1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Persia

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PERSIA, a kingdom of western Asia, bounded on the N. by the Caspian Sea and the Russian Transcaucasian and Transcaspian territories, on the E. by Afghanistan and Baluchistan, on the S. by the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and on the W. by Turkish territory. Long before the Christian era the satrapies of Darius comprehended roughly an immense range of territory, from the Mediterranean to the Indus and from the Caucasian chain and Jaxartes to the Persian Gulf and Arabian Ocean. In the 17th and 18th centuries A.D. the conquests of ‛Abbas and Nadir kept up these boundaries more or less on the east, but failed to secure them on the west, and were limited to the Caucasus and Oxus on the north. Persia of the present day is not only, in the matter of geographical definition, far from the vast empire of Sacred Writ and remote history, but it is not even the less extensive dominion of the Safawi kings and Nadir Shah. It may be said, however, to comprise now quite as much settled and consolidated territory as at any period of its political existence of which we can speak with authority.

Boundaries.—The region of Ararat presents a good starting point for the definition of the western and northern frontiers of Persia. A line 20 m. in length from a point on the river Aras, in 39° 45′ N. and 44° 40′ E. to Mt Ararat, in the south-westerly direction, divides Western
Persia from Russia. Southwards from Mt Ararat the Perso-Turkish frontier extends about 700 m. to the mouth of the Shatt el Arab in the Persian Gulf in 30° N. and 48° 40′ E., but is undefined with the exception of the western boundary of the little district of Kotur. A mixed commission was appointed in 1843 for the settlement of the Perso-Turkish frontier. The labours of this commission resulted in the Erzerum treaty of 1847, by which both powers abandoned some lands and agreed to appoint commissioners to define the frontier. The commissioners met in 1849, 1850 and 1851 at Bagdad and Muhamrah without arriving at any result. In 1851 Lord Palmerston proposed that the general line of frontier should be traced by the agents of Turkey and Persia at Constantinople, assisted by the commissioners, in conformity with the treaty of Erzerum, leaving doubtful localities to be settled in future. The Russian government agreed to this proposal, and the work of surveying the country from Mt Ararat to the Persian Gulf was then undertaken. When this was done the preparation of a map, embracing territory 700 m. in length by 20 to 40 m. broad, was put in hand, and this work lasted from November 1857 till March 1865, when the Porte was informed in May of that year that “in the opinion of the mediating Powers, the future line of boundary between the respective dominions of the sultan and the shah was to be found within the limits traced on the map; that the two Mahommedan governments should themselves mark out the line; and that in the event of any differences arising between them in regard to any particular locality, the points in dispute should be referred to the decision of the governments of England and Russia.” This boundary has remained unsettled, and disputes have frequently arisen between the Turkish and Persian governments with regard to their respective claims to land (Hertslet, Persian Treaties). In the autumn of 1907 Turkish troops occupied not only “doubtful localities” but also adjoining lands which were indisputably Persian territory. The want of a determined line of demarcation between the two countries may have political advantages, but is inconvenient to the geographer and most unfavourable to the cause of order and good government.

Emery Walker sc.

From the point on the Aras River 20 m. north-east of Mt Ararat, the river forms the northern boundary down to 48° E. The frontier line then runs about 35 m. in a south-easterly direction through the Moghan steppe to Pilsowar on the Bulgharu River and then south with Northern Frontier. a bend to the west to the Astara River and the port of Astara in 38° 27′ N. and 48° 53′ E. From Astara eastwards the boundary is formed by the shore of the Caspian until it touches the Bay of Hassan Kul north of As arabad. East of the Caspian Sea and beginning at Has an Kuli Bay the river Atrek serves as the frontier as far as Chat. It then extends east and south-east to Serrakhs on the Tejen River in 36° 40′ N. and 61° 20′ E. The distance from Mt Ararat to Serrakhs in a straight line is about 930 m. The frontier from Mt Ararat to Astara was defined by the treaty of Turkmanchai (Feb. 22, 1828), and a convention of the 8th of July 1893. The frontier east of the Caspian was defined by the Akhal-Khorasan Boundary Convention of the 21st of December 1881 and the frontier convention of the 8th of July 1893.

The eastern frontier extends from Serrakhs to near Gwetter on the Arabian Sea in 25° N. and 61° 30′ E., a distance of about 800 m. From Serrakhs to near Kuhsan the boundary is formed by the Tejen River (called Hari Rud, or river of Herat, in its upper course); it then runs Eastern
almost due south to the border of Seistan in 31° N., and then through Seistan follows the line fixed by Sir Frederick Goldsmid’s and Sir Henry McMahon’s commissions in 1872 and 1903–1905 to Kuh i Malik Siah. From this point to the sea the frontier separates Persian territory from British Baluchistan and runs south-east to Kuhak and then south-west to Gwetter. This last section was determined by Sir Frederick Goldsm1d’s commission in 1871.

The southern boundary is the coast line of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf from Gwetter to the mouth of the Shatt el Arab, a distance of about 870 m., comprised between 48° 40′ E. and 61° 30′ E. The islands situated close to the northern shore of the Persian Gulf areSouthern
Persian territory, they are, from east to west, Hormuz (Ormus), Larak, Kishm, Hengam, Furur, Kish (Kais), Hindarabi, Shaikh-Shu’aib, Jebrin, Kharak, Kharaku (Khorgu).

Physical Geography.—Modern Persia occupies the western and larger half of the great Iranian plateau which, rising to a height of from 4000 to 8000 ft. between the valleys of the Indus and Tigris, covers more than a million square miles. Taking the Kuren Dagh or Kopet Dagh to form the northern scarp of this plateau east of the Caspian, we find a prolongation of it in the highlands north of the political frontier on the Aras, and even in the Caucasus itself. On the north-west Persia is united by the highlands of Armenia to the mountains of Asia Minor; on the north-west the Paropamisus and Hindu Kush connect it with the Himalayas. The lines of boundary on the western and eastern faces are to be traced amid high ranges of mountains broken here and there by deserts and valleys. These ranges lie for the most part north-east and south-east, as do those in the interior, with a marked exception between Teherān and Bujnurd, and in Baluchistan, where they lie rather north-east and south-west, or, in the latter case, sometimes east and west. The real lowlands are the tracts near the sea-coast belonging to the forest-clad provinces of the Caspian in the north and the shores of the Persian Gulf below Basra and elsewhere. The Persians have no special names for the great ranges. Mountains and valleys are known only by local names which frequently cover but a few miles. Even the name Elburz, which European geographers apply to the chains and ranges that extend for a length of over 500 m. from Azerbaijan in the west to Khorasan in the east, stands with the Persians Only for the 60 or 70 m. of mountains north and north-east of Teherān, including the cone of Demavend. The great central range, which extends, almost unbroken, for nearly 800 m. from Azerbaijan in the north-west to Baluchistan in the south-east, may aptly be called the Central Range. It has many peaks 9000 to 10,000 ft. in height, and some of its summits rise to an elevation of 11,000 ft. and near Kermān of nearly 13,000 ft. (Kuh i Jupar). The valleys and plains west of the Central Range, as for instance those of Mahallat, Joshekan, Isfahan, Sirjan, have an elevation of 5000 to 6500 ft.; those within the range, as Jasp, Ardahal, So, Pariz, are about 1000 ft. higher; and those east of it slope from an elevation of 5000 to 6000 ft. down to the depressions of the central plateau which, east of Kum, are not more than 2600 ft. and east of Kermān 1500 to 1700 ft. above the sea-level. Some of the ranges west of the Central Range, which form the highlands of Kurdistan, Luristan, Bakhtiari and Fars, and are parallel to it, end near the Persian Gulf; others follow the Central Range, and take a direction to the east at some point between Kermān and the sea on the western frontier of Baluchistan. Some of these western ranges rise to considerable elevations; those forming the Turko-Persian frontier west of the lake of Urmia have peaks 11,000 ft. in height, while the Sahand, east of the lake and south of Tabriz, has an elevation of 12,000 ft. Farther south, the Takht-i-Bilkis, in the Afshar district, rises to 11,200 ft., the Elvend (ancient Orontes), near Hamadan, to ll,600. The Shuturun Kuh, south of Burujird, is over 11,000 ft. in height, the Shahan Kuh, Kuh-i-Gerra, Zardeh Kuh and Kuh-i-Karan (by some writers called Kuh-i-Rang), all in the Bakhtiari country west of Isfahan, are 12,800 to 13,000 ft. in height; and the Kuh-i-Dina (by some writers wrongly called Kuh-i-Dinar) has an elevation of over 14,000 ft. Still farther south, towards Kermān, there are several peaks (Bid-Khan, Lalehzar, Shah-Kuh, Jamal Bariz, &c.) which rise to an elevation of 13,000 ft. or more, and the Kuh-i-Hazar, south of Kerman, is 14,700 ft. in height. Beginning near Ardebil in Azerbaqan, where the cone of Savelan rises to an elevation of 15,792 ft. (Russian trigonometrical survey), and ending in Khorasan, the great Elburz range presents on its southern, or inward, face a more or less abrupt scarp rising above immense gravel slopes, and reaches in some of its summits a height of nearly 13,000 ft.; and the peak of Demavend, north-west of Teherān, has a height of at least 18,000 ft. There are several important ranges in Khorasan, and one of them, the Binalud, west of Meshed and north of Nishapur, has several peaks of 11,000 to 12,000 ft. in height. In south-eastern Persia the Kuh-i-Basman, a dormant volcano, 11,000 to 12,000 ft. in height, in the Basman district, and the Kuh-i-Taftan, i.e. the hot or burning mountain (also called Kuh-i-Nushadar from the “sal ammoniac,” nushadar, found on its slopes), an active triple-peaked volcano in the Sarhad district and 12,681 ft. in height (Captain Jennings), are notable features.

Taking the area of Persia at 628,000 sq. m. the drainage may thus be distributed: (1) into the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf, 135,000 sq. m.; (2) into the Caspian, 100,000; (3) into the Seistan depression, 43,000; (4) into the Urmia Lake, 20,000; (5) into the interior of Persia, 330,000. The first Rivers. district comprises most of the south-western provinces and the whole of the coast region as far east as Gwetter; the second relates to the tracts west, south and east of the southern part of the Caspian Sea. The tracts south of the Caspian are not more than 20 to 50 m. wide; those on the west widen out to a depth of 250 m., meeting the watershed of the Tigris on the one side and that of the Euphrates and Lake Van on the other, and embracing between the two the basin of Lake Urmia. On the east the watershed of the Caspian gradually increases in breadth, the foot of the scarp extending considerably to the north of the south-eastern angle of that sea, three degrees east of which it turns to the south-east, parallel to the axis of the Kopet Dagh. The third drainage area comprises Persian Seistan with part of the Helmund (Hilmend) basin and a considerable tract adjoining it on the west. The fourth is a comparatively small area on the western frontier containing the basin of Lake Urmia, shut off from the rest of the inland drainage, and the fifth area takes in a part of Baluchistan, most of Kermān, a part of Fars, all Yezd, Isfahan, Kashan, Kum, Irak, Khamseh, Kazvin, Teherān, Samnan, Damghan, Shahrud, Khorasan and the central desert regions.

Four rivers belonging essentially to Persia, in reference to the Caspian watershed, are the Seafid Rud or Kizil Uzain on the south-west, the Herhaz on the south and the Gurgan and Atrek at the south-eastern corner of that inland sea. The Seafid Rud rises in Persian Kurdistan in about 35° 50′ N. and 46° 45′ E., a few miles from Senendij. It has a very tortuous course of nearly 500 m., for the distance from its source to the Caspian, 57 m. east of Resht, is only 210 m. in a straight line. The Kizil Uzain takes up some important affluents and is called Seafid Rud from the point where it breaks through the Elburz to the sea, a distance of 70 m. It drains 25,000 to 30,000 sq; m. of the country. The Herhaz, though not important in length of course or drainage, also, like the Seafid Rud, breaks through the Elburz range from the inner southern scarp to the north. It rises on the slopes of the Kasil Kuh, a peak 12,000 ft. in height within the Elburz, and about 25 m. north of Teherān, flows easterly through the Lar plateau, where it is known as the Lar River, and takes up several affluents; turns to the north-east at the foot of Demavend, leaving that mountain to the left, and flows due north past Amol to the Caspian. Its length is about 120 m. The Gurgan rises on the Armutlu plateau in Khorasan east of Astarabad, and enters the Caspian in 37° 4′ N., north-west of Astarabad, after a course of about 200 m. The Atrek rises a few miles from Kuchan and enters the Caspian at the Bay of Hassan Kuli in 37° 21′ N., after a course of about 300 m. From the sea to the Russian frontier post of Chat the river forms the frontier between Persia and the Russian Transcaspian region.

The drainage of the rivers which have no outlet to the sea and form inland lakes and swamps (kavir) may be estimated at 350,000 sq. m., including the drainage of Lake Urmia, which is about 20,000 sq. m. Fourteen rivers flow into the lake: the Aji Chai, Safi Chai, Murdi Chai and Jaghatu from the east, the Tatau (Tatava) from the south, and nine smaller rivers from the west. During heavy rains and when the snows on the hills melt, thousands of streams flow from all directions into the innumerable depressions of inner Persia, or help to swell the perennial rivers which have no outlet to the sea. These latter are few in number, and some of them barely suffice for purposes of agricultural irrigation, and in summer dwindle down to small rills. The perennial streams which help to form the kavirs (salt swamps) east of Kum and Kashan are the Hableh-rud, rising east of Demavend, the Jajrud, rising north of Teheran, the Kend and Kerej rivers, rising north-west of Teheran, the Shureh-rud (also called Abhar-rud), rising near Sultanieh on the road between Kazvin and Tabriz, and the Kara-su, which rises near Hamadan and is Joined by the Zarin-rud (also known as Do-ab), the Reza Chai (also called Mazdakan-rud), the Jehrud River and the Kum-rud. The river of Isfahan, Zendeh-rud, i.e. “the great river” (from Persian zendeh [Pehlevi, zendek], great), but now generally known as Zayendeh-rud, i.e. “the life-giving river,” flows into the Gavkhani or Gavkhaneh swamp, east of Isfahan. In Fars the Kur with its affluents forms the lake of Bakhtegan (also known as Lake of Niriz), and in its lower course, is generally called Bandamir (made famous by Thomas Moore) from the band (dam) constructed by the Amir (prince) Asad-ed-dowleh in the 10th century. (“Note on the Kur River in Fars,” Proc. Royal Geog. Soc., London, 1891.) The rivers flowing into the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea diminish in importance from west to east. There are first the Diyala and Kerkheh flowing into the Tigris from the hills of Kurdistan; the Ab i Diz and Karun which unite below Shushter, and reach the Shatt el Arab at Muhamrah; and the Jarahi and Tab, which with the Karun form “the delta of Persian Arabistan, the most extensive and fertile plain in Persia.” There are many streams which though fordable at most seasons (some of them are often quite dry) are unfordable during the rains. Two of these may be mentioned here, viz. the Mand and the Minab, which St John (loc. cit. p. 9) considered as being “of far more importance than the maps would lead the observer to suppose.” The former, after a run of over 300 m. from its sources in the hills west of Shiraz, debouches at Khor-i-Ziaret about 60 m. south of Bushire. It is mentioned by the old Arab and Persian geographers as the Sitakan (in some MSS. misspelt Sakkan), and is the Sitakos of Airian and the Sitioganus of Pliny. In its upper course it is now known as the Kara-aghach (Wych-elm) River (cf. “Notes on the River Mand in Southern Persia,” Royal Geog. Soc., London, December 1883). The Minab has two outlets into the Persian Gulf, one the Khor-i-Minab, a salt-water creek into which the river overflows during the rains, about 30 m. east of Bander Abbasi, the other the true Minab, at Khagun, some miles south of the creek. It rises in the hills about 100 m. north of Bander Abbasi, and has a considerable drainage. Its bed near the town of Minab (15 m. from the coast) is nearly a mile in width, and during the rains the water covers the whole bed, rendering it quite unfordable. During ordinary weather, in March 1884, the water flowing past the town was 100 yds. in width and 2 ft. deep (Preece, Proc. Royal Geog. Soc., January 1885). In ordinary seasons very little water of the river runs into its original bed, being diverted into canals, &c. The creek, the Anamis of Nearchus, is navigable nearly all through the year as far as Shahbander, the custom-house, about 7 m. inland, for vessels of 20 tons burden.

“The great desert region of Persia,” writes Le Strange (Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, 1905), “stretches right across the high plateau of Irân going from north-west to south-east, and dividing the fertile provinces of the land into two groups; for the desert is Desert. continuous from the southern base of the Elburz mountains, that to the north overlook the Caspian, to the arid ranges of Makrân, which border the Persian Gulf. Thus it measures nearly 800 m. in length, but the breadth varies considerably; for in shape this immense area of drought is somewhat that of an hour-glass with a narrow neck, measuring only some 100 m. across, dividing Kermân from Seistân, while both north and south of this the breadth expands and in places reaches to over 200 m. At the present day the desert, as a whole, is known as the Lût or Dasht-i-Lût; the saline swamps and the dry salt area being more particularly known as the Dasht-i-Kavîr, the term Kavîr being also occasionally applied to the desert as a whole.”

A three-wire telegraph line on iron posts, completed in March 1907, passes through this region, and it is the unenviable lot of some Englishmen stationed at Bam and Nusretabad Ispi (Isbidh of medieval Arab geographers) on the confines of the desert regularly to inspect and test it. Of the northerly Great Kavir Dr Tietze thought that it was composed of a complex of isolated salt swamps separated by sand-dunes, low ridges of limestone and gypsum, perhaps also by volcanic rocks (Jahrbuch k. k. geolog. Reichsanstalt, Vienna, 1877). Dr Sven Hedin explored the northern part of the Great Desert in 1906.  (A. H.-S.) 

Geology.—Persia consists of a central region covered by Quaternary deposits and bordered on the north, west and south by a raised rim composed of older rocks. These older rocks also form the isolated ranges which rise through the Quaternary deposits of the central area.

In northern Persia the rocks of the elevated rim are thrown into folds which form a curve round the southern shore of the Caspian. The mountain ranges of Khorasan show the western portion of a second curve of folding which is probably continued into the Hindu Kush. In the western rim of Persia the folds run from north-west to south-east, and in the south these folds appear to curve gradually eastward, following the trend of the coast. The folds in the central Persian chains run from north-west to south-east, parallel to those of the western border. It is seldom that the old crystalline rocks, which form the floor upon which the sedimentary strata were deposited, are exposed to view. Gneiss, granite and crystalline schist, however, are found in the Elburz and in some of the central ranges; and similar rocks form a large part of the Zagros. Some of these rocks are probably Archean, but some appear to be metamorphosed sedimentary deposits of later date. The oldest beds in which fossils have yet been found belong to the Upper Devonian. They are well developed in the Elburz range, where they attain a thickness of some 9000 to 10,000 ft., and they have been found also in some of the central ranges and in the Bakhtiari Mountains. In the Elburz range the Devonian is succeeded by a series of limestones with Productus. The greater part of the series belongs to the Carboniferous, but the upper beds are probably of Permian age. The limestones are followed by sandstones and shales with occasional seams of coal. The plants which have been found in these beds indicate a Rhaetic or Liassic age. The Middle and Upper Jurassic form a considerable portion of the Elburz and have yielded marine fossils belonging to several different horizons. The Cretaceous system is very widely spread in Persia. It is one of the most conspicuous formations in the Zagros and in the central ranges, and probably forms a large part of the plateau, beneath the Quaternary deposits. The most prominent member of the series is a massive limestone containing Hippurites and belonging to the upper division of the system. The Tertiary deposits include nummulitic limestone (Eocene); a series of limestones, sandstones and conglomerates, with marine Miocene fossils; and red marls, clays and sandstones with rock-salt and gypsum, believed to belong to the Upper Miocene. In the Elburz there is a considerable deposit of palagonite tuff which appears to be of Oligocene age. The nummulitic limestone takes part in the formation of the mountain chains. The Miocene deposits generally lie at the foot of the chains, or in the valleys; but occasionally they are found at higher levels. Pliocene deposits cover a considerable area near the coast. Both in the Elburz range and near the Baluchistan frontier there are numerous recent volcanoes. Some of these seem to be extinct, but several continue to emit vapours and gases. Demavend in the Elburz and Kuh-i-Taftan on the Baluchistan frontier are among the best-known.  (P. La.) 

See W. K. Loftus, “On the Geology of Portions of the Turko-Persian Frontier, and of the Districts adjoining,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xi. pp. 247-344, pl. ix. (London, 1855); W. T. Blanford, Eastern Persia, vol. ii. (Zoology and Geology) (London, 1876); C. L. Griesbach, Field-notes: No. 5, to accompany a Geological Sketch Map of Afghanistan and North-Eastern Khorasan, Rec. Geol. Surv. India, xx. 93–103 (1887), with map; A. F. Stahl, “Zur Geologie von Persien,” Peterm. Mitt., Ergänzungsheft 122 (1897); J. de Morgan, Mission scientifique en Perse, vol. iii. (completed 1905, Paris). A summary by H. Douvillé of the principal geological results of de Morgan’s expedition will be found in Bull. soc. géol. France, 4th series, vol. iv. pp. 539-553.

Climate.—For the rainfal on the watershed of the Persian Gulf there are two places of observation, Bushire and Jask; at the first it is a little in excess of that of inner Persia, while at the second it is very much less. The rainfall on the Caspian watershed greatly exceeds that of inner Persia; at Astarabad and Ashurada, in the south-eastern corner of the Caspian, it is about 50% more; and at Resht and Lenkoran, in the south-western corner, it is four and five times that of the adjoining districts across the ridges to the south. With the exception of the Caspian watershed and that of the Urmia basin, the country has probably in no part a yearly rainfall exceeding 13 or 14 in., and throughout the greater part of central and south-eastern Persia the yearly rainfall probably does not exceed 6 in. The following mean values of the rainfall at Teherān have been derived from observations taken by the writer during 1892–1907:—

 Jan.   Feb.   Mar.   April.   May.   June.   July.   Aug.   Sept.   Oct.   Nov.   Dec. 

in. in. in. in. in. in. in. in. in. in. in. in.
 1.76   1.17   1.87   1.41    .50    .06    .05    .05    .06    .32   1.35   1.26 
 Total for 
9.86 in.

Good harvests depend on the rainfall from October to April, and on an amount of snow sufficient to cover the crops during frosts. During normal winters in Teherān and surrounding districts the rainfall amounts to 9 or 10 in., with 3 to 4 of snow, but in the winter 1898–1899 it was only 51/2 in, with only 1 in. of snow; and in 1899–1900 the harvests were in consequence exceptionally bad, and large quantities of wheat and flour had to be brought from the provinces and even from Russia at high freights, causing the price of bread at Teherān to rise 200%. The first table on p. 191 shows the mean annual rainfall in inches at fifteen stations in and near Persia.

The prevailing winds throughout Persia and the Persian Gulf are the north-west and south-east owing partly to the position of the Black Sea and Mediterranean and of the Arabian Sea, and partly to the bearing of the axes of the great mountain chains. A dry and warm wind comes down from the snowy Elburz to Gilan in December and January, and much resembles the fohn of the Alps (Dr Tholozan, “Sur les vents du Nord de la Perse et sur le foehn du Guilan,” Comptes rendus, Acad. d. Sciences, March 1882).

Station. Lat. N.  Long.
Altitude.  Period of
Year.  Authority.
Feet. Years.
Lenkoran 38° 46′  48° 51′   −60 281/4 46·82  Supan.[1]
Resht 37° 17′  49° 35′   −50 2 56·45  British Consul.[2]
Ashurada 36° 54′  53° 55′   −80 19  17·17  Supan.[1]
Astarabad 36° 51′  54° 25′   −40 7 16·28  Symons.[3]
Meshed 36° 17′  59° 36′  3180 9  9·33  British Consul.[4]
Quetta 30° 11′  67° 3′  5500 19  10·09  Supan.[1]
Kalat 28° 53′  66° 28′  6500 15   8·98  Supan.[1]
Maskat 23° 29′  58° 33′  3  6·13  Supan.[1]
Jask 25° 39′  57° 46′  10   3·24  English Telegraph.[5] 
Bushire 28° 59′  50° 49′  19  13·36  Supan.[1]
Isfahan 32° 37′  51° 40′  5370 7  5·44  English Telegraph.[5]
Teherān 35° 41′  51° 25′  3810 15   9·86  The writer.
Urmia (Sair)  37° 28′  45° 8′  6225 1 21·51  Symons.[3]
Bagdad 33° 19′  44° 26′  7 10·59  Supan.[1]
Merv 37° 35′  61° 50′   700 1  6·36  Symons.[3]

Observations for temperature have been taken for many years at the stations of the Indo-European Telegraph and for a few years at the British consulate in Meshed, and the monthly and annual means shown in the following table have been derived from the indications of maximum and minimum thermometers in degrees Fahrenheit.

Station. Jan.  Feb.  Mar.  April.  May.  June.  July.  Aug.  Sept.  Oct.  Nov.  Dec.  Year.  Highest
Meshed 32 34 49 59 68 76 78 70 67 55 48 40 56·3  91 15 76
Teherān 38 38 48 51 71 81 84 81 73 64 53 43 60·4 111  3 108 
Tabriz[6] 17 25 39 54 63 74 79 81 73 62 48 34 54·1  99 −18  117 
Kashan[7] 35 36 43 60 74 83 90 85 77 68 53 42 62·2 113  9 104 
Isfahan 58·0 106 − 3  109 
Abadeh[8] 41 41 47 56 68 75 79 75 71 59 55 46 59·5  96 14 82
Dehbid[9] 27 30 38 45 57 65 69 65 61 52 43 36 49·0  91 −19  110 
Shiraz[10] 48 47 55 63 73 80 85 81 76 67 55 49 65·0 113 21 92
Kazerun[11] 51 50 52 67 84 93 95 94 87 79 70 56 73·2 110 36 74
Borazjuan[12]  55 57 66 80 94 97 100  99 92 83 72 64 80·0 117 48 69
Bushire 58 60 65 74 82 86 90 90 87 80 71 62 75·4 109 41 68

Very few hygrometrical observations have been taken, and only those of the British residency at Bushire are more or less trustworthy, and have been regularly registered for a number of years. In inner Persia the air is exceptionally dry, and in many districts polished steel may be exposed in the open during a great part of the year without becoming tarnished. Along the shores of the Caspian, particularly in Gilan and Mazandaran, and of the Persian Gulf from the mouth of the Shatt el Arab down to Bander Abbasi, the air during a great part of the year contains much moisture—dry- and wet-bulb thermometers at times indicating the same temperature—and at nights there are heavy falls of dew. In Gilan and Mazandaran the air contains much moisture up to considerable elevations and as far as 30 to 40 m. away from the sea; but along the Persian Gulf, where vegetation is very scanty, stations only a few miles away from the coast and not more than 20 or 30 ft. above the sea-level have a comparatively dry climate. Frequently when the temperature in the shade at Bushire is not more than 85° or 90°, and the great humidity of the air causes much bodily discomfort, life is almost pleasant 12 or 20 m. inland with a temperature of over 100°.

Fauna.—Mr W. T. Blanford has described with great care and minuteness the zoology of Persia. In company with Major St John, R.E., he made a large collection of the vertebrate fauna in a journey from Gwetter to Teherān in 1872. Having added to this a previous collection made by the same officer with the assistance of a native from Calcutta, he had before him the principal materials for his work. Before commencing his analysis he adverted to his predecessors in the same field, i.e. Gmelin (whose travels were published in 1774–1784), Olivier (1807), Pallas (1811), Ménétries (1832), Belanger (1834), Eichwald (1834–1841), Aucher Éloy (1851), Loftus, Count Keyserling, Kokschy, Chesney, the Hon. C. Murray, De Filippi (1865), Hume (1873), and Professor Strauch of St Petersburg. All of these had, more or less, contributed something to the knowledge of the subject, whether as writers or as collectors, or in both capacities, and to all the due meed of credit was assigned. Blanford divided Persia into five zoological provinces: (1) the Persian plateau, or from the Kopet Dagh southwards to nearly 28° N. lat., including all Khorasan to the Perso-Afghan border, its western limit being indicated by a long line to the north-west from near Shiraz, taking in the whole upper country to the Russian frontier and the Elburz; (2) the provinces south and south-west of the Caspian; (3) a narrow strip of wooded country south-west of the Zagros range, from the Diyala River in Turkey in Asia to Shiraz; (4) the Persian side of the Shatt-el-Arab, and Aralictan, east of the Tigris; and (5) the shores of the Persian Gulf and Baluchistan. The fauna of the Persian plateau he described as “Palaearctic, with a great prevalence of desert forms; or, perhaps more correctly, as being of the desert type with Palaearctic species in the more fertile regions.” In the Caspian provinces he found the fauna, on the whole, Palaearctic also, “most of the animals being identical with those of south-eastern Europe.” But some were essentially indigenous, and he observed “a singular character given to the fauna by the presence of certain Eastern forms, unknown in other parts of Persia, such as the tiger, a remarkable deer of the Indo-Malayan group, allied to Cervus axis, and a pit viper (Halys).” Including the oak-forests of Shiraz with the wooded slopes of the Zagros, he found in his third division that, however little known was the tract, it appeared to contain, like the second, “a Palaearctic fauna with a few peculiar species.” As to Persian Mesopotamia, he considered its fauna to belong to the same Palaearctic region as Syria, but could scarcely speak with confidence on its characteristic forms. The fifth and last division, Baluchistan and the shores of the Persian Gulf, presented, however, in the animals common to the Persian highland “for the most part desert types, whilst the characteristic Palaearctic species almost entirely disappear, their place being taken by Indian or Indo-African forms.” The Persian Gulf Arab, though not equal to the pure Arabian, is a very serviceable animal, and has always a value in the Indian market. Among others the wandering Turkish tribes in Fars have the credit of possessing good steeds. The Turkoman horse of Khorasan and the Atak is a large, bony and clumsy-looking quadruped, with marvellous power and endurance. Colonel C. E. Stewart stated that the Khorasan camel is celebrated for its size and strength, that it has very long hair, and bears cold and exposure far better than the ordinary Arabian or Persian camel, and that, while the ordinary Persian camel only carries a load of some 320 ℔ and an Indian camel one of some 400 ℔, the Khorasan camel will carry from 600 to 700 ℔. The best animals, he notes, are a cross between the Bactrian or two-humped and the Arabian or one-humped camel. Sheep, goats, dogs and cats are good of their kind; but not all the last are the beautiful creatures which, bearing the name of the country, have arrived at such distinction in Europe. Nor are these to be obtained, as supposed, at Angora in Asia Minor. Van or Isfahan is a more likely habitat. The cat at the first place, called by the Turks “Van kedisi,” has a certain local reputation. Among the wild animals are the lion, tiger, leopard, lynx, brown bear, hyena, hog, badger, porcupine, pole-cat, weasel, marten, wolf, jackal, fox, hare, wild ass, wild sheep, wild cat, mountain goat, gazelle and deer. The tiger is peculiar to the Caspian provinces. Lovett says they are plentiful in Astrabad; he measured two specimens, one 10 ft. 8 in., the other 8 ft. 10 in. from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Lynxes and bears were to be found in the same vicinity, and the wild pig was both numerous and destructive.

According to Blanford there are about four hundred known species of birds in Persia. The game birds have admirable representatives in the pheasant, “karkavul” (Phasianus colchicus, L.); snowcock or royal partridge, “kebk-i-dari” (Tetraogallus Caspius, Gmel); black partridge, “durraj” (Francolinus vulgaris, Steph.); red-legged partridge, “kebk” (Caccabis chukar, Gray); sand-partridge or seesee, “tihu” (Ammoperdix bonhami, Gray); Indian grey partridge, “jirufti” (Ortygornis ponticerianus, Gmel.); quail, “belderjin” (Coturnix communis, Bonn.); sandgrouse, “siyahsineh” (Pterocles arenarius, Pall.); bustard, “hubareh” (Otis tetrax, L. and O. McQueenii, Gray); woodcock, snipe, pigeon, many kinds of goose, duck, &c. The flamingo comes up from the south as far north as the neighbourhood of Teherān; the stork abounds. Poultry is good and plentiful. A large kind of fowl known as “Lari” (from the province Lar, in southern Persia) is said to be a descendant of fowls brought to Persia by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

The fish principally caught along the southern shore of the Caspian are the sturgeon, “sagmahi,” dogfish (Acipenser ruthenus and A. huso); sheat-fish or silure, “simm,” “summ” (Silurus glanis); salmon, “azad mahi” (Salmo salar); trout, “maseh” (Salmo trutta); carp, “kupur” (Cyprinus ballerus and C. carpio); bream, “subulu” (Abramis brama); pike-perch, “mahisafid” (Perca lucioperca or Lucioperca sandra). There is also a herring which frequents only the southern half of the Caspian, not passing over the shallow part of the sea which extends from Baku eastwards. As it was first observed near the mouth of the river Kur it has been named Clupea Kurensis. Fish are scarce in inner Persia; salmon trout and mud-trout are plentiful in some of the mountain streams. Many underground canals are frequented by carp and roach. The silure has also been observed in some streams which flow into the Urmia lake, and in Kurdistan.

Flora.—In the provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Astarabad on the Caspian, from the shore to an altitude of about 3000 ft. on the northern slopes of the great mountain range which separates those provinces from the highlands of Persia, the flora is similar to that of Grisebach’s “Mediterranean region.” At higher altitudes many forms of a more northern flora appear. As we approach inner Persia the flora rapidly makes place to “steppe vegetation” in the plains, while the mediterranean flora predominates in the hills. The steppe vegetation extends in the south to the outer range of the hills which separate inner Persia from the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Beyond this outer range and along the shore of the sea the flora is that of the “Sahara region,” which extends eastwards to Sind.

Generally speaking, everywhere, excepting in the northern lowlands and in a few favoured spots in the hilly districts, the vegetation is scanty. In inner Persia the hills and plains are bare of trees, and steppe and desert predominate. The date-palm thrives well as far north as Tabbas in latitude 33° 36′ and at an altitude of 2000 ft. and in the south extensive date-groves, producing excellent fruit, exist at altitudes of 2000 to 5000 ft. The olive is cultivated at Rudbar south of Resht in Gilan, and a few isolated olive-trees have been observed in central and southern Persia.

Of fruits the variety is great, and nearly all the fruits of Europe are well represented. The common, yet excellent melons, watermelons, grapes, apricots, cherries, plums, apples, are within the reach of the poorest. Less common and picked fruits are expensive, particularly so when cost of transport has to be considered; for instance, a good orange costs 2d. or 3d. in Teherān, while in Mazandaran (only 100 m. distant), whence the oranges are brought, it costs 1/6d. Some fruits are famous and vie in excellence with any that European orchards produce; such are the peaches of Tabriz and Meshed, the sugar melons of Kashan and Isfahan, the apples of Demavend, pears of Natanz, figs of Kermānshāh, &c. The strawberry was brought to Persia about 1859, and is much cultivated in the gardens of Teherān and neighbourhood; the raspberry was introduced at about the same time, but is not much appreciated. Currants and gooseberries are now also grown. The common vegetables also are plentiful and cheap, but only a few, such as the broad-bean, egg-plant (Solanum melongena), onion, carrot, beetroot, black turnip, are appreciated by the natives, who generally do not take kindly to newly-introduced varieties. The potato, although successfully cultivated in Persia since about 1780, as not yet found favour, and the same may be said of the tomato, asparagus, celery and others. Flowers are abundant, but it is only since the beginning of Nasr ed din Shah’s reign (1848), when European gardeners were employed in Persia, that they were rationally cultivated. Nearly all the European garden flowers, even the rarer ones, can now be seen not only in the parks and gardens of the rich and well-to-do but in many unpretentious courtyards with only a few square yards of surface.

Population.—In 1881 the present writer estimated the population of Persia at 7,653,600, 1,963,800 urban, 3,780,000 rural and 1,909,800 wandering (“Bevölkerung der Erde,” p. 28, Ency. Brit. 9th ed. p. 628); and, allowing for an increase of about 1% per annum the population for 1910 may be estimated at 10 millions. No statistics whatever being kept, nothing precise is known of the movement of the population. During the ninth decade of the 19th century many Persian subjects emigrated, and many Persian villages were deserted and fell to ruins; since then a small immigration has set in and new villages have been founded. Persians say that the females exceed the males by 10 to 20%, but wherever the present writer has been able to obtain trustworthy information he found the excess to be less than 2%. Of the deaths in any place the only check obtainable is from the public body-washers, but many corpses are buried without the aid of the public body-washers; and the population of the place not being accurately known, the number of deaths, however correct, is useless for statistical purposes. Medical men have stated that the number of deaths, in times when there are no epidemics, amounts to 19 or 20 per thousand, and the number of births to 25 to 40 per thousand.

The prices of the staple articles of food and all necessaries of life have risen considerable since 1880, and, particularly in the large cities, are now very high. As salaries and wages have not increased at the same rate, many of the upper classes and officials are not so well off as formerly. By dismissing their servants in order to reduce expenditure, they have thrown great numbers of men out of employment, while many labourers and workmen are living very poorly and often suffer want. Tradesmen are less affected, because they can sell the articles which they manufacture at values which are more in proportion with the increased prices of food. In 1880 a labourer earning 25 krans, or £1 sterling a month, could afford to keep a family; by 1908, in krans, he earned double what he did in 1880, but his wage, expressed in sterling, was the same, and wherever the prices of food have risen more than his wages he could not afford to keep a family. In many districts and cities the number of births is therefore reduced, while at the same time the mortality, in consequence of bad and often insufficient food, is considerably increased.

The description of the Persian character by C. J. Wills, in his In the Land of the Lion and Sun (1883), is still worth quoting:—

“The character of the Persian is that of an easy-going man with a wish to make things pleasant generally. He is hospitable, obliging, and specially well disposed to the foreigner. His home virtues are many: he is very kind and indulgent to his children and, as a son, his respect for both parents is excessive, developed in a greater degree to his father, in whose presence he will rarely sit, and whom he is in the habit of addressing and speaking of as ‘master.’ The full stream of his love and reverence is reserved for his mother; he never leaves her to starve, and her wishes are laws to him. The mother is always the most important member of the household, and the grandmother is treated with veneration. The presence of the mother-in-law is coveted by their sons-in-law, who look on them as the guardians of the virtue of their wives. The paternal uncle is a much nearer tie than with us; while men look on their first cousins on the father’s side as their most natural wives.

“Black slaves and men-nurses or ‘lallahs’ are much respected; the ‘dayah’ or wet nurse is looked on as a second mother and usually provided for for life. Persians are very kind to their servants; a master will often be addressed by his servant as his father, and the servant will protect his master’s property as he would his own. A servant is invariably spoken to as ‘bacha’ (child). The servants expect that their master will never allow them to be wronged. The slaves in Persia have a good time; well fed, well clothed, treated as spoiled children, given the lightest work, and often given in marriage to a favourite son or taken as ‘segah’ or concubine by the master himself, slaves have the certainty of a well-cared-for old age. They are looked on as confidential servants, are entrusted with large sums of money, and the conduct of the most important affairs; and seldom abuse their trust. The greatest punishment to an untrustworthy slave is to give him his liberty and let him earn his living. They vary in colour and value: the ‘Habashi’ or Abyssinian is the most valued; the Suhali or Somali, next in blackness, is next in price; the Bombassi, or coal-black negro of the interior, being of much less price, and usually only used as a cook. The prices of slaves in Shiraz are, a good Habashi girl of twelve to fourteen £40, a good Somali same age, half as much; while a Bombassi is to be got for £14, being chosen merely for physical strength. They are never sold, save on importation, though at times they are given away. . . . I have never seen a Persian unkind to his own horse or his slave, and when overtaken by poverty he will first sell his shirt, then his slave.

“In commercial morality, a Persian merchant will compare not unfavourably with the European generally. . . . To the poor, Persians are unostentatiously generous; most of the rich have regular pensioners, old servants, or poor relations who live on their bounty; and though there are no workhouses, there are in ordinary times no deaths from starvation; and charity, though not organized, is general . . . . Procrastination is the attribute of all Persians, ‘to-morrow’ being ever the answer to any proposition, and the ‘to-morrow’ means indefinite delay. A great dislike is shown generally to a written contract binding the parties to a fixed date; and, as a rule, on breaking it the Persian always appeals for and expects delay and indefinite days of grace. . . .

“Persians are clean in their persons, washing themselves and their garments frequently. The Persian always makes the best of his appearance; he is very neat in his dress, and is particular as to the sit of his hat and the cut of his coat. All Persians are fond of animals, and do not treat them badly when their own property.

“Cruelty is not a Persian vice; torture and punishments of an unusual and painful nature being part of their judicial system. There are no vindictive punishments, such as a solitary confinement, penal servitude for long terms of years, &c. Seldom, indeed, is a man imprisoned more than twelve months, the rule being that there is a general jail delivery at the New Year. Royal clemency is frequently shown, often, perhaps, with want of judgment.”

Costume.—The costume of the Persians may be shortly described as fitted to their active habits. The men invariably wear an unstarched shirt of cotton, sewn with white silk, often, particularly in the south of Persia, elaborately embroidered about the neck. It fastens in front by a flap, having two small buttons or knots at the left shoulder, and seldom comes below the hips. It has no collar, and the sleeves are loose. The lower orders often have it dyed blue; but the servant and upper classes always prefer a white shirt. Silk shirts are now seldom seen on men. Among the very religious during the mourning month (“Muharram”) the shirt is at times dyed black. The “zir-jamah,” or trousers,[13] are of cloth among the higher classes, particularly those of the military order, who affect a garment of a tightness approaching that worn by Europeans. The ordinary “zir-jamah” are of white, blue or red cotton, very loose, and are exactly similar to the pyjamas worn by Europeans in India. They are held up by a thin cord of red or green silk or cotton round the waist, and the labouring classes, when engaged in heavy or dirty work, or when running, generally tuck the end of these garments under the cord, which leaves their legs bare and free to the middle of the thigh. The amplitude of this part of his attire enables the Persian to sit without discomfort on his heels; chairs are only used by the rich, great or Europeanized. Over the shirt and “zir-jamah” comes the “arkhalik,” generally of quilted chintz or print, a closely-fitting garment, collarless, with tight sleeves to the elbow, whence, to the wrist, are a number of little metal buttons, fastened in winter, but not in summer. Above this is the “kamarchin,” a tunic of coloured calico, cloth, Kashmir or Kermān shawl, silk, satin or velvet (gold embroidered, or otherwise), according to the time of the year and the purse and position of the wearer. This, like the “arkhalik,” is open in front, and shows the shirt. It sometimes has a small standing collar, and is double-breasted. It has a pocket-hole on either side, giving access to the pockets, which are always in the “arkhalik,” where also is the breast-pocket in which watch, money, jewels, and seals are kept. The length of the “kamarchin” denotes the class of the wearer. The military and official classes and the various servants wear it short, to the knee, while fops and sharpers wear it even shorter. Priests, merchants, villagers, especially about Shiraz, townsmen, shopkeepers, doctors and lawyers wear it very long, often nearly to the heels. Over the “kamarchin” is worn the “kulijah,” or coat. This is, as a rule, cast off in summer, save on formal occasions, and is often borne by a servant, or carried over the shoulder by the owner. It is of cloth, shawl or camel-hair cloth, and is lined with silk or cloth, flannel or fur. It has, like the Turkish frock coat, a very loose sleeve, with many plaits behind. It has lapels, as with us, and is trimmed with gold lace, shawl or fur, or is worn quite plain. It has a roll collar and false pockets.

Besides these garments there are others: the long “jubba,” or cloth cloak, worn by “mirzas” (secretaries), government employés of high rank, as ministers, farmers of taxes, courtiers, physicians, priests; the “abba,” or camel-hair cloak of the Arab, worn by travellers, priests and horsemen; the “pustin,” or Afghan skin-cloak, used by travellers and the sick or aged; the “nimtan,” or common sheepskin jacket, with short sleeves, used by shopkeepers and the lower class of servants, grooms, &c., in winter; the “yapanjah,” or woollen Kurdish cloak, a kind of felt, having a shaggy side, of immense thickness, worn generally by shepherds, who use it as greatcoat, bed and bedding. There is also the felt coat of the villager, very warm and inexpensive, the cost being from 5 to 15 krans (a kran = 10d.). The “kamarband,” or girdle, is also characteristic of class. It is made of muslin, shawl or cotton cloth among the priests, merchants, bazaar people, the secretary class and the more aged government employés. In it are carried, by literati and merchants, the pen-case and a roll of paper; its voluminous folds are used as pockets; by the bazaar people and villagers, porters and merchants' servants, a small sheath knife is struck in it; while by “farrashes,” the carpet-spreader class, a large “khanjar,” or curved dagger, with a heavy ivory handle, is carried. The headgear is very distinctive. The turban worn by priests is generally white, consisting of many yards of muslin. When the wearers are “saiyid,” of the Prophet, a green[14] turban is worn, also a “kamarband” of green muslin, or shawl or cotton cloth. Merchants generally wear a turban of muslin embroidered in colours, or of a yellow pattern on straw-coloured muslin, or of calico, or shawl. The distinctive mark of the courtier, military, and upper servant class is the belt, generally of black varnished leather with a brass clasp; princes and courtiers often replace this clasp by a huge round ornament of cut stones. The “kulah,” or hat, is of cloth or sheepskin on a frame of pasteboard. The fashions in hats change yearly. The Isfahan merchant and the Armenian at times wear the hat very tall. (The waist of the Persian is generally small, and he is very proud of his fine figure and broad shoulders.)

The hair is generally shaved at the crown, or the entire head is shaved, a “kakul,” or long thin lock, being sometimes left, often 2 ft. long, from the middle of the crown. This is to enable the prophet Mahomet to draw up the believer into paradise. The lower orders generally, have the hair over the temporal bone long, and brought in two long locks turning backwards behind the ear, termed “zulf”; the beaux and youths are constantly twisting and combing these. The rest of the head is shaven. Long hair, however, is going out of fashion in Persia, and the more civilized affect the cropped hair worn by Europeans, and even have a parting in it. The chin is never shaved, save by “beauty men,” or “kashangs,” though often clipped, while the moustache is usually left long. At forty a man generally lets his beard grow its full length, and cherishes it much; part of a Persian's religious exercises is the combing of his beard. Socks, knitted principally at Isfahan, are worn; they are only about 2 in. long in the leg. The rich, however, wear them longer. They are of white cotton in summer and coloured worsted in winter. Villagers only wear socks on state occasions. Shoes are of many patterns. The “urussi,” or Russian shoe is the most common; next, the “kafsh” or slipper of various kinds. The heel is folded down and remains so. The priests wear a peculiar heavy shoe, with an ivory or wooden lining at the heel. Green shoes of shagreen are common at Isfahan. Blacking is unknown to Persians generally. Boots are only used by horsemen, and are then worn much too large for ease. Those worn by couriers often come up the thigh. With boots are worn “shalwars,” or baggy riding breeches, very loose, and tied by a string at the ankle; a sort of kilt is worn by couriers. Pocket-handkerchiefs are seldom used, save by the rich or the Teheranis. Most Persians wear a “shab kulah,” or night hat, a loose baggy cap of shawl or quilted material, often embroidered by the ladies.

Arms are usually carried only by tribesmen. The natives of the south of Persia and servants carry a “kammah,” or dirk. The soldiery, on or off duty, always carry one of these or their sidearms, sometimes both. They hack but never thrust with them. On the road the carrying of weapons is necessary.

The costume of the women has undergone considerable change in the last century. It is now, when carried to the extreme of fashion, highly indecent and must be very uncomfortable. The garment doing duty as a chemise is called a “pirahan”; it is, with the lower orders, of white or blue calico, and comes down to the middle of the thigh, leaving the leg nude. Among the upper classes it is frequently of silk. At Shiraz it is often of fine cotton, and elaborately ornamented with black embroidery. With the rich it is often of gauze, and much embroidered with gold thread, pearls, &c. The head is usually covered with a “char-kadd,” or large square of embroidered silk or cotton, folded so as to display the corners, and fastened under the chin by a brooch. It is often of considerable value, being of Kashmir shawl, embroidered gauze, &c. A “jika,” a jewelled feather-like ornament, is often worn at the side of the head, while the front hair, cut to a level with the mouth, is brought up in love-locks on either cheek. Beneath the “char-kadd” is generally a small kerchief of dark material, only the edge of which is visible. The ends of the “char-kadd” cover the shoulders, but the gauze “imhan” is quite transparent. A profusion of jewellery is worn of the most solid description, none hollow; silver is worn only by the very poor, coral only by Negresses. Necklaces and bracelets are much affected, and chains with scent-caskets attached, while the arms are covered with clanking glass bangles called “alangu,” some twenty even of these being on one arm. Jewelled “bazubands,” containing talismans, are often worn on the upper arm, while among the lower orders and south Persian or Arab women nose-rings are not uncommon, and bangles or anklets of beads.

The face on important occasions is usually much painted, save by young ladies in the heyday of beauty. The colour is very freely applied, the cheeks being as much raddled as a clown's, and the neck smeared with white, while the eyelashes are marked round with “kuhl.” This is supposed to be beneficial to the eyes, and almost every woman uses it. The eyebrows are widened and painted till they appear to meet, while sham moles or stars are painted on the chin and cheek; even spangles are stuck at times on the chin and forehead. Tattooing is common among the poor and in villages, and is seen among the upper classes. The hair, though generally hidden by the “char-kadd,” is at times exposed and plaitedl into innumerable little tails of great length, while a coquettish little skull-cap of embroidery, or shawl, or coloured silk is worn. False hair is common. The Persian ladies' hair is very luxuriant and never cut; it is nearly always dyed red with henna, or with indigo to a blue-black tinge; it is naturally a glossy black. Fair hair is not esteemed. Blue eyes are not uncommon, but brown ones are the rule. A full-moon face is much admired, and a dark complexion termed “namak” (salt) is the highest native idea of beauty. Most Persian women are small, with tiny feet and hands. The figure is always lost after maternity, and no support of any kind is worn.

A very short jacket, of gay colour, quite open in front, having tight sleeves with many metal buttons, is usually worn in summer, and a lined outer coat in cold weather. In winter a pair of very short white cotton socks are used, and tiny slippers with a high heel, in summer in the house ladies go often barefoot. The rest of the costume is composed of the “tumbun” or “shalvar,” short skirts of great width, held by a running string—the outer one being usually of silk, velvet, or Kashmir shawl, often trimmed with gold lace, or, amonithe poor, of loud-patterned chintz or print. Beneath are innumerable other garments of the same shape, varying in texture from silk and satin to print. The whole is very short, among the women of fashion extending only to the thigh. In winter an over-mantle like the “kulijah,” or coat of the man, with short sleeves, lined and trimmed with furs, is worn. Leg-coverings are now being introduced. In ancient days the Persian ladies always wore them, as may be seen by the pictures in the South Kensington Museum. Then the two embroidered legs, now so fashionable as Persian embroideries (“naksh”), occupied a girl from childhood to marriage in making; they are all sewing in elaborate patterns of great beauty, worked on muslin in silk. The outdoor costume of the Persian women is quite another thing. Enveloped in a huge blue sheet, with a yard of linen as a veil perforated for two inches square with minute holes, the feet thrust into two huge bags of coloured stuff, a wife is perfectly unrecognizable, even by her husband, when out of doors. The dress of all is the same; and, save in quality or costliness, the effect is similar.

As for the children, they are always when infants swaddled; when they can walk they are dressed as little men and women, and with the dress they generally ape the manners. It is a strange custom with the Persian ladies to dress little girls as boys, and little boys as girls, till they reach the age of seven or eight years; this is often done for fun, or on account of some vow—oftener to avert the evil eye.

Towns.—The principal cities of Persia with their populations as estimated in 1908 are: Teherān (280,000); Tabriz (200,000); Isfahan (100,000); Meshed (80,000); Kermān, Resht, Shiraz (60,000); Barfurush, Kazvin, Yezd (50,000); Hamadan, Kermānshāh (40,000); Kashan, Khoi, Urmia (35,000); Birjend, Burujird, Bushire, Dizful, Kum, Senendij (Sinna), Zenjan (25,000 to 30,000); Amol, Ardebil, Ardistan, Astarabad, Abekuh, Bam, Bander, Abbasi, Bander Lingah, Darnghan, Dilman, Istahbanat, Jahrum, Khunsar, Kumishah, Kuchan, Marand, Maragha, Nishapur, Sari, Sabzevar, Samnan, Shahrud, Shushter (10,000 to 20,000).

Political and Administrative Divisions.—The empire of Persia, officially known as Mamalik i Mahrusch i Iran, “the protected kingdoms of Persia,” is divided into a number of provinces, Which, when large, and containing important sub-provinces and districts, are called mamlikat, “kingdom,” when smaller, vilayat and ayalat, and are ruled by governors-general and governors appointed by and directly responsible to the Crown. These provinces are further divided into sub-provinces, vilayats, districts, sub-districts and parishes, buluk, nahiyeh, mahal, and towns, cities, parishes and villages, shehr, kassabeh, mahalleh, dih, which are ruled by lieutenant-governors and other functionaries appointed by and responsible to the governors. All governors are called hakim, or hukmran, but those of large provinces generally have the title of vali, and sometimes firmanfirma. A governor of a small district is a zabit; a deputy-governor is called naib el hukumeh, or naib el ayaleh; an administrative division is a kalamro, or hukumat. Until recently the principal governorships were conferred upon the shah's sons, brothers, uncles and other near relatives, but now many of them are held by men who have little if any connexion with the royal family. Also, the governors are now, as a rule, resident in their provinces instead of being absentees at the capital. There are also some small districts or dependencies generally held in fief, turyul, by princes or high functionaries who take the revenues in lieu of salaries, pensions, allowances, &c., and either themselves govern or appoint others to do so.

Every town has a mayor, or chief magistrate, called beglerbegi, “lord of lords,” kalantar, “the greater,” and sometimes darogha, “overseer,” or chief of police; every ward or parish, mahalleh, of a town and every village has a head-man called ked khoda, “house-lord.” These officers are responsible to the governor for the collection of the taxes and the orderly state of their towns, parishes and villages. In the important provinces and subprovinces the governors are assisted by a man of experience, to whom the accounts and details of the government are entrusted. This person, called viziar, or paishkar, is often nominated by the shah, and his functions in the provincial government are similar to those of the grand vizir in the central government, and comprise very extended administrative powers, including at times the command of the military forces in his province. Among the nomads a different system of titles prevails, the chiefs who are responsible for the taxes and the orderly conduct of their tribes and clans being known as ilkhani, ilbegi (both meaning “tribe-lord,” but the latter being considered an inferior title to the former), khan, rais, amir, mir, shaikh, tushmal, &c.

The governors and chiefs, excepting those possessing hereditary rights, are frequently changed; appointments are for one year only and are sometimes renewed, but it does not often occur that an official holds the same government for longer than that period, while it happens rarely that a province is governed by the same person for two or three years. This was not so formerly, when not infrequently an official, generally a near relation of the shah, held the same governorship for five, ten or even more years. The governorship of the province of Azerbaijan was an exception until the end of 1906, being always held by the Valiahd, “heir apparent,” or crown prince.

The political divisions of Persia, provinces, sub-provinces, districts, &c., ruled by hakims number over 200 (cf. the statement in Noldeke's Geschichte des Artachšîr Pâpakân, “after Alexander's death there were in Iran 240 local governors”), but the administrative divisions, hukumat, or kalamro, with governors appointed by the Crown and responsible to it for the revenues, have been under fifty for sixty-five years or more. In 1840 there were twenty nine administrative divisions, in 1868 twenty-two, in 1875 twenty nine, in 1884 nineteen, in 1890 forty-six, and in 1908 thirty-five, as follows:—

(a) Provinces:—

  1. Arabistan and Bakhtiari.
  2. Astarabad and Gurgan.
  3. Azerbaijan.
  4. Fars.
  5. Gerrus.
  6. Gilan and Talish.
  7. Hamadan.
  8. Irak, Gulpaigan, Khunsar, Kamereh, Kezzaz, Ferakan.
  9. Isfahan.
  10. Kashan.
  11. Kazvin.
  12. Kerman and Baluchistan.
  13. Kermānshāh.
  14. Kamseh.
  15. Khar.
  16. Khorasan.
  17. Kum.
  18. Kurdistan.
  19. Luristan and Burujird.
  20. Mazandaran.
  21. Nehavend, Malayir and Tusirkhan.
  22. Savah.
  23. Samnan and Damghan.
  24. Shahrud and Bostam.
  25. Teherān.
  26. Zerend and Bagdadi Shahsevens.

(b) Dependencies, or Fiefs:—

  1. Asadabad.
  2. Demavend.
  3. Firuzkuh.
  4. Josehekan.
  5. Kangaver.
  6. Natanz.
  7. Talikan.
  8. Tarom Ulia.
  9. Kharakan.

Roads.—With the exception of five short roads, having an aggregate length of less than 900 m, all the roads of the country are mere mule tracks, carriageable in the plains and during the dry season, but totally unfit for continuous wheeled traffic during all seasons, and in the hilly districts often so difficult as to cause much damage to goods and the animals carrying them. There are a few miles of roads in the immediate neighbourhood of Teherān leading from the city to royal palaces but not of any commercial importance. The five exceptions are: (1) Resht-Kazvin-Teherān, 227 m; (2) Julfa-Tabriz, 80 m; (3) Teherān-Kum-Sultanabad, 160 m.; (4) Meshed-Kuchan-Askabad, 150 m.; 30 of which are on Russian territory; (5) Isfahan-Ahvaz, 280 m. The first of these roads consists of two sections: Resht-Kazvin, 135 m., and Kazvin-Teherān, 92 m. The first section was constructed in 1897–1899 by a Russian company, in virtue of a concession which the Persian government granted in 1893; and the second section was constructed in 1878–1879 by the Persian government at a cost of about £20,000, ceded to the concessionaire of the first section in 1896, and repaired and partly reconstructed by the Russian company in 1898–1899. Both sections were officially opened to traffic in August 1899. The capital of the company is 3,200,000 roubles (£341,330), of which 1,700,000 is in shares taken by the public, and 1,500,000 in debentures taken by the Russian government, which also guarantees 5% on the shares. About two-thirds of the capital has been expended on construction. The company’s income is derived from tolls levied on vehicles and animals using the road. These tolls were at first very high but were reduced by 15% in 1904, and by another 10% in 1909. If all the trade between Russia and Teherān were to pass over this road, the tolls would no doubt pay a fair dividend on the capital, but much of it goes by way of the Teherān-Meshed-i-Sar route, which is much shorter and has no tolls. The second road, Julfa-Tabriz, 80 m., was constructed by the same Russian company in 1903. The third road, Teherān-Kum-Sultanabad, 160 m., also consists of two sections: the first, Teherān-Kum, 92 m., the other, Kum-Sultanabad, 68 m. The first section was constructed by the Persian government in 1883 at a cost of about £12,000, purchased by the Imperial Bank of Persia in 1890 for £10,000, and reconstructed at a cost of about £45,000. The second section formed part of the “Ahvaz road concession” which was obtained by the Imperial Bank of Persia in 1890 with the object of connecting Teherān with Ahvaz on the Karun by a direct cart road via Sultanabad, Burujird, Khorremabad (Luristan), Dizful and Shushter. The concession was ceded to Messrs Lynch, of London, “The Persian Road and Transport Company,” in 1903. The fourth cart-road, Meshed-Askabad, 120 m. to the Persian frontier, was constructed by the Persian government in 1889–1892 in accordance with art. v. of the Khorasan Boundary Convention between Russia and Persia of December 1881. The Persian section cost £13,000. The fifth road, Isfahan-Ahvaz, 280 m., is the old mule track provided with some bridges, and improved by freeing it of boulders and stones, &c., at a total cost of £5500. The concession for this road was obtained in 1897 by the Bakhtiari chiefs and ceded to Messrs Lynch, of London, who advanced the necessary capital at 6% interest and later formed the Persian Road and Transport Company. The road was opened for traffic in the autumn of 1900. The revenue is derived from tolls levied on animals passing with loads. The tolls collected in 1907 amounted to £3100.

Railways.—Persia possesses only 8 m. of railway and 61/2 m. of tramway, both worked by a Belgian company. The railway consists of a single line, one-metre gauge, from Teherān to Shah-abdul-Azim, south of Teherān, and of two branch lines which connect the main line with some limestone quarries in the hills south-east of the city. The tramway also is a single line of one-metre gauge, and runs through some of the principal streets of Teherān. The length of the main railway line is 51/2 m., that of the branches 21/2. The main line was opened in 1888, the branches were constructed in 1893, and the tramway started in 1889. The capital now invested in this enterprise, and largely subscribed for by Russian capitalists, amounts to £320,000. There are also ordinary shares to the amount of £200,000 put down in the company’s annual balance-sheets as of no value. The general opinion is that if Russian capitalists had not been interested in the enterprise the company would have liquidated long ago. (On railways in Persia, the many concessions granted by the Persian government, and only one having a result, ch. xviii. of Lord Curzon’s Persia [i. 613–639], and on the Belgian enterprise, Lorini’s La Persia economica [pp. 157–158] may be consulted.)

Posts.—Down to 1874 the postal system was in the hands of an official called chaparchi bashi, who was the head farmer of the post, or chapars, and letters and small parcels were conveyed by him and his agents at high and arbitrary rates and without any responsibility. The establishment of a regular post was one of the results of the shah Nasr-ed-din’s first visit to Europe (1873). Two officials of the Austrian postal department having been engaged in 1874, an experiment of a post office upon European lines was made in the following year with a postal delivery in the capital and some of the neighbouring villages where the European legations have their summer quarters. In the beginning of 1876 a regular weekly post was established between Teherān, Tabriz and Julfa (Russo-Persian frontier) and Resht. Other lines, connecting all the principal cities with the capital, were opened shortly afterwards, and on the 1st of September 1877 Persia joined the international postal union with the rates of 21/2d. per 1/2 oz. for letters, 1d. for post-cards, 1/2d. per 2 oz. for newspapers, &c., between Persia and any union country. The inland rates were a little less. There are now between Persia and foreign countries a bi-weekly service via Russia (Resht–Baku, Tabriz–Tiflis) and a weekly service via India (Bushire–Bombay). On the inland lines, with the exception of that between Teherān and Tabriz the service is weekly. There are reported to be 140 post offices. Statistics as to the number of letters, post-cards, newspapers, &c., conveyed are kept but not published; and since 1885, when a liberal-minded director communicated those for the year 1884–1885 to the present writer, no others, although many times promised, have been obtained. In the year 1884–1885 there were conveyed 1,368,835 letters, 2050 post-cards, 7455 samples, and 173,995 parcels, having a value of £304,720; and the receipts exceeded the expenditure by £466. Since then the traffic has much increased, and the excess of receipts over expenditure in the year 1898–1899 was reported to have been £10,000, but was probably more than that, for the minister of posts farmed the department for £12,000 per annum. The farm system was abolished in 1901 and in the following year the post office was joined to the customs department worked by Belgian officials. Under the most favourable conditions letters from London via Russia are delivered at Tabriz in 9 days, at Teherān in 10, at Isfahan in 14, and at Shiraz in 18 days; and via India, at Bushire in 26 days, at Shiraz in 31, at Isfahan in 36, and at Teherān in 40 days; but during the winter letters between London and Teherān sometimes take a month. In the interior the mails are conveyed on horseback, and, being packed in badly made soft leather bags, are frequently damaged through careless packing and wet. The first Persian postage stamps were issued in 1875 and roughly printed in Persia. Since then there have been numerous issues, many practically bogus ones for collectors. Authentic specimens of the early ones are much valued by stamp collectors. (For information on the postal system of Persia, see G. Riederer, Aus Persien, Vienna, 1882; Fr. Schueller, Die persische Post und die Postwerthzeichen von Persian, Vienna, 1893.)

