foetus the hands are on
the cheeks and the chin is on the knee. It is all bundled up in the
foetus as if it was thrust into a pouch. It breathes through a narrow
opening. Each member is bound by a chord. Above it is the heat and the
pressure of the mother's womb; below are darkness and constriction. It
is tied with a piece of its navel to that of its mother, sucks through
it and lives upon her food and drink. In this position it remains in
gloom and confinement till the day of birth. When that day comes a wind
acquires control of the womb, that child acquires strength to rise,
turns the head towards the opening and experiences in this confinement
the pain of one forced into a distressing torture. Should it fall to the
ground or be touched only by a breath of wind or should it come in
contact with one's hands it feels greater pain, than a person that is
flayed alive. The new born babe then suffers all manner of torment. When
it is hungry it cannot ask for food; thirsty, for drink; when in pain it
cannot call for help. Besides it is lifted up, laid down, wrapped up,
swathed, washed and rubbed. When it is laid to sleep on the back it
cannot turn. Again so long as it is given the suck it is subjected to
all manner of other tortures. When it is finally delivered from these,
it is liable to those of education and has then to suffer a great deal,
the brusqueness of the teacher, the unpleasantness of the instruction,
the disgust at writing. Next he has his rich portion of medicine, diet,
aches and illnesses. When he has outgrown these, he is troubled with
wife, child and property and is pulled about by covetuous ambition and
is exposed to the peril of longing and desires. All this while he is
menaced by his four internal enemies, gall, blood, bile and wind; and
furthermore, mortal poison, snakes that bite, animals of prey and
reptiles, the alternation of heat and cold, rain and storm as well as
finally the various plagues of age, if at all he survives those. But
should he have nothing to fear from all this and were he secure with
regard to these calamities, when he thinks of the moment when death must
come and he musk give up the world, what a miserable plight is his, at
the thought of the hour he has to separate himself from family,
friends, and relations and all that is precious on the earth, and when
he reflects that there is in store for him after death fearful horrors?
Then must he be considered of feeble intellect, neglectful and a suitor
for misfortune should he do nothing for his soul, should he not employ
all art in behalf of the soul, and should he not renounce altogether the
pleasures and errors of the world which till then had seduced him.

[Sidenote: Eulogy of the reigning Monarch.]

[Sidenote: Fallen on evil days.]

[Sidenote: How the world's misery outweighs its joys.]

But this holds especially good of modern times which have become worn
out and fragile, which appear pure but are turbid. God has given the
king good fortune and success. He is equally circumspect, mighty,
magnanimous, profound examiner, upright, humane, liberal, a lover of
truth, grateful, of broad comprehension, mindful of right and duty,
indefatigable, strenuous, with insight, helpful, serene of mind,
intelligent, thoughtful, gentle, sympathetic, kind, one who knows man
and things, friend of learning and the learned, of the good and of
benevolent people, but severe to the oppressor, not timid, nor backward,
dexterous in granting in abundance to his subjects what they desire and
averting from them what they do not like. Yet we see that our days are
retrogressive in every way. It is as if man were divested of truth, as
if that should be absent which one sadly misses and as if the harmful
were there, as if the good were withering and the evil flourishing, as
if the sinners were proceeding with a smile and the righteous receding
in tears; as if knowledge was entombed and irrationality propagated, as
if wretched intent was spreading and nobility of thought restricted; as
if love was cut off and malice and hatred had become favourites; as if
rectitude were divested of prosperity which had betaken itself to the
malefactor; as if craftiness were awake and truth were asleep; as if
mendacity were fruitful and veracity was left in the cold; as if those
in power held before them the duty to act according to their own
inclinations and to violate law, as if the oppressed were in dejection
and made way for the tyrant; as if greediness on all sides had opened
its jaws and swallowed all that was far and near; as if there was no
trace left of contentment; as if the wicked had exalted themselves to
Heaven and had made the good sink into the ground; as if nobility of
mind were thrown from the loftiest pinnacle to most abysmal depths, as
if turpitude were in honour and authority and as if sovereignty had been
transferred from the exalted to the mean--in fact as if the world in the
fullness of its joy were crying, "I have concealed the good and brought
the evil to light." When, however, I reflected on the world and its
condition and on the fact that man, although he is the noblest and
foremost of creatures in it, is still in spite of his eminent position,
subject to one misery after another and that this is his notorious
peculiarity so that whoever has even a tittle of reason must be
convinced that a human being is unable to help himself and to exert for
his salvation,--this greatly astonished me, as further consideration
told me that he is debarred from salvation only because of the small
miserable enjoyments of smell, taste, sight, hearing and feeling of
which he may receive a fraction or enjoy a particle but which is
insignificant being so transient. He is, however, so much taken up with
it that on its account he does not trouble himself for the salvation of
his soul.

Then I looked for a similitude for this behaviour of human beings and
found the following:

A certain person was fleeing from a danger into a well and suspended
himself by clinging to two branches which grew on its edge, his feet
striking against something which supported them. When he looked round
there were four serpents which were projecting their heads from their
holes. As he looked into the bottom of the well he noticed a dragon with
its jaws open expecting him to fall his prey. And as he turned his head
up to the branches he observed at their roots a black and a white mouse
which were ceaselessly gnawing at both. While he was contemplating the
situation and casting about for a means of escape he descried near him a
hollow with bees that had made some honey. This he tasted and he was so
much absorbed in its deliciousness that he no more thought of the
condition he was in and that he must devise some contrivance of escape.
He became oblivious of the fact that his feet rested against four
serpents and that he did not know which would attack him first, forgot
that the two mice were without cessation nibbling at the boughs by which
he was hanging, and that as soon as they had gnawed them through he
would drop into the jaws of the dragon. And so in his heedlessness he
yielded to the enjoyment of the meed till he perished.

I compared the well with the world which is brimful of all manner of
harm and terrible perils, the four snakes with the four humours which
constitute the physical basis of man, but which, should they be excited,
prove mortal poison; the branches to life, the black and white mice to
night and day which in perpetual alternation consume our lifetime; the
dragon with death inevitable; the honey to the particle of joy which man
derives from his senses of smell, taste, sight, hearing and feeling, but
which makes him oblivious of himself and all his circumstances and decoy
away from the path to emancipation. So circumstanced I found myself, and
endeavoured to conduct myself with as much rectitude as possible in the
hope once again to experience a time when I should acquire a guide for
myself and help for my cause. I remained in this stage till I returned
from India to my homeland after I had made a copy of this book and a
few more.




[Afshin was a Zoroastrian at heart. His trial and condemnation are
referred to by Browne, _Literary History of Persia._ I take the account
direct from Tabari. It is to be found also in Ibn Athir and Ibn Khaldun.
The legal procedure reveals prominently the condition under which
professed non-Moslems lived--religious liberty was granted to them. Note
that it was possible to chastise ecclesiastical officers like Imams and
Muezzins because of their interference with the religious practices of
non-Moslems. Observe the part played by a Mobed at a criminal trial
conducted according to Muhammadan usages. The Zoroastrian priest, who
subsequently embraced Islam, comes forward to give evidence against the
most puissant but covert co-religionist of his times.]

It has been related by Harun son of Isa, son of Mansur as follows:--I
was present in the house of Muatisim and there were there Ahmad bin Ali
Dawud and Ishaq bin Ibrahim son of Masab and Muhammad bin Abdal Maliq al
Zayyad. They then brought Afshin who was yet not in rigorous
imprisonment, and there were present people who were prepared to cause
Afshin to shed tears. There was nobody in the house belonging to any
high position except the sons of Mansur, for, the people had left. Those
present were Muhammad bin Abdal Maliq al Zayyad and there were Mazyar,
the ruler of Tabaristan, the Mobed, and the Marzban son of Urkesh, one
of the chieftains of Sughd, and two people from among the Sughdians.
Then Muhammad Ibn Abdal Maliq called the two people whose clothes were
torn and asked them how they were. They then uncovered their backs which
were torn of the flesh. Muhammad turning to Afshin asked "Do you know
these?" "Yes, this man is the Mauzzin and this, one is the Imam who made
a mosque at Ashrushana, and I struck each of them a thousand lashes, and
that was because there was a covenant between myself and the kings of
Sughd including a clause to the effect that I should leave each
community to its own religion. But these two people attacked a shrine
which had images in it, a shrine which was at Ashrushna, and they took
out the images and turned the shrine into a mosque. I therefore struck
them one thousand lashes for this transgression of theirs."

Then Muhammad asked Afshin, "What is the book which you have got which
you have adorned with gold and gems and brocade? Its contents are
impious with reference to God?" Afshin replied, "This is a book which I
have inherited from my father and it contains the manners of the
Persians, and as regards the impiety to which you refer I take advantage
of the book in so far as the manners are concerned and I leave all the
rest. And I found it bejewelled and as there was no occasion for me to
take off the gems I left it as it was just as you have left with
yourself the book _Kalileh and Dimneh_ and the _Book of Mazdak_ in your
house. For I don't think the book would make me lose my Islam."

Then came forward the Mobed and referring to Afshin said, "This man is
used to eating animals that have been strangled and he suggested the
eating of it to me alleging that the flesh was more fresh than the flesh
of slaughtered animals. And he used to kill a black goat every Wednesday
and tearing it up with his sword he would pass through the two halves,
and he would then eat the flesh. And one day he told me, 'I have entered
this community [Islam] with reference to every detail of theirs which I
hate so that I have eaten of olive oil, have ridden on camels, have put
on the Arabian shoes, but although I have gone to this extent I have not
in any way been injured and no harm has come to me: nor have I had
myself circumcised.'"

Then Afshin said "Let me know as regards this man who is speaking these
words whether he is a staunch believer in his own religion." Now the
Mobed was a Magian who subsequently received Islam at the instance of
the Khalif Mutawakkil and repented of his previous belief. They replied,

Afshin then said, "What is the meaning of your adducing the evidence of
a man who is not firm in his own faith?" Then turning to the Mobed
Afshin said, "Was there between your house and my house any door or any
hole through which you could look at me and learn my movements?"

"No," said the Mobed.

Afshin then asked, "Was I not then introducing you into my private
affairs and informing you regarding my Persian nationality and my
inclination towards it and towards the people of the race?"

"Yes," said the Mobed.

Said Afshin, "Now you are not firm in your own religion, and you are not
faithful to your promise when you have revealed the secret confided by
me to you."

Then the Mobed withdrew and the Marzban turned up. Afshin was asked
whether he knew him, and said "No."

Then the Marzban was asked whether he knew Afshin and said "Yes. This is

Afshin was then told that this was the Marzban and the Marzban turning
to Afshin said; "Oh cutthroat, why do you prevaricate and shuffle?"

Afshin said, "Oh you long-bearded one, what are you talking?"

The Marzban said "How do people under your jurisdiction address you when
they write to you?"

Afshin replied; "Just in the way they used to write to my father and

"Then tell us the way."

"No, I won't."

"Do not the people of Ashrushna write to you in such and such a way?"

"Now, does this not mean in Arabic, 'to the high God from his slave so
and so?'"

[Ibn Khaldun is here clearer than Tabari. The term used was _Khoday_
which in Persian meant Lord, applicable equally to God and any high
dignitary. The original 'Pahlavi' title of the Shahnameh was


Muhammad Ibn Abdal Maliq asked upon this, "Do they tolerate such a
thing? For what greater blasphemy would be left to Pharaoh to commit who
suggested to his people 'I am your God the Highest.'?"

Afshin replied, "This was the custom of the people in my father's and
grandfather's times and it was also the custom with me before I embraced
Islam. And then I did not like that I should lower myself before them.
For then I should have lost their allegiance and the obedience that they
owed me."

Upon this Ishaq Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Musab said, "Fie, fie on you, Hyder."

[Afshin is sometimes referred to as Hyder.]

Then turned up Mazyar the chief of Tabaristan and Afshin was asked
whether he knew him. He said "No."

Mazyar was asked if he knew Afshin.

Then they told him that this was Mazyar.

"Yes, I know him now."

"Did you ever have correspondence with him? No."

Then turning to the Marzban they asked, "Did he ever write to you?"

"Yes," said Mazyar, "His brother Khash used to write to my brother
Quhyar to the effect that this splendid religion of theirs will have
help from nobody except himself, Quhyar and Babak."

[In the sequel Tabari relates how when Afshin's house was searched,
after he was starved to death, among other incriminating articles a book
was discovered sumptuously bound and bedecked with gems which related,
to the old faith of Iran.]



[The Arabs have long been credited with maintaining learning and
civilisation in general when Europe was slumbering in its dark ages.
History as a science was rarely known even to the gifted Hindus. The
Arabs cultivated it with peculiar enthusiasm. Wustenfeld has collected
the lives of 590 historians, the first of whom died in the year 50, and
the last was born in 1061 A.H. But it is now proved beyond all doubt
that many of these writers were Persians who employed the Arabic
language and that the art of Arab annalists had its root in the archives
of the Sasanians. We owe this discovery to Goldziher and Von Kremmer in
the first instance, and to Brockelmann, Browne, Blochet and Huart who
have done ample justice to the Iranian element in Arab culture. One of
the best of these histories is by Tabari. Noeldeke translated in 1879,
the portion relating to the Sasanians into German, and added footnotes
to his translation, which are a mine of information on pre-Moslem
Persia. The introduction which he wrote to his translation is equally
valuable especially for the light it throws on the sources of Firdausi.
The following is a translation of that German introduction by Noeldeke.

Tabari was a most prolific author and is reported to have written daily
forty sheets for forty years. He was of pure Iranian descent G.K.N.]

[Sidenote: Tabari's method.]

Abu Jafar Muhammed bin Jarir born in the winter of 839 at Amul not far
from the Caspian Sea in the Persian Province of Tabaristan, hence called
Tabari, and who died in Baghdad on the 17th February 923, wrote many,
partly very large, works in the Arabic language, among them an extremely
voluminous chronicle, which reaches from the creation down to nearly the
close of his life. Tabari, mainly occupied with theological tradition,
was no man of original research or of historical acumen even in the
sense applied to a few other Persian scholars in those centuries. His
annals are a compilation, a mass of rich material put together with
extraordinary industry. He does not work into unity the various versions
in his divergent sources, but simply brings them up in order one after
another. But it is just this circumstance which considerably enhances in
our eyes the value of the work; for in this way the older reports
themselves are preserved more faithfully than if the chronicler had
laboured to reconcile them one with the other.

[Sidenote: Abounds in extracts from Arab and Iranian predecessors, but
does not mention his sources.]

The principal value of Tabari's compilation consists in the extremely
exhaustive presentation of the history of Islam from the first
appearance of the Prophet; no other Arabic work in this respect can
compare with his. The pre-Islamic history comprises, may be, a twentieth
portion of the whole work and gives a very groat deal of what we would
rather be without. Of the highest moment, however, is the tolerably
detailed section on the history of the Sasanides and their times
embodied in it, and whose German translation forms the text of our book.
This section goes back partly to good Arabic records and mostly, at
least mediately, to very important ancient Persian sources. But the
stories from the mythological and historical traditions which appear
scattered in Tabari in proceeding sections have a cognate origin. If the
criticism of the sources is here very much facilitated on the one hand,
because these orientals where they excerpt love to adhere, as far as
possible, to the letter of their models or sources, it is on the other,
rendered difficult because Tabari does not mention his immediate
authorities. Only in reports of theological interest, to which the whole
of the history of the growth of Islam belongs, he proceeds to indicate
his sources with precision; otherwise he cites at the best an old
authority come down to him only obliquely, and in most cases none at
all. Throughout the Persian history he never names an authority, barring
Hisham, whom he quotes here and there and who was an acknowledged
authority in another province of tradition.

[Sidenote: Story of Persia based on indigenous original work.]

[Sidenote: Occasional identity of Firdausi and Tabari.]

The story of Persia from the first mythical Kings to the last of the
Sasanides exhibits in Tabari, as in allied Arabic works, a certain
similarity of conception and presentation which leads to the assumption
of an indigenous original work at least respecting a very large portion.
Now the Shahnameh of the great poet Firdausi, a national epic of the
kind which no other people possess, while it on one hand, apart from the
poetic license indulged in by Firdausi, contains much that is either not
found at all or is essentially differently related in Arab writers; on
the other, considerably accords with those Arab annalists in the order,
in the whole structure, and in the details of the narrative. Indeed the
poet often reproduces almost the identical phraseology of the historian.
But now since according to both tradition and internal grounds
Firdausi's bases were not Arabic books, the coincidence must be
explained from a common ultimate source. The original work has been
reflected to us in Tabari and other Arabs as well as Firdausi through a
series of intermediate texts. To judge by the express statements and
suggestions as also by various features in style and phraseology and
further by all that we are aware of touching the circumstances of the
literature we can say with certainty that, that original work like all
other Persian narrative productions of the Sasanides and of the period
of Arab conquest was composed in the written, language of this period,
the Pahlavi. The most important connected presentment of Persian history
in Pahlavi to which our reports go back is no doubt the _Khoday Nameh,
i.e.,_ the "Book of Lords" a title which answers to the subsequent Shah
Nameh or "Book of Kings."

Hamza mentions that name. The prose introduction to Ferdausi says that
the "Book of Kings" was written first of all at the instance of Khushrau
I Anoshirwan, but that the complete story was compiled only under
Yazdegerd III by the Dihkan Danishwar. This work which it would not be
too bold to identify with the _Koday Nameh_ began with the primeval
king, Gayomarth, and reached down to the termination of the reign of
Khushrau II, surnamed Parwez. Although this introduction to Ferdausi
dates but from the fifteenth century, and as for details is disfigured
by inaccuracies and fictions, I attach weight to what it indicates
respecting the time of its composition. In fact the concord of the
narrative in the various sources reaches down to the death of Parwez and
then abruptly ceases; while there are no vestiges to demonstrate that
the completion of the original work was brought about subsequent to the
victory of the Arabs. And the legitimistic nature of the story Is
especially in keeping with the times when usurpation and insurrections
of all sorts had run their course, and when the people looked forward
with, the inauguration of the rule of the youthful grandson, of Parwez,
who was crowned at the sacred place where the dynasty took its rise, to
an era of prosperity to the ancient monarchy,--a hope which was
fearfully crushed with the loss of the battle of Kadisiya towards the
close of 637. Again the replies made by the imprisoned king which have
been reproduced in different sources suit the times of the Yezegerd who
descended from Khusrau II and not Sheroe, Khusrau's brilliant career
despite its shady side strongly contrasted with the period ushered in by
the patricide. A small piece of writing which depicts the first stormy
years of Khusrau's domination in a romantic fashion seems to have arisen
about the same time.

I am less certain about the name Danishwar. It was probably an adjective
signifying "possessed of knowledge." It was easy for anyone who knew
from Firdausi that the landed nobility called the Dihkan constituted the
peculiar custodians of national lore to name a "learned Dihkan" as the
collector of the stones of kings.

The compilation prepared at the time had undoubtedly drawn upon written
documents without which It would have been impossible to give minute
particulars of a long by-gone past. Besides the brief notices
communicated by the Syrian Sergius to Agathias from the _Basilika
apomnemoneiumata_ are in the main in unison with our Arabo-Persian
stories. Thus then in Khushro's time there existed a general survey of
the history of Persia more or less in an official version. But otherwise
there is no need to lay stress on the mention of Khushrau here, for all
manner of things beneficial and good are ascribed to this king.

[Sidenote: Nature of the Khoday Nameh.]

The book of kings contains, as we said, the story of Persia from the
creation of the world to the fall of the last purely national
domination. It made no distinction between wholly mythical,
semi-fabulous, and fully historical dynasts, so that the Arabs and
Persians who drew upon it never suspected that e.g., Hoshang and Rustam
are not such historical persons as Shahpur I and Bahram Chobin. But in
the material itself we notice a conspicuous difference. The mythical
tales which in their crude nascent forms were already there at the
period of the Avesta were in course of time richly developed and under
the Sasanides were no doubt universally known. To these were joined
ecclesiastical speculation and traditions concerning the genesis of the
world, civilisation and the legislation of Zoroaster. There were also
several genealogical trees. In all these at the most a few proper names
were historical. Of the empires of the Medes and of Persians proper this
tradition had no knowledge. It is doubtful if it contained even quite a
feeble reflex of the last days of the Achaeminides. On to this ancient
autochthonous tradition was immediately joined the story of the last
Darius and Alexander emanating from a foreign source, the Greek romance
of Alexander. Not more than a few names was all that was preserved of
the long period covering the Macedonian and the Parthian supremacy. With
the Sasanides the national reminiscences became clearer. Round the
founder of the dynasty were accreted, on the one hand, legends wholly
fabulous and on the other, such as embodied excellent historical data.
But the latter seem to be inadequately represented in the main work, the
Khodayname. Again very few particulars were known of the reigns of the
succeeding sovereigns down to Yezdegerd I. In the chapters which
correspond to those of the old Book of Kings just this want of actual
information, it seems, the compilers strove to veil behind rhetorical
accounts of scenes of homage done to the rulers, imperial speeches from
the throne, etc. For the following ages on there was, in general, good,
partly very authentic information. But this entire presentment did not
concern itself solely with veracity. The Iranians who from very remote
antiquity extravagantly lauded truth, had in reality never any great
sense of it. The _Khoday Nameh_ and kindred productions were unfairly
biassed and rhetorical. The ornamental and figurative ingredients are
indicated even by the Arabic reproductions, though the latter are
greatly condensed. A classic testimony to it has been kindly
communicated to me by Baron Von Rosen which is a passage from a
Petersberg manuscript of _Albayan Wattabyin_ of Jahiz in which the
Shuubiya or the Persians, who, though Muslims placed their nation above
the Arabs say: "And he who is interested in reason, fine culture,
knowledge of ranks, examples and penalties, in elegant expressions and
superlative thoughts, let him cast a glance at the _History (more
properly the Vitae) of Kings."_ History of the Kings, _Siyar-ul Muluk_,
is the title of the Arabic rendering of the Book of Kings in Pahlavi.
Compare likewise Hamza's remarks on the works on Persian history. I have
laboured to show the partiality of the Persian tradition in the
footnotes. The narrative is conceived in a monarchical and legitimistic
spirit, but equally all along from the view point of the superior
nobility and the clergy. Add to this the exertions to cry up as much as
possible the glory of Persia which sometimes produces a strange effect.
Moreover, there must have been no lack of contradictions as to facts as
well as respecting estimates of personal character which was inevitable
owing to the employment of varying sources. Nevertheless a work like
this written under the Sasanides and familiar with the state of things
obtaining in the empire and more or less of an official nature, must
have been an admirable fount of history. There was hardly ever a better
presentment of the story of this house than the _Khoday-Nameh_.

[I have translated the entire passage from the since printed text. See
p. 170.--G.K.N.]

Since, barring the small book treating of Ardeshir's adventures, no
original Pahlavi document in the domain of historical or romantic
literature has descended to us and even the Arabic recensions made
directly from the original general history in Pahlavi have perished, we
are altogether left in uncertainty touching many most important points.
We cannot, for instance, ascertain whether alongside of the
_Khoday-Nameh_ there existed also other general continuous narrations or
whether the deviations, which are for the most part trifling, in some
cases of great moment, already existed in the Pahlavi work or are
traceable to various recensions of that book. It would not be rash, to
assume that some copies of the work contained additional matter taken
from other Pahlavi books like the Romance of Bahram. Bahram the high
priest of the city of Shapur collected, according to Hamza, more than 20
manuscripts of the _Khoday-Nameh_ and from their divergence made out
another independent recension. Musa Ibn Isa Kesravi complains of the
variants in the copies of the work; the latter author who speaks of
defects in translation has in view only the Arabic redactions. The text,
however, of Tabari, at all events and more so a comparison of Tabari and
other Arabs with one another and with Firdausi exhibits that entire
sections of the History of Kings were already in the Pahlavi original in
essentially different shapes. Otherwise, it would not be possible, for
instance, that where Tabari offers two different versions, one should
harmonise with Eutychius and Ibn Kotaiba (derived from the translation
of Ibn Mukaffa) and the other should agree with the Arab Yakubi and
often with Firdausi, who goes back to the Pahlavi text not directly but
mediately through compositions in modern Persian. It is very important
for a knowledge of the history that thus we have at our command all
manner of dissonant reports about the Sasanide epoch. But we have to
observe all the same that the character and the tendency of the several
versions are almost all along consistent and further more that often we
have more recensions than one which differ but little and which have one
and the same ground-work or prototype. The question whether this
difference is older or younger than the _Khoday-Nameh_ has more literary
than historical significance.