Telegraphs.—The first line of telegraphs—from Teherān to Sultanieh, about 160 m. on the road to Tabriz—was constructed in 1859. In the following year it was continued to Tabriz, and in 1863 to Julfa on the Russian frontier. With the object of establishing a direct telegraphic communication between England and India, by connecting the European and Indian systems by a land line through Persia from Bagdad—then the most easterly Turkish telegraphic station—to Bushire and by a cable from Bushire eastwards, a telegraphic convention was concluded in the same year between the British and Persian governments, and a one-wire line on wooden posts from the Turkish frontier, near Bagdad, to Bushire via Kermānshāh, Hamadan, Teherān, Isfahan and Shiraz, was constructed at the cost and under the supervision of the British government. In 1865 a new convention, providing for a second wire, was concluded, and for some years messages between Europe and India were transmitted either via Constantinople, Bagdad, Teherān, Bushire, or via Russia, Tiflis, Tabriz, Teherān, Bushire. An alternative line between Bagdad and India was created by the construction of a land line to Fao, at the head of the Persian Gulf, and the laying of a cable thence to Bushire. The service was very inefficient, and messages between England and India took several days and sometimes weeks to reach their destination. In 1869 Messrs Siemens of Berlin, in virtue of concessions obtained in the year before and later disposed of to the Indo-European Telegraph Company, Ltd.—who also took over Reuter’s cable from Lowestoft to Emden (274 knots)—constructed a two-wire line on iron posts through Germany and Russia, and in Persia from Julfa to Teherān. This line was opened on the 31st of January 1870. The British government then handed the Bagdad-Teherān section, which had become unnecessary for international through traffic between Europe and India, over to the Persian government, and changed its Teherān-Bushire line into one of two wires on iron posts. In 1873, according to a convention signed December 1872, a third wire was added to the line, and there was then a three-wire line on iron posts (439 m. Indo-European Telegraph Company, 675 m. Indian government) from Julfa to Bushire. In August 1901 a convention was concluded between the British and Persian governments for a three-wire line on iron posts from Kashan (a station on the Teherān-Bushire line) to Baluchistan via Yezd, Kermān and Bam (805 m.). The construction of this “Central Persia line,” as it is known officially, was begun in December 1902 and completed in March 1907. The section Kashan-Isfahan of the old Teherān-Bushire was then taken up and Isafahan was connected with the Central Persia line by a two-wire line from Ardistan, 71 m. south-east from Kashan. One of the three wires between Isfahan and Bushire was also taken up, and there are now a five-wire line from Teheran to Ardistan (2241/2 m.), a three-wire line from Ardistan to the Baluchistan frontier (734 m.) and a two-wire line from Ardistan to Bushire (497 m.). These lines, as well as that of the Indo-European Telegraph Company from Julfa to Teherān, are worked throughout by an English staff and may be classed among the finest and most efficient in the world. The central line is continued through Baluchistan to Karachi, and from Bushire messages go by cable (laid in 1864) to Jask, and thence either by cable or by land to Karachi, Bombay, &c. The telegraphic convention between the British and Persian governments has again been renewed, and is in force until 1925; and the concessions to the company were prolonged to the same year by the Russian government in March 1900. In addition to these lines, Persia possesses 4191 m. of single-wire lines on wooden poles belonging to the Persian government and worked by a Persian staff; the Teherān-Meshed line (555 m.), however, is looked after by an English inspector and two English clerks at Meshed, and since 1885 the Indian government has allowed a sum not exceeding 20,000 rupees per annum for its maintenance; and the Meshed-Seistan line, 523 m., is looked after by twelve Russian inspectors and clerks. The Persian lines are farmed out for 1,800,000 krans (about £36,000) per annum and no statistics are published. There are in all 131 stations. Statistics of the traffic on the Indo-European line are given in the administration reports of the Indo-European telegraph department, published by government, and from them the figures in the following table have been obtained:—

Year  Traffic over Lines 
between London
and Karachi
Earnings in
thousands of
Net Profits of the
 Government Dept. 
Number of
Telegraph Co.
Percentage on
 Capital Outlay 
1887–1888   83,031  74 100 198,381 1·75
1892–1893 117,500  84 116 437,668 3·80
1897–1898 146,988 106 145 758,172 6·57
1902–1903 178,250 111 155 589,571 4·50
1905–1906 211,003 113 157 774,368 5·39
1906–1907 259,355 108 149 458,559 3·09

Manufactures, &c.—The handbook on Persian art published by Colonel Murdoch Smith, R.E., in 1876, with reference to the collection purchased and sent home by him for the Victoria and Albert Museum, has an instructive account of the more common manufactures of the country. They are classified under the respective heads of “porcelain and earthenware,” “tiles,” “arms and armour,” “textile fabrics,” “needlework and embroidery,” “metal-work,” “wood carving and mosaic-painting,” “manuscripts,” “enamel,” “jewelry” and “musical instruments.” Specimens of the greater number are not only to be procured in England, but are almost familiar to the ordinary Londoner. It need scarcely be said that tiles have rather increased in value than deteriorated in the eyes of the connoisseur, that the ornamentation of metal-work, wood carving and inlaying, gem and seal engraving, are exquisite of their kind, and that the carpets manufactured by skilled workmen, when left to themselves and their native patterns, are to a great extent unrivalled. Of the above-mentioned articles, carpets, shawls, woollen and cotton fabrics and silk stuffs are the more important. Carpets may be divided into three categories: (1) Kali, with a pile, and cut like plush; (2) gilim, smooth; (3) nimads, felts. Only the two first are exported. The Kali and its smaller sizes, called Kalicheh (in Europe, rugs), are chiefly made in Ferahan, Sultanabad (Irak), Khorasan, Kurdistan, Karadagh, Yezd, Kermān, and among the nomad tribes of southern Persia. From the two first-mentioned localities, where a British firm has been established for many years, great quantities, valued in some years at £100,000, find their way to European and American markets, while rugs to the value of £30,000 per annum are exported from the Persian Gulf ports. Of the second kind, gilim (used in Europe for curtains, hangings, and chair-covers), considerable quantities are exported from Shushter and Kurdistan. The value of the carpets exported during the year 1906–1907 was close upon £900,000, Turkey taking £613,300, Russia £196,700, United States £40,600, Great Britain £20,700, Egypt £18,500 and India £5400. Shawls are manufactured in Kermān and Meshed, and form an article of export, principally to Turkey. Woollen fabrics are manufactured in many districts, but are not exported in any great quantity. Coarse cotton stuffs, chiefly of the kind called Kerbaz, used in their natural colour, or dyed blue with indigo, are manufactured in all districts but not exported; cottons, called Kalamkar, which are made in Manchester and block-printed in colours at Isfahan and Kumishah, find their way to foreign markets, principally Russian. Of silk fabrics manufactured in Persia, principally in Khorasan, Kashan and Yezd, about £100,000 worth per annum is exported to Turkey, Russia and India. In the environs of Kashan and in Fars, chiefly at Maimand, much rose-water is made, and a considerable quantity of it is exported by way of Bushire to India and Java. Many attempts have been made to start manufactures, supported by foreign capital and conducted by foreigners, but nearly all have resulted in loss. In 1879 the Persian government was induced to spend £30,000 on the erection of a gas factory in Teherān, but work was soon stopped for want of good coal. A few years later a Persian bought the factory and plant for £10,000, and made them over in 1891 to the Compagnie générale pour l’éclairage et le hauffage en Perse, which after bringing out much additional plant, and wasting much capital in trying for some years in vain to make good and cheap gas out of bad and dear coal, closed the factory. In 1891 another Belgian company, Société anonyme des verreries nationales de Perse, opened a glass factory in Teherān, but the difficulty of obtaining the raw material cheaply and in large quantities was too great to make it a paying concern, and the factory had to be closed. A third Belgian company, Société anonyme pour la fabrication du sucre en Perse, with a large capital, then came to Persia, and began making beetroot sugar in the winter of 1895. But, like the gas and glass companies, it found the cost of the raw material and the incidental expenses too great, and ceased its operations in 1899. In 1890 a Russian company started a match factory near Teherān with an initial outlay, it is said, of about £20,000, but could not successfully compete with Austrian and Swedish matches and ceased operations very soon. A Persian gentleman erected a cotton-spinning factory at Teherān in 1894 with expensive machinery; it turned out some excellent yarn but could not compete in price with imported yarns.

Agricultural Products.—Wheat, barley and rice are grown in all districts, the two former up to considerable altitudes (8000 ft.), the last wherever the water supply is abundant, and in inner Persia generally along rivers; and all three are largely exported. The most important rice-growing districts which produce more than they require for local consumption and supply other districts, or export great quantities, are Astarabad, Mazandaran, Gilan, Veramin, (near Teherān). Lenjan (near Isfahan), and some localities in Fars and Azerbaijan. Peas, beans, lentils, ram, maize, millet, are also universally cultivated, and exported from the Persian Gulf ports to India and the Arabian coast. The export of rice amounted to 52,200 tons in 1906–1907, and was valued at £472,550. The Persian fruit is excellent and abundant, and large quantities, principally dried and called khushkbar (dry fruit), as quinces, peaches, apricots, plums (of several kinds), raisins, figs, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and dates (the last only from the south), as well as oranges (only from the Caspian provinces), are exported. The fruit exported during 1906–1907 had a value of £1,019,000. Nothing is being done to improve the vine, and the Persian wines, until recently of world-wide reputation, are yearly getting thinner and poorer. The phylloxera has done much damage. The naturalist S. G. Gmelin, who explored the southern shores of the Caspian in 1771, observed that the wines of Gilan were made from the wild grape. Cotton is largely grown, principally in the central districts and Khorasan, and some qualities are excellent and command high prices in the European markets; 18,400 tons of raw cotton, valued at £838,787, were exported to Russia in 1906–1907. Good hemp grows wild in Mazandaran. Tobacco of two kinds, one the tumbaku (Nicotiana persica, Lindl.), for water pipes, the other the tutun (Nicotiana rustica, L.), for ordinary pipes and cigarettes, is much cultivated. The tumbaku for export is chiefly produced in the central districts round about Isfahan and near Kashan, while the tumbaku of Shiraz, Fessa, and Darab in Fars, considered the best in Persia, is not much appreciated abroad. Tutun is cultivated in Azerbaijan, near Urmia and other places near the Turkish frontier, in Kurdistan, and, since 1875, in the district of Resht, in Gilan. About 1885 the quantity of tobacco exported amounted to between 4000 and 5000 tons. In 1906–1907 only 1820 tons, valued at £42,000, were exported. The cultivation of poppy for opium greatly increased after 1880, and it was estimated in 1900 that the annual produce of opium amounted to over 1000 tons, of which about two-fifths was consumed and smoked in the country. The principal opium-producing districts are those of Shiraz, Isfahan, Yezd, Kermān, Khorasan, Burujird and Kermānshāh. While the quantity consumed in the country is now probably the same, the quantity exported is much less: 239 tons, valued at £237,270 in 1906–1907. The value of the silk produced in Persia in the ’sixties was £1,000,000 per annum, and decreased in consequence of silk-worm disease to £30,000, in 1890. The quantity produced has since then steadily increased and its yearly value is estimated at half a million. Cocoons and raw silk valued at £316,140 were exported in 1906–1907. Of oil-yielding plants the castor-oil plant, sesame, linseed and olive are cultivated, the last only in a small district south of and near Resht. Very little oil is exported. The potato, not yet a staple article of food, tomatoes, celery, cauliflower, artichokes and other vegetables are now much more grown than formerly, chiefly in consequence of the great influx of Europeans, who are the principal consumers.

Among the valuable vegetable products forming articles of export are various gums and dyes, the most important being gum tragacanth, which exudes from the astragalus plant in the hilly region from Kurdistan in the north-west to Kermān in the south-east. Other gums are gum-ammoniac, as afetida, galbanum, sagapanum, sarcocolla and opoponax. In 1906–1907, 3310 tons of various gums of a value of £300,000 were exported. Of dye-stuffs there are produced henna (Lawsonia inermis) principally grown at Khabis near Kermān, woad and madder; a small quantity of indigo is grown near Dizful and Shushter. The export of dyes in 1906–1907 was 985 tons, valued at £32,326.

Horses, mules and donkeys, formerly exported in great numbers, are at present not very abundant, and their prices have risen much since 1880. Some nomad tribes who owned many brood mares, and yearly sold hundreds of horses, now hardly possess sufficient animals for their own requirements. The scarcity of animals, as well as the dearness of fodder, is one of the causes of the dearness of transport, and freights have risen on the most frequented roads from 3d. per ton-mile in 1880 to 10d., and even 13d., per ton-mile.

The prices of staple articles of food rose steadily from 1880 and reached a maximum in 1900 and 1901, as will be seen from the following table:—

 Price, 1880. 
 April 1900. 
 June 1908. 
s. d.
22 6
56 3
 1 2·40
 1 6
 2 3
 1 6
s. d.
102 0
 64 0
  2 9·60
  2 4·80
  4 9·60
  3 7·20
s. d.
32 0
64 0
 1 5·28
 1 0
 5 4·80
 3 2·40
 Wheat, per kharvar (649 ℔)
 Bread, ordinary, per mann (61/2 ℔) 
 Meat, mutton (per mann)
 Cheese (per mann)
 Clarified butter (per mann)
 Milk (per mann)
 Eggs, per 100

Forests and Timber.—Timber from the forests of Mazandaran and Gilan has been a valuable article of export for many years, and since about 1870 large quantities of boxwood have also been exported thence; in some years the value of the timber and boxwood exported has exceeded £50,000 This value represented about 200,000 box trees and quite as many others. Much timber is also used for charcoal-burning, and occasionally large parts of forest are burned by the people in order to obtain clearings for the cultivation of rice. The destruction of the forests by timber cutters and charcoal-burners has been allowed to go on unchecked, no plantations have been laid out, and nothing has been done for forest conservation. Indiscriminate cutting has occasionally been confined within certain bounds, but such restrictions were generally either of short duration or made for the convenience and profit of local governors. The oak forests of Kurdistan, Luristan and the Bakhtiari district are also being rapidly thinned. A small step in the right direction was made in 1900 by engaging the services of an official of the Prussian forest department, but unfortunately, beyond sending him to inspect the Mazandaran forests belonging to the Crown, and employing him to lay out a small plantation in the Jajrud valley, east of Teherān, nothing was done. The monopoly for cutting and exporting the timber of the Mazandaran forests is leased to European firms, principally for box and oak. Boxwood has become scarce. There are many kinds of good timber-yielding trees, the best known being alder (Alnus glutinosa, Wild., A. barbata, A. cordifolia, Ten.), ash (Fraxinus excelsior, L.), beech (Fagus sylvatica), elm (Ulmus campestris, U. effusa, U. pedunculata), wych-elm (Ulmus montana), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus, L.), Juniper (Juniperus excelsa, J. communis, J. sabina), maple (Acer insigne, Boiss., A. campestre, A. pseudo-platanus, L.), oak (Quercus ballota, Q. castaneaefolia, Q. sessiliflora, Q. pedunculata), walnut, nettle tree (Celtis australis, L.), Siberian elm (Zelkova crenata, Spach.), and various kinds of poplar. Pipe-sticks, from the wild cherry tree, are exported to Turkey.

Fisheries.—Fish is a staple food along the shores of the Persian Gulf, but the Crown derives no revenue from fisheries there. The fisheries of the Caspian littoral are leased to a Russian firm (since 1868), and most of the fish goes to Russia (31,120 tons, value £556,125, in 1906–1907). The fish principally caught are sturgeon, giving caviare, sheat fish or silure, salmon, carp, bream and perch.

Minerals and Mining.—Persia possesses considerable mineral riches, but the absence of cheap and easy means of transport, and the scarcity of fuel and water which prevails almost everywhere, make any exploitation on a remunerative scale impossible, and the attempts which have been made to work mines with European capital and under European superintendence have been financially unsuccessful. Deposits of rich ores of copper, lead, iron, manganese, zinc, nickel, cobalt, &c., abound. A few mines are worked by natives in a primitive, systemless manner, and without any great outlay of capital. There are turquoise mines near Nishapur (for description of mines, manner of working, &c., see A. Houtum-Schindler, Report on the Turquoise Mines in Khorasan, F. O. Reports, 1884, and “Die Gegend zwischen Sabzwar und Meschhed,” Jahrbuch k. k. geol. R. A. Wien, vol xxxvi.; also E. Tielze, Verhandl. k. k. geol. R. A., 1884, p. 93); several copper mines in Khorasan, Samnan, Azerbaijan and Kermān; some of lead, two considerably argentiferous, in Khorasan, Tudarvar (near Samnan), Anguran, Afshar (both west of Zenjan), and Kermān; two of iron at Mesula in Gilan and Nur in Mazandaran; two of orpiment in Afshar and near Urmia; one of cobalt at Kamsar (near Kashan); one of alum in Tarom (near Kazvin), and a number of coal in the Lar district, north-east of Teherān, and at Hiv and Abyek, north-west of Teherān. There are also many quarries of rock-salt, gypsum, lime and some of marble, alabaster, soapstone, &c. The annual revenue of the government from the leases, rents and royalties of mines does not amount to more than £15,000, and about £6000 of this amount is derived from the turquoise mines near Nishapur. As the rents and royalties, excepting those on the turquoise mines, amount to about one-fifth of the net proceeds, it may be estimated that the value of the annual output does not exceed £50,000, while the intrinsic value of the ores, particularly those of lead, iron, cobalt and nickel, which have not yet been touched can be estimated at millions. There are also some very rich coal seams in eastern Persia, far away on the fringe of the desert, and under existing conditions quite valueless. The richest deposits of nickel, cobalt and antimony ores are also situated in localities where there is little water and the nearest useful fuel some hundred miles away. Auriferous alluvial strata have been discovered in various localities, but ever where the scarcity of water has been a bar to their being exploited with profit. A rich naphtha-bearing zone stretches from the Luristan hills near Kermānshāh down to the Persian Gulf. Competent engineers and specialists have declared that borings in the Bakhtiari hills, west of Shushter, would give excellent results, but the difficult hilly country and the total absence of roads, as well as the antipathy of the inhabitants of the district, would make the transport and establishment of the necessary plant a most difficult matter. A British syndicate has been boring at several places in the zone since 1903.

Commerce.—The principal centres of commerce are Tabriz, Teherān, Resht, Meshed and Yezd; the principal ports Bander Abbasi, Lingah, Bushire and Muhamrah on the Persian Gulf, and Astara, Enzeli, Meshed i Sar and Bander i Gez on the Caspian.

Until 1899 all the customs were farmed out (1898–1899 for £300,000), but in March of that year the farm system was abolished in the two provinces of Azerbaijan and Kermānshāh, and, the experiment there proving successful, in all other provinces in the following year. At the same time a uniform duty of 5% ad valorem was established. In October 1901 a treaty fixing a tariff and reserving “the most favoured nation” treatment for the countries already enjoying it was concluded between Persia and Russia. It was ratified in December 1902 and came into force on the 14th of February 1903. The commercial treaty with Great Britain, concluded in 1857, provided for the “most favoured nation” treatment, but nevertheless a new treaty under which the duties levied on British imports would be the same as on Russian imports was made with Great Britain a few days before the new tariff came into force and was ratified in May.

For the value of imports and exports previous to 1901 the only statistics available were the figures given in consular reports, which were not always correct. In 1897 it was estimated that the value of the imports from and exports to Great Britain, including India, amounted to £3,250,000. About a quarter of this trade passed over the western frontier of Persia, while three-quarters passed through the Persian Gulf ports. The value of the trade between Russia and Persia was then about £3,500,000 Since 1901 detailed statistics have been published by the customs department, and according to them the values of the imports and exports in thousands of pounds sterling for the six years 1901–1907 were as follows:—

   Imports.   Exports.  Total.
 1901–1902  5429 2738  8,167
 1902–1903 4970 3388  8,358
 1903–1904 7000 4632 11,632
 1904–1905 5832 4132  9,964
 1905–1906 6441 4886 11,327
 1906–1907 7982 6544  14,526 

The imports and exports during the year 1906–1907 (total value £14,526,234) were distributed as follows (values in thousands sterling):—

Russia 8292
Great Britain 3128
Turkey 1335
France 700
Austria 277
Afghanistan 203
Germany 182
China 142
U.S. America 69
Italy 65
Egypt 41
Netherlands 37
Belgium 24
Switzerland 22
Sweden 8
Other countries  1


While the value of the trade between Great Britain and Persia in 1906–1907 was almost the same as in 1897, that of the trade with Russia had increased from 31/2 millions to 81/4 or 137%. The average yearly value of the trade between Great Britain and Persia during the six years was £2,952,185 (imports £2,435,016, exports £517,169);between Russia and Persia £6,475,866 (imports £3,350,072, exports £3,125,794). The average values of the trade with other countries were: France £666,000, Austria £246,000, Germany £124,000, Italy £79,000, United States of America £52,000, Netherlands £39,000.

The principal imports into Persia in approximate order of value are cottons, sugar, tea, woollens, cotton yarn, petroleum, stuffs of wool and cotton mixed, wool, hardware, ironmongery, matches, iron and steel, dyes, rice, spices and glassware. The principal exports are fruits (dried and fresh), carpets, cotton, fish, rice, gums, wool, opium, silk cocoons, skins, live animals, silks, cottons, wheat, barley, drugs and tobacco.

Shipping and Navigation.—Shipping under the Persian flag is restricted to vessels belonging to the Persian Gulf ports Some of the larger craft, which are called baglah, and vary from 50 to 300 tons, carry merchandise to and from Bombay, the Malabar coast, Zanzibar, &c.; while the smaller vessels, called bagarah, and mostly under 20 tons, are employed in the coasting trade and the pearl-fisheries on the Arabian coast. It is estimated that the four principal ports and the many smaller ones (as Mashur, Hindian, Zaidin, Bander, Dilam, Rig, Kongan, Taheri, Kishm, Hormuz, &c.) possess at least 100 baglahs and several hundred bagarahs, besides a large number of small boats. The following figures from the commercial statistics published by the Persian Customs Department show the total shipping at the four principal Persian Gulf ports, Bushire, Bander Lingah, Bander Abbasi and Muhamrah during the years 1904–1907.

   1904–1905.   1905–1906.   1906–1907. 

  Tons. Tons. Tons.
 British 671,386 827,539 826,594
 Persian 36,797 25,069 6,425
 Russian 24,121 29,182 40,616
 Arabian 22,487 16,749 7,932
 Turkish 3,176 3,877 5,005
 French 2,901 570
 German 52,935

  Total  760,868 902,986 939,507

The British shipping amounted to 89·2% of the total shipping at the four ports during the years 1904–1907. There was no German shipping in the gulf before 1906, but in the first year of its appearance (1906–1907), its tonnage at the gulf ports was almost as much as that of all other nations with the exception of Great Britain.

The shipping of 1906–1907 was distributed among the four ports as follows:—

Bushire 354,798 tons. 
Bander Lingah  155,720 tons.
Bander Abbasi 245,746 tons.
Muhamrah 183,243 tons.

Bander Lingah being the port where most of the pearls obtained on the Arabian coast of the gulf are brought to and exported from, has more native shipping (all sailing vessels) than the other ports.

All the shipping on the Caspian is under the Russian flag[15] and no returns of the arrivals and departures of vessels at the Persian ports were published before 1906. According to the statistics of the customs department the shipping of the Persian ports amounted in 1906–1907 to 650,727 tons. The shipping at the principal Persian ports on the Caspian in the year 1906–1907 was: Astara 137,935 tons; Enzeli 292,132 tons; Meshed i Sar 90,799 tons; Bander-i-Gez 56,135 tons. Two or three flat-bottomed sailing vessels navigate the lake of Urmia in north-western Persia, carrying merchandise, principally agricultural produce, from the western and south-western shores to the eastern for the supply of Tabriz. The navigation is a state monopoly, leased out for £250 per annum.

Coinage, Weights and Measures.—The monetary unit is the kran, a silver coin, formerly weighing 28 nakhods (88 grains), then reduced to 26 nakhods (77 grains), and now weighing only 24 nakhods (71 grains) or somewhat less. Before the new coinage came into use (1877) the proportion of pure silver was from 92 to 95%; subsequently the proportion was for some time 90%; now it is about 891/2%. In consequence of this depreciation of the coinage and the fall in the price of silver, partly also in consequence of exchange transactions by banks, the value of the kran has since 1895 rarely been more than 4·80d, or half what it was in 1874, and fell to less than 4d. in 1905. In 1874 the kran was worth a franc; in June 1908 the exchange for a £1 bill on London was 50 krans which gives the value of 1 kran as 44/5d. Taking this value of the kran, the values of the various nickel and silver coins in circulation work out as:—

Nickel Coins.
Shahi = 2 pul 0·24d.
Two shahis = 4 pul 0·48d.
Silver Coins.
Five shahis = 1/4 kran 1·20d.
Ten shahis = 1/2 kran 2·40d
One kran = 20 shahis = 40 pul  4·80d.
Two krans 9·60d.

In 1899 from 80 to 83 copper shahis (weighing about 4/5 ℔) were being given for one silver kran. This was owing to the depreciation of the copper coinage from 1896 onwards, consequent upon there being an excess of coinage due to the excessive quantities formerly put in circulation from the mint. Accordingly the government in 1900 replaced the copper by a nickel coinage (face value of nickel coin in circulation end of 1907, 4,000,000 krans). Accounts are kept in dinars, formerly a gold piece, now an imaginary coin 1/1000 of a kran. Ten thousand dinars are equal to one toman (a word meaning ten thousand), or 10 krans silver, and 50 dinars are one shahi.

Gold coins are: 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 5, and 10 toman pieces, but they are not in circulation as current money because of their ever-varying value in silver krans, which depends upon the exchange on London.

The unit of weight is the miskal (71 grains), subdivided into 24 nakhods (2·96 grains), a nakhod being further subdivided into 4 gandum (·74 grains). Larger weights, again, are the sir (16 miskals) and the abbasi, wakkeh, or kervankeh (5 sir). Most articles are bought and sold by a weight called batman, or man, of which there are several kinds, the principal being:-

Man-i-Tabriz = 8 abbasis  =   640 miskals  =    6·49 ℔
Man-i-Noh abbasi = 9 abbasis  =   720 miskals  =    7·30 ℔
Man-i-Kohneh (the old man)  =  1000 miskals  =   10·14 ℔
Man-i Shah = 2 Tabriz mans  =  1280 miskals  =   12·98 ℔
Man-i-Rey = 4 Tabriz mans  =  2560 miskals  =   25·96 ℔
Man-i-Bander abbasi  =   840 miskals  =    8·52 ℔
Man-i-Hashemi = 16 mans of    720 miskals  =  116·80 ℔

Corn, straw, coal, &c., are sold by kharvar = 100 Tabriz mans = 649 ℔.

Thee unit of measure is the zar or gez, of which, as in the case of the man, there are several variants. 40·95 in. is the most common length for the zar, but in Azerbaijan the length is 44·09 in. Long distances are calculated in farsakhs, a farsakh being equal to 6000 zar. Probably the zar in this measure = 40·95 in., which makes the farsakh 3·87 m., but the other length of the zar is sometimes used, when the farsakh becomes 4·17 m. Areas are measured in jeribs of from 1000 to 1066 square zar of 40·95 in., the surface unit thus being from 1294 to 1379 sq. yds.

Constitution and Government.—Up to the year 1906 the government of Persia was an absolute monarchy, and resembled in its principal features that of the Ottoman Empire, with the exception, however, that the monarch was not the religious head of the community. The powers of the Shah (Shahanshah,[16] or “king of kings”) over his subjects and their property were absolute, but only in so far as they were not opposed to the shar’, or “divine law,” which consists of the doctrines of the Mahommedan religion, as laid down in the Koran, the oral commentaries and sayings of the Prophet, and the interpretations by his successors and the high priesthood. In 1905, however, the people began to demand judicial reforms, and in 1906 cried out for representative institutions and a constitution. By a rescript dated the 5th of August Muzaffar-ud-Dīn Shah gave his assent to the formation of a national council (Majlis i shora i milli), to be composed of the representatives of the various classes: princes, clergy, members of the Kajar family and tribe—chiefs and nobles, landowners, agriculturists, merchants and tradesmen. By an ordinance of the 10th of September the number of members was fixed at 162 (60 for Teherān, 102 for the provinces) to be raised to 200 if necessary, and elections were held soon after. Electors must be males and Persian subjects of not less than 25 years Of age and of good repute. Landowners must possess land of at least 1000 tomans (£200) in value, merchants and tradesmen must have a fixed and well-known place of business or shop with an annual value of not less than the average values in the localities where they are established. Soldiers and persons convicted of any criminal offence are not entitled to vote. The qualifications for membership are knowledge of the Persian language and ability to read and write it and good repute in the constituency. No person can be elected who is an alien, is under the age of 30 years or over the age of 70 years, is in the employ of the government, is in the active service of the army or navy, has been convicted of any criminal offence, or is a bankrupt.

On the 7th of October the national council, or as many members of it as could be got together, was welcomed by the shah and elected a president. This was considered as the inauguration and formal opening of parliament. An ordinance signed by Muzaffar-ud-Dīn Shah, Mahommed Ali Mirza (his successor) and the grand vizir, on the 30th of December 1906, deals with the rescript of the 5th of August, states the powers and duties of the national council and makes provision for the regulation of its general procedure by the council itself. The members have immunity from prosecution except with the knowledge of the national council. The publicity of their proceedings except under conditions accepted by the council is secured. Ministers, or their delegates may appear and speak in the national council and are responsible to that body, which also has special control of financial affairs and internal administration. Its sanction is required for all territorial changes, for the alienation of state property, for the granting of concessions, for the contracting of loans, for the construction of roads and railways, for the ratification of treaties, &c. There was to be a senate of 60 members of whom 30 were to be appointed to represent the shah and 30 to be elected on behalf of the national council, 15 of each class being from Teherān and 15 from the provinces (the senate, however, was not immediately formed).

By a rescript dated February 2, 1907, Mahommed Ali Shah confirmed the ordinance of the 30th of December, and on the 8th of October 1907 he signed the final revised constitution, and took the oath which it prescribes on the 12th of November in the presence of the national council.

In accordance with the constitution the shah must belong to the Shiah faith, and his successor must be his eldest son, or next male in succession, whose mother was a Kajar princess. The shah's civil list amounts to 500,000 tomans (£100,000).

The executive government is carried on under a cabinet composed of seven or eight vizirs (ministers), of whom one, besides holding a portfolio, is vizir azam, prime minister. The vizirs are the ministers of the interior, foreign affairs, war, justice, finance, commerce, education, public works.

Until 1906 the shah was assisted in the task of government by the sadr azam (grand vizir), a number of vizirs, ministers or heads of departments somewhat on European lines, and a “grand council of state,” composed of some ministers and other members nominated by the shah himself as occasion required. Many of the “ministers” would have been considered in Europe merely as chiefs of departments of a ministry, as, for instance, the minister for Crown buildings, that for Crown domains, the minister of ceremonies, those for arsenals, army accounts, &c.; also an accumulation of several offices without any connexion between their functions, in the hands of a single person, was frequently a characteristic departure from the European model. The ministers were not responsible to the Crown in a way that ministers of a European government are; they rarely took any initiative, and generally referred their affairs to the grand vizir or to the shah for final decision.

There were twenty-seven vizirs (ministers), but only some of them were consulted, on affairs of state. The departments that had a vizir at their head were the following: court, ceremonies, shah's secretarial department, interior, correspondence between court and governors, revenue accounts and budget, finance, treasury, outstanding accounts, foreign affairs, war, army accounts, military stores, arsenals, justice, commerce, mines and industries, agriculture and Crown domains, Crown buildings, public works, public instruction, telegraphs, posts, mint, religious endowments and pensions, customs, press. In addition to these twenty-seven vizirs with portfolios, there were some titulary vizirs at court, like Vizir i Huzur i Humayun (minister of the imperial presence), Vizir i makhsus (extraordinary minister), &c., and a number in the provinces assisting the governors in the same way as the grand vizir assists the shah. Most of these ministers were abolished under the new constitution, and the heads of subsidiary departments are entitled mudir or rais, and are placed under the responsible ministers.

Religion.—About 9,000,000 of the population are Mahommedans of the Shiah faith, and 800,000 or 900,000, principally Kurds in north-western Persia, are said to belong to the other great branch of Islam, the Sunni, which differs from the former in religious doctrine and historical belief, and is the state religion of the Turkish Empire and other Mahommedan countries. Other religions are represented in Persia by about 80,000 to 90,000 Christians (Armenians, Nestorians, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics, Protestants), 36,000 Jews, and 9000 Zoroastrians.

Society in Persia, being based almost exclusively on religious law, is much as it was in Biblical times among the Jews, with this difference, however, that there exists no sacerdotal caste. In Persia any person capable of reading the Koran and interpreting its laws may act as a priest (mullah), and as soon as such a priest becomes known for his just interpretation of the shar’ and his superior knowledge of the traditions and articles of faith, he becomes a mujtahid, literally meaning “one who strives” (to acquire knowledge), and is a chief priest. The mullahs are referred to in questions concerning religious law, hold religious assemblies, preach in mosques, teach in colleges, and are appointed by the government as judges, head-preachers, &c. Thus the dignitaries, whose character seems to us specially a religious one, are in reality doctors, or expounders and interpreters of the law, and officiating ministers charged with the ordinary accomplishment of certain ceremonies, which every other Mussulman, “true believer,” has an equal right to fulfil. Formerly there were only four or five mujtahids in Persia, now there are many, sometimes several in one city—Teherān, for instance, has ten; but there are only a few whose decisions are accepted as final and without appeal. The highest authority of all is vested in the mujtahid who resides at Kerbela, or Nejef, near Bagdad, and is considered by many Shiʽites as the vicegerent of the Prophet and representative of the imam. The shah and the government have no voice whatever in the matter of appointing mullahs or mujtahids, but frequently appoint sheikhs-ul-islam and cadis, and occasionally chief priests of mosques that receive important subsidies out of government funds. The chief priest of the principal mosque of a city, the masjid i jami’, is called imam juma’, and he, or a representative appointed by him, reads the khutba, “Friday oration,” and also preaches. The reader of the khutba is also called khatib. The leader of the prayers in a mosque is the pishnamaz, and the crier to prayers is the mu’azzin. Many priests are appointed guardians of shrines and tombs of members of the Prophet's family (imams and imamzadehs) and are responsible for the proper administration of the property and funds with which the establishments are endowed. The guardian of a shrine is called mutavali, or, if the shrine is an important one with much property and many attendants, mutavali-bashi, and is not necessarily an ecclesiastic, for instance, the guardianship of the great shrine of Imam Reza in Meshed is generally given to a high court functionary or minister as a reward for long services to the state. In the precincts of a great shrine a malefactor finds a safe refuge from his pursuers and is lodged and fed, and from the security of his retreat he can arrange the ransom which is to purchase his immunity when he comes out.

Formerly all cases, civil and criminal, were referred to the clergy, and until the 17th century the clergy were subordinate to a kind of chief pontiff, named sadr-us-sodur, who possessed a very extended jurisdiction, nominated the judges, and managed all the religious endowments of the mosques, colleges, shrines, &c. Shah Safi (1629–1642), in order to diminish the influence of the clergy, appointed two such pontiffs, one for the court and nobility the other for the people. Nadir Shah (1736–1747) abolished these offices altogether, and seized most of the endowments of the ecclesiastical establishments in order to pay his troops, and, the lands appropriated by him not having been restored, the clergy have never regained the power they once possessed. Many members of the clergy, particularly those of the higher ranks, have very liberal ideas and are in favour of progress and reforms so long as they are not against the shar’, or divine law; but, unfortunately, they form the minority.

The Armenians of Persia, in so far as regards their ecclesiastical state, are divided into the two dioceses of Azerbaijan and Isfahan, and, since the late troubles in Turkey, which caused many to take refuge in Persia, are said to number over 50,000. About three-fifths of this number belong to the diocese of Azerbaijan, with a bishop at Tabriz, and reside in the cities of Tabriz, Khoï, Selmas, Urmia and Maragha, and in about thirty villages close to the north-western frontier; the other two-fifths, under the diocese of Isfahan, with a bishop in Julfa, reside in Teherān, Hamadan, Iulfa, Shiraz, Bushire, Resht, Enzeli and other towns, and in some villages in the districts of Chahar Mahal, Feridan, Barbarud, Kamareh, Kazaz, Kharakan, &c. Many Persian Armenians are engaged in trade and commerce, and some of their merchants dispose of much capital, but the bulk live on the proceeds of agriculture and are poor.

The Nestorians in Persia, all living in cities and villages close to the Turkish frontier, numbered about 25,000 to 30,000 but many of them, some say half, together with two or three bishops, recently went over to the Greek Orthodox (Russian) Church, in consequence of the unsatisfactory protection afforded them by their patriarch, who resides in Mosul. These latter are now cared for by an archimandrite of Russian nationality and some Russian priests.

The Greek Orthodox Catholics are represented by Russians, who reside in northern Persia; they have a church at the Russian legation in Teherān, and another at the Russian consulate in Tabriz.

The Roman Catholics in Persia, Europeans and natives (mostly Armenians), number about three or four thousand, and have churches in Teherān, Julfa and Azerbaijan, served by members of the French Lazarist Mission. They also have some orphanages, schools and medical dispensaries, under the care of sisters of charity of St Vincent de Paul.

The Protestants, Europeans and natives (converted Armenians and Nestorians), number about 6500. The religious missions ministering to their spiritual welfare are: (1) The board of foreign missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which has six establishments in Persia: Urmia since 1835, Teherān since 1872, Tabriz since 1873, Hamadan since 1880, Resht since 1902 and Kazvin since 1903. The establishments of Tabriz and Urmia form the Western Persia Mission, those of Teherān, Hamadan, Resht and Kazvin the Eastern Persia Mission. The former mission has 24 churches, 118 schools, 2 hospitals and 4 dispensaries, the latter has 4 churches, 11 schools, 2 hospitals and 4 dispensaries. (2) The Church Missionary Society, established in Persia since 1869. In June 1908 it had 4 places of worship (Julfa, Yezd, Kermān, Shiraz), 5 schools (Julfa, Isfahan, Yezd, Kermān and Shiraz). There are also hospitals and dispensaries for men and women at Julfa, Isfahan, Yezd and Kermān. The hospitals at Julfa and Isfahan have accommodation for 100 patients each, and are sometimes full to overflowing; the dispensaries are generally overcrowded. The establishment of the Church Missionary Society is under the care of a bishop, who resides at Julfa and is under the bishop of London. (3) The Anglican mission, which was established by Dr Benson, archbishop of Canterbury, and has its work among the Nestorians in Azerbaijan. (4) The London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews, which was established at Teherān in 1876, and at Isfahan and Hamadan in 1889. It has in Teherān a church and a school, at Isfahan a school and at Hamadan a small school. (5) The British and Foreign Bible Society has been represented at Isfahan since 1879.

The Jews in Persia number about 36,000, and are found in nearly all cities of the country, but communities with synagogues and priests exist only in the larger cities like Teherān, Isfahan, Yezd, Shiraz, Hamadan, &c.

The Zoroastrians, commonly called “gabrs,” numbering about 9000, reside principally in the cities and villages of Yezd and Kermān, and only three or four hundred live in Teherān, Kashan, Isfahan and Shiraz, some engaged in trade and commerce but most of them employed in agricultural work and gardening. Their interests are attended to by a delegate who is appointed by the Bombay Parsis and resides at Teherān.

The non-Mussulman Persian subjects, particularly those in the provinces, were formerly much persecuted, but since 1873, when Nasru’d-Dīn Shah returned to Persia from his first journey to Europe they have been treated more liberally. In cities where many non-Mussulman subjects reside a special official is appointed to protect them, and the ministry of justice has a special section to look after them and see that they are protected against fanaticism and injustice.

Instruction.—Primary schools, maktab (where Persian and a little Arabic, sufficient for reading the Koran, and sometimes also a little arithmetic, are taught to boys between the ages of seven and twelve), are very numerous. These schools are private establishments, and are under no supervision whatever. The payment for tuition varies from fourpence or fivepence to tenpence a month for each child. Colleges, madrasah (where young men are instructed, fed, and frequently also lodged gratuitously), exist in nearly every town. Most of them are attached to mosques, and the teachers are members of the clergy, and receive fixed salaries out of the college funds. The students are instructed in Arabic and Persian literature, religion, interpretation of the Koran, Mussulman law, logic, rhetoric, philosophy and other subjects necessary for admittance to the clergy, for doctors of law, &c., while modern sciences are neglected. Families who have means and do not desire their children to become members of the clergy, employ private tutors, and several have latterly obtained the services of English and French professors to educate their children, while others send their boys to school in England, France, Germany and Russia. At the beginning of Nasru’d-Dīn Shah’s reign, a public school on the lines of a French lycée was opened in Teherān, principally with the object of educating officers for the army, but also of introducing a knowledge of Western science and languages, and a ministry of public instruction was created at the same time. Military and civilian teachers were obtained from Europe, and the state granted a large sum of money for the support of the establishment. The tuition is gratuitous, and the pupils are clothed and partly fed at government expense. Some years later a similar school, but on a much smaller scale, was opened in Tabriz. After a time the annual grant for the support of these two schools was reduced, and during the years 1890–1908 amounted to only £5000 The average number of pupils was about 250, and until the beginning of 1899 these two schools were the only establishments under the supervision of the minister of public instruction. Soon after his accession in 1896 Muzaffar-ud-Dīn Shah expressed a desire that something more should be done for public instruction, and in the following year a number of Persian notables formed a committee and opened some schools in Teherān and other places in the beginning of 1898. A year later the new schools, until then private establishments, were placed under the minister of public instruction. The new schools at Teherān have from 1000 to 1400 pupils.

A German school with an annual grant of £2400 from Persia and of £1000 from Germany was opened at Teherān in 1907. There is also established a French school under the auspices of the Alliance Française. Much has been and is being done for education by the Armenians and the Protestant and Roman Catholic missions in Persia, and a large percentage of the pupils is composed of Mussulmans. The Alliance Israélite has opened a school in Teherān. In 1907 the American Protestant mission had 129 schools with 3423 pupils, the English Protestant missions had 5 schools with 425 pupils, the Roman Catholic mission (Lazaristes) had 3 schools with 400 pupils, and the Armenians had 4 schools and 646 pupils. All these schools are supported by voluntary subscriptions and donations, and instruct both boys and girls.

Army.—Persia had no regular army until 1807, when some regiments of regular infantry (sarbaz) were embodied and drilled by the first French military mission to Persia under General Gardane. Since then seven other military missions (two British, two French, two Austrian, and one Russian) have come to Persia at the request of the Persian government, and many officers and non-commissioned officers, and even civilians, of various nationalities, have been engaged as army instructors. The last serious attempt to reorganize the Persian army was made in 1879, when the second Austrian mission formed the “Austrian corps” of seven new battalions of 800 men each. These new battalions were disbanded in 1882. The Russian mission of 1879 has been the most successful, and the so-called “Cossack brigade” which it formed has always been commanded by Russian officers. The brigade has a strength of about 1800 men and costs £50,000 per annum. The total annual expenditure for the army amounts to about a. third of the total revenues of the government.

According to statistics published for 1905 the Persian army has an effective force of about 91,000 men, but the number of men actually serving with the colours does not exceed 35,000:—

Artillery 5309
Irregular cavalry 14,957
Infantry, 79 battalions of 400–1000 men each   63,865
Cossack brigade, artillery, horse and foot 1800
Road and frontier guards, horse and foot 5403

  Total 91,334

Navy.—The Persian government possesses nine steamers. One is the “Nasru’d-Dīn,” an old yacht of about 120 tons, presented in the ’seventies by the emperor of Russia, and stationed at Enzeli, the port of Resht. The others, all employed in the customs service in the Persian Gulf, are the following: The “Persepolis,” built 1884, 600 tons, 450 h.p., with three 71/2 cm. and one 81/2 cm. Krupp. The “Susa,” built 1884, 36 tons, with one Krupp. An old Belgian yacht “Selika,” purchased 1903 and renamed “Muzafferi,” with two Hotchkiss guns. Five launches built in the Royal Indian Marine Docks, Bombay, in 1905, at a cost of 60,000 rupees each, of about 80 tons.

Justice.—By the theory of a Mahommedan state there should be no other courts of justice except those established for the administration of the shar’, the “divine or written law,” but in Persia there is another judicature, which is called ’urf and represents the “customary” or “known and unwritten law.” Justice, therefore, is administered by the shah and his representatives according to one law and by the clergy according to another, but the decisions of the former must not be opposed to the fundamental doctrines of Islam. The shah’s representatives for the administration of justice are the governors and other officers already mentioned. The officials charged with the administration of justice according to the shar’ are judges, called sheikh-ul-islam and kazi (kadhi, kadi or cadi of Arabs and Turks), members of the clergy appointed by the government and receiving a fixed salary, but some cities are without regular appointed judges and the title of cadi is almost obsolete; decisions according to the shar’ are given by all members of the clergy, ranging from ignorant mullahs of little villages and cantons to learned mujtahids of the great cities. If the parties to the suit are dissatisfied with the judgment, they may appeal to a priest who stands higher in public estimation, or one of the parties may induce a higher authority by bribery to quash the judgment of the first. Unfortunately, many members of the clergy are corrupt, but the mujtahids, as a rule are honest and entirely trustworthy. The functions of the representatives of the shar’ are now limited to civil cases, while all criminal cases are referred to the ’urf, which, however, also takes cognizance of civil disputes, should the parties desire it.

In criminal cases the dispensation of justice is always summary, and, when the offence is small, the whole procedure, including the examination of witnesses and criminal, as well as the decision and the punishment, a bastinado, is a matter of some minutes. For commercial cases, not paying a bill in time, bankruptcies, &c., a kind of jurisdiction is exercised by the minister of commerce, or a board of merchants, but the decisions of the minister, or those of the board, are rarely final. In Teherān the board of merchants is presided over by the malik ut tujjar, “King of Merchants,” in the provincial cities by a person called malik amin, and muin of merchants

After his second journey to Europe in 1878 Nasru’d-Dīn Shah desired to organize a police for the whole of Persia on the European system, but only a small body of police, in the capital and its immediate neighbourhood, was created in 1879. Its strength is 60 mounted policemen and 190 foot, with 11 superior and 40 subaltern officers.

There is also a “Tribunal of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs,” presided over at Teherān by an official of the foreign office, and in the Provincial cities by the karguzars, “agents,” of that department. The functions of this tribunal are to inquire into and judge differences and suits between Persian subjects and foreigners, and it is stipulated in the treaty of Turkmanchai, which is the basis of all existing treaties between Persia and other countries, that “such differences and suits shall only be examined and judgment given in the presence of the dragoman of the mission or consulate (of the foreign subject), and that, once judicially concluded, such suits shall not give cause to a second inquiry. If, however, circumstances should be of a nature to require a second inquiry, it shall not take place without previous notice given to the minister, or the chargé d’affaires, or the consul, and in this case the business shall only be proceeded with at the supreme chancery of the shah at Tabriz or Teherān, likewise in the presence of a dragoman of the mission, or of the consulate” (Article vii.).

A foreign subject implicated in a criminal suit cannot be pursued or molested in any way unless there exist full proofs of his having taken part in the crime imputed to him, and should he be duly convicted of the crime, he is handed over to his legation, which either sends him back to his own country to undergo the punishment established by law, or, according to more recent usage, punishes him in Persia by fine, imprisonment, &c. In this respect the powers of the foreign representatives in Persia, now numbering ten (Great Britain, Russia, France, Turkey, Austria-Hungary, Germany, United States of America, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands) vary considerably, some having the power of condemning a criminal to death, while others cannot do more than fine and imprison for short periods. Suits, civil and criminal, between foreign subjects are altogether out of Persian jurisdiction, and are judged by the representatives of the foreign powers accredited to Persia.

In 1889, after Nasru ’d-Dīn Shah’s return from his third visit to Europe, the council of state was instructed to compile a code of law for the regulation of justice. A beginning was made by ordering the translation of the Code Napoléon, the Indian Mahommedan code, and the Code Napoléon as modified for Algeria; but nothing further was done.

Finance.—The fixed revenues of Persia are derived from (1) regular taxation (maliat) composed of taxes on lands, flocks, herds, shopkeepers, artisans and trade; (2) revenues from Crown lands; (3) customs; (4) rents and leases of state monopolies. There is also a kind of irregular revenue derived from public requisitions, presents, fines, confiscations, &c, nowadays not producing much. The land tax, which varies according to localities, is paid in money and kind, and should amount on an average to about 25% of the yield of the soil. The taxation on flocks and herds exists either as a supplementary method of land taxation, or as a contribution of a certain sum per animal, and the tax on shopkeepers, artisans and trades sometimes takes the form of a poll-tax, sometimes that of an impost on the profits of the trades. The revenue from Crown lands consists of a certain proportion of the produce, and also varies much according to localities. Until March 1899 all the customs were farmed out, but since then they have been organized on European principles, with the help of Belgian officials. By treaties with Russia and Great Britain, concluded in 1901 and 1903 respectively, the 5% duty fixed by the Turkmanchai treaty was abolished, and an equitable tariff was established. The revenues from rents and leases of state monopolies are derived from posts, telegraphs, mines, mint, forests, banks, fisheries, factories, &c., and amount to about £110,000 per annum.

The total revenue of Persia, from all sources, amounted in 1876 to 58,700,000 krans, in 1884 to 50,800,000, in 1890 to 60,000,000; and in 1907–1908 to about 80,000,000 krans. This would seem to show a steady increase, but when we consider that the value of the kran in 1876 was nearly 89/10 d., and has fallen in consequence of the great depreciation of silver to only 44/5 d., the total revenue really decreased from £1,950,000 in 1876 to £1,600,000 in 1907–1908. Out of the actual total revenue £500,000 is represented by customs and £110,000 by rents and leases of state monopolies, leaving £990,000 for maliat and revenues of Crown lands. In 1876 the two latter items amounted to about £1,600,000, while the two former were only £350,000 instead of £610,000 in 1907–1908. While the prices in krans of agricultural produce, and hence the profits of the landowners and the wages and profits of artisans and tradesmen, were in 1907–1908 more than double what they were in 1876, the maliat, the backbone of the revenue, has hardly increased at all, being 50,000,000 krans (£1,000,000) against 43,200,000 krans (£1,600,000) in 1876, and showing a decrease of over 37% in sterling money. A new assessment of the maliat, based upon the present value of the produce of lands and actual profits of artisans and tradesmen, has frequently been spoken of, and government, aided by a strong minister of the interior and an able minister of finance, ought to have no difficulty in raising the maliat to its proper level and the total revenues of the country to about two millions sterling.

Until 1888 the yearly expenditure was less than the yearly income, but subsequently the revenues were not sufficient to cover the expenditure, and many payments fell in arrear in spite of emptying the treasury of its reserve and contracting numerous loans.

In May 1892 the Persian government concluded a contract with the Imperial Bank of Persia, established by British royal charter in 1889, for a loan of £500,000 at 6%, repayable in the course of forty years, and guaranteed by the customs of Fars and the Persian Gulf ports. The produce of this loan served for the payment of an indemnity to the Imperial Tobacco Corporation, which began in 1890 and had to cease its operations in January 1892. In January 1900 the Persian government, in order to pay the arrears and start afresh with a clear balance-sheet, contracted a loan through the Banque des Prêts de Perse, a Russian institution connected with the Russian state bank, and established in 1890. This loan was for 22½ million roubles (£2,400,000) at 5% interest, guaranteed by all the Persian customs with the exception of those of Fars and the Persian Gulf ports, and repayable in the course of seventy-five years. In the contract, which was signed at St Petersburg at the end of January 1900, the Persian government undertook to redeem all its former foreign obligations (the 1892 loan) out of the proceeds of the new loan, and not to contract any other foreign loan before the redemption of the new loan without the consent of the Russian bank. The loan was at 86⅔, less 1⅔ for commission and charges, the Persian government thus receiving 85% of the nominal capital, or £2,040,000. The bonds enjoy the full guarantee of the Russian government. The yearly charge for interest and amortization, about £124,000, is to be paid in two half-yearly instalments, and in the event of default the Russian bank will have the right to exercise effective control of the customs with a maximum number of twenty-five European employés. When the contract for the new loan was concluded, the liabilities of the Persian government for the balance of the 1892 loan (about £435,000), temporary loans from various banks, arrears of pays and salaries, and other debts, amounted to over £1,500,000, so that not much margin was left. The shah’s visit to Europe in the same year cost the exchequer about £180,000. In March 1902 the Russian bank agreed to grant a further loan of 10 million roubles on the same conditions as those of the first loan, and the whole amount was paid by the end of the year, but another visit of the shah to Europe and reckless expenditure at home made the position worse than before. After November 1903 the expenditure was reduced, and the new customs tariff which came into force on the 14th of February 1903 increased the revenue by nearly £200,000 per annum; it was thought that the expenditure would not exceed the receipts, even if the shah undertook a third voyage in Europe (which he did in 1905). However, in November 1907, when the national assembly or council demanded a budget and made inquiries as to the financial position, it was found that the expenditure for some years past had been half a million sterling per annum in excess of the receipts and that considerable sums were owing to banks and commercial firms who had lent money. Most of the money borrowed is at 12 to 15% interest.

Banking.—It was only in 1888 that a European bank (the New Oriental Bank Corporation, Limited) established itself in Persia and modern ideas of banking were introduced into the country. Until then the banking was done by the native money-changers (sarrafs) and some merchants—foreign and native—who occasionally undertook special outside transactions. In 1889 the shah granted a concession to Baron Julius de Reuter for the formation of a state bank with the exclusive right of issuing bank-notes—not exceeding £800,000 without special assent of the Persian government—on the basis of the local currency, the silver kran. With the title of “The Imperial Bank of Persia” the bank was formed in the autumn of the same year, and incorporated by royal charter granted by Queen Victoria and dated the 2nd of September 1889. The authorized capital was four millions sterling, but the bank started with a capital of one million, and began its business in Persia in October 1889. In April 1890 it took over the Persian business of the New Oriental Bank Corporation, soon afterwards opened branches and agencies at the principal towns, and issued notes in the same year. During the first two years the bank remitted the greater part of its capital to Persia at the then prevailing exchange, and received for every pound sterling 32 to 34 krans; but in consequence of the great fall in silver in 1893 and 1894, the exchange rose to 50 krans per pound sterling and more, and the bank’s capital employed in Persia being reduced in value by more than one-third—100 krans, which at the beginning represented £3, then being worth only £2 or less—the original capital of one million sterling was reduced to £650,000 in December 1894. The bank has made steady progress in spite of innumerable difficulties, and paid a fair dividend to its shareholders. In his paper on “Banking in Persia” (Journal of the Institute of Bankers, 1891), Mr Joseph Rabino pointed out the great difficulties which make the easy distribution of funds—that is, the providing them when and where required—a matter of impossibility in Persia, and gives this fact as the reason why the Imperial Bank of Persia has local issues of notes, payable at the issuing branches only, “for, in a country like Persia, where movements of specie are so costly, slow and difficult as to become impracticable except on a small scale, the danger of issuing notes payable at more than one place is obvious” On the 20th of September 1907 the value of the notes in circulation was £395,000, and the bank held £550,000 deposits in Persia.

In 1889 the shah also granted a concession to Jaques de Poliakov of St Petersburg for the establishment of a “loan bank,” or, as the original concession said, “mont-de-piété,” with exclusive rights of holding public auctions. A company was formed in the same year and started business at Teheran in 1890 as the “Banque des Prêts de Perse.” After confining its operations for some years to ordinary pawnbroking, without profits, it obtained the aid of the Russian State Bank, acquired large premises in Teherān, made advances to the Persian government (since 1898), and in January 1900 and March 1902 financed the loans of £2,400,000 and £l,000,000 to Persia. It has branches at Tabriz, Resht, Mesheol and other places.

Various Armenian firms, one with branches at many places in Persia and Russia also do banking business, while various European firms at Tabriz, Teherān, Isfahan, Shiraz and Bushire, facilitate remittances between Europe and Persia.

The chief business of the native sarrafs (money-changers, bankers, &c.) is to discount bills at high rates, hardly ever less than 12%, and remit money from place to place in Persia for a commission amounting to from 1 to 5, or even 6% on each transaction; and in spite of the European banks giving lower rates of discount and remitting money at par, the majority of the people and mercantile classes still deal with the natives. For advances with good security a native sarraf charges at least 12% interest per annum; as the security diminishes in value the rate of interest increases, and transactions at 10% a month, or more than 120% per annum, are not infrequent. A Persian who obtains an advance of money at less than 12% considers that he gets money “for nothing.”  (A. H.-S.) 


A.—Ancient, to the Fall of the Sassanid Dynasty.

I. The Name.—“Persia,” in the strict significance of the word, denotes the country inhabited by the people designated as Persians. i.e. the district known in antiquity as Persis (q.v.), the modern Fars. Custom, however, has extended the name to the whole Iranian plateau; and it is in this sense that the term Persia is here employed.

II. Ancient Ethnography.—In historical times we find the major portion of Iran occupied by peoples of Indo-European origin, terming themselves Aryans (Arya; Zend, Airya) and their language Aryan—so in the inscriptions of Darius—the same name, which is used by the consanguineous tribes of Descent of
the Iranians.
India who were their nearest relations. The whole country is designated Ariana (Zend, Airyana)—“the land of the Aryans ”—the original of the Middle-Persian Eran and the modern Iran, the Greek geographers Eratosthenes and Strabo were in error when they limited the name to the eastern districts of Iran. Thus the name of Iranians is understood to comprehend all these people of Aryan nationality.

Besides the Iranians, numerous tribes of alien origin were found in Iran. In Baluchistan, even yet, we find side by side with the eponymous Iranian inhabitants, who only penetrated thither a few centuries ago, the ethnologically and philologically distinct race of Alien Tribes
in Iran.
the Brahui, who are probably connected with the Dravidians of India. In them we may trace the original population of these districts; and to the same original population may be assigned the tribes here settled in antiquity: the Paricanii and Gedrosii (Gadrosii), and the Myci (Herod. iii. 93, vii. 68; the Maka of Darius, the modern Mekran), to whom the name “Aethiopians” is also occasionally applied (Herod. iii. 94, vii. 70). In Media the Greek geographers mention a people of Anariacae (Strabo xi. 508, 514; Pliny, Nat. Hist. vi. 48; Ptolem. vi. 25; in Polyb. v. 44. 9, Ἀνιαράκαι), i.e. “Non-Aryans.” To these the Tapuri, Amardi, Caspii, and especially the Cadusii or Gelae—situated in Ghilan on the Caspian—probably belonged. Presumably they were also related to the tribes of Armenia and the Caucasus. In the chains of Zagros we find, in Babylonian and Assyrian times, no trace of Iranians; but partly Semitic peoples—the Gutaeans, Lulubaeans, &c.—partly tribes that we can refer to no known ethnological group, e.g. the Cossaei (see below), and in Elymais or Susiana the Elymaeans (Elamites).

That the Iranians must have come from the East to their later home, is sufficiently proved by their close relationship to the Indians, in conjunction with whom they previously formed a single people, bearing the name Arya. Their residence must have lain chiefly in Iranians and
Aryan Indians.
the great steppe which stretches north of the Black Sea and the Caspian, through South Russia, to Turan (Turkestan) and the Oxus and Jaxartes. For here we continually discover traces of Iranian nationality. The names and words of the Scythians (Scoloti) in South Russia, which Herodotus has preserved, are for the most part perfectly transparent Iranian formations, identified by Zeuss and Mullenhoff; among them are many proper names in Aria–(Αριο) and aspa (–horse–ασπος; Zend, aspa). The predatory tribes of Turan (e.g. the Massagetae) seem to have belonged to the same stock. These tribes are distinguished by the Iranian peasants as Daha (Gr. Δάαι), “enemies,” “robbers”; by the Persians as Sacae; and by the Greeks generally as Scythians.

From the region of the steppes the Aryans must have penetrated into the cultivable land of Eastern Iran: thence one part spread over the district of the Indus, then on again to the Ganges; another moved westward to Zagros and the borders of the Semitic world.

The date of this migration cannot yet be determined with certainty. We know only that the Aryans of India already occupied the Punjab in the Vedic era, c. 1600 B.C. On the other hand, about the same period a number of names, undoubtedly Iranian, made their appearance Period of
the Iranian Migration.
in Western Asia, (cf. Edward Meyer, “Zur ältesten Geschichte der Iranier,” in Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung, 1907). In the cuneiform letters from Tell el-Amarna in Egypt (1400 B.C.), we find among the princelings of Syria and Palestine names like Artamanya, Arzawiya, Shuwardata, a name terminating in -warzana, &c.; while the kings of Mitanni on the Euphrates are Artatama, Shutarna, Artashumara, and Dushratta—names too numerous and too genuinely Iranian to allow of the hypothesis of coincidence. Later still, in the Assyrian inscriptions we occasionally meet with Iranian names borne by North-Syrian princes—e.g. Kundaspi and Kustaspi (=Hystaspis). Their subjects, on the contrary, speak absolutely different tongues: for the attempts to explain the languages of the Cossaeans, Mitannians, and Arzapians as Indo-European (Iranian) have ended in failure (cf. Blomheld in the American Journal of Philology, xxv. p. 1 sqq.).

It appears, then, that towards the middle of the second millennium before Christ, the Iranians made a great forward movement to the West, and that certain of their princes—at first, probably in the rôle of mercenary leaders—reached Mesopotamia and Syria and there founded principalities of their own, much as did the Germans under the Roman Empire, the Normans, Turks, &c. With this we may probably connect the well-known fact that it was about this very period (1700 B.C. approximately) that the horse made its appearance in Babylonia, Egypt and Greece, where for centuries subsequently its use was confined to war and the war-chariot. Before this it was as foreign to the Babylonians, even in the time of Khammurabi, as to the Egyptians under the XIIth Dynasty. On the other hand, it had been familiar to the Aryans from time immemorial: indeed they have always been peculiarly a people of riders. Thus it is quite conceivable that they brought it with them into Western Asia and the quarter from which it came is sufficiently indicated by the fact that the Babylonians write the word “horse” with a group of signs denoting “ass of the East.”

Of the Assyrian kings, Shalmaneser (Salmanassar) II. was the first to take the field against the Medes in 836 B.C., and from that period onwards they are frequently mentioned in the Assyrian annals. Sargon penetrated farthest, receiving in 715 B.C. the tribute of numerous Median town-princes. He gives a list of their names, twenty-three of which are preserved either wholly or in part, and almost all are unmistakably Iranian, as is also the case with those preserved by Esar-haddon (Assarhaddon) and elsewhere.

The Medes, then, were an Iranian nation, already occupying in the 9th century B.C. their later home in the centre of the Median highland. On the other hand, among their neighbours in Zagros and the north—corresponding to the Anariacae (Non-Aryans) of the Greeks—Iranian names are at best isolated phenomena. With other Iranian tribes the Assyrians never came in contact: for the oft-repeated assertion, that the Parsua, so prominent in their annals, were the Persians or the Parthians, is quite untenable. The Parsua of the Assyrians are located south of Lake Urmia, and can hardly have been Iranians.

None the less, the Assyrian statements with regard to the Medes demonstrate that the Iranians must have reached the west of Iran before 900 B.C. It is probable that at this period the Persians also were domiciled in their later home, even though we have no direct evidence to adduce. If this reasoning is correct, the Iranian immigration must be assigned to the first half of the second pre-Christian millennium.

The Aryans of Iran are divided into numerous tribes; these, again, being subdivided into minor tribes and clans. The principal, according to the inscriptions of Darius—which closely agree with Herodotus—are the following, several of them being also enumerated in the Avesta:—Tribes of the Iranians.

1. The Medes (Mada) in the north-west (see Media).

2. The Persians (Parsa) in the south (see Persis). To these belong the Carmanians and the Utians (Yutiya), who are mentioned expressly by Darius as inhabiting a district in Persis (Beh. III. 40).

3. The Hyrcanians (Varkāna in Darius, Zend Vehrkāna) on the eastern corner of the Caspian, in the fertile district of Astarabad.

4. The Parthians (Parthyaei; Pers. Parthava) in Khorasan (see Parthia).

5. The Arians (Ἀρεῖοι, Pers. Haraiva), in the vicinity of the river Arius (Heri-rud), which derived its name from them. This name, which survives in the modern Herat, has of course no connexion with that of the Aryans.

6. The Drangians (Zaranka in Darius, Sarangians in Herod. iii. 93, 117, vii. 67), situated south of the Arians, in the north-west of Afghanistan (Arachosia) by the western affluents of Lake Hamun, and extending to the present Seistan.

7. Arachotians (Pers. Harauvati), in the district of the Helmand and its tributaries, round Kandahar. They are mentioned in the lists of Darius, also by the Greeks after Alexander. In Herodotus their place is taken by the Pactyans, whose name survives to the present day in the word Pushtu, with which the Afghans denote their language (Herod. iii. 102, iv. 44, vii. 67, 85). Probably it was the old tribal name; Arachosia being the local designation. The Thamanaeans, who appear in Herodotus (iii. 93, 117), must be classed with them.

8. The Bactrians (Pers. Bākhtri), on the northern declivity of the Hindu Kush, as far as the Oxus. Their capital was Bactra, the modern Balkh (see Bactria).

9. The Sogdians (Pers. Sugudu), in the mountainous district between the Oxus and Jaxartes.

10. The Chorasmians (Khwarizmians, Pers. Uvarazmiya), in the great oasis of Khiva, which still bears the name Khwarizm. They stretched far into the midst of the nomadic tribes.

11. The Margians (Pers. Margu), on the river Margus (Murghab); chiefly inhabiting the oasis of Merv, which has preserved their name. Darius mentions the district of Margu but, like Herodotus, omits them from his list of peoples; so that ethnographically they are perhaps to be assigned to the Arians.

12. The Sagartians (Pers. Asagarta); according to Herodotus (vii. 85), a nomadic tribe of horsemen; speaking, as he expressly declares, the Persian language. Hence he describes them (i. 125) as a subordinate nomad clan of the Persians. They, with the Drangians, Utians and Myci, formed a single satrapy (Herod. iii. 93). Ptolemy (vi. 2, 6) speaks of Sagartians in the Eastern Zagros in Media.

13. We have already touched on the nomadic peoples (Dāha, Dahans) of Iranian nationality, who occupied the steppes of Turkestan as far as the Sarmatians and Scythians of South Russia. That these were conscious of their Aryan origin is proved by the names Ariantas and Ariapeithes borne by Scythian (Scolot) kings (Herod, iv. 76, 87). Still they were never counted as a portion of Iran or the Iranians. To the settled peasantry, these nomads of the steppe were always “the enemy” (dana, daha, Δάαι, Dahae). Side by side with this name we find “Tūrān” and “Turanian”; a designation applied both by the later Persians and by modern writers to this region. The origin of the word is obscure, derived perhaps from an obsolete tribal name. It has no connexion whatever with the much later “Turks,” who penetrated thither in the 6th century after Christ. Though found neither in the inscriptions of Darius nor in the Greek authors, the name Turan must nevertheless be of great antiquity; for not merely is it repeatedly found in the Avesta, under the form Tura, but it occurs already in a hymn, which, without doubt, originates from Zoroaster himself, and in which “the Turanian Fryāna” and his descendants are commemorated as faithful adherents of the prophet (Yasna, 46, 62).

The dividing line between Iranian and Indian is drawn by the Hindu Kush and the Soliman mountains of the Indus district. The valley of the Kabul (Cophen) is already occupied by Indian tribes, especially the Gandarians; and the Satagydae (Pers. Thatagu) there resident were presumably also of Indian stock. The non-Aryan population of Iran itself has been discussed above. Of its other neighbours, we must here mention the Sacae, a warlike equestrian people in the mountains of the pamir plateau and northward; who are probably of Mongol origin. Herodotus relates that the Persians distinguished “all the Scythians ”—i.e. all the northern nomads—as Sacae; and this statement is confirmed by the inscriptions of Darius. The Babylonians employ the name Gimiri (i.e. Cimmerians) in the same sense.

III. Civilization and Religion of the Iranians.—In the period when the ancestors of Indian and Iranian alike still formed a single nation—that of the Aryans—they developed a very marked character, which can still be distinctly traced, not only in their language, but also in their religion and in many views common to both peoples. A great Aryan Religion. number of gods—Asura, Mithras, the Dragon-slayer Verethraghna (the Indra of the Indians), the Water-shoot Apam napat (the lightning), &c.—date from this era. So, too, fire-worship, especially of the sacrificial flame; the preparation of the intoxicating soma, which fills man with divine strength and uplifts him to the gods; the injunction to “good thoughts and good works,” imposed on the pious by Veda and Avesta alike: the belief in an unwavering order (rta)—a law controlling gods and men and dominating them all; yet with this, a belief in the power of magical formulae (mantra), exclamations and prayers, to whose compulsion not merely demons (the evil spirits of deception—druh) but even the gods (daeva) must submit; and, lastly, the institution of a priesthood of fire-kindlers (athravan), who are at once the repositories of all sacral traditions and the mediators in all intercourse between earth and heaven. The transition, moreover, to settled life and agriculture belongs to the Aryan period; and to it may be traced the peculiar sanctity of the cow in India and Persia. For the cow is the animal which voluntarily yields nourishment to man and aids him in his daily labours, and on it depends the industry of the peasant as contrasted with the wild desert brigand to whom the cow is unknown.