[Sidenote: Translation of _Khoday-Nameh_ into Arabic. Its general
fidelity to the original.]

[Sidenote: The Arabic translation may be pieced together from various

We should decide all this with much more certainty did we possess but
one direct rendering made from the Pahlavi into Arabic. Above all we
have to deplore the loss of Ibn Mukaffa's history of Persian Kings which
is always assigned the first place among translations of the Persian
Book of Kings by Hamza and other authorities. This distinguished man who
only late in life exchanged the faith of his forbears for that of Islam,
and who never professed the latter with over much zeal, translated a
series of Pahlavi writings into Arabic including the _Khoday-Nameh_. He
was a courtier, and passed for a good Arabic poet and one of the best
rhetorical writers of his time. The famous Wazir Ibn Mukla counted him
among "the ten most eloquent men." He must consequently have striven to
suit his rendering of the book of Persian kings to the taste of his
contemporaries. But we have no sufficient grounds to assume that he
introduced arbitrary and material alterations into his translations or
even that he greatly elaborated the rhetorical passages of the original
text or invested them with an altogether different garb. Such a
suspicion is contradicted by the coincidences with other sources which,
like Firdausi, are independent of him. There is little probability of
Ibn Mukaffa's work being again brought to light in its entirety. But on
the other hand, it will indeed be possible to gather together in course
of time more and more stray passages belonging to the book; though it is
to be feared, unfortunately that these fragments will prove more to be
preserved as efforts of rhetoric than because of their intrinsic value.
A few extracts of this nature we find in Ibn Kotaiba's _Oyun-al Akhbar_.
Among these citations which I owe to the goodness of Rosen, there is one
tolerably long on the death of Peroz. Now the same fragment, little
curtailed, is in the chronicle of Said bin Batrik or Eutychius, the
patriarch of Alexandria. We should, therefore, be inclined from the
first to derive other information in Eutychius on the Sasanides from Ibn
Mukaffa. And our predisposition is supported by the circumstance that
the history of the dynasty as given in a manual by the same Ibn Kotaiba
and which is styled _Kitab al Maarif_, brief as it is, betrays as in the
instance of the reign of Peroz, all through such an harmony with
Eutychius that here two independent authors must necessarily have drawn
upon one and the same original; and that original source can be no other
than the production of Ibn Mukaffa. The abstract in Eutychius is very
unequal being in some parts exhaustive, in others much abridged. The
narrations as preserved in Tabari, which correspond to the statements in
Eutychius and Ibn Kotaiba and which consequently go back to Ibn Mukaffa,
are of a similar nature though Tabari gives in addition other parallel
reports. Tabari, however, did not himself use Ibn Mukaffa's work, but
for the History of Persia, among other authorities, employed by
preference a younger work which represented another version together
with excerts from the former. This can be inferred from the fact that
the anonymous Codex Sprengers 30, which and Tabari are mutually
independent, shows quite the same combination of two main sources and so
far as the section in question goes, can be utilised and treated as a
new manuscript of Tabari. Both have relied almost to the letter upon the
presentment which emanated partly from Ibn Mukaffa and partly from
another translator with the only difference that the anonymous writer is
oftener more concise than Tabari. Again the version which does not
proceed from Ibn Mukaffa is for the most part in accord with the epitome
of the story of the Sasanides in the introduction to Yakubi's History of
the Abbasides; there the excellent author occasionally subjoins
extraneous information. More often than not this presentment is in touch
with Ferdausi. I am unable to aver from whom has originated this other
recension of the story of the Sasanides. We know indeed the names of a
number of persons who redacted the History of Persia, originally in
Pahlavi, for Arab readers. But though we can collect a few notices of
some of the authors mentioned, we know nothing in particular about them
and are completely in the dark about the special nature of their work.
All that we can postulate as established is that they wrote posterior to
Ibn Mukaffa. The latter is always mentioned in the first place. Muhammad
bin Jahm who is regularly cited next after him and bears the surname of
Bermaki, was a client of the Barmecides, who came to power a long while
after the death of Ibn Mukaffa. Ifc may be supposed that they all laid
under contribution the production of their celebrated predecessor. How
they individually set about their work, whether perhaps some of them
tapped non-Persian tradition; also, how far one or other of them
utilized the novels of which there were probably many in Pahlavi--this
we are no longer in a position to determine. Again this too remains a
mystery whence Tabari came by most of the accounts touching the
Persians, which are conspicuous by their absence in the anonymous Codex.
To clear this whole ground it would appear to be expedient in the first
place to set apart all that for which Ibn Mukaffa directly or indirectly
is responsible. This I have done in the footnotes but an advance is
possible in this direction. On the other hand, we must keep Ferdausi
steadily before our eyes. Whatever in Tabari and other Chroniclers does
not issue from Ibn Mukaffa and is not represented in Ferdausi likewise
merits special study.

[Sidenote: Direct Sources of Ferdausi.]

[Sidenote: The Persian prose Shahname was not derived from Arabic but

A superficial reading of Firdausi would engender the view that he
obtained his material partly from Pahlavi books direct and partly from
the oral communication of competent renconteurs. That this is only a
deceptive illusion we conclude at once from his strong resemblance not
only in the main features but also in the details and the order, with
Arab writers some of whom were much anterior to him. Firdausi positively
knew no Pahlavi and as for Arabic he knew next to nothing. He did employ
written sources preponderatingly if not exclusively and these were in
modern Persian. His principal authority was, according to the
introduction mentioned above, a translation of the old Book of Kings
which was prepared by Abu Mansur bin Abdar Razzak bin Abdullah bin
Ferrukh. So far our information is surely trustworthy. For, Biruni
testifies to a Shahname by Abu Mansur bin Abdar Razzak of Tus. According
to the introduction, this man was a minister of Yakub bin Laith Saffar,
who was commissioned with the work which he accomplished through a
certain Sund bin Mansur Mamari with the help of four competent people
from Khorasan and Sagistan in 360 A.H. The chronological impossibility
involved in the figure is removed by Mohl who emends it to 260. Yakub
ibn Laith got a foothold in Khorasan in 253 A.H. and reigned till 265.
Still this report involves much that is incorrect. That the uncouth
warrior Yakub who was perpetually camping in the battle fields should
have possessed a sense for such a literary undertaking is extremely
improbable, though not altogether inconceivable. May be, he was actuated
by a political design, but Abu Mansur bin Abdar Razzak did not live
under Yakub but flourished two or three generations later. For he is
either a brother of Muhammad bin Abdar Razzak of Tus or Muhammad
himself. The first surmise has the weight of greater likelihood in that
the Strasburg manuscript calls him once Abu Mansur Ahmed and Muhammad
had in fact a brother named Ahmed who participated in his political
manouvres. Muhammad was the lord of Tus. We hear much about him--how he
in the years A.D. 945-960 stood up now for the Samanides, his proper
overlords, now for their powerful antagonist Ruknaddin, the Buide, whose
capital lay in dangerous proximity to his territory. In those days when
an enthusiasm for Modern Persian was strongly awakened the enterprize
may most appropriately have been taken in hand. Immediately after the
Princes of Khorasan planned to cast this prose work into poetry; and
this task was first inaugurated by Dakiki for the Samanides and brought
to conclusion by Ferdausi of Tus, countryman of Abu Mansur bin Abdar
Razzak, for Mahamud of Ghazna. The name of the four people who executed
the work for the son of Abdar Razzak are all genuinely Persian; which
indicates that they were all adherents of the ancient religion and that
they had actully a Pahlavi original before them. To transfer an Arabic
version into Modern Persian would not have required four men. Moreover,
Firdausi's poem occasionally betrays that his sources had not flowed to
him through Arabic. Of those men one only is met with again, Shahzan son
of Barzin. He is mentioned by Firdausi at the head of his account of the
genesis of KALILA WA DIMNA: "Listen to what Shahzan, son of Barzin has
said when he revealed the secret." Because this section is an episode
which assuredly did not appear in the KHODAY-NAMEH, we may conclude that
the prose Shahname on which this Shahzan collaborated, embodied all
manner of similar episodes, though Firdausi may have taken several from
elsewhere. It is an interesting circumstance that the potentate who had
this work prepared by Abu Mansur bin Abdar Razzak, had inserted--so
Biruni tell us--a fictitious genealogical tree in it which led up his
ancestors to Minochihr. Such things were in those times very common
among new men of Persian origin who attained power. We are compensated
for the loss of this prose work by at least the epos of Ferdausi which
has issued from it.

[Sidenote: Dinawari.]

As the most important of extant Arabic representations of the
_Khoday-Nameh_ and the cognate literature we must regard at any rate
Tabari I have already touched upon Eutychius, Ibn Kotaiba, and Yakubi.
Another old chronicler Abu Hanifa Ahmed bin Daud Dinawari greatly
accords with Tabari but presents also much that is peculiar to himself.
A closer examination would no doubt reveal that he draws considerably
upon romances directly or indirectly and that he is not particularly
accurate. Tabari reproduces the conflicting versions of the same
incident separately one after another; Dinawari works them up into a
single unified narrative.

[Sidenote: Hamza.]

The small book which Hamza Ispahani wrote in 961, contains in brief much
independent information on the Sasanides. Hamza treats his materials in
a spirit of much more freedom and independence than Tabari, but to us
the compiling process of Tabari is far more convenient.

[Sidenote: Masudi.]

Masudi in his "Meadows of Gold" affords us many a supplement to Tabari's
narratives derived from reliable Persian sources. But Masudi works very
unequally, accepts a good deal that is suspicious provided only it is
entertaining, and as regards detail he is by no means over exact.

As an historical authority, the Persian redaction of Tabari, so
remarkable in many of its aspects, and achieved by Muhammad Belami or by
others under his guidance, has but little value. I designate this work
as "Persian Tabari" and have used it in the splendid Gotha manuscript
and in Zotenberg's French translation. I have also consulted the Turkish
version of Belami in a Gotha Manuscript.

[Sidenote: Tabari more valuable than Firdausi.]

All these writers and others present us collectively a tolerably rich
and vivid portrait of Persian tradition of the Sasanide times. But the
best comprehensive statement of the story of the Sasanides on the basis
of this tradition is furnished us by Tabari, all his shortcomings
notwithstanding and despite the pre-eminence which Firdausi's poem
possesses as such.

[Sidenote: Ibn Kelbi.]

But in his narrative of this period Tabari had laid under contribution
reports which were not of Persian origin. For the history of the Arab
princes of Hira, which is so intimately related to that of the Persian
empire, Tabari's chief authority was Hisham bin Muhammad called Ibn
Kelbi a man who, like his father Muhammad bin Saib Kelbi before him, has
rendered, however often modern criticism may take exception to the
unscientific system of both the writers, the greatest service in
connection with the collection of the scattered information on the
history of ancient Arabs. We know of a few of the numerous writings,
large and small, of Ibn Kelbi which are enumerated for us in the
_Fihrist_ and which probably are at the root of Tabari's chapters. It is
quite possible that Tabari borrows many of the secondary sources of Ibn
Kelbi. It is surprising that the latter is cited as an authority on the
Persian history itself, on the reigns of Ardeshir, Peroz, Khosrau I,
Harmizd IV, Khosrau II, and Yazdegerd III. We are not cognisant of any
work of his on the History of Persia. But it may be conjectured that
occasionally in his history of Arabia he supplied minuter details
touching contemporary Persia. An amanuensis of his, Jabala bin Salim, is
noticed in the _Fihrist_ as one of the translators from Persian. Ho
provided his master with material from Pahlavi books.

For the History of the Arabs of that period Tabari has used a variety of
other sources, most prominent among them being Muhammad Ibn Ishak who is
better known as the biographer of the prophet. In this section of
Tabari's great work mediately or immediately a large amount of diverse
information has been brought together.

It is certainly desirable and to be hoped that the criticism of the
sources in this domain would make substantial progress. But the point of
greatest moment even here is to test every incident or piece of
information according to its origin and credibility as I have
endeavoured to do in the footnotes.



Christensen, by the following reasoning, comes to the conclusion, that
it was written somewhere between 557 and 570.

Among the sources of our knowledge of the Sasanian institutions, one of
the most important is the letter of Tansar to the king of Tabaristan
published and translated by Darmesteter in the _Journal Asiatique_
(1894). The information which it gives on points where we can verify it
is so exact that we cannot doubt that the letter was composed in the
time of the Sasanians. On the other hand, on the first reading of the
epistle I formed the impression that it was a literary fiction dating
from the time of Khusro when the tradition made of Ardeshir the model of
political sagacity and the founder of the entire organisation of the
empire. The letter impressed me as a historical, theological, political
and moral dissertation which in the shape of a correspondence between
the grand Herbed Tansar and the king of Tabaristan, ill-informed
regarding the new state of affairs and hesitating to submit himself to
Ardeshir, was calculated to instruct contemporaries. It, therefore, fits
in with the entire literature of the _Andarz_ type, which was developed
under Khusro and the object of it was the moral instruction of the
people. A more minute examination has confirmed me in this view and now
I think I am able to affirm positively that the letter was composed
under Khusro I. Tansar relates that Ardeshir softened the penalties for
crimes against the religion. Formerly, "they used to put to death
without hesitation those who set aside the religion of the State. But
Ardeshir has directed that the accused shall be arrested and shall be
catechised during a year and only if that proves of no effect he shall
be killed." As a matter of fact, the rigorous ordinance which awarded
the punishment of death for apostacy could not have existed before
Parsism became with Ardeshir the State religion. The relaxation of
punishment, on the other hand, dates from a much later period, when the
standpoint of greater humanity began to be prevalent and when it was
attempted to give greater authority to these views by attributing them
to the celebrated founder of the dynasty. And we can say the same thing
with reference to the less severe punishment for crimes committed
against the State and in respect of other things mentioned in the
letter. Besides, the tolerance in matters religious and the humanity of
Khusro I are well-known.

Now let us look at the incident of succession. According to the letter
Ardeshir did not like to choose his successor lest the latter should
wish for his death. So, he arranged for the succession in the following
manner. The king only left in his royal letters a few counsels or
instructions to the grand _Mobed_, the commander-in-chief, and the
principal secretary, and after the decease of the king the latter were
to proceed to elect a successor from among the royal princes. If they
all were not of the same mind the choice should rest with the grand
_mobed_ alone. But Aideshir had made a formal notes that he was not
going to establish a president thereby, and that "in another age a
manner of looking at things different from ours may appear the proper
one." In the first place such an arrangement accords ill with the nature
of a statesmen like Ardeshir, for we know from Tabari who follows the
official chronicle of the times of the Sasanians, that Ardeshir as well
as Shapur I and II themselves chose their respective successors. But in
the times between Ardeshir II and Kawadh the election of the king was
generally in the hands of the noblemen, and the system mentioned by
Tansar may well have suited this period and been in harmony with the
singular expression ascribed to Ardeshir that the system in question was
not a definite one, and that in other periods, other manners might be
more convenient. It seems to us that the letter of Tansar was composed
at a period when the memory of the system of Ardeshir was still living
although it had already been abolished. In other words, it was the time
when the kings had gained the power to nominate their successors during
their life-time, which brings us to the period between Kawadh and Hormum

The letter makes Ardeshir say "None but the subject kings who do not
belong to our House can assume the title of king barring the wardens of
the marches of the territory of the Allans and the districts in the west
and of Khwarzm." By the oppression 'the warden of the matches' we must
understand no doubt the _marzbans_ of the countries established by

Finally, the geographical notices permit us to determine in a more exact
fashion the time of the origin of the letter.... The letter was
consequently, composed after the march of Khusro I towards the East by
the destruction of the Hephthahtes, but before the capture of Yemen.
that is to say, between 557-570.

Christensen finally notes that Marquart has arrived at the same
conclusion, by another way, namely, that the letter is a fiction of the
time of Khusro I. (See _Eranshahr_ page 30, note 2).


_Some Arabic authors and the Iranian material they preserve._


[_Note,_--Brockelmann's edition of the _Uyunal Akhbar_ is not accessible
to me in India. I have carefully examined the first volume of the Cairo
Edition and the following will show the wealth of Iranian material
comprised in the book.--G.K.N.]

When the Kisra died this was reported to the Prophet who inquired who
was going to succeed the dead emperor and when he was told his daughter,
the princess Buran, the Prophet declared that the nation could not
prosper inasmuch as its affairs depended upon a woman. (p. 11).

[Sidenote: Next-of-kin marriage.]

I have read in the _Book of the Persians_ an epistle written by
Ardeshir, son of Babak to his subjects declaring that the ecclesiastical
authorities were the upholders of the religion and that the warriors
were the bearers of the casque and literature, and were ornaments of the
empire and that the agriculturists were pillars of the country. (p. 15).
[In the course of the epistle there is a reference to marriage of next
of kin, the king exhorting his subjects to _tazauwa-ju-fil qarabayn_.]

[Sidenote: _Kitab Ain_ or the Pahlavi _Ain-nameh._]

[Sidenote: Anushirwan's rule.]

I have read in the _Ain_ that a king of Persia said in his address to
his people: "I am only the ruler of people's bodies, not their minds;
and I govern with justice, not according to my pleasure; and I safeguard
people's property, not their secrets." Furthermore, the Persians say the
most efficient of rulers is he who draws the bodies of his subjects to
fealty to him through their hearts. When Anushirwan appointed a person
to an office he directed his secretary to leave out in the appointment
order a space of four lines so that he may fill it up with his own hand,
and when the appointment order was brought to him he would write in it
"govern the good people by love, and for the common people mix liberty
with awe and govern the proletariat with levity." (p. 15).

And it is said in the _Book of the Persians_ that the hearts of the
people are the treasuries of the king, so that whatever is put there
should be made known to him. (p 17).

[Sidenote: The _Taj._]

And I have read in the _Taj_; Said Aberwez to his son Shiruya who had
put him into prison, [and here follow some views relating to the
treatment of soldiers.]

And in one of the _Books of the Persians_ it is stated that Ardeshir
said to his son, "Oh, my son, the empire and the religion are two
brothers which cannot do the one without the other. For the religion is
the foundation and the empire is the guardian and whatever has no
foundation falls and whatever has no guardian to look after it goes to
waste" [And then proceeds to advise him as to the treatment of the
nobles, warriors, the clergy, etc. Then are described the five qualities
essential in a man occupying a post in the imperial government]

And it is said in the _Taj_ that Aberwez wrote to his son Shiruya from
his prison.... (p. 20)

And I have read in the letter ... Aberwez wrote to his son Shiruya, [and
here follow instructions regarding the three qualifications necessary in
a revenue officer.] (p. 21)

[Sidenote: The _Taj._]

I have read in the _Taj_ that one of the kings of Persia took counsel
with his _Wazirs,_ [and here follows a discussion about the necessity of
confiding one's secret to one man only and not more.] (p. 25)

[Sidenote: Epistle of Aberwez.]

I have read in the Epistle of Aberwez to his son Shiruya who was
imprisoned by him,[here follows the advisability of taking counsel with
a certain class of people.] (p. 30).

[Sidenote: Marzbans.]

One of the kings of Persia, when he consulted the Marzbans and they did
not give their opinion in a proper way, summoned those who were
entrusted with provisioning the Marzbans and punished them. The latter
complained that the error was on the part of the Marzbans whereas the
punishment was awarded to them and the king replied that was so, and
that the Marzbans would not have committed the error unless their minds
were not dependent upon their food.

[Sidenote: Buzurjamaher.]

[Sidenote: Books of the Persians.]

[Sidenote: Ideal Persian Secretary]

Says Buzurjamaher, "When you are in doubt as to the propriety of doing
one of two things then look out for the one which is nearest to your
desires and relinquish it." (p. 23). And it is said in the _Books of the
Persians_, [and here follows one of the most frequently repeated
injunctions about the strict guarding of one's secrets.] (p. 40.) The
Persians were in the habit of saying that the person would be deficient
as a writer who was not conversant with the nature of flowing waters,
with the digging of canals, with mirage, with the length of days as to
particular seasons, with the rising of the new moon, and its effects,
with weights and measures, with mensuration, triangles, squares, and
measurements of areas involving various angles, with the preparation of
channels and bridges and water mills, with the implements of artisans,
and with the intricacies of mathematics. (p. 43).

[Sidenote: Mobedan-Mobed]

I have read in one of the _Books of the Persians_ that the
_Mobedan-Mobed_ in eulogising the art of writing said etc ... (p. 47).

[Sidenote: Epistle of Aberwez.]

I have read in the Epistle of Aberwez to his son Shiruya. [Then follows
an advice about severely punishing even a small piece of dishonesty.]
(p, 58).

[Sidenote: The _Taj_.]

I have read in the _Taj_ that Aberwez said to the treasurer [here
follows some observations on integrity.]

[Sidenote: Persian sense of justice and equity.]

I have read in the _Ain_ that it behoves the ruler to understand the
jurisdiction of rightful justice, of justice which is not equity, of
equity which is not justice, and to use his judgment with regard to
evidence and eyewitnesses, and to refrain from doubtful matters. Since
it is both justice and equity to kill a person for the slaughter of a
person, and it is justice without equity to kill a master for the
slaughter of a slave, and it is equity without justice to award the same
punishment for a crime committed by a sane man as to one who was not in
his senses. (p. 88).

And I have read in the _Taj_: Said Aberwez to his chamberlain; [and here
follow very interesting instructions regarding the treatment which the
chamberlain was to give to the various persons seeking an audience of
the king.] (p. 74).

I have read in the _Taj_ [here follows an address of a secretary to a

[Sidenote: Speech from the throne.]

I have read in the _Siyaral Ajam_ [one of the Arabic versions of _Shah
Nameh_] that Ardeshir, when he was firmly established on the throne,
gathered together his subjects and addressed them with eloquence
exhorting them to love and obedience to himself, and warning them
against sin and dividing the people into four classes, upon which those
present made obeisance and their spokesman addressed the king as
follows. [Here follows one of those typical speeches of which we have so
many in _Shah Nameh_, and which leaves no doubt that the originals of
them were composed in Pahlavi and that they were almost literally



_(Egyptian Edition.)_


The dictum of BUZURJAMEHR: Buzurg, son of Bokhtagan was asked, "Which is
the thing which covers indolence." "Aye" he said, "Wisdom, which gives
beauty to it." They said, "If a person has got no wisdom?" He said,
"Then property, which will cover it." They said, "But if there is no
property?" He said, "His friends will earn respect for him." They said,
"But if he has got no friends to earn respect for him?" He said, "If a
person is indolent then he must preserve silence" They said, "But if he
does not observe silence?" He said, "Then sudden death is better for him
than that he should remain, in the world of the living." This passage
has been repeated at page 123 with a slight difference. There the
interrogator is Kisra Anushirvan, and the question is, which thing is
the best for a man who is indolent. Buzurg replies, "Wisdom, with which
he may be happy." (p, 4.)

There is mention of several authors and books similar to _Kalileh wa
Dimneh_ with the names of their authors including Sahal Ibn Harun, Ibn
Rayhani, Al Katib. (p. 30.)

Says Ismai: In the alphabet of the Romans there is no _zad_ and among
the Persians there is no _tha_. (p. 36)

A longish definition and description of oratory by Ibn ul Mukaffa. (p.

Ibn Mukaffa again referred to. (p. 65.)

Instances of Arabic poetry in which Persian words and phrases are
intermingled _e.g., garden_ for _unuk_ (neck); _av sard_ for cold water,
&c. (p. 79.)

[There are several other instances where the Persian words are there,
but the copyist and possibly also the editor, do not seem to have
understood the Kasida and the editor observes in a marginal note that,
the text is corrupt, G.K.N.]


Mention of Sahal Ibn Harun. (p. 37.)

Mention of Persia, (p. 53.)

Mention of Abdallah Ibn Mukaffa. (p. 84.)

Mention of Persia, (p. 92.)

Dicta of Ibn al Mukatia on the dignity of kings and of nobles, (p. 104.)

Reference to Khalid al Kisravi. (p. 105.)

Reference to Ibn al Mukaffa. (p. 109.)

Khalid al Kisrawi. (p. 112.)

Al Hurmuzan. (p. 139.)

On the service of kings. (p. 176.)


The ways of the Shuubiya. (p. 2.)

Reference to Persia. (p. 5.)