Very numerous are the legends common to both nations. These, in part, are rooted in the primeval Indo-European days, though their ultimate form dates only from the Aryan epoch. Foremost among them is the myth relating the battle of a sungod (Ind. Trita, generally replaced by Indra, Iran. Thraetona) against a fearful serpent (Ind. Ahi, Iran. Azhi; known moreover as Vrtra): also, the legend of Yama, the first man, son of Vivasvant, who, after a long and blessed life in the happy years of the beginning, was seized by death and now rules in the kingdom of the departed. Then come a host of other tales of old-world heroes; as the “Glorious One” (Ind. Sushrava, Pers. Husrava, Chosrau or Chosroes), or the Son who goes on a journey to seek his father, and, unknown, meets his end at his hands.

These legends have lived and flourished in Iran at every period of its history; and neither the religion of Zoroaster, nor yet Islam, has availed to suppress them. Zoroastrianism—at least in that form in which it became the dominant creed of the Iranians—legitimized not only the old gods, but the old heroes also; and transformed them into pious The Iranian Saga. helpers and servants of Ahuramazda; while the creator of the great national epic of Persia, Firdousi (A.D. 935–1020), displayed astonishing skill in combining the ancient tradition with Islam. Through his poem, this tradition is perfectly familiar to every Persian at the present day; and the primitive features of tales, whose origin must be dated 4000 years ago, are still preserved with fidelity. This tenacity of the Saga stands in the sharpest contrast with the fact that the historical memory of the Persian is extremely defective. Even the glories of the Achaemenid Empire faded rapidly, and all but completely, from recollection; so also the conquest of Alexander, and the Hellenistic and Parthian eras. In Firdousi, the legendary princes are followed, almost without a break, by Ardashir, the founder of the Sassanid dynasty: the intervening episode of Darius and Alexander is not drawn from native tradition, but borrowed from Greek literature (the Alexander-romance of the Pseudo-Callisthenes) in precisely the same way as among the nations of the Christian East in the middle ages.[17]

Needless to say, however, this long period saw the Saga much recast and expanded. Many new characters—Siyawush, Rustam, &c.—have swelled the original list: among them is King Gushtasp (Vishtaspa), the patron of Zoroaster, who was known from the poems of the prophet and is placed at the close of the legendary age. The old gods and mythical figures reappear as heroes and kings, and their battles are fought no longer in heaven but upon earth, where they are localized for the most part in the east of Iran. In other words, the war of the gods has degenerated to the war between Iranian civilization and the Turanians. Only the evil serpent Azhi Dahaka (Azhdahak) is domiciled by the Avesta in Babylon (Bawri) and depicted on the model of Babylonian gods and demons: he is a king in human form with a serpent growing from either shoulder and feeding on the brains of men. In these traits are engrained the general conditions of history and culture, under which the Iranians lived: on the one hand, the contrast between Iranian and Turanian; on the other, the dominating position of Babylon, which influenced most strongly the civilization and religion of Iran. It is idle, however, to read definite historical events into such traits, or to attempt, with some scholars, to convert them into history itself. We cannot deduce from them a conquest of Iran from Babylon: for the Babylonians never set foot in Iran, and even the Assyrians merely conquered the western portion of Media. Nor yet can we make the favourite assumption of a great empire in Bactria. On the contrary, it is historically evident that before the Achaemenids there were in Bactria. only small local principalities of which Vishtaspa’s was one: and it is possible that the primeval empire of the Saga is only a reflection of the Achaemenid and Sassanid empires of reality, whose existence legend dates back to the beginning of the world, simply because legend is pervaded by the assumption that the conditions obtaining in the present are the natural conditions, and, as such, valid for all time.

Closely connected as are the Mythology and Religion of Indian and Iranian, no less clearly marked is the fundamental difference of intellectual and moral standpoint, which has led the two nations into opposite paths of history and culture. The tendency to religious thought and to a speculative philosophy, Difference between the Iranian and Indian Religion. comprehending the world as a whole, is shared by both and is doubtless an inheritance from the Aryan period. But with the Indians this speculation leads to the complete abolition of all barriers between God and man, to a mystic pantheism, and to absorption in the universal Ego, in contrast with which the world becomes an unsubstantial phantasm and sinks into nothingness. For the Iranian, on the contrary, practical life, the real world, and with them the moral commandment, fill the foreground. The new gods created by Iran are ethical powers; those of India, abstractions of worship (brahman) or of philosophy (atman). These fundamental features of Iranian sentiment encounter us not only in the doctrine of Zoroaster and the confessions of Darius, but also in that magnificent product of the Persia of Islam—the Sufi mysticism. This is pantheistic, like the Brahman philosophy. But the pantheism of the Persian is always positive,—affirming the world and life, taking joy in them, and seeking its ideal in union with a creative god: the pantheism of the Indian is negative—denying world and life, and descrying its ideal in the cessation of existence.

This contrast in intellectual and religious life must have developed very early. Probably, in the remote past violent religious disputes and feuds broke out: for otherwise it is almost inexplicable that the old Indo-European word, which in India, also, denotes the gods—deva—should be applied by the Iranians to the malignant demons or devils (daeva; mod. div); while they denote the gods by the name bhaga. Conversely the Asuras, whose name in Iran is the title of the supreme god (ahura, aura), have in India degenerated to evil spirits. It is of great importance that among the Slavonic peoples the same word bogu distinguishes the deity; since this points to ancient cultural influences on which we have yet no more precise information. Otherwise, the name is only found among the Phrygians, who, according to Hesychius, called the Heaven-god (Zeus) Bagaeus; there, however, it may have been borrowed from the Persians. We possess no other evidence for these events; the only document we possess for the history of Iranian religion is the sacred writing, containing the doctrines of the prophet who gave that religion a new form. This is the Avesta, the Bible of the modern Parsee, which comprises the revelation of Zoroaster.

As to the home and time of Zoroaster, the Parsee tradition yields us no sort of information which could possibly be of historical service. Its contents, even if they go back to lost parts of the Avesta, are merely a late patchwork, based on the legendary tradition and devoid of historical foundation. The attempts of West (Pahlavi Texts Translated, Zoroaster. vol. v.) to turn to historical account the statements of the Bundahish and other Parsee books, which date Zoroaster at 258 years before Alexander, are, in the present writer’s opinion, a complete failure. Jackson (Zoroaster, the Prophet of Ancient Iran, 1901) sides with West. The Greek theory, which relegates Zoroaster to the mists of antiquity, or even to the period of the fabulous Ninus and Semiramis, is equally valueless. Even the statement that he came from the north-west of Media (the later Atropatene), and his mother from Rai (Rhagae) in eastern Media, must be considered as problematic in the extreme. Our only trustworthy information is to be gleaned from his own testimony and from the history of his religion. And here we may take it as certain that the scene of his activity was laid in the east of Iran, in Bactria and its neighbouring regions. The contrast there existing between peasant and nomad is of vital consequence for the whole position of his creed. Among the adherents whom he gained was numbered, as already mentioned, a Turanian, one Fryana and his household. The west of Iran is scarcely ever regarded in the Avesta, while the districts and rivers of the east are often named. The language, even, is markedly different from the Persian; and the fire-priests are not styled Magians as in Persia—the word indeed never occurs in the Avesta, except in a single late passage—but athravan, identical with the atharvan of India (πύραιδοι, “fire-kindlers,” in Strabo xv. 733). Thus it cannot be doubted that the king Vishtaspa, who received Zoroaster's doctrine and protected him, must have ruled in eastern Iran: though strangely enough scholars can still be found to identify him with the homonymous Persian Hystaspes, the father of Darius. The possibility that Zoroaster himself was not a native of East Iran, but had immigrated thither (from Rhagae?), is of course always to be considered; and this theory has been used to explain the phenomenon that the Gathas, of his own composition, are written in a different dialect from the rest of the Avesta. On this hypothesis, the former would be his mother-tongue: the latter the speech of eastern Iran.

This district is again indicated as the starting-point of Zoroastrianism, by the fact that dead bodies are not embalmed and then interred, as was usual, for instance, in Persia, but cast out to the dogs and birds (cf. Herod. i. 140), a practice, as is well known, strictly enjoined in the Avesta, ruthlessly executed under the Sassanids, and followed to the present day by the Parsees. The motive of this, indeed, is to be found in the sanctity of Earth, which must not be polluted by a corpse; but its origin is evidently to be traced in a barbaric custom of nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes who leave the dead to lie on the steppe; and we know from Greek sources that this custom was widely diffused among the tribes of eastern Iran.

The next clue towards determining the period of Zoroaster is, that Darius I. and all his successors, as proved by their inscriptions and by Greek testimony, were zealous adherents of the pure word of Zoroastrianism; which consequently must already have been accepted in the west of Iran. That Cyrus too owned allegiance to the creed, cannot be doubted by an unprejudiced mind, although in the dearth of contemporary monuments we possess no proof at first hand. The Assyrian inscriptions demonstrate, however, that Zoroaster's teaching was dominant in Media two centuries before Cyrus. For in the list of Median princes, to which we have already referred, are two bearing the name of Mazdaka—evidently after the god Mazda. Now this name was the invention of Zoroaster himself; and he who names himself after Mazda thereby makes a confession of faith in the religion of Zoroaster whose followers, as we know, termed themselves Mazdayasna, “worshippers of Mazda.”

Thus, if the doctrine of Zoroaster predominated in Media in 714 B.C., obviously his appearance in the rôle of prophet must have been much earlier. A more definite date cannot be deduced from the evidence at our disposal, but his era may safely be placed as far back as 1000 B.C.

The religion which Zoroaster preached was the creation of a single man, who, having pondered long and deeply the problems of existence and the world, propounded the solution he found as a divine revelation. Naturally he starts from the old views, and is indebted to them for many of his tenets and ideas; but out of this material he builds a uniform system which bears throughout the impress of his own intellect. In this world, two groups of powers confront each other in a truceless war, the powers of Good, of Light, of creative Strength, of Life and of Truth, and the powers of Evil, of Darkness, Destruction, Death and Deceit. In the van of the first stands the Holy Spirit (spenta mainyu) or the “Great Wisdom” Mazdao. His helpers and vassals are the six powers of Good Thought (vohu manō, Ὠμανός), of Right Order (asha, Ind. rta, Pers. arta, “lawfulness”), of the Excellent Kingdom (khshathra vairya), of Holy Character (spenta ārmaiti), of Health (haurvatāt), and of Immortality (ameretat). These are comprised under the general title of “undying holy ones” (amesha spenta, amshaspand); and a host of subordinate angels (yazata) are ranked with them. The powers of evil are in all points the opposite of the good; at their head being the Evil Spirit (angra mainyu, Ahriman). These evil demons are identical with the old gods of the popular faith—the devas (div)—while Mazdao bears the name Ahura, above discussed; whence Ahuramazda (Ormuzd).

From this it will be manifest that the figures of Zoroaster's religion are purely abstractions; the concrete gods of vulgar belief being set aside. All those who do not belong to the devils (devas), might be recognized as inferior servants of Ahuramazda: chief among them being the Sun-god Mithras (see Mithras); the goddess of vegetation and fertility, especially of the Oxus-stream, Anāhita Ardvisura (Anaitis); and the Dragon-slayer Verethraghna (Gr. Artagnes), with the god of the intoxicating Haoma (the Indian Soma). In the religion of the people, these divinities always survived; and the popularity of Mithras is evinced by the numerous Aryan proper names thence derived (Mithradates, &c.). The educated community who had embraced the pure doctrine in its completeness scarcely recognized them, and the inscriptions of Darius ignore them. Only once he speaks of “the gods of the clans,” and once of “the other gods which there are.” Not till the time of Artaxerxes II. were Mithra and Anaitis received into the official religion of the Persian kings. But they always played a leading part in the propaganda of the Persian cults in the West.

Only one element in the old Aryan belief was preserved by Zoroaster in all its sanctity: that of Fire—the purest manifestation of Ahuramazda and the powers of Good. Thus fire-altars were everywhere erected; and, to the prophet also, the Fire-kindlers (āthravan) were the ministers and priests of the true religion and the intermediaries between God and man; at last in the popular mind, Zoroastrianism was identified with Fire-worship pure and simple,—inadequate though the term in reality is, as a description of its essentials.

Midway in this opposition of the powers of Good and Evil, man is placed. He has to choose on which side he will stand: he is called to serve the powers of Good: his duty lies in speaking the truth and combating the lie. And this is fulfilled when he obeys the cornmands of law and the true order; when he tends his cattle and fields, in contrast with the lawless and predatory nomad (Dahae); when he wars on all harmful and evil creatures, and on the devil-worshippers; when he keeps free from pollution the pure creations of Ahuramazda—fire foremost, but also earth and water; and, above all, when he practises the Good and True in thought, word and work. And as his deeds are, so shall be his fate and his future lot on the Day of judgment; when he must cross the Bridge Cinvat, which, according to his works, will either guide him to the Paradise of Ahuramazda or precipitate him to the Hell of Ahriman. Obviously, it was through this preaching of a judgment to come and a direct moral responsibility of the individual man, that, like Mahomet among the Arabs, Zoroaster and his disciples gained their adherents and exercised their greatest influence.

In this creed of Zoroastrianism three important points are especially to be emphasized: for on them depend its peculiar characteristics and historical significance:—

1. The abstractions which it preaches are not products of metaphysical speculation, as in India, but rather the ethical forces which dominate human life. They impose a duty upon man, and enjoin on him a positive line of action—a definite activity in the world. And this world he is not to eschew, like the Brahman and the Buddhist, but to work in it, enjoying existence and life to the full. Thus a man's birthday is counted the highest festival (Herod. i. 133); and thus the joie de vivre, rich banquets and carousals are not rejected by the Persian as godless and worldly, but are even prescribed by his religion. To create offspring and people the world with servants of Ahuramazda is the duty of every true believer.[18]

2. This religion grew up in the midst of a settled peasant population, whose mode of life and views it regards as the natural disposition of things. Consequently, it is at once a product of, and a main factor in civilization; and is thereby sharply differentiated from the Israelite religion, with whose moral precepts it otherwise coincides so frequently.

3. The preaching of Zoroaster is directed to each individual man, and requires of him that he shall choose his position with regard to the fundamental problems of life and religion. Thus, even though it arose from national views, in its essence it is not national (as, for instance, the Israelite creed), but individualistic, and at the same time universal. From the first, it aims at propaganda; and the nationality of the convert is a matter of indifference. So Zoroaster himself converted the Turanian Fryana with his kindred (see above); and the same tendency to proselytize alien peoples survived in his religion. Zoroastrianism, in fact, is the first creed to work by missions or to lay claim to universality of acceptance. It was, however, only natural that its adherents should be won, first and chiefly, among the countrymen of the prophet, and its further success in gaining over all the Iranian tribes gave it a national stamp. So the Susan translation of Darius' Behistun inscription terms Ahuramazda “the god of the Aryans.” Thus the creed became a powerful factor in the development of an united Iranian nationality.

That a religion, which lays its chief stress upon moral precepts, may readily develop into casuistry and external formalism, with an infinity of minute prescriptions, injunctions on purity and the like, is well known. In the Avesta all these recur ad nauseam, so much so that the primitive spirit of the religion is stifled beneath them, as the doctrine of the ancient prophets was stifled in Judaism and the Talmud. The Sassanid Empire, indeed, is completely dominated by this formalism and ritualism; but the earlier testimony of Darius in his inscriptions and the statements in Herodotus enable us still to recognize the original healthy life of a religion capable of awakening the enthusiastic devotion of the inner man. Its formal character naturally germinated in the priesthood (Herod. i. 140; cf. Strabo xv. 733, &c.). The priests diligently practise all the precepts of their ritual—e.g. the extermination of noxious animals, and the exposure of corpses to the dogs and birds, that earth may not be polluted by their presence. They have advice for every contingency in life, and can say with precision when a man has been defiled and how he may be cleansed again; they possess an endless stock of formulae for prayer, and of sentences which serve for protection against evil spirits and may be turned to purposes of magic.

How the doctrine overspread the whole of Iran, we do not know. In the West, among the Medes and Persians, the guardianship and ministry of Zoroastrianism is vested in an exclusive priesthood—the Magians. Whence this name—unknown as already mentioned, to the Avesta—took its rise, we have no knowledge. Herodotus (i. 101) includes the Magians in his list of Median tribes; and it is probable that they and their The Magians. teaching reached the Persians from Media. At all events, they play here not merely the rôle of the “Fire-kindlers” (āthravan) in the Avesta, but are become an hereditary sacerdotal caste, acting an important part in the state—advisers and spiritual guides to the king, and so forth. With them the ritualism and magical character, above mentioned, are fully developed. In the narrations of Herodotus, they interpret dreams and predict the future; and in Greece, from the time of Herodotus and Sophocles (Oed. Tyr. 387) onward, the word Magian connotes a magician-priest.

See further, Zoroaster and works there quoted.

IV. Beginnings of History.—A connected chain of historical evidence begins with the time when under Shalmaneser (Salmanassar II.), the Assyrians in 836 B.C. began for the first time to penetrate farther into the mountains of the east; and there, in addition to several non-Iranian peoples, subdued a few Median tribes. These Assyrian Conquest of Media. wars were continued under successive kings, till the Assyrian power in these regions attained its zenith under Sargon (q.v.), who (715 B.C.) led into exile the Median chief Dayuku (see Deioces), a vassal of the Minni (Mannaeans), with all his family, and subjected the princes of Media as far as the mountain of Bikni (Elburz) and the border of the great desert. At that time twenty-eight Median “town-lords” paid tribute to Nineveh; two years later, (713 B.C.) no fewer than forty-six. Sargon’s successors, down to Assur-bani-pal (668–626 B.C.), maintained and even augmented their suzerainty over Media, in spite of repeated attempts to throw off the yoke in conjunction with the Mannaeans, the Saparda, the Cimmerians—who had penetrated into the Armenian mountains—and others. Not till the last years of Assur-bani-pal, on which the extant Assyrian annals are silent, can an independent Median Empire have arisen.

As to the history of this empire, we have an ancient account in Herodotus, which, with a large admixture of the legendary, still contains numerous historical elements, and a completely fanciful account from Ctesias, preserved in Diodorus (ii. 32 sqq.) and much used by later writers. In the latter Nineveh is destroyed by the Mede Arbaces The Median Empire. and the Babylonian Belesys about 880 B.C., a period when the Assyrians were just beginning to lay the foundations of their power. Arbaces is then followed by a long list of Median kings, all of them fabulous. On the other hand, according to Herodotus the Medes revolt from Assyria about 710 B.C., that is to say, at the exact time when they were subdued by Sargon. Deioces founds the monarchy; his son Phraortes begins the work of conquest; and his son Cyaxares is first overwhelmed by the Scythians, then captures Nineveh, and raises Media to a great power. A little supplementary information may be gleaned from the inscriptions of King Nabonidus of Babylon (555–539) and from a few allusions in the Old Testament. Of the Median Empire itself we do not possess a single monument. Consequently its history still lies in complete obscurity (cf. Media, Deioces; Phraortes, Cyaxares).

The beginnings of the Median monarchy can scarcely go farther back than 640 B.C. To all appearance, the insurrection against Assyria must have proceeded from the desert tribe of the Manda, mentioned by Sargon: for Nabonidus invariably describes the Median kings as “kings of the Manda.” According to the account of Herodotus, the dynasty was derived from Deioces, the captive of Sargon, whose descendants may have found refuge in the desert. The first historical king would seem to have been Phraortes, who probably succeeded in subduing the small local princes of Media and in rendering himself independent of Assyria. Further development was arrested by the Scythian invasion described by Herodotus. We know from Zephaniah and Jeremiah that these northern barbarians, in 626 B.C., overran and harried Syria and Palestine (cf. Cyaxares; Jews). With these inroads of the Cimmerians and Scythians (see Scythia), we must doubtless connect the great ethnographical revolution in the north of anterior Asia; the Indo-European Armenians (Hask), displacing the old Alarodians (Urartu, Ararat), in the country which has since borne their name; and the entry of the Cappadocians—first mentioned in the Persian period—into the east of Asia Minor. The Scythian invasion evidently contributed largely to the enfeeblement of the Assyrian Empire: for in the same year the Chaldaean Nabopolassar founded the New-Babylonian empire; and in 606 B.C. Cyaxares captured and destroyed Nineveh and the other Assyrian cities. Syria and the south he abandoned to Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadrezzar; while, on the other hand, Assyria proper, east of the Tigris, the north of Mesopotamia with the town of Harran (Carrhae) and the mountains of Armenia were annexed by the Medes. Cappadocia also fell before Cyaxares; in a war with the Lydian Empire the decisive battle was broken off by the celebrated eclipse of the sun on the 28th of May 585 B.C., foretold by Thales (Herod. i. 74). After this a peace was arranged by Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and Syennesis of Cilicia, recognizing the Halys as the borderline. To the east, the Median Empire extended far over Iran, even the Persians owning its sway. Ecbatana (q.v.) became the capital.

Of the states which arose out of the shattered Assyrian Empire (Media, Babylon, Egypt, Cilicia and Lydia), Media was by far the strongest. In Babylon the kings feared, and the exiled Jews hoped, an attack from the Medes (cf. Isa. xiii., xiv., xxi.; Jer. l., li.); and Nebuchadrezzar sought by every means—great fortifications, canals and so forth—to secure his empire against the menace from the north. He succeeded in maintaining the status quo practically unimpaired, additional security being found in intermarriage between the two dynasties. In this state of equilibrium the great powers of Anterior Asia remained during the first half of the 6th century.

V. The Persian Empire of the Achaemenids.—The balance, however, was disturbed in 553 B.C., when the Persian Cyrus, king of Anshan in Elam (Susiana), revolted against his suzerain Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, and three years later defeated him at Pasargadae (q.v.).[19] Shortly afterwards Astyages was taken prisoner, Conquests of Cyrus and Cambyses. Ecbatana reduced, and the Median Empire replaced by the Persian. The Persian tribes were welded by Cyrus into a single nation, and now became the foremost people in the world (see Persis and Cyrus). At first Nabonidus of Babylon hailed the fall of the Medes with delight and utilized the opportunity by occupying Harran (Carrhae). But before long he recognized the danger threatened from that quarter. Cyrus and his Persians paid little heed to the treaties which the Median king had concluded with the other powers; and the result was a great coalition against him, embracing Nabonidus of Babylon, Amasis of Egypt, Croesus of Lydia, and the Spartans, whose highly efficient army seemed to the Oriental states of great value. In the spring of 546 B.C., Croesus opened the attack. Cyrus flung himself upon him, beat him at Pteria in Cappadocia and pursued him to Lydia. A second victory followed on the banks of the Pactolus; by the autumn of 546 Sardis had already fallen and the Persian power advanced at a bound to the Mediterranean. In the course of the next few years the Greek littoral towns were reduced, as also the Carians and Lycians. The king of Cilicia (Syennesis) voluntarily acknowledged the Persian suzerainty. In 539 Nabonidus was defeated and Babylon occupied, while, with the Chaldean Empire, Syria and Palestine also became Persian (see Jews). The east of Iran was further subdued, and, after Cyrus met his end (528 B.C.) in a war against the eastern Nomads (Dahae, Massagetae), his son Cambyses conquered Egypt (525 B.C.). Cyprus and the Greek islands on the coast of Asia Minor also submitted, Samos being taken by Darius. On the other hand, an expedition by Cambyses against the Ethiopian kingdom of Napata and Meroe came to grief in Nubia. The usurpation of Smerdis (522–521 B.C.) and his death at the hands of Darius was the signal for numerous insurrections in Babylon, Susiana, Persis, Media, Armenia and many of the Eastern provinces. But, within two years (521–519), they were all crushed by Darius and his generals.

The causes of this astonishing success, which, in the brief space of a single generation, raised a previously obscure and secluded tribe to the mastery of the whole Orient, can only be partially discerned from the evidence at our disposal. The decisive factor was of course their military superiority. The chief weapon of the Persians, as of all Iranians, was the Arms and Armour. bow, which accordingly the king himself holds in his portraits, e.g. on the Behistun rock and the coins (darics). In addition to the bow, the Persians carried short lances and short daggers. But it was not by these weapons, nor by hand to hand fighting, that the Persian victories were won. They overwhelmed their enemy under a hail of arrows, and never allowed him to come to close quarters. While the infantry kneeled to shoot, the cavalry swarmed round the hostile squadrons, threw their lines into confusion, and completed their discomfiture by a vigorous pursuit. In a charge the infantry also might employ lance and dagger; but the essential point was that the archers should be mobile and their use of the bow unhampered.

Consequently, only a few distinguished warriors wore shirts of mail. For purposes of defence the rank and file merely carried a light hide-covered shield; which the infantry, in shooting, planted before them as a sort of barrier against the enemy’s missiles. Thus the Persian army was lost, if heavy-armed hoplites succeeded in gaining their lines. In spite of all their bravery, they succumbed to the Greek phalanx, when once the generalship of a Miltiades or a Pausanias had brought matters to a hand to hand conflict; and it was with justice that the Greeks—Aeschylus, for instance—viewed their battles against the Persian as a contest between spear and bow. None the less, till Marathon the Persians were successful in discomfiting every enemy before he could close, whether that enemy consisted of similarly accoutred bowmen (as the Medes), of cavalry armed with the lance (as the Lydians), or of heavily armoured warriors (as the Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks).

To all this should be added the superiority of their leaders; Cyrus especially must have been an exceedingly able general. Obviously, also, he must have understood the art of organizing his people and arousing the feeling of nationality and the courage of self-sacrifice. In his time the Persians were a strong manly peasantry, domiciled in a healthy climate and habituated to all hardships—a point repeatedly emphasized, in the tales preserved by Herodotus, as the cause of their successes (e.g. Herod, ix. 122). Herodotus, however, also records (i. 135) that the Persians were “of all mankind the readiest to adopt foreign customs, good or bad,” a sentence which is equally applicable to the Romans, and which in the case of both nations goes far to explain, not merely their successes, but also the character of their empires.

The fundamental features of the imperial organization must have been due to Cyrus himself. Darius followed in his steps and completed the vast structure. His rôle, indeed, was peculiarly that of supplementing and perfecting the work of his great predecessor. The organization of the empire is planned throughout on broad, free lines; there Organization
of Darius.
is nothing mean and timorous in it. The great god Ahuramazda, whom king and people alike acknowledge, has given them dominion “over this earth afar, over many peoples and tongues;” and the consciousness is strong in them that they are masters of the world. Thus their sovereign styles himself “the king of kings” and “the king of the lands”—that is to say, of the whole civilized world. For the provinces remaining unsubdued on the extreme frontiers to the west, the north and the east are in their view almost negligible quantities. And far removed as the Persians are from disavowing their proud sense of nationality (“a Persian, the son of a Persian, an Aryan of Aryan stock” says Darius of himself in the inscription on his tomb)—yet equally vivid is the feeling that they rule the whole civilized world, that their task is to reduce it to unity, and that by the will of Ahuramazda they are pledged to govern it aright.

This is most clearly seen in the treatment of the subject races. In contrast with the Assyrians and the Romans the Persians invariably conducted their wars with great humanity. The vanquished kings were honourably dealt with, the enemy’s towns were spared, except when grave offences and insurrections, as at Miletus and Subject Nations. Athens, rendered punishment imperative; and their inhabitants were treated with mildness. Like Cyrus, all his successors welcomed members of the conquered nationalities to their service, employed them as administrators or generals and made them grants of land: and this not only in the case of Medes, but also of Armenians, Lydians, Jews and Greeks. The whole population of the empire was alike bound to military service. The subject-contingents stood side by side with the native Persian troops; and the garrisons—in Egypt, for instance—were composed of the most varied nationalities.

Among the subject races the Medes particularly stood high in favour. Darius in his inscriptions always names them immediately after the Persians. They were the predecessors of the Persians in the empire and the more civilized people. Their institutions, court ceremonial and dress were all adopted by the Achaemenids. Thus the tribal distinctions began to recede, and the ground was prepared for that amalgamation of the Iranians into a single, uniform nation, which under the Sassanids was completely perfected—at least for west of Iran.

The lion’s share, indeed, falls to the dominant race itself. The inhabitants of Persis proper—from which the eastern tribes of Carmanians, Utians, &c., were excluded and formed into a separate satrapy—pay no taxes. Instead, they bring the best of their possessions (e.g. a particularly fine fruit) as a gift to their king The Persians. on festival days; peasants meeting him on his excursions do the same (Plut. Artax. 4. 5; Dinon ap. Aelian. var. hist. i. 31; Xen. Cyr. viii. 5, 21. 7, 1). In recompense for this, he distributes on his return rich presents to every Persian man and woman—the women of Pasargadae, who are members of Cyrus’s tribe, each receiving a piece of gold (Nic. Dam. fr. 66. Plut. Alex. 69). In relation to his Persians, he is always the people’s king. At his accession he is consecrated in the temple of a warrior-goddess (Anaitis?) at Pasargadae, and partakes of the simple meal of the old peasant days—a mess of figs, terebinths and sour milk (Plut. Artax. 3). The Persians swear allegiance to him and pray to Ahuramazda for his life and the welfare of the people, while he vows to protect them against every attack, and to judge and govern them as did his fathers before him (Herod, i. 132; Xen. Cyr. xviii. 5, 25, 27). For helpers he has at his side the “law-bearers” (databara Dan. iii. 2, and in Babyl. documents; cf. Herod, iii. 31, v. 25, vii. 194; Esther i. 13, &c.). These the Persian judges are nominated by the king for life, and generally bequeath their office to their sons. The royal decision is based on consultation with the great ones of his people: and such is the case with his officials and governors everywhere (cf. the Book of Ezra).

Every Persian able to bear arms is bound to serve the king—the great landowners on horseback, the commonalty on foot. The noble and well-to-do, who need not till their fields in person, are pledged to appear at court as frequently as possible. Their children are brought up in company with the princes “at the gates of the king,” instructed in the handling of arms, in riding and hunting, and introduced to the service of the state and the knowledge of the law, as well as the commandments of religion. Then such as prove their worth are called to high office and rewarded, generally with grants of land.

The highest rank was held by the descendants of the six great families, whose heads stood by Darius at the killing of the Magian. The Greeks class them and the king together, under the name of “the seven Persians.” These enjoyed the right of entering the presence unannounced, and possessed princely estates in the provinces. Besides these, however, numbers of other Persians were dispatched to the provinces, settled there, and endowed with lands. There existed, in fact, under the Achaemenids a strong colonizing movement, diffused through the whole empire; traces of this policy occur more especially in Armenia, Cappadocia and Lycia, but also in the rest of Asia Minor, and not rarely in Syria and Egypt. These colonists formed the nucleus of the provincial military levy, and were a tower of strength to the Persian dominion. They composed, moreover, the Persian council, and vice-regal household of the Satraps, exactly as the Persians of the home-country composed that of the king.

Though the world-empire of Persia was thus deeply impressed by a national character, care was nevertheless exercised that the general duties and interests of the subject races should receive due consideration. We find their representatives, side by side with the Persians, occupying every sort of position in the regal and vice-regal courts. They take their part in the councils of the satraps, precisely as they do in military service (cf. the evidence of Ezra); and they, too, are rewarded by bounties and estates. To wield a peaceful authority over all the subjects of the empire, to reward merit, and to punish transgression—such is the highest task of king and officials.

On his native soil Cyrus built himself a town, with a palace and a tomb, in the district of Pasargadae (now the ruins of Royal Residences. Murghab). This Darius replaced by a new capital, deeper in the centre of the country, which bore the name “Persian” (Pārsa), the Persepolis (q.v.) of the later Greeks. But the district of Persis was too remote to be the administrative centre of a world-empire. The natural centre lay, rather, in the ancient fertile tract on the lower Tigris and Euphrates. The actual capital of the empire was therefore Susa, where Darius I. and Artaxerxes II. erected their magnificent palaces. The winter months the kings chiefly spent in Babylon; the hot summer, in the cooler situation of Ecbatana, where Darius and Xerxes built a residence on Mt Elvend, south of the city. From a palace of Artaxerxes II. in Ecbatana itself, the fragments of a few inscribed columns (now in the possession, of Mr Lindo Myers and published by Evetts in the Zeitschr. f. Assyr. V.) have been preserved. To Persis and Persepolis the kings paid only occasional visits especially at their coronations.

Within the empire, the two great civilized states incorporated by Cyrus and Cambyses, Babylon and Egypt, occupied a position Babylonia and Egypt. of their own. After his defeat of Nabonidus, Cyrus proclaimed himself “King of Babel”; and the same title was born by Cambyses, Smerdis and Darius. So, in Egypt, Cambyses adopted in full the titles of the Pharaohs. In this we may trace a desire to conciliate the native population, with the object of maintaining the fiction that the old state still continued. Darius went still farther. He encouraged the efforts of the Egyptian priesthood in every way, built temples, and enacted new laws in continuance of the old order. In Babylon his procedure was presumably similar, though here we possess no local evidence. But he lived to see that his policy had missed its goal. In 486 B.C. Egypt revolted and was only reduced by Xerxes in 484. It was this, probably, that induced him in 484 to renounce his title of “king of Babel,” and to remove from its temple the golden statue of Bel-Marduk (Merodach), whose hands the king was bound to clasp on the first day of each year. This proceeding led to two insurrections in Babylon (probably in 484 and 479 B.C.), which were speedily repressed. After that the “kingship of Babel” was definitely abolished. In Egypt the Persian kings still retained the style of the Pharaohs; but we hear no more of concessions to the priesthood or to the old institutions, and, apart from the great oasis of el-Kharga, no more temples were erected (see Egypt: History).

At the head of the court and the imperial administration stands the commandant of the body-guard—the ten thousand The Vizier and other Officials. “Immortals,” often depicted in the sculptures of Persepolis with lances surmounted by golden apples. This grandee, whom the Greeks termed “Chiliarch,” corresponds to the modern vizier. In addition to him, we find seven councillors (Ezra vii. 14; cf. Esther i. 14). Among the other officials, the “Eye of the King” is frequently mentioned. To him was entrusted the control of the whole empire and the superintendence of all officials.

The orders of the court were issued in a very simple form of the cuneiform script, probably invented by the Medes. This comprised Official Languages. 36 signs, almost all of which denote single sounds. In the royal inscriptions, a translation into Susan (Elamitic) and Babylonian was always appended to the Persian text. In Egypt one in hieroglyphics was added, as in the inscriptions of the Suez canal; in the Grecian provinces, another in Greek (e.g. the inscription of Darius on the Bosporus, Herod. iv. 37, cf. iv. 91). The cuneiform script could only be written on stone or clay. Thus there has been discovered in Babylon a copy of the Behistun (q.v.) inscription preserved on a block of dolerite (Weissbach, Babylonische Miscellen. p. 24). For administrative purposes, however, it would seem that this inconvenient material was not employed; its place being taken by skins (διφθέραι, parchment), the use of which was adopted from the western peoples of the empire. On these were further written the journals and records kept at the court (cf. Diod. ii. 22, 32; Ezra iv. 15, v. 17, vi. 2; Esther vi. 1, ii. 23). With such materials the cuneiform script could not be used; instead, the Persian language was written in Aramaic characters, a method which later led to the so-called Pahlavi, i.e. Parthian script. This mode of writing was obviously alone employed in the state-services since Darius I.; and so maybe explained the fact that, under the Achaemenids, the Persian language rapidly declined, and, in the inscriptions of Artaxerxes III., only appears in an extremely neglected guise (see Cuneiform Inscriptions, Alphabet).

Side by side with the Persian, the Aramaic, which had long been widely diffused as the speech of commerce, enjoyed currency in all the western half of the empire as a second dominant language. Thus all deeds, enactments and records designed for these provinces were furnished with an official Aramaic version (Ezra iv. 7). Numerous documents in this tongue, dating from the Persian period, have been discovered in Egypt (cf. Sayce and Cowley, Aramaic Papyri discovered at Assuan 1906, and the coins minted by the satraps and generals usually bear an Aramaic inscription. (So, also, a lion-weight from Abydos, in the British Museum.) The Demotic in Egypt was employed in private documents alone. Only in the Hellenic provinces of the empire Greek replaced Aramaic (cf. the letter to Pausanias in Thuc. i. 129; an edict to Gadatas in Magnesia, Cousin et Deschamps, Bulletin de corresp. hellénique xii. 530, Dittenberger, Sylloge 2; so, also, on coins)—a clear proof that the Persians had already begun to recognize the independent and important position of Greek civilization.[20]

Darius I. divided the Persian Empire into twenty great provinces, satrapies, with a “guardian of the country” (khshathrapavan; The Satrapies. see Satrap) at the head of each. A list is preserved in Herodotus (iii. 89 sqq.); but the boundaries were frequently changed. Each satrapy was again subdivided into several minor governorships. The satrap is the head of the whole administration of his province. He levies the taxes, controls the legal procedure, is responsible for the security of roads and property, and superintends the subordinate districts. The heads of the great military centres of the empire and the commandants of the royal fortresses are outside his jurisdiction: yet the satraps are entitled to a body of troops of their own, a privilege which they used to the full, especially in later periods. The satrap is held in his position as a subject by the controlling machinery of the empire, especially the “Eye of the King”; by the council of Persians in his province with whom he is bound to debate all matters of importance; and by the army: while in the hands of the messengers (Pers. ἀστάνδαι or ἄγγαροι—a Babylonian word: see Angaria) the government dispatches travel “swifter than the crane” along the great imperial highways, which are all provided with regular postal stations (cf. the description of the route from Susa to Sardis in Herod. v. 52).

Within the satrapies the subject races and communities occupied a tolerably independent position; for instance, the Subject Communities. Jews, under their elders and priests, who were even able to convene a popular assembly in Jerusalem (cf. the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah). Obviously also, they enjoyed, as a rule, the privilege of deciding law-suits among themselves; their general situation being similar to that of the Christian nationalities under the Ottomans, or to that of many tribes in the Russian Empire at the present day. The pressure of despotism was manifest, not so much in that the king and his officials consistently interfered in individual cases, but that they did so on isolated and arbitrary occasions, and then swept aside the privileges of the subject, who was impotent to resist.

For the rest, the subject population falls into a number of distinct groups. In the desert (as among the Arabian and Turanian nomads), in wild and sequestered mountains (as in Zagros in north Media, and Mysia, Pisidia, Paphlagonia and Bithynia in Asia Minor), and also in many Iranian tribes, the old tribal constitution, with the chieftain as its head, was left intact even under the imperial suzerainty. The great majority of the civilized provinces were subdivided into local administrative districts governed by officials of the king and his satraps. These the Greeks named ἔθνη, “peoples.” Within these, again, there might lie large town settlements whose internal affairs were controlled by the elders or the officials of the community: as, for instance, Babylon, Jerusalem, the Egyptian cities, Tarsus, Sardis and others. On the same footing were the spiritual principalities, with their great temple-property; as Bambyce in Syria, the two Comanas in Cappadocia, and so forth. Besides these, however, vast districts were either converted into royal domains (παράδεισοι) with great parks and hunting grounds under royal supervision, or else bestowed by the king on Persians or deserving members of the subject-races (the “benefactors”) as their personal property. Many of these estates formed respectable principalities: e.g. those of the house of Otanes in Cappadocia, of Hydarnes in Armenia, Pharnabazus in Phrygia, Demaratus in Teuthrania, Themistocles in Magnesia and Lampsacus. They were absolute private property, handed down from father to son for centuries, and in the Hellenistic period not rarely became independent kingdoms. These potentates were styled by the Greeks δυνάσται or μόναρχοι.

The last class, quite distinct from all these organizations, was formed by the city-states (πόλεις) with an independent The City States. constitution—whether a monarchy (as in Phoenicia), an aristocracy (as in Lycia), or a republic with council and popular assembly (as in the Greek towns). The essential point was that they enjoyed a separate legalized organization (autonomy). This was only to be seen in the extreme western provinces of the empire among the Phoenicians, Greeks and Lycians, whose cities were essentially distinct from those of the east; which, indeed, to Greek eyes, were only great villages (κωμοπόλεις). It is readily intelligible that their character should have proved practically incomprehensible to the Persians, with whom they came into perpetual collision. These sought, as a rule, to cope with the difficulty by transferring the government to individual persons who enjoyed their confidence: the “tyrants” of the Greek towns. Mardonius, alone, after his suppression of the Ionic revolt—which had originated with these very tyrants—made an attempt to govern them by the assistance of the democracy (492 B.C.).

The provinces of the Persian Empire differed as materially in economy as in organization. In the extreme west, a money currency in its most highly developed form—that of coinage minted by the state, or an autonomous community—had developed since the Commerce and Finance. 7th century among the Lydians and Greeks. In the main portion, however, of the Oriental world—Egypt, Syria, Phoenicia and Babylonia—the old mode of commerce was still in vogue, conducted by means of gold and silver bars, weighed at each transaction. Indeed, a money currency only began to make headway in these districts in the 4th century B.C. In the eastern provinces, on the other hand, the primitive method of exchange by barter still held the field. Only in the auriferous and civilized frontier districts of India (the Punjab) did a system of coinage find early acceptance. There Persian and Attic money was widely distributed, and imitations of it struck, in the fifth and fourth pre-Christian centuries.

Thus the empire was compelled to grapple with all these varied conditions and to reconcile them as best it might. At the court, “natural economy” was still the rule. The officials and Oriental troops received payment in kind. They were fed “by the table of the king,” from which 15,000 men daily drew their sustenance (cf. Heraclides of Cyme in Athen. iv. 145 B, &c.) and were rewarded by gifts and assignments of land. The Greek mercenaries, on the contrary, had to be paid in currency; nor could the satraps of the west dispense with hard cash. The king, again, needed the precious metals, not merely for bounties and rewards, but for important enterprises in which money payment was imperative. Consequently, the royal revenues and taxes were paid partly in the precious metals, partly in natural produce—horses and cattle, grain, clothing and its materials, furniture and all articles of industry (cf. Theopomp. fr. 124, 125, &c). The satraps, also, in addition to money payments, levied contributions “for their table,” at which the officials ate (Nehem. v. 14).

The precious metals brought in by the tribute were collected in the great treasure-houses at Susa, Persepolis, Pasargadae and Money and Coinage. Ecbatana, where gigantic masses of silver and, more especially, of gold, were stored in bullion or partially wrought into vessels (Herod, iii. 96; Strabo xv. 731, 735; Arrian iii. 16, &c.); exactly as is the case to-day in the shah's treasure-chamber (Curzon, Persia, ii. 484). It is also observable that the conjunction of payments in kind and money taxes still exists. The province of Khorasan, for instance, with some half million inhabitants, paid in 1885 £154,000 in gold, and in addition natural produce to the value of £43,000 (Curzon, op. cit. i. 181, ii. 380). When the king required money he minted as much as was necessary. A reform in the coinage was effected by Darius, who struck the Daric (Pers. Zariq, i.e. “piece of gold”; the word has nothing to do with the name of Darius), a gold piece of 130 grains (value about 23s.); this being equivalent to 20 silver pieces (“Median shekels,” σίγλοι) of 86.5 grains (value according to the then rate of silver—13⅓ silver to 1 gold—about 1s. 2d.). The coining of gold was the exclusive prerogative of the king; silver could be coined by the satraps, generals, independent communities and dynasts.

The extent of the Persian Empire was, in essentials, defined by the great conquests of Cyrus and Cambyses. Darius was Imperial Policy. no more a conquistador than Augustus. Rather the task he set himself was to round off the empire and secure its borders: and for this purpose in Asia Minor and Armenia he subdued the mountain-tribes and advanced the frontier as far as the Caucasus; Colchis alone remaining an independent kingdom under the imperial suzerainty. So, too, he annexed the Indus valley and the auriferous hill-country of Kafiristan and Cashmir (Κάσπιοι or Κάσπειροι, Herod. iii. 93, vii. 67, 86; Steph. Byz.), as well as the Dardae in Dardistan on the Indus (Ctesias, Ind. fr. 12. 70, &c.). From this point he directed several campaigns against the Amyrgian Sacae, on the Pamir Plateau and northwards, whom he enumerates in his list of subject races, and whose mounted archers formed a main division of the armies dispatched against the Greeks. It was obviously an attempt to take the nomads of the Turanian steppe in the rear and to reduce them to quiescence, which led to his unfortunate expedition against the Scythians of the Russian steppes (c. 512 B.C.; cf. Darius).

Side by side, however, with these wars, we can read, even in the scanty tradition at our disposal, a consistent effort to further the great civilizing mission imposed on the empire. In the district of Herat, Darius established a great water-basin, designed to facilitate the cultivation of the steppe (Herod. iii. 117). He had the course of the Indus explored by the Carian captain Scylax (q.v.) of Caryanda, who then navigated the Indian Ocean back to Suez (Herod. iv. 44) and Wrote an account of his voyage in Greek. The desire to create a direct communication between the seclusion of Persis and the commerce of the world is evident in his foundation of several harbours, described by Nearchus, on the Persian coast. But this design is still more patent in his completion of a great canal, already begun by Necho, from the Nile to Suez, along which several monuments of Darius have been preserved. Thus it was possible, as says the remnant of an hieroglyphic inscription there discovered, “for ships to sail direct from the Nile to Persia, over Saba.” In the time of Herodotus the canal was in constant use (ii. 158, iv. 39): afterwards, when Egypt regained her independence, it decayed, till restored by the second Ptolemy. Even the circumnavigation of Africa was attempted under Xerxes (Herod. iv. 43).

It has already been mentioned, that, in his efforts to conciliate the Egyptians, Darius placed his chief reliance on the priesthood: and the same tendency runs throughout the imperial policy toward the conquered races. Thus Cyrus himself gave the exiled Jews in Babylon permission to return and rebuild Jerusalem. Darius allowed the restoration of the Temple; and Artaxerxes I, by the protection accorded to Ezra and Nehemiah, made the foundation of Judaism possible (see Jews: §§ 19 sqq.). Analogously in an edict, of which a later copy is preserved in an inscription (see above), Darius commands Gadatas, the governor of a domain (παράδεισοι) in Magnesia on the Maeander, to observe scrupulously the privileges of the Apollo-sanctuary. With all the Greek oracles—even those in the mother-country—the Persians were on the best of terms. And since these might reasonably expect an enormous extension of their influence from the establishment of a Persian dominion, we ind them all zealously medizing during the expedition of Xerxes.

For the development of the Asiatic religions, the Persian Empire was of prime importance. The definite erection of a single, vast, world-empire cost them their original connexion with the state, and compelled them in future to address themselves, not to the community at large, but to individuals, to promise, not political success nor the independence of the people, Religion. but the welfare of the man. Thus they became at once universal and capable of extension by propaganda; and, with this, of entering into keen competition one with the other. These traits are most clearly marked in Judaism; but, after the Achaemenid period, they are common to all Oriental creeds, though our information as to most is scanty in the extreme.

In this competition of religions that of Iran played a most spirited part. The Persian kings—none more so than Darius, whose religious convictions are enshrined in his inscriptions—and, with the kings, their people, were ardent professors of the pure doctrine of Zoroaster; and the Persians settled in the provinces diffused his creed throughout the whole empire. Thus a strong Persian propagandism arose especially in Armenia and Cappadocia, where the religion took deep root among the people, but also in Lydia and Lycia. In the process, however, important modifications were introduced. In contrast with Judaism, Zoroastrianism did not enter the lists against all gods save its own, but found no difficulty in recognizing them as subordinate powers—helpers and servants of Ahuramazda. Consequently, the foreign creeds often reacted upon the Persian. In Cappadocia, Aramaic inscriptions have been discovered (1900), in which the indigenous god, there termed Bel the king, recognizes the “Mazdayasnian Religion” (Dīn Mazdayasnish)—i.e. the religion of Ahuramazda personified as a woman—as his sister and wife (Lidzbarski, Ephem. f. semit. Epigr. 1. 59 sqq.).

The gorgeous cult of the gods of civilization (especially of Babylon), with their host of temples, images and festivals, exercised a corresponding influence on the mother-country. Moreover, the unadulterated doctrine of Zoroaster could no more become a permanent popular religion than can Christianity. For the masses can make little of abstractions and an omnipotent, omnipresent deity; they need concrete divine powers, standing nearer to themselves and their lot. Thus the old figures of the Aryan folk-religion return to the foreground, there to be amalgamated with the Babylonian divinities. The goddess of springs and streams (of the Oxus in particular) and of all fertility—Ardvisura Anahita, Anaitis—is endowed with the form of the Babylonian Ishtar and Belit. She is now depicted as a beautiful and strong woman, with prominent breasts, a golden crown of stars and golden raiment. She is worshipped as the goddess of generation and all sexual life (cf. Herod. i. 131, where the names of Mithras and Anaitis are interchanged); and religious prostitution is transferred to her service (Strabo xi. 532, xii. 559). At her side stands the sun-god Mithras, who is represented as a young and victorious hero. Both deities occupy the very first rank in the popular creed; while to the theologian they are the most potent of the good powers—Mithras being the herald and propagator of the service of Light and the mediator betwixt man and Ahuramazda, who now fades more into the background. Thus, in the subsequent period, the Persian religion appears purely as the religion of Mithras. The festival of Mithras is the chief festival of the empire, at which the king drinks and is drunken, and dances the national dance (Ctes. fr. 55; Duris fr. 13). This development culminated under Artaxerxes II., who, according to Berossus (fr. 16 ap. Clem. Alex. prot. 1. 5, 65), first erected statues to Anaitis in Persegglis, Ecbatana, Bactria, Susa, Babylon, Damascus and Sardis. The truth of this account is proved by the fact that Artaxerxes II. and Artaxerxes III. are the only Achaemenids who, in their inscriptions, invoke Anaitis and Mithra side by side with Ahuramazda. Other gods, who come into prominence, are the dragon-slayer Verethraghna (Artagnes) and the Good Thought (Vohumano, Omanos); and even the Sacaean festival is adopted from Babylon (Berossus fr. 3; Ctes. fr. 16; Strabo xi. 512, &c.). The chief centres of the Persian cults in the west were the district of Acilisene in Armenia (Strabo xi. 532, &c.), the town of Zela in Cappadocia (Strabo xii. 559), and several cities in Lydia.

The position of the Persian monarchy as a world-empire is characteristically emphasized in the buildings of Darius and Xerxes in Persepolis and Susa. The peculiarly national basis, still recognizable in Cyrus’s architecture at Pasargadae, recedes into insignificance. The royal edifices and sculptures are dependent, mainly, on Babylonian models, but, at the same time, Art. we can trace in them the influence of Greece, Egypt and Asia Minor; the last in the rock-sepulchres. All these elements are combined into an organic unity, which achieved the greatest creations that Oriental architecture has found possible. Nevertheless, the result is not a national art, but the art of a world-empire; and it is obvious that foreign craftsmen must have been active in the royal services—among them, the Greek sculptor Telephanes of Phocaea (Pliny xxxiv. 68). So, with the collapse of the empire, the imperial art vanishes also: and when, some 500 years later, a new art arose under the Sassanids, whose achievements stand to those of Achaemenid art in much the same relation as the achievements of the two dynasties to each other, we discover only isolated reminiscences of its predecessor.

For the organization and character of the Persian Empire, see Barnabas Brisson, De regio Persarum principatu libri iii. (1590); Heeren, Ideen über Politik, Handel und Verkehr der alten Welt, i., G. Rawlinson, History of Herodotus, ii. 555 sqq.; Five Eastern Monarchies, iii.; Eduard Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, iii. On the Satrapies, cf. Krumbholz, De Asiae minoris satrapiis persicis (1883). See also Mithras.

3. History of the Achaemenian Empire.—The history of the Persian Empire was often written by the Greeks. The most ancient work preserved is that of Herodotus (q.v.), who supplies rich and valuable materials for the period ending in 479 B.C. These materials are drawn partly from sound tradition, partly from original knowledge—as in the account of the satrapies and their distribution, the royal highway, the nations in Xerxes’ army and their equipment. They also contain much that is admittedly fabulous: for instance, the stories of Cyrus and Croesus, the conquest of Babylon, &c. Forty years later (c. 390 B.C.), the physician Ctesias of Cnidus, who for 17 years (414–398 B.C.) remained in the service of the Great King, composed a great work on the Persian history, known to us from an extract in Photius and numerous fragments. Ctesias (q.v.) possesses a more precise acquaintance with Persian views and institutions than Herodotus; and, where he deals with matters that came under his own cognisance, he gives much useful information. For the early period, on the other hand, he only proves how rapidly the tradition had degenerated since Herodotus, and here his narrations can only be utilized in isolated cases, and that with the greatest caution. Of more value was the great work of Dinon of Colophon (c. 340), which we know from numerous excellent fragments; and on the same level may be placed a few statements from Heraclides of Cyme, which afford specially important evidence on Persian institutions. To these must be added the testimony of the other Greek historians (Thucydides, Ephorus, Theopompus, &c., with the histories of Alexander), and, before all that of Xenophon in the Anabasis and Hellenica. The Cyropaedia is a didactic romance, written with a view to Greek institutions and rarely preserving genuine information on the Persian Empire. Of Oriental sources, only the contemporary books of Ezra and Nehemiah are of much importance: also, a few statements in the much later Esther romance. Berossus’s history of Babylon contained much valuable and trustworthy information, but next to nothing has survived. That the native tradition almost entirely forgot the Achaemenid Empire, has been mentioned above. For a more detailed account of these sources see separate articles on Herodotus, &c.; Ezra; and Nehemiah.

Of modern accounts see especially Th. Nöldeke, Aufsätze zur persischen Geschichte (1887). The works of Marquart, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte von Eran (2 pts., 1896–1905), abound in daring theories and must be used with caution. On the chronology, cf. Eduard Meyer, Forschungen zur alten Geschichte, ii.

The external history of the empire is treated under the List of the Kings. of the individual kings (see also history sections of articles Greece; Egypt; &c.). The order is as follows:—

Cyrus (558–528); conquered the Medes in 550; king of Babylon from 538.

Cambyses (528–521).

Smerdis (521).

Darius I. (521–485).

Xerxes I. (485–465).

Artaxerxes I. (465–425).

(Xerxes II. and Secydianus or Sogdianus, 425–424.)

Darius II. Nothus (424–404).

Artaxerxes II. (404–359).

Artaxerxes III. Ochus (359–338).

Arses (338–336).

Darius III. (336–330).

The chronology is exactly verified by the Ptolemaic canon, by numerous Babylonian and a few Egyptian documents, and by the evidence of the Greeks. The present article gives only a brief conspectus of the main events in the history of the empire.

Though, unlike Cyrus and Cambyses, Darius made no new expeditions of conquest, yet a great empire, which is not bounded by another equally great, but touches on many small against tribes and independent communities, is inevitably driven to expansion. We have already seen that the attempt of Darius to control the predatory nomads in the north The Wars against Greece. led to his expedition against the Scythians; this, again, led to the incorporation of Thrace and Macedonia, whose king Perdiccas submitted. And since a great portion of the Mediterranean coast-line belonged to the empire, further complications resulted automatically. In contrast with the Greeks Carthage took the part of Persia. Darius, indeed, numbers the city—under the name of Karka—among his dominions: as also the Maxyans (Maciya) on the Syrtes (Andreas, Verhandl. d. xiii. oriental. Congresses, Hamburg, 1902, p. 97). But, above all, the Greek cities with their endless feuds and violent internal factions, were incessant in their appeals for intervention. Nevertheless, Darius left European Greece to itself, till the support accorded to the Ionian and Carian insurgents by Athens and Eretria (499 B.C.) made war inevitable. But not only the expeditions of Mardonius (492) and Datis (490), but even the carefully prepared campaign of Xerxes, in conjunction with Carthage, completely failed (480–479). On the fields of Marathon and Plataea, the Persian archers succumbed to the Greek phalanx of hoplites; but the actual decision was effected by Themistocles, who had meanwhile created the Athenian fleet which at Salamis proved its superiority over the Perso-Phoenician armada, and thus precluded beforehand the success of the land-forces.

The wreck of Xerxes' expedition is the turning-point in the history of the Persian Empire. The superiority of the Greeks was so pronounced that the Persians never found courage to repeat their attack. On the contrary, in 466 B.C. their army and fleet were again defeated by Cimon on the Eurymedon, the sequel being that the Greek provinces on the Asiatic coast, with all the Thracian possessions, were lost. In itself, indeed, this loss was of no great significance to such a vast empire; and the attempts of Athens to annex Cyprus and conquer the Nile valley, in alliance with the revolted Egyptians, ended in failure. Athens, in fact, had not sufficient strength to undertake a serious invasion of the empire or an extensive scheme of conquest. Her struggles with the other Hellenic states constrained her, by the peace of Callias (448), definitely to renounce the Persian war; to abandon Cyprus and Egypt to the king; and to content herself with his promise—not that he would surrender the littoral towns, but that he would abstain from an armed attack upon them. The really decisive point was, rather, that the disasters of Salamis and Plataea definitely shattered the offensive power of the empire; that the centre of gravity in the world’s history had shifted from Susa and Babylon to the Aegean Sea; and that the Persians were conscious that in spite of all their courage they were henceforward in the presence of an enemy, superior in arms as well as in intellect, whom they could not hope to subdue by their own strength.

Thus the great empire was reduced to immobility and stagnation—a process which was assisted by the deteriorating influences of civilization and world-dominion upon the character of the ruling race. True, the Persians continued to produce brave and honourable men. But the influences of the harem, the eunuchs, and similar Internal State of the Empire. Rebellions. court officials, made appalling progress, and men of energy began to find the temptations of power stronger than their patriotism and devotion to the king. Thus the satraps aspired to independence, not merely owing to unjust treatment, but also to avarice or favourable conditions. As early as 465 B.C., Xerxes was assassinated by his powerful vizier (chiliarch) Artabanus, who attempted to seize the reins of empire in fact, if not in name. A similar instance may be found in Bagoas (q.v.), after the murder of Artaxerxes III. (338 B.C.). To these factors must be added the degeneration of the royal line—a degeneration inevitable in Oriental states. Kings like Xerxes and more especially Artaxerxes I. and Artaxerxes II., so far from being gloomy despots, were good-natured potentates, but weak, capricious and readily accessible to personal influences. The only really brutal tyrants were Darius II., who was completely dominated by his bloodthirsty wife Parysatis, and Artaxerxes III. who, though he shed rivers of blood and all but exterminated his whole family, was successful in once more uniting the empire, which under the feeble sway of his father had been threatened with dissolution.

The upshot of these conditions was, that the empire never again undertook an important enterprise, but neglected more and more its great civilizing mission. In considering, however, the subsequent disorders and wars, it must be borne in mind that they affected only individual portions of the empire, and only on isolated occasions involved more extensive areas in long and serious strife. To most of the provinces the Achaemenid dominion was synonymous with two centuries of peace and order. Naturally, however, the wild tribes of the mountains and deserts, who could be curbed only by strict imperial control, asserted their independence and harassed the neighbouring provinces. Among these tribes were the Carduchians in Zagros, the Cossaeans and Uxians in the interior of Elam, the Cadusians and other non-Aryan tribes in northern Media, the Pisidians, Isaurians and Lycaonians in the Taurus, and the Mysians in Olympus. All efforts to restore order in these districts were fruitless; and when the kings removed their court to Ecbatana, they were actually obliged to purchase a free passage from the mountain tribes (Strabo xi. 524; Arrian iii. 17, 1). The kings (e.g. Artaxerxes II.) repeatedly took the field in great force against the Cadusians, but unsuccessfully. When, in 400 B.C., Xenophon marched with the mercenaries of Cyrus from the Tigris to the Black Sea, the authority of the king was nonexistent north of Armenia, and the tribes of the Pontic mountains, with the Greek cities on the coast, were completely independent. In Paphlagonia, the native dynasts founded a powerful though short-lived kingdom, and the chieftains of the Bithynians were absolutely their own masters. The frontier provinces of India were also lost. Egypt, which had already revolted under Libyan princes in the years 486484, and again with Athenian help in 460–454, finally asserted its independence in 404. Henceforward the native dynasties repelled every attack, till they succumbed once more before Artaxerxes III. and Mentor of Rhodes.

In the other civilized countries, indeed, the old passion for freedom had been completely obliterated; and after the days of Darius I.—apart from the Greek, Lycian and Phoenician towns—not a single people in all these provinces dreamed of shaking off the foreign dominion. All the more clearly, then, was the inner weakness of the empire revealed by the revolts of the satraps. These were facilitated by the custom—quite contrary to the original imperial organization—which entrusted the provincial military commands to the satraps, who began to receive great masses of Greek mercenaries into their service. Under Artaxerxes I. and Darius II., these insurrections were still rare. But when the revolt of the younger Cyrus against his brother (401 B.C.) had demonstrated the surprising ease and rapidity with which a courageous army could penetrate into the heart of the empire—when the whole force of that empire had proved powerless, not only to prevent some 12,000 Greek troops, completely surrounded, cut off from their communications, and deprived through treachery of their leaders, from escaping to the coast, but even to make a serious attack on them—then, indeed, the imperial impotence became manifest. After that, revolts of the satraps in Asia Minor and Syria were of everyday occurrence, and the task of suppressing them was complicated by the foreign wars which the empire had to sustain against Greece and Egypt.

At this very period, however, the foreign policy of the empire gained a brilliant success. The collapse of the Athenian power before Syracuse (413 B.C.) induced Darius II. to order his satraps Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus, in Asia Minor, to collect the tribute overdue from the Greek cities. In alliance with Sparta (see Later Wars with the Greeks. Peace of Antalcidas. Peloponnesian War), Persia intervened in the conflict against Athens, and it was Persian gold that made it possible for Lysander to complete her overthrow (404 B.C.). True, war with Sparta followed immediately, over the division of the spoils, and the campaigns of the Spartan generals in Asia Minor (399–395) were all the more dangerous as they gave occasion to numerous rebellions. But Persia joined the Greek league against Sparta, and in 394 Pharnabazus and Conon annihilated the Lacedaemonian fleet at Cnidus. Thus the Spartan power of offence was crippled; and the upshot of the long-protracted war was that Sparta ruefully returned to the Persian alliance, and by the Peace of Antalcidas (q.v.), concluded with the king in 387 B.C., not only renounced all claims to the Asiatic possessions, but officially proclaimed the Persian suzerainty over Greece. Ninety years after Salamis and Plataea, the goal for which Xerxes had striven was actually attained, and the king's will was law in Greece. In the following decades, no Hellenic state ventured to violate the king's peace, and all the feuds that followed centred round the efforts of the combatants—Sparta, Thebes, Athens and Argos—to draw the royal powers to their side (see Greece: Ancient History).

But, for these successes, the empire had to thank the internecine strife of its Greek opponents, rather than its own strength. Its feebleness, when thrown on its own resources, is evident from the fact that, during the next years, it failed both to reconquer Egypt and to suppress completely King Evagoras of Salamis in Cyprus. The satrap revolts, moreover, assumed more and more formidable proportions, and the Greek states began once more to tamper with them. Thus the reign of Artaxerxes II. ended, in 359 B.C., with a complete dissolution of the imperial authority in the west. His successor, Artaxerxes Ochus, succeeded yet again in restoring the empire in its full extent. In 355 B.C., he spoke the fatal word, which, a second—or rather a third—time, demolished the essentially unsound power of Athens. In 343 he reduced Egypt, and his generals Mentor and Memnon, with his vizier Bagoas (q.v.), crushed once and for all the resistance in Asia Minor. At his death in 338, immediately before the final catastrophe, the empire to all appearances was more powerful and more firmly established than it had been since the days of Xerxes.

These successes, however, were won only by means of Greek armies and Greek generals. And simultaneously the Greek civilization—diffused by mercenaries, traders, artists, prostitutes and slaves,—advanced in ever greater force. In Asia Minor and Phoenicia we can clearly trace the progress of Hellenism (q.v.), especially Progress of Greek Influence. by the coinage. The stamp is cut by Greek hands and the Greek tongue predominates more and more in the inscription. We can see that the victory of Greek civilization had long been prepared on every side. But the vital point is that the absolute superiority of the Hellene was recognized as incontestable on both hands. The Persian sought to protect himself against danger, by employing Greeks in the national service and turning Greek policy to the interests of the empire. In the Greek world itself the disgrace that a people, called to universal dominion and capable of wielding it, should be dependent on the mandate of an impotent Asiatic monarchy, was keenly felt by all who were not yet absorbed in the rivalry of city with city. The spokesman of this national sentiment was Isocrates; but numerous other writers gave expression to it, notably, the historian Callisthenes of Olynthus. Union between Greeks, voluntary or compulsory, and an offensive war against Persia, was the programme they propounded.

Nor was the time for its fulfilment far distant. The new power which now rose to the first rank, created by Philip of Macedon, had no engrained tendency inimical to the Persian Empire. Its immediate programme was rather Macedonian expansion, at the expense of Thrace and Illyria, and the subjection of the Balkan Peninsula. But, Rise of Macedon. in its efforts to extend its power over the Greek states, it was bound to make use of the tendencies which aimed at the unification of Greece for the struggle against Persia: and this ideal demand it dared not reject.

Thus the conflict became inevitable. In 340, Artaxerxes III. and his satraps supported the Greek towns in Thrace—Perinthus and Byzantium—against Macedonian aggression; in 338 he concluded an alliance with Demosthenes. When Philip, after the victory of Chaeronea, had founded the league of Corinth (337) embracing the whole of Greece, he accepted the national programme, and in 336 dispatched his army to Asia Minor. That he never entertained the thought of conquering the whole Persian Empire is certain. Presumably, his ambitions would have been satisfied with the liberation of the Greek cities, and, perhaps, the subjection of Asia Minor as far as the Taurus. With this his dominion would have attained much the same compass as later under Lysimachus; farther than this the boldest hopes of Isocrates never went.