Persia and Arabia compared. (p. 7.)

Arabia and Persia compared. (p. 12.)

Arabia and Persia contrasted. The prophets of Ajam. (p, 13.)

Reference to Persia. (p. 44.)

The Persian throne. (p. 77.)

Dicta of Mukaffa. (p. 87.)

Khalid al Barmaki. (p. 110.)

Dicta on Adab of Mukaffa. (p. 135.)

Reference to Barmaki. (p. 174.)

Reference to Barmaki. (p. 170.)

Sahal Ibn-Harun. (p. 185.)

Dictum of Buzurja Meher. (p. 217.)

Madaini quoted. (p. 233.)

Persia referred to. (p. 234.)


[Sidenote: Value of Zoroastrian literature.]

And we note that the persons most superior with, regard to preaching our
sermons are the Persians. And among the Persians the most clever in this
respect are the people of Fars, and they are the sweetest in words, and
their pronunciation is the most correct. And the most difficult in this
respect are the people of Merv. The most eloquent dialect of Persia is
the Dari. As regards the Pahlavi idiom, of the people of the country of
Ahwaz are the best. And as regards the chantings of the HERBEDS and the
songs of the MOBEDS the superiority in this respect lies with the
annotators of the Zemzema. And it is said that he who desires to acquire
proficiency in the art of eloquence, and to be acquainted with rare
expressions, and to be profoundly versed in vocabulary should read the
book of Karwand. Moreover, if it is necessary to acquire sagacity and
good manners and knowledge of the various interpretations of terms, a
knowledge of pleasing expression and agreeable interpretation, one
should study the LIVES OF KINGS, since for the Persians this book
contains essays and sermons and fine expressions.


[Sidenote: Why no authentic history of Iran has survived.]

[Sidenote: A clear reference to the ambiguous Pahlavi script and to the
great difficulty of translating from it:]

[Sidenote: Enumeration of the sources of Iranian history.]

There are four dynasties among the kings of Persia and their enumeration
is given alone and without any history of the events of their time or
the characteristics of the kings of Persia during the protracted period
of their sovereignty. They were divided into four groups called the
Feshdadiya, the Kayaniya, the Ashghaniya, and the Sasaniya. Their entire
chronology is dubious and not certain since it was translated after 150
years from one language into another and from one equivocal set of
symbols for figures into another set of symbols, so that there remained
nothing for me with reference to a narrative, in these chapters except
to bring together the doubtful transcripts. I succeeded in finding eight
transcripts and these were the following:--The Book of the Reigns of the
Kings of Persia translated by Ibn al Mukaffa, the Book of the Reigns of
the Kings of Persia translated by Muhammad Ibn al Jaham al Barmak, the
Book of the History of the Kings of Persia which was taken out of the
treasury of the Khalif Mamun; the Book of the Reigns of the Kings of
Persia which was translated by Zaduya son of Shahuya of Ispahan; the
Book of the Reigns of the Kings of Persia which was translated or
compiled by Muhammad Ibn al Behram Ibn Mutyan of Ispahan; the Book of
the Chronology of the Kings of Persia which was translated or compiled
by Heshan Ibn Kasum of Ispahan, the Book of the Chronology of the Kings
of the Sasanian Dynasty which was improved upon by Behram son of Mardan
Shah, Mobed of the district of Shabur in the country of Fars. And when I
had collected together all these works, I compared one with the others
and then acquired what was necessary for the writing of this chapter.

[Sidenote: Incorrect translations from Pahlavi.]

And says Abu Mashar, the astronomer:--The majority of their [Iranian]
histories are interpolated and corrupt, and there is the corruption
because they have come down from a great many years ago and because they
have been translated from one writing into another and from one tongue
into another and hence there have been mistakes of either excess or

"And the Persians start their assertion from the Book which was brought
to them by Zaradusht and which was called Avesta. This is the Book of
their religion. It alleges that there have elapsed since the reign of
Kayumarth, the father of mankind, down to the reign of king Yazdegerd,
4182 years, 10 months, and 19 days."

[Sidenote: Corrupt texts and faulty translations.]

Says Musa Ibn Isa al Kesravi in his book: I saw the Book which is called
the _Khoday Nameh_ and which is the Book which when it was translated
from Persian into Arabic was entitled _Kitab al Muluk al Fars._ I
carefully examined the copies of this Book and looked through the
narratives in them, and I found them in disagreement with each other so
that I could not find even two copies which agreed with each other, and
this was on account of the doubts in the minds of the translators who
turned from one writing into another.

[Sidenote: Mobed Behram the historian.]

And turning back to what I have related in the previous chapter as
regards the chronology [of the Persians], I relate what has been stated
by Behram son of Mardanshah, _Mobed_ of the district of Shabur in the
province of Fars. Says Behram the mobed: I collected together a little
over twenty copies of the book called _Khoday Nameh_ and I put together
properly the chronology of the kings of Persia from the times of
Kayumarth, the father of mankind, till the last days when the empire was
transferred from them to the Arabs.

[Hamza describes the dress of the kings according to a book in which
they were depicted just before their death. And he gives the buildings
which each of them erected, especially the fire-temples they established
along with the villages on the produce of which they were to be

[Sidenote: Avesta.]

"I have read in the book which has been translated from one of their
books called _Avesta_," and so on Hamza proceeds regarding the beginning
of creation.


(1st Series, Vol. 2, page 675.)

[Sidenote: Fire-temples in India.]

It is related by historians versed in the antiquities of Arabia and
Persia that Bhishtasb, son of Kay Loharasb, when he assumed the crown,
said:--To-day we have become sovereign and we shall employ our thoughts,
our action, and our knowledge for the acquisition of the good. And it is
said that he built in Fars a city called Fasa and he built fire-temples
in India, etc., and appointed _herbeds_ to the same. He assigned several
dignities to seven of his noblemen in his dominions and appointed each
of them to the charge of a district.

[Sidenote: The appearance of Zoroaster.]

[Sidenote: Wars of Iran and Turan.]

Zaradusht son of Isfayman appeared in the thirtieth year of his reign
and laid claim to apostleship and endeavoured that his religion might be
accepted by the king. The latter refused and then Zaradusht satisfied
him. Upon which the king accepted his claim. And he brought to him a
Writing which he claimed was a revelation. And the said Writing was
inscribed on 12,000 cow hides and they were embellished with gold, and
Bishtasp deposited the same in a place in Istakhar called Darbesht and
he appointed _herbeds_ in that connection. He prohibited the teaching of
it to ordinary people.... [Here follows a passage which is not very
clear regarding the difference that arose between the king of Iran and
the king of the Turks relating to this new religion which Bishtasb had
adopted. The name of the Turk sovereign is given as Khurzasaf.] Now when
the messenger arrived with the epistle to Bishtasb there were gathered
together the Ahl-bayat[1] and the noblemen of the empire, including
Jamasaf the Wise, and Zarrin son of Loharasaf. Then Bishtasb wrote to
the king of the Turks a strongly worded reply challenging him to a war
and expressing his determination not to withdraw the step that he had
taken and saying that that even if he refrained from fighting there
would be all the people on both sides who would continue the struggle.
On that day there were in the council of Bishtasb his brother Zarrin,
and Nastur son of Zarrin, and Isfandiyar and Beshotan, the sons of
Bishtasb and all the progeny of Loharasb. On the side of Khorasaf there
were Ju Hormaz, and Hudarman his brother, and the Ahl-bayat and
Baidarafsh, the magician. In the battle Zarrin was killed which was a
heavy blow to Bishtasb and a great booty was taken by his son
Isfandiyar, and Baidaraf was killed which was a calamity to the Turks.
There was a huge slaughter and Khorsasaf fled. Thereupon Bishtasb
returned to Balkh. Now when a number of years had passed after this war
a person called Karzam attacked Isfandiyar. There was also an
estrangement between Bishtasb and Isfandiyar. Order was issued for his
imprisonment in a castle in which there were ladies, Bishtasb then
proceeded in the direction of Kerman and Sagistan and proceeded towards
a mountain called Tamdar. [The various manuscripts write the word
differently and the editors have printed it without the diacritical
marks so that it can be read in a variety of ways], for the purpose of
teaching the religion and of spreading it there. And he left behind him
his father Loharasaf in the city of Balkh and the treasures and the
properties along with the harem including Khatus, his queen, were also
left with the old man. [As the Editor points out Khatus is the Hutaosa
of _Gosh Yast_ 26, and _Ram Yast_ 36[2]]. Now this fact was conveyed by
the spies to Khorasaf and when he learnt it he collected an innumerable
army and proceeded from his country towards Balkh and Khorasaf thought
that this was an opportunity of attacking Bishtasb and his country. Thus
when he approached Takhun he sent forward Ju Hormaz, his brother, with a
large army and directed him to continue his march till he reached the
centre of Bishtasb's country and to invade it and attack the people and
the cities. And this was done by Ju Hormaz who shed a large amount of
blood and carried off incalculable booty. And Khorasaf followed him and
set fire to the archives and slew Lohorasaf and the _herbeds_ and
destroyed the fire-temples, _(buyut-an-niran)_ and he took possession of
the properties and the treasuries and took two of the daughters of
Lohorasaf prisoner and one of them was called Khumay and the other
Bazafreh. [This of course is according to Firdousi Beh Afrid]. He
captured a great standard which was called Dirafsh Kabyan and he pursued
Bishtasb who was fleeing from him.

[Footnote 1: Ahl-bayat, or people of the house, is the Arabic equivalent
of the Iranian Visputhra and was applied by Arabs to the superior
Persian noblemen.]

[Footnote 2: Here is evidence, on the one hand, that the Arab historians
had Iranian histories at their disposal and on the other, that the
latter are still reflected in the _yasht_ literature.]

[The historian narrates how Isfandiyar went into the heart of the
kingdom of the Turk and reached his capital which was called "Dez Ruin"
and he proceeds to say "and being interpreted in Arabic it means the
palace of copper." There is further reference to the canals and castles
which we can trace to the BUNDEHESH. The struggle between Rustum and
Isfandiyar is also described. This is followed by a curious passage
regarding Zoroaster.]




[Sidenote: Rustam and Isfandiyar.]

And it is said that Zaradusht the head of the Magians came to Bishtasb
the king and told him, "I am the Apostle of God to you", and gave him
the Book which the Magians possess. Then Bishtasb believed in him and
accepted his religion which is that of the Magians and exhorted the
people of his kingdom to the same and they also accepted it _nolence
volence._ And Rustam the Strong, was at that time the Governor of
Sagistan and Khorasan, and he was powerful of body and possessed of
great vigour. And when this happened it was reported to Kaykobad the
king, this, about the admittance of Bishtasb into the Magian religion
and his abandoning the religion of their forefathers. Kaykobad became
exceedingly angry at this, and said that this was forsaking of the
religion of their forefathers who had inherited it from one generation
to another. Then the people of Sagistan were gathered together and they
wore incited to destroy Bishtasb. And they revolted against him. Upon
this Bishtasb called upon Isfandiyar who was the strongest man of his
time and said to him, "Oh son, the kingdom will be entrusted to you. But
the affairs will not improve except by killing Rustam, and you know his
strength and vigour. But you are his match in power and prowess. So do
you choose from the army whomever you like and then proceed against
him." So Isfandiyar selected 12,000 Persian knights from the forces of
his father, and marched against Rustam. And Rustam proceeded towards him
between the boundaries or Sagistan and Khorasan. Isfandiyar suggested to
Rustam that their armies should be excused from attacking each other,
but that they two should engage in single combat and that whoever killed
the other should be held to be the victor. Rustam agreed to the proposal
and the covenant. Then the two armies stood abide and the two warriors
engaged in a duel. Now the Persians have a good deal to say in this
matter and that it was Rustam who killed Isfandiyar and that the
latter's army returned to Bishtasb and informed him of what had happened
to his son Isfandiyar. The king was overwhelmed with grief fell ill and
died. And the kingdom, came to the grandson Bahman, son of Isfandiyar,
and it is related that soon after Rustam returned to his residence in
Sagistan, he died.[1]

[Footnote 1: Note that Dinawari had obviously before him Iranian
traditional materials for his history.]


The reign of Baywarasaf, Farasiyab; Dhahak, the end of the reign of
Minosher and the beginning of the reign of Farasiyab, the reign of Zab
son of Budkan and Kaykohad Zab; the reign of Kaykawuys son of Kaykobad,
the reign of Kai Khosro, the reign of Lohrasf and the invasion of Bukht
Nasar; the reign of Bhishtasb in Persia; the call of Zaradusht, the
reign of Bahman Ibn Isfandiyar in Persia and the emancipation of the
Jews, the reign of Khumani (Humay) the queen of Bahman; the reign of
Dara Ibn Bahman; the war of Dara with Greece; the reign of Darayush; the
origin of Alexander; the invasion of Alexander against Dara; the reign
of Ardwan; One para. is devoted to the Muluk ut Tawaef, and then
regularly follow all the Sasanian kings beginning with Shahan Shah



_Account of King Loharasp and his son Bishtasb and the appearance of

[Sidenote: Zend and Pazend.]

And we have related that Kai Khosrou, when he was at the point of death,
bequeathed the crown to the son of his uncle Loharasp; and when he
acquired the sovereignty he got possession of the throne of gold adorned
with jewels. For him was built in Khorasan the city of Balkh which was
called Husna (charming). He established archives and strengthened the
empire by the selection of soldiers and by advancing agriculture. He
took taxes for the purpose of wages for his soldiers. At that time the
Turks were in great strength and he went down to Balkh to fight them,
and he was a favourite with his people and strong in overpowering his
vigourous enemies, kind to his well-wishers, and of great intrepidity.
He raised great buildings and cut a number of canals, built cities. The
kings of India and China and the occident used to pay tribute to him and
addressed him in their despatches as their 'Lord' out of fear and
respect for him. Subsequently he abdicated the empire and throne and
engaged himself in devotion, appointing in succession to him his son
Bishtasb to be king. And his reign endured for 120 years. After him
Bishtasb became king and in his days appeared Zaradusht son of Sakiman
[it should be Safiman, the difference being only that of a dot] who
claimed to prophesy and the Magians followed him. And according to what
is stated by writers, Zaradusht belonged to Palestine and was a personal
servant to one of the disciples of Armaya, the prophet. He was
unfaithful to him and told him a lie so that God cursed him and he was
afflicted with leprosy and went away to the country of Azarbayjan and
there started the religion of Magians. And it is also stated by others
that he was a Persian and that he composed a Book and went about with it
in the world. But no one knew its meaning. And it was alleged that it
was in a heavenly language and was called as such. It was entitled Ashta
[this is clearly a misformation of Avesta]. Then he left Azarbayjan and
proceeded towards Fars. No one knew what was in the book and no one
accepted it. Then he went to India and produced it before the kings
there. Next he went to China and Turkey. But no one acknowledged it, and
he was driven out from their countries, and started for Farghana whose
king prepared to slay him so that he fled from there and bent his steps
towards Bhishtasb son of Loharasp; who ordered his imprisonment and he
was consequently in captivity for a time. Now Zaradusht wrote a
commentary on his Book called the Zend which means interpretation. Next
he commented upon the Zend in a book called Bazand, that is,
interpretation of interpretation, and therein are various sciences like
astrology, astronomy, medicine, etc., with reference to the history of
past ages, and the books of the prophets. And in his book is
stated,--"Adhere to what I have brought you till the time when there
will come to you the man of the red camel," which means Muhammad the
Prophet. This was at the beginning of the year 1600 and it was on this
account that there has been enmity between the Magians and the Arabs and
it has been mentioned in the history of Sabur Dhul Aktaf that this was
one of the reasons justifying the raids on the Arabs. But God knows the

[Sidenote: The Eternal fire.]

[Sidenote: Royal archives forbidden to the Vulgar.]

Then Bishtasb caused Zaradusht to present himself before him since he
was in Balkh. And when he came to him he commenced with his religion.
Bishtasb admired it, followed it, and forced his people to embrace it,
and slew a large number of them till the rest adopted it. But the
Magians assert that he was by origin from Azarbayjan and that he came to
the king from the roof of his palace and that there was in his hand a
cube of fire with which he played without its injuring him; that whoever
took it from his hand did so without hurting himself. He caused the king
to follow him and to accept his creed. And he built fire temples in the
country and lighted them with that fire. For it is stated that the fires
which are in their fire-temples are burning from that fire to this day.
But they are telling an untruth since the fire of the Magians was
extinguished in all their temples when God sent Muhammad down as his
apostle as we shall describe, God willing, in the sequel, as well as the
appearance of Zaradusht after thirty years of the reign of Bishtasb. And
Zaradusht brought a writing which is alleged to be revelation from God
and is inscribed on 12,000 cow hides inlaid with gold. Bishtasb
deposited them in a place in Istakhar and forbade the teaching of thorn
to the vulgar.



[Sidenote: The Kohan Nameh and the Ain Nameh.]

The Persians have a book called the _Kohan Nameh_ in which are mentioned
all the officers of the Persian monarch amounting to 600 and classed
according to their respective ranks. This book formed part of the _Ain
Nameh._[1] The meaning of Ain Nameh is the 'Book of regulations'. It is
a book containing several thousands of leaves and no one can find a copy
of it anywhere except among the _mobeds_ and others invested with
authority. The mobed of the Persians at the moment of writing this
history, that is in the year 364, for the country of Jabal in Iraq and
for the countries of Ajam, is Ammad son of Ashwahisht. Before him these
countries had for their mobed Isfandiyar, son of Adarbad, son of Anmid,
who was killed by Radi at Baghdad in 325.

[Footnote 1: A remarkable passage from this Pahlavi treatise has been
embodied in a close Arabic version in Ibn Kutayha's _Uyun-al-Akhbar._
The credit of discovering and translating this unique passage into a
European language belongs to M.K. Inostranzev.]

I have seen in the city of Istakhar in Fars in the year 303 in the
house of a high noble Persian, a large book in which were set out along
with the descriptions of several sciences the histories of the
kings of Persia, their reigns and the monuments which they had
erected,--fragments which I have not been able to find anywhere else in
Persian books, neither in the _Khoday Nameh_, nor in the _Ain Nameh_ nor
in the _Kohan Nameh_ or anywhere else.

[Sidenote: Portrait of Sasanian kings taken just before their demise.]

[Sidenote: Persian Imperial archives: Translation into Arabic.]

In this book were pictures of the kings of Persia belonging to the house
of Sasan, twenty seven in number, twenty five men and two women. Each of
them was represented as at the moment of death, whether old or young
with the royal ornaments, with the tiara, hair, beard, and all the
features of his face. This dynasty reigned over the country for 433
years one month and seven days. When one of these kings died his
portrait was painted and it was deposited in the treasury in order that
the living princes may know the features of the dead kings. The
representation of every king who was painted as a warrior was in a
standing posture; that of every king who was occupied with government
affairs was in the sitting posture. To it was joined the biography of
each, of them detailing his public and private life together with the
important events and facts concerning the most interesting incidents of
his reign. The book which I saw was redacted according to the documents
found in the treasuries of the kings of Persia and it was completed in
the middle of the second Jamada of the year 113. It was translated for
Hisham son of Abdal Malik son of Merwan from Persian into Arabic. The
first of the kings of this dynasty whom one sees there is Ardeshir. The
distinctive colour in his portrait was of a brilliant red. His trousers
were of sky-blue and the mitre was green on gold. He held a lance in the
hand and he was standing. The last was that of Yezdegerd, son of
Shahariyar, son of Kesra Abarvez. His distinctive colour was green. His
trousers were sky-blue and his mitre vermillion. He held in his hand a
lance and rested the other hand on his sabre. This painting was made
with Persian colours which are no longer to be found now-a-days and of
gold and silver dissolved and of pulverised copper. The leaves of the
book were of a purple colour and of a marvellous tint. It was so
beautiful and prepared with such care that I do not know whether it was
paper or whether it was thin parchment. (P. 250.)

[Which stands for Pahlavi and not modern Persian.]

[Sidenote: Zoroaster, Avesta, and Avesta Script.]

Zaradusht brought to the king the book of _Avesta_, the name of which in
Arabic has received a final _kaf_ and has thus become _Abestak_. The
number of chapters of book is twenty one, each chapter comprising 200
leaves. In this book we find a total of sixty vowels and consonants each
with a distinct character. Some of these characters are found elsewhere
and others have fallen into disseutude. For this script is not confined
to the language of the Avesta.

[Sidenote: Extent of Avesta.]

[Sidenote: Persian translation of Avesta.]

[Sidenote: Contents of Avesta.]

Zoroaster invented this writing which the Magians have called Sin
Dabireh, that is to say, the 'sacred writing'. He incised his writing
into 12,000 cow skins and filled it with gold. It was in the ancient
language of Persia of which no one has any knowledge to-day. Only a few
portions of its chapters have been translated into the modern Persian.
It is this Persian translation which they have in their hands when, they
say their prayers. The translation contains fragments like the Ashtad,
the Chitrasht, the Aban Yasht, the Hadukht, and other chapters. In the
Chitrasht are found the recitals of the origin and the end of the world.
Hadukht comprises exhortations.

[Sidenote: commentaries on Avesta.]

Zoroaster composed the commentary on the Avesta which he called the
Zend, and which in the eyes of his followers was revealed to him by God.
He subsequently translated it from Pahlavi into Persian. Zoroaster,
further, prepared a commentary on the Zend and called it Bazend.

[Sidenote: Their destruction.]

The Mobeds and the Herbeds, learned in the science of religion,
commented in their turn on this commentary and their work was called the
Barideh, and, by others, the Akradeh. After he had conquered the Persian
Empire and put to death Dara son of Dara, Alexander burnt them....

[Sidenote: Synopsis of Zoroastrian beliefs.]

Besides the two modes of writing which they owe to Zoroaster, the
Persians have five other methods in many of which Nabatian words have
been introduced. We have explained all these in our books already cited
with quotations of portions regarding the miracles of Zoroaster, the
marks and the proof of his revelation, the belief in the five eternal
principles which are Ormazd or God, Ahriman which is the same as Satan,
the wicked, Kah or time, Jay or space, Homa or the good spirituous
liquor, the grounds on which they support these doctrines, the reasons
why they render homage to the two luminaries and to other heavenly
lights, the distinction which they make between fire and light, their
discourses regarding the origin of the human species, on Mashya son of
Gayomert, and Mashyana his daughter, and how the Persians trace their
geneologies back to these two personages, and finally, other things
connected with the exercise of their religion, the practice of their
cult and the various places where they have established their fire

[Sidenote: Confutation of prejudice Moslem theologians.]

Certain Musalman theologians and authors of books on various sects, and
several authors who have set before them the task at different times of
refuting Zoroastrianism have alleged that it is believed in their
religion that from the reflexion of God on himself has issued an evil
spirit or the devil and that God, indulgent towards him, has accorded
him a certain time during which to tempt mankind. These authors further
cite as appertaining to this religion propositions which the Magians
themselves have always rejected. I believe that they must have heard
these particulars from ordinary people and that they have recorded them
as the authentic expression of the followers of the religion of

[Footnote 1: Our celebrated Arab polyhistor not only does not malign the
faith of Zoroaster but proceeds to confute his prejudiced
co-religionists who pretended to refute the old faith of Iran.]



(_Page 112, Bombay Edition. Compare also page 83 of the Egyptian Edition
on the margin of Ibn Hazm._)


These people believe in two Principles as we have already stated; only,
that the original Magians were of the belief that it was not possible
that there should be two Principles eternal and without beginning, but
that the light was without beginning and darkness was only produced; and
they were of different views as regards the origin of its rise,--whether
it arose from light, since light cannot bring something that was partly
evil. How then could the principle of evil or anything else arise since
there was nothing at first which participated with light in its
production and in its being eternal? Here the error of the Magians
becomes apparent. They also assert that the first of persons was
Kayumarth, though they sometimes say that he was Zarwan the great, and
that the last of the prophets was Zaradusht. The Kayumarthiya assert
that Kayumarth was Adam; Kayumarth appears as Adam in the histories of
India and Persia. But all the histories are against this.[1]

[Footnote 1: I have constantly referred to Haarbrucker's German
translation and to the German passages cited by Gottiel in the Drisseler
Volume which was very kindly presented to me by our Prof. A.V.W.
Jackson. Gottiel has omitted the sections regarding the Kayumarthiya.]