But Philip's assassination in 336 fundamentally altered the situation. In the person of his son, the throne was occupied by a soldier and statesman of genius, saturated with Greek culture and Greek thought, and intolerant of every goal but the highest. To conquer the whole world for Hellenic civilization by the aid of Macedonian spears, and to reduce the whole earth to unity, was the task that this heir of Heracles and Achilles saw before him. This idea of universal conquest was with him a conception much stronger developed than that which had inspired the Achaemenid rulers, and he entered on the project with full consciousness in the strictest sense of the phrase. In fact, if we are to understand Alexander aright, it is fatal to forget that he was overtaken by death, not at the end of his career, but at the beginning, at the age of thirty-three.

VI. The Macedonian Dominion.—How Alexander conquered Persia, and how he framed his world-empire,[21] cannot be related here. The essential fact, however, is that after the victory of Gaugamela (Oct. 1, 331 B.C.) and, still more completely, after the assassination of Darius—avenged according to the Persian laws, on the perpetrators—Alexander Alexander the Great. regarded himself as the legitimate head of the Persian Empire, and therefore adopted the dress and ceremonial of the Persian kings.

With the capture of the capitals, the Persian war was at an end, and the atonement for the expedition of Xerxes was complete—a truth symbolically expressed in the burning of the palace at Persepolis. Now began the world-conquest. For an universal empire, however, the forces of Macedonia and Greece were insufficient; the monarch of a world-empire could not be bound by the limitations imposed on the tribal king of Macedon or the general of a league of Hellenic republics. He must stand as an autocrat, above them and above the law, realizing the theoretical doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, as the true king, who is a god among men, bound no more than Zeus by a law, because “himself he is the law.” Thus the divine kingship of Alexander derives in direct line, not from the Oriental polities—which (Egypt apart) know nothing of royal apotheosis—but from these Hellenic theories of the state. Henceforward it becomes the form of every absolute monarchy in a civilized land, being formally mitigated only in Christian states by the assumption that the king is not God, but king “by the grace of God.” The expedition of 332 B.C. to the shrine of Ammon was a preliminary to this procedure, which, in 324, was sealed by his official elevation to divine rank in all the republics of Greece. To this corresponds the fact that, instead of acting on the doctrines of Aristotle and Callisthenes, and treating the Macedonians and Greeks as masters, the Asiatics as servants, Alexander had impartial recourse to the powers of all his subjects and strove to amalgamate them. In the Persians particularly he sought a second pillar for his world-empire. Therefore, as early as 330 B.C., he drafted 30,000 young Persians, educated them in Greek customs, and trained them to war on the Macedonian model. The Indian campaign showed that his Macedonian troops were in fact inadequate to the conquest of the world, and in the summer of 326 they compelled him to turn back from the banks of the Hyphasis. On his return to Persia, he consummated at Susa (Feb. 324 B.C.) the union of Persian and Macedonian by the great marriage-feast, at which all his superior officers, with some 10,000 more Macedonians, were wedded to Persian wives. The Macedonian veterans were then disbanded, and the Persians taken into his army. Simultaneously, at the Olympian festival of 324, the command was issued to all the cities of Greece to recognize him as god and to receive the exiles home.[22] In 323 B.C. the preparations for the circumnavigation and subjection of Arabia were complete: the next enterprise being the conquest of the West, and the battle for Hellenic culture against Carthage and the Italian tribes. At that point Alexander died in Babylon on the 13th of June 323 B.C.

Alexander left no heir. Consequently, his death not only ended the scheme of universal conquest, but led to an immediate Macedonian reaction. The army, which was considered as the representative of the people, took over the government under the direction of its generals. The Persian wives were practically all The Kingdoms of
the Diadochi.
discarded and the Persian satraps removed—at least from all important provinces. But the attempt to maintain the empire in its unity proved impracticable; and almost immediately there began the embittered war, waged for several decades by the generals (diadochi), for the inheritance of the great king.[23] It was soon obvious that the eastern rulers, at all events, could not dispense with the native element. Peucestas, the governor of Persis, there played the rôle of Alexander and won the Persians completely to his side; for which he was dismissed by Antigonus in 315 (Diod. xix. 48). A similar position was attained by Seleucus—the only one of the diadochi, who had not divorced his Persian wife, Apama—in Babylonia, which he governed from 319 to 316 and regained in the autumn of 312. While Antigonus, who, since 315, had striven to win the kingdom of Alexander for himself—was detained by the war with his rivals in the west, Seleucus, with Babylon as his headquarters, conquered the whole of Iran as far as the Indus. In northern Media alone, which lay outside the main scene of operations and had only been partially subject to the later Achaemenids, the Persian satrap Atropates, appointed by Alexander, maintained his independence and bequeathed his province to his successors. His name is borne by north Media to the present day—Atropatene, modern Azerbaijan or Adherbeijan (see Media). So, too, in Armenia the Persian dynasty of the Hydarnids held its ground; and to these must be added, in the east of Asia Minor, the kingdoms of Pontus and Cappadocia, founded c. 301, by the Persians Mithradates I. and Ariarathes I. These states were fragments of the Achaemenid Empire, which had safely transferred themselves to the Hellenistic state-system.

The annexation of Iran by Seleucus Nicator led to a war for the countries on the Indian frontier, his opponent being Sandracottus or Chandragupta Maurya (q.v.), the founder of the great Indian Empire of Maurya (Palimbothra). The result was that Seleucus abandoned to the Indian king, not merely the Indian provinces, but even the Seleucus I. Nicator, and Antiochus I. frontier districts west of the Indus (Strabo xv. 689–724), receiving as compensation 500 elephants, with other presents (Appian, Syr. 55, Justin xv. 4; Plut. Alex. 62; Athen. i. 18 D.). His next expedition was to the west to assist Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Cassander in the overthrow of Antigonus.

The battle of Ipsus, in 301, gave him Syria and the east of Asia Minor; and from then he resided at the Syrian town of Antiochia on the Orontes. Shortly afterwards he handed over the provinces east of the Euphrates to his son Antiochus, who, in the following years, till 282, exercised in the East a very energetic and beneficial activity, which continued the work of his father and gave the new empire and the Oriental Hellenistic civilization their form. In order to protect his conquests Alexander had founded several cities in Bactria, Sogdiana and India, in which he settled his veterans. On his death, these revolted and endeavoured to return to Greece, but were attacked Greek Towns in Iran. and cut to pieces by Pithon (Diod. xviii. 7). Of the other Greek towns in Asia scarcely any were founded by Alexander himself, though the plan adopted by his successors of securing their dominions by building Greek cities may perhaps be due to him (cf. Polyb. x. 27). Most of these new cities were based on older settlements; but the essential point is, that they were peopled by Greek and Macedonian colonists, and enjoyed civic independence with laws, officials, councils and assemblies of their own, in other words, an autonomous communal constitution, under the suzerainty of the empire. A portion, moreover, of the surrounding land was assigned to them. Thus a great number of the country districts—the ἔθνη above mentioned—were transformed into municipal corporations, and thereby withdrawn from the immediate government of the king and his officials (satraps or strategi), though still subject to their control, except in the cases where they received unconditional freedom and so ranked as “confederates.” The native population of these villages and rural districts, at first, had no civic rights, but were governed by the foreign settlers. Soon, however, the two elements began to coalesce; in the Seleucid Empire, the process seems generally to have been both rapid and complete. Thus the cities became the main factors in the diffusion of Hellenism, the Greek language and the Greek civilization over all Asia as far as the Indus. At the same time they were the centres of commerce and industrial life: and this, in conjunction with the royal favour, and the privileges accorded them, continually drew new settlers (especially Jews), and many of them developed into great and flourishing towns (see further under Hellenism).

Shortly after his conquest of Babylonia, Seleucus had founded a new capital, Seleucia (q.v.), on the Tigris: his intention being at once to displace the ancient Babylon from its former central position, and to replace it by a Greek city. This was followed by a series of other foundations in Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Susiana (Elam). “Media,” says Polybius (x. 27), “was encircled by a sequence of Greek towns, designed as a barrier against the barbarians.” Among those mentioned are: Rhagae (Rai), which Seleucus metamorphosed into a Hellenic city, Europus, Laodicea, Apamea and Heraclea (Strabo xi. 525 Plin. vi. 43: cf. Media). To these must be added Achaea in Parthia, and, farther to the east, Alexandria Arion in Aria, the modern Herat: also Antiochia Margiana (Strabo xi. 514, 516 Plin. 46, 93), now Merv, and many others. Further, Alexandria in Aradrosia, near Kandahar, and the towns founded by Alexander on the Hindu-Kush and in Sogdiana.

Thus an active Hellenic life soon arose in the East; and Greek settlers must have come in numbers and founded new cities, which afterwards formed the basis of the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom. Antiochus's general Demodamas crossed the Jaxartes and set up an altar to the Didymaean Apollo (Plin. vi. 49). Another general, Patrocles, took up the investigation of the Caspian, already begun by Alexander. In contrast with the better knowledge of an older period, he came to the conclusion that the Caspian was connected with the ocean, and that it was possible to reach India on ship-board by that route (Strabo ii. 74, xi. 518; Plin. vi. 38). A project of Seleucus to connect the Caspian with the Sea of Azov by means of a canal is mentioned by Pliny (vi. 31). To Patrocles is due the information that an active commerce in Indian wares was carried on with the shores of the Black Sea, via the Caspian (Strabo xi. 509).

While Hellenism was thus gaining a firm footing in all the East, the native population remained absolutely passive. Apart from the rude mountain tribes, no national resistance was dreamed of for centuries. The Iranians quietly accepted the foreign yoke, and the higher classes adopted the external forms of the alien The Persian Religion under Greek Rule. civilization (cf. the dedication of a Bactrian, Hyspasines, son of Mithroaxes, in the inventory of the temple of Apollo in Delos, Dittenberger, Sylloge, 588, l. 109) even though they were unable to renounce their innate characteristics. Eratosthenes, for instance, speaks (ap. Strabo i. 66) in high terms of the Iranians (Arians), ranking them (as well as the Indians, Romans and Carthaginians) on a level with the Greeks, as regards their capacity for adopting city civilization. The later Parsee tradition contends that Alexander burned the sacred books of Zoroaster, the Avesta, and that only a few fragments were saved and afterwards reconstructed by the Arsacids and Sassanids. This is absolutely unhistorical. The Persian religion was never attacked by the Macedonians and Greeks. Under their dominion, on the contrary, it expanded with great vigour, not only in the west (Armenia, north Syria and Asia Minor, where it was the official religion of the kings of Pontus and Cappadocia), but also in the east, in the countries of the Indian frontier. That the popular gods—Mithras, Anaitis, &c.—had come to the forefront has already been mentioned. This propagandism, however, was void of all national character, and ran on precisely the same lines as the propagandism of the Syrian, Jewish and Egyptian cults. Only in Persia itself, so far as we can judge from a few scanty traces, the national character of the religion seems to have survived among the people side by side with the memory of their old imperial position.

In 282 B.C. Seleucus took the field against Lysimachus, and annexed his dominions in Asia Minor and Thrace. In 281 he was assassinated in crossing to Europe, and his son Antiochus I. was left supreme over the whole empire. From that time onward the Seleucid Empire was never at rest. Its gigantic extent, from the Aegean Independent Kingdoms in Bactria and Parthia. to the Indus, everywhere offered points of attack to the enemy. The Lagidae, especially, with their much more compact and effective empire, employed every means to weaken their Asiatic rivals; and auxiliaries were found in the minor states on the frontier—Atropatene, Armenia, Cappadocia, Pontus and Bithynia, the Galatians, Pergamum, Rhodes and other Greek states. Moreover, the promotion of Greek civilization and city life had created numerous local centres, with separate interests and centrifugal tendencies, struggling to attain complete independence, and perpetually forcing new concessions from the empire. Thus the Seleucid kings, courageous as many of them were, were always battling for existence (see Seleucid Dynasty).

These disturbances severely aEected the borders of Iran. While the Seleucid Empire, under Antiochus II. Theos (264–247), was being harried by Ptolemy II. Philadelphus, and the king's attention was wholly engaged in the defence of the western provinces, the Greeks revolted in Bactria, under their governor Diodotus (q.v.). Obviously, it was principally the need of protection against the nomadic tribes which led to the foundation of an independent kingdom, and Diodotus soon attained considerable power over the provinces north of the Hindu-Kush. In other provinces, too, insurrection broke out (Strabo xi. 575, Justin xli. 4); and Arsaces, a chief of the Parni or Aparni—an Iranian nomad tribe (therefore often called Dahan Scythians), inhabiting the steppe east of the Caspian—made himself master of the district of Parthia (q.v.) in 248 B.C. He and his brother Tiridates (q.v.) were the founders of the Parthian kingdom, which, however, was confined within very modest limits during the following decades. Seleucus II. Callinicus (247–226) successfully encountered Arsaces (or Tiridates), and even expelled him (c. 238); but new risings recalled Seleucus to Syria, and Arsaces was enabled to return to Parthia.

Greater success attended Antiochus III., the Great (222–187). At the beginning of his reign (220) he subdued, with the help of his minister Hermias, an insurrection of the satrap Molon of Media, who had assumed the royal title and was supported by his brother Alexander, satrap of Persis (Polyb. v. 40 sqq.). He further seized the Antiochus III.,
the Great.
opportunity of extorting an advantageous peace from King Artabazanes of Atropatene, who had considerably extended his power (Polyb. v. 55). After waging an unsuccessful war with Ptolemy IV. for the conquest of Coele-Syria, but suppressing the revolt of Achaeus in Asia Minor, and recovering the former provinces of the empire in that quarter, Antiochus led a great expedition into the East, designing to restore the imperial authority in its full extent. He first removed (211) the Armenian king Xerxes by treachery (Polyb. viii. 25, John of Antioch, fr. 53), and appointed two governors, Artaxias and Zariadris, in his place (Strabo xi. 531). During the next year he reduced the affairs of Media to order (Polyb. x. 27); he then conducted a successful campaign against Arsaces of Parthia (209), and against Euthydemus (q.v.) of Bactria (208–206), who had overthrown the dynasty of Diodotus (Polyb. x. 28 sqq., 48 sqq., xi. 34; Justin xli. 5). In spite of his successes he concluded peace with both kingdoms, rightly considering that it would be impossible to retain these remote frontier provinces permanently. He next renewed his old friendship with the Indian king Sophagasenus (Subhagasena), and received from him 150 elephants (206 B.C.). Through Arachosia and Drangiane, in the valley of the Etymander (Helmand), he marched to Carmania and Persis (Polyb. xi. 34). Both here and in Babylonia he re-established the imperial authority, and in 205 undertook a voyage from the mouth of the Tigris, through the Arabian gulf to the flourishing mercantile town of Gerrha in Arabia (now Bahrein) (Polyb. xiii. 9).

Shortly afterwards, however, his successful campaign against Ptolemy V. Epiphanes led to a war with Rome in which the power of the Seleucid Empire was shattered (190 B.C.), Asia Minor lost, and the king compelled to pay a heavy contribution to Rome for a long term of years. In order to raise money he plundered a wealthy temple of Bel in Decay of the Seleucid Empire. Elam, but was killed by the inhabitants, 187 B.C. (Diod. xxviii. 3, xxix. 15; Strabo xvi. 744; Justin xxxii. 2; S. Jerome (Hieronymus) on Dan. xi. 19; Euseb. Chron. i. 253). The consequence of this enfeeblement of the empire was that the governors of Armenia asserted their independence. Artaxias founded the kingdom of Great Armenia; Zariadris, that of Sophene on the Euphrates and the sources of the Tigris (Strabo xi. 531). In other districts, also, rebellions occurred; and in the east, Euthydemus and his successors (Demetrius, Eucratidas, &c.) began the conquest of the Indus region and the Iranian borderland (Arachosia, Aria). (See Bactria; Euthydemus; Eucratidas; Demetrius; Menander.)

But the energetic Seleucids fought desperately against their fate. Antiochus IV. Epiphanes (176–163) restored once more the Eastern dominion, defeated Artaxias of Armenia (Appian, Syr. 45; Diod. xxxi. 17a; S. Jerome on Dan. xi. 40), restored several towns in Babylonia and subdued the Elymaeans. His attempt, however, to plunder the sanctuary of Anaitis failed (Polyb. xxxi. II; cf. Maccab. i. 6, ii. 1, 13; App. Syr. 66). Persis, also, and Media were still subject to him. But after his death at Tabae in Persis (163 B.C.; cf. Polyb. xxxi. 11; Maccab. i. 6, ii. 9; Jos. Ant. Jud. xii. 9, 1), the Romans took advantage of the dynastic broils to destroy the Seleucid Empire. They reduced its army and fleet, and favoured every rebellion: among others, that of the Jews. In spite of all, Demetrius I. Soter (161–150) succeeded in suppressing (159) a revolt of Timarchus of Miletus, governor of Babylon, who had occupied Media, assumed the title of “great king,” and had been recognized by the Romans (Appian, Syr. 45–47; Trogus, Prol. 34; Diod. xxxi. 27 A: cf. the coins of Timarchus).[24]

VII. The Parthian Empire of the Arsacids.—Meanwhile, in the east, the Arsacids had begun their expansion. Phraates I. (c. 175–170) subdued the Mardians in Elburz. His brother Mithradates I. (c. 170–138) had to sustain a difficult war with Eucratides of Bactria, but eventually succeeded in wresting from him a few districts on the Turanian frontier. Mithradates I. and Phraates II. Indeed, he penetrated as far as, and farther than, the Indus (Diod. xxxiii. 18; Oros. v. 4, 16). In the west he conquered Media, and thence subdued Babylonia. He further reduced the Elymaeans, sacked their temple in the mountains, and captured the Greek city of Seleucia on the Hedyphon (Strabo xvi. 744; Justin xli. 6). The Seleucids, meanwhile, were harassed by aggravated disorders and insurrections. Nevertheless, in 140, Demetrius II. Nicator took the field in order to save the east, but was defeated and captured. Shortly afterwards Mithradates I. died. His son Phraates II. (c. 138–127) was attacked in 130 by Antiochus VII. Sidetes, the brother of Demetrius II., on which the Parthian king released the latter. Antiochus pressed successfully on, and once more recovered Babylonia, but in 129 was defeated in Media and fell in a desperate struggle. With this battle the Seleucid dominion over the countries east of the Euphrates was definitely lost. The Babylonian towns, especially Seleucia (q.v.), were handed over by Phraates to his favourite, the Hyrcanian Himerus, who punished them severely for their resistance.

During these wars great changes had taken place in eastern Iran. In 159 Mongolian tribes, whom the Chinese call Yue-chi and the Greeks Scythians, forced their way into Sogdiana, and, in 139, conquered Bactria (Strabo xi. 571, Justin xlii. 1; Trog. Prol. 41; see Bactria). From Bactria they tried to advance farther into Mithradates II. and his Successors. Iran and India. Entering into an alliance with Antiochus VII., they assailed the Parthian Empire. Phraates II. marched to encounter him, but was himself defeated and slain, and his country ravaged far and wide. His successor Artabanus I. (c. 127–124), the uncle of Phraates, also fell in battle against the Tocharians, the principal Scythian tribe (Justin xlii. 1, 2; Jos. Ant. fr. 66); but his son Mithradates II., surnamed “The Great” (c. 124–88), defeated the Scythians and restored for a while the power of the Arsacids. He also defeated Artavasdes, the king of Great Armenia; his son Tigranes, a hostage in the hands of the Parthians, was only redeemed by the cession of 70 valleys (Strabo xi. 532). When Tigranes attempted to seize Cappadocia, and the Roman praetor P. Cornelius Sulla advanced against him, Mithradates in 92 B.C. concluded the first treaty between Parthia and Rome (Plut. Sulla, v.; Liv. epit. 70). The dynastic troubles of the Seleucids in Syria gave him an opportunity for successful intervention (Jos. Ant. Jud. xiii. 13, 4; 14, 3). Shortly afterwards he died, and, with his death, the Arsacid power collapsed for the second time. The possession of the western provinces and the dominant position in western Asia passed to the Armenian Tigranes (q.v.), who wrested from the Parthians Mesopotamia and the suzerainty of Atropatene, Gordyene, Adiabene, Osroene. Simultaneously began a new and severe conflict with the Scythians. Parthian coins, probably dating from this period (Wroth, Catal. of the Coins of Parthia, 1903, p. xxx. and p. 40), mention victorious campaigns of Parthian kings and a conquest of the provinces of Aria, Margiane and (?) Traxiane (cf. Strabo xi. 505). But how confused the situation was is shown by the fact that in 76 B.C. the octogenarian king Sanatruces was seated on the Parthian throne by the Scythian tribe of the Sacaraucians (cf. Strabo xi. 511; Trog. Prol. 42). The names of his predecessors are not known to us. Obviously this period was marked by continual dynastic feuds (cf. Trog. Prol. 42: “ut varia complurium regum in Parthia successione imperium accepit Orodes qui Crassum delevit”). Not till Sanatruces' successor Phraates III. (70–57) do we find the kingdom again in a settled state.

A fact of decisive significance was that the Romans now began to advance against Tigranes. In vain Mithradates of Pontus Conflicts with the Romans. and Tigranes turned to the Parthian king, the latter even proffering restitution of the conquered frontier provinces. Phraates, though rightly distrusting Rome, nevertheless concluded a treaty with Lucullus (69 B.C.) and with Pompey, and even supported the latter in his campaign against Tigranes in 66. But after the victory it was manifest that the Roman general did not consider himself bound by the Parthian treaty. When Tigranes had submitted, Pompey received him into favour and extended the Roman supremacy over the vassal states of Gordyene and Osroene; though he had allured the Parthian king with the prospect of the recovery of his old possessions as far as the Euphrates. Phraates complained, and simultaneously attacked Tigranes, now a Roman vassal (64 B.C.). But when Pompey refused reparation Phraates recognized that he was too weak to begin the struggle with Rome, and contented himself with forming an alliance with Tigranes, in hopes that the future would bring an opportunity for his revenge (Dio Cass. xxxvi. 3, 5; xxxvii. 5 sqq.; Plut. Luc. 30; Pomp. 33, 38; cf. Sallust's letter of Mithradates to Arsaces).

Although Phraates III. had not succeeded in regaining the full power of his predecessors, he felt justified in again assuming the title “king of kings”—which Pompey declined to acknowledge—and even in proclaiming himself as “god” (Phlegon, fr. 12 ap. Phot. cod. 97; and on part of his coins), but in 57 B.C. the “god” was assassinated by his sons Orodes and Mithradates.

The Parthian Empire, as founded by the conquests of Mithradates I. and restored, once by Mithradates II. and again by Phraates III., was, to all exterior appearance, a continuation of the Achaemenid dominion. Thus the Arsacids now began to assume the old title “king of kings” (the shahanshah of modern Persia), though previously their Organization. coins, as a rule, had borne only the legend “great king.” The official version, preserved by Arrian in his Parthica (ap. Phot. cod. 58: see Parthia), derives the line of these chieftains of the Parnian nomads from Artaxerxes II. In reality, however, the Parthian Empire was totally different from its predecessor, both externally and internally. It was anything rather than a world-empire. The countries west of the Euphrates never owned its dominion, and even of Iran itself not one half was subject to the Arsacids. There were indeed vassal states on every hand, but the actual possessions of the kings—the provinces governed by their satraps—consisted of a rather narrow strip of land, stretching from the Euphrates and north Babylonia through southern Media and Parthia as far as Arachosia (north-west Afghanistan), and following the course of the great trade-route which from time immemorial had carried the traffic between the west of Asia and India. We still possess a description of this route by Isidore of Charax, probably dating from the Augustan period (in C. Müller, Geographi graeci minores, vol. i.), in which is contained a list of the 18 imperial provinces, known also to Pliny (vi. 112; cf. 41). Isidore, indeed, enumerates nineteen; but, of these, Sacastene formed no part of the Parthian Empire, as has been shown by von Gutschmid.

The lower provinces (i.e. the districts west of Parthia) are: (1) Mesopotamia, with northern Babylonia, from the Euphrates bridge at Zeugma to Seleucia on the Tigris; (2) Apolloniatis, the plain east of the Tigris, with Artemita; (3) Chalonitis, the hill-country of Zagros; (4) Western Media; (5) Cambadene, with Bagistana (Behistun)—the mountainous portions of Media; (6) Provinces. Upper Media, with Ecbatana; (7) Rhagiane or Eastern Media. Then with the Caspian Gates—the pass between Elburz and the central desert, through which lay the route from west Iran to east Iran-the upper provinces begin; (8) Choarene and (9) Comisene, the districts on the verge of the desert; (10) Hyrcania; (11) Astabene, with the royal town Asaac on the Attruck (see Parthia); (12) Parthyene with Parthaunisa, where the sepulchres of the kings were laid, (13) Apavarcticene (now Abiward, with the capital Kelat), (14) Margiane (Merv); (15) Aria (Herat); (16) Anauon, the southern portion of Aria; (17) Zarangiane, the country of the Drangians, on the lake of Hamun; (18) Arachosia, on the Etymander (Helmand), called by the Parthians “White India,” extending as far as Alexandropolis (Kandahar), the frontier city of the Parthian Empire.

On the lower Etymander, the Sacae had established themselves—obviously on the inroad of the Scythian tribes—and after them the country was named Sacastene (now Sejistan, Seistan). Through it lay the route to Kandahar; and for this reason the district is described by Isidore, though it formed no part of the Parthian Empire.

Round these provinces lay a ring of numerous minor states, which as a rule were dependent on the Arsacids. They might, however, partially transfer their allegiance on the rise of a new power (e.g. Tigranes in Armenia) or a Roman invasion. Thus it is not without justice that the Arsacid period is described, in the later Persian and Arabian Vassal States. tradition, as the period of “the kings of the part-kingdoms”—among which the Ashkanians (i.e. the Arsacids, from Ashak, the later pronunciation of the name Arshak = Arsaces) had won the first place. This tradition, however, is nebulous in the extreme; the whole list of kings, which it gives, is totally unhistorical; only the names of one Balash ( = Vologaeses) and of the last Ardewan ( = Artabanus) having been preserved. The period, from the death of Alexander to the Sassanid Ardashir I., is put by the Persian tradition at 266 years; which was afterwards corrected, after Syro-Grecian evidence, to 523 years. The actual number is 548 years (i.e. 323 B.C. to A.D. 226). The statements of the Armenian historians as to this period are also absolutely worthless.

The ten most important of the vassal states were:—

1. The kingdom of Osroene (q.v.) in the north-east of Mesopotamia, with Edessa as capital, founded about 130 B.C. by the chieftain of an Arabian tribe, the Orrhoei, which established itself there.

2. To this must be added the numerous Arabian tribes of the Mesopotamian desert, under their chiefs, among whom one Alchaudonius comes into prominence in the period of Tigranes and Crassus. Their settlement in Mesopotamia was encouraged by Tigranes, according to Plutarch (Luc. 21) and Pliny (vi. 142). In later times the Arabic town Atra in an oasis on the west of the Tigris, governed by its own kings, gained special importance.

3 and 4. To the east of the Tigris lay two kingdoms: Gordyene (or Cordyene), the country of the Carduchians (now Bohtan), a wild, mountainous district south of Armenia; and Adiabene (Hadyab), the ancient Assyria, on either side of the Zab (Lycus).

5. On the farther side of Zagros, adjoining Adiabene on the east, was the kingdom of Atropatene in north Media, now often simply called Media (q.v.).

While the power of Armenia was at its height under Tigranes (86–69 B.C.) all these states owned his rule. After the victories of Pompey, however, the Romans claimed the suzerainty, so that, during the next decades and the expeditions of Crassus and Antony, they oscillated between Rome and Parthia, though their inclination was generally to the latter. For they were all Orientals and, consciously or unconsciously, representatives of a reaction against that Hellenism which had become the heritage of Rome. At the same time the loose organization of the Parthian Empire, afforded them a greater measure of independence than they could hope to enjoy under Roman suzerainty.

6. In the south of Babylonia, in the district of Mesene (the modern Maisan), after the fall of Antiochus Sidetes (129 B.C.), an Arabian prince, Hyspaosines or Spasines (in a cuneiform inscription of 127, on a clay tablet dated after this year, he is called Aspasine) founded a kingdom which existed till the rise of the Sassanian Empire. Its capital was a city (mod. Mohammerah), first founded by Alexander on an artificial, hill by the junction of the Eulaeus (Karun) with the Tigris, and peopled by his veterans. The town, which was originally named Alexandria and then rebuilt by Antiochus I. as Antiochia, was now refortified with dikes by Spasines, and christened Spasinu Charax (“the wall of Spasines”), or simply Charax (Plin. vi. 138 seq.). In the following centuries it was the main mercantile centre on the Tigris estuary.

The kingdom of Mesene, also called Characene, is known to us from occasional references in various authors, especially Lucian (Macrobii, 16), as well as from numerous coins, dated by the Seleucian era, which allow us to frame a fairly complete list of the kings.[25] The Arabian dynasty speedily assimilated itself to the native population; and most of the kings bear Babylonian—in a few cases, Parthian—names. The official language was Greek, till, on the destruction of Seleucia (A.D. 164), it was replaced on the coinage by Aramaic. Another Babylonian dynast must have been Hadadnadinaches (c. 100 B.C.), who built in Tello the fortified palace which has been excavated by de Sarzec.

7. East of the Tigris lay the kingdom of Elymais (Elam), to which belonged Susa and its modern representative Ahwaz, farther down on the Eulaeus. The Elymaeans, who had already offered a repeated resistance to the Seleucids, were subdued by Mithradates I., as we have mentioned above; but they remained a separate state, which often rebelled against the Arsacids (Strabo xvi. 744; cf. Plut. Pomp. 36; Tac. Ann. vi. 50). Of the kings who apparently belonged to a Parthian dynasty, several bearing the name Cammascires are known to us from coins dated 81 and 71 B.C. One of these is designated by Lucian (Macrobii, 16) “king of the Parthians”; while the coinage of another, Orodes, displays Aramaic script (Allotte de la Fuye, Rev. num., 4me série, t. vi. p. 92 sqq., 1902). The kingdom, which is seldom mentioned, survived till Ardashir I. In its neighbourhood Strabo mentions “the minor dynasties of the Sagapenians and Silacenians” (xvi. 745). The Uxians, moreover, with) the Cossaeans and other mountain tribes, maintained their independence exactly as under the later Achaemenids (Strabo xvi. 744; Plin. vi. 133).

8. The district of Persis, also, became independent soon after the time of Antiochus IV., and was ruled by its own kings, who perpetuated the Achaemenian traditions, and on their coins—which bear the Persian language in Aramaic characters, i.e. the so-called Pahlavi—appear as zealous adherents of Zoroastrianism and the Fire-cult (see Persis). They were forced, however, to acknowledge the suzerainty of Parthia, to which they stood in the same position as the Persians of Cyrus and his forefathers to the Median Empire (cf. Strabo xv. 728, 733, 736; Lucian, Macrob. 15). In later times, before the foundation of the Sassanid dominion, Persis was disintegrated into numerous small local states. Even in Carmania we find independent kings, one of whom gave his name to a town Vologesocerta (Balashkert).

9. The east of Iran—Bactria with Sogdiana, Eastern Arachosia and Gedrosia—was never subject to the Arsacids. Here the Graeco-Bactrian and Graeco-Indian kingdoms held their own, till, in 139 B.C., the succumbed before the invading Mongolian and Scythian tribes (see Bactria and works quoted there). But in the Indus district the Greek kings held their ground for an appreciably longer period and, for a while, widely extended their power (see Menander of India). Among the kings then following, only known to us from their coins, there appears a dynasty with Iranian and sometimes peculiarly Parthian names which seems to have reigned in the Punjab and Arachosia. Its best-known representative, Gondophares or Hyndopherres, to whom legend makes the apostle Thomas write, reigned over Arachosia and the Indus district about A.D. 20. Further, about A.D. 70, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentions that the great commercial town of Minnagar in the Indus Delta was under Parthian kings, “who spent their time in expelling one another.” Here, then, it would seem there existed a Parthian dynasty, which probably went back to the conquests of Mithradates I. (cf. Vincent A. Smith, “The Indo-Parthian Dynasties from about 120 B.C. to A.D. 100,” in the Zeitschr. der deutschen morgenl. Gesellsch. 60, 1906). Naturally, such a dynasty would not long have recognized the suzerainty of the Arsacids. It succumbed to the Indo-Scythian Empire of the Kushana, who had obtained the sovereignty of Bactria as early as about A.D. 50, and thence pressed onward into India. In the period of the Periplus (c. A.D. 70) the Scythians were already settled in the Indus valley (pp. 38, 41, 48), their dominion reaching its zenith under Kanishka (c. A.D. 123–153).

This empire of the Kushana merits special mention here, on account of its peculiar religious attitude, which we may gather from the coins of its kings, particularly those of Kanishka and his successor Huvishka, on which an alphabet adapted from the Greek is employed (cf. Aurel Stein, “Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins,” in The Babylonian and Oriental Record, vol. i., 1887). Kanishka, as is well known, had embraced Buddhism, and many of his coins bear the image and name of Buddha. Iranian divinities, however, predominate on his currency: Mithras (Mihro or Helios); the Moon Mah (also Selene); Athro, the Fire; Orthragno (Verethragna); Pharro = Farna (hvarena), “the majesty of kingship”; Teiro = Tir (Tistrya “the archer”); Nana (Nanaia); and others. Here, then, we have a perfect example of syncretism; as in the Mithras cult in Armenia, Asia Minor, and still further in the Roman Empire. Buddhism and Zoroastrianism have been wedded in the state religion, and, in characteristic Indian fashion, are on the best of terms with one another, precisely as, in the Chinese Empire at the present day, we find the most varied religions, side by side, and on an equal footing.

10. Originally a part of the Turanian steppe belonged to the Arsacids; it was the starting-point of their power. Soon, however, the nomads (Dahae) gained their independence, and, as we have seen, repeatedly attacked and devastated the Parthian Empire in conjunction with the Tocharians and other tribes of Sacae and Scythians. In the subsequent period, again, we shall frequently meet them.

It may appear surprising that the Arsacids made no attempt to incorporate the minor states in the empire and create a great and united dominion, such as existed under the Achaemenids and was afterwards restored by the Sassanids. This fact is the clearest symptom of the inner weakness of their empire and of the small power wielded by the Character of the Parthian Empire. “king of kings.” In contrast alike with its predecessors and its successors, the Arsacid dominion was peculiarly a chance formation—a state which had come into existence through fortuitous external circumstances, and had no firm foundation within itself, or any intrinsic raison d’être.

Three elements, of widely different kinds, contributed to its origin and defined its character. It was sprung from a predatory nomad tribe (the Parnian Dahae, Scythians) which had established itself in Khorasan (Parthia), on the borders of civilization, and thence gradually annexed further districts as the political situation or the weakness of its neighbours allowed. Consequently, these nomads were the main pillar of the empire, and from them were obviously derived the great magnates, with their huge estates and hosts of serfs, who composed the imperial council, led the armies, governed the provinces and made and unmade the kings (Strabo xi. 515; Justin xli. 2; the former terming them συγγενεῖς, “kinsmen” of the king, the latter, probuli). Of these great families that of Surenas held the privilege of setting the diadem on the head of the new king (Plut. Crass. 21; Tac. Ann. vi. 42).

The military organization, moreover, was wholly nomadic in character. The nucleus of the army was formed of armoured horsemen, excellently practised for long-distance fighting with bow and javelin, but totally unable to venture on a hand-to-hand conflict, their tactics being rather to swarm round the enemy’s squadrons and overwhelm them under a hail of missiles. When attacked they broke up, as it seemed, in hasty and complete flight, and having thus led the hostile army to break its formation, they themselves rapidly reformed and renewed the assault. How difficult it was for infantry to hold their own against these mounted squadrons was demonstrated by the Roman campaigns, especially in broad plains like those of Mesopotamia. In winter, however, the Parthians were powerless to wage war, as the moisture of the atmosphere relaxed their bows. The infantry, in contrast with its earlier status under the Persians, was wholly neglected. On the other hand, every magnate put into the field as many mounted warriors as possible, chiefly servants and bought slaves, who, like the Janissaries and Mamelukes, were trained exclusively for war. Thus Surenas, in 53 B.C., is said to have put at the king’s disposal 1000 mailed horsemen and, in all, 10,000 men, including the train, which also comprised his attendants and harem (Plut. Crass. 21; description of the military organization; Dio Cass. 40, 15; Justin xli. 2). In the army of 50,000 mounted men which took the field against Mark Antony there were, says Justin, only 400 freemen.

How vital was the nomadic element in the Parthian Empire is obvious from the fact that, in civil wars, the deposed kings consistently took refuge among the Dahae or Scythians and were restored by them. But, in Parthia, these nomads were amalgamated with the native peasantry, and, with their religion, had adopted their dress and manners. The Iranian Population. Even the kings, after the first two or three, wear their hair and beard long, in the Iranian fashion, whereas their predecessors are beardless. Although the Arsacids are strangers to any deep religious interest (in contrast to the Achaemenids and Sassanids), they acknowledge the Persian gods and the leading tenets of Zoroastrianism. They erect fire-altars, and even obey the command to abandon all corpses to the dogs and fowls (Justin xli. 3). The union, moreover, recommended by that creed, between brother and sister—and even son and mother—occurs among them. Consequently, beside the council of the nobility, there is a second council of “Magians and wise men” (Strabo xi. 515).

Again, they perpetuate the traditions of the Achaemenid Empire. The Arsacids assume the title “king of kings” and derive their line from Artaxerxes II. Further, the royal apotheosis, so common among them and recurring under the Sassanids, is probably not so much of Greek origin as a development of Iranian views. For at the side of the great god Ahuramazda there stands a host of subordinate divine beings who execute his will—among these the deified heroes of legend, to whose circle the king is now admitted, since on him Ahuramazda has bestowed victory and might.

This gradual Iranianization of the Parthian Empire is shown by the fact that the subsequent Iranian traditions, and Firdousi in particular, apply the name of the “Parthian” magnates (Pahlavan) to the glorious heroes of the legendary epoch. Consequently, also, the language and writing of the Parthian period, which are retained under the Sassanids, received the name Pahlavi, i.e. “Parthian.” The script was derived from the Aramaic.

But to these Oriental elements must be added that of Hellenism, the dominant world-culture which had penetrated into Parthia and Media. It was indispensable to every state which hoped to play some part in the world and was not so utterly secluded as Persis and Atropatene; and the Arsacids entertained the less thought of opposition as Relation towards Hellenism. they were destitute of an independent national basis. All their external institutions were borrowed from the Seleucid Empire: their coinage with its Greek inscriptions and nomenclature; their Attic standard of currency; and, doubtless, a great part of their administration also. In the towns Greek merchants were everywhere settled. Mithradates I. even followed the precedent of the Seleucids in building a new city, Arsacia, which replaced the ancient Rhagae (Rai, Europus) in Media. The further the Arsacids expanded the deeper they penetrated into the province of Hellenism; the first Mithradates himself assumed, after his great conquests, the title of Philhellen, “the protector of Hellenism,” which was retained by almost all his successors. Then follow the surnames Epiphanes “the revealed god,” Dicaeus “the just,” Euergetes “the benefactor,” all of them essentially Greek in their reference, and also regularly borne by all the kings. After the conquest of the Euphrates and Tigris provinces it was imperative that the royal residence should be fixed there. But as no one ventured to transfer the royal household and the army, with its hordes of wild horsemen, to the Greek town of Seleucia, and thus disorganize its commerce, the Arsacids set up their abode in the great village of Ctesiphon, on the left bank of the Tigris, opposite to Seleucia, which accordingly retained its free Hellenic constitution (see Ctesiphon and Seleucia). So, also, Orodes I. spoke good Greek, and Greek tragedies were staged at his court (Plut. Crass. 33).

In spite of this, however, the rise of the Arsacid Empire marks the beginning of a reaction against Hellenism—not, indeed, a conscious or official reaction, but a reaction which was all the more effective because it depended on the impetus of circumstances working with all the power of a natural force. The essential point is that the East is completely Reaction against Hellenism. divorced from the Mediterranean and the Hellenic world, that it can derive no fresh powers from that quarter, and that, consequently, the influence of the Oriental elements must steadily increase. This process can be most clearly traced on the coins—almost the sole memorials that the Parthian Empire has left. From reign to reign the portraits grow poorer and more stereotyped, and the inscriptions more neglected, till it becomes obvious that the engraver himself no longer understood Greek but copied mechanically the signs before his eyes, as is the case with the contemporary Indo-Scythian coinage, and also in Mesene. Indeed, after Vologaeses I. (51–77), the Aramaic script is occasionally employed. The political opposition to the western empires, the Seleucids first, then the Romans, precipitated this development. Naturally enough the Greek cities beheld a liberator in every army that marched from the West, and were ever ready to cast in their lot with such—disposition for which the subsequent penalty was not lacking. The Parthian magnates, on the other hand, with the army, would have little to do with Greek culture and Greek modes of life, which they contemptuously regarded as effeminate and unmanly. Moreover, they required of their rulers that they should live in the fashion of their country, practise arms and the chase, and appear as Oriental sultans, not as Grecian kings.

These tendencies taken together explain the radical weakness of the Parthian Empire. It was easy enough to collect a great army and achieve a great victory; it was absolutely impossible to hold the army together for any longer period, or to conduct a regular campaign. The Parthians prove incapable of creating a firm, united organization, such as the Achaemenids before them, and the Sassanids after them gave to their empire. The kings themselves were toys in the hands of the magnates and the army who, tenaciously as they clung to the anointed dynasty of the Arsacids, were utterly indifferent to the person of the individual Arsacid. Every moment they were ready to overthrow the reigning monarch and to seat another on his throne. The kings, for their part, sought protection in craft, treachery and cruelty, and only succeeded in aggravating the situation. More especia ly they saw an enemy in every prince, and the worst of enemies in their own sons. Sanguinary crimes were thus of everyday occurrence in the royal household; and frequently it was merely a matter of chance whether the father anticipated the son, or the son the father. The conditions were the same as obtained subsequently under the Mahommedan Caliphate (q.v.) and the empire of the Ottomans. The internal history of the Parthian dominion is an unbroken sequence of civil war and dynastic strife.

For the literature dealing with the Parthian Empire and numismatics, see Parthia, under which heading will be found a complete list of the kings, so far as we are able to reconstitute them.

These conditions elucidate the fact that the Parthian Empire, though founded on annexation and perpetually menaced by hostile arms in both the East and the West, yet never took a strong offensive after the days of Mithradates II. It was bound to protect itself against Scythian aggression in the East and Later History of the Arsacid Empire. Roman aggression in the West. To maintain, or regain, the suzerainty over Mesopotamia and the vassal states of that region, as also over Atropatene and Armenia, was its most imperative task. Yet it always remained on the defensive and even so was lacking in energy. Whenever it made an effort to enforce its claims, it retreated so soon as it was confronted by a resolute foe.

Thus the wars between Parthia and Rome proceeded, not from the Parthians—deeply injured though they were by the encroachments of Pompey—but from Rome herself. Rome had been obliged, reluctantly enough, to enter upon the inheritance of Alexander the Great; and, since the time of Pompey, had definitely subjected to her Wars with Crassus and Antonius. dominion the Hellenistic countries as far as the Euphrates. Thus the task now faced them of annexing the remainder of the Macedonian Empire, the whole East from the Euphrates to the Indus, and of thereby saving Greek civilization (cf. Plut. Comp. Nic. et Crass. 4). The aristocratic republic quailed before such an enterprise, though Lucullus, at the height of his successes, entertained the thought (Plut. Luc. 30). But the ambitious men, whose goal was to erect their own sovereignty on the ruins of the republic, took up the project. With this objective M. Licinius Crassus, the triumvir, in 54 B.C., took the aggressive against Parthia, the occasion being favourable owing to the dynastic troubles between Orodes I., the son of Phraates III., and his brother Mithradates III. Crassus fell on the field of Carrhae (June 9, 53 B.C.). With this Mesopotamia was regained by the Parthians, and King Artavasdes of Armenia now entered their alliance. But, apart from the ravaging of Syria (51 B.C.) by Pacorus the son of Orodes, the threatened attack on the Roman Empire was carried into effect neither then nor during the civil wars of Caesar and Pompey. At the time of his assassination Caesar was intent on resuming the expedition of Crassus. The Parthians formed a league with Brutus and Cassius, as previously with Pompey, but gave them no support, until in 40 B.C. a Parthian army, led by Pacorus and the republican general Labienus, harried Syria and Asia Minor. But it was easily repulsed by Ventidius Bassus, the lieutenant of Mark Antony. Pacorus himself fell on the 9th of June 38 B.C. at Gindarus in northern Syria. Antony then attacked the Parthians in 36 B.C., and penetrated through Armenia into Atropatene, but was defeated by Phraates IV.—who in 37 B.C. had murdered his father Orodes I.—and compelled to retreat with heavy losses. The continuation of the war was frustrated by the conflict with Octavian. Armenia alone was again subdued in 34 B.C. by Antony, who treacherously captured and executed King Artavasdes.

Roman opinion universally expected that Augustus would take up the work of his predecessors, annihilate the Parthian dominion, and subdue the East as far as the Indians, Scythians and Seres (cf. Horace and the other Augustan poets). But Augustus disappointed these expectations. His whole policy and the needs of the newly Policy of Augustus. organized Roman Empire demanded peace. His efforts were devoted to reaching a modus vivendi, by which the authority of Rome and her most vital claims might be peacefully vindicated. This the weakness of Parthia enabled him to effect without much difficulty. His endeavours were seconded by the revolt of Tiridates II., before whom Phraates IV. was compelled to flee (32 B.C.), till restored by the Scythians. Augustus lent no support to Tiridates in his second march on Ctesiphon (26 B.C.), but Phraates was all the more inclined on that account to stand on good terms with him. Consequently in 20 B.C., he restored the standards captured in the victories over Crassus and Antony, and recognized the Roman suzerainty over Osroene and Armenia. In return, the Parthian dominion in Babylonia and the other vassal states was left undisputed.

Thus it was due not to the successes and strength of the Parthians but entirely to the principles of Roman policy as defined by Augustus that their empire appears as a second great independent power, side by side with Rome. The precedence of the Caesars, indeed, was always admitted by the Arsacids; and Phraates IV. soon entered into a state of dependency on Rome by sending (9 B.C.) four of his sons as hostages to Augustus—a convenient method of obviating the danger threatened in their person, without the necessity of killing them. In 4 B.C., however, Phraates was assassinated by his favourite wife Musa and her son Phraates V. In the subsequent broils a Parthian faction obtained the release of one of the princes interned in Rome as Vonones I. (A.D. 8). He failed, however, to maintain his position for long. He was a stranger to the Parthian customs, and the feeling of shame at dependency on the foreigner was too strong. So the rival faction brought out another Arsacid, resident among the Scythian nomads, Artabanus II., who easily expelled Vonones—only to create a host of enemies by his brutal cruelty, and to call forth fresh disorders.

Similar proceedings were frequently repeated in the period following. In the intervals the Parthians made several attempts to reassert their dominion over Armenia and there install an Arsacid prince; but on each occasion they retreated without giving battle so soon as the Romans prepared for war. Only the dynasty of Atropatene Reign of
Votogaeses I.
was finally deposed and the country placed under an Arsacid ruler. Actual war with Rome broke out under Vologaeses I. (51–77), who made his brother Tiridates king of Armenia. After protracted hostilities, in which the Roman army was commanded by Cn. Domitius Corbulo, a peace was concluded in A.D. 63, confirming the Roman suzerainty over Armenia but recognizing Tiridates as king (see Corbulo). Tiridates himself visited Rome and was there invested with the diadem by Nero (A.D. 66). After that Armenia continued under the rule of an Arsacid dynasty.

These successes of Vologaeses were counterbalanced by serious losses in the East. He was hampered in an energetic campaign against Rome by attacks of the Dahae and Sacae. Hyrcania, also, revolted and asserted its independence under a separate line of kings. A little later, the Alans, a great Iranian tribe in the south of Russia—the ancestors of the present-day Ossets—broke for the first time through the Caucasian passes, and ravaged Media and Armenia—an incursion which they often repeated in the following centuries.

On the other side, the reign of Vologaeses I. is characterized by a great advance in the Oriental reaction against Hellenism. The line of Arsacids which came to the throne in the person of Artabanus II. (A.D. 10) stands in open opposition to the old kings with their leanings to Rome and, at least external, tinge of Hellenism. The new régime obviously laid much more stress on the Oriental character of their state, though Philostratus, in his life of Apollonius of Tyana (who visited the Parthian court), states that Vardanes I. (A.D. 40–45), the rival king to the brutal Gotarzes (A.D. 40–51), was a cultivated man (Vit. Ap. i. 22, 28, 31 sqq.); and Vologaeses I. is distinguished by the excellent relations which subsisted all his life between himself and his brothers Pacorus and Tiridates, the kings of Media and Armenia. But the coins of Vologaeses I. are quite barbarous, and for the first time on some of them appear the initials of the name of the king in Aramaic letters by the side of the Greek legend. The Hellenism of Seleucia was now attacked with greater determination. For seven years (A.D. 37–43) the city maintained itself in open rebellion (Tac. Ann. xi. 8 seq.), till at last it surrendered to Vardanes, who in consequence enlarged Ctesiphon, which was afterwards fortified by Pacorus (A.D. 78–105: v. Ammian. 23, 6, 23). In the neighbourhood of the same town Vologaeses I. founded a city Vologesocerta (Balashkert), to which he attempted to transplant the population to Seleucia (Plin. vi. 122: cf. Th. Nöldeke in Zeitschr. d. deutsch. morgenl. Gesellschaft, xxviii., 100). Another of his foundations was Vologesias (the Arabian Ullaish), situated near Hira on the Euphrates, south of Babylon, which did appreciable damage to the commerce of Seleucia and is often mentioned in inscriptions as the destination of the Palmyrene caravans.

After Vologaeses I. follows a period of great disturbances. The literary tradition, indeed, deserts us almost entirely, but the coins and isolated literary references prove that during the years A.D. 77 to 147, two kings, and sometimes three or more, were often reigning concurrently (Vologaeses II. 77–79, and 111–147; Pacorus 78–c. 105; Osroes 106–129; Mithradates V. 129–147; also Artabanus III. 80–81; Mithradates IV. and his son Sanatruces II. 115; and Parthamaspates 116–117). Obviously the empire can never have been at peace during these years, a fact which materially assisted the aggressive campaigns Wars with Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. of Trajan (113–117). Trajan resuscitated the old project of Crassus and Caesar, by which the empire of Alexander as far as India was to be won for Western civilization. In pursuance of this plan he reduced Armenia, Mesopotamia and Babylonia to the position of imperial provinces. On his death, however, Hadrian immediately reverted to the Augustan policy and restored the conquests. Simultaneously there arose in the East the powerful Indo-Scythian empire of the Kushana, which doubtless limited still further the Parthian possessions in eastern Iran.

An era of quiet seems to have returned with Vologaeses III. (147–191), and we hear no more of rival kings. With the Roman Empire a profound peace had reigned since Hadrian (117), which was first disturbed by the attack of Marcus Aurelius and Aelius Verus in 162. This war, which broke out on the question of Armenia and Osroene, proved of decisive significance for the future development of the East, for, in its course, Seleucia was destroyed by the Romans under Avidius Cassius (164). The downfall of the great Greek city sealed the fate of Hellenism in the countries east of the Euphrates. Henceforward Greek culture practically vanishes and gives place to Aramaic; it is significant that in future the kings of Mesene stamped their coinage with Aramaic legends. This Aramaic victory was powerfully aided by the ever-increasing progress of Christianity, which soon created, as is well known, an Aramaic literature Christianity. of which the language was the dialect of Edessa, a city in which the last king of Osroene, Abgar IX. (179–214), had been converted to the faith. After that Greek culture and Greek literature were only accessible to the Orientals in an Aramaic dress. Vologaeses III. is probably also the king Valgash, who, according to a native tradition, preserved in the Dinkart, began a collection of the sacred writings of Zoroaster—the origin of the Avesta which has come down to us. This would show how the national Iranian element in the Parthian Empire was continually gathering strength.

The Roman war was closed in 165 by a peace which ceded north-west Mesopotamia to Rome. Similar conflicts took place in 195–202 between Vologaeses IV. (191–209) and Septimius Severus, and again in 216–217 between Artabanus IV. (209–226) and Caracalla. They failed, however, to affect materially the position of the two empires.

VIII. The Sassanian Empire.—That the Arsacid Empire should have endured some 350 years after its foundation by Mithradates I. and Phraates II., was a result, not of internal strength, but of chance working in its external development. It might equally well have so existed for centuries more. But under Artabanus IV. the catastrophe Ardashir I. came. In his days there arose in Persis—precisely as Cyrus had arisen under Astyages the Mede—a great personality. Ardashir (Artaxerxes) I., son of Papak (Babek), the descendant of Sasan, was the sovereign of one of the small states into which Persis had gradually fallen. His father Papak had taken possession of the district of Istakhr, which had replaced the old Persepolis, long a mass of ruins. Thence Ardashir I., who reigned from about A.D. 212, subdued the neighbouring potentates—disposing of his own brothers among the rest. This proceeding quickly led to war with his suzerain Artabanus IV. The conflict was protracted through several years, and the Parthians were worsted in three battles. The last of these witnessed the fall of Artabanus (A.D. 226), though a Parthian king, Artavasdes—perhaps a son of Artabanus IV.—who is only known to us from his own coins, appears to have retained a portion of the empire for some time longer. The members of the Arsacid line who fell into the hands of the victor were put to death; a number of the princes found refuge in Armenia, where the Arsacid dynasty maintained itself till A.D. 429. The remainder of the vassal states—Carmania, Susiana, Mesene—were ended by Ardashir; and the autonomous desert fortress of Hatra in Mesopotamia was destroyed by his son Shapur (Sapor) I., according to the Persian and Arabian traditions, which, in this point, are deserving of credence. The victorious Ardashir then took possession of the palace of Ctesiphon and assumed the title “King of the kings of the Iranians” (βασιλεὺς βασιλέων Ἀριανῶν).

The new empire founded by Ardashir I.—the Sassanian, or Neo-Persian Empire—is essentially different from that of his Arsacid predecessors. It is, rather, a continuation of the Achaemenid traditions which were still alive on their native soil. Consequently the national impetus—already clearly revealed in the title of the new Sassanian Wars
with Rome.
sovereign—again becomes strikingly manifest. The Sassanian Empire, in fact, is once more a national Persian or Iranian Empire. The religious element is, of course, inseparable from the national, and Ardashir, like all the dynasts of Persis, was an ardent devotee of the Zoroastrian doctrine, and closely connected with the priesthood. In his royal style he assumed the designation “Mazdayasnian” (Μασδάσνας), and the fire-cult was everywhere vigorously disseminated. Simultaneously the old claims to world dominion made their reappearance. After the defeat of Artabanus, Ardashir, as heir of the Achaemenids, formulated his pretensions to the dominion of western Asia (Dio. Cass. 80, 3; Herodian vi. 2, 4; Zonar. xii. 15; similarly under Shapur II.: Ammian. Marc. xvii. 5, 5). He attacked Armenia, though without permanent success (cf. von Gutschmid in Zeitschr. d. d. morgenl. Ges. xxxi. 47, on the fabulous Armenian account of these wars), and dispatched his armies against Roman Mesopotamia. They strayed as far as Syria and Cappadocia. The inner decay of the Roman Empire, and the widespread tendency of its troops to mutiny and usurpation, favoured his enterprise. Nevertheless, the armies of Alexander Severus, supported by the king of Armenia, succeeded in repelling the Persians, though the Romans sustained severe losses (231–233). Towards the end of his reign Ardashir resumed the attack; while his son Shapur I. (241–272) reduced Nisibis and Carrhae Shapur I. and penetrated into Syria, but was defeated by Gordian III. at Resaena (243). Soon afterwards, however, the Roman Empire seemed to collapse utterly. The Goths defeated Decius (251) and harried the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor, while insurrections broke out everywhere and the legions created one Caesar after the other. Then Shapur resumed the war, subdued Armenia and plundered Antioch. The emperor Valerian, who marched to encounter him, was overthrown at Edessa and taken prisoner (260). The Persian armies advanced into Cappadocia; but here Ballista or Balista (d. c. 264) beat them back, and Odenathus (Odainath), prince of Palmyra (q.v.), rose in their rear, defeated Shapur, captured his harem, and twice forced his way to Ctesiphon (263–265). Shapur was in no position to repair the defeat, or even to hold Armenia; so that the Sassanid power failed to pass the bounds of the Arsacid Empire. Nevertheless Shapur I., in contrast to his father, assumed the title “King of the kings of the Iranians and non-Iranians” (βασιλεὺς βασιλέων Ἀριανῶν καὶ Ἀναριανῶν; shah an shah Iran we Aniran), thus emphasizing his claim to world dominion. His successors retained the designation, little as it corresponded to the facts, for the single non-Iranian land governed by the Sassanids was, as under the Parthians, the district of the Tigris and Euphrates as far as the Mesopotamian desert; Western and northern Mesopotamia remained Roman.

The Sassanid ruler is the representative of the “Kingly Majesty,” derived from Ormuzd, which appears in the Avesta as the angel Organization. Kavaem Hvareno, “the royal glory,” and, according to legend, once beamed in the Iranian kings, unattainable to all but those of royal blood. A picture, which frequently recurs in the rock-reliefs of Ardashir I. and Shapur I., represents the king and the god Ormuzd both on horseback, the latter in the act of handing to his companion the ring of sovereignty. Thus it is explicable that all the Sassanids, as many of the Arsacids before them, include the designation of “god” in their formal style. From this developed (as already under the Arsacids) that strict principle of legitimacy which is still vigorous in Firdousi. It applies, however, to the whole royal house, precisely as in the Ottoman Empire of to-day. The person of the individual ruler is, on the other hand, a matter of indifference. He can readily be removed and replaced by another; but no usurper who was not of the legitimate blood can hope no become the genuine king. Therefore the native tradition carries the Sassanid line back to the Achaemenids and, still further, to the kings of the legendary period.

Officially the king is all-powerful, and his will, which is guided by God and bound up in His law, unfettered. Thus, externally, he is surrounded by all the splendour of sovereignty; on his head he wears a great and resplendent crown, with a high circular centrepiece; he is clothed in gold and jewels; round him is a brilliant court, composed of his submissive servants. He sits in dazzling state on his throne in Ctesiphon. All who approach fling themselves to the ground, life and death depend on his nod. Among his people he is accounted the fairest, strongest and wisest man of the empire; and from him is required the practice of all piety and virtue, as well as skill in the chase and in arms—especially the bow. Ardashir I., moreover, and his successors endeavoured to establish the validity of the royal will by absorbing the vassal states and instituting a firmer organization. Nevertheless they failed to attain the complete independence and power of the Achaemenids. Not strong enough to break up the nobility, with its great estates, they were forced to utilize its services and still further to promote its interests; while their dependence on its good-will and assistance led inevitably to incessant gifts of money, lands and men. This state of affairs had also prevailed under the later Achaemenids, and had materially contributed to the disintegration of the empire and the numerous insurrections of the satraps. But the older Achaemenids held an entirely different position; and hardly a single Sassanid enjoyed even that degree of power which was still retained by the later Achaemenids. It was of fundamental importance that the Sassanian Empire could not make good its claim to world dominion; and, in spite of the title of its kings, it always remained essentially the kingdom of Iran—or rather west Iran, together with the districts on the Tigris and Euphrates. This fact, again, is most closely connected with its military and administrative organization. The external and inter11al conditions of the empire are in mutual reaction upon one another. The empire, which in extent did not exceed that of the Arsacids with its vassal states, was protected on the east and west by the great Military Achievements. deserts of central Iran and Mesopotamia. For the defence of these provinces the mounted archers, who formed the basis of the army, possessed adequate strength; and though the Scythian nomads from the east, or the Romans from the west, might occasionally penetrate deep into the country, they never succeeded in maintaining their position. But the power of the neo-Persian Empire was not great enough for further conquests, though its army was caipable and animated by a far stronger national feeling than that of the Parthians. It still consisted, however, of levies from the retinue of the magnates led by their territorial lords; and, although these troops would stream in at the beginning of a war, they could not be kept permanently together. For, on the one hand, they were actuated by the most varied personal interests and antipathies, not all of which the king could satisfy; on the other hand he could not, owing to the natural character and organization of his dominions, maintain and pay a large army for any length of time. Thus the great hosts soon melted away, and a war, begun successfully, ended ingloriously, and often disastrously. Under such circumstances an elaborate tactical organization employing different species of arms, or the execution of a comprehensive plan of campaign, was out of the question. The successes of the Sassanids in the east were gained in the later period of their dominion; and the Roman armies, in spite of decay in discipline and military spirit, still remained their tactical and strategical superiors. A great victory might be won—even an emperor might be captured, like Valerian—but immediately afterwards successes, such as those gained against Shapur I. (who was certainly an able general) by Ballista and Odenathus of Palmyra, or the later victories of Carus, Julian and others, demonstrated how far the Persians were from being on an equality with the Romans. That Babylonia permanently remained a Sassanian province was due merely to the geographical conditions and to the political situation of the Roman Empire, not to the strength of the Persians.

Among the magnates six great houses—seven, if we include the royal house—were still regarded as the foremost, precisely as under the Achaemenids, and from these were drawn the generals, crown officials and governors (cf. Procop. Pers. i. 6, 13 sqq.). In the last of these positions we frequently find princes of the blood, who then bear the royal title The Nobility. (shah). Some of these houses—whose origin the legends derive from King Gushtasp (i.e. Vishtaspa), the protector of Zoroaster (Marquart, Zeitschr. d. d. morgenl. Ges. xlix. 635 sqq.), already existed under the Arsacids, e.g. the Suren (Surenas, vide supra, p. 798) and Karen (Carenes, Tac. Ann. xii. 12 sqq.), who had obviously embraced the cause of the victorious dynasty at the correct moment and so retained their position. The name Pahlavan, moreover, which denoted the Parthian magnates, passed over into the new empire. Below these there was an inferior nobility, the dikhans (“village-lords”) and the “knights” (aswar); who, as among the Parthians, took the field in heavy scale-armour. To an even greater extent than under the Arsacids the empire was subdivided into a host of small provinces, at the head of each being a Marzban (“boundary-lord,” “lord of the marches”). These were again comprised in four great districts. With each of these local potentates the king could deal with as scant consideration as he pleased, always provided that he had the power or understood the art of making himself feared. But to break through the system or replace it by another was impossible. In fact he was compelled to proceed with great caution whenever he wished to elevate a favourite of humbler origin to an office which custom reserved for the nobility. Thus it is all the more worthy of recognition that the Sassanian Empire was a fairly orderly empire, with an excellent legal administration, and that the later sovereigns did their utmost to repress the encroachments of the nobility, to protect the commonalty, and, above all, to carry out a just system of taxation.

Side by side with the nobles ranked the spiritual chiefs, now a far more powerful body than under the Arsacids. Every larger district had its upper Magian (Magupat, mobed, i.e. “Lord of the Magians”). At their head was the supreme Mobed, resident in Rhagae (Rai), who was regarded as the successor of Zoroaster. In the new empire, Religious Development. of which the king and people were alike zealous professors of the true faith, their influence was extraordinarily strong (cf. Agathias ii. 26)—comparable to the influence of the priesthood in later Egypt, and especially in Byzantium and medieval Christendom. As has already been indicated, it was in their religious attitudes that the essential difference lay between the Sassanid Empire and the older Iranian states. But, in details, the fluctuations were so manifold that it is necessary at this point to enter more fully into the history of Persian religion (cf. especially H. Gelzer, “Eznik u. d. Entwickel. des pers. Religions-systems,” in the Zeitschr. f. armen. Philol. i. 149 sqq.).

The Persian religion, as we have seen, spread more and more widely after the Achaemenian period. In the Indo-Scythian Empire the Persian gods were zealously worshipped; in Armenia the old national religion was almost entirely banished by the Persian cults (Gelzer, “Zur armen. Götterlehre,” in Ber. d. sächs. Gesch. d. Wissensch., 1895); in Cappadocia, North Syria and the west of Asia Minor, the Persian gods were everywhere adored side by side with the native deities. It was in the third century that the cult of Mithras, with its mysteries and a theology evolved from Zoroastrianism, attained the widest diffusion in all Latin-speaking provinces of the Roman dominion; and it even seemed for a while as though the Sol invictus Mithras, highly favoured by the Caesars, would become the official deity-in-chief of the empire. But in all these cults the Persian gods are perfectly tolerant of other native or foreign divinities; vigorous as was their propagandism, it was yet equally far removed from an attack on other creeds. Thus this Parseeism always bears a syncretic character; and the supreme god of Zoroastrian theory, Ahuramazda (i.e. Zeus or Jupiter), in practice yields place to his attendant deities, who work in the world and are able to lead the believer, who has been initiated and keeps the commandments of purity, to salvation.

But, meanwhile, in its Iranian home and especially in Persis, the religion of Zoroaster lived a quiet life, undisturbed by the proceedings of the outside world. Here the poems of the prophet and fragments of ancient religious literature survived, understood by the Magians and rendered accessible to the faithful laity by versions in the modern dialect (Pahlavi). Here the opposition between the good spirit of light and the demons of evil—between Ormuzd and Ahriman—still remained the principal dogma of the creed; while all other gods and angels, however estimable their aid, were but subordinate servants of Ormuzd, whose highest manifestation on earth was not the sun-god Mithras, but the holy fire guarded by his priests. Here all the prescriptions of purity—partly connected with national customs, and impossible of execution abroad—were diligently observed; and even the injunction not to pollute earth with corpses, but to cast out the dead to vulture and dog, was obeyed in its full force. At the same time Ahuramazda preserved his character as a national god, who bestowed on his worshippers victory and world dominion. In the sculptures of the Sassanids, as also in Armenian traditions, he appears on horseback as a war-god. Here, again, the theology was further developed, and an attempt made to annul the old dualism by envisaging both Ormuzd and Ahriman as emanations of an original principle of infinite time (Zervan), a doctrine which long enjoyed official validity under the Sassanids till, in the reign of Chosroes I., “the sect of Zervanites" was pronounced heretical.[26] But, above all, the ritual and the doctrine of purity were elaborated and expanded, and there was evolved a complete and detailed system of casuistry, dealing with all things allowed and forbidden, the forms of pollution and the expiation for each, &c., which, in its arid and spiritless monotony vividly recalls the similar prescriptions in the Pentateuch. The consequences of this development were that orthodoxy and literal obedience to all priestly injunctions now assumed an importance far greater than previously; henceforward, the great commandment of Zoroastrianism, as of Judaism, is to combat the heresies of the heathen, a movement which had already had an energetic representative in the prophet himself. Heathenish cults and forbidden manners and customs are a pollution to the land and a deep insult to the true God. Therefore the duty of the believer is to combat and destroy the unbeliever and the heretic. In short, the tolerance of the Achaemenids and the indifference of the Arsacids are now replaced by intolerance and religious persecution.