These are the followers of Zaradusht, son of Budashab who appeared in
the time of Bishtasb, son of Lohrasb, the king. His father came from
Azarbayjan and his mother from Ray and her name was Doghd. They assert
that they had prophets and kings and that they had Kayumarth who was the
first king on the earth and that his residence was at Istakhar, that
after him came Haushanj, son of Farawal, who descended on India. After
him came his son Jam; the king. Then followed prophets and kings among
whom was Minochehr. He proceeded to Babel and settled there, and it is
related that Musa, (may peace be on him!) appeared in his time. Things
continued like this till the sovereignty came to Bishtasb, son of
Lohrasb. In his time appeared Zaradusht al Hakim or the Wise....

[Sidenote: Miracles of Zoroaster.]

[Sidenote: Essence of his teachings.]

[Sidenote: His Cosmogony.]

Then the child [Zaradusht] laughed a great laugh which was noticed by
all those present, and people contrived so as to put Zaradusht in the
way of cattle and the way of horses and in the way of wolves. But each
of them stood up to protect him from its own kind. After he had attained
to an age of thirty God sent him as his prophet and apostle to his
creation, and he turned himself with his calling to king Bishtasb and
the latter accepted his creed. His creed consisted in the reverence of
God and the non-reverence of Satan, in the obedience to good and in the
prohibition of the evil, and in abstaining from unclean things. He said
that light and darkness were two original principles which opposed each
other antagonistically, and so were Yazdan and Ahriman and that both
were the beginning of the created things in the world. That the
composition of it was the product of the co-mingling and that the
variety of forms were given rise to by means of the various unions, but
that God was the creator of light and darkness and of both the prime
origins. He was one without a companion, without an opponent, and
without anyone who was his like, and that it was not possible to trace
to him the existence of darkness in the way in which the Zarwanites
trace it, but that good and evil, pure and impure, holy and unholy, were
brought forth only by the co-mingling of light and darkness, and had not
the two fore-gathered the world would not have come into existence. They
were pitched each against the other and they fight each other till light
shall overcome darkness, and good evil. And then the good will be
liberated and come to its own, and the evil will be hurled down to its
own world and that will be the cause of the emancipation. God, the
Almighty, however, has in his wisdom compounded and co-mingled them.
Sometimes they make out that light is the original principle and express
themselves thus: The existence of light is a real existence. Darkness,
however, is only a consequence like the shadow of a person. It was
alleged that darkness was a thing produced though not created in
reality, and that God had produced light and that darkness had come out
as a consequence, because contrast was a matter of necessity in
existence. Hence the existence of darkness was also essential. And thus
it had become a thing created although not as in the first view, as
brought out with reference to a man's shadow.

[Sidenote: Zend Ave-ta.]

He [Zaradusht] also had composed a book about which people said that it
was revealed to him, namely, the _Zand Awasta_ which divides the world
into two parts, Mino or the spiritual and Geti or the corporeal; that is
to say, into spiritual and corporeal worlds, or in other words, into
mental and physical. And just as the creation is divided into two
worlds, so according to him, all that was in the world was again divided
into two, namely, _Bakhshis_ [Haarbrucker translates _Bakhshis_ by
_gnade_ or favour, but the original Arabic expression is _takdir_ which
means _destiny_, and _kunish_ or _deed_, by which are meant
pre-destination By God and human action.]

[Sidenote: Zoroastrian Ethics.]

Further, he discussed the duties relating to the religious law and these
have reference to the movements of man. He divided them into three parts
_Manish, Guyish_ and _Kunish_, meaning thereby belief, speech, and act,
and these comprehended all the duties. When in this a man is wanting he
is out of obedience and out of creed. But if he conducts himself in
these three movements according to the standard of the law and the
ordinance he attains to the highest good.[1]

[Footnote 1: Here is an instance where the Arab philosopher and writer
hands down to posterity the spirit of Zoroastrianism without prejudice
and with precision.]

[Sidenote: Some Miracles explained.]

The Zaradashtiya ascribed to Zaradusht a number of miracles including
that while Zaradusht was thrown into prison the forefeet of the horse of
Bishtasb entered into its body. When he was set at liberty, the feet of
the animal came out. Next, it is said that he happened to pass a blind
man at Dinawar and to have told him, "Take the herb", which he described
to him "and press its juice into your eye and you will be able to see".
This was done and the blind man was restored to his sight. This,
however, is to be attributed to his knowledge of the properties of the
herb and so it is in no wise a miracle. (Here Gotthiel omits one section
on the Saisaniya and the Bihafridiya[1]).

[Footnote 1: The Bihafridiya formed a heresy from Zoroastrianism in the
time of the Moslems. The sect furnishes the strongest proof that there
was no persecution worth the name in Persia at the time. Not only in
those days were the Zoroastrians permitted to follow their own faith but
here is a curious pars from Al Biruni which proves that both the
original Zoroastrians and the heresy were permitted to flourish side by
side under the Khalifs:--"When Abu Moslem came to Nishapur the _mobeds_
and _herbeds_ assembled before him telling him that this man [the
founder of the Bihafridi sect] had infected Islam as well as their own
[Zoroastrian] religion. So he sent Abdalla to fetch him. He met him in
the mountain at Badjeh and brought him before Abu Moslem to put him to
death together with such of his followers as he could capture. His
followers called the Bihafridians still keep the institutes of their
founder and strongly resemble the Zam-Zamis among the Magians."
Shaharastani adds that they were the most hostile of God's creatures to
the Zamzami Magians. The entire chapter on the Iranian sects in
Shaharastani is worthy of careful and deep study. It explains the
divergence between the prescriptions of the _Vendidad_ and the practice
of the bulk of the Iranians. The _Vendidad_ was, it would appear, the
authoritative scripture of one of the sects of Zoroastrianism. At any
rate it is not too extravagant to deduce from the careful studies of the
Iranian religion by Arab writers that as the teachings of Sakya Muni
developed into more Buddhisms than one so there were several creeds with
the common designation of Zoroastrianism.]

[Sidenote: The dignity of Mobedan Mobed.]

The Magians and the followers of the Two Principles and the followers of
Mani and the other sects which are related to the Magians are known as
the adherents of the Great creed or the Great religion. All the kings of
Persia were the followers of the religion of Ibrahim, subjects and all
those who belonged to the country among them during the reign of each of
them followed the religion of their rulers. But these latter relied upon
the chief of the ecclesiastics, _Mobed Mobedan_, the sage of sages, and
the wisest of men according to whose instructions the kings conducted
themselves and without whose judgment they undertook nothing; to him
they showed reverence such as is shown to the Khalif of the time.




As regards the Magians they believed in the prophetship of Zaradasht....

And as regards Zaradasht it is said that the majority of Moslems
believed in his prophetship....

[Sidenote: "Majority of Moslems believed in the Prophetship of

And the Book of the Magians and their religious Law were for a long time
during their sovereignty in the possession of the _mobeds and_ 23
_herbeds_. Each of the herbeds had a volume which was individual and
separate. In it was associated none of the other herbeds and no outsider
had any concern with it. Subsequently there was a break on account of
Alexander setting fire to their books at the time when he invaded Dara,
son of Dara, and they admit with unanimity that a portion of their
scriptures to the extent of a third has perished. This has been
mentioned by Bashir and Nasik and others of their men of learning....

[Sidenote: History of Zoroastrian Sacred literature.]

And Magians compiled all the scriptures (ayat) regarding the miracles of
Zoroaster such as that of the brass which was spread over and melted on
his chest and which did not injure him, and the feet of the horse which
had penetrated his belly and which were drawn out by him, etc.

[Sidenote: Zoroastrians are _Kitabis_.]

And among those who assert that the Magians are _Ahal Kitab_ are Ali Ibn
Talib and Khuzayfa, may God be pleased on these two, and Said Bin Al
Musib and Karadah and Abu Thaur and the whole of the sect of the
Zahurites. And we have set out the arguments of the validity of this
statement in our book entitled the _Isal_ in the chapters on Jehad,
Ceremonial Slaughter, and Nikah. And therein is sufficiently proved the
validity of the acceptance of Jaziya by the prophet of God from them.
For in the clear statement of the Qoran in the last verses of the
chapter of _Burat_, God has declared unlawful the acceptance of the
Jaziya from _non-Kitabis_....

Now as regards the Magians they admit that the books of theirs in which
is incorporated their religion were destroyed by fire by Alexander when
he slew Dara son of Dara,--that more than two-thirds of them have
perished the remnants being less than a third,--that their religious law
was comprised in what has disappeared. Now since this is the condition
of their religion, then their claims are void altogether became of the
disappearance of the majority of their books; since God does not held
responsible any person with reference to anything that has not been
entrusted to him.

[Sidenote: Zoroastrians extant scriptures are corrupt.]

And among their books there is one entitled the _Khudhay_ to which they
pay great reverence, in which it is related that king Anushirwan
prohibited the teaching of their religion in any one of the cities
except Ardeshir Khurrah and the religion spread from Datjird. Before
this time it was not taught anywhere except Istakhar and it was not
proper for anyone to engage in its study except a special class of
people. And of the books which remained after the conflagration by
Alexander there were 23 volumes and there were appointed 23 _herbeds_,
one _herbed_ for each volume. And no herbed transgressed upon the volume
of another. And the MOBED MOBEDAN was the superintendent of the whole of
those scriptures. Now whatever is in this condition has its contents
altered and modified and each of the transcripts is in this state. Hence
they are corrupt and do not deserve to be regarded as authentic. Thus
whatever is in their books cannot be held to be authentic except by
reason of faith alone since there are evident falsehoods in them like
the statement that their king mounted on Iblis and rode on him wherever
he willed, that man in the beginning originated from a vegetable like
grass called Sharaliya, and the birth of Bayarawan Siyawush son of Kay
Kawash who built a city called Kangdez between the earth and the heaven
and settled therein 80,000 men belonging to the _people of family_, that
they are there to this day, and that when Behram Hamawand manifests
himself on his bull to restore to them their sovereignty that city will
descend to earth and will help him to restore their religion and Empire.
Says Abu Muhammed, may God be pleased with him. And every book in which
is incorporated a falsehood is invalid and fictitious. It does not come
from God. Thus there is corruption in the religion of the Magians just
as there is in the religion of the Jews and the Christians to an equal


Ibn Haukal has been edited in the _Bibliotheca Geogra phorum Arabicorum_
by De Goege, but as the text is not available the following excerpts
from a translation of it made over a century ago by Sir William Ouseley
will indicate its importance. He flourished in the middle of the 11th

[Sidenote: Fire Temples.]

"There is not any district nor any town of Fars without a fire temple.
These are held in high veneration. We shall hereafter minutely describe
them. Also throughout Fars there are castles one stronger than another.

[Sidenote: Nirang.]

"There is not any district of this province nor any without a fire
temple. One near Shapur they call Kunbud Kaush.... And in the religion
of the Guebres it is ordained that 'Omnis Foemina quae tempore gravid it
at is aut tempore menstruorum, fornicationem seu adultarium fecerit,
pura non erit, donec ad Pyraeum (seu templum Ignicolarum) accesserit
(et) coram Heirbed (sacerdote) nuda ferit et urina vaccae se laverit.'

"In the province of Fars, they have three languages--the PARSI, which
they use in speaking one to another, though there may be some
variations of dialects in different districts yet it is in fact all the
same and they all understand the languages of each other and none of
their expressions or words are unintelligible; the Pahlavi language
which was formerly used in writings; this language now requires a
commentary or explanatory treatise; and the Arabic language which at
present is used in the Divans or royal courts of justice and revenue,

[Sidenote: Maritime commerce.]

"As to the manners of the people in Fars those who are the chief men and
occupy the higher offices in the service of the sovereign are polite and
courteous. They have fine palaces and are very hospitable. The people in
general, are kind and civil in their manners. The merchants are
remarkably covetous and desirous of wealth. I have heard that there was
a certain man of Siraj who had forty years at sea never leaving his ship
during this time. Whenever he came to a port he sent some of his people
on shore to transact his commercial affairs, and when the business was
finished he sailed on to some other place. The inhabitants of Siraj
devoted their whole time to commerce and merchandise. I myself saw at
this place several persons who possessed 4,000 thousand dinars and there
were some who had still more and their clothes were those of labourers.

[Sidenote: Parsis in Fars.]

"In Fars there are fire worshippers, Guebres, and Christians and some
Jews. And the practices of the Guebres, their fire temples, and their
customs and ceremonies and Guebreism or Magism, still continue among the
people of Fars and there are not in, any country of Islam so many
Guebres as in the land of Fars. It has been their capital or residence."

[Like all other Arab authors Ibn Haukal mentions the celebrated men
belonging to each of the provinces he describes. Among the celebrities
of Fars are reckoned Hormuz, "Guebre", who in the time of Omar was taken
by Abdulla Ibn Omar and put to death; and Salman Farsi who was one of
the illustrious men. His piety is celebrated throughout the world. He
sought the truth of religion in all quarters only to find it at Medina
with the Prophet. In consequence of this Selman became a true believer.
Abdulla Ibn Mukaffa also belonged to Fars. In the territory of Istakhar
is a great building with statuettes carved in stone and there also are
inscriptions and paintings.]





_Dehkan_ is a Persian word signifying both a farmer and a historian. It
is generally used to designate a person of ancient Persian family
possessing hereditary landed property. (P. 77).

_Ispeh Salar._ This word signifies commander of the troops. (P. 228).
KATIBS or writers were the persons employed in public offices: the
directors, clerks and secretaries in government service were all called

[Sidenote: Nauruz in Baghdad.]

_Khalifs' Nauruz._--This another name for Nauruz Khasa "New Year's day
proper," in which it was customary to offer presents to the sovereign.
This festival was held on the sixth day of the month of Ferwardin (end
of Marob). The old Persian custom of celebrating Nauruz existed at
Baghdad under the Abbaside Khalifs. (See P. 203 of this work, see also
an anecdote of Ahmed Ibn Yusuf al Khatif in his life of Al Mubarad.) (P.

"In the year 499 Ak Sunkur was directed by the sultan Muhamed to lay
siege to Tikrit which was then in the possession of Kaikobad Ibn
Hazarasb (about 1125)." (P. 227.)

[Sidenote: Ibn Mukaffa.]

Ibn Khallikan has devoted seven pages to the life of Ibn Mukaffa who is
called _the Katib_ and was renowned for the elegance of his style. He
was the author of admirable epistles. He was a native of Fars and a
Magian. But he was led to the profession of Islam by the uncle of the
two first Abbaside Al Safar and Al Mansur. He then became a secretary
and was admitted into intimacy. It was related that Mukaffa went to Isa
Ibn Ali and said that he was persuaded of the truth of Islam and wished
to make a profession of that faith. Isa answered, "Let it be done in the
presence of the leaders and chiefs of the people who come here
to-morrow." On the evening of that very day he went to dine with Isa,
and having sat down he began to eat and to mutter according to the
custom of the Magian, "How" said Isa, "he mutters like the Magian
although resolved to embrace Islam?" To this Makaffa replied: "I do not
wish to pass a single night without some religion." The next morning he
made to Isa his solemn profession of Islam. Notwithstanding the eminent
merit of Mukaffa he was suspected of infidelity and Al Jahiz states that
his religious sincerity was doubted (P. 431). Ibn Kallikan says, "It was
Mukaffa who composed the book entitled _Kalileh Wa-Dimneh_. But some
state that he is not the author of the work which they say was in
Pahlavi, and he translated it into Arabic, and put it in an elegant
style. But the discourse at the beginning of the work is by him."


Ahmed Ibn Yusuf addressed to Al-Mamun a verse with a present of an
embroidered robe on the day of Nauruz. (P. 32).

Al-Marzubani received his surname of Al-Marzubani because one of his
ancestors bore the name of Al-Marzuban, a designation applied by
Persians to great and powerful men only. This word signifies guardian of
the frontier, as we learn from Ibn al Jawaliki's work called Al-muarrab.
(P. 68).

A reference to the game of chess which originated in India, and the game
of Nerd as invented by the Persian king Ardeshir.

We often come across names like Dhia-ad-Din Abu Said Bahrain Ibn
al-Khidr, just as we have Paul Pakiam indicating the bearer of the name
was originally Hindu but had adopted subsequently Christianity. (P.

[Sidenote: Nominal converts.]

Abl-Hasan Mihyar Ibn Mirzawaih, a native of Dadam and secretary for
Persian language was a Fire-worshipper, but afterwards adopted the
Moslem faith. It is said that he made his profession to Sharif ar-Rida
who was his professor and under whom he made his poetical studies. It
seems, however, the conversion of Mihyar was only nominal. Ibn al-Athir
al-Jazari says in his Annals that one Ibn Burhan said to him. "Mihyar,
by becoming a Musalman you have merely passed from one corner of hell to
another." "How so?" said Mihyar. Ibn Burhan replied: "Because you were
formerly a fire-worshipper and now you revile the companions of our
blessed Prophet in your verses." (P. 517.)

Ibn Khallikan adds that "Mihyar and Mirzawaith are both Persian names.
Their signification is unknown to me."


Instances of hybrid compound names, the Iranian component being

Izz ad-Din Kaikaus son of Ghiath ad-Din Kaikhosru. (P. 487).

Ala ad-Din Kaikobad. (P. 489).

Abu Mahfuz Ibn Firuz. (P. 384).

Abu Manzur Al Muzaffar Ibn Abi I-Husain Ardeshir. (P. 365).

Abu Mansur-Sheherdar Ibn Shiruyah. (P. 11).

Sultan ad-Dawlat, Fanakhrosru (which is no doubt equivalent to Panah
Khurso.) (P. 278).

The word _abna_ signifies _sons_. It was generally employed to designate
persons one of whose parents was an Arab and the other of a foreign
race. At the time of Mahomed and afterwards there was in Yeman a great
number of _Abna_ whose fathers were Persians and whose mothers were
Arabs. (P. 334).

Dress of the Ulema. (P. 273).

Yahya Ibn al Munajjim whose real name was Abban Hasis, the son of Kad,
the son of Mahavindad, the son of Farrukhdad, the son of Asad, the son
of Mihr, the son of Yezdigerd, the last of the Sasanian kings of Persia.

Story of the onagar with the inscription on its ear written by Bahramgor
in the Kufic character. Ibn Khallikan quotes Al Khawarezmi's
_Mafatih-al-Ulum._ (P. 85).

[Sidenote: Old castles.]

Istakhri refers to the castle of Jiss in the district of Arrajan about
which we have a more exhaustive notice by other writers. "Here lived the
Magians," says Istakhri, "and here also are to be found memorials of the
past of Persia. The place is strongly fortified. The castle of Iraj is
also strongly fortified. The fastnesses which cannot be subjugated are
so many that it is not possible to detail them."

Describing the city of Jur Istakhri says that it was built by Ardeshir.
"It is said that here water used to be collected as in a lake. The king
had taken a vow to build a city and to erect a fire temple at the place
where he had defeated his enemy. He had the place drained, and when it
was dried he built the city of Jur on the site. The city in its extent
is like Istakhr, Sabur, and Darabgird. It had mud walls and moats and
many gates, the eastern one being called the gate of Mihr, the western
the gate of Bahram, the northern the gate of Hormuz, and the southern
the gate of Ardeshir. In the centre of the city is a building with a
cupola built by Ardeshir. It is said that it is so high that it commands
a view of the city and its surroundings. _High at its top is a fire
altar_.[1]" (P. 56).

[Sidenote: Languages of Iran.]

In another portion of his book Istakhri describes the inhabitants as
thin, with little growth of hair and of brown colour. "In the colder
tracts," he continues, "the people are of a taller stature with a thick
growth of hair and very fair. They speak three languages,--the Parsi,
which everybody speaks and which is employed in their letters and their
literature; the Magians who dwell among them use the Pahlavi in their
writings, but it needs for a thorough understanding an explanation in
Parsi; and Arabic which is the language used in the correspondence of
the Sultan, the Government Boards, the grandees and the Amirs." (P. 67).

[Footnote 1: This goes to confirm the hypothesis of Sir John Marshall
that the curious structure with probably a fire-altar at the top
excavated by him at Taxila near Rawal Pindi is a Zoroastrian

[Sidenote: Tardy Converts.]

In the same place he makes mention of a numerous settlement of the
Magians. "Here are," he says, "a goodly number of Magians in the
neighbourhood of Istakhr. There is a large stone building with carvings
and pillars about which the Persians relate that it is the mosque of
Solomon; the son of David, and that it is the work of genii. In bulk it
is comparable to the buildings in Syria and Egypt" "In the neighborhood
of Sabur is a mountain on which the representations of all the kings,
governors, servitors of temples and grand mobeds who were celebrated in
the times of the Persian monarchy are to be found. On the pedestals of
these figures are engraved the events in connection with and the deeds
of these personages." Describing the Karen mountains Itakhri says, "The
mountainous region is inaccessible and the inhabitants hold commerce
with no one outside. During the Omayad period they persisted in their
adherence to Zoroastrianism, and they could not be subjugated, and were
worse than the inhabitants of the Koz mountain. But when the Abbasides
came to power they embraced Islam. These Magians were extraordinarily
brave. Yakub and Amru the sons of Leith, commenced their rule and power
here and drew their supporters from these hills." "Mokan," says
Istakhri, "contains many villages which are inhabited by the Magians."
(P. 71.)




BY G. Lestrange.

The following fire-temples are mentioned:--At [Transcriber's note: word
unreadable] there was an ancient fire temple called Ardahish. (P. 56)

A dragon was slain by king Kaikaushro who then built on the spot a fire
temple afterwards known as Dayr Kushid. (P. 69).

Turshid was the chief city of the Kohistan province and near it was the
village Kishwaz famous for the great cypress trees planted by Zoroaster
as related by Firdausi in the Shah Nameh, (Turner, 1. Macar Vol. 4, line
1061). Near Tushiz were four famous castles one of which was called
Arthush Gah or the Fire temple. (P. 80).

Herat was watered by the canals of the river Hari Rud. It had a famous
castle called Sham Iram built over the ruins of an ancient Fire temple
on a mountain two leagues distant from the city. Mustawfi adds a long
account of the town, its markets and its shrines, giving the names of
the various canals derived from the Hari Rud. (P. 85).



[Sidenote: Zoroastrians are treated like Jews and Christians.]

The religious bodies which enjoy rights of subjects under the protection
of law are four,--the Jews, the Christians, the Majus, and the Sabiah.
(P. 67-69).

[Sidenote: Nauruz and Miherjan.]

The worshippers of idols in Sind are not of the Dhimma, nor those under
the protection of Islam; it is on this account that they are exempted
from the poll tax. _The Majus are counted with the Dhimma; for Omar
ordered them to be treated in the same way as the people of the book
(the Jews and Christians;_) the fact that we call the followers of one
and the same code of doctrines by two names, one of praise and one of
blame, does not arise from eulogising or reviling on our part; our
object is merely to shew what others think of any sect, and by what
names they call them. (P. 7).



And Behram was matchless among kings, perfect in manners and facile of
tongue. For he used to converse on the days of public assemblies and
courtly meetings in Arabic and in matters of receiving petitions and
granting of the gifts in Persian, and when giving public audiences he
used the Dari language, and when playing polo he used Pahlavi, and
Turkish while at war, and when out hunting the language of Zabulistan
and in legal matters Hebrew, in questions of medicine the Indian
language, in Astronomy the language of the Greeks, and while on voyage
he used the Nabatian language and while speaking with women he used the
speech of Herat. (P. 555).

That Thaalibi knew the correct distinction between Pahlavi and Persian
can be seen from the fact that he says at p. 633 of his history with
reference to the book of _Kalileh wa Dimna_ as follows:--When Burzuyeh
arrived at the court and presented himself before Anushirwan he
recounted to him what had happened to him and announced to him as a
happy event that he was in possession of the book. Then he made a
present of it to the king. (Anushirwan was charmed with it and he gave
the order to translate the book into Pahlavi.) Burzuyeh requested and
got from the king the permission to place at the head of the first
chapter the king's name, and a notice of his life. And the book remained
carefully guarded with the kings of Persia until Ibn Muquaffa translated
it into Arabic and Rudaki at the command of Amir Nasr Ibn Ahmad turned
it into Persian verse.

Reference to _Kitab al Ain_. (P. 14.)

Reference to the murder and burial of the last Sasanian king, (P. 748.)

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Iranian Influence on Moslem Literature, Part I" ***

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