Such were the views in which Ardashir I. grew up, and in their energetic prosecution he found a potent instrument for the building up of his empire. It has previously been mentioned that Vologaeses III. had already begun a collection of the holy writings, and the task was resumed under Ardashir. At his order the orthodox doctrines and texts were compiled by the high priest Jansar, all divergent theories were prohibited and their adherents proscribed. Thus arose the Avesta, the sacred book of the Parsees. Above all, the sacred book of laws, the Vendidad, breathes throughout the spirit of the Sassanian period, in its intolerance, its casuistry degenerating into absurdity, and its soulless monotony. Subscription to the restored orthodox doctrine was to the Iranian a matter of course. The schismatics Ardashir imprisoned for a year; if, at its expiration, they still refused to listen to reason, and remained stiff necked, they were executed. It is even related that, in his zeal for uniformity of creed, Ardashir wished to extinguish the holy fires in the great cities of the empire and the Parthian vassal states, with the exception of that which burned in the residence of the dynasty. This plan he was unable to execute. In Armenia, also, Ardashir and Shapur, during the period of their occupation, sought to introduce the orthodox religion, destroyed the heathen images—even those of the Iranian gods which were here considered heathen,—and turned the shrines into fire-altars (Gelzer, Ber. sachs Ges. p. 135, 1895). Shapur I., who appears to have had a broader outlook, added to the religious writings a collection of scientific treatises on medicine, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, zoology, &c., partly from Indian and Greek sources.

This religious development was most strongly influenced by the fact that, meanwhile, a powerful opponent of Zoroastrianism had arisen with an equally zealous propagandism and an equal exclusiveness and intolerance. More especially in the countries of the Tigris and Euphrates, now altogether Aramaic, Christianity had everywhere gained a Relation to Christianity.

firm footing.[27] But its missionary enterprise stretched over the whole of Iran, and even farther. The time was come when, in the western and eastern worlds alike, the religious question was for large masses of people the most important question in life, and the diffusion of their own creed and the suppression of all others the highest and holiest of tasks. The man who thinks thus knows no compromise, and so Zoroastrianism and Christianity confronted each other as mortal enemies. Still the old idea that every religion contained a portion of the truth, and that it was possible to borrow something from one and amalgamate it with another, had not yet lost all its power. From such a conception arose the teaching of Mani or Manes. For Manichaeism (q.v.) is an attempt to weld the doctrine of the Gospel and the doctrine of Zoroaster into a uniform system, though naturally not without an admixture of other elements, principally Babylonian and Gnostic. Mani, perhaps a Persian from Babylonia, is said to have made his first appearance as a teacher on the coronation day of Shapur I. At all events he found numerous adherents, both at court and among the magnates of the empire. The king even inclined to him, till in a great disputation the Magians gained the predominance. None the less Mani found means to diffuse his creed far and wide over the whole empire. Even the heir to the throne, Hormizd I. (reigned 272–273), was favourably disposed to him; but Shapur’s younger son, Bahram I (273–276), yielded to sacerdotal pressure, and Mani was executed. After that Manichaeism was persecuted and extirpated in Iran. Yet it maintained itself not merely in the west, where its head resided at Babylon—propagating thence far into the Roman Empire—but also in the east, in Khorasan and beyond the bounds of the Sassanian dominion. There the seat of its pontiff was at Samarkand; thence it penetrated into Central Asia, where, buried in the desert sands which entomb the cities of eastern Turkestan, numerous fragments of the works of Mani and his disciples, in the Persian language (Pahlavi) and Syrian script, and in an East Iranian dialect, called Sogdian, which was used by the Manichaeans of Central Asia, have been discovered (K. Müller, “Handschriftenreste in Estrangelo-schrift aus Turfan, in Chinesisch-Turkestan,” in Abh. d. berl. Akad., 1904); among them translations of texts of the New Testament (K. Müller, Berichte der Berl., 1907, p. 260 seq). In these texts God the Father is identified with the Zervan of Zarathustrism, the devil with Ahriman. The further religious development of the Sassanid Empire will be touched upon later.

Like the Arsacids the kings resided in Ctesiphon, where, out of the vast palace built by Chosroes I., a portion at least of the great hall is still erect. On the ruins of Seleucia, on the opposite bank of the Tigris, Ardashir I. built the city of Veh-Ardashir (“good is Ardashir”), to which the later an kings added new towns, or rather new quarters. In Susiana Architecture
and Arts.
Shapur I. built the great city of Gondev-Shapur, which succeeded the ancient capital of the Persian Empire. At the same time the mother-country again gained importance; especially the capital of Persis, Istakhr, which had replaced the former Persepolis now the ruins of Hajji-abad). Farther in the south-east, Ardashir I. built Gur (now Firuzabad), under the name of Ardashir-khurre (“the glory of Ardashir”). At these places and in Sarwistan, near Shiraz and elsewhere, lie ruins of the Sassanid palaces, which in their design go back to the Achaemenid architecture, blending with it, however, Graeco-Syrian elements and serving in their turn as models for the structures of the Caliphs (see Architecture: § Sassanian). After its long quiescence under the Arsacids native art underwent a general renaissance, which, though not aspiring to the Achaemenian creations, was still of no small importance. Of the Sassanian rock-sculptures some have already been mentioned; besides these, numerous engraved signet-stones have been preserved. The metal-work, carpets and fabrics of this period enjoyed a high reputation; they were widely distributed and even influenced western art.

In the intellectual life and literature of the Sassanid era the main characteristic is the complete disappearance of Hellenism and the Greek language. Ardashir I. and Shapur I. still appended Greek translations to some of their inscriptions; but all of later date are drawn up in Pahlavi alone. The coins invariably bear a Pahlavi legend—on the obverse the king’s Literature. head with his name and title; on the reverse, a fire-altar (generally with the ascription “fire of Ardashir, Shapur, &c.,” i.e. the fire of the royal palace), and the name of the place of coinage, usually abbreviated. The real missionaries of culture in the empire were the Aramaeans (Syrians), who were connected with the West by their Christianity, and in their translations diffused Greek literature through the Orient. But there also developed a rather extensive Pahlavi literature, not limited to religious subjects, but containing works in belles lettres, modernizations of the old Iranian sagas and native traditions, e.g. the surviving fabulous history of Ardashir I., ethical tales, &c., with translations of foreign literature, principally Indian,—one instance being the celebrated book of tales Kalilah and Dimnah (see Syriac Literature), dating from Chosroes I., in whose reign chess also was introduced from India.

Authorities.-Side by side with the accounts of Roman and Greek authors stands the indigenous tradition which, especially for the later years of the empire, is generally trustworthy. It goes back to a native work, the Khudai nama (“book of lords”), compiled under Chosroes I. and continued to Yazdegerd III. Its narrations are principally preserved in Tabari, though there combined with numerous Arabian traditions; also in the poetical adaptation of Firdousi. To these may be added Syrian accounts, particularly in the martyrologies, which have been excellently treated by G. Hoffmann, Auszüge aus syrischen Akten persischer Märtyrer (1880); also the statements of the Armenian historians.

The fundamental work on Sassanian history is Theodor Nöldeke’s Gesch. der Perser u. Araber zur Zeit der Sassaniden, aus der arabischen Chronik des Tabari (1879, trans. with notes and excursuses chiefly on the chronology an organization of the empire). On this is based Nöldeke’s Aufsätze zur pers. Gesch. (1887; containing a history of the Sassanian Empire, pp. 86 sqq.) The only other works requiring mention are: G. Rawlinson, The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy (1876), and F. Justi’s sketch in the Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, vol. ii. (1904). For the geography and numerous details of administration: J. Marquart, “Eranshahr” (Abh. d. götting. Ges. d. Wissensch., 1901). For the numismatology the works of A. D. Mordtmann are of prime importance, especially his articles in the Zeitschr. d. d. morgenl. Ges. (1879), xxxiii. 113 sqq. and xxxiv. 1 sqq. (1880), where the inscriptions of the individual kings are also enumerated. Also Nöldeke, ibid. xxxi. 147 sqq. (1877) For facsimiles of coins the principal work is J. de Bartholomaei, Collection de monnaies sassanides (2nd ed., St Petersburg, 1875). For the inscriptions: Edward Thomas, “Early Sassanian Inscriptions,” Journ. R. A. Soc. vol ii. (1868); West, “Pahlavi Literature” in the Grundriss d. iran. Philol. vol. ii. For the monuments: Flandin and Coste, Voyage en Perse (1851); Stolze, Persepolis (1882); Fr. Sarre, Iran. Felsreliefs a. d. Z. der Achaemeniden und Sassaniden (1908).

In foreign policy the problems under the Sassanid kings[28] remained as of old, the defence and, when possible, the expansion of the eastern and western frontiers. In the first two centuries of the Sassanid Empire we hear practically nothing of its relations with the East. Only occasional notices show that the inroads of the Oriental nomads History of the Sassanian Empire. had not ceased, and that the extent of the empire had by no means exceeded the bounds of the Parthian dominion—Sacastene (Seistan) and western Afghanistan. Far to the east, on both sides of the Indus, the Kushana Empire was still in existence, though it was already hastening to decay, and about A.D. 320 was displaced from its position in India by the Gupta dynasty. In the west the old conflict for Osroene and northern Mesopotamia (now Roman provinces), with the fortresses of Edessa, Carrhae and Nisibis, still smouldered. Armenia the Sassanids were all the more eager to regain, since there the Arsacid dynasty still survived and turned for protection to Rome, with whom, in consequence, new wars perpetually broke out. In the reign of Bahram II. (276–293), the emperor Carus, burning to avenge the disaster of Valerian, penetrated into Mesopotamia without meeting opposition, and reduced Coche (near Seleucia) and Ctesiphon; but his sudden death, in December of 283, precluded further success, and the Roman army returned home. Bahram, however, was unable to effect anything, as his brother Hormizd was in arms, supported by the Sacae and other tribes. (Mamertin, Panegyr. Maximin. 7. 10; Genethl. Maximin. 5, 17.) He chose, consequently, to buy peace with Diocletian by means of presents. Some years later his uncle and successor, Narses, after subduing his rival Bahram III., occupied Armenia and defeated the emperor Galerius at Callinicum (296). But in the following year he sustained a severe reverse in Armenia, in which he lost his war-chest and harem. He then concluded a peace, by the terms of which Armenia remained under Roman suzerainty, and the steppes of northern Mesopotamia, with Singara and the hill-country on the left bank of the Tigris as far as Gordyene, were ceded to the victor (Ammian. Marc. xxv. 7, 9, Petr. Patr. fr. 13, 14; Rufus brev. 25). In return Narses regained his household. This peace, ratified in 297 and completely expelling the Sassanids from the disputed districts, lasted for forty years.

For the rest, practically nothing is known of the history of the first six successors of Shapur I. After the death of Hormizd II. (302–310), the son of Narses, the magnates imprisoned or put to death his adult sons, one of whom, Hormisdas, later escaped to the Romans, who used him as a pretender in their wars. Shapur II., a posthumous child of the late king, was then raised to the throne, a proof that the great magnates held the sovereignty in their own hands and attempted to order matters at their own pleasure. Shapur, however, when he came to manhood proved himself an independent and energetic ruler.

Meanwhile the Roman Empire had become Christian, the sequel of which was that the Syro-Christian population of Mesopotamia and Babylonia—even more than the Hellenic cities in former times—gravitated to the west and looked to Rome for deliverance from the infidel yoke. On similar grounds Christianity, as Shapur II. Persecution of
the Christians.
opposed to the Mazdaism enforced officially by the Sassanids, became predominant in Armenia. Between these two great creeds the old Armenian religion was unable to hold its own; as early as A.D. 294 King Tiridates was converted by Gregory the Illuminator and adopted the Christian faith. For this very reason the Sassanid Empire was the more constrained to champion Zoroastrianism. It was under Shapur II. that the compilation of the Avesta was completed and the state orthodoxy perfected by the chief mobed, Aturpad. All heresy was proscribed by the state, defection from the true faith pronounced a capital crime, and the persecution of the heterodox—particularly the Christians—began (cf. Sachall, “Die rechtlichen Verhältnisse der Christen in Sassanidenreich,” in Mitteilungen des Seminars für orientalische Sprachen für Berlin, Bd. X., Abt. 2, 1907). Thus the duel between the two great empires now becomes simultaneously a duel between the two religions.

In such a position of affairs a fresh war with Rome was inevitable.[29] It was begun by Shapur in A.D. 337, the year that saw the death of Constantine the Great. The conflict centred round the Mesopotamian fortresses; Shapur thrice besieged Nisibis without success, but reduced several others, as Amida (359) and Singara (360), and transplanted great masses of inhabitants into Susiana. The emperor Constantius conducted the war feebly and was consistently beaten in the field. But, in spite of all, Shapur found it impossible to penetrate deeper into the Roman territory. He was hampered by the attack of nomadic tribes in the east, among whom the Chionites now begin to be mentioned. Year after year he took the field against them (353–358), till finally he compelled them to support him with auxiliaries (Ammian. Marc. 14, 3; 16, 9; 17, 5; 18, 4, 6). With this war is evidently connected the foundation of the great town New-Shapur (Nishapur) in Khorasan.

By the resolution of Julian (363) to begin an energetic attack on the Persian Empire, the conflict, after the lapse of a quarter of a century, assumed a new phase. Julian pressed forward to Ctesiphon but succumbed to a wound; and his successor Jovian soon found himself in such straits, that he could only extricate himself and his army by a disgraceful peace at the close of 363, which ceded the possessions on the Tigris and the great fortress of Nisibis, and pledged Rome to abandon Armenia and her Arsacid protégé, Arsaces III., to the Persian.

Shapur endeavoured to occupy Armenia and introduce the Zoroastrian orthodoxy. He captured Arsaces III. by treachery and compelled him to commit suicide; but the Armenian magnates proved refractory, placed Arsaces' son Pap on the throne, and found secret support among the Romans. This all but led to a new war; but in 374 Valens sacrificed Pap and had him killed in Tarsus. The subsequent invasions of the Goths, in battle with whom Valens fell at Adrianople (375), definitely precluded Roman intervention; and the end of the Armenian troubles was that (c. 390) Bahram IV. and Theodosius the Great concluded a treaty which abandoned the extreme west of Armenia to the Romans and confirmed the remainder in the Persian possession. Thus peace and friendship could at last exist with Rome; and in 408 Yazdegerd I. contracted an Conquest of Armenia. alliance with Theodosius II. In Armenia the Persians immediately removed the last kings of the house of Arsaces (430), and thenceforward the main portion of the country remained a Persian province under the control of a marzban, though the Armenian nobles still made repeated attempts at insurrection. The introduction of Zoroastrianism was abandoned; Christianity was already far too deeply rooted. But the sequel to the Roman sacrifice of Armenian interests was that the Armenian Christians now seceded from the orthodoxy of Rome and Constantinople, and organized themselves into an independent national church. This church was due, before all, to the efforts of the Catholicos Sahak (390–439), whose colleague Mesrob, by his translation of the Bible, laid the foundations of an Armenian literature (see Armenian Church).

In the interior of the Sassanian Empire the old troubles broke out anew on the death of Shapur II. (379). At first the magnates raised his aged brother Ardashir II. to the throne, then in 383 deposed him and enthroned Shapur's son as Shapur III. In 388, however, he was assassinated, as was also his brother, Bahram IV., in 399. But the Yazdegerd I. son of the latter, Yazdegerd I. (399–420), was an energetic and intelligent sovereign, who held the magnates within bounds and severely chastised their attempts at encroachment. He even sought to emancipate himself from the Magian Church, put an end to the persecutions, and allowed the Persian Christians an individual organization. In the Persian tradition he is consequently known as “the sinner.” In the end he was probably assassinated. So great was the bitterness against him that the magnates would admit none of his sons to the throne. One of them, however, Bahram V., found an auxiliary in the Arab chief Mondhir, who had founded a principality in Hira, Bahram V., Gor. west of the lower Euphrates; and, as he pledged himself to govern otherwise than his father, he received general recognition. This pledge he redeemed, and he is, in consequence, the darling of Persian tradition, which bestows on him the title of Gor (“the wild ass”), and is eloquent on his adventures in the chase and in love. This reversal of policy led to a Christian persecution and a new war with Rome. Bahram, however, was worsted; and in the peace of 422 Persia agreed to allow the Christians free exercise of their religion in the empire, while the same privilege was accorded to Zoroastrianism by Rome. Under his son, Yazdegerd II. (438–457), who once more revived the persecutions of the Christians and the Jews, a short conflict with Rome again ensued (441): while at the same time war prevailed in the east against the remnants of the Kushan Empire and the tribe of Kidarites, also named Huns.

Here a new foe soon arose in the shape of the Ephthalites (Haitab), also known as the “White Huns,” a barbaric tribe which shortly after A.D. 450 raided Bactria and terminated the Kushana dominion (Procop. Pers. i. 3). These Ephthalite attacks harassed and weakened the Sassanids, exactly as the Tocharians had harassed and weakened The Ephthalites or White Huns.

Kavadh I.
the Arsacids after Phraates II. Peroz (457–484) fell in battle against them; his treasures and family were captured and the country devastated far and near. His brother Balash (484–488), being unable to repel them, was deposed and blinded, and the crown was bestowed on Kavadh I. (488–531), the son of Peroz. As the external and internal distress still continued he was dethroned and imprisoned, but took refuge among the Ephthalites and was restored in 499 by their assistance—like so many Arsacids by the arms of the Dahae and Sacae. To these struggles obviously must be attributed mainly the fact that in the whole of this period no Roman war broke out. But, at the same time, the religious duel had lost in intensity, since, among the Persian Christians, the Nestorian doctrine was now dominant. Peroz had already favoured the diffusion of Nestorianism, and in 483 it was officially adopted by a synod, after which it remained the Christian Church of the Persian Empire, its head being the patriarch of Seleucia—Ctesiphon.

Kavadh proved himself a vigorous ruler. On his return he restored order in the interior. In 502 he attacked the Romans and captured and destroyed Amida (mod. Diarbekr), but was compelled to ratify a peace owing to an inroad of the Huns. Toward the close of his reign (527) he resumed the war, defeating Belisarius at The Mazdakite Sect. Callinicum (531), with the zealous support of the wild Arab Mondhir II. of Hira. On his death his son Chosroes I. concluded a peace with Justinian (532), pledging the Romans to an annual subsidy for the maintenance of the Caucasus fortresses. In his home policy Kavadh is reminiscent of Yazdegerd I. Like him he had little inclination to the orthodox church, and favoured Mazdak, the founder of a communistic sect which had made headway among the people and might be used as a weapon against the nobles, of whom Mazdak demanded that they should cut down their luxury and distribute their superfluous wealth. Another feature of his programme was the community of wives. The crown-prince, Chosroes, was, on the other hand, wholly orthodox, and, towards the close of his father’s reign, in conjunction with the chief Magian, he carried through a sacrifice of the Mazdakites, who were butchered in a great massacre (528) Chosroes I. (531–579), surnamed Anushirvan (“the Chosroes I., Anushirvan. blessed”), then restored the orthodox doctrine in full, publishing his decision in a religious edict. At the same time he produced the official exposition of the Avesta, an exegetical translation in the popular tongue (Pahlavi), and declared its contents binding. Defection from Zoroastrianism was punished with death, and therefore also the proselytizing of the Christians, though the Syrian martyrologies prove that the kings frequently ignored these proceedings so long as it was at all possible to do so.

Chosroes I. was one of the most illustrious sovereigns of the Sassanian Empire. From him dates a new and equitable adjustment of the imperial taxation, which was later adopted by the Arabs. His reputation as an enlightened ruler stood so high that when Justinian, in 529, closed the school of Athens, the last Neoplatonists bent their steps to him in hopes of finding in him the true philosopher-king. Their disillusionment, indeed, was speedy and complete, and their gratitude was great, when, by the conditions of the armistice of 549, he allowed their return. From 540 onward he conducted a great war against Justinian (527–565), which, though interrupted by several armistices, lasted till the fifty years' peace of 562. The net result, indeed, was merely to restore the status quo; but during the campaign Chosroes sacked Antioch and transplanted the population to a new quarter of Ctesiphon (540). He also extended his power to the Black Sea and the Caucasus; on the other hand, a siege of Edessa failed (544). A second war broke out in 577, chiefly on the question of Armenia and the Caucasus territory. In this Chosroes ravaged Cappadocia in 575, but the campaign in Mesopotamia was unsuccessful. In the interval between these two struggles (570) he dispatched assistance to the Arabs of Yemen, who had been assailed and subdued by the Abyssinian Christians; after which period Yemen remained nominally under Persian suzerainty till its fate was sealed by the conquests of Mahomet and Islam.

Meanwhile, about A.D. 560, a new nation had sprung up in the East, the Turks. Chosroes concluded an alliance with them against the Ephthalites and so conquered Bactria south of the Oxus, with its capital Balkh. Thus this province, which, since the insurrection of Diodotus in 250 B.C., had undergone entirely First Appearance of the Turks. Sassanid Conquest of Bactria. different vicissitudes from the rest of Iran, was once more united to an Iranian Empire, and the Sassanid dominions, for the first time, passed the frontiers of the Arsacids. This, however, was the limit of their expansion. Neither the territories north of the Oxus, nor eastern Afghanistan and the Indus provinces, were ever subject to them. That the alliance with the Turks should soon change to hostility and mutual attack was inevitable from the nature of the case; in the second Roman war the Turkish Khan was leagued with Rome.

Chosroes bequeathed this war to his son Hormizd IV. (579–590), who, in spite of repeated negotiations, failed to re-establish peace. Hormizd had not the ability to retain the authority of his father, and he further affronted the Magian priesthood by declining to proceed against the Christians and by requiring that, in his empire, both religions should dwell together in peace. Eventually he succumbed to a conspiracy of his magnates, at whose head stood the general Bahram Cobin, who had defeated the Turks, but afterwards was beaten by the Romans. Hormizd’s son, Chosroes II., was set up against his father and forced to acquiesce in his execution. But immediately new risings broke out, in which Bahram Cobin—though not of the royal line—attempted to Chosroes II. secure the crown, while simultaneously a Prince Bistam entered the lists. Chosroes fled to the Romans and the emperor Maurice undertook his restoration at the head of a great army. The people flocked to his standard; Bahram Cobin was routed (591) and fled to the Turks, who slew him, and Chosroes once more ascended the throne of Ctesiphon; Bistam held out in Media till 596. Maurice made no attempt to turn the opportunity to Roman advantage, and in the peace then concluded he even abandoned Nisibis to the Persians.

Chosroes II. (590–628) is distinguished by the surname of Parvez (“the conqueror”), though, in point of fact, he was immeasurably inferior to a powerful sovereign like his grandfather, or even to a competent general. He lived, however, to witness unparalleled vicissitudes of fortune. The assassination of Maurice in 602 impelled him to a war of revenge against Rome, in the course of which his armies—in 608 and, again, in 615 and 626—penetrated as far as Chalcedon opposite Constantinople, ravaged Syria, reduced Antioch (611), Damascus (613), and Jerusalem (614), and carried off the holy cross to Ctesiphon; in 619 Egypt was occupied. Meanwhile, the Roman Empire was at the lowest ebb. The great emperor Heraclius, who assumed the crown in 610, took years to create the nucleus of a new military power. This done, however, he took the field in 623, and repaid the Persians with interest. Their armies were everywhere defeated. In 624 he penetrated into Atropatene (Azerbaijan), and there destroyed the great fire-temple; in 627 he advanced into the Tigris provinces. Chosroes attempted no resistance, but fled from his residence at Dastagerd to Ctesiphon. These proceedings, in conjunction with the avarice and licence of the king, led to revolution. Chosroes was deposed and slain by his son Kavadh II. (628); but the parricide died in a few months and absolute chaos resulted. A whole list of kings and pretenders—among them the General Shahrbaraz and Boran, a daughter of Chosroes—followed rapidly on one another, till finally the magnates united and, in 632, elevated a child to the throne, Yazdegerd III., grandson of Chosroes. In the interval—presumably during the reign of Queen Boran—peace was concluded with Heraclius, the old frontier being apparently restored. The cross had already been given back to the emperor.

Thus the hundred years’ struggle between Rome and Persia, which had begun in 527 with the attack of the first Kavadh on Justinian, had run its fruitless course, utterly enfeebling both empires and consuming their powers. So it was that room was given to a new enemy who now arose between either state and either religion—the Arabs The Arab Conquest. and Islam. In the same year that saw the coronation of Yazdegerd III.—the beginning of 633—the first Arab squadrons made their entry into Persian territory. After several encounters there ensued (637) the battle of Kadisiya (Qadisiya, Cadesia), fought on one of the Euphrates canals, where the fate of the Sassanian Empire was decided. A little previously, in the August of 636, Syria had fallen in a battle on the Yarmuk (Hieromax), and in 639 the Arabs penetrated into Egypt. The field of Kadisiya laid Ctesiphon, with all its treasures, at the mercy of the victor. The king fled to Media, where his generals attempted to organize the resistance; but the battle of Nehaveud (?641) decided matters there. Yazdegerd sought refuge in one province after the other, till, at last, in 651, he was assassinated in Merv (see Caliphate: § A, § 1).

Thus ended the empire of the Sassanids, no less precipitately and ingloriously than that of the Achaemenids. By 650 the Arabs had occupied every province to Balkh and the Oxus. Only in the secluded districts of northern Media (Tabaristan), the “generals” of the house of Karen (Spahpat, Ispehbed) maintained themselves for a century as vassals of the caliphs—exactly as Atropates and his dynasty had done before them.

The fall of the empire sealed the fate of its religion. The Moslems officially tolerated the Zoroastrian creed, though occasional persecutions were not lacking. But little by little it vanished from Iran, with the exception of a few remnants (chiefly in the oasis of Yezd), the faithful finding a refuge in India at Bombay. These Parsees have preserved but a small part of the sacred writings, but to-day they still number their years by the era which begins on the 16th of June A.D. 632, with the accession of Yazdegerd III., the last king of their faith and the last lawful sovereign of Iran, on whom rested the god-given Royal Glory of Ormuzd.

Authorities.—Besides the works on special periods quoted above, the following general works should be consulted: Spiegel, Eranische Altertumskunde (3 vols., 1876 sqq.); W. Geiger and Ernst Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie herausg., vol. ii. (Literature, History and Civilization, 1896 sqq.); G. Rawlinson, The Five Great Monarchies, The Sixth Monarchy, The Seventh Monarchy. Further the mutually supplementary work of Th. Nöldeke, Aufsätze zur persischen Geschichte (1887, Medes, Persians and Sassanids), and A. v. Gutschmid, Geschichte Irans von Alexander d. Gr. bis zum Untergang der Arsaciden (1888). A valuable work of reference is F. Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch (1895).

The most important works on the monuments are: Flandin et Coste, Voyage en Perse (6 vols., 1840 sqq.); Texier, L’Arménie, la Perse, et la Mesopotamie (2 vols., 1842); Stolze, Persepolis (2 vols., 1882); Sarre, Iranische Felsreliefs (1908).

For works on the external history of Persia see those quoted under articles on Persian kings; also Rome; Greece; Egypt; Syria; &c.  (Ed. M.) 

B.—Transition Period: from the Fall of the Sassanid Dynasty to the Death of Timur (1405).

With the final defeat of the Sassanids under Yazdegerd III. at the battles of Kadisiya (Kadessia) (637) and Nehavend (641), Persia ceased to exist as a single political unit. The country passed under a succession of alien rulers who cared nothing for its ancient institutions or its religion. For about 150 years it was governed, first from Alien Rulers. Medina and afterwards from Bagdad, by officers of the Mahommedan caliphs whose principal aim it was to destroy the old nationality by the suppression of its religion. The success of this policy was, however, only apparent, especially in Iran, the inhabitants of which adopted Islam only in the most superficial manner, and it was from Persia that the blow fell which destroyed the Omayyad caliphate and set up the Abbasids in its place (see Caliphate). Even before this event adventurers and dissatisfied Moslem officers had utilized the slumbering hostility of the Persian peoples to aid them in attacks on the caliphs (e.g. Ziyad, son of Abu Sofian, in the reign of Moawiya I.), and the policy of eastern expansion brought the Arab armies perpetually into the Persian provinces. In the reign of Merwan I. the Persians (who were mostly Shiʽites) under a Moslem officer named Mokhtar (Mukhtar), whom they regarded as their mahdi, vainly attempted to assert their independence in Kufa, but were soon defeated. This rising was followed by many more (see Caliphate § B) in which the caliphs were generally successful, and Abdaimalik (d. 705) considerably strengthened the Moslem power by instituting a thorough system of Moslem coins and enforcing Arabic as the official language throughout the empire. In the succeeding reign Persia was further subdued by the great conqueror Qoteiba (Qotaiba) b. Moslim, the Arabic governor of Khorasan. Omar II., however, extended to non-Arabic Moslems immunity from all taxes except the zakat (poor-rate), with the result that a large number of Persians, who still smarted under their defeat under Mokhtar, embraced Islam and drifted into the towns to form a nucleus of sedition under the Shiʽite preachers. In the reign of Yazid II. (720–724) serious risings took place in Khorasan, and in spite of the wise administration of his successor Hisham (d. 743), the disorder continued to spread, fanned by the Abbasids and the Shiʽite preachers. Ultimately in the reign of Merwan II.the non-Arabic Moslems found a leader in Abu Moslim, a maula (client) of Persian origin and a henchman of Ibrahim b. Mahommed b. Ali, the Shiʽite imam, who raised a great army, drove the caliph's general Nasr b. Sayyar into headlong flight, and finally expelled Merwan. Thus the Abbasids became masters of Persia and also of the Arab Empire. They had gained their success largely by the aid of the Persians, who began thenceforward to recover their lost sense of nationality; according to the Spanish author Ibn Hazm the Abbasids were a Persian dynasty which destroyed the old tribal system of the Arabs and ruled despotically as Chosroes had done. At the same time the Khorasanians had fought for the old Alid family, not for the Abbasids, and with the murder of Abu Moslim discontent again began to grow among the Shiʽites (q.v.). In the reign of Harun al-Rashid disturbances broke out in Khorasan which were temporarily appeased by a visit from Harun himself. Immediately afterwards Rafiʽ b. Laith, grandson of the Omayyad general Nasr b. Sayyar, revolted in Samarkand, and Harun on his way to attack him died at Tus (809). Harun's sons Amin and Mamun quarrelled over the succession; Amin became caliph, but Mamun by the aid of Tahir b. Ḥosain Dhu ’l-Yaminain (“the man with two right hands”) and others succeeded in deposing and killing him. Tahir ultimately (820) received the governorship of Khorasan, where he succeeded in establishing a practically independent Moslem dynasty (the Tahirids)[30] which ruled until about 873 in nominal obedience to Bagdad. From 825 to about 898 a similar dynasty, the Dulafids[31] or Dolafids reigned nominally as governors under the caliphs till they were put down by Motadid. In the reign of the caliph Motasim a serious revolt of Persian Mazdakite sectaries (the Khorrami) in alliance with Byzantium was with difficulty suppressed, as also a rising of Tabaristan under an hereditary chief Maziyar who was secretly supported by the Turkish mercenaries (e.g., Afshin) whom the caliph had invited to his court. To another Turk, Itakh, the caliph Wathiq gave a titular authority over all the eastern provinces. In the reign of the tenth caliph Motawakkil the Tahirids fell before Yakub b. Laith al-Saffar, who with the approbation of the caliph founded a dynasty, the Saffarid (q.v.), in Seistan.

It is convenient at this point to mention several other minor dynasties founded by nominal governors in various parts of Persia and its borderland. From 879 to about 930 the Sajids ruled in Azerbaijan, while in Tabaristan an Alid dynasty (the Zaidites) was independent from 864 to 928, when it fell before the Samanids. Subsequently Minor Dynasties. descendants of this house ruled in Dailam and Gilan. Throughout this period the caliphate was falling completely under the power of the Turkish officers. Mohtadi, the fourteenth Abbasid caliph, endeavoured vainly to replace them by Persians (the Abna) His successor Motamid was attacked by the Saffarid Yakub who however was compelled to flee (see Caliphate: § C, § 15). Yakub’s brother Amr (reigned 878–900) received the vacant position, but was taken prisoner by Ismaʽil b. Ahmad, the Samanid, and the Saffarids were henceforward a merely nominal dynasty under the Samanids (900–1229). The Samanids. Samanids (q.v.) were the first really important non-Arabic Persian dynasty since the fall of Yazdegerd III. They held sway over most of Persia and Transoxiana, and under their rule scholarship and the arts flourished exceedingly in spite of numerous civil wars. Ultimately they fell before the Ghaznevid dynasty of Sabuktagin.

In the reign of Motadid (Caliphate: § C, § 16) who, as we have seen, put down the Dolafids, and also checked the Sajids of Azerbaijan in their designs on Syria and Egypt, the Kharijites of Mesopotamia were put down by the aid of the Hamdanites of Mosul who were to become an important dynasty (see below). Subsequently the caliphate, which had temporarily recovered some of its authority, resumed its downward course, and the great families of Persia once again asserted themselves. In the reign of Qahir (d. 934), a new dynasty arose in Persia, that Buyids. of the Buyids (Buwayhids). This family was descended from one Abu Shaja Buya, who claimed to be of the old Sassanian house and had become a chieftain in Dailam. He had successively fought for the Samanids and the Ziyarids,[32] a dynasty of Jorjan, and his son Imad addaula (ed-dowleh, originally Abu ’l Ḥasan Ali) received from Mardawij of the latter house the governorship of Karaj; his second son Rokn addaula (Abu Ali Ḥasan) subsequently held Rai and Isfahan, while the third, Moizz addaula (Abu ’l Ḥosain Ahmad) secured Kermān, Ahvaz and even Bagdad.

The reign of the caliph Mottaqi (Caliphate: § C, § 21) was a period of perpetual strife between the Dailamites, the Turks and the Hamdanid Nasir addaula of Mosul. In the next reign Moizz addaula took Bagdad (945) and was recognized by the caliph Mostakli as sultan[33] and amir al-Omara. It was at this time that the three brothers took the titles Imad, Rukn (Rokn), and Moizz addaula. The authority of the family was absolute though they paid outward respect to the caliphs. Moizz addaula repelled an attack of the Hamdanids of Mosul, The Buyids, and especially Adod addaula (Azud-ed-Dowleh, and similar forms), ruled Bagdad wisely and improved the city by great public works such as the great dike, still known as the Bend Amir on the Kur (Cyrus) near Persepolis. Their sway extended from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea (Caliphate: § C, § 24). Ultimately, however, the Buyid dynasty grew weaker under the quarrels of its members and fell an easy prey to the Ghaznevids. In the meantime (999) the Samanids fell before the Ilek-Khans of Turkestan, to the great advantage of the Ghaznevid princes.

For these and other minor dynasties such as the Hasanwayhids of Kurdistan (c. 959–1015) and the Kakwayhids of Kurdistan (1007–1051), see Stockvis, Manuel d'histoire, i. 113 sqq. (Leiden, 1888).

The centre of force in Persian politics now changes from west to east. Hitherto the ultimate power, at least nominally, had resided in the caliphate at Bagdad, and all the dynasties which have been noticed derived their authority formally from that Ghaznevids. source. With the rise of the Ghaznevids and later the Seljuks, the Abbasid caliphate ceased to count as an independent power. As we have seen, the Ghaznevid armies in a brief space destroyed most of the native dynasties of Persia. The first of the house was Alptagin, a Turkish slave of the Samanid Mansur I., who, having quarrelled with his master, took refuge in Afghanistan and founded a semi-independent authority. After his death three unimportant governors of his house held sway, but in 977 the power fell to another former slave, Sabuktagin, who was recognized by the Samanid Nuh II. His son and successor Mahmud (q.v.) was attacked by a brother, Ismaʽil, and retired from Khorasan (of which he had been governor). The Samanids then fell under the power of the Tatar Ilkhans, but Mahmud returned, triumphed over both the Samanids and the Tatars, and assumed the independent title of sultan with authority over Khorasan, Transoxiana and parts of north-west India. Mahmud was a great conqueror, and wherever he went he replaced the existing religion by Mahommedanism. He is described as the patron (if a somewhat ungenerous one) of literature; it was under his auspices that Firdousi collected the ancient myths of Persia and produced the great epic Shahnama (Book of the Kings). His descendants held a nominal rule till 1187, but in 1152 they lost all their extra-Indian territories to the Ghorids, and during the last thirty-five years reigned in diminished splendour at Lahore. Even before this time, however, the supremacy which they enjoyed under Mahmud in Persia had fallen into the hands of Seljuks. the Seljuks who, in the reign of Masʽud I., son of Mahmud, conquered Khorasan. In 1037 Seljuk princes were recognized in Merv and Nishapur, and in the ensuing eighteen years the Seljuks conquered Balkh, Jorjan, Tabaristan, Khwarizm, Hamadan, Rai, Isfahan, and finally Bagdad (1055). The Abbasid caliphs, who still enjoyed a precarious and shadowy authority at the pleasure of Turkish viziers, gladly surrendered themselves to the protection of the Mahommedan Seljuks, who paid them all outward respect.

Thus for the first time since the Arab conquest of the Sassanian realm Persia was ruled by a single authority, which extended its conquests westward into Asia Minor, where it checked the rulers of Byzantium, and eastward to India and Central Asia. The history of this period is treated at length in the articles Caliphate: § C, §§ 26 sqq.; and Seljuks. A bare outline only is required here.

The first three Seljuk rulers were Toghrul Beg, Alp Arslan and Malik Shah. On the death of the last the empire was distracted by civil war between his sons Barkiyaroq, Mahommed and Sinjar, with the result that, although the Seljuks of the direct line maintained nominal supremacy till the death of Sinjar (1157), other branches of the family established themselves in various parts of the empire—Syria, Rum (Asia Minor), Kermān, and Irak with Kurdistan. Sinjar himself lost all his dominions except Khorasan in wars with the Karakitai. The sultans of Kermān were rarely independent in the full sense, but they enjoyed comparative peace and prosperity till the death of Toghrul Shah (1170), after which their power fell before the Ghuzz tribes; Kermān was finally captured in 1195 by the Khwarizm shahs. Meanwhile an independent dynasty was formed about 1136 in Azerbaijan by the governors (atabegs) appointed by the Seljuks; this dynasty was overthrown by the Khwarizm shahs in 1225. Similar dynasties existed in Laristan and Fars.

The empire of the Seljuks was essentially military. Their authority over their own officers was so precarious that they preferred to entrust the command to Turkish slaves. These officers, however, were far from loyal to their lords. In every part of the empire they gradually superseded the Seljuk princes, and the minor dynasties above mentioned all owed their existence to the ambition of the Turkish regents or atabegs. The last important dynasty in Persia prior to the Mongol invasion was that of the Salgharids in Fars, founded by the descendants of a Turkish general Salaghar, who had formerly been a Turkoman leader and ultimately became chamberlain to Toghrul Beg. The first ruler was Sonkor b. Modud, who made himself independent in Fars in 1148. The fourth, Saʽd, became tributary to the Khwarizm shahs in 1195, and the fifth acknowledged allegiance to the Mongol Ogotai and received the title Kutbegh Khan. His successors were vassals of the Mongols, and the last, the Princess ʽAbish (d. 1287), was the wife of Hulagu’s son Mangu Timur.

Before passing on to the Mongol conquerors of Persia it is necessary briefly to notice the shahs of Khwarizm, who have frequently been mentioned as overthrowing the minor dynasties which arose with the decay of the Seljuks. These rulers were descended from Anushtajin, a Turkish slave of Ghazni, who became cupbearer to the Seljuk Khwarizm. Malik Shah, and afterwards governor of Khwarizm (Khiva) in 1077. In 1138 the third of the line, Atsiz, revolted but was defeated and expelled by Sinjar. Shortly afterwards he returned, firmly established his power, and extended the Khwarizm Empire as far as Jand on the Sihun. The brief reigns of Il-Arslan and Sultan Shah Mahmud were succeeded by that of Tukush (1172–1199) and Ala ed-din Mahommed[34] (1199–1220). The former of these subdued Khorasan, Rai and Isfahan, while the latter brought practically all Persia under his sway, conquered Bokhara, Samarkand and Otrar, capital of the Karakitai, and had even made himself master of Ghazni when his career was stopped by the hordes of the Mongol Jenghiz Khan. In 1231 the last of his house, Jelal ud-din (Jalaluddin) Mangbarti, or Mango-berti, was banished, and thus the empire of the Khwarizm shahs, which for a brief period had included practically all the lands conquered by the Seljuks, passed away.

Thus from the fall of the Samanids to the invasion of the Mongols five or at most six important dynasties held sway over Persia, while some forty small dynasties enjoyed a measure of local autonomy. During the whole of this period the Abbasid caliphs had been nominally reigning throughout the Mahommedan world with their capital at Bagdad. But with hardly any exceptions they had been the merest puppets, now in the hands of Turkish ministers, now under the protection of practically independent dynasts. The real rulers of Persia during the years 874–1231 were, as we have seen, the Samanids, the Buyids, the Ghaznevids, the Selyuks, the Salgharids and the Khwarizm shahs. We now come to a new period in Persian history, when the numerous petty dynasties which succeeded the Seljuks were all swallowed up in the great Mongol invasion.

In the later years of the 12th century the Mongols began their westward march and, after the conquest of the ancient kingdom of the Kajakitai, reached the borders of the territory of the Khwarizm shahs, which was at once overwhelmed. Jenghiz Khan died in 1272, and the Mongol Empire stretching from the Caspian to the Yellow Sea was Mongols. divided up among his sons. Persia itself fell partly in the domain of Jagatai and partly in that of the Golden Horde. The actual governor of Persia was Tului or Tule, whose son Hulagu or Hulaku is the first who can be rightly regarded as the sovereign of Persia. His accession occurred in 1256, and henceforward Persia becomes after 600 years of spasmodic government a national unit. Hulagu at once proceeded to destroy a number of nascent dynasties which endeavoured to establish themselves on the ruins of the Khwarizm Empire; about 1255 he destroyed the dynasty of the Assassins[35] by the capture of their stronghold of Alamut (Eagle’s Nest), and finally in 1258 captured Bagdad. The thirty-eighth and last Abbasid caliph, Mostasim, was brutally murdered, and thus the Mahommedan caliphate ceased to exist even as an emasculated pontificate. The Persian Empire under Hulagu and his descendants extended from the dominions of Jagatai on the north to that of the Egyptian dynasts on the south, and from the Byzantine Empire on the west to the conlines of China. Its rulers paid a nominal homage to the Khakhan (Great Khan) in China, and officially recognized this dependence in their title of Ilkhan, i.e. provincial or dependent khan. From 1258 to 1335 the Ilkhans were not seriously challenged. Hulagu fixed his capital at Maragha (Meragha) in Azerbaijan, where he erected an observatory for Nasir ud-din Tusi, who at his request prepared the astronomical tables known as the Zidj-i-Ilkhani. He died in 1265 and was succeeded by his son Abagha or Abaka, who married the daughter of Michael Palaeologus, the Byzantine ruler. Abagha was a peaceful ruler and endeavoured by wise administration to give order and prosperity to a country torn asunder by a long period of intestine war and the Mongol invasion. He succeeded in repelling two attacks by other Mongolian princes of the house of Jenghiz Khan; otherwise his reign was uneventful. His brother Nikudar (originally Nicolas) Ahmad Khan succeeded him in 1281. This prince was converted to Islam, an event of great moment both to the internal peace and to the external relations of Persia. His persecution of the Christians led them into alliance with the Mongols, who detested Islam; the combined forces were too strong for Nikudar, who was murdered in 1284. The external results were of more importance. The Ilkhans, who had failed in their attempt to wrest Syria from the Mameluke rulers of Egypt, had subsequently endeavoured to effect their object by inducing the European Powers to make a new crusade. The conversion of Nikudar put an end to this policy and Egypt was for some time free from Persian attack (see Egypt: History). The Mongol leaders put on the throne a son of Abagha, by name Arghun. His reign was troubled. His first minister Shams ud-din was suspected of having poisoned Abagha, and was soon put to death. His successor, the amir Bogha, conspired against Arghun and was executed. Under the third minister (1289–1291), a Jewish doctor named Saʽd addaula (ed-Dowleh), religious troubles arose owing to his persecution of the Mahommedans and his favouring the Christians. The financial administration of Saʽd was prudent and successful, if somewhat severe, and the revenue benefited considerably under his care. But he committed the tactical error of appointing a disproportionate number of Jews and Christians as revenue officials, and thus made many enemies among the Mongol nobles, who had him assassinated in 1291 when Arghun was lying fatally ill. It is possible that it was Saʽd’s diplomacy which led Pope Nicholas IV. to send a mission to Arghun with a view to a new crusade. The reign of Arghun was also disturbed by a rebellion of a grandson of Hulagu, Baidu Khan. Arghun died soon after the murder of Saʽd, and was succeeded by his brother Kaikhatu, or Gaykhatu, who was taken prisoner by Baidu Khan and killed (1295). Baidu’s reign was cut short in the same year by Arghun’s son Ghazan Mahmud, whose reign (1295–1304) was a period of prosperity in war and administration. Ghazan was a man of great ability. He established a permanent staff to deal with legal, financial and military affairs, put on a firm basis the monetary system and the system of weights and measures, and perfected the mounted postal service. Ghazan fought with success against Egypt (which country had already from 1293 to December 1294 been ruled by a Mongol usurper Kitboga), and even held Damascus for a few months. In 1303, however, his troops were defeated at Merj al-Saffar, and Mongol claims on Syria were definitely abandoned. It was even suggested that the titular Abbasid caliphs (who retained an empty title in Cairo under Mameluke protection) should be reinstated at Bagdad, but this proposal was not carried into effect. Ghazan is historically important, however, mainly as the first Mongol ruler who definitely adopted Islam with a large number of his subjects. He died in 1304, traditionally of anger at the Syrian fiasco, and was succeeded by his brother Uljaitu (Oeljeitu). The chief events of his reign were a successful war against Tatar invaders and the substitution of the new city of Sultania as capital for Tabriz, which had been Ghazan’s headquarters. Uljaitu was a Shiʽite and even stamped his coins with the names of the twelve Shiʽite imams. He died in 1316, and was succeeded by Abu Saʽid, his son. The prince, under whom a definite peace was made with Malik al-Nasir, the Mameluke ruler of Egypt, had great trouble with powerful viziers and generals which he accentuated by his passion for Bagdad-Khatun, wife of the amir Ḥosain and daughter of the amir Chupan. This lady he eventually married, with the result that Chupan headed a revolt of his tribe, the Selduz. Abu Saʽid died of fever in 1335, and with him the first Mongol or Ilkhan dynasty of Persia practically came to an end. The real power was divided between Chupan and Ḥosain the Jelair (or Jalair), or the Ilkhanian, and their sons, known respectively as the Little Ḥasan (Ḥasan Kuchuk) and the great Ḥasan (Ḥasan Buzurg). Two puppet kings, Arpa Khan, a descendant of Hulagu’s brother Arikbuhga, and Musa Khan, a descendant of Baidu, nominally reigned for a few months each. Then Ḥasan Kuchuk set up one Sati-beg, Abu Saʽid’s daughter, and wife successively of Chupan, Arfa Khan and one Suleiman, the last of whom was khan from 1339 to 1343; in the same time Ḥasan Buzurg set up successively Mahommed, Tugha-Timur and Jahan-Timur. A sixth nonentity, Nushirwan, was a Chupani nominee in 1344, after which time Ḥasan Buzurg definitely installed himself as the first khan of the Jelairid or Ilkhanian-Jelairid dynasty.

Practically from the reign of Abu Saʽid Persia was divided under five minor dynasties, (1) the Jelairids, (2) the Mozaffarids, (3) the Sarbadarids (Serbedarians), (4) the Beni Kurt, and (5) the Jubanians, all of which ultimately fell before the armies of Timur.Minor Dynasties.

1. The Jelairid rulers were Ḥasan Buzurg (1336, strictly 1344–1356), Owais (1356–1374), Ḥosain (1374–1382), Sultan Ahmad (1382–1410), Shah Walad (1410–1411). Their capital was Bagdad, and their dominion was increased under Ḥasan. Owais added Azerbaijan, Tabriz, and even Mosul and Diarbekr. Ḥosain fought with the Mozaffarids of Shiraz and the Black Sheep Turkomans (Kara Kuyunli) of Armenia, with the latter of whom he ultimately entered into alliance. On his death Azerbaijan and Irak fell to his brother, Sultan Ahmad, while another brother Bayezid ruled for a few months in part of Kurdistan. It was about this time that Timur (q.v.) began his great career of conquest, under which the power of the various Persian dynasties collapsed. By 1393 he had conquered northern Persia and Armenia, Bagdad, Mesopotamia, Diarbekr and Van, and Ahmad fled to Egypt, where he was received by Barkuk (Barquq) the Mameluke sultan. Barkuk, who had already excited the enmity of Timur by slaying one of his envoys, espoused Ahmad’s cause, and restored him to Bagdad after Timur’s return to his normal capital Samarkand. Timur retaliated and until his death Ahmad ruled only from time to time. In 1406 Ahmad was finally restored, but almost immediately entered upon a quarrel with Kara Yusuf, leader of the Black Sheep Turkomans (Kara Kuyunli), who defeated and killed him in 1410. His nephew Shah Walad reigned for a few months only and the throne was occupied by his widow Tandu, formerly wife of Barkuk, who ruled over Basra, Wasit and Shuster till 1416, paying allegiance to Shah Rukh, the second Timurid ruler. Walad’s sons Mahmud Owais and Mahommed, and Ḥosain, grandson of Sultan Ahmad, successively occupied the throne. The last of these was killed by the Kara Kuyunli, who had established aw dynasty in western Persia after Kara Yusuf’s victory in 1410.

2. The Mozaffarids, who ruled roughly from 1313 to 1399 in Fars, Kermān and Kurdistan, were descended from the Amir Mozaffar, or Muzaffar, who held a post as governor under the Ilkhan ruler. His son Mobariz ud-din Mahommed, who followed him in 1313, became governor in Fars under Abu Saʽid, in Kermān in 1340, and subsequently made himself independent at Fars and Shiraz (1353) and in Isfahan (1356). In 1357 he was deposed and blinded, and though restored was exiled again and died in 1364. His descendants, except for Jelal ed-din (Jalaluddin) Shah Shujaʽ, the patron of the poet Hafiz, were unimportant, and the dynasty was wiped out by Timur about 1392.

3. The Sarbadarids (so called from their motto Sar-ba-dar, “Head to the Gibbet”), descendants of Abd al-Razzak, who rebelled in Khorasan about 1337, enjoyed some measure of independence under twelve rulers till they also were destroyed by Timur (c. 1380).

4. The Beni Kurt (or Kart), who had governed in Khorasan from 1245, became independent in the early 14th century; they were abolished by Timur (c. 1383).

5. The Jubanians had some power in Azerbaijan from 1337 to 1355, when they were dethroned by the Kipchaks of the house of Jenghiz Khan.

The authority of Timur, which, as we have seen, was dominant throughout Persia from at least as early as 1395 till his death in 1405, was never unchallenged. He passed from one victory to another, but the conquered districts were never really settled under his administration. Fresh risings of the defeated dynasties followed each new enterprise, and he had also to deal with the Mongol hordes whose territory marched with northern Persia. His descendants were for a brief period the overlords of Persia, but after Shah Rukh (reigned 1409–1446) and Ala addaula (1447), the so-called Timurid dynasty ceased to have any authority over Persia. There were Timurid governors of Fars under Shah Rukh, Pir Mahommed (1405–1409), Iskendar (1409–1414), Ibrahim (1415–1434) and Abdallah (1434); in other parts of Persia many of the Timurid family held governorships of greater or less importance.

Authorities.—The works relating to Persia will be found under articles on the main dynasties (Caliphate; Seljuks; Mongols), and the great rulers (Jenghiz Khan; Mahmud of Ghazni; Timur). For general information and chronology see S. Lane Poole, Mohammedan Dynasties (London, 1894); Stockvis, Manuel d’histoire, vol. i. (Leiden, 1888); Sir H. Howorth, History of the Mongols (1876–1888).  (J. M. M.) 

C.—From the Death of Timur to the Fall of the Safawid Dynasty, 1405–1736.

Timur died in 1405, when in the seventieth year of his age and about to invade China. Besides exercising sovereignty over Transoxiana and those vast regions more or less absorbed in Asiatic Russia of the 19th century, inclusive of the Caucasus, Astrakhan and the lower Volga, and overrunning Mesopotamia, Syria, The Timurides
and Turkomans,
Asia Minor, Afghanistan and India, he had at this time left his indelible mark upon the chief cities and provinces of Persia. Khorasan and Mazandaran had submitted to him in 1381, Azerbaijan had shortly after followed their example, and Isfahan was seized in 1387. From Isfahan he passed on to Shiraz, and thence returned in triumph to his own capital of Samarkand. Five years later he subdued Mazandaran, and later still he was again at Shiraz, having effected the subjugation of Luristan and other provinces in the west. It may be said that from north to south, or from Astarabad to Hormuz, the whole country had been brought within his dominion.

The third son of Timur, Miran Shah, had ruled over part of Persia in his father’s lifetime; but he was said to be insane, and his incapacity for government had caused the loss of Bagdad and revolt in other provinces. His claim to succession had been put aside by Timur in favour of Pir Mahommed, the son of a deceased son, but Khalil Shah, a son of the discarded prince, won the day. His waste of time and treasure upon fascinating mistress named Shadu ʽl-Mulk, the “delight of the kingdom,” soon brought about his deposition, and in 1408 he gave way to Shah Rukh, who, with the exception of Miran Shah, was the only surviving son of Timur In fact the uncle and nephew changed places—the one quitting his government of Khorasan to take possession of the Central-Asian throne, the other consenting to become governor of the vacated Persian province and abandon the cares of the empire at Samarkand. In 1409 Khalil Shah died; and the story goes that Shadu ’l-Mulk stabbed herself and was buried with her royal lover at Rai, one of the towns which his grandfather had partly destroyed.

Shah Rukh, the fourth son of Timur, reigned for thirty-eight years, and appears to have been a brave, generous, and enlightened monarch. He removed his capital from Samarkand to Herat, of which place he rebuilt the citadel, restoring and improving the town. Merv also profited from his attention to its material interests. Sir John Malcolm speaks of the splendour of his court and of his encouragement of science and learning. He sent an embassy to China, and an English version of the travels to India of one of his emissaries, Abd ur-Razzak, is to be found in R. H. Major’s India in the Fifteenth Century (London, Hakluyt Society, 1857). As regards his Persian possessions, he had some trouble in the north-west, where the Turkomans of Asia Minor, known as the Kara Kuyun,[36] or “Black Sheep,” led by Kara Yusuf[37] and his sons Iskandar and Jahan Shah, had advanced upon Tabriz, the capital of Azerbaijan. On the death of the Shah Rukh in 1446 he was succeeded by his son Ulugh Bey, whose scientific tastes are demonstrated in the astronomical tables bearing his name, quoted by European writers when determining the latitude of places in Persia. He was, moreover, himself a poet and patron of literature, and built a college as well as an observatory at Samarkand. There is no evidence to show that he did much to consolidate his grandfather’s conquests south of the Caspian. Ulugh Bey was put to death by his son Abd ul-Latif, who, six months later, was slain by his own soldiers. Babar—not the illustrious founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, but an elder member of the same house—next obtained possession of the sovereign power, and established himself in the government of Khorasan and the neighbouring countries. He died after a short rule, from habitual intemperance. After him Abu Saʽid, grandson of Miran Shah, and once governor of Fars, became a candidate for empire, and allied himself with the Uzbeg Tatars, seized Bokhara, entered Khorasan, and waged war upon the Turkoman tribe aforesaid, which, since the invasion of Azerbaijan, had, under Jahan Shah, overrun Irak, Fars and Kermān, and pillaged Herat. But he was eventually taken prisoner by Uzun Ḥasan, and killed in 1468.

It is difficult to assign dates to a few events recorded in Persian history for the eighteen years following the death of Abd ul-Latif, and, were it not for chance European missions, the same difficulty would be felt in dealing with the period after the death of Abu Saʽid up to the accession of Ismaʽil Sufi in 1499. Sultan Ahmad, eldest son of Abu Saʽid, reigned in Bokhara; his brother, Ornar Sheikh, in Ferghana; but the son of the latter, the great Babar, was driven by the Uzbegs to Kabul and India. More to the purpose is it that Sultan Ḥosain Mirza, Ḥosain Mirza. great-grandson of Omar Sheikh, son of Timur, reigned in Herat from 1487 to 1506. He was a patron of learned men, among others of the historians Mirkhond and Khwadamir, and the poets Jami and Hatifi. But at no time could his control have extended over central and western Persia. The nearest approach to a sovereignty in those parts on the death of Abu Saʽid is that of Uzun Ḥasan, the leader of the Ak Kuyun, or “White Sheep” Turkomans, and conqueror of the “Black Sheep,” whose chief, Jahan Shah, he defeated and slew. Between the two tribes there had long been Uzun Ḥasan. a deadly feud. Both were composed of settlers in Asia Minor, the “Black Sheep” having consolidated their power at Van, the “White” at Diarbekr.

Sir John Malcolm states that at the death of Abu Saʽid, Sultan Ḥosain Mirza “made himself master of the empire,” and, a little later, that “Uzun Ḥasan, after he had made himself master of Persia, turned his arms in the direction of Turkey”; but the reader is left to infer for himself what the real “empire” of Ḥosain Mirza, and what the limit of the “Persia” of Uzun Ḥasan. The second could not well be included in the first, because the Turkomans were in possession of the greater part of the Persian plateau, while the “sultan” was in Herat, to which Khorasan belonged. It may be assumed that an empire like that acquired by Timur could not long be maintained by his descendants in its integrity.

The Turkish adjective uzun, اوزون “long,” applied to Ḥasan, the Turkoman monarch of Persia (called also by the Arabs Ḥasanu ’t-Tawil), is precisely the qualifying Persian word دراع used in the compound designation of Artaxerxes Longimanus; and Malcolm quotes the statement of a Venetian envoy in evidence that Uzun Ḥasan was “a tall thin man, of a very open and engaging countenance.” This reference, and a further notice in Markham’s history, supply the clue to a store of valuable information made available by the publications of the Hakluyt Society. The narratives of Caterino Zeno, Barbaro and Contarini, envoys from Venice to the court of Uzun Ḥasan, are in this respect especially interesting. Zeno was sent in 1471 to incite this warlike ruler against the Ottoman sultan, and succeeded in his mission. That the result was disastrous to the shah is not surprising, but the war seems to hold a comparatively unimportant place in the annals of Turkey.

Uzun Ḥasan had married Despina (Gr. Δέσποινα), daughter of the emperor of Trebizond, Calo Johannes of the house of the Comneni, and Zeno’s wife was niece to this Christian princess. The relationship naturally strengthened the envoy’s position at the court, and he was permitted to visit the queen in the name of the republic which he represented. Barbaro and Contarini met at Isfahan in 1474, and there paid their respects to the shah together. Kum and Tauris or Tabriz (then the capital) were also visited by the Italian envoys following in the royal suite; and the incidental notice of these cities, added to Contarini’s formal statement that “the extensive country of Ussuncassan [sic] is bounded by the Ottoman Empire and by Caramania,” and that Siras (Shiraz) is comprehended in it, proves that at least Azerbaijan, Irak, and the main part of the provinces to the south, inclusive of Fars, were within the dominions of the reigning monarch.

There is good reason to suppose that Jahan Shah, the Black Sheep Turkoman, before his defeat by Uzun Ḥasan, had set up the standard of royalty; and Zeno, at the outset of his travels, calls him “king of Persia”[38] in 1450. Chardin alludes to him in the same sense; but Ḥasan the Long is a far more prominent figure, and has hardly received justice at the hands of the historian. Indeed, his identity seems to have been lost in the various modes of spelling his name adopted by the older chroniclers, who call him indiscriminately[39] Alymbeius, Asembeius, Asembec, Assimbeo, or Ussan Cassano. He is said to have earned the character of a wise and valiant monarch, to have reigned eleven years, to have lived to the age of seventy, and, on his death in 1477 or (according to Krusinski and Zeno) 1478, to have been succeeded on the throne of Persia by his son Yaʽqub. This prince, who had slain an elder brother, died by poison (1485), after a reign of seven years. The dose was offered to him by his wife, who had been unfaithful to him and sought to set her paramour on his throne.

Writers differ as to the succession to Yaʽqub. Zeno’s account is that a son named Allamur (called also, Alamut, Alvante, El-wand and Alwung Bey) was the next king, who, besides Persia, possessed Diarbekr and part of Anarchy. greater Armenia near the Euphrates. On the other hand, Krusinski states that, Yaʽqub dying childless, his relative Julaver, one of the grandees of the kingdom, seized the throne, and held possession of it for three years. Baisingar, it is added, succeeded him in 1488 and reigned till 1490, when a young nobleman named Rustan (Rustam?) obtained the sovereign power and exercised it for seven years. This account is confirmed by Angiolello, a traveller who followed his countrymen Barbaro and Contarini to Persia; and from the two authorities combined may be gathered the further narration of the murder of Rustam and usurpation of the throne by a certain Ahmad, whose death, under torture, six months afterwards, made way for Alamut, the young son of Ḥasan. These discrepancies can be reconciled on reference to yet another record bound up with the narratives of the four Italians aforesaid, and of much the same period. In the Travels of a Merchant in Persia the story of Yaʽqub’s death is supplemented by the statement that “the great lords, hearing of their king’s decease, had quarrels among themselves, so that for five or six years all Persia was in a state of civil war, first one and then another of the nobles becoming sultans. At last a youth named Alamut, aged fourteen years, was raised to the throne, which he held till the succession of Sheikh Ismaʽil.” Who this young man was is not specified; but other writers call Alamut and his brother Murad the sons of Yaʽqub, as though the relationship were unquestionable.

Now little is known, save incidentally, of Julaver or Rustam; but Baisingar is the name of a nephew of Omar Sheikh, king of Ferghana and contemporary of Uzun Ḥasan. There was no doubt much anarchy and confusion in the interval between the death of Yaʽqub and the restoration, for two years, of the dynasty of the White Sheep. But the tender age of Alamut would, even in civilized countries, have necessitated a regency; and it may be assumed that he was the next legitimate and more generally recognized sovereign. Markham, in designating this prince the last of his house, states that he was dethroned by the renowned founder of the Safawi dynasty. This event brings us to one of the most interesting periods of Persian history, any account of which must be defective without a prefatory sketch of Ismaʽil Sufi.

The Sufi or Safawid (Safawi) Dynasty (1499–1736).—Sheikh Saifu ’d-Din Izhak[40]—lineally descended from Musa, the seventh imam—was a resident at Ardebil (Ardabil) south-west of the Caspian, some time during the 14th century. It is said that his reputation for sanctity attracted the attention of Timur, who sought him out in his Sheikh Saifu’d-Din. abode, and was so charmed by the visit that he released, at the holy man’s request, a number of captives of Turkish origin, or Georgians, taken in the wars with Bayezid. The act ensured to the Sheikh the constant devotion and gratitude of these men—a feeling which was loyally maintained by their descendants for the members of his family in successive generations.

His son Sadru’d-Din and grandson Kwaja ʽAli (who visited Mecca and died at Jerusalem) retained the high reputation of their pious predecessor. Junaid, a grandson of the last, married a sister of Uzun Ḥasan, and by her had a son named Sheikh Haidar, who married his cousin Martha, daughter of Uzun Ḥasan and Queen Despina. Three sons Sheikh Haidar. were the issue of this marriage, Sultan ʽAli, Ibrahim Mirza, and the youngest, Ismaʽil, the date of whose birth is put down as 1480 for reasons which will appear hereafter. So great was the influence of Sheikh Haidar, and so earnestly did he carry out the principles of conduct which had characterized his family for five generations, that his name has become, as it were, inseparable from the dynasty of his son Ismaʽil, and the term “Haidari” (leonine) is applied by many persons to indicate generally the Safawids of Persia. The outcome of his teaching was a division of Mahommedanism vitally momentous to the world of Islam. The Persian mind was peculiarly adapted to receive the form of religion prepared for it by the philosophers of Ardebil. The doctrines presented were dreamy and mystic; they rejected the infallibility of human wisdom, and threw suspicion on the order and arrangement of human orthodoxy. There was free scope given for the indulgence of that political imagination which revels in revolution and chafes at prescriptive bondage. As Malcolm remarks, “the very essence of Sufi-ism is poetry.”

Those authorities who maintain that Yaʽqub Shah left no son to succeed him consider valid the claim to the vacant throne of Sheikh Haidar Sufi. Purchas says that Yaʽqub himself, “jealous of the multitude of Aidar’s disciples and the greatness of his fame, caused him to be secretly murthered”; but Krusinski attributes the act to Rustam a few years later. Zeno, the anonymous merchant and Angiolello affirm that the devotee was defeated and killed in battle—the first making his conqueror to be Alamut, the second a general of Alamut’s, and the third an officer sent by Rustam named Suleiman Bey. Malcolm, following the Zubdatu ’t-tawarikh, relates that Sheikh Haidar was vanquished and slain by the governor of Shirvan. The subsequent statement that his son, Sultan ʽAli, was seized, in company with two younger brothers, by Yaʽqub, “one of the descendants of their grandfather Uzun Ḥasan, who, jealous of the numerous disciples that resorted to Ardebil, confined them to the hill fort of Istakhr in Fars,” seems to indicate a second interpretation of the passage just extracted from Purchas, and that there is confusion of persons and incident somewhere. One of the sons here alluded to was Ismaʽil, whom Malcolm makes to have been only seven years of age when he fled to Gilan in 1492. Zeno states that he was then thirteen, which is much more probable,[41] and the several data available for reference are in favour of this supposition.

The life of the young Sufi from this period to his assumption of royalty in 1499 was full of stirring adventure; and his career as Ismaʽil I. was a brilliant one. According to Zeno, who seems to have carefully recorded the events of the time, he left his temporary home on an island of Lake Van before he was eighteen, and, passing into Ismaʽil I. Karabakh,[42] between the Aras and Kur, turned in a south-easterly direction into Gilan. Here he was enabled, through the assistance of a friend of his father, to raise a small force with which to take possession of Baku on the Caspian, and thence to march upon Shemakha in Shirvan, a town abandoned to him without a struggle. Hearing, however, that Alamut was advancing to meet him, he was compelled to seek new levies from among the Jengian Christians and others. At the head of 16,000 men, he thoroughly routed his opponents, and, having cleared the way before him, marched straight upon Tabriz, which at once surrendered. He was soon after proclaimed shah of Persia (1499), under the designation which marked the family school of thought.

Alamut had taken refuge at Diarbekr; but his brother Murad, at the head of an army strengthened by Turkish auxiliaries, was still in the field with the object of contesting the paternal crown. Ismaʽil lost no time in moving against him, and won a new victory on the plains of Tabriz. Murad fled with a small remnant of his soldiers to Diarbekr, the rallying-point of the White Sheep Turkomans. Zeno states that in the following year Ismaʽil entered upon a new campaign in Kurdistan and Asia Minor, but that he returned to Tabriz without accomplishing his object, having been harassed by the tactics of Ala ud-Daula, a beylerbey, or governor in Armenia and parts of Syria. Another writer says that he marched against Murad Khan in Irak-i-Ajami and Shiraz. This last account is extremely probable, and would show that the young Turkoman had wished to make one grand effort to save Isfahan and Shiraz (with Kazvin and the neighbouring country), these being, after the capital Tabriz, the most important cities of Uzun Ḥasan’s Persia. His men, however, apparently dismayed at the growing prestige of the enemy, did not support him, and he was defeated and probably slain. There is similar evidence of the death of Alamut, who, it is alleged, was treacherously handed over to be killed by the shah’s own hands.

Ismaʽil returned again to Tabriz (1501) “and caused great rejoicings to be made on account of his victory.” In 1503 he had added to his conquests Bagdad, Mosul and Jezira on the Tigris. The next year he was called to the province of Gilan to chastise a refractory ruler. Having accomplished his end, he came back to his capital and remained there in Contest with Shaibani. comparative quiet till 1507.[43] Malcolm’s dates are somewhat at variance with the above, for he infers that Bagdad was subdued in that particular year; but the facts remain. All writers seem to agree that in 1508 the king’s attention was drawn to an invasion of Khorasan by Shaibani, or Shahi Beg, the Uzbeg, a descendant of Jenghiz and the most formidable opponent of Babar, from whom he had, seven years before, wrested the city of Samarkand, and whom he had driven from Turkestan to Kabul. Since these exploits he had obtained great successes in Tashkent, Ferghana, Hissar, Kunduz, and Khwarizm (Kharezm), and, at the time referred to, had left Samarkand intent upon mischief south and west of the Oxus, had passed the Murghab, and had reached Sarakhs (Serrakhs). Ismaʽil encamped on this occasion at Isfahan, and there concentrated the bulk of his army—strengthening his northern (and probably north-eastern) frontier with large bodies of cavalry, but maintaining an attitude of simple watchfulness. In 1510, when Shaibani had invaded Khorasan the second time, and had ravaged the Persian province of Kermān, Shah Ismaʽil asked for redress, referring to the land encroached on as “hereditary”; and Shaibani replied that he did not understand on what was founded the claim “to inherit.” Eventually the Persian troops were put in movement, and the Uzbegs, having been divided into small detachments scattered over the country, fell back and retreated to Herat. Their leader repaired to Merv, but Ismaʽil quickly followed him and enticed him out to battle by taunt and reproach. Shaibani was defeated and fled, but was overtaken in his flight, and put to the sword, together with numerous relatives and companions.

The next remarkable event in Ismaʽil’s reign is his war with Sultan Selim I. Its origin may be traced to the Ottoman emperor’s hatred and persecution of all heretical Moslems in his dominions, and the shah’s anger at the fanaticism which had urged him to the slaughter of 40,000 Turks suspected to have thrown off the orthodox War with Selim. Sunnite doctrines. The sultan’s army advanced into Azerbaijan and western Persia through Tokat and Erzingan. Ismaʽil had at this time the greater number of his soldiers employed in his newly-conquered province of Khorasan and was driven to raise new levies in Kurdistan to obtain a sufficient force to resist the invasion. It is asserted by some that his frontier then extended westward to Sivas, a city situated in a large high plain watered by the Kizil Irmak, and that hence to Khoi, 90 m. west of Tabriz, he followed the approved and often successful tactics of ravaging and retreating, so as to deprive his advancing enemy of supplies. There is good evidence to show that the Turkish janissaries were within an ace of open revolt, and that but for extraordinary firmness in dealing with them they would have abandoned their leader in his intended march upon Tabriz. In fine, at or near Khoi, the frontier-town of Azerbaijan, the battle (1514) was fought between the two rival monarchs, ending in the defeat of the Persians and the triumphant entry of Selim into their capital.

There are stirring accounts of that action and of the gallant deeds performed by Selim and Ismaʽil, both personally engaged in it, as well as by their generals.[44] Others maintain that Ismaʽil was not present at all.[45] It is tolerably certain that the Turks won the day by better organization, superiority of numbers, and more especially the use of artillery. On the side of the Persians the force consisted of little more than cavalry.

Selim remained at Tabriz no more than eight days. Levying contribution at that city of a large number of its skilled artisans whom he sent off to Constantinople, he marched thence towards Karabagh with intent to fix his winter quarters in those parts and newly invade Persia in the spring, but the insubordination of his troops rendered necessary his speedy return to Turkey. His expedition, if not very glorious, had not been unproductive of visible fruits. Besides humbling the power of an arrogant enemy, he had conquered and annexed to his dominions the provinces of Diarbekr and Kurdistan.[46]

From 1514 to 1524, although the hostile feeling between the two countries was very strong, there was no serious nor open warfare. Selim’s attention was diverted from Persia to Egypt; Ismaʽil took advantage of the sultan’s death in 1519 to overrun and subdue unfortunate Georgia, as Jahan Shah of the “Black Sheep” had done before him; but Suleiman, who succeeded Selim, was too strong to admit of retaliatory invasion being carried out with impunity at the cost of Turkey.

In 1524 Ismaʽil died[47] at Ardebil when on a pilgrimage to the tomb of his father. “The Persians dwell with rapture on his character,” writes Sir John Malcolm, for they deem him “not only the founder of a great dynasty, but the person to whom that faith in which they glory owes its establishment as a national religion.” And he quotes Ismaʽil’s Character. a note handed down by Purchas from a contemporary European traveller which reports of him thus: “His subjects deemed him a saint, and made use of his name in their prayers. Many disdained to wear armour when they fought under Ismaʽil; and so enthusiastic were his soldiers in their new faith that they used to bare their breasts to their enemies and court death, exclaiming ʽShiah! Shiah!’ to mark the holy cause for which they fought.”

Shah Ṭahmasp,[48] the eldest of the four sons of Ismaʽil, succeeded to the throne on the death of his father.[49] The principal occurrences in his reign, placed as nearly as possible in chronological order, were a renewal of war with the Uzbegs, who had again invaded Khorasan, and the overthrow of their army (1527); the recovery of Bagdad Shah Ṭahmasp. from a Kurdish usurper (1528); the settlement of an internal feud between Kizil-bash tribes (Shamlu and Tukulu), contending for the custody of the royal person, by the slaughter of the more unruly of the disputants (1529); the rescue of Khorasan from a fresh irruption, and of Herat from a besieging army of Uzbegs (1530); a new invasion of the Ottomans, from which Persia was saved rather by the severity of her climate than by the prowess of her warriors (1533); the wresting of Bagdad from Persia by the sultan Suleiman (1534); the king’s youngest brother’s rebellion and the actual seizure of Herat, necessitating the recovery of that city and a march to Kandahar (1536); the temporary loss of Kandahar in the following year (1537), when the governor ceded it to Prince Kamran, son of Babar; the hospitable reception accorded to the Indian emperor Humayun (1543); the rebellion of the shah’s brother next in age, Ilkhas, who, by his alliance with the sultan, brought on a war with Turkey (1548);[50] and finally a fresh expedition to Georgia, followed by a revengeful incursion which resulted in the enforced bondage of thousands of the inhabitants (1552).

Bayezid, a son of the Turkish emperor, rebelled, and his army was beaten in 1559 by the imperial troops at Konia in Asia Minor. He fled to Persia and took refuge with Shah Ṭahmasp, who pledged himself to give him a permanent asylum. Suleiman’s demand, however, for extradition or execution was too peremptory for War with Turkey. refusal, and the prince was delivered up to the messengers sent to take him. Whatever the motive, the act itself was highly appreciated by Suleiman, and became the means of cementing a recently concluded peace between the two monarchs. Perhaps the domestic affliction of the emperor and the anarchy which in his later years had spread in his dominions had, however, more to do with the maintenance of tranquillity than any mere personal feeling. At this time not only was there religious fanaticism at work to stir up the mutual hatred ever existing between Sunni and Shiʽah, but the intrigue of European courts was probably directed towards the maintenance of an hostility which deterred the sultan from aggressive operations north and west of Constantinople. “ ‘Tis only the Persian stands between us and ruin” is the reported saying of Busbecq, ambassador at Suleiman’s court on the part of Ferdinand of Austria; “the Turk would fain be upon us, but he keeps him back.”

In 1561 Anthony Jenkinson arrived in Persia with a letter from Queen Elizabeth to the shah. He was to treat with his majesty of “Trafique and Commerce for our English Marchants,”[51] but his reception was not encouraging, and led to no result of importance.

Ṭahmasp died in 1576, after a reign of about fifty-two years. He must have been some sixty-six years of age, having come to the throne at fourteen. Writers describe him as a robust man, of middle stature, wide-lipped, and of tawny complexion. He was not wanting in soldierly qualities, but his virtues were rather negative than Ṭahmasp’s Death. decided. The deceased shah had a numerous progeny, and on his death his fifth son, Haidar Mirza, proclaimed himself king, supported in his pretensions by the Kizil-bash tribe of Ustujulu. Another tribe, the Afshar, insisted on the succession of the fourth son, Ismaʽil. Had it not been that there were two candidates in the field, the contention would have resembled that which arose shortly after Ṭahmasp’s accession. Finally Ismaʽil, profiting from his brother’s weak character and the intrigues set on foot against him, obtained his object, and was brought from a prison to receive the crown.

The reign of Ismaʽil II. lasted less than two years. He was found dead in the house of a confectioner in Kazvin, having left the world either drunk, drugged or poisoned. No steps were taken to verify the circumstances, for the event itself was a cause of general relief and joy. He was succeeded by his eldest brother, Mahommed Mirza, otherwise Ismaʽil II. Mahommed Khudabanda. called Mahommed Khudabanda, whose claim to sovereignty had been originally put aside on the ground of physical infirmity. He had the good sense to trust his state affairs almost wholly to an able minister; but he was cowardly enough to deliver up that minister into the hands of his enemies. His kingdom was distracted by intestine divisions and rebellion, and the foe appeared also from without. On the east his youngest son, ʽAbbas, held possession of Khorasan, on the west the sultan’s troops again entered Azerbaijan and took Tabriz. His eldest son, Hamza Mirza, upheld his fortunes to the utmost of his power, reduced the rebel chieftains, and forced the Turks to make peace and retire; but he was stabbed to death by an assassin. On the news of his death reaching Khorasan, Murshid Kuli Khan, leader of the Ustujulu Kizil-bash, who had made good in fight his claims to the guardianship of ʽAbbas, at once conducted the young prince from that province to Kazvin, and occupied the royal city. The object was evident, and in accordance with the popular feeling. ʽAbbas, who had been proclaimed king by the nobles at Nishapur some two or three years before this occurrence, may be said to have now undertaken in earnest the cares of sovereignty. His ill-starred father, at no time more than a nominal ruler, was at Shiraz, apparently deserted by soldiers and people. Malcolm infers that he died a natural death, but when[52] or where is not stated.

Shah ʽAbbas the Great commenced his long and glorious reign (1586) by re1 racing his steps towards Khorasan, which had been reinvaded by the Uzbegs almost immediately after his departure thence with the Kizil-bash chief. They had besieged and taken Herat, killed the governor, plundered the town, and laid waste the surrounding ʽAbbas the Great. country. ʽAbbas advanced to Meshed, but owing to internal troubles he was compelled to return to Kazvin without going farther east. In his absence ʽAbd-ul-Munim Khan, the Uzbeg commander, attacked the sacred city, obtained possession of it while the shah lay helplessly ill at Teherān, and allowed his savage soldiers full licence to kill and plunder. The whole kingdom was perplexed, and ʽAbbas had much work to restore confidence and tranquillity. But circumstances rendered impossible his immediate renewal of the Khorasan warfare. He was summoned to Shiraz to put down rebellion in Fars; and before he could drive out the Uzbegs, he had to secure himself against Turkish inroads threatening from the west. He had been engaged in a war with Murad III. in Georgia. Peace was concluded between the two sovereigns in 1590; but the terms were unfavourable to Persia, who lost thereby Tabriz and one or more of the Caspian ports. A stipulation was included in the treaty to the effect that Persians were not to curse any longer the first three caliphs,—a sort of privilege previously enjoyed by Shiʽites as part and parcel of their religious faith.

In 1597 ʽAbbas renewed operations against the Uzbegs, and succeeded in recovering from them Herat and Khorasan. Eastward he extended his dominions to Balkh, and in the south his generals made the conquest of Bahrain (Bahrein), on the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf, and the territory and islands of the Persian seaboard, inclusive of the mountainous province of Lar. He strengthened his position in Khorasan by planting colonies of Kurdish horsemen on the frontier, or along what is called the “atak” or skirt of the Turkoman mountains north of Persia. In 1601 the war with the Ottoman Empire, which had been partially renewed prior to the death of Sultan Murad in 1595, with little success on the Turkish side, was now entered upon by ʽAbbas with more vigour. Taking advantage of the weakness of his ancient enemy in the days of the poor voluptuary Mahommed III., he began rapidly to recover the provinces which Persia had lost in preceding reigns, and continued to reap his advantages in succeeding campaigns under Ahmed I., until under Othman II. a peace was signed restoring to Persia the boundaries which she had obtained under the first Ismaʽil. On the other side Kandahar, which Ṭahmasp’s lieutenant had yielded to the Great Mogul, was recovered from that potentate in 1609.

At the age of seventy, after a reign of forty-two years, ʽAbbas died at his favourite palace of Farahabad, on the coast of Mazandaran, on the night of the 27th of January 1628. Perhaps the most distinguished of all Persian kings, his fame was not merely local but world-wide. At his court were ambassadors from England, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Holland and India. To his Christian subjects he was a kind and tolerant ruler. The establishment of internal tranquillity, the expulsion of interlopers and marauders like Turks and Uzbegs, the introduction of salutary laws and the promotion of public works of utility—these alone would render remarkable his two-score years of enlightened government. With a fine face, “of which the most remarkable features were a high nose and a keen and piercing eye,”[53] he is said to have been below the middle height, robust, active, a sportsman, and capable of much endurance. It is, however, to be regretted that this monarch’s memory is tarnished by more than one dark deed. The murder of his eldest son, Ṣufi Mirza, and the cruel treatment of the two younger brothers, were stains which could not be obliterated by an after-repentance. All that can be now said or done in the matter is to repeat the testimony of historians that his grief for the loss of Ṣufi Mirza was profound, and that, on his deathbed, he nominated that prince’s son (his own grandson) his successor.

Sam Mirza was seventeen years of age when the nobles, in fulfilment of the charge committed to them, proclaimed him king under the title of Shah Ṣufi. He reigned fourteen years, and his reign was a succession of barbarities, which can only be attributed to an evil disposition acted upon by an education void of all civilizing influences. When Shah Ṣufi. left to his own devices he became a drunkard and a murderer, and is accused of the death of his mother, sister and favourite queen. Among many other sufferers Imam Kuli Khan, conqueror of Lar and Hormuz, the son of one of ʽAbbas’s most famous generals, founder of a college at Shiraz, and otherwise a public benefactor, fell a victim to his savage cruelty. During his reign the Uzbegs were driven back from Khorasan, and a rebellion was suppressed in Gilan; but Kandahar was again handed over to the Moguls of Delhi, and Bagdad retaken from Persia by Sultan Murad—both serious national losses. Tavernier, without charging the shah with injustice to Christians, mentions the circumstance that “the first and only European ever publicly executed in Persia was in his reign.” He was a watchmaker named Rodolph Stadler, who had slain a Persian on suspicion of intrigue with his wife. Offered his life if he became a Moslem, he resolutely declined the proposal, and was decapitated. His tomb is to be recognized at Isfahan by the words “Cy git Rodolphe” on a long wide slab. Shah Ṣufi died (1641) at Kashan and was buried at Kum.

His son, ʽAbbas II., succeeded him. Beyond regaining Kandahar, an operation which he is said to have directed in person when barely sixteen, there is not much to mark his life to the outer world. As to foreign relations, he received embassies from Europe and a deputation from the French East India Company; he sought to conciliate ʽAbbas II. the Uzbegs by treating their refugee chiefs with unusual honour and sumptuous hospitality; he kept on good terms with Turkey; he forgave the hostility of a Georgian prince when brought to him a captive; and he was tolerant to all religions—always regarding Christians with especial favour. But he was a drunkard and a debauchee, and chroniclers are divided in opinion as to whether he died from the effects of drink or licentious living. That he changed the system of blinding his relatives from passing a hot metal over the open eye to an extraction of the whole pupil is indicative of gross brutality. ʽAbbas II. died (1668) at the age of thirty-eight, after a reign of twenty-seven years, and was buried at Kum in the same mosque as his father.

ʽAbbas was succeeded by his son, Shah Ṣufi II., crowned a second time under the name of Shah Suleiman. Though weak, dissolute and cruel, Suleiman is not without his panegyrists. Chardin, whose testimony is all the more valuable from the fact that he was contemporary with him, relates many stories characteristic of his temper and habits. Suleiman. He kept up a court at Isfahan which surprised and delighted his foreign visitors, among whom were ambassadors from European states; and one learned writer, Kaempfer, credits him with wisdom and good policy. During his reign Khorasan was invaded by the ever-encroaching Uzbegs, the Kipchak Tatars plundered the shores of the Caspian, and the island of Kishm was taken by the Dutch; but the kingdom suffered otherwise no material loss. He died in 1604, in the forty-ninth year of his age and twenty-sixth of his reign.

About a year before his death, he is described by Sanson,[54] a missionary from the French king Louis XIV., as tall, strong and active, “a fine prince—a little too effeminate for a monarch,” with “a Roman nose very well proportioned to other parts,” very large blue eyes, and “a midling mouth, a beard painted black, shav'd round, and well turn'd, even to his ears.” The same writer greatly praises him for his kindness to Christian missionaries.

Krusinski’s memoir is full of particulars regarding Shah Ḥosain, the successor of Suleiman. He had an elder and a younger brother, sons of the same mother, but the eldest had been put to death by his father’s orders, and the youngest secreted by maternal precaution lest a similar fate should overtake him. There was, however, a second Ḥosain. candidate for power in the person of a half-brother, ʽAbbas. The latter prince was the worthier of the throne, but the other better suited the policy of the eunuchs and those noblemen who had the right of election. Indeed Suleiman himself is reported to have told the grandees around him, in his last days, that “if they were for a martial king that would always keep his foot in the stirrup they ought to choose Mirza ʽAbbas, but that if they wished for a peaceable reign and a pacific king they ought to fix their eyes upon Ḥosain.” But he himself made no definite choice.

Ḥosain was selected, as might have been anticipated. On his accession (1694) he displayed his attachment to religious observances by prohibiting the use of wine—causing all wine vessels to be brought out of the royal cellars and destroyed, and forbidding the Armenians to sell any more of their stock in Isfahan. The shah’s grandmother, by feigning herself sick and dependent upon wine only for cure, obtained reversal of the edict. For the following account of Shah Ḥosain and his successors to the accession of Nadir Shah, Sir Clements Markham’s account has been mainly utilized.

The new king soon fell under the influence of mullahs, and was led so far to forget his own origin as to persecute the Sufis. Though good-hearted he was weak and licentious; and once out of the hands of the fanatical party he became ensnared by women and entangled in harem intrigues. For twenty years a profound peace prevailed throughout the empire, but it was the precursor of a terrible storm destined to destroy the Safawid dynasty and scatter calamity broadcast over Persia. In the mountainous districts of Kandahar and Kabul the hardy tribes of Afghans had for centuries led a wild and almost independent life. They were divided into two great branches—the Ghilzais of Ghazni and Kabul and the Saduzais of Kandahar and Herat. In 1702 a newly-appointed governor, one Shah Nawaz, called Gurji Khan from having been “wali” or ruler of Georgia, arrived at Kandahar with a tolerably large force. He was a clever and energetic man, and had been instructed to take severe measures with the Afghans, some of whom were suspected of intriguing to restore the city to the Delhi emperor. At this time Kandahar had been for sixty years uninterruptedly in the shah’s possession. The governor appears to have given great offence by the harshness of his proceedings, and a Ghilzai chief named Mir Waʽiẓ, who had complained of his tyranny, was sent a prisoner to Isfahan. This person had much ability and no little cunning. He was permitted to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and on his return in 1708 he so gained upon the confidence of the Persian court that he was allowed to go back to his country. At Kandahar he planned a conspiracy against the government, slew Gurji Khan and his retinue, seized the city, defeated two Persian armies sent against him, and died a natural death in 1715. His brother, Mir ʽAbdallah, succeeded him in the government of the Afghans; but after a few months, Mahmud, a son of Mir Waʽiẓ, a very young man, murdered his uncle and assumed the title of a sovereign prince.

In the meanwhile the Saduzai tribe revolted at Herat, and declared itself independent in 1717; the Kurds overran the country round Hamadan; the Uzbegs desolated Khorasan; and the Arabs of Muscat seized the island of Bahrein and threatened Bander Abbasi. Thus surrounded by dangers on all sides the wretched shah was bewildered. He made one vain attempt to regain his possessions in the Persian Gulf; but the Portuguese fleet which had promised to transport his troops to Bahrein was defeated by the imam of Muscat and forced to retreat to Goa.

The court of Isfahan had no sooner received tidings of this disaster than Mahmud, with a large army of Afghans, invaded Persia in the year 1721, seized Kermān, and in the following year advanced to within four days’ march of the city of Isfahan. The shah offered him a sum of money to return to Kandahar, but the Afghan answered by advancing Afghan invasion. to a place called Gulnabad, within 9 m. of the capital. The ill-disciplined Persian army, hastily collected, advanced to attack the rebels. Its centre was led by Sheikh ʽAli Khan, covered by twenty-four field-pieces. The wali of Arabia commanded the right, and the ʽitimadu’ d-daulah, or prime minister, the left wing. The whole force amounted to 50,000 men, while the Afghans could not count half that number.

On the 8th of March 1722 the richly dressed hosts of Persia appeared before the little band of Afghans, who were scorched and disfigured by their long marches. The wali of Arabia commenced the battle by attacking the left wing of the Afghans with great fury, routing it, and plundering their camp. The prime minister immediately afterwards attacked the enemy’s right wing, but was routed, and the Afghans, taking advantage of the confusion, captured the Persian guns and turned them on the Persian centre, who fled in confusion without striking a blow. The wali of Arabia escaped into lsfahan, and Mahmud the Afghan gained a complete victory. Fifteen thousand Persians remained dead on the field. A panic now seized on the surrounding inhabitants, and thousands of country people fled into the city. Isfahan was then one of the most magnificent cities in Asia, containing more than 600,000 inhabitants Mahmud seized on the Armenian suburb of Julfa, and invested the doomed city; but Ṭahmasp, son of the shah, had previously escaped into the mountains of Mazandaran. Famine soon began to press hard upon the besieged, and in September Shah Ḥosain offered to capitulate. Having been conducted to the Afghan camp, he fixed Mahmud’s Usurpation. the royal plume of feathers on the young rebel’s turban with his own hand; and 4000 Afghans were ordered to occupy the palace and gates of the city.[55] Mahmud entered Isfahan in triumph with the captive shah on his left hand, and, seating himself on the throne in the royal palace, he was saluted as sovereign of Persia by the unfortunate Ḥosain. When Ṭahmasp, the fugitive prince, received tidings of the abdication of his father, he at once assumed the title of shah at Kazvin.

Turkey and Russia were not slow to take advantage of the calamities of Persia. The Turks seized on Tiflis, Tabriz and Hamadan, while Peter the Great, whose aid had been sought by the friendless Ṭahmasp, fitted out a fleet on the Caspian.[56] The Russians occupied Shirvan, and the province of Gilan south-west of the Caspian;[57] and Peter made a treaty with Ṭahmasp II. in July 1722, by which he agreed to drive the Afghans out of Persia on condition that Darband (Derbend), Baku, Gilan, Mazandaran and Astarabad were ceded to Russia in perpetuity. These were all the richest and most important northern provinces of Persia.

Meanwhile the invader, in 1723, invited 300 of the principal Persian nobility to a banquet and massacred them. To prevent their children rising up in vengeance they were all murdered also. Then he proceeded to slaughter vast numbers of the citizens of Isfahan, until the place was nearly depopulated. Not content with this, in February 1725 he assembled all the captives of the royal family, except the shah, in the courtyard of the palace, and caused them all to be murdered, commencing the massacre with his own hand. The wretched Ḥosain was himself wounded in endeavouring vainly to save his infant son, only five years of age. All the males of the royal family, except Ḥosain himself, Ṭahmasp, and two children, are said to have perished. At length the inhuman miscreant Mahmud died, at the early age of twenty-seven, on the 22nd of April 1725 With scarcely any neck, he had round shoulders, a broad face with a flat nose, a thin beard, and squinting eyes, which were generally downcast.

Mahmud was succeeded by his first cousin, Ashraf, the son of Mir ʽAbdallah. He was a brave but cruel Afghan. He gave the dethroned shah a handsome allowance, and strove, by a mild policy, to acquire popularity. In 1727, after a short war, he signed a treaty with the Turks, acknowledging the sultan as chief of the Moslems. But the fortunate star of Ṭahmasp II. was now bebginning to rise, and the days of Afghan usurpation were numbered. He had collected a small army in Mazandaran, and was supported by Fath ʽAli Khan, the powerful chief of the Kajar tribe. In 1727 the fugitive shah was joined by Nadir Kuli, a robber chief, who murdered Fath ʽAli, and, having easily appeased the shah, received Expulsion of Afghans. the command of the royal army. In 1729 Ashraf became alarmed, and led an Afghan army into Khorasan, where he was defeated by Nadir at Damghan, and forced to retreat. The Persian general followed close in his rear and again defeated him outside Isfahan in November of the same year. The Afghans fled through the town; and Ashraf, murdering the poor old shah Ḥosain on his way, hurried with the wreck of his army towards Shiraz. On the 16th of November the victorious Nadir entered Isfahan, and was soon followed by the young shah Ṭahmasp II., who burst into tears when he beheld the ruined palace of his ancestors. His mother, who had escaped the numerous massacres by disguising herself as a slave and performing the most degrading offices, now came forth and threw herself into his arms. Nadir did not give his enemies time to recover from their defeat. He followed them up, and again utterly routed them in January 1730. Ashraf tried to escape to Kandahar almost alone, but was murdered by a party of Baluch robbers; and thus, by the genius of Nadir, his native land was delivered from the terrible Afghan invaders.

The ambition of Nadir, however, was far greater than his loyalty. On pretext of incapacity, he dethroned Ṭahmasp II. in 1732, and sent him a prisoner into Khorasan, where he was murdered some years afterwards by Nadir’s son while the conqueror was absent on his Indian expedition. For a short time the wily usurper placed Ṭahmasp’s son on the Fall of Safawids. throne, a little child, with the title of ʽAbbas III., while he contented himself with the office of regent. Poor little ʽAbbas died at a very convenient time, in the year 1736, and Nadir then threw off the mask. He was proclaimed shah of Persia by a vast assemblage on the plain of Moghan.

By the fall of the Safawid dynasty Persia lost her race of national monarchs, considered not only in respect of origin and birthplace but in essence and in spirit. Ismaʽil, Ṭahmasp and ʽAbbas, whatever their faults and failings, were Persian and peculiar to Persians. Regarded in a sober English spirit, the reign of the great ʽAbbas is rendered mythical by crime. But something liberal in the philosophy of their progenitors threw an attractiveness over the earlier Safawid kings which was wanting in those who came after them. The fact is that, two centuries after Shah Ismaʽil’s accession to the throne, the Safawid race of kings was effete; and it became necessary to make room for a more vigorous if not a more lasting rule. Nadir was the strong man for the hour and occasion. He had been designated a “robber chief”; but his antecedents, like those of many others who have filled the position, have redeeming points of melodramatic interest.

A map attached to Krusinski’s volumes illustrates the extent of Persian territory in 1728, or one year before Ashraf was finally defeated by Nadir, and some eight years prior to the date on which Nadir was himself proclaimed king. It shows, during the reign of the Safawids, Tiflis, Erivan, Khoi and Bagdad to have been within the limits of Persia in 1728. Persia on the west, and in like manner Balkh and Kandahar to have been included within the eastern border. There is, however, also shown, as a result of the Afghan intrusion and the impotency of the later Safawid kings, a long broad strip of country to the west, including Tabriz and Hamadan, marked “conquests of the Turks,” and the whole west shore of the Caspian from Astrakan to Mazandaran marked “conquests of the czar of Muscovy”; Makran, written Mecran, is designated “a warlike independent nation.” If further allowance be made for the district held by the Afghan invaders as part of their own country, it will be seen how greatly the extent of Persia proper was reduced, and what a work Nadir had before him to restore the kingdom to its former proportions.

But the former proportions had been partly reverted to, and would doubtless have been in some respects exceeded, both in Afghanistan and the Ottoman dominions and on the shores of the Caspian, by the action of this indefatigable general, had not Ṭahmasp II. been led into a premature treaty with the Turks. Nadir’s anger and indignation had been great at this weak proceeding; indeed, he had made it the ostensible cause of the shah’s deposition. He had addressed letters to all the military chiefs of the country, calling upon them for support; he had sent an envoy to Constantinople insisting upon the sultan’s restoration of the Persian provinces still in his possession—that is, Georgia and part of Azerbaijan—and he had threatened Bagdad with assault. As regent, he had failed twice in taking the city of the caliphs, but on the second occasion he had defeated and killed its gallant defender, Topal ʽOthman, and he had succeeded in regaining Tiflis, Kars and Erivan.[58]

Russia and Turkey, naturally hostile to one another, had taken occasion of the weakness of Persia to forget their mutual quarrels and unite to plunder the tottering kingdom of the Safawid kings. A partition treaty had been signed between these two powers in 1723, by which the czar was to take Astarabad, Mazandaran, Gilan, part of Shirvan and Daghistan, while the acquisitions of the Porte were to be traced out by a line drawn from the junction of the Aras and Kur rivers, and passing along by Ardebil, Tabriz and Hamadan, and thence to Kermānshāh. Ṭahmasp was to retain the rest of his paternal kingdom on condition of his recognizing the treaty. The ingenious diplomacy of Russia in this transaction was manifested in the fact that she had already acquired the greater part of the territory allotted to her, while Turkey had to obtain her share by further conquest. But the combination to despoil a feeble neighbour was outwitted by the energy of a military commander of a remarkable type.

D.—From the Accession of Nadir Shah, in 1736, to 1884.

Nadir, it has been said, was proclaimed shah in the plains of Moghan in 1736. Mirza Mahdi relates how this event was brought about by his address to the assembled nobles and officers on the morning of the “Nau-ruz,” or Persian New-Year’s Day, the response to that appeal being the offer of the crown. The conditions were that Nadir’s Coronation. the crown should be hereditary in his family, that the claim of the Safawids was to be held for ever extinct, and that measures should be taken to bring the Shiʽites to accept uniformity of worship with the Sunnites. The mulla bashi (or high priest) objecting to the last, Nadir ordered him to be strangled, a command which was carried out on the spot. On the day following, the agreement having been ratified between sovereign and people, he was proclaimed emperor of Persia. At Kazvin the ceremony of inauguration took place. The edict expressing the royal will on the religious question is dated in June, but the date of coronation is uncertain. From Kazvin Nadir moved to Isfahan, where he organized an expedition against Kandahar, then in the possession of a brother of Mahmud, the conqueror of Shah Ḥosain. But before setting out for Afghanistan he took measures to secure the internal quiet of Persia, attacking and seizing in his stronghold the chief of the marauding Bakhtiaris, whom he put to death, retaining many of his men for service as soldiers. With an army of 80,000 men he marched through Khorasan and Seistan to Kandahar, which city he blockaded ineffectually for a year; but it finally capitulated on the loss of the citadel. Balkh fell to Riẓa Kuli, the king’s son, who, moreover, crossed the Oxus and defeated the Uzbegs in battle. Besides tracing out the lines of Nadirabad, a town since merged in modern Kandahar, Nadir had taken advantage of the time available and of opportunities presented to enlist a large number of men from the Abdali and Ghilzai tribes. It is said that as many as 16,000 were at his disposal. His rejection of the Shiʽite tenets as a state religion seems to have propitiated the Sunnite Afghans.

Nadir had sent an ambassador into Hindustan requesting the Mogul emperor to order the surrender of certain unruly Afghans who had taken refuge within Indian territory, but no satisfactory reply was given, and obstacles were thrown in the way of the return of the embassy. The Persian monarch, not sorry perhaps to find a Invasion of India. plausible pretext for encroachment in a quarter so full of promise to booty-seeking soldiers, pursued some of the fugitives through Ghazni to Kabul, which city was then under the immediate control of Naṣr Khan, governor of eastern Afghanistan, for Mahommed Shah of Delhi. This functionary, alarmed at the near approach of the Persians, fled to Peshawar. Kabul had long been considered not only an integral part but also one of the main gates of the Indian Empire, notwithstanding a stout resistance on the part of its commandant, Shir or Shirzah Khan, the place was stormed and carried (1738) by Nadir, who moved on eastward. Mirza Mahdi relates that from the Kabul plain he addressed a new remonstrance to the Delhi court, but that his envoy was arrested and killed, and his escort compelled to return by the governor of Jalalabad. The same authority notes the occupation of the latter place by Persian troops and the march thither from Gandamak. It was probably through the Khaibar (Khyber) Pass that he passed into the Peshawar plain, for it was there that he first defeated the Imperial forces.

The invasion of India had now fairly commenced, and its successful progress and consummation were mere questions of time. The prestige of this Eastern Napoleon was immense. It had not only reached but had been very keenly felt at Delhi before the conquering army had arrived. There was no actual religious war; all sectarian distinction had been disavowed; the contest was between vigorous Mahommedans and effete Mahommedans. Nadir’s way had been prepared by circumstances, and as he progressed from day to day his army increased. There must have been larger accessions by voluntary recruits than losses by death or desertion. The victory on the plain of Karnal, whether accomplished by sheer fighting or the intervention of treachery, was the natural outcome of the previous situation, and the submission of the emperor followed as a matter of course.

Delhi must have experienced a sense of relief at the departure of its conqueror, whose residence there had been rendered painfully memorable by carnage and riot. The marriage of his son to the granddaughter of Aurangzeb and the formal restoration of the crown to the dethroned emperor were doubtless politic, but the descendant of Babar could not easily forget how humiliating a chapter in history would remain to be written against him. The return march of Nadir to Persia is not recorded with precision. On the 5th of May 1739 he left the gardens of Shalamar, and proceeded by way of Lahore and Peshawar through the passes to Kabul. Thence he seems to have returned to Kandahar, and in May 1740—just one year after his departure from Delhi—he was in Herat displaying the imperial throne and other costly trophies to the gaze of the admiring inhabitants. Sind was certainly included in the cession to him by Mahommed Shah of “all the territories westward of the river Attok,” but only that portion of it, such as Thattah (Tatta), situated on the right bank of the Indus.

From Herat he moved upon Balkh and Bokhara, and received the submission of Abu’l-Faiz Khan, the Uzbeg ruler, whom he restored to his throne on condition that the Oxus should be the acknowledged boundary between the two empires. The khan of Khwarizm, who had made repeated depredations in Persian territory, was taken prisoner Northern Conquests. and executed. Nadir then visited the strong fortress of Kelat, to which he was greatly attached as the scene of his boyish exploits, and Meshed, which he constituted the capital of his empire. He had extended his boundary on the east to the Indus, and to the Oxus on the north.

On the south he was restricted by the Arabian Ocean and Persian Gulf; but the west remained open to his further progress. He had in the first place to revenge the death of his brother Ibrahim Khan, slain by the Lesghians; and a campaign against the Turks might follow in due course. The first movement was unsuccessful, Wars in the West. and indirectly attended with disastrous consequences. Nadir, when hastening to the support of some Afghan levies who were doing good service, was fired at and wounded by a stray assailant; suspecting his son, Riẓa Kuli, of complicity, he commanded the unfortunate prince to be seized and deprived of sight. From that time the heroism of the monarch appeared to die out. He became morose, tyrannical and suspicious. An easy victory over the Turks gave him but little additional glory; and he readily concluded a peace with the sultan which brought but insignificant gain to Persia.[59] Another battle won from the Ottoman troops near Diarbekr by Naṣr Ullah Mirza, the young prince who had married a princess of Delhi, left matters much the same as before.

The last years of Nadir’s life were full of internal trouble. On the part of the sovereign, murders and executions; on that of his subjects, revolt and conspiracy. Such a state of things could not last, and certain proscribed persons plotted the destruction of the half-demented tyrant. He was dispatched by Salah Bey, captain of his guards (1747). He was some sixty years of age, and had reigned eleven years. About the time of setting out on his Indian expedition he was described as a most comely man, upwards of 6 ft., tall, well-proportioned, of robust make and constitution; inclined to be fat, but prevented by the fatigue he underwent; with fine, large black eyes and eyebrows; of sanguine complexion, made more manly by the influence of sun and weather; a loud, strong voice; a moderate wine-drinker; fond of simple diet, such as pilaos and plain dishes, but often neglectful of meals altogether, and satisfied, if occasion required, with parched peas and water, always to be procured.[60]

During the reign of Nadir an attempt was made to establish a British Caspian trade with Persia. The names of Jonas Hanway and John Elton were honourably connected with this undertaking; and the former has left most valuable records of the time and country.

From Nadir Shah to the Kajar Dynasty.—After the death of Nadir Shah something like anarchy prevailed for thirteen years in the greater part of Persia as it existed under Shah ʽAbbas. No sooner had the crime become known than Aḥmad Khan, chief of the Abdali Afghans, took possession of Kandahar and a certain amount Period of Anarchy. of treasure. By the action of Aḥmad Abdali, Afghanistan was at once lost to the Persian crown, for this leader was strong enough to found an independent kingdom. The chief of the Bakhtiaris, Rashid, also with treasure, fled to the mountains, and the conspirators invited ʽAli, a nephew of the deceased monarch, to ascend the vacant throne. The Bakhtiari encouraged his brother, ʽAli Mardan, to compete for the succession to Nadir. The prince was welcomed by his subjects; he told them that the murder of his uncle was due to his own instigation, and, in order to conciliate them, remitted the revenues of the current year and all extraordinary taxes for the two years following.

Taking the title of ʽAdil Shah, or the “just” king, he commenced his reign by putting to death the two princes Riẓa Kuli and Naṣr Ullah, as well as all relatives whom he considered his competitors, with the exception of Shah Rukh, son of Riẓa Kuli, whom he spared in case a lineal descendant of Nadir should at any time be required. But he had not removed all dangerous members of the royal house, nor had he gauged the temper of the times or people. ʽAdil Shah was soon dethroned by his own brother, Ibrahim, and he in his turn was defeated by the adherents of Shah Rukh, who made their leader king.

This young prince had a better and more legitimate title than that of the grandson of Nadir, for he was also grandson, on the mother’s side, of the Safawid Shah Ḥusain. Amiable, generous and liberal-minded, and of prepossessing exterior, he proved to be a popular prince. But he was neither of an age nor character to rule over a people led Shah Rukh. by turbulent and disaffected chiefs, ever divided by the conflicting interests of personal ambition Saʽid Mahommed, son of Mirza Daud, a chief mullah at Meshed, whose mother was the reputed daughter of Suleiman, declared himself king, and imprisoned and blinded Shah Rukh. Yusuf ʽAli, the general commanding the royal troops, defeated and slew Suleiman, and replaced his master on the throne, reserving to himself the protectorship or regency. A new combination of chiefs, of which Jiʽafir the Kurd and Mir ʽAlam the Arabian are the principal names handed down, brought about the death of Yusuf ʽAli and the second imprisonment of Shah Rukh. These events were followed by a quarrel terminating in the supremacy of the Arab. At this juncture Aḥmad Shah Abdali reappeared in Persian Khorasan from Herat; he attacked and took possession of Meshed, slew Mir ʽAlam, and, pledging the local chiefs to support the blinded prince in retaining the kingdom of his grandfather, returned to Afghanistan. But thenceforward this unfortunate young man was a mere shadow of royalty, and his purely local power and prestige had no further influence whatever on Persia as a country.

The land was partitioned among several distinguished persons, who had of old been biding their opportunities, or were born of the occasion. Foremost among these was Mahommed Ḥasan Khan, hereditary chief of those Kajars who were established in the south-east corner of the Caspian. His father, Fatḥ ʽAli Khan, after sheltering Shah Further Confusion. Ṭahmasp II. at his home in Astarabad, and long acting as one of his most loyal supporters, had been put to death by Nadir, who had appointed a successor to his chiefdom from the “Yukari” or “upper” Kajars, instead of from his own, the “Ashagha,” or “ lower.”[61] Mahommed, with his brother, had fled to the Turkomans, by whose aid he had attempted the recovery of Astarabad, but had not succeeded in regaining a permanent footing there until Nadir had been removed. On the murder of the tyrant he had raised the standard of independence, successfully resisted Aḥmad Shah and his Afghans, who sought to check his progress in the interests of Shah Rukh, and eventually brought under his own sway the valuable provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Astarabad[62]—quite a little kingdom in itself. In the large important province of Azerbaijan, Azad Khan, one of Nadir’s generals, had established a separate government; and ʽAli Mardan, brother of the Bakhtiari chief, took forcible possession of Isfahan, empowering Shah Rukh’s governor, Abu’l-Fatḥ Khan, to act for the new master instead of the old.

Had ʽAli Mardan declared himself an independent ruler he would have been by far the most important of the three persons named. But such usurpation at the old Safawid capital would have been too flagrant an act for general assent; so he put forward Ismaʽil, a nephew of Shah Ḥusain, as the representative of sovereignty, and himself as one of his two ministers—the other being Karim Khan, a chief of the Zend Kurds. Shah Ismaʽil, it need scarcely be said, possessed no real authority; but the ministers were strong men in their way, and the Zend especially had many high and excellent qualities. After a time ʽAli Mardan was assassinated, and Karim Khan became the sole living power at Isfahan. The story of the period is thus told by R. G. Watson:—

“The three rivals, Karīm, Azad and Muhammad Hasan, proceeded to settle, by means of the sword, the question as to which of them was to be the sole master of Persia. A three-sided war then ensued, in the course of which each of the combatants in turn seemed at one time sure to be the final conqueror. Karīm, when he had arranged Struggle of the Three Rivals. matters at Ispahan, marched to the borders of Mazandaran, where the governor of that province was ready to meet him. After a closely contested battle victory remained with Muhammad Hasan; who, however, was unable to follow up the foe, as he had to return in order to encounter Azad. That leader had invaded Gilan, but, on the news reaching him of the victory which the governor of Mazandarān had gained, he thought it prudent to retrace his steps to Sultanīyah. Karīm reunited his shattered forces at Tehrān, and retired to Ispahan to prepare for a second campaign. When he again took the field it was not to measure himself once more with the Kajar chief, but to put down the pretensions of Azad. The wary Afghan, however, shut himself up in Kazvīn, a position from which he was enabled to inflict much injury on the army of Karīm, while his own troops remained unharmed, behind the walls of the town. Karīm retired a second time to Ispahan, and in the following spring advanced again to meet Azad. A pitched battle took place between them, in which the army of Karīm was defeated. He retreated to the capital, closely pressed by the foe. Thence he continued his way to Shiraz, but Azad was still upon his traces. He then threw himself upon the mercy of the Arabs of the Garmsir or hot country, near the Persian Gulf, to whom the name of the Afghans was hateful, and who rose in a body to turn upon Azad. Karīm, by their aid, once more repaired his losses and advanced on Ispahan, while Muhammad Hasan with fifty thousand men was coming from the opposite direction, ready to encounter either the Afghan or the Zend. The Afghan did not await his coming, but retired to his government of Tabriz.

“The Zend issued from Ispahan, and was a second time defeated in a pitched battle by the Kajar. Kariīm took refuge behind the walls of Shirāz and all the efforts of the enemy to dislodge him were ineffectual. Muhammad Hasan Khan in the following year turned his attention to Adarbaijan. Azad was no longer in a position to oppose him in the field, and he in turn became master of every place of importance in the province, while Azad had to seek assistance in vain—first from the pasha of Baghdad, and then from his former enemy, the tsar of Georgia. Next year the conquering Kajar returned to Shirāz to make an end of the only rival who now stood in his way. On his side were 80,000 men, commanded by a general who had twice defeated the Zend chief on an equal field. Karīm was still obliged to take shelter in Shirāz, and to employ artifice in order to supply the place of the force in which he was deficient. Nor were his efforts in this respect unattended with success: seduced by his gold, many of the troops of the Kajar began to desert their banners. In the meantime the neighbourhood of Shirāz was laid waste, so as to destroy the source from which Muhammad Hasan drew his provisions; by degrees his army vanished, and he had finally to retreat with rapidity to Ispahan with the few men that remained to him. Finding his position there to be untenable, he retreated still farther to the country of his own tribe, while his rival advanced to Ispahan, where he received the submission of nearly all the chief cities of Persia. The ablest of Karīm’s officers, Shaikh ʽAli, was sent in pursuit of the Kajar chief. The fidelity of the commander to whom that chieftain had confided the care of the pass leading into Mazandarān, was corrupted; and, as no further retreat was open to him, he found himself under the necessity of fighting. The combat which ensued resulted in his complete defeat, although he presented to his followers an example of the most determined valour. While attempting to effect his escape he was recognized by the chief of the other branch of the Kajar tribe, who had deserted his cause, and who had a blood-feud with him, in pursuance of which he now put him to death.

“For nineteen years after this event Karīm Khan ruled with the title of wakil, or regent, over the whole of Persia, excepting the Karīm Khan. province of Khurāsān. He made Shirāz the seat of his government, and by means of his brothers put down every attempt which was made to subvert his authority. The rule of the great Zend chief was just and mild, and he is on the whole, considering his education and the circumstances under which he was placed, one of the most faultless characters to be met with in Persian history.”

Karim Khan died at his capital in 1779 in the twentieth year of his reign, and, it is said, in the eightieth of his age. He built the great bazaar of Shiraz, had a tomb constructed over the remains of Hafiz, and repaired the “turbat” at the grave of Saʽdi, outside the walls. He encouraged commerce and agriculture, gave much attention to the shores of the Persian Gulf, and carefully studied the welfare of the Armenian community settled in his dominions. In his time the British factory was removed from Bander Abbasi to Bushire.

On Karim’s death a new period of anarchy supervened. His brother, Zaki, a cruel and vindictive chief who, when governor of Isfahan, had revolted against Karim, assumed the government. At the same time he proclaimed Abu ʽl-Fatḥ Khan, second son of the deceased monarch, and his brother Mahommed ʽAli, joint-successors to the throne. The Zeki. seizure of the citadel at Shiraz by the adherents of the former, among whom were the more influential of the Zends, may have induced him to adopt this measure as one of prudent conciliation. But the garrison held out, and, to avoid a protracted siege, he had recourse to treachery. The suspicious nobles were solemnly adjured to trust themselves to his keeping, under promise of forgiveness. They believed his professions, tendered their submission, and were cruelly butchered. Zaki did not long enjoy the fruits of his perfidious dealing. The death of Karim Khan had raised two formidable adversaries to mar his peace. Aga Mahommed, son of Mahommed Ḥasan, the Kajar chief of Astarabad, a prisoner at large in Shiraz, was in the environs of that city awaiting intelligence of the old king’s decease, and, hearing it, instantly escaped to Mazandaran, there to gather his tribesmen together and compete for the crown of Persia. Taken prisoner by Nadir and barbarously mutilated by ʽAdil Shah, he had afterwards found means to rejoin his people, but had surrendered himself to Karim Khan when his father was killed in battle. On the other hand, Sadik, brother to Zaki, who had won considerable and deserved repute by the capture of Basra from the Turkish governor, abandoned his hold of the conquered town on hearing of the death of Karim, and appeared with his army before Shiraz. To provide against the intended action of the first, Zaki detached his nephew, ʽAli Murad, at the head of his best troops to proceed with all speed to the north; and, as to the second, the seizure of such families of Sadik’s followers as were then within the walls of the town, and other violent measures, struck such dismay into the hearts of the besieging soldiers that they dispersed and abandoned their leader to his fate. From Kermān, however, where he found an asylum, the latter addressed an urgent appeal for assistance to ʽAli Murad. This chief, encamped at Teherān when the communication reached him, submitted the matter to his men, who decided against Zaki, but put forward their own captain as the only master they would acknowledge. ʽAli Murad, leaving the pursuit of Aga Mahommed, then returned to Isfahan, where he was received with satisfaction, on the declaration that his one object was to restore to his lawful inheritance the eldest son of Karim Khan, whom Zaki had set aside in favour of a younger brother. The sequel is full of dramatic interest. Zaki, enraged at his nephew’s desertion, marched out of Shiraz towards Isfahan. On his way he came to the town of Yezdikhast, where he demanded a sum of money from the inhabitants, claiming it as part of secreted revenue; the demand was refused, and eighteen of the head men were thrown down the precipice beneath his window; a “saiyid,” or holy man, was the next victim, and his wife and daughter were to be given over to the soldiery, when a suddenly-formed conspiracy took effect, and Zaki’s own life was taken in retribution for his guilt (1779).

When intelligence of these events reached Kermān, Sadik Khan hastened to Shiraz, proclaimed himself king in place ʽAli Murad. of Abu ʽl-Fatḥ Khan, whom he declared incompetent to reign, and put out the eyes of the young prince. He dispatched his son Jiʽafir to assume the government of Isfahan, and watch the movements of ʽAli Murad, who appears to have been then absent from that city; and he gave a younger son, ʽAli Naki, command of an army in the field. The campaign ended in the capture of Shiraz and assumption of sovereignty by ʽAli Murad, who caused Sadik Khan to be put to death.

From this period up to the accession of Aga Mahommed Khan the summarized history of Markham will supply the principal facts required.

ʽAli Murad reigned over Persia until 1785, and carried on a successful war with Aga Mahommed in Mazandaran, defeating him in several engagements, and occupying Teherān and Sari. He died on his way from the former place to Isfahan, and was succeeded by Jiʽafir, son of Sadik,[63] who reigned at Shiraz, assisted in the government by an able but unprincipled “kalantar,” or head magistrate, named Hajji Ibrahim. This ruler was poisoned by the agency of conspirators, one of whom, Saiyid Murad succeeded to the throne. Hajji Ibrahim, however, contriving to maintain the loyalty of the citizens towards the Zend reigning family, the usurper Lutf ʽAli Khan. was killed, and Lutf ʽAli Khan, son of Jiʽafir, proclaimed king. He had hastened to Shiraz on hearing of his father’s death and received a warm welcome from the inhabitants. Hajji Ibrahim became his chief adviser, and a new minister was found for him in Mirza Ḥosain Shirazi. At the time of his accession Lutf ʽAli Khan was only in his twentieth year, very handsome, tall, graceful, and an excellent horseman. While differing widely in character, he was a worthy successor of Karīm Khan, the great founder of the Zend dynasty. Lutf ʽAli Khan had not been many months on the throne when Aga Mahommed advanced to attack him, and invested the city of Shiraz, but retreated soon afterwards to Teherān, which he had made the capital of his dominions. The young king then enjoyed a short period of peace. Afterwards, in 1790, he collected his forces and marched against the Kajars, in the direction of Isfahan. But Hajji Ibrahim had been intriguing against his sovereign, to whose family he owed everything, not only with his officers and soldiers but also with Aga Mahommed, the chief of the Kajars, and arch-enemy of the Zends. Lutf ʽAli Khan was suddenly deserted by the whole of his army, except seventy faithful followers; and when he retreated to Shiraz he found the gates closed against him by Hajji Ibrahim, who held the city for the Kajar chief. Thence falling back upon Bushire, he found that the sheikh of that town had also betrayed him. Surrounded by treason on every side, he boldly attacked and routed the chief of Bushire and blockaded Shiraz. His unconquerable valour gained him many followers, and he defeated an army sent against him by the Kajars in 1792.

Aga Mahommed then advanced in person against his rival. He encamped with an army of 30,000 men on the plain of Mardasht, near Shiraz. Lutf ʽAli Khan, in the dead of night, suddenly attacked the camp of his enemy with only a few hundred followers. The Kajars were complete routed and thrown into confusion; but Aga Mahommed, with extraordinary presence of mind, remained in his tent, and at the first appearance of dawn his “muezzin,” or public crier, was ordered to call the faithful to morning prayer as usual. Astonished at this, the few Zend cavaliers, thinking that the whole army of Kajars had returned, fled with precipitation leaving the field in possession of Aga Mahommed. The successful Kajar then entered Shiraz, and promoted the traitor Hajji Ibrahim to be his vizier. Lutf ʽAli Khan took refuge with the hospitable chief of Tabbas in the heart of Khorasan, where he succeeded in collecting a few followers; but advancing into Fars, he was again defeated, and forced to take refuge at Kandahar.

In 1794, however, the undaunted prince once more crossed the Persian frontier, determined to make a last effort, and either regain his throne or die in the attempt. He occupied the city of Kermān, then a flourishing commercial town, half-way between the Persian Gulf and the province of Khorasan. Aga Mahommed besieged it with a large army Capture of Kermān. in 1795, and, after a stout resistance, the gates were opened through treachery. For three hours the gallant young warrior fought in the streets with determined valour, but in vain. When he saw that all hope was gone he, with only three followers, fought his way through the Kajar host and escaped to Bam-Narmashir, the most eastern district of the province of Kermān on the borders of Seistan.

Furious at the escape of his rival, the savage conqueror ordered a general massacre; 20,000 women and children were sold into slavery, and 70,000 eyes of the inhabitants of Kermān were brought to Aga Mahommed on a platter.

Lutf ʽAli Khan took refuge in the town of Bam; but the governor of Narmashir, anxious to propitiate the conqueror, basely surrounded him as he was mounting his faithful horse Kuran to seek a more secure asylum. The young prince fought bravely; but, being badly wounded and overpowered by numbers, he was secured an sent to the camp of the Kajar chief. The spot where he was seized at Bam, when mounting his horse, was marked by a pyramid, formed, by order of his revengeful enemy, of the skulls of the most faithful of his adherents. The most hideous indignities and atrocities were committed upon his person by the cruel Kajar, and finally he was sent to Teherān and murdered, when only in his twenty-sixth year. Every member of his family and every friend was ordered to be massacred by Aga Mahommed; and the successful miscreant thus founded the dynasty of the Kajars at the price of all the best and noblest blood of Iran.

The Zend is said to be a branch of the Lak tribe, dating from the time of the Kaianian kings, and claims to have been charged with the care of the Zend-Avesta by Zoroaster himself.[64] The tree attached to Markham’s chapter on the dynasty contains the names of eight members of the family only, i.e. four brothers, one of whom had a son, grandson and great-grandson, and one a son. Four of the eight were murdered, one was blinded, and one cruelly mutilated. In one case a brother murdered a brother, in another an uncle blinded his nephew.

Kajar Dynasty.—Aga Mahommed was undoubtedly one of the most cruel and vindictive despots that ever disgraced a throne. But he was not without care for the honour of his empire in the eyes of Europe and the outer world, and his early career in Mazandaran gave him a deeply-rooted mistrust of Russia, with the officers of which power he was in constant contact. The following story, told by Forster,[65] and varied by a later writer, is characteristic. A party of Russians having obtained permission to build a “counting-house” at Ashraf, in the bay of that name, erected instead a fort with eighteen guns. Aga Mahommed, learning the particulars, visited the Aga Mahommed. spot, expressed great pleasure at the work done, invited the officers to dine with him, imprisoned them, and only spared their lives when they had removed the whole of the cannon and razed the fort to the ground. This occurrence must have taken place about 1782.

Forster was travelling homeward by the southern shores of the Caspian in January 1784, and from him we gather many interesting details of the locality and period. He calls Aga Mahommed chief of Mazandaran, as also of Astarabad and “some districts situate in Khorasan,” and describes his tribe the Kajar, to be, like the Indian Rajput, usually devoted to the profession of arms. Whatever hold his father may have had on Gilan, it is certain that this province was not then in the son’s possession, for his brother, Jiʽafir Kuli, governor of Balfrush (Balfroosh), had made a recent incursion into it and driven Hidaiyat Khan, its ruler, from Resht to Enzeli, and Aga Mahommed was himself meditating another attack on the same quarter. The latter’s palace was at Sari, then a small and partly fortified town, thickly inhabited, and with a plentifully-supplied market. As “the most powerful chief in Persia” since the death of Karim Khan, the Russians were seeking to put their yoke upon him.

As Aga Mahommed’s power increased, his dislike and jealousy of the Muscovite assumed a more practical shape. His victory over Lutf ʽAli was immediately followed by an expedition into Georgia. After the death of Nadir the wali of that country had looked around him for the safest means of shaking off the yoke of Persia; and Campaign against Georgia. in course of time an opportunity had offered of a promising kind. In 1783, when the strength of the Persian monarchy was concentrated upon Isfahan and Shiraz, the Georgian tsar Heraclius entered into an agreement with the empress Catherine by which all connexion with the shah was disavowed, and a quasi-vassalage to Russia substituted—the said empire extending her aegis of protection over her new ally. Aga Mahommed now demanded that Heraclius should return to his position of tributary and vassal to Persia, and, as his demand was rejected, prepared for war. Dividing an army of 60,000 men into three corps, he sent one of these into Daghestan, another was to attack Erivan, and with the third he himself laid siege to Shusha in the province of Karabakh. The stubborn resistance offered at the last-named place caused him to leave there a small investing force only, and to move on with the remainder of his soldiers to join the corps d’armée at Erivan. Here, again, the difficulties presented caused him to repeat the same process and to effect a junction with his first corps at Ganja, the modern Elisavetpol. At this place he encountered the Georgian army under Heraclius, defeated it, and marched upon Tiflis, which he pillaged, massacring and enslaving[66] the inhabitants. Then he returned triumphant to Teherān, where (or at Ardebil on the way) he was publicly crowned shah of Persia. Erivan surrendered, but Shusha continued to hold out. These proceedings caused Russia to enter the field. Derbent was taken possession of by Imhov, Baku and Shumakhy were occupied and Gilan was threatened. The death of the empress, however, caused the issue of an order to retire, and Derbent and Baku remained the only trophies of the campaign.

In the meantime Aga Mahommed’s attention had been called away to the east. Khorasan could hardly be called an integral part of the shah’s kingdom so long as it was under even the nominal rule of the blind grandson of Nadir. But the eastern division of the province and its outlying parts were actually in the hands of Operations in Khorasan. the Afghans, and Meshed was not Persian in 1796 in the sense that Delhi was British at the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. Shah Rukh held his position, such as it was, rather under Aḥmad Shah and his successors in Afghanistan than under any other sovereign power. Aga Mahommed determined to restore the whole province to Persia, and, after a brief residence in Teherān on his return from the Georgian expedition, he set out for Meshed. It is important to note that on the occasion of his coronation he had girded on the sabre consecrated at the tomb of the founder of the Safawid—thus openly pledging himself to support the Shiʽite faith.

But there had been continual dissatisfaction in the capital of Khorasan, and constant inroads upon it from without, which the royal puppet was unable to prevent. His popularity was real, but never seemed to have effect outside the limited sphere of personal sympathy and regard. Owing to the frequent revolutions in the holy city the generals of Timur Shah, king of the Afghans, had made three expeditions on Shah Rukh’s behalf. Meshed had been taken and retaken as though he were not a resident in it, much less its de jure king. Moreover, his two sons Nadir Mirza and Wali Niʽamat had long been fighting, and the former was in 1796 the actual ruler of the place. Three years before Timur had died, and his third son, Zaman Shah, by the intrigues of an influential sirdar, Paiyanda Khan, and been proclaimed his successor at Kabul.

Aga Mahommed’s entry into Meshed was effected without a struggle on the part of those in possession. The Kajar shah walked on foot to the tomb of Imam Riza, before which he knelt and kissed the ground in token of devotion, and was recognized as a Shiʽite of Shiʽites. Shah Rukh submissively followed in his train. Then began the last act of the local tragedy. The blind king’s gradual revelation, under horrible torture, of the place of concealment of his several jewels and treasures, and his deportation and death (of the injuries thus received, at Damghan, en route to Mazandaran), must be classed among the darkest records of Oriental history.

From Meshed Aga Mahommed sent an envoy to Zaman Shah, asking for the cession of Balkh, and explaining his invasion of Khorasan; but the Afghan monarch was too perplexed with the troubles in his own country and his own insecure position to do more than send an unmeaning reply. It is not shown what was the understood boundary between the two countries at this particular period; but Watson states that on the shah’s departure he had received the submission of the whole of Khorasan, and left in Meshed a garrison of 12,000 men.

Aga Mahommed had now fairly established his capital at Teherān. On his return thither in September 1796 he dismissed his troops for the winter, directing their reassembly in the following spring. The re-invasion by Russia of the provinces and districts he had recently wrested from her west of the Caspian had made Death and Character of Aga Mahommed. great progress, but the circumstance does not seem to have changed his plans for the army. Although, when the spring arrived and the shah led his forces to the Aras, the Russians had, it is true, retreated, yet territory had been regained by them as far south as the Talysh. Aga Mahommed had now arrived at the close of his career. He was enabled, with some difficulty, to get his troops across the river, and take possession of Shusha, which had given them so much trouble a year or two before. There, in camp, he was murdered (1797) by his own personal attendants—men who were under sentence of death, but allowed to be at large. He was then fifty-seven years of age, and had ruled over part of Persia for more than eighteen years—over the kingdom generally for about three years, and from his coronation for about one year only.

The brutal treatment he had experienced in boyhood under the orders of ʽAdil Shah, and the opprobrious name of “eunuch” with which he was taunted by his enemies, no doubt contributed to embitter his nature. His contempt of luxury, his avoidance of hyperbole and dislike of excessive ceremony, his protection to commerce and consideration for his soldiers, the reluctance with which he assumed the crown almost at the close of his reign—all these would have been praiseworthy in another man; but on his death the memory of his atrocious tyranny alone survived. Those who have seen his portrait once will recognize the face wherever presented. “Beardless and shrivelled,” writes Sir John Malcolm, “it resembled that of an aged and wrinkled woman, and the expression of his countenance, at no time pleasant, was horrible when clouded, as it very often was, with indignation. He was sensible of this, and could not bear that any one should look at him.”

Aga Mahommed had made up his mind that he should be succeeded by his nephew Fath ʽAli Shah, son of his full brother, Hosain Kuli Khan, governor of Fars. There was a short interval of confusion after the murder. The remains of the sovereign were exposed to insult, the army was disturbed, the recently captured fort on the left bank Fath Ali Shah. of the Aras was abandoned; but the wisdom and resolution of the minister, Hajji Ibrahim, and of Mirza Mahommed Khan Kajar secured order and acceptance of the duly appointed heir. The first, proclaiming his own allegiance, put himself at the head of a large body of troops and marched towards the capital. The second closed the gates of Teherān to all comers until Fath ʽAli Shah came himself from Shiraz. Though instantly proclaimed on arrival, the new monarch was not crowned until the spring of the following year (1798).

The so-called rebellions which followed were many, but not of any magnitude. Such as belong to local history are three in number, i.e. that of Sadik Khan Shakaki, the general whose possession of the crown jewels enabled him, after the defeat of his army at Kazvin, to secure his personal safety and obtain a government; of Hosain Kuli Rebellions. Khan, the shah’s brother, which was compromised by the mother’s intervention; and of Mahommed, son of Zaki Khan, Zend, who was defeated on more than one occasion in battle, and fled into Turkish territory. Later, Sadik Khan, having again incurred the royal displeasure, was seized, confined and mercilessly bricked up in his dungeon to die of starvation.

Another adversary presented himself in the person of Nadir Mirza, son of Shah Rukh, who, when Aga Mahommed appeared before Meshed, had taken refuge with the Afghans. Fath ʽAli sent to warn him of the consequences, but without the desired effect. Finally, he advanced into Khorasan with an army which appears to have met with no opposition save at Nishapur and Turbet, both of which places were taken, and when it reached Meshed, Nadir Mirza tendered his submission, which was accepted. Peace having been further cemented by an alliance between a Kajar general and the prince’s daughter, the shah returned to Teherān.

Now that the narrative of Persian kings has been brought up to the period of the consolidation of the Kajar dynasty and commencement of the 19th century, there remains but to summarize the principal events in the reigns of Fath ʽAli Shah and his immediate successors, Mahommed Shah and Naṣru ’d-Din Shah.

Fath ʽAli Shah came to the throne at about thirty-two years of age, and died at sixty-eight, after a reign of thirty-six years. Persia’s great aim was to recover in the north-west, as in the north-east of her empire, the geographical limits obtained for her by the Safawid kings; and this was no easy matter when she had to contend with a strong European power whose territorial limits touched War with Russia. her own. Fath ʽAli Shah undertook, at the outset of his reign, a contest with Russia on the western side of the Caspian, which became constant and harassing warfare. Georgia was, clearly, not to revert to a Mahommedan suzerain. In 1800 its tsar, George, son and successor of Heraclius, notwithstanding his former professions of allegiance to the shah, renounced his crown in favour of the Russian emperor. His brother Alexander indignantly repudiated the act and resisted its fulfilment, but he was defeated by General Lazerov on the banks of the Lora. Persia then re-entered the field. Among the more notable occurrences which followed were a three days' battle, fought near Echmiadzin, between the crown prince, ʽAbbas Mirza, and General Zizianov, in which the Persians suffered much from the enemy’s artillery, but would not admit they were defeated; unsuccessful attempts on the part of the Russian commander to get possession of Erivan; and a surprise, in camp, of the shah’s forces, which caused them to disperse, and necessitated the king’s own presence with reinforcements. On the latter occasion the shah is credited with gallantly swimming his horse across the Aras, and setting an example of energy and valour. In the following year ʽAbbas Mirza advanced upon Shishah, the chief of which place and of the Karabagh had declared for Russia; much fighting ensued, and Erivan was formally taken possession of in the name of the shah. The Russians, moreover, made a futile attempt on Gilan by landing troops at Enzeli, which returned to Baku, where Zizianov fell a victim to the treachery of the Persian governor. Somewhat later Ibrahim Khalil of Shusha, repenting of his Russophilism, determined to deliver up the Muscovite garrison at that place, but his plans were betrayed, and he and his relatives put to death. Reprisals and engagements followed with varied success; and the crown prince of Persia, after a demonstration in Shirvan, returned to Tabriz. He had practically made no progress; yet Russia, in securing possession of Derbent, Baku, Shirvan, Sheki, Ganja, the Talysh and Mugan, was probably indebted to gold as well as to the force of arms. At the same time Persia would not listen to the overtures of peace made to her by the governor-general who had succeeded Zizianov.

Relations had now commenced with England and British India. A certain Mahdi ʽAli Khan had landed at Bushire, entrusted by the governor of Bombay with a letter to the shah, and he was followed shortly by an English envoy from the governor-general, Captain Malcolm of the Madras army. He had not only to talk about the Afghans Relations with England, India
and France.
but about the French, and the trade of the Persian Gulf. The results were a political and commercial treaty, and a return mission to India from Fath ʽAli Shah. To him France next sent her message. In 1801 an Armenian merchant from Bagdad had appeared as the bearer of credentials from Napoleon, but his mission was mistrusted and came to nothing. Some five years afterwards Jaubert, after detention and imprisonment on the road, arrived at Teheran and went back to Europe with a duly accredited Persian ambassador, who concluded a treaty with the French emperor at Finkenstein. On the return of the Persian diplomatist, a mission of many officers under General Gardane to instruct and drill the local army was sent from France to Persia. Hence arose the counter-mission of Sir Harford Jones from the British government, which, on arrival at Bombay in April 1808, found that it had been anticipated by a previously sent mission from the governor-general of India, under Malcolm again, then holding the rank of brigadier-general.

The home mission, however, proceeded to Bushire, and Malcolm’s return thence to India enabled Sir Harford to move on and reach the capital in February 1809. A few days before his entry General Gardane had been dismissed, as the peace of Tilsit debarred France from aiding the shah against Russia. Sir Harford concluded a treaty with Persia the month after his arrival at the capital; but the government of India were not content to leave matters in his hands: notwithstanding the anomaly of a double mission, Malcolm was in 1810 again dispatched as their own particular envoy. He brought with him Captains Lindsay and Christie to assist the Persians in the war, and presented the shah with some serviceable field pieces, but there was little occasion for the exercise of his diplomatic ability save in his non-official intercourse with the people, and here he availed himself of it to the great advantage of himself and his country.[67] He was welcomed by the shah in camp at Ujani, and took leave a month afterwards to return via Bagdad and Basra to India. The next year Sir Harford Jones was relieved as envoy by Sir Gore Ouseley.

Meanwhile hostilities had been resumed with Russia, and in 1812 the British envoy used his good offices for the restoration of peace, but the endeavour failed. To add to the Persian difficulty, in July of this year a treaty was concluded between England and Russia, and this circumstance caused the envoy to direct that British officers should Renewal of
Russian War.
take no further part in Russo-Persian military operations. Christie and Lindsay, however, resolved to remain at their own risk, and advanced with the Persian army to the Aras. On the 31st of October the force was surprised by an attack of the enemy, and retreated, the next night they were again attacked and routed at Aslanduz. Christie fell bravely fighting at the head of his brigade; Lindsay saved two of his nine guns; but neither of the two Englishmen was responsible for the disaster. Lenkoran was taken by Persia, but retaken by Russia during the next three months; and on the 13th of October 1813, through Sir Gore Ouseley’s intervention, the Treaty of Gulistan put an end to the war. Persia formally ceded Georgia and the seven provinces before named, with Karabakh.

On the death of the emperor Alexander in December 1825 Prince Menshikov was sent to Teherān to settle a dispute which had arisen between the two governments regarding the prescribed frontier. But, as the claim of Persia to a particular district then occupied by Russia could not be admitted, the special envoy was given his congé, and war was recommenced. The chief of Talysh struck the first blow, and drove the enemy from Lenkoran. The Persians then carried all before them; and the hereditary chiefs of Shirvan, Sheki and Baku returned from exile to co-operate with the shah’s general in the south. In the course of three weeks the only advanced post held by the governor-general of the Caucasus was the obstinate little fortress of Shusha. But before long all was again changed. Hearing that a Russian force of some 9000 men was concentrated at Tiflis, Mahommed Mirza, son of the crown prince, advanced to meet them on the banks of the Zezam. He was defeated; and his father was routed more seriously still at Ganja. The shah made great efforts to renew the war; but divisions took place in his son’s camp, not conducive to successful operations, and new proposals of peace were made. But Russia demanded Erivan and Nakhichevan as well as the cost of the war; and in 1827 the campaign was reopened Briefly, after successive gains and losses, not only Erivan was taken from Persia but Tabriz also, and finally, through the intervention of Sir John Macdonald, the English envoy, a new treaty was concluded at Turkmanchai, laying down the boundary between Russia and Persia. Among the hard conditions for the latter country were the cession in perpetuity of the khanates of Erivan and Nakhichevan, the inability to have an armed vessel in the Caspian, and the payment of a war indemnity of some £3,000,000.

After Russia, the neighbouring state next in importance to the well-being of Persia was Turkey, with whom she was united on the west by a common line of frontier. Selim had not scrupled, in 1804 and 1805, to allow the Russians to make free use of the south-eastern coasts of the Black Sea, to facilitate operations against the shah’s troops; and there War with Turkey. had been a passage of arms between the king’s eldest son, Mahommed ʽAli Mirza, and Suleiman Pasha, son-in-law of the governor-general of Bagdad, which is locally credited as a battle won by the former. But there was no open rupture between the two sovereigns until 1821, when the frontier disputes and complaints of Persian travellers, merchants and pilgrims culminated in a declaration of war. This made ʽAbbas Mirza at once seize upon the fortified places of Toprak Kalʽah and Ak Sarai within the limits of the Ottoman Empire, and, overcoming the insufficient force sent against him, he was further enabled to extend his inroads to Mush, Bitlis, and other known localities. The Turkish government retaliated by a counter invasion of the Persian frontier on the south. At that time the Pasha of Bagdad was in command of the troops. He was defeated by Mahommed ʽAli Mirza, then prince-governor of Kermanshah, who drove his adversary back towards his capital and advanced to its immediate environs. Being attacked with cholera, however, the Persian commander recrossed the frontier, but only to succumb to the disease in the pass of Kirind. In the sequel a kind of desultory warfare appears to have been prosecuted on the Persian side of Kurdistan, and the shah himself came down with an army to Hamadan. Cholera broke out in the royal camp and caused the troops to disperse.

In the north the progress of ʽAbbas Mirza was stopped at Bayazid by a like deadly visitation; and a suspension of hostilities was agreed upon for the winter season. At the expiration of four months the sirdar of Erivan took possession of a Turkish military station on the road to Erzerum, and the crown prince marched upon that city at the head of 30,000 men. The Ottoman army which met him is said to have numbered some 52,000; but victory was on the side of their opponents. Whether the result was owing to the defection of 15,000 Kurds or not the evidence adduced is insufficient to decide. In the English records of the period it is stated that the defeat of the Turks was complete.

Profiting from this victory, ʽAbbas Mirza repeated an offer of peace before made without avail to the pasha of Erzerum; and, in order to conciliate him more effectually, he retired within the old limits of the dominions of the shah, his father. But more troubles arose at Bagdad, and other reasons intervened to protract negotiations for a year and a half. At length, in July 1823, the Treaty of Erzerum closed the war between Turkey and Persia. It provided especially against a recurrence of the proved causes of war, such as extorting taxes from Persian travellers or pilgrims, disrespect to the ladies of the royal harem and other ladies of rank proceeding to Mecca or Karbala (Kerbela), irregular levies of custom-duties, non-punishment of Kurdish depredators transgressing the boundary, and the like.

With respect to the eastern boundaries of his kingdom, Fath ʽAli Shah was fortunate in having to deal with a less dangerous neighbour than the Muscovite of persistent policy and the Turk of precarious friendship. The Afghan, though equal to the Persian in physical force and prowess, was his inferior in worldly knowledge and experience. Moreover, the The Afghan Question. family divisions among the ruling houses of Afghanistan grew from day to day more destructive to that patriotism and sense of nationality which Ahmad Shah had held out to his countrymen as the sole specifics for becoming a strong people.

The revolt of Nadir Mirza had, as before explained, drawn the shah’s attention to Khorasan in the early part of his reign; but, although quiet had for the moment been restored at Meshed by the presence of the royal camp, fresh grounds of complaint were urged against the rash but powerless prince, and recourse was had to extreme measures. Charged with the murder of a holy saiyid, his hands were cut off and his tongue was plucked out, as part of the horrible punishment inflicted on him. It does not appear that Nadir Mirza’s cause was ever seriously espoused by the Afghans, nor that Fath ʽAli Shah’s claim to Meshed, as belonging to the Persian crown, was actively resisted. But the large Province of Khorasan, of which Meshed was the capital, had never been other than a nominal dependency of the crown since the death of Nadir; and in the autumn of 1830 the shah, under Russian advice, assembled a large force to ring into subjection all turbulent and refractory chiefs on the east of his kingdom. Yezd and Kerman were the first points of attack; Khorasan was afterwards entered by Samnan, or the main road from Teherān. The expedition, led by ʽAbbas Mirza, involved some hard fighting and much loss of life; several forts and places were captured, among them Kuchan and Serrakhs; and it may be concluded that the objects contemplated were more or less attained. An English officer, Colonel Shee, commanded what was called the “British detachment” which accompanied the prince. Thus far as regards Yezd, Kerman and Khorasan. It was otherwise with Herat.

Hajji Firuzu’d-Din, son of Timur Shah, reigned undisturbed in that city from 1800 to 1816. Since Fath ʽAli Shah’s accession he and his brother Mahmud had been, as it were, under Persian protection. Persia claimed the principality of Herat as part of the empire of Nadir, but her pretensions had been satisfied by payments of tribute or evasive replies. Now, however, that she marched her army against the place, Firuzu ’d-Din called in the aid of his brother Mahmud Shah of Kabul, who sent to him the famous vizier, Fath Khan Barakzai. The latter, intriguing on his own account, got possession of the town and citadel; he then sallied forth, engaged the Persian forces, and forced them to retire into their own country. In 1824, on a solicitation from Mustafa Khan, who had got temporary hold of Herat, more troops were dispatched thither, but, by the use of money or bribes, their departure was purchased. Some eight or nine years afterwards ʽAbbas Mirza, when at the head of his army in Meshed, invited Yar Mahommed Khan of Herat to discuss a settlement of differences between the two governments. The meeting was unproductive of good. Again the Persian troops advanced to Herat itself under the command of Mahommed Mirza, son of Abbas; but the news of his father’s death caused the commander to break up his camp and return to Meshed.

Sir Gore Ousele returned to England in 1814, in which year Mr Ellis, assisted by Mr Morier—whose “Hajji Baba” is the unfailing proof of his ability and deep knowledge of Persian character—negotiated on the part of Great Britain the Treaty of Teherān. England was to provide troops or a subsidy in the event of unprovoked invasion, while Persia was to attack the Afghans should they invade India. Captain Willock succeeded Morier as chargé d'affaires in 1815, and since that period Great Britain has always been represented at the Persian court. It was in Fath ʽAli Shah’s reign that Henry Martyn was in Persia, and completed his able translation of the New Testament into the language of that country. Little more remains to be here narrated of the days of Fath ʽAli Shah. Among the remarkable occurrences may be noted the murder at Teherān in 1828 of M. Grebayadov, the Russian envoy, whose conduct in forcibly retaining two women of Erivan provoked the interference of the mullas and people. To repair the evil consequences of this act a conciliatory embassy, consisting of a young son of the crown prince and some high officers of the state, was despatched to St Petersburg. Shortly afterwards the alliance with Russia was strengthened, and that with England slackened in proportion.

Fath ʽAli Shah had a numerous family. Agreeably to the Persian custom, asserted by his predecessors, of nominating the heir-apparent from the sons of the sovereign without restriction to seniority, he had passed over the eldest, Mahommed ʽAli, in favour of a junior, ʽAbbas; but, as the nominee died in the lifetime of his father, the old king had proclaimed Mahommed Mirza, the son of ʽAbbas, and his own grandson, to be his successor. Why a younger son had been originally selected, to the prejudice of his elder brother, is differently stated by different writers. The true reason was probably the superior rank of his mother.

Mahommed Shah was twenty-eight years old when he came to the throne in 1834. He died at the age of forty-two, after a reign of about thirteen and a half years. His accession was not publicly notified for some months after his grandfather’s death, for it was necessary to clear the way of all competitors, and there were two on this occasion—one ʽAli Mahommed Shah. Mirza, governor of Teherān, who actually assumed a royal title, and one Hasan ʽAli Mirza, governor of Shiraz. Owing to the steps taken by the British envoy, Sir John Campbell, assisted by Colonel Bethune, at the head of a considerable force, supplied with artillery, the opposition of the first was neutralized, and Mahommed Shah, entering Teherān on the 2nd of January, was proclaimed king on the 31st of the same month. It cost more time and trouble to bring the second to book. Hasan ʽAli, “farman-farma,” or commander-in-chief, and his brother and abettor, had an army at their disposal in Fars. Sir Henry Lindsay Bethune marched his soldiers to Isfahan to be ready to meet them. An engagement which took place near Kumishah, on the road between Isfahan and Shiraz, having been successful, the English commander pushed on to the latter town, where the two rebel princes were seized and imprisoned. Forwarded under escort to Teherān, they were, according to Watson, ordered to be sent on thence as state prisoners to Ardebil, but the farman-farma died on the way, and his brother was blinded before incarceration. Markham, however, states that both ʽAli Mirza and Hasan ʽAli were allowed to retire with a small pension, and that no atrocities stained the beginning of the reign of Mahommed Shah. It is presumed that the fate of the prime minister or “kaim-makam,” who was strangled in prison, was no more than an ordinary execution of the law. This event, and the prevalence of plague and cholera at Teherān, marked somewhat gloomily the new monarch’s first year.

The selection of a premier was one of the first weighty questions for solution. A member of the royal family, the “asafu ’d-daula,” governor of Khorasan, left his government to urge his candidature for the post. The king’s choice, however, fell on Hajji Mirza Aghasi, a native of Erivan, who in former years, as tutor to the sons of ʽAbbas Mirza, had gained a certain reputation for learning and a smattering of the occult sciences, but whose qualifications for statesmanship were craftiness and suspicion. As might have been anticipated, the hajji fell into the hands of Russia, represented by Count Simonich, who urged him to a fresh expedition into Expedition against Herat. Khorasan and the siege of Herat. There was no doubt a plausible pretext for both proposals. The chiefs, reduced to temporary submission by ʽAbbas Mirza, had again revolted; and Shah Kamran, supported by his vizier, Yar Mahommed, had broken those engagements and pledges on the strength of which Fath ʽAli Shah had withdrawn his troops. In addition to these causes of offence he had appropriated the province of Seistan, over which Persia had long professed to hold the rights of suzerainty. But the king’s ambition was to go farther than retaliation or chastisement. He refused to acknowledge any right to separate government whatever on the part of the Afghans, and Kandahar and Ghazni were to be recovered, as belonging to the empire of the Safawid dynasty. The advice of the British envoy was dissuasive in this respect, and therefore distasteful.

Sir John Campbell, in less than a year after the sovereign’s installation, went home, and was succeeded as British envoy by Henry Ellis. The change in personnel signified also a transfer of superintendence of the Persian legation, which passed from the government in India to the authorities in England. The expedition was to commence with a campaign against the Turcomans—Herat being its later destination. Such counter-proposals as Ellis had suggested for consideration had been politely put aside, and the case was now more than ever complicated by the action of the Barakzai chiefs of Kandahar, who had sent a mission to Teherān to offer assistance against their Saduzai rival at Herat. Fresh provocation had, moreover, been given to the shah’s government by the rash and incapable Kamran.

About the close of the summer the force moved from Teherān. The royal camp was near Astarabad in November 1836. Food was scarce: barley sold for ten times the usual price, and wheat was not procurable for any money. The troops were dissatisfied, and, being kept without pay and on short rations, took to plundering. There had been operations on the banks of the Gurgan, and the Turcomans had been driven from one of their strongholds; but little or no progress had been made in the subjection of these marauders, and the Heratis had sent word that all they could do was to pay tribute, and, if that were insufficient, the shah had better march to Herat. A military council was held at Shahrud, when it was decided to return to the capital and set out again in the spring. Accordingly the troops dispersed, and the sovereign’s presence at Teherān was taken advantage of by the British minister to renew his attempts in the cause of peace. Although on the present occasion Simonich ostensibly aided the British chargé d’affaires M‘Neill, who had succeeded Ellis in 1836, no argument was of any avail to divert the monarch from his purpose. He again set out in the summer, and, invading the Herat territory in November 1837, began the siege on the 23rd of that month.

Not until September in the following year did the Persian army withdraw from before the walls of the city; and then the movement only took place on the action of the British government. M‘Neill, who had joined the Persian camp on the 6th of April, left it again on the 7th of June. He had done all in his power to effect a reasonable agreement between Siege of Herat. the contending parties; but both in this respect and in the matter of a commercial treaty with England, then under negotiation, his efforts had been met with evasion and latent hostility. The Russian envoy, who had appeared among the tents of the besieging army almost simultaneously with his English colleague, no sooner found himself alone in his diplomacy than he resumed his aggressive counsels, and little more than a fortnight had elapsed since M‘Neill’s departure when a vigorous assault, planned, it is asserted, by Simonich himself, was made upon Herat. The Persians attacked at five points, at one of which they would in all likelihood have been successful had not the Afghans been aided by Eldred Pottinger, a young Englishman, who with the science of an artillery officer combined a courage and determination which inevitably influenced his subordinates. Still the garrison was disheartened; but Colonel Stoddart’s arrival on the 11th of August to threaten the shah with British intervention put a stop to further action. Colonel Stoddart’s refusal to allow any but British mediators to decide the pending dispute won the day; and that officer was able to report that on the 9th of September Mahommed Shah had “mounted his horse” and gone from before the walls of the beleaguered city.

The siege of Herat, which lasted for nearly ten months, was the great event in the reign of Mahommed Shah. The British expedition in support of Shah Shujʽa, which may be called its natural consequence, involves a question foreign to the present narrative.

The remainder of the king’s reign was marked by new difficulties with the British government; the rebellion of Aga Khan Mahlati otherwise known as the chief of the Assassins; a new rupture with Turkey; the banishment of the asafu’d-daula, governor of Khorasan, followed by the insurrection and defeat of his son; and the rise of Bābiism (q.v.). The first of these only calls for any detailed account.

In the demands of the British Government was included the cession by Persia of places such as Farah and Sabzewar, which had been taken during the war from the Afghans, as well as reparation for the violence offered to the courier of the British legation. M‘Neill gave a certain time for decision, at the end of which, no satisfactory reply Difficulty with England. having reached him, he broke off diplomatic relations, ordered the British officers lent to the shah to proceed towards Bagdad en route to India, and retired to Erzerum with the members of his mission. On the Persian side, charges were made against M‘Neill, and a special envoy was sent to England to support them. An endeavour was at the same time made to interest the cabinets of Europe in influencing the British government on behalf of Persia. The envoy managed to obtain an interview with the minister of foreign affairs in London, who, in July 1839, supplied him with a statement, fuller than before, of all English demands upon his country. Considerable delay ensued, but the outcome of the whole proceedings was not only acceptance but fulfilment of all the engagements contracted. In the meantime the island of Kharak had been taken possession of by an expedition from India.

On the 11th of October 1841 a new mission arrived at Teherān from London, under John (afterwards Sir John) M‘Neill, to renew diplomatic relations. It was most cordially received by the shah, and as one of its immediate results, Kharak was evacuated by the British-Indian troops.

There had been a long diplomatic correspondence in Europe on the proceedings of Count Simonich and other Russian officers at Herat. Among the papers is a very important letter from Count Nesselrode to Count Pozzo di Borgo in which Russia declares herself to be the first to counsel the shah to acquiesce in the demand made upon him, because she found “justice on the side of England” and “wrong on the side of Persia.” She withdrew her agent from Kandahar and would “not have with the Afghans any relations but those of commerce, and in no wise any political interests.”

Aga Khan’s rebellion was fostered by the defection to his cause of a large portion of the force sent against him; but he yielded at last to the local authorities of Kerman and fled the province and country. He afterwards resided many years at Bombay, where, while maintaining among natives a quasi-spiritual character, he was better known among Europeans for his doings on the turf.

The quarrel with Turkey was generally about frontier relations. Eventually the matter was referred to an Anglo-Russian commission, of which Colonel Williams (afterwards Sir Fenwick Williams of Kars) was president. A massacre of Persians at Kerbela might have seriously complicated the dispute, but, after a first burst of indignation and call for vengeance, an expression of the regret of the Ottoman government was accepted as a sufficient apology for the occurrence.

The rebellion of the asafu ’d-daula, maternal uncle of the shah, was punished by exile, while his son, after giving trouble to his opponents, and once gaining a victory over them, took shelter with the Turcomans.

Before closing the reign of Mahommed Shah note should be taken of a prohibition to import African slaves into Persia, and a commercial treaty with England—recorded by Watson as gratifying achievements of the period by British diplomatists. The French missions in which occur the names of MM. de Lavalette and de Sartiges were notable in their way, but somewhat barren of results.

In the autumn of 1848 the shah was seized with the malady, or combination of maladies, which caused his death. Gout and erysipelas had, it is said,[68] ruined his constitution, and he died at his palace in Shimran on the 4th of Sefptember. He was buried at Kum, where is situated the shrine of Fatima, daughter of Imam Riza, by the side of his grandfather, Fath ʽAli, and other kings of Persia. In person he is described as short and fat, with an aquiline nose and agreeable countenance.”[69]

On the occasion of his father’s death, Naṣru ’d-Din Mirza, who had been proclaimed wali ʽahd, or heir apparent, some years before, was absent at Tabriz, the headquarters of his province of Azerbaijan. Colonel Farrant, then chargé d’affaires on the part of the British government, in the absence of Colonel Sheil, who had succeeded Sir John M‘Neill, had, Nasru ’d-Din Shah. in anticipation of the shah’s decease and consequent trouble, sent a messenger to summon him instantly to Teherān. The British officer, moreover, associated himself with Prince Dolgoruki, the representative of Russia, to secure the young prince’s accession.

The queen-mother, as president of the council, showed much judgment and capacity in conciliating adverse parties. But the six or seven weeks which passed between the death of the one king and the coronation of the other proved a disturbed interval, and full of stirring incident. The old minister, Hajji Mirza Aghasi, shut himself up in the royal palace with 1200 followers, and had to take refuge in the sanctuary of Shah ʽAbdul-ʽAzim near Teherān. On the other hand Mirza Aga Khan, a partisan of the asafu ’d-daula, and himself an ex-minister of war, whom the hajji had caused to be banished, was welcomed back to the capital. At Isafahan, Shiraz and Kerman serious riots took place, which were with difficulty suppressed. While revolution prevailed in the city, robbery was rife in the province of Yezd; and from Kazvin the son of ʽAli Mirza otherwise called the “zillu’s-sultan,” the prince-governor of Teherān, who disputed the succession of Mahommed Shah, came forth to contest the crown with his cousin, the heir-apparent. The last named incident soon came to an inglorious termination for its hero. But a more serious revolt was in full force at Meshed when, on the 20th of October 1848, the young shah entered his capital and was crowned at midnight king of Persia.

The chief events in the long reign of Naṣru ’d-Din, fall under four heads: (1) the insurrection in Khorasan, (2) the insurrection of the Babis, (3) the fall of the amiru ’n-nizam, and (4) the war with England.

It has been stated that the asafu ’d-daula was a competitor with Hajji Mirza Aghasi for the post of premier in the cabinet of Mahommed Shah that he was afterwards, in the same reign, exiled for rising in rebellion, and that his son, the salar, took shelter with the Turcomans. Some four months prior to the Mahommed Shah’s decease Insurrection in Khorasan. the latter chief had reappeared in arms against his authority; he had gained possession of Meshed itself, driving the prince-governor, Hamza Mirza, into the citadel; and so firm was his attitude that Yar Mahommed of Herat, who had come to help the government officials, had retired after a fruitless co-operation, drawing away the prince-governor also. The salar now defied Murad Mirza, Naṣru ’d-Din’s uncle, who was besieging the city. In April 1850, after a siege of more than eighteen months, fortune turned against the bold insurgent, and negotiations were opened for the surrender of the town and citadel. Treachery may have had to do with the result, for when the shah’s troops entered the holy city the salar sought refuge in the mosque of Imam Riza, and was forcibly expelled. He and his brother were seized and put to death, the instrument used being, according to Watson, “the bowstring of Eastern story.” The conqueror of Meshed, Murad Mirza, became afterwards himself the prince-governor of Khorasan.

In the article on Babīism, the facts as to the life of the Bab, Mirza Ali Mahommed of Shiraz, and the progress of the Babīist movement, are separately noticed. The Bab himself was executed in 1850, but only after serious trouble over the new religious propaganda; and his followers kept up the revolutionary propaganda.Babīism.

In the summer of 1852 the shah was attacked, while riding in the vicinity of Teherān, by four Babis, one of whom fired a pistol and slightly wounded him. The man was killed, and two others were captured by the royal attendants; the fourth jumped down a well. The existence of a conspiracy was then discovered in which some forty persons were implicated; and ten of the conspirators were put to death—some under cruel torture.

Mirza Taki, the amiru ’n-nizam (vulgarly amir nizam), or commander-in-chief, was a good specimen of the self-made man of Persia. He was the son of a cook of Bahram Mirza, Mahommed Shah’s brother, and he had filled high and important offices of state and amassed much wealth when he was made by the young shah Naṣru ’d-Din, on his accession, Fall of Mirza Taki. both his brother-in-law and his prime-minister. The choice was an admirable one; he was honest, hard-working, and liberal according to his lights; and the services of a loyal and capable adviser were secured for the new régime. Unfortunately, he did not boast the confidence of the queen-mother; and this circumstance greatly strengthened the hands of those enemies whom an honest minister must ever raise around him in a corrupt Oriental state. For a time the shah closed his eyes to the accusations and insinuations against him; but at last he fell under the evil influence of designing counsellors, and acts which should have redounded to the minister’s credit became the charges on which he lost his office and his life. He was credited with an intention to grasp in his own hands the royal power; his influence over the army was cited as a cause of danger; and on the night of the 13th of November 1851 he was summoned to the palace and informed that he was no longer premier. Mirza Aga Khan, the “ ʽitimadu ’d-daulah,” was named to succeed him, and had been accordingly raised to the dignity of “sadrʽazim.” As the hostile faction pressed the necessity of the ex-minister’s removal from the capital; he was offered the choice of the government of Fars, Isfahan or Kum. He declined all; but, through the mediation of Colonel Sheil, he was afterwards offered and accepted Kashan. Forty days after his departure an order for his execution was signed, but he anticipated his fate by committing suicide.

When England was engaged in the Crimean War of 1854–55 her alliance with a Mahommedan power in no way added to her popularity or strengthened her position in Persia. The Sunnite Turk was almost a greater enemy to his neighbour the Shiʽite than the formidable Muscovite, who had curtailed him of so large a section of his territory west of the Caspian. Rupture with England. Since Sir John M‘Neill’s arrival in Teherān in 1841, formally to repair the breach with Mahommed Shah, there had been little differences, demands and explanations, and these symptoms had culminated in 1856, the year of the peace with Russia. As to Afghanistan, the vizier Yar Mahommed had in 1842, when the British troops were perishing in the passes, or otherwise in the midst of dangers, caused Kamran to be suffocated in his prison. Since that event he had himself reigned supreme in Herat, and, dying in 1851, was succeeded by his son Saʽid Mahommed This chief soon entered upon a series of intrigues in the Persian interests, and, among other acts offensive to Great Britain, suffered one ʽAbbas Kuli, who had, under guise of friendship, betrayed the cause of the salar at Meshed, to occupy the citadel of Herat, and again place a detachment of the shah’s troops in Ghurian. Colonel Sheil remonstrated, and obtained a new engagement of noninterference with Herat from the Persian government, as well as the recall of ʽAbbas Kuli. In September 1855 Mahommed Yusuf Saduzai seized upon Herat, putting Saʽid Mahommed to death with some of his followers who were supposed accomplices in the murder of his uncle Kamran. About this time Kohan Dil Khan, one of the chiefs of Kandahar, died, and Dost Mahommed of Kabul annexed the city to his territory. Some relations of the deceased chief made their escape to Teherān, and the shah, listening to their complaint, directed the prince-governor of Meshed to march across to the eastern frontier and occupy Herat, declaring that an invasion of Persia was imminent. Negotiations were useless, and on the 1st of November 1856 war against Persia was declared.

In less than three weeks after its issue by proclamation of the governor-general of India, the Sind division of the field force left Karachi. On the 13th of January following the Bombay government orders notified the formation of a second division under Lieut.-General Sir James Outram. Before the general arrived the island of Kharak and port of Bushire had both been occupied, and the fort of Rishir had been attacked and carried. After the general’s arrival the march upon Borazjan and the engagement at Khushab—two places on the road to Shiraz—and the operations at Muhamrah and the Karun River decided the campaign in favour of England. On the 5th of April, at Muhamrah, Sir James Outram received the news that the treaty of peace had been signed in Paris, where Lord Cowley and Farrukh Khan had conducted the negotiations. The stipulations regarding Herat were much as before; but there were to be apologies made to the mission for past insolence and rudeness, and the slave trade was to be suppressed in the Persian Gulf. With the exception of a small force retained at Bushire under General John Jacob for the three months assigned for execution of the ratifications and giving effect to certain stipulations of the treaty with regard to Afghanistan, the British troops returned to India, where their presence was greatly needed, owing to the outbreak of the Mutiny.

The question of constructing a telegraph in Persia as a link in the overland line to connect England with India was broached in Teherān by Colonel Patrick Stewart and Captain Champain, officers of engineers, in 1862, and an agreement on the subject concluded by Edward Eastwick, when chargé d’affaires, at the close of that year. Three Anglo-Indian Telegraph Line. years later a more formal convention, including a second wire, was signed by the British envoy Charles Alison and the Persian foreign minister; meantime the work had been actively carried on, and communication opened on the one side between Bushire and Karachi and the Makran coast by cable, and on the other between Bushire and Bagdad via Teherān. The untrustworthy character of the line through Asiatic Turkey caused a subsequent change of direction; and an alternative line—the Indo-European—from London to Teherān, through Russia and along the eastern shores of the Black Sea, was constructed, and has worked well since 1872, in conjunction with the Persian land telegraph system and the Bushire-Karachi line.

The Seistan mission, under Major-General (afterwards Sir Frederic) Goldsmid, left England in August 1870, and reached Teherān on the 3rd of October. Thence it proceeded to Isfahan, from which city it moved to Baluchistan, instead of seeking its original destination. Difficulties had arisen both in arranging the preliminaries to arbitration and owing to the disordered state of Afghanistan, and it was therefore deemed advisable to commence operations by settling a frontier dispute between Persia and the Kalat state. Unfortunately, the obstructions thrown in the way of this settlement by the Persian commissioner, the untoward appearance at Bampur of an unexpected body of Kalatis, and the absence of definite instructions marred the fulfilment of the programme sketched out; but a line of boundary was proposed, which was afterwards accepted by the litigants. In the following year the same mission, accompanied by the same Persian commissioner, proceeded to Seistan, where it remained for more than five weeks, prosecuting its inquiries, until joined by another mission from India, under Major-General (afterwards Sir Richard) Pollock, accompanying the Afghan commissioner. Complications then ensued by the determined refusal of the two native officials to meet in conference; and the arbitrator had no course available but to take advantage of the notes already obtained on the spot, and return with them to Teherān, there to deliver his decision. This was done on the 19th of August 1872. The contending parties appealed to the British secretary of state for foreign affairs, as provided by previous understanding; but the decision held good, and was eventually accepted on both sides.

Nasru ’d-Din Shah, unlike his predecessors, visited Europe—in 1873 and in 1879. On the first occasion only he extended his journey to England, and was then attended by his “sadr ʽazim,” or prime minister, Mirza Husain Khan, an able and enlightened adviser, and a Grand Cross of the Star of India. His second visit was to Russia, Germany, France and Austria, but he did not cross the Channel.  (F. J. G.; X.) 

E.—Persia from 1884 to 1901.

In 1865 the shah had mooted the idea of a Persian naval flotilla in the Persian Gulf, to consist of two or three steamers manned by Arabs and commanded by English naval officers; but the idea was discountenanced by the British government, to whom it was known that the project really concealed aggressive designs upon The Control of the Persian Gulf. the independence of the islands and pearl fisheries of Bahrein (Curzon, Persia, ii. 294). Fifteen or sixteen years later it was repeatedly pointed out to the authorities that the revenues from the customs of the Persian Gulf would be much increased if control were exercised at all the ports, particularly the small ones where smuggling was being carried on on a large scale, and in 1883 the shah decided upon the acquisition of four or five steamers, one to be purchased yearly, and instructed the late ʽAli Kuli Khan, Mukhber ad-daulah, minister of telegraphs, to obtain designs and estimates from British and German firms. The tender of a well-known German firm at Bremerhaven was finally accepted, and one of the minister’s sons then residing in Berlin made the necessary contracts for the first steamer. Sir Ronald Thomson, the British representative in Persia, having at the same time induced the shah to consider the advantages to Persia of opening the Karun River and connecting it with Teherān by a carriageable road, a small river steamer for controlling the shipping on the Karun was ordered as well, and the construction of the road was decided upon. Two steamers, the “Susa” and the “Persepolis,” were completed in January 1885 at a cost of £32,000, and dispatched with German officers and crew to the Persian Gulf. When the steamers were ready to do the work they had been intended for, the farmer, or farmers, of the Gulf customs raised difficulties and objected to pay the cost of maintaining the “Persepolis”; the governor of Muhamrah would not allow any interference with what he considered his hereditary rights of the shipping monopoly on the Karun, and the objects for which the steamers had been brought were not attained. The “Persepolis” remained idle at Bushire, and the “Susa” was tied up in the Failieh creek, near Muhamrah. The scheme of opening the Karun and of constructing a carriageable road from Ahvaz to Teherān was also abandoned.

Frequent interruptions occurred on the telegraph line between Teherān and Meshed in 1885, at the time of the “Panjdeh incident,” when the Russians were advancing towards Afghanistan and Sir Peter Lumsden was on the Afghan frontier; and Sir Ronald Thomson concluded an agreement with the Persian government for the line to be kept in working order by an English inspector, the Indian government paying a share not exceeding 20,000 rupees per annum of the cost of maintenance, and an English signaller being stationed at Meshed. Shortly afterwards Sir Ronald Thomson left Persia (he died on the 15th of November 1888), and Arthur (afterwards Sir Arthur) Nicolson was appointed chargé d’affaires. During the latter’s tenure of office an agreement was concluded between the Persian and British governments regarding the British telegraph settlement at Jask, and the telegraph conventions of 1868 and 1872 relative to telegraphic communication between Europe and India through Persia, in force until the 1st of January 1895, were prolonged until the 31st of January 1905 by two conventions dated the 3rd of July 1887. Since then these conventions have been prolonged to 1925.

Ayub Khan, son of Shir ʽAli (Shere Ali) of Afghanistan, who had taken refuge in Persia in October 1881, and was kept interned in Teherān under an agreement, concluded on the 17th of April 1884, between Great Britain and Persia, with a pension of £8000 per annum from the British government escaped on the 14th of August 1887. After a futile attempt to enter Afghan territory and raise a revolt against the Amir Abdur Rahman, he gave himself up to the British consul-general at Meshed in the beginning of November, and was sent under escort to the Turkish frontier and thence via Bagdad to India. Yahya Khan, Mushir-ad-daulah, the Persian minister for foreign affairs (died 1892), who was supposed to have connived at Ayub Khan’s escape in order to please his Russian friends, was dismissed from office.

In December 1887 Sir Henry Drummond Wolff was appointed minister to Persia. The appointment greatly pleased the Persian court, and the shah lent a willing ear to his advocacy for the development of trade and commerce, construction of roads, abolition of various restrictions hampering Persian merchants, &c. The shah soon afterwards (May 26, 1888) issued a proclamation assuring freedom of life and property to all his subjects, and (Oct. 30) declared the Karun river open to international navigation up to Ahvaz. At about the same time he appointed Amin-es-Sultan, who had been prime-minister since 1884, Grand Vizier (Sadr ʽazim). In the same year (June 25) the first railway in Persia, a small line of 51/2 miles from Teherān to Shah-abdul-Azim, was opened under the auspices of a Belgian company. A few months later (Jan. 30, 1889) Baron Julius de Reuter—in consideration of giving up the rights which he held by his concession obtained in 1873—became the owner of a concession for the formation of a Persian State Bank, with exclusive rights of issuing bank-notes and working the mines of iron, copper, lead, mercury, coal, petroleum, manganese, borax, and asbestos in Persia. Russia now insisted upon what she considered a corresponding advantage; and Prince Dolgoruki, the Russian minister obtained in February 1889 a document from the shah which gave to Russia the refusal of any railway concession in Persia for a period of five years. The Persian State Bank was established by British royal charter, dated the 2nd of September 1889, and started business in Persia (Oct 23) as the “Imperial Bank of Persia.” The railway agreement with Russia was changed in November 1890 into one interdicting all railways whatsoever in Persia.

In April 1889 the shah set out upon his third voyage to Europe. After a visit to the principal courts, including a stay of a month in England, where he was accompanied by Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, he returned to his capital (Oct. 20). Sir Henry returned to Persia soon afterwards, and in March of the following year the Persian government Shah’s Visit to Europe, 1889. granted another important concession, that of a tobacco monopoly, to British capitalists. In the autumn bad health obliged the British minister to leave Persia. It was during his stay in England that the shah, for two or three days without his grand vizier, who was mourning for the death of his brother, listened to bad advice and granted a concession for the monopoly of lotteries in Persia to a Persian subject. The latter ceded the concession to a British syndicate for £40,000. Very soon afterwards the shah was made aware of the evil results of this monopoly, and withdrew the concession, but the syndicate did not get the money paid for it returned. This unfortunate affair had the effect of greatly discrediting Persia on the London Stock Exchange for a long time. The concession for the tobacco monopoly was taken up by the Imperial Tobacco Corporation (1891). The corporation encountered opposition fostered by the clergy, and after a serious riot at Teherān (Jan. 4, 1892) the Persian government withdrew the concession and agreed to pay an indemnity of £500,000 (April 5, 1892). In order to pay this amount Persia contracted the 6% loan of £500,000 through the Imperial Bank of Persia, which was redeemed in 1900 out of the proceeds of the Russian 5% loan of that year. (For details of the tobacco concession and an account of the events which led to its withdrawal, see E. Lorini, La Persia economica, Rome, 1900, pp. 164-169; and Dr Feuvrier, Trois ans à la cour de Perse, Paris, 1899, ch. v., the latter ascribing the failure of the tobacco monopoly to Russian intrigue.)

In November 1889 Malcolm Khan, Nizam-ul-Mulk, who had been Persian representative to the court of Great Britain since October 1872, was recalled, and Mirza Mahommed ʽAli Khan, consul general at Tiflis, was appointed in his stead, arriving in London the following March. In 1890 the scheme of a carriageable road from Teherān to Ahvaz was taken up again; the Imperial Bank of Persia obtained a concession, and work of construction was begun in the same year, and continued until 1893. In this year, too, the mining rights of the Imperial Bank of Persia were ceded to the Persian Bank Mining Rights Corporation, and a number of engineers were sent out to Persia. The total absence of easy means of communication, the high rates of transport, and the scarcity of fuel and water in the mineral districts made profitable operations impossible, and the corporation liquidated in 1894, after having expended a large sum of money.

Great excitement was caused in the summer of 1891 by the report that an English girl, Kate Greenfield, had been forcibly carried away from her mother’s house at Tabriz by a Kurd The British authorities demanded the girl’s restitution from the Persian government. The Kurd, a Turkish subject, refused to give up the girl, and took Kate Greenfield Case. her to Saujbulagh. The Turkish authorities protected him, and serious complications were imminent; but finally an interview between the girl and the British agent was arranged, and the matter was promptly settled by her declaring that she had left her mother’s house of her own accord, and was the wife of the Kurd. It also became known that she was the daughter of a British-protected Hungarian named Grunfeld, who had died some years since, and an American lady of Tabriz.

Sir Frank Lascelles, who had been appointed minister to Persia in July, arrived at Teherān in the late autumn of 1891. In the following year Persia had a visitation of cholera. In Teherān and surrounding villages the number of fatal cases exceeded 28,000, or about 8% of the population. In 1893 the epidemic appeared again, but in a milder form. In June 1893 Persia ceded to Russia the small but very fertile and strategically important district of Firuza and the adjacent lands between Baba Durmaz and Lutfabad on the northern frontier of Khorasan, and received in exchange the important village of Hissar and a strip of desert ground near Abbasabad on the frontier of Azerbaijan, which had become Russian territory in 1828, according to the Treaty of Turkmanchai.

Sir Frank Lascelles left Persia in the early part of 1894, and was succeeded by Sir Mortimer Durand, who was appointed in July and arrived in Teherān in November. In the following year the shah, by a firman dated the 12th of May gave the exclusive right of exploring ancient sites in Persia to the French government, with the stipulation French Archaeological Concession. that one-half of the discovered antiquities, excepting those of gold and silver and precious stones, should belong to the French government, which also had the preferential right of acquiring by purchase the other half and any of the other antiquities which the Persian government might wish to dispose of. In 1897 M. J. de Morgan, who had been on a scientific mission in Persia some years before and later in Egypt, was appointed chief of a mission to Persia, and began work at Susa in December.

On the 1st of May 1896 Nasur ’d-Din Shah was assassinated while paying his devotions at the holy shrine of Shah-abdul-Azim. Five days later he would have entered the fiftieth (lunar) year of his reign, and great preparations for duly celebrating the jubilee had been made throughout the country. The assassin was a small tradesman of Assassination of
the Shah, 1896.
Kermān named Mirza Reza, who had resided a short time in Constantinople and there acquired revolutionary and anarchist ideas from Kemalu ’d-Din, the so-called Afghan sheikh, who, after being very kindly treated by the shah, preached revolution and anarchy at Teherān, fled to Europe, visited London, and finally took up his residence in Constantinople. Kemalu ’d-Din was a native of Hamadan and a Persian subject, and as the assassin repeatedly stated that he was the sheikh’s emissary and had acted by his orders, the Persian government demanded the extradition of Kemal from the Porte; but during the protracted negotiations which followed he died. Mirza Reza was hanged on the 12th of August 1896. There were few troubles in the country when the news of the shah’s death became known. Serious rioting arose only in Shiraz and Fars, where some persons lost their lives and a number of caravans were looted. European firms who had lost goods during these troubles were afterwards indemnified by the Persian government. The new shah, Muzaftarud-ud-Dīn (born March 25, 1853), then governor-general of Azerbaijan, residing at Tabriz, was enthroned there on the day of his father’s death, and proceeded a few days later accompanied by the British and Russian consuls, to Teherān, where he arrived on the 8th of June.

An excessive copper coinage during the past three or four years had caused much distress among the poorer classes since the beginning of the year, and the small trade was almost paralysed. Immediately after his accession the shah decreed that the coining of copper money should cease and the excess of the copper coinage be withdrawn from Currency Difficulties. circulation. In order to reduce the price of meat, the meat tax, which had existed since ancient times was abolished. The Imperial Bank of Persia, which had already advanced a large sum of money, and thereby greatly facilitated the shah’s early departure from Tabriz and enabled the grand vizier at Teherān to carry on the government, started buying up the copper coinage at all its branches and agencies. The nominal value of the copper money was 20 shahis equal to 1 kran, but in some places the copper money circulated at the rate of 80 shahis to the kran, less than its intrinsic value; at other places the rates varied between 70 and 25 shahis, and the average circulating value in all Persia was over 40. If government had been able to buy up the excess at 40 and reissue it gradually after a time at its nominal value when the people required it, the loss would have been small. But although the transport of copper money from place to place had been strictly prohibited, dishonest officials found means to traffic in copper money on their own account, and by buying it where it was cheap and forwarding it to cities where it was dear, the bank bought it at high rates, thus rendering the arrangement for a speedy withdrawal of the excess at small cost to government futile. It was only in 1899 that the distress caused by the excessive copper coinage ceased, and then only at very great loss to government. The well-intentioned abolition of the tax on meat also had not the desired result, for by a system of “cornering” the price of meat rose to more than it was before.

In the autumn of 1896 the grand vizier (Amin-es-Sultan) encountered much hostility from some members of the shah’s entourage and various high personages. Amin-ad-daulah was appointed chief administrator (vizier) of Azerbaijan and sent to Tabriz. Shortly afterwards the grand vizier found it impossible to carry on his Ministerial Changes, 1896–1898. work, resigned, and retired to Kum (Nov. 24), and the shah formed a cabinet composed for the greater part of the leading members of the opposition to the grand vizier. After three months of the new régime affairs of state fell into arrears, and the most important department, that of the interior, was completely disorganized. The shah accordingly recalled Amin-ad-daulah from Tabriz (Feb. 1897), and appointed him minister president (raïs-i-vuzara) and minister of the interior. In June Amin-ad-daulah was made prime minister (vizir ʽazim) and given more extended powers, and in August raised to the dignity of grand vizier (sadr ʽazim). Nasru ʽl-Mulk was appointed minister of finance (Feb. 1898), and made an attempt to introduce a simple system of accounts, establish a budget, reorganize the revenue department, made a new assessment of the land-tax, &c.; but resistance on the part of the officials rendered it abortive.

In the latter part of 1897 E. Graves, the inspector of the English telegraph line from Jask eastwards, was brutally murdered by Baluchis, and the agents of the Persian government sent to seize the murderers were resisted by the tribes. A considerable district breaking out into open revolt, troops under the command of the governor-general of Kermān were dispatched into Baluchistan. The port of Fannoch was taken in March 1898, and order was restored. One of the murderers was hanged at Jask (May 31).

Various attempts to obtain a foreign loan had been made during the previous year, but with the sole result of discrediting the Persian government in Europe. In the beginning of 1898 the shah’s medical advisers strongly recommended a cure of mineral waters in Germany or France, and as his departure from Persia without paying the arrears Abortive Negotiations for British Loan in 1898. to the army and to thousands of functionaries, or providing a sufficient sum for carrying on the government during his absence, would have created grave discontent, serious negotiations for a loan were entered upon. It was estimated that £1,000,000 would be required to pay all debts, including the balance of the 1892 loan, and leave a surplus sufficient for carrying on the government until the shah’s return. London capitalists offered to float a loan for £1,250,000 at 5% and on the guarantee of the customs of Fars and the Persian Gulf ports, and to give £1,025,000, or 82% to the Persian government. They stipulated for a kind of control over the custom-houses by placing their own agents as cashiers in them. This stipulation was agreed to in principle by the grand vizier, Amin ad-daulah, who in March, in order to meet some pressing demands on the treasury borrowed £50,000 on the customs receipts of Kermānshāh and Bushire, and agreed to the lenders, the Imperial Bank of Persia’s agents, being placed as cashiers in the custom-houses of both cities. He encountered, however, much opposition from the other ministers. Further negotiations ensued, and the shah’s visit to Europe was abandoned. The assistance of the British government not being forthcoming, the grand vizier’s position became more and more difficult, and on the 5th of June he had to resign. Muhsin Khan, Mushir-ad-daulah, minister for foreign affairs, then became president of the cabinet, and continued the negotiations, but could not bring them to a successful issue. Moreover, the Persian government, finding that the previous estimate of the money required for paying its debts was about 50% below the mark, now asked for double the amount offered by the London capitalists, without, however, proportionately increasing the guarantee. This disorganized all previous arrangements, and the negotiations for a London loan came to an end for a time at the end of July, leaving in the minds of the Persians the unfortunate impression that the British government had done nothing to aid them.

On the 9th of July the former grand vizier, Amin-es-Sultan, was recalled from Kum, where he had resided since November 1896, arrived at Teherān three days later, and was reinstated as grand vizier on the 10th of August. His immense popularity, his friendly relations with the clergy, and some temporary advances from the banks, tided over difficulties for some time. The reform of the customs department was now (Sept. 1898) taken up seriously, and the three Belgian custom-house officials who had been engaged by Amin-ad-daulah in the beginning of the year were instructed to collect information and devise a scheme for the reorganization of the department and the abolition of the farm system. In March 1899 the custom-houses of the provinces of Azerbaijan and Kermānshāh were given over to the Belgians. The results of this step were so satisfactory that government was induced to abolish the farm system and set up the new regime in the other provinces in March 1900, and a number of other Belgian custom-houses officials were engaged.

In September, when renewed negotiations for a loan from London were not appearing to progress favourably, and the long-thought of visit to Europe was considered to be absolutely necessary in the following year, the shah issued a firman authorizing the Russian Banque des Prêts de Perse to float a loan. Shortly after this it was said that the London capitalists were willing to lend £1,250,000 without insisting upon the objectionable control clause; but the Russian Loan of 1900. proposal came too late, and on the 30th of January 1900, the Russian government had permitted the issue of a loan for 221/2 million roubles (£2,400,000) at 5%, guaranteed by all the customs receipts of Persia, excepting those for Fars and the Persian Gulf ports. Only in the event of any default of paying instalments and interests was the bank to be given control of the custom-houses. Persia received 85% of the nominal capital, and the Russian government guaranteed the bondholders. Money was immediately remitted to Teherān, and nearly all the arrears were paid, while the balance of the 1892 London 6% loan was paid off by direct remittance to London.

Sir Mortimer Durand left Teherān in the early spring, and proceeded to Europe on leave. On the 12th of April the shah, accompanied by the grand vizier and a numerous suite, started on his voyage to Europe. The affairs of State during his absence were entrusted to a council of ministers, under the presidency of his second son, Shah’s Visits to Europe, 1900, 1902. Malik Mansur Mirza, Shua-es-Sultaneh, who had made a long stay on the Continent the year before.

After a residence of a month at Contrexéville, the shah proceeded (July 14) to St Petersburg, and thence to Paris (July 29), intending to go to London on the 8th of August. But on account of the mourning in which several courts were thrown through the death of the king of Italy (July 29) and the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (July 30), the visits to England, Germany and Italy were abandoned. On the 2nd of August an anarchist made an attempt upon the shah’s life in Paris.

F.—Russo-British Rivalry (1902–1907) and the Persian Revolution (1906–1909).

In 1902 Muzaffar-ud-Dīn Shah revisited the principal European capitals, and was received by King Edward VII. at Portsmouth in August. A mission headed by Viscount Downe was afterwards dispatched to Persia, to invest the shah with the order of the Garter, a ceremony which took place in Teherān on the 2nd of February 1903. A week later, a new commercial treaty was concluded between Great Britain and Persia, which instituted various reforms in the customs service, secured to both countries the “most-favoured-nation” treatment, and substituted specific import and export duties for the charge of 5% ad valorem provided for in the treaty of 1857. These provisions to some extent counterbalanced the losses inflicted on British trade by the Russo-Persian commercial treaty signed in 1902, which had seriously damaged the Indian tea trade, and had led to a rapid extension of Russian influence. Between 1899 and 1903 the Russian Bank had lent Persia £4,000,000, of which fully half was paid to the shah for his personal requirements. Russian concessionaires were given the right to build roads from Tabriz to Teherān (1902) and from Tabriz to Kazvin (1903); and the Russian Bank opened new branches in Seistan—an example followed in 1903 by the Bank of Persia. It was, however, in the Persian Gulf that the rivalry between Great Britain and Russia threatened to become dangerous. Great Britain had almost a monopoly of maritime commerce in the Gulf, and was alone responsible for buoying, lighting and policing its waters. The British claim to political supremacy in this region had thus a solid economic basis; it had been emphasized by the British action at Kuwet (q.v.) in 1899, and by the declaration made in the House of Lords by Lord Lansdowne, as secretary of state for foreign affairs, to the effect that Great Britain would resist by all means in its power the attempt of any other nation to establish itself in force on the shores of the Gulf. On the 16th of November 1903, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, sailed from Karachi for the Persian Gulf. His ship, the “Hardinge,” was escorted by four cruisers, and the voyage was regarded as a political demonstration, to be interpreted in connexion with Lord Lansdowne’s declaration. At Bushire, on the 1st of December, the Persian governor of Fars, Ala ad-daula, committed a breach of diplomatic etiquette which induced Lord Curzon to sail away without landing. This incident was considered by some British observers to have been brought about by Russian intrigue, and the fact that Ala ad-daula was dismissed in 1904, after the Japanese had achieved several initial successes in the Russo-Japanese war, was held to confirm this opinion. But Russian financial and commercial influence in Persia continued to increase; in December 1904 a special mission under Mirza Riza Khan was received in audience by the tsar; and in May 1905 Muzaffar-ud-Dīn Shah himself left Persia to visit the courts of Vienna and St Petersburg.

The Seistan Mission of 1902–1905.—A dispute as to the frontier between Afghanistan and Seistan arose in 1902. The boundary delimited by the Seistan mission of 1870–1872, and known as the “Goldsmid line,” was drawn along the course of the river Helmund. Between 1872 and 1902 the Helmund took a more westerly direction; no boundary marks had been erected, and a wide strip of territory remained in dispute. The Persians claimed that the boundary was the old bed of the river, the Afghans that it was the new bed; and in accordance with the treaty of 1857 both parties asked the British government to arbitrate. In January 1903, Colonel Arthur Henry MacMahon, who had previously delimited the frontier between Afghanistan and British India, was dispatched from Quetta. The Persian officials were at first hostile, but their opposition, which was attributed to Russian influence at Teherān, was eventually overcome, and Colonel MacMahon (who was knighted in 1906) delivered his final award, sustaining the Persian contention, in February 1905.

British Commercial Missions.—Owing to the success of the Maclean mission, which visited and reported upon the markets and trade-routes of north-western Persia in 1903, under the direction of the Board of Trade, a similar mission was sent to southern Persia in 1904, under the auspices of the Upper India Chamber of Commerce, the Bengal Chamber and the Indian Tea Cess Company. The report of this mission (by Gleadowe-Newcomen) was published in 1906. After showing that civilized government was practically non-existent in the regions visited, it suggested as the chief remedy the conclusion of a Russo-British convention, and the division of Persia into “spheres of influence.”

Russo-British Convention of 1907.—The political situation created by the Russo-Japanese War and by an internal crisis in Persia itself rendered possible such an agreement between the two rival powers, and a Russo-British convention was signed on the 31st of August 1907. Its chief provisions, in regard to Persia, are as follows: (1) north of a line drawn from Kasr-i-Shirin, Isfahan, Yezd and Kakh to the junction of the Russian, Persian and Afghan frontiers Great Britain undertook to seek no political or commercial concession, and to refrain from opposing the acquisition of any such concession by Russia or Russian subjects; (2) Russia gave to Great Britain a like undertaking in respect of the territory south of a line extending from the Afghan frontier to Gazik, Birjend, Kermān and Bander Abbasi; (3) the territory between the lines above-mentioned was to be regarded as a neutral zone in which either country might obtain concessions; (4) all existing concessions in any part of Persia were to be respected; (5) should Persia fail to meet its liabilities in respect of loans contracted, before the signature of the convention, with the Persian Banque d'Escompte and de Prêts, or with the Imperial Bank of Persia, Great Britain and Russia reserved the right to assume control over the Persian revenues payable within their respective spheres of influence. With this convention was published a letter from the British secretary of state for foreign affairs (Sir E. Grey), stating (1) that the Persian Gulf lay outside the scope of the convention, (2) that Russia admitted the special interests of Great Britain in the Gulf, and (3) that these interests were to be maintained by Great Britain as before.

The Persian Constitution.—The misgovernment and disorder which were revealed to Europe by the Gleadowe-Newcomen report, and by such sporadic outbreaks as the massacre of the Babis in Yezd (1903), had caused widespread discontent in Persia. In 1905, partly owing to the example shown by the revolutionary parties in Russia, this discontent took the form of a demand for representative institutions. On the 5th of August 1906, Muzaffar-ud-Dīn Shah issued a rescript in which he undertook to form a national council (Majlis) representing the whole people (see above, Constitution). The Majlis was duly elected, and was opened by the shah in person on the 7th of October 1906. In January 1907 the shah died, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Mahommed ʽAli Mirza, who on the 11th of February published a message to his people, pledging himself to adhere to the new constitution.

The Revolution.—On the 12th of November the shah visited the Majlis, and repeated his pledge, but during December a riot in Teherān developed into a political crisis, in which the shah’s troops were employed against the civil population. The Majlis issued a manifesto to the powers, declaring that the shah intended to overthrow the constitution, and demanding intervention. The Russian and British ministers in Teherān urged Mahommed ʽAli to maintain the constitution, and he sent a message to the Majlis, promising compliance with its demands and agreeing to place the whole army under the control of the ministry of war. These concessions allayed the prevailing unrest for a time, but the Royalist and Nationalist parties continued secretly to intrigue against one another, and in February 1908, while the shah was driving in Teherān, two bombs were exploded under his motor-car. Two persons were killed, but the shah was unhurt, and the Majlis formally congratulated him on his escape. A prolonged ministerial crisis, in April and May, was attributed by the Nationalists to the influence of reactionary courtiers, and by the Royalists to the influence of the Anjumans, or political clubs, which were alleged to control the Nationalist majority in the Majlis. Early in June the Majlis urged the shah to dismiss the courtiers under suspicion. Mahommed ʽAli consented, but withdrew from Teherān; and on his departure the royal bodyguard of so-called “Cossacks”—Persian soldiers officered by Russians in the shah’s service—at once came into conflict with the Nationalists. The house of parliament was bombarded, and when the Majlis appointed commissioners to discuss terms, the shah issued a manifesto dissolving the Majlis, and entrusted the restoration of order in Teherān to military administrators. He also proposed to substitute for the elected Majlis a council of forty members, nominated by himself; but under pressure from Great Britain and Russia he promised to abandon this scheme and to order another general election. Meanwhile, civil war had broken out in the provinces; Kurdish raiders had sacked many villages near Tabriz; Persian brigands had attacked the Russian frontier-guards on the borders of Transcaucasia, and the indemnity demanded by the tsar’s government was not paid until several Persian villages had been burned by Russian troops. This incident, combined with the employment of the so-called Cossacks, evoked a protest from the Nationalists, who asserted that Russia was aiding the Royalists, the accusation was true only in so far as it referred to the conduct of certain Russian officials who acted without the consent of the Russian government. Early in 1909, indeed, a Russian force of 2600 men was sent to watch events near Tabriz, and if necessary to intervene in favour of the Nationalists who held the town, and had for some months been besieged by the shah’s troops. The presence of the Russians ultimately induced the Royalists to abandon the siege. In January of the same year the revolution spread to Isfahan, where the Bakhtiari chiefs made common cause with the Nationalists, deposed the Royalist governor and marched on the capital. In May and June the shah issued proclamations declaring his fidelity to the constitution, and promising an amnesty to all political offenders; but he was powerless to stay the advance of the combined Bakhtiari and Nationalist troops, who entered Teherān on the 13th of July. After severe street fighting the Cossacks deserted to the rebels, and the shah took refuge in the Russian legation (July 15). This was interpreted as an act of abdication; on the same day the national council met, and chose Mahommed ʽAli’s son, Sultan Ahmad Mirza, aged thirteen, as his successor. Asad ul-Mulk, head of the Kajar tribe, was appointed regent. On the 9th of September 1909, the ex-shah departed for his place of exile in the Crimea, escorted by Russian Cossacks and Indian sowars. On the 15th of November a newly elected Majlis was formally opened by the shah.

Bibliography.—1. General: Lord Curzon of Kedleston, Persia and the Persian Question (London, 1892), contains an account of European literature relating to Persia (A.D. 900–1901) and numerous bibliographical notes. See also Lady [M. L.] Shiel, Life and Manners in Persia (London, 1856); Sir A. H. Layard, Early Adventures in Persia (London, 1887); S. G. W. Benjamin, Persia and the Persians (3rd ed., London, 1891); C. E. Yate, Khurasan and Sistan (Edinburgh, 1900), H. S. Landor, Across Coveted Lands (London, 1902); J. de Morgan, Mission scientifique (vols. i.-v., 1897–1904); N. Malcolm, Five Years in a Persian Town (Yezd) (London, 1905); A. V. W. Jackson, Persia, Past and Present (London, 1906); E. C. Williams, Across Persia (London, 1907). The works of James Morier (q.v.), especially his Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan, throw much light on Persian society in the early years of the 19th century.

2. History: Sir J. Malcolm, History of Persia (2nd ed., London, 1829); R. G. Watson, A History of Persia from the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century (London, 1873); Sir C. R. Markham, A General Sketch of the History of Persia (London, 1874), and Curzon, as quoted above, are the standard authorities on modern Persian history. The Travels of Pedro Teixeira (London, 1902) and other publications of the Hakluyt Society relating to Persia are also of great historical value. For more recent events see the reports of the Gleadowe-Newcomen and MacMahon missions: E. G. Browne, The Persian Revolution of 1905–09 (London, 1910); A. Hamilton, Problems of the Middle East (London, 1909); V. Chirol, The Middle Eastern Question (London, 1904); E. C. Williams, Across Persia (London, 1907). The commercial convention of 1903 is given in Treaty series, No. 10 (London, 1903), the Russo-British convention in Treaty series, No. 34 (London, 1907). Other official publications of historical importance are the annual British F. O. reports, and the U. S. Consular Reports.

Language and Literature

I. Persian (Iranian) Languages.—Under the name of Persian is included the whole of that great family of languages occupying a field nearly coincident with the modern Iran, of which true Persian is simply the western division. It is therefore common and more correct to speak of the Iranian family. The original native name of the race which spoke these tongues was Aryan. King Darius is called on an inscription “a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan of Aryan race”; and the followers of the Zoroastrian religion in their earliest records never give themselves any other title but Airyavō danghavō, that is to say, “Aryan races.” The province of the Iranian language is bounded on the west by the Semitic, on the north and north-east by the Ural-altaic or Turanian, and on the south-east by the kindred language of India.

The Iranian languages form one of the great branches of the Indo-European stem, first recognized as such by Sir William Jones and Friedrich Schlegel. The Indo-European or Indo-Germanic languages are divided by Brugmann into (1) Aryan, with sub-branches (a) Indian, (b) Iranian; (2) Armenian; (3) Greek; (4) Albanian; (5) Italic; Iranian Languages. (6) Celtic; (7) Germanic, with sub-branches (a) Gothic, (b) Scandinavian, (c) West Germanic; and (8) Balto-Slavonic. (See Indo-European.) The Aryan family (called by Professor Sievers the “Asiatic base-language”) is subdivided into (1) Iranian (Eranian, or Erano-Aryan) languages, (2) Pisacha, or non-Sanskritic Indo-Aryan languages, (3) Indo-Aryan, or Sanskritic Indo-Aryan languages (for the last two see Indo-Aryan), Iranian being also grouped into Persian and non-Persian.

The common characteristics of all Iranian languages, which distinguish them especially from Sanskrit, are as follows:—

1. Changes of the original s into the spirant h. Thus—

Sanskrit. Zend. Old Persian.  New Persian. 
sindhu (Indus)   hindu hindu hind
sarva (all)  haurva  haruva har
sama (whole)  hama hama ham
santi (sunt)  henti hantiy hend.

2. Change of the original aspirates gh, dh, bh ( = χ, θ, φ) into the corresponding medials—

Sanskrit. Zend. Old Persian.  New Persian. 
bhūmi (earth)  bumi bumi bum
dhita (θετός)  dāta dāta dād
gharma (heat)   garema  garma garm.

3. k, t, p before a consonant are changed into the spirants kh, th, f

Sanskrit. Zend. Old Persian.  New Persian.
prathama (first)  fratema   fratama fradum (Parsi)
kratu (insight)  khratu  . . . . khirad.

4. The development of soft sibilants—

Sanskrit. Zend. Old Persian.  New Persian. 
Asurō Medhās[70]  Ahuro Mazdao  Auramazda Ormuzd
bāhu (arm)  bāzu . . . . bāzū
hima (hiems)  zima . . . . zim.

Our knowledge of the Iranian languages in older periods is too fragmentary to allow of our giving a complete account of this family and of its special historical development. It will be sufficient here to distinguish the main types of the older and the more recent periods. From antiquity we have sufficient knowledge of two dialects, the first belonging to eastern Iran, the second to western.

1. Zend or Old Bactrian.—Neither of these two titles is well chosen. The name Old Bactrian suggests that the language was limited to the small district of Bactria, or at least that it was spoken there—which is, at the most, only an hypothesis. Zend, again (originally āzaintish), is not the name of a language, as Anquetil Duperron supposed, but means “interpretation” Zend. or “explanation,” and is specially applied to the medieval Pahlavī translation of the Avesta. Our “Zend-Avesta” does not mean the Avesta in the Zend language, but is an incorrect transcription of the original expression “Avistāk va zand,” i.e. “the holy text (Avesta) together with the translation.” But, since we still lack sure data to fix the home of this language with any certainty, the convenient name of Zend has become generally established in Europe, and may be provisionally retained. But the home of the Zend language was certainly in eastern Iran; all attempts to seek it farther west—e.g. in Media[71]—must be regarded as failures.

Zend is the language of the so-called Avesta,[72] the holy book of the Persians, containing the oldest documents of the religion of Zoroaster. Besides this important monument, which is about twice as large as the Iliad and Odyssey put together, we only possess very scanty relics of the Zend language in medieval glosses and scattered quotations in Pahlavī books. These remains, however, suffice to give a complete insight into the structure of the language. Not only amongst Iranian languages, but amongst all the languages of the Indo-European group, Zend takes one of the very highest places in importance for the comparative philologist. In age it almost rivals Sanskrit; in primitiveness it surpasses that language in many points; it is inferior only in respect of its less extensive literature, and because it has not been made the subject of systematic grammatical treatment. The age of Zend must be examined in connexion with the age of the Avesta. In its present form the Avesta is not the work of a single author or of any one age, but embraces collections produced during a long period. The view which became current through Anquetil Duperron, that the Avesta is throughout the work of Zoroaster (in Zend, Zarathushtra), the founder of the religion, has long been abandoned as untenable. But the opposite view, that not a single word in the book can lay claim to the authorship of Zoroaster, also appears on closer study too sweeping. In the Avesta two stages of the language are plainly distinguishable. The older is represented in but a small part of the whole work, the so-called Gāthās or songs. These songs form the true kernel of the book Yasna;[73] they must have been in existence long before all the other parts of the Avesta, throughout the whole of which allusions to them occur. These gāthās are what they claim to be, and what they are honoured in the whole Avesta as being—the actual productions of the prophet himself or of his time. They bear in themselves irrefutable proofs of their authenticity, bringing us face to face not with the Zoroaster of the legends but with a real person, announcing a new doctrine and way of salvation, no supernatural Being assured of victory, but a mere man, struggling with human conflicts of every sort, in the midst of a society of fellow-believers yet in its earliest infancy. It is almost impossible that a much later period could have produced such unpretentious and almost deprecatory representations of the deeds and personality of the prophet. If, then, the gāthās reach back to the time of Zoroaster, and he himself, according to the most probable estimate, lived as early as the 14th century B.C., the oldest component parts of the Avesta are hardly inferior in age to the oldest Vedic hymns. The gāthās are still extremely rough in style and expression; the language is richer in forms than the more recent Zend; and the vocabulary shows important differences. The predominance of the long vowels is a marked characteristic, the constant appearance of a long final vowel contrasting with the preference for a final short in the later speech.

Sanskrit. Gāthā. Later Zend.
abhi (near)   aibī  aiwi
īhā (work)  īzhā  īzha

The clearest evidence of the extreme age of the language of the gāthās is its striking resemblance to the oldest Sanskrit, the language of the Vedic poems. The gāthā language (much more than the later Zend) and the language of the Vedas have a close resemblance, exceeding that of any two Romanic languages; they seem hardly more than two dialects of one tongue. Whole strophes of the gāthās can be turned into good old Sanskrit by the application of certain phonetic laws, for example—

mat vāo padāish yā frasrūtā īzhayāo
pairijasāi mazdā ustānazastō
aṭ vāo ashā aredrahyācā nemanghā
āt vāo vangēhush mananghō hunaretātā,”

becomes in Sanskrit—

mana vah padāih yā praçrutā ihāyāh
parigachāi medha uttānahastah
āt va rtena radhrasyaca namasā
āt vō vasor manasah sūnṛtayā.”[74]

The language of the other parts of the Avesta is more modern, but not all of one date, so that we can follow the gradual decline of Zend in the Avesta itself. The later the date of a text, the simpler is the grammar, the more lax the use of the cases. We have no chronological points by which to fix the date when Zend ceased to be a living language; no part of the Avesta can well be put later than the 5th or 4th century B.C. Before Alexander’s time it is said to have been already written out on dressed cowhides and preserved in the state archives at Persepolis.

The followers of Zoroaster soon ceased to understand Zend. For this reason all that time had spared of the Avesta was translated into Middle Persian or Pahlavī (q.v.) under the Sassanians. This translation, though still regarded as canonical by the Parsees, shows a very imperfect knowledge of the original language. Its value for modern philology has been the subject of much needless controversy amongst European scholars. It is only a secondary means towards the comprehension of the ancient text, and must be used with discrimination. A logical system of comparative exegesis, aided by constant reference to Sanskrit, its nearest ally, and to the other Iranian dialects, is the best means of recovering the lost sense of the Zend texts.

The phonetic system of Zend consists of simple signs which express the different shades of sound in the language with great precision. In the vowel-system a notable feature is the presence of the short vowels e and o, which are not found in Sanskrit and Old Persian; thus the Sanskrit santi, Old Persian hantiy, becomes henti in Zend. The use of the vowels is complicated by a tendency to combinations of vowels and to epenthesis, i.e. the transposition of weak vowels into the next syllable; e.g. Sanskrit bharati, Zend baraiti (he carries); Old Persian margu, Zend mōurva (Merv); Sanskrit rinaktī, Zend irinakhti. Triphthongs are not uncommon, e.g. Sanskrit açvebhyas (dative plural of açva, a horse) is in Zend aspaēibyō; Sanskrit kŗnoti (he does), Zend kerenaoiti. Zend has also a great tendency to insert irrational vowels, especially near liquids, owing to this the words seem rather inflated; e.g. savya (on the left) becomes in Zend hāvaya; bhrājati (it glitters), Zend barāzaiti; gnā (γυνή), Zend genā. In the consonantal system we are struck by the abundance of sibilants (s and sh, in three forms of modification, z and zh) and nasals (five in number), and by the complete absence of l. A characteristic phonetic change is that of rt into sh; e.g. Zend asha for Sanskrit ŗta, Old Persian arta (in Artaxerxes); fravashi for Pahlavī fravardīn, New Persian ferver (the spirits of the dead). The verb displays a like abundance of primary forms with Sanskrit, but the conjugation by periphrasis is only slightly developed. The noun has the same eight cases as in Sanskrit. In the gāthās there is a special ablative, limited, as in Sanskrit, to the “a” stems, whilst in later Zend the ablative is extended to all the stems indifferently.

We do not know in what character Zend was written before the time of Alexander. From the Sassanian period we find an alphabetic and very legible character in use, derived from Sassanian Pahlavī, and closely resembling the younger Pahlavī found in books. The oldest known manuscripts are of the 14th century A.D.[75]

Although the existence of the Zend language was known to the Oxford scholar Thomas Hyde, the Frenchman Anquetil Duperron, who went to the East Indies in 1755 to visit the Parsee priests, was the first to draw the attention of the learned world to the subject. Scientific study of Zend texts began with E. Burnouf, and has since then made rapid strides, especially since the Vedas have opened to us a knowledge of the oldest Sanskrit.

2. Old Persian.—This is the language of the ancient Persians properly so-called,[76] in all probability the mother-tongue of Middle Persian of the Pahlavī texts, and of New Persian. We know Old Persian from the rock-inscriptions of the Achaemenians, now fully deciphered. Most of them, and these the longest, date from the time of Darius, but we have specimens Old Persian. as late as Artaxerxes Ochus. In the latest inscriptions the language is already much degraded; but on the whole it is almost as antique as Zend, with which it has many points in common For instance, if we take a sentence from an inscription of Darius as—

“Auramazdā hya imām bumim adā hya avam asmānam adā hya martiyam adā hya siyātim adā martiyahyā hya Dārayavaum khshāyathiyam akunaush aivam paruvnām khshāyathiyam,”

it would be in Zend—

“Ahurō mazdāo yō imām būmīm adāṭ yō aom asmanem adāṭ yō mashīm adāṭ yō shāitīm adāṭ mashyahē yō dārayaţvohūm khshaētem akerenaoţ ōyūm pourunām khshaētem.”[77]

The phonetic system in Old Persian is much simpler than in Zend, we reckon twenty-four letters in all. The short vowels e, o are wanting; in their place the old “a” sound still appears as in Sanskrit, e.g. Zend bagem, Old Persian bagam, Sanskrit bhagam; Old Persian hamarana, Zend hamerena, Sanskrit samarana. As regards consonants, it is noticeable that the older z (soft s) still preserved in Zend passes into d—a rule that still holds in New Persian; compare—

Sanskrit. Zend. Old Persian.  New Persian. 
hasta (hand)  zasta dasta dast
jrayas (sea)  zrayō  daraya daryā
aham (I)  azem adam . . .

Also Old Persian has no special l. Final consonants are almost entirely wanting. In this respect Old Persian goes much farther than the kindred idioms, e.g. Old Persian abara, Sanskrit abharat, Zend abarat, ἔφερε: nominative baga, root-form baga-s, Sanskrit bhagas. The differences in declension between Old Persian and Zend are unimportant.

Old Persian inscriptions are written in the cuneiform character of the simplest form, known as the “first class.” Most of the inscriptions have besides two translations into the more complicated kinds of cuneiform character of two other languages of the Persian Empire. One of these is the Assyrian; the real nature of the second is still a mystery. The interpretation of the Persian cuneiform, the character and dialect of which were equally unknown, was begun by G. F. Grotefend, who was followed by E. Burnouf, Sir Henry Rawlinson and J. Oppert. The ancient Persian inscriptions have been collected in a Latin translation with grammar and glossaries by F. Spiegel (Leipzig, 1862; new and enlarged ed., 1881). The other ancient tongues and dialects of this family are known only by name; we read of peculiar idioms in Sogdiana, Zabulistan, Herat, &c. It is doubtful whether the languages of the Scythians, the Lycians and the Lydians, of which hardly anything remains, were Iranian or not.

After the fall of the Achaemenians there is a period of five centuries, from which no document of the Persian language has come down to us.

Under the Arsacids Persian nationality rapidly declined; all that remains to us from that period—namely, the inscriptions on coins—is in the Greek tongue. Only towards the end of the Parthian dynasty and after the rise of the Sassanians, under whom the national traditions were again cultivated in Persia, do we recover the lost traces of the Persian language in the Pahlavī inscriptions and literature.

3. Middle Persian.—The singular phenomena presented by Pahlavī writing have been discussed in a separate article (see Pahlavī). The languages which it disguises rather Middle than expresses—Middle Persian, as we may call it—presents many changes as compared with the Old Persian of the Achaemenians. The abundant grammatical forms of the Middle Persian. ancient language are much reduced in number; the case-ending is lost; the noun has only two inflexions, the singular and the plural, the cases are expressed by prepositions—e.g. rūbān (the soul), nom. and acc. sing., plur. rūbānān; dat. val or avo rūbān, abl. min or az rūbān. Even distinctive forms for gender are entirely abandoned, e.g. the pronoun avo signifies “he,” “she,” “it.” In the verb compound forms predominate. In this respect Middle Persian is almost exactly similar to New Persian.

4. New Persian.—The last step in the development of the language is New Persian, represented in its oldest form by Firdousī. In grammatical forms it is still poorer than Middle Persian; except English, no Indo-European language has so few inflexions, but this is made up for by the subtle development of the syntax. The structure of New Persian New Persian. has hardly altered at all since the Shāhnāma; but the original purism of Firdousī, who made every effort to keep the language free from Semitic admixture, could not long be maintained. Arabic literature and speech exercised so powerful an influence on New Persian, especially on the written language, that it could not withstand the admission of an immense number of Semitic words. There is no Arabic word which would be refused acceptance in good Persian. But, nevertheless, New Persian has remained a language of genuine Iranian stock.

Among the changes of the sound system in New Persian, as contrasted with earlier periods, especially with Old Persian, the first that claims mention is the change of the tenues k, t, p, c, into g, d, b, z. Thus we have—

Old Persian or Zend.  Pahlavī.  New Persian.
 mahrka (death) mark  marg
 Thraētaona Frītūn  Ferīdūn
 āp (water) āp  āb
 hvatō (self) khōt  khōd
 raucah (day) rōj  rūz
 haca aj  az.

A series of consonants often disappear in the spirant; thus—

Old Persian or Zend. Pahlavī.  New Persian.
kaufa (mountain)  kof  kōh
gāthu (place), Z. gātu   gās  gāh
cathware (four)  . . . .  cihār
bañdaka (slave)  bandak  bandah
spāda (army)  . . . .  sipāh
dadāmi (I give) . . . .  . . . .  diham.

Old d and dh frequently become y

Old Persian or Zend. Pahlavī.  New Persian.
madhu (wine)  . . . .  mai
baodhō (consciousness)   bōd  bōi
pādha (foot)  . . . .  pāi
kadha (when)  . . . .  kai.

Old y often appears as j: Zend yāma (glass), New Persian jām; yavan (a youth), New Persian javān. Two consonants are not allowed to stand together at the beginning of a word; hence vowels are frequently inserted or prefixed, e.g. New Persian sitādan or istādan (to stand), root stā, birādar (brother), Zend and Pahlavī brātar.[78]

Amongst modern languages and dialects other than Persian which must be also assigned to the Iranian family may be mentioned:—Modern Dialects.

1. Kurdish, a language nearly akin to New Persian, with which it has important characteristics in common. It is chiefly distinguished from it by a marked tendency to shorten words at all costs, e.g. Kurd. berād (brother) = New Persian birādar; Kurd dim (I give) = New Persian diham; Kurd. spī (white) = New Persian sipēd.

2. Baluch, the language of Baluchistan, also very closely akin to New Persian, but especially distinguished from it in that all the old spirants are changed into explosives, e.g. Baluch vāb (sleep) = Zend hvafna; Baluch kap (slime) = Zend kafa, New Persian kaf; Baluch hapt (seven) = New Persian haft.

3. Ossetic, true Iranian, in spite of its resemblance in sound to the Georgian.[79]

4. Pushtu (less accurately Afghan), which has certainly been increasingly influenced by the neighbouring Indian languages in inflexion, syntax and vocabulary, but is still at bottom a pure Iranian language, not merely intermediate between Iranian and Indian

The position of Armenian remains doubtful. Some scholars attribute it to the Iranian family; others prefer to regard it as a separate and independent member of the Indo-European group. Many words that at first sight seem to prove its Iranian origin are only adopted from the Persian.[80]  (K. G.) 

II. Modern Persian Literature.—Persian historians are greatly at variance about the origin of their national poetry. Most of them go back to the 5th Christian century and ascribe to one of the Sassanian kings, Bahrām V. (420–439), the invention of metre and rhyme; others mention as author of the first Persian poem a certain Abulhafṣ of Soghd, near Samarḳand. In point of fact, there is no doubt that the later Sassanian rulers fostered the literary spirit of their nation (see Pahlavī). Pahlavī books, however, fall outside of the present subject, which is the literature of the idiom which shaped itself out of the older Persian speech by slight modifications and a steadily increasing mixture of Arabic words and phrases in the 9th and 10th centuries of our era, and which in all essential respects has remained the same for the last thousand years. The death of Hārūn al-Rashīd in the beginning of the 9th century, which marks the commencement of the decline of the caliphate, was at the same time the starting-point of movements for national independence and a national literature in the Iranian dominion, and the common cradle of the two was in the province of Khorāsān, between the Oxus and the Jaxartes. In Merv, a Khorāsānian town, a certain ʽAbbās composed in 809 A.D. (193 A.H.), according to the oldest Earliest Modern biographical writer of Persia, Mahommed ʽAufī, the first real poem in modern Persian, in honour of the Abbāsid prince Mamūn, Hārūn al-Rashid’s son, who had himself a strong predilection for Persia, his mother’s native country, and was, moreover, thoroughly imbued with the freethinking spirit of his age. Soon after this, in 820 (205 A.H.), Ṭahir, who aided Mamun to wrest the caliphate from his brother Amin, succeeded in establishing the first independent Persian dynasty in Khorāsān, which was overthrown in 872 (259 A.H.) by the Ṣaffārids.

The development of Persian poetry under these first native dynasties was slow. Arabic language and literature had gained too firm a footing to be supplanted at once by a new literary idiom still in its infancy; nevertheless the few poets who arose under the Ṭāhirids and Ṣaffārids show already the germs of the characteristic tendency of all later Persian literature, which aims at amalgamating the enforced spirit of Islamism with their own Aryan feelings, and reconciling the strict deism of the Mahommedan religion with their inborn loftier and more or less pantheistic ideas; and we can easily trace in the few fragmentary verses of men like Ḥanzala, Ḥakīm Fīrūz and Abū Salīk those Forms of Eastern Poetry. principal forms of poetry now used in common by all Mahommedan nations—the forms of the qaṣīda (the encomiastic, elegiac or satirical poem), the ghazal or ode (a love-ditty, wine-song or religious hymn), the rubāʽī or quatrain (our epigram, for which the Persians invented a new metre in addition to those adopted from the Arabs), and the mathnawī or double-rhymed poem (the legitimate form for epic and didactic poetry). The first who wrote such a mathnawī was Abū Shukūr of Balkh, the oldest literary representative of the third dynasty of Khorāsān, the Sāmānids, who had been able in the course of time to dethrone the Ṣaffārids, and to secure the government of Persia, nominally still under the supremacy of the caliphs in Bagdad, but in fact with full sovereignty. The undisputed reign of this family dates from the accession of Amīr Naṣr II. (913–942; 301–331 A.H.), who, more than any of his predecessors, patronized arts and sciences in his dominions. Minstrels of
10th Century.
The most accomplished minstrels of his time were Mahommed Fārāladī (or Fārālawī); Abū ’l-ʽAbbās of Bokhārā, a writer of very tender verses; Abū ’l-Mużaffar Naṣr of Nīshāpūr; Abū ʽAbdallāh Mahommed of Junaid, equally renowned for his Arabic and Persian poetry; Maʽnawī of Bokhārā, full of original thoughts and spiritual subtleties; Khusrawānī, from whom even Firdousī condescended to borrow quotations; Abū ’l-Hasan Shahīd of Balkh, the first who made a dīwān or alphabetical collection of his lyrics; and Rūdagī (or Rūdakī), the first classic genius of Persia, who impressed upon every form of lyric and didactic poetry its peculiar stamp and individual character (see Rūdagī). His graceful and captivating style was imitated by Ḥakīm Khabbaz of Nīshāpūr, a great baker, poet and quack; Abū Shuʽaib Ṣāliḥ of Herāt, who left a spirited little song in honour of a young Christian maiden; Raunaqī of Bokhārā; Abū ’l-Fatḥ of Bust, who was also a good Arabic poet; the amīr Abū ’l-Ḥasan ʽAlī Alagātchī, who handled the pen as skilfully as the sword; ʽUmāra of Merv, a famous astronomer, and Kisāʽī, a native of the same town, a man of stern and ascetic manners, who sang in melodious rhythm the praise of ʽAlī and the twelve imams. All these poets flourished under the patronage of the Sāmānid princes, who also fostered the growing desire of their nation for historical and antiquarian researches, for exegetical and medical studies. Manṣūr I., the grandson of Rūdagī’s patron, ordered (963; 352 A.H.) his vizier Balʽamī to translate the famous universal history of Ṭabarī Ṭabarī. (838–923 A.D.) from Arabic into Persian; and this Ta’rikh-i-Ṭabarī, the oldest prose work in modern Persian, is not merely remarkable from a philological point of view, it is also the classic model of an easy and simple style (French trans. by L. Dubeux and H. Zotenberg, 1867–1874). The same prince employed the most learned among the ulemā of Transoxiana for a translation of Ṭabarī’s second great work, the Tafsīr, or commentary on the Koran, and accepted the dedication of the first Persian book on medicine, a pharmacopoeia by the physician Abū Manṣūr Muwaffaq b. ʽAlī of Herāt (edited by Seligmann, Vienna, 1859), which forms a kind of connecting link between Greek and Indian medicine. It was soon after further developed by the great Avicenna (d. 1037; 428 A.H.), himself a Persian by birth and author of pretty wine-songs, moral maxims, psychological tracts, and a manual of philosophic science, the Dānishnāma-i-Alā’i, in his native tongue.

A still greater impulse was given, both to the patriotic feelings and the national poetry of the Persians, by Manṣūr’s son and successor, Prince Nūḥ II, who ascended the throne in 976 (365 A.H.). Full of enthusiasm for the glorious past of the old Iranian kingdom, he charged his court poet Daḳīḳī (Daqiqi), who openly professed in his ghazals the Zoroastrian Daḳīḳī. creed, to turn the Khodā’īnāma, or “Book of Kings,” into Persian verse. Shortly after commencing this work Daḳīḳī was murdered in the prime of life; his death was soon followed by the fall of the Sāmānid dynasty itself. But Daḳīḳī’s great enterprise was not abandoned; a stronger hand, a higher genius, was to continue and to complete it, and this genius was found in Firdousī (940–1020; 328–411 A.H.), with whom we Firdousī. enter the golden age of the national epopee in Persia (see Firdousī). In 1011, after thirty-five years of unremitting labour, he accomplished his gigantic task, and wrote the last distichs of the immortal Shāhnāma, that “glorious monument of Eastern genius and learning,” as Sir W. Jones calls it, “which, if ever it should be generally understood in its original language, will contest the merit of invention with Homer itself.” The Shāhnāma from the very moment of its appearance, Imitations of the “Shāhnāma.” exercised such an irresistible fascination upon all minds that there was soon a keen competition among the younger poets as to who should produce the most successful imitation of that classic model; and this competition has gone on under different forms through all the following centuries, even to the most recent times. First of all, the old popular traditions, so far as they had not yet been exhausted by Firdousī, were ransacked for new epic themes, and a regular cycle of national epopees gathered round the Book of Kings, drawn almost exclusively from the archives of the princes of Sejistān, the family of Firdousī’s greatest hero, Rustam. The first and most ambitious of these competitors seems to have been Asadī’s own son, ʽAlī b. Aḥmad al-Asadī, the author of the oldest Persian glossary, who completed in 1066 (458 A.H.), in upwards of 9000 distichs, the Garshāspnāma, or marvellous story of the warlike feats and love adventures of Garshāsp, one of Rustam’s ancestors. The heroic deeds of Rustam’s grandfather were celebrated in the Sāmnāma, which almost equals the Shāhnāma in length; those of Rustam’s two sons, in the Jahāgaīrnāma and the Farāmurznāma; those of his daughter, an amazon, in the Brunhild style of the German Nibelunge, in the Bān Gushāspnāma, those of his grandson in the Barsūnāma; those of his great-grandson in the Shahriyārnāma (ascribed to Mukhtārī and dedicated to Masʽūd Shāh, who is probably identical with Masʽūd b. Ibrāhīm, Sultan Maḥmūd’s great grandson, 1099–1114, 492–508 A.H.); and the wonderful exploits of a son of Isfandiyār, another hero of the Shāhnāma, in the Bahmannāma.

When these old Iranian sources were almost exhausted, the difficulty was met in various ingenious ways. Where some slight historical records of the heroic age were still obtainable poetical imagination seized upon them at once; where no traditions at all were forthcoming fiction pure and simple asserted its right; and thus the national epopee gave way to the epic story, and—substituting prose for verse—to the novel and the fairy tale. Models of the former class are the various Iskandarnāmas, or “Books of Alexander the Great,” the oldest and most original of which is that of Nizāmī of Ganja, the modern Elizavetpol (completed about 1202; 599 A.H.); the latter begins with the Kitāb-i-Samak ʽIyār, a novel in three volumes (about 1189; 585 A.H.), and reaches its climax in the Būstān-i-Khayāl, or “Garden of Imagination,” a prose romance of fifteen large volumes, by Mahommed Taḳi Khayāl, written between 1742 and 1756 (1155 and 1169 A.H.). Some writers, both in prose and verse, turned from the exhausted fields of the national glory of Persia, and chose their subjects from the chivalrous times of their own Bedouin conquerors, or even from the Jewish legends of the Koran. Of this description are the Anbiyānāma, or history of the pre-Mahommedan prophets, by Ḥasanī Shabistarī ʽAyānī (before the 8th century of the Hegira); Ibn Ḥusām’s Khāwarnāma (1427, 830 A.H.), of the deeds of ʽAlī; Bādhil’s Ḥamla-i-Ḥaidarī, which was completed by Najaf (1723; 1135 A.H.), or the life of Mahommed and the first four caliphs; Kāżim’s Faraḥnāma-i-Fāṭima, the book of joy of Fāṭima, Mahomet’s daughter (1737; 1150 A.H.)—all four in the epic metre of the Shāhnāma; and the prose stories of Ḥātim Ṭā’ī, the famous model of liberality and generosity in pre-Islamitic times; of Amīr Ḥamzah, the uncle of Mahomet; and of the Muʽjizāt-i-Mūsawī, or the miraculous deeds of Moses, by Muʽīn-almiskīn (died about 1501; 907 A.H.).

Quite a different turn was taken by the ambition of another class of imitators of Firdousī, especially during the last four centuries of the Hegira, who tried to create a new heroic epopee by celebrating in rhythm and rhyme stirring events of recent date. The gigantic figure of Tīmūr inspired Hātifī (d. 1521; 927 A.H.) with his Tīmūrnāma; the Later Epics. stormy epoch of the first Ṣafawid rulers, who succeeded at last in reuniting for some time the various provinces of the old Persian realm into one great monarchy, furnished Ḳāsimī (died after 1560; 967 A.H.)[81] with the materials of his Shāhnāma, a poetical history of Shāh Ismaʽīl and Shāh Ṭahmāsp. Another Shāhnāma, celebrating Shāh ʽAbbās the Great, was written by Kamālī of Sabzevār; and even the cruelties of Nādir Shāh were duly chronicled in a pompous epic style in ʽIshratī’s Shāhnāma-i-Nādirī (1749; 1162 A.H.). But all these poems are surpassed in length by the 33,000 distichs of the Shāhinshāhnāma by the poet-laureate of Fatḥ ʽAlī Shāh of Persia (1797–1834), and the 40,000 distichs of the Georgenāma, a poetical history of India from its discovery by the Portuguese to the conquest of Poona by the English in 1817. In India this kind of epic versification has flourished since the beginning of Humāyūn’s reign (1530–1556); e.g. the Żafarnāma-i-Shāhjahānī by Ḳudsī (d. 1646; 1056 A.H.); the Shāhinshāhnāma by Ṭālib Kalīm (d. 1651; 1061 A.H.), another panegyrist of Shāh Jahān; Ātashī’s ʽAdilnāma, in honour of Shāh Mahommed ʽAdil of Bījāpūr, who ascended the throne in 1629 (1039 A.H.) or 1627; the Tawārīkh-i-Ḳulī Ḳuṭbshāh, a metrical history of the Ḳuṭb shāhs of Golconda; and many more, down to the Fatḥnāma-i-Tīpū Sulṭān by Ghulām Ḥasan (1784; 1198 A.H.).

But the national epopee was not the only bequest the great Firdousī left to his nation. This rich genius gave also the first impulse to romantic, didactic and mystic poetry; and even his own age produced powerful co-operators in these three most conspicuous departments of Persian literature. Romantic fiction, which achieved its highest triumph Romantic Fiction. in Niẓāmī of Ganja’s (1141–1203; 535–599 A.H.) brilliant pictures of the struggles and passions in the human heart (see Nizami), sent forth its first tender shoots in the numerous love stories of the Shāhnāma, the most fascinating of which is that of Zāl and Rūdabeh, and developed almost into full bloom in Firdousī's second great mathnawī Yūsuf u Zalīkhā, which the aged poet wrote after his flight from Ghazni, and dedicated to the reigning caliph of Bagdad, al Qadir billah. It represents the oldest poetical treatment of the Biblical story of Joseph, which has proved so attractive to the epic poets of Persia, among others to ʽAmʽak of Bokhārā (d. 1149), who was the first after Firdousī to write a Yūsuf u Zalīkhā to Jāmī (d. 1492); Maujī Ḳāsim Khān, Humāyūn's amīr (d. 1571), Nāżim of Herāt (d. 1670), and Shaukat, the governor of Shīrāz under Fath ʽAlī Shāh. Perhaps prior in date to Firdousī's Yūsuf was his patron ʽUnsurī's romance, Wāmiḳ u Adhrā, a popular Iranian legend of great antiquity, which had been first written in verse under the Ṭāhirid dynasty. This favourite story was treated again by Fasīhī Jurjānī (5th century of the Hegira), and by many modern poets—as Damīrī, who died under the Ṣafawī shāh Mahommed (1577–1586; 985–994 A.H.), Nāmī, the historiographer of the Zand dynasty, and Ḥosain of Shīrāz under Fatḥ ʽAlī Shāh, the last two flourishing towards the beginning of the present century. Another love story of similar antiquity formed the basis of Fakr-uddīn Asʽad Jorjānī's Wīs u Rāmīn, which was composed in Iṣfahān about 1048 (440 A.H.)—a poem remarkable not only for its high artistic value but also for its resemblance to Gottfried von Strassburg's Tristan und Isolt.

The last-named Persian poet was apparently one of the earliest eulogists of the Seljūḳs, and it was under this Turkish dynasty that lyrical romanticism rose to the highest pitch. What Firdousī and the court-poets of Sultan Maḥmūd had commenced, what Abū ’l-Faraj Rūnī of Lahore and Masʽūd b. Saʽd b. Salmān (under Sultan Ibrāhīm, 1059–1099) Encomiasts
and Satirists.
had successfully continued, reached its perfection in the famous group of panegyrists who gathered in the first half of the 6th century of the Hegira round the throne of Sultan Sinjar, and partly also round that of his great antagonist, Atsiz, shāh of Khwārizm. This group included Adīb Ṣābir, who was drowned by order of the prince in the Oxus about 1145 (540 A.H.), and his pupil Jauharī, the goldsmith of Bokhārā; Amīr Muʽizzī, the king of poets at Sinjar's court, killed by a stray arrow in 1147 (542 A.H.), Rashīd Waṭwāṭ (the Swallow) who died in 1182 (578 A.H.), and left, besides his ḳaṣīdas, a valuable treatise on poetry (Hadāʽiḳ-essiḥr) and a metrical translation of the sentences of ʽAlī, ʽAbd-alwāsiʽ Jabalī, who sang at first, like his contemporary Hasan Ghaznawī (d. 1169; 565 A.H.), the praise of the Ghaznevid shāh Bahrām, but afterwards bestowed his eulogies upon Sinjar, the conqueror of Ghazni; and Auḥad-uddīn Anwarī, the most celebrated ḳaṣīda-writer of the whole Persian literature. Anwarī (died between 1189 and 1191; 585 and 587 A.H.), who in early life had pursued scientific studies in the madrasa of Tūṣ, and who ranked among the foremost astronomers of his time, owes his renown as much to the inexhaustible store of poetical similes and epitheta ornantia which he showered upon Sinjar and other royal and princely personages, as to his cutting sarcasms, which he was careful to direct, not against individuals, but against whole classes of society and the cruel wrong worked by an inexorable fate—thus disregarding the example of Firdousī, whose attack upon Sultan Mahmūd for having cheated him out of the reward for his epopee is the oldest and most finished specimen of personal satire. This legitimate branch of high art, however, soon degenerated either into the lower forms of parody and travesty—for which, for instance, a whole group of Transoxanian writers, Sūzanī of Samarḳand (d. 1174; 569 A.H.) and his contemporaries, Abū ʽAlī Shatranjī of the same town, Lāmiʽ of Bokhara, and others gained a certain literary reputation—or into mere comic pieces and jocular poems like the “Pleasantries” (Hazliyyāt) and the humorous stories of the “Mouse and Cat” and the “Stone-cutter” (Sangtarash) by ʽUbaid Zākānī (d. 1370; 772 A.H.). Anwarī's greatest rival was Khāḳānī (d. 1199; 595 A.H.), the son of a carpenter in Shīrvān, and panegyrist of the shāhs of Shīrvān, usually called the Pindar of the East. To European taste only the shorter epigrams and the double-rhymed poem Tuḥfatulʽirāḳain, in which Khāḳāni describes his journey to Mecca and back, give full satisfaction. Among his numerous contemporaries and followers may be noticed Mujīr-uddīn Bailaḳānī (d. 1198; 594 A.H.); Żahir Fāryābī (d. 1202; 598 A.H.) and Athīr Akhsīkatī (d. 1211; 608 A.H.)—all three panegyrists of the atābegs of Azerbaijan, and especially of Sultan Ḳizil Arslan—Kamāl-uddīn Iṣfahānī, tortured to death by the Moguls in 1237 (635 A.H.), who sang, like his father Jamāl-uddīn, the praise of the governors of Iṣfahān, and gained the epithet of the “creator of fine thoughts” (Khallāḳ-ulmaʽānī); and Saif-uddīn Isfarangī (d. 1267; 666 A.H.), a favourite of the shāhs of Khwārizm.

Fruitful as the 6th and 7th centuries of the Hegira were in panegyrics, they attained an equally high standard in didactic and mystic poetry. The origin of both can again be traced to Firdousī and his time. In the ethical reflections, wise maxims and moral exhortations scattered throughout the Shāhnāma the didactic element is Didactic and
Mystic Poetry.
plainly visible, and equally plain in it are the traces of that mystical tendency which was soon to pervade almost all the literary productions of Persian genius. But the most characteristic passage of the epopee is the mysterious disappearance of Shāh Kaikhosrau, who suddenly, when at the height of earthly fame and splendour, renounces the world in utter disgust, and, carried away by his fervent longing for an abode of everlasting tranquillity, vanishes for ever from the midst of his companions. The first Persian who employed poetry exclusively for the illustration of Ṣūfīc doctrines was Firdousī's contemporary, Ṣūfīc Poets. the renowned sheikh Abū Sa’īd b. Abū l-Khair of Mahna in Khorāsān (968–1049, 357–440 A.H.), the founder of that specific form of the rubaʽī which gives the most concise expression to religious and philosophic aphorisms—a form which was further developed by the great freethinker ʽOmar b. Khayyām (q.v.), and Afḍal-uddīn Kiāsh (d. 1307; 707 A.H.). The year of Abū Saʽid's death is most likely that of the first great didactic mathnawī, the Rūshana’īnāma, or “Book of Enlightenment,” by Nāṣir Khosrau (q.v.), a poem full of sound moral and ethical maxims with slightly mystical tendencies. About twenty-five years later the first theoretical handbook of Ṣūfīsm in Persian was composed by ’Alī b. ’Uthmān al-Jullābī al-Hujwīrī in the Kashf-ulmaḥjūb, or, “Revelation of Hidden Things,” which treats of the various schools of Ṣūfīs, their teachings and observances. A great saint of the same period, Sheikh ʽAbdallāh Anṣārī of Herāt (1006–1089; 396–481 A.H.), assisted in spreading the pantheistic movement by his Munājāt or “Invocations to God,” by several prose tracts, and by an important collection of biographies of eminent Ṣūfīs, based on an older Arabic compilation, and serving in its turn as groundwork for Jāmī's excellent Nafaḥāt-aluns (completed in 1478; 883 A.H.). He thus paved the way for the publication of one of the earliest textbooks of the whole sect, the Ḥadīḳat-ulḥaḳikat, or “Garden of Truth” (1130; 525 A.H.), by Ḥakīm Sanā’ī of Ghazni, to whom all the later Ṣūfīc poets refer as their unrivalled master in spiritual knowledge. As the most uncompromising Ṣūfīs appear the greatest pantheistic writer of all ages, Jelāl ud-din Rūmī (1207–1273; 604–672 A.H.; see Rūmī), and his scarcely less renowned predecessor Farīd ud-dīn ʽAṭṭar, who was slain by the Moguls at the age of 114 lunar years in 1230 (627 A.H.). This prolific writer, having performed the pilgrimage to Mecca, devoted himself to a stern ascetic life, and to the composition of Ṣūfīc works, partly in prose, as in his valuable “Biography of Eminent Mystic Divines,” but mostly in the form of mathnawīs (upwards of twenty in number), among which the Pandnāma, or “Book of Counsels,” and the Mantiḳ-uṭṭair, or the “Speeches of Birds,” occupy the first rank. In the latter, an allegorical poem, interspersed with moral tales and pious contemplations, the final absorption of the Ṣūfī in the deity is most ingeniously illustrated.

In strong contrast to these advanced Ṣūfīs stands the greatest moral teacher of Persia, Sheikh Saʽdī of Shīrāz (died about 110 lunar years old in 1292; 691 A.H.; see Saʽdī), whose two best known works are the Būstān, or “Fruit-garden,” and the Gulistan, or “Rose-garden.” However, both have found comparatively few imitations—the former in the Dastūrnāma, Sa’dī. or “Book of Exemplars,” of Nizārī of Kohistān (d. 1320; 720 A.H.), in the Dah Bāb, or “Ten Letters,” of Kātibī (d. 1434, 838 A.H.), and in the Gulzār, or “Rose-bower,” of Hairatī (murdered 1554; 961 A.H.); the latter in Muʽīn-uddīn Juwainī’s Nigāristān, or “Picture-gallery” (1335; 735 A.H.) and Jāmī’s Bahāristān, or “Spring-garden” (1487; 892 A.H.); whereas an innumerable host of purely Ṣūfīc compositions followed in the wake of Sanā’ī’s, ʽAṭṭar’s and Jelāl ud-dīn Rumī’s mathnawīs. It will Further Ṣūfīc Works. suffice to name a few of the most conspicuous. The Lamaʽāt, or “Sparks,” of ʽIrāḳī (d. between 1287 and 1309; 686 and 709 A.H.), the Zād-ulmusāfirīn, or “Store of the Wayfarers,” by Husainī (d. 1318, 718 A.H.), the Gulshan-i-Rāz, or “Rose-bed of Mystery,” by Maḥmūd Shabistarī (d. 1320; 720 A.H.), the Jām-i-Jam, or “Cup of Jamshīd,” by Auḥadi (d. 1338; 738 A.H.), the Anīs-ul ʽArifīn, or “Friend of the Mystics,” by Ḳāsim (Qāsim)-i-Anwār (d. 1434; 837 A.H.), and others; ʽAṣṣār’s Mihr u Mushtarī, or “Sun and Jupiter” (1376, 778 A.H.), ʽĀrifī’s Gūi u Chaugān, or “The Ball and the Bat” (1438; 842 A.H.), Ḥusn u Dil, or “Beauty and Heart,” by Fattāhī of Nīshāpūr (d. 1448; 852 A.H.), Shamʽ u Parwāna, or “The Candle and the Moth,” by Ahlī of Shīrāz (1489; 894 A.H.), Shāh u Gadā, or “King and Dervish,” by Hilālī (put to death 1532; 939 A.H.), Bahā-ud-dīn ʽAmilī’s (d. 1621; 1030 A.H.) Nān u Halwā, or “Bread and Sweets,” Shīr u Shakar, or “Milk and Sugar” and many more.

During all these periods of literary activity, lyric poetry, pure and simple, had by no means been neglected; almost all the renowned poets since the time of Rūdagī had sung in endless strains the pleasures of love and wine, the beauties of nature, and the almighty power of the Creator; but it was left to the incomparable genius of Ḥāfiż (d. 1389; 791 A.H.; Lyric Poetry. see Ḥāfiż) to give to the world the most perfect models of lyric composition, and the lines he had laid down were more or less strictly followed by all the ghazal-writers of the 9th and 10th centuries of the Hegira—by Salmān of Sāwa (d. about 1377; 779 A.H.), who excelled besides in Ghazal-writers. ḳaṣīda and mathnawī; Kamāl Khujandī (d. 1400; 803 A.H.), Ḥāfiż’s friend, and protégé of Sultan Ḥosain (1374–1382 A.D.), Mahommed Shīrīn Maghribī (d. at Tabrīz in 1406; 809 A.H.), an intimate friend of Kamāl; Niʽmat-ullāh Walī (d. 1431; 834 A.H.), the founder of a special religious order; Ḳāsim-i-Anwār (see above); Amīr Shāhī (d. 1453; 857 A.H.), of the princely family of the Sarbadārs of Sabzewār; Bannā’ī (d. 1512; 918 A.H.), who also wrote a romantic poem, Bahrām u Bihrūz; Bābā Fighāni of Shirāz (d. 1519; 925 A.H.), usually called the “Little Hāfiż”; Nargisī (d. 1531; 938 A.H.); Lisānī (d. 1534; 941 A.H.), who himself was imitated by Damīrī of Iṣfahān, Muḥtasham Kāshī and Waḥshī Bāfikī (all three d1ed in the last decade of the 10th century of the Hegira); Ahlī of Shīrāz (d. 1535; 942 A.H.), author of the Siḥr-i-Ḥalāl, or “Lawful Witchcraft,” which, like Kātībī’s (d. 1434, 838 A.H.) Majmaʽ-ulbaḥrain, of the “Confluence of the Two Seas,” can be read in two different metres, Nauʽī (d. 1610; 1019 A.H.), who wrote the charming romance of a Hindu princess who burned herself in Akbar’s reign with her deceased husband on the funeral pile, called Sūz u Gudāz, or “Burning and Melting,” &c. Among the immediate predecessors of Ḥāfiż in the 8th century of the Hegira, in which also Ibn Yamīn, the great ḳiṭʽa-writer,[82] flourished, the highest fame was gained by the two poets of Delhi, Amīr Ḥasan and Amīr Khosrau. The latter, who died in 1325 (725 A.H.), two years before his friend Ḥasan, occupies the foremost place among all the Persian poets of India by the richness of his imagination, his graphic style, and the historical interest attached to his writings. Five extensive dīwāns testify to his versatility in all branches of lyric poetry, and nine large mathnawīs to his mastership in the epic line. Four of the latter are poetical accounts of the reigns of the emperors of Delhi, ʽAlā-uddīn Khiljī (1296–1316), his predecessor Feroz Shāh and his successor Kuṭb-uddīn Mubārek Shah—the Miftāh-ulfutūh, or “Key of Victories,” the Kirān-ussaʽdain, or “The Conjunction of the Two Lucky Planets,” the Nuh Sipihr, or “Nine Spheres,” and the love-story of Khidrkhān u Duwalrānī. His other Eve mathnawīs formed the first attempt ever made to imitate Niżāmi’s famous Khamsah, or five romantic epopees, and this attempt turned out so well that henceforth almost all epic poets wrote quintuples of a similar description. Khwājū Kirmāni (d. 1352; 753 A.H.) was the next aspirant to Niżāmī’s fame, with five mathnawīs, among which Humāi u Humāyun is the most popular, but he had to yield the palm to ʽAbd-urraḥmān Jāmī (1414–1492; 817–898 A.H.), the Jāmī and Later Poets. last classic poet of Persia, in whose genius were summed up all the best qualities of his great predecessors. Many poets followed in Jāmī’s footsteps, first of all his nephew Hātifī (see above), and either wrote whole khamsahs or imitated at least one or other of Niżamī’s epopees; thus we have a Lailā u Majnūn, for instance, by Maktabī (1490), Hilālī (see above), and Rūḥ-ulamīn (d. 1637). But their efforts could not stop the growing corruption of taste, and it was only at the court of the Mogul emperors, particularly of the great Akbar (1556–1605), who revived Sultan Maḥmūd’s “round table,” that Persian literature still enjoyed some kind of “Indian summer” in poets like Ghazālī of Mashhad or Meshed (d. 1572); ʽUrfī of Shīrāz (d. 1591), who wrote spirited ḳaṣīdas, and, like his contemporaries Waḥshī and Kautharī, a mathnawī, Farhād u Shīrīn; and Faiḍī (d. 1595), the author of the romantic poem, Nal u Daman, who also imparted new life into the rubāʽī. In Persia proper only Zulālī, whose clever romance of “Sulṭan Maḥmūd and his favourite Ayāz” (1592) is widely read in the East, Ṣā’ib (d. 1677), who is commonly called the creator of a new style in lyric poetry, and, among the most modern, Hātif of Iṣfahān, the singer of sweet and tasteful odes (died about 1785), deserve a passing notice.

But we cannot conclude our brief survey of the national literature of Persia without calling attention to the rise of the drama, which has only sprung up in the beginning of the nineteenth century. Like the Greek drama and the mysteries of the European middle ages, it is the offspring of a purely religious ceremony, which for centuries has been performed The Drama. annually during the first ten days of the month Muharram—the recital of mournful lamentations in memory of the tragic fate of the house of the caliph ʽAlī, the hero of the Shīʽitic Persians. Most of these passion-plays deal with the slaughter of ʽAlī’s son Ḥosain and his family in the battle of Kerbelā. But lately this narrow range of dramatic subjects has been considerably widened, Biblical stories and even Christian legends have been brought upon the Persian stage; and there is a fair prospect of a further development of this most interesting and important movement. (See further Drama: Persian.)

In the various departments of general Persian literature not touched upon in the foregoing pages the same wonderful activity has prevailed as in the realm of poetry and fiction, since the first books on history and medicine appeared under the Sāmānids (see above). The most important section is that of historical works, which, although deficient in Historical Works. sound criticism and often spoiled by a highly artificial style, supply us with most valuable materials for our own research. Quite unique in this respect are the numerous histories of India, from the first invasion of Sultan Maḥmūd of Ghazni to the English conquest, and even to the first decades of the present century, most of which have been described and partly translated in the eight volumes of Sir H. M. Elliot’s History of India (1867–1878). Persian writers have given us, besides, an immense variety of universal histories of the world, with many curious and noteworthy data (see, among others, Mīrkhond’s and Khwāndamīr’s works under Mīrkhond); histories of Mahomet and the first caliphs, partly translated from Arabic originals, which have been lost; detailed accounts of all the Persian dynasties, from the Ghaznevids to the still reigning Kajars, of Jenghiz Khān and the Moguls (in Juwainī’s and Waṣṣāf’s elaborate Ta’rīkhs), and of Tīmūr and his successors (see an account of the Zafarnāma under Petis de la Croix), histories of sects and creeds, especially the famous Dobistān, or “School of Manners” (translated by Shea and Troyer, Paris 1843); and many local chronicles of Iran and Tūrān. Next in importance to history rank geography, cosmography, and travels (for instance, the Nuzhat-ulḳulūb, by Ḥamdallah Mustaufī, who died in 1349, and the translations of Istakhrī’s and Kazvīnī’s Arabic works), and the various tadhkiras or biographies of Sufis and poets, with selections in prose and verse, from the oldest of ʽAufī (about 1220) to the last and largest of all, the Makhzan-ulgharā’ib, or “Treasure of Marvellous Matters” (completed 1803), which contains biographies and specimens of more than 3000 poets. We pass over the well-stocked sections of philosophy, ethics and politics, of theology, law and Ṣūfīsm, of mathematics and astronomy, of medicine (the oldest thesaurus of which is the “Treasure of the shāh of Khwārizam,” 1110), of Arabic, Persian and Turkish grammar and lexicography, and only cast a parting glance at the rich collection of old Indian folk-lore and fables preserved in the Persian version Indian Folk-lore. of Kalīlah u Dimnah (see Rūdagī), of the Sindbādnāma, the Ṭūtīnāma, or “Tales of a Parrot,” and others, and at the translations of standard works of Sanskrit literature, the epopees of the Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata, the Bhagavad-Gitā, the Yoga-Vasishtha, and numerous Purānas and Upanishads, for which we are mostly indebted to the emperor Akbar’s indefatigable zeal.

Authorities.—The standard modern discussions of Persian literature are those of E. G Browne, Literary History of Persia (1902, seq.), and Hermann Ethé, in vol. ii of Geiger and Kuhn’s Grundriss der iranischen Philologie (Strassburg, 1906); also the latter’s Hofische und romantische Poesie der Perser (1887), and Mystische, didaktische und lyrische Poesie und das spätere Schriftthum der Perser (1888). See also P. Horn, Geschichte der persischen Litteratur (1901). Concise sketches of Persian poetry are contained in Sir G. Ouseley’s Biographical Notices of Persian Poets (1846); in G. L. Flügel’s article in Ersch and Gruber’s Allgemeine Encyklopädie (1842); in N. Bland’s papers in the Journ. of the Roy. As. Soc., viz. 345 seq. and ix. 122 seq.; and in C. A. C. Barbier de Meynard’s Poésie en Perse (Paris, 1877). Real mines of information are the catalogues of A. Sprenger (Calcutta, 1854); W. H. Morley (London, 1854); Flügel (3 vols., Vienna, 1865); and C. Rieu (3 vols, London, 1879–1883). For the first five centuries of the Hegira compare Ethé’s editions and metrical translations of “Rūdagī’s Vorläufer und Zeitgenossen,” in Morgenländische Forschungen (Leipzig, 1875); of Kisā’ī’s songs, Firdousī’s lyrics, and Abū Sa‛īd b. Abū ’l-Khair’s rubā‛īs, in Sitzungsberichte der bayr. Akademie (1872, p. 275 seq.; 1873, p. 622 seq.; 1874, p. 133 seq.; 1875, p. 145 seq; and 1878, p. 38 seq.); of Avicenna’s Persian poems, in Göttinger Nachrichten (1875, p. 555 seq.); and of Asadi and his munāżarāt, in “Persische Tenzonen,” Verhandlungen des 5ten Orientalisten-Congresses (Berlin, 1882, pt. ii, first half, 48 seq.); H. Zotenberg’s Chronique de Tabarí (Paris, 1867–1874); Jurjanī’s Wīs u Rāmīn, ed. in the Bibl. Indica (1864) (trans. into German by C. H. Graf in Zeitschrift der morgenländischen Gesellschaft, xxiii. 375 seq.); and A. de B. Kasimirski’s Spécimen du dīwān de Menoutchehri (Versailles, 1876). On Khāḳāni, see N. de Khanykoff’s “Mémoire,” in Journal asiatique, 6th series, vol. iv. p. 137 seq. and vol. v. p. 296 seq., and C. Salemann’s edition of his rubā‛īs, with Russian trans. (Petersburg, 1875); on Farīd uddīn ‛Aṭṭār, S. de Sacy’s edition of the Pandnāma (aris, 1819), and Garcin de Tassy’s Mantiḳ-uṭṭair (Paris, 1857); on the Gulshan-i-rāz, E. H. Whinfield’s edition (London, 1880); and on Amīr Khosrau’s mathnawīs, the abstracts given in Elliot’s History of India, iii. 524 seq. German translations of Ibn Yamīn were published by O. Schlechta-Wssehrd, Bruchstücke (Vienna, 1852); of Jāmī’s minor poems, by V. von Rosenzweig (Vienna, 1840); by Ruckert, in Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, vols. v. and vi., and Zeitschrift der morgenl. Gesellsch., vols ii, iv., v., vi., xxiv., xxv. and xxix.; and by M. Wickerhauser (Leipzig, 1855, and Vienna, 1858); German translation of Yūsuf u Zalīkhā, by Rosenzweig (Vienna, 1824), English by R. T. H. Griffith (London, 1881); French translation of Lailā u Majnūn, by A. L. de Chézy (Paris, 1805), German by A. T. Hartmann (Leipzig, 1807); Hilālī’s “König und Derwisch,” by Ethé, in Morgenländ. Stud. (Leipzig, 1870, p. 197 seq.). On the Persian drama, compare J. A. de Gobineau’s Religions et philosophies dans l’Asie centrale (Paris, 1866); A. Chodzko’s Théâtre persan (new ed., Paris, 1878); and Ethé, “Persische Passionspiele,” in Morgenländ. Stud., p. 174 seq.  (H. E.) 

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Dr A. Supan, “Die Vertheilung des Niederschlag’s auf der festen Erdoberfläche,” Pet. Mitt., Suppl. 124 (1898).
  2. Consular report (Gilan, 1897).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Symons’s Monthly Meteorological Mag. (Dec. 1893).
  4. 1899–1907.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Observations taken at the telegraph stations, and kindly communicated by Mr R. C. Barker, C.I.E., director of the Indo-European Telegraph Department in Persia. Those for Isfahan are during the years 1900–1907.
  6. 38° 5′ N.; 46° 18′ E.; altitude 4423 ft.
  7. 34° N.; 51° 27′ E.; altitude 3190 ft.
  8. 31° 18′ N.; 52° 38′ E.; altitude 6200 ft.
  9. 30° 37′ N.; 53° 10′ E.; altitude 8000 ft.
  10. 29° 37′ N.; 52° 32′ E.; altitude 5000 ft.
  11. 29° 37′ N.; 51° 43′ E.; altitude 2800 ft.
  12. 29° 15′ N.; 51° 3′ E.; altitude 100 ft.
  13. Zir jamah are loose trousers and also drawers worn under the shulvar, or tight trousers.
  14. Green turbans are now rarely seen; the colour is generally dark blue, or black.
  15. By article v. of the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813, confirmed by article viii. of the Treaty of Turkmanchai of 1828, it was declared that Russia alone should have the right of maintaining vessels of war on the Caspian, and that no other Power should fly the military flag on that sea; and by a decision of the council of the Russian Empire, published on the 24th of November 1869, the establishment of companies for the navigation of the Caspian, except by Russian subjects, and the purchase of shares of such companies by foreigners were prohibited. (State Papers, vol. lxiii. 925.)
  16. We see this title in its old Persian form, Khshayathiya Khshayathiy, in the cuneiform inscriptions; as Βασιλέως Βασιλεῶν on the coins of the Arsacides, and as the Pahlavi Malkan Malka on the coins and in the inscriptions of the Sassanians. With the Mahommedan conquest of Persia and the fall of the Sassanians the title was abolished; it was in use for a short time during the 10th century, having been granted to Shah Ismail Samani by the Caliph Motadid A.D. 900; it appeared again on coins of Nadir Shah, 1736–1747, and was assumed by the present dynasty, the Kajars, in 1799.
  17. The fundamental work on the history of the Iranian Saga is Nöldeke, Das iranische Nationalepos 1896 (reprinted from the Grundriss der iran. Philologie, ii.).
  18. These ideas are strongly exposed in a polemic against the Christians contained in an official edict of the Persian creed to the Armenians by Mihr Narseh, the vizier of Yazdelgerd II. (about A.D. 450), preserved by the Armenian historian, Elishe.
  19. See further, Babylonia and Assyria: § v. History.
  20. For the editions of the Persian inscriptions see Behistun. For the Persian documents, Ed. Meyer, Entstehung des Judentums, p. 19 sqq. The hieroglyphic inscriptions of the Suez Canal are published in the Recueil de trav. d'égyptol. et d'assyriol. vols. vii. ix. xi. xiii; the private documents from Babylonia and Nippur, by Strassmaier, Babyl. Urkunden, and Hilprecht and Clay, Babyl. Exped. of Univ. of Pennsylvania vols. ix. x. Numerous Jewish documents in Aramaic have been found at Elephantine (Sayce and Cowley, Aramaic Papyri discovered at Assuan, 1906), among them an official complaint of the Jewish colony settled at Elephantine, addressed to the Persian satrap of Judaea, in 408 B.C., which throws a new light on many passages in Ezra and Nehemiah, published by Sachan in Abhandlungen der berl. Akademie, 1907.
  21. See Alexander the Great; Macedonian Empire; Hellenism (for later results).
  22. The discussion of these events by Hogarth “The Deification of Alexander the Great,” in the English Historical Review, ii. (1887), is quite unsatisfactory.
  23. See Ptolemies, Seleucid Dynasty.
  24. For the whole of this period see further Antigonus; Antiochus I.–IV.; Seleucid Dynasty; Hellenism.
  25. See Saint-Martin, Recherches sur la Mésène et la Characène (1838); Reinaud, Mémoires sur le royaume de la Mésène (1861); E Babelon, “Numism. et chronol. des dynastes de la Characène,” in Journ. internat. d’archéol. numism. vol. i. (1898).
  26. It may be observed that this innovation was also known to the Mithras-cult of the West, where Zervan appears as αἰών.
  27. For the propagation and history of the Christians in the Sassanid Empire, cf. Labourt, Le Christianisme dans l’empire perse sous la dynastie sassanide (1904); Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christenthums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten, 2. Aufl. (1906), Bd. II. p. 121 seq.; Chabot, Synodicon orientale (1902) (a collection of the acts of the Nestorian synods held under the rule of the Sassanids).
  28. List of kings (after Nöldeke, Tabari, p. 435).
    Ardashir I., 226–241. Yazdegerd II., 438–457.
    Shapur I., 241–272. Hormizd III., 457–459.
    Hormizd I., 272–273. Peroz, 457–484.
    Bahram I., 273–276. Balash, 484–488.
    Bahram II., 276–293. Kavadh I., 488–531.
    Bahram III., 293. (Djamasp, 496–498).
    Narseh (Narses), 293–302. Chosroes (Khosrau) I., Anushirvan, 531–579.
    Hormizd II, 302–310. Hormizd IV., 579–590.
    Shapur II., 310–379. Chosroes II., Parvez, 590–628.
    Ardashir II., 379–383. (Bahram VI., Cobin, Bistam 590–596.)
    Shapur III., 383–388. Kavadh II., Sheroe, 628.
    Bahram IV., 388–399. Ardashir III., 628–630.
    Yazdegerd I., 399–420. (Shahrbaraz, 630.)
    Bahram V., Gor. 420–438. (Boran and others, 630–632.)
    Yazdegerd III., 632–651.

    On most of these kings there are separate articles.

  29. For the succeeding events see also under Rome: Ancient History; and articles on the Roman emperors and Persian kings.
  30. Tahir died 822 or 824; Talha d. 828; Abdallah, 828–844; Tahir II., 844–862; Mahommed, 862–873.
  31. Abu Dolaf Qasim b. Idris-ʽIjli (825); ʽAbdalaziz (842); Dolaf (873); Ahmad (878); Omar (893–898).
  32. The Ziyarid dynasty was founded by Mardawij b. Ziyar (928–935). His successors were Zahir addaula (ud-daula, ed-dowleh) Abu Mansur Washmagir (935–967), Bistun (967–976), Shams al Maʽali Qabus (976–1012), Falak al Maʽali Manushahr (1012–1029), Anushirwān (1029–1042). They were Alyite in religion. They were of progressively less importance under the Samanids, and were ultimately expelled by the Ghaznevids.
  33. This is denied by S. Lane Poole, who points out that they did not use the title on their coins.
  34. It was this prince who destroyed the Ghorid dynasty, which claimed descent from the legendary Persian monarch Zohak. Except for a brief period of submission to the Ghaznevids (1009–1099) they ruled at Ghor until 1215, when they were conquered after a fierce struggle.
  35. The dynasty of the Assassins or Ismaʽilites was founded in 1090 and extended its rule over much of western Persia and Syria (for the rulers see Stockvis, op. cit. i. 131, and article Assassin).
  36. They were commonly called Kara Kuyun-lu and the “White Sheep” Turkomans Ak Kuyun-lu, the affix “lu” signifying possession, i.e. possession of a standard bearing the image of a black or white sheep.
  37. According to Erskine, this chief killed Miran Shah, whose dwelling-place was Tabriz.
  38. See also Ramusio’s preface.
  39. Knolles, Purchas, Zeno.
  40. According to Langlès, the annotator of Chardin, his real designation was Abu ’l-Fath Izhak, the Sheikh Saifu ’l-Hakk wu ’d-Din or “pure one of truth and religion.”
  41. So thinks the editor and annotator of the Italian Travels in Persia, Charles Grey.
  42. Possibly Kara-dagh, as being the more direct road.
  43. Angiolello.
  44. Knolles, Malcolm, Creasy, Markham, &c.
  45. Zeno. Angiolello says that “the Sophi monarch had left for Tauris [Tabriz] in order to assemble more troops.” Krusinski infers much to the same effect, for he notes that “Selim came in person and took Tauris from Ismail, but at the noise of his approach was obliged to retreat with precipitation.” The battle must thus have been fought and the victory gained when the shah was himself absent. Yet Markham quotes a journal which thus records his feats of prowess: “It was in vain that the brave Shah, with a blow of his sabre, severed a chain with which the Turkish guns were fastened together to resist the shock of the Persian cavalry.”
  46. It was about this time that Persia again entered into direct relations with one of the states of western Europe. In 1510 and 1514 Alphonso d’Albuquerque, the governor of Portuguese India, sent envoys to Ismaʽil, seeking an alliance. In 1515, after occupying Hormuz, he dispatched a third embassy under Fernão Gomes de Lemos. His object was to utilize the Shiʽite armies in conjunction with the Portuguese fleet for an attack upon the Sunnite powers—Egypt and Turkey—which were then at war with Portugal in the East. See, for further details and authorities, K. G. Jayne, Vasco da Gama and his Successors, pp. 108–110 and App. A. (London, 1910).—Ed.
  47. Malcolm says 1523, Krusinski 1525; Angiolello heard of his death at Cairo in August 1524. Krusinski adds that he was forty-five years of age.
  48. Angiolello calls him “Shiacthemes.” As an instance of the absurd transliterating current in France as in England the word “Ach-tacon” may be mentioned. It is explained in Chardin’s text to mean “les hôpitaux à Tauris: c'est-à-dire lieux où l’on fait profusion de vivres.” Chardin’s editor remarks, “La dernière partie de ce mot est méconnaissable, et je ne puis deviner quel mot Persan signifiant profusion a pu donner naissance à la corruption qu’on voit ici.” In other words, the first syllable “ach” (Anglice ash) was understood in its common acceptance for “food” or “victuals”; but “tacon” was naturally a puzzler. The solution of the whole difficulty is, however, to be found in the Turco-Persian خسته خانه khastah khanah, pronounced by Turks hasta hona, or more vulgarly asta khon and even to a French ear ash-tacon, a hospital, literally a sick-house. This word is undoubtedly current at Tabriz and throughout northern Persia.
  49. The other brothers were Ilkhas, Bahram and Sam Mirza, each having had his particular appanage assigned him.
  50. Creasy says that “Suliman led his armies against the Persians in several campaigns (1533, 1534, 1535, 1548, 1553, 1554), during which the Turks often suffered severely through the difficult nature of the countries traversed, as well as through the bravery and activity of the enemy.” All the years given were in the reign of Ṭahmasp I.
  51. Purchas.
  52. Krusinski says in 1585.
  53. Malcolm.
  54. Present State of Persia (London, 1695).
  55. We have an account of the Afghan invasion and sack of Isfahan from an eye-witness, Father Krusinski, procurator of the Jesuits at that place, whose interesting work was translated into English in the last century.
  56. In 1721 Sultan Ḥosain sent an embassy to the Russians, seeking aid against the Afghans. In May 1722 a flotilla descended the Volga commanded by Tsar Peter and on the 19th of July the Russian flag first waved over the Caspian Gilan was occupied by 6000 men under General Matushkin.
  57. The Russians remained in Gilan until 1734, when they were obliged to evacuate it, owing to the unhealthiness of the climate.
  58. Malcolm.
  59. Creasy says the war broke out in 1743, but was terminated in 1746 by a treaty which made little change in the old arrangements fixed under Murad IV.
  60. Fraser’s History of Nadir Shah (1742).
  61. There were three branches of the Kajar tribe, i.e. the Suldus, Tungkut and Jalaiyar. The last, according to Watson, became settled in Iran and Turan, and seem at first to have given their name to all the tribe.
  62. Watson. Malcolm says that Gilan was under one of its own chiefs, Hidaiyat Khan.
  63. A five days’ usurpation of Bakir Khan, governor of Isfahan, is not taken into account.
  64. Markham. Morier says of Karim Khan’s family, “it was a low branch of an obscure tribe in Kurdistan.”
  65. Journey from Bengal to England (1798), ii. 201; see also Markham, pp. 341, 342.
  66. Lady Sheil says (1849); “I saw a few of these unhappy captives who all had to embrace Mahommedanism, and many of whom had risen to the highest stations, just as the Circassian slaves in Constantinople.”
  67. The “wakilu ’l-mulk,” governor of Kerman, told Colonel Goldsmid, when his guest in 1866, that “his father had been Sir John Malcolm’s Mihmandar. There never was such a man as ʽMalcolm Sahib.’ Not only was he generous on the part of his government, but with his own money also.”—(Telegraph and Travel, p. 585.)
  68. Watson.
  69. Markham.
  70. Name of the supreme god of the Persians.
  71. Cf. I. Darmesteter, Études iraniennes, i. 10 (Paris, 1883).
  72. This, and not Zend-Avesta, is the correct title for the original text of the Persian Bible. The origin of the word is doubtful, and we cannot point to it before the time of the Sassanians. Perhaps it means “announcement,” “revelation.”
  73. The Avesta is divided into three parts. (1) Yasna, with an appendix, Visparad, a collection of prayers and forms for divine service; (2) Vendidad, containing directions for urilication and the penal code of the ancient Persians; (3) Khordah-Avesta, or the Small Avesta, containing the Yasht, the contents of which are for the most part mythological, with shorter prayers for private devotion.
  74. “With verses of my making, which are now heard, and with prayerful hands, I come before thee, Mazda, and with the sincere humility of the upright man and with the believer’s song of praise.”
  75. Grammars by F. Spiegel (Leipzig, 1867) and A. V. W. Jackson (Stuttgart, 1892); Dictionary by F. Justi (Leipzig, 1864); editions of the Avesta by N. L. Westergaard (Copenhagen, 1852) and C. F. Geldner (Stuttgart, 1886—1895; also in English); translation into German by Spiegel (Leipzig, 1852), and into English by Darmesteter (Oxford, 1880) in Max Müller’s Sacred Books of the East.
  76. And perhaps of the Medes. Although we have no record of the Median language we cannot regard it as differing to any great extent from the Persian. The Medes and Persians were two closely-connected races. There is nothing to justify us in looking for the true Median language either in the cuneiform writings of the second class or in Zend.
  77. “Ormuzd, who created this earth and that heaven, who created man and man’s dwelling-place, who made Darius king, the one and only king of many.”
  78. Grammars of New Persian, by M. Lumsden (Calcutta, 1810), A. B. Chodzko (Paris, 1852; new ed. 1883), D. Forbes (1869), J. A. Vullers (Giessen, 1870), A. Wahrmund (Giessen, 1875), C. Salemann and V. Zhukovski (Leipzig, 1889); J. T. Platts (pt. i. 1984). For the New Persian dialects see Fr. Müller, in the Sitzungsber. der wien. Akad., vols. lxxvii., lxxviii.
  79. Cf. Hübschmann, in Kuhn’s Zeitschrift, xxiv. 396.
  80. Cf. P. de Lagarde, Armenische Studien (Göttingen, 1877); H. Hübschmann, Armenische Studien (Leipzig, 1883).
  81. After 1572 (979 A.H.) according to H. E. in Grundriss, ii. 237.
  82. A ḳiṭʽa or muḳaṭṭaʽa is a poem containing moral reflections, and differs from the ḳaṣīda and ghazal only by the absence of a maṭlaʽ or initial distich.