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3.21 History of Persia: Ṭabaristān
(877 words)

In Volume 1-1: Qurʾānic Literature, History, and Biography | Section 2, History, Biography, etc.

previous chapter: 3.20 Kirmān

§ 477. M. b. al-Ḥasan Ibn i Isfandiyār speaks of benefits received by him from Ḥusām al-Daulah Ardas̲h̲īr, who ruled in Māzandarān from 567/1171–2 to 602/1205–6. In 606/1210, having returned to al-ʿIrāq from Bag̲h̲dad, he heard of the assassination of Ardas̲h̲īr’s successor, Rustam b. Ardas̲h̲īr. Shortly afterwards he spent two months at Raiy and found there some quires of an Arabic work by ʿAlī b. M. al-Yazdādī on the subject of the king of Ṭabaristān nicknamed Gāubārah. Subsequently at K̲h̲wārazm he found in a bookseller’s shop Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ’s Arabic translation of the Pahlawī letter of the High Priest Tansar to Jusnaf-S̲h̲āh, Prince of Ṭabaristān. Both of these works he translated and incorporated in his History of Ṭabaristān.

Tārīkh i Ṭabaristān, written, partly at any rate, in 613/1216–17 and divided into four qisms, a history of Ṭabaristān from the earliest times to the author’s date with an anonymous continuation to circ. ah 750/1349: Ethé 568 (ah 1032/1623), Rieu i 202a (lacking Qism iii. ah 1067/1656), Suppt. 92 (lacking Qism iii. ah 1273/1857), Bodleian 307 (ah 1068/1657), Browne Coll. i. 6 (10) = Houtum-Schindler 31 (ah 1268/1852), Blochet i 500 (ah 1295/1878), Salemann-Rosen p. 12 no. 145, Leningrad Asiat. Mus. (transcribed from Salemann-Rosen 145 and collated with the London mss.).

Extracts: (1) Lettre de Tansar au roi de Tabaristan [Persian text with a French translation] Par M. [James] Darmsteter (in Journal asiatique, 9e série, tome iii (Paris 1894°*), pp. 185–250, 502–55),1 (2) Tansar’s epistle to Goshnasp. Treating of the political, social and religious problems of the Sassanian times; originally composed in the Pahlavi language sometime between 557 and 570 A.D. Persian text edited by Mojtabā Minovi. Ṭihrān, 1932*.

Abridged English translation: An abridged translation of the History of Ṭabaristánby Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. Isfandiyár, based on the India Office MS. compared with two MSS. in the British Museum, by E.G. Browne, Leyden and London 1905°* (Gibb Mem. Ser., 1st ser., vol. ii).

Summary of the more ancient part of the history: Nachrichten über Taberistan. Nach dem Târíkh-i-Taberistân von Abu-l-Hassan ben Isfendiâr. Von Prof. Spiegel (z.d.m.g. iv (1850) pp. 62–71).

[Autobiographical statements at the beginning of the Tārīk̲h̲ i Ṭabaristān; Browne Lit. Hist. ii 479–80; Ency. Isl. under Ibn Isfandiyār.]

§ 478. It was for Fak̲h̲r al-Daulah S̲h̲āh G̲h̲āzī b. Ziyār (who reigned from ah 761/1359–60 to 780/1378–9) that [Badr al-Maʿālī]2 Auliyāʾ Allāh [Āmulī]1 wrote his

Tārik̲h̲ i Rūyān, completed apparently in Muḥarram 764/1362.

Edition: Ṭihrān a.h.s. 1313/1934‡ (ends with a few lines continuing the history to Tīmūr’s restoration of the descendants of S. Qiwām al-Dīn to the throne of Māzandarān in 805/1402–3).

§ 479. S. Ẓahīr al-Dīn b. Naṣīr al-Dīn Marʿas̲h̲ī was born in or about ah 815/1412. He was owner of the estates of Bāzargāh in Gīlān and was employed on various military and other missions by Sulṭān Muḥammad ii, for whose son and successor Kārkiyā Mīrzā ʿAlī (reigned 881/1476–7 or 883/1478–9 to 909/1503–4 or 910/1504–5) he wrote the Tārīk̲h̲ i Ṭabaristān and the Tārīk̲h̲ i Gīlān u Dailamistān (see p. 284 infra). He cannot have died before 894/1489, the date to which the Tārīk̲h̲ i Gīlān is brought down.

Tārīk̲h̲ i Ṭabaristān u Rūyān u Māzandarān, a history of Ṭabaristān to ah 881/1476–7: Leningrad Mus. Asiat. (ah 976/1569. See Mélanges asiatiques vi (St. Petersburg 1873) p. 117), Rieu Suppt. 93 (ah 1014/1605), Rosen Inst. 10 (ah 1034/1625), Flügel ii 971 (ah 1038/1628–9), Browne Coll. i. 7 (12) = Houtum-Schindler 32 (ah 1271/1854), Blochet iv 2285 (ah 1273/1857), Berlin 535 (2) (an abridgment only).

Edition: Sehir-eddin‘s Geschichte von Tabaristan, Rujan und Masan­deran. Persischer Text, herausgegeben von B. Dorn, St. Petersburg 1850°* (= Theil i of Muhammedanische Quellen zur Geschichte der südlichen Küstenländer des Kaspischen Meeres herausgegeben, übersetzt und erläutert von B. Dorn, St. Petersburg 1850–8).

German translation: According to Minorsky (Ency. Isl. under Māzan­darān) a German translation by Dorn was printed in 1885, but only a few copies are known.

[Autobiographical statements, for which see Dorn Muhammedanische Qullen i, Vorwort, pp. 9–22, op. cit. ii, Vorwort, p. 5; Ency. Isl. under Ẓahīr al-Dīn; H.L. Rabino Mázandarán and Astarábád.]

§ 480. M. Ḥasan K̲h̲ān Marāg̲h̲ī, entitled Ṣanīʿ al-Daulah and afterwards Iʿtimād al-Salṭanah, who died at Ṭihrān in 1896, has already been mentioned as the author of the Tārīk̲h̲ i muntaẓam i Nāṣirī (see p. 121 supra), the Maṭlaʿ al-s̲h̲ams (see p. 279 supra), the Ḥujjat al-saʿādah (p. 177 supra), the Durar al-tījān (p. 192 supra), and al-Maʾāt̲h̲ir wa-’l-āt̲h̲ār (p. 269 supra).

al-Tadwīn fī aḥwāl jibāl S̲h̲arwīn.3

Edition: Ṭihrān 1311/1893–4* (see Mas̲h̲had iii p. 115).

next chapter: 3.22 Gīlān


^ Back to text1. Cf. (1) Darab Dastur Peshotan Sanjana: Observations on Darmsteter’s theory regarding Tansar’s letter to the king of Tabaristan and the date of the Avesta, Bombay and Leipzig, Otto Harrassowitz, 1898, 32 pp. (see Harrassowitz’s Bücher-Katalog 404 (1926), no. 2777), (2) D.D.P. Sanjana Tansar’s alleged Pahlavi letter to the king of Tabaristan from the standpoint of M.J. Darmsteter, Bombay and Leipzig, Otto Harrassowitz, 1898, 16 pp. (see Harrassowitz’s Bücher-Katalog 404 (1926), no. 2778).

^ Back to text2. So Ẓahīr al-Dīn Marʿas̲h̲ī.

^ Back to text3. For the mountains of S̲h̲arwīn or S̲h̲alfīn see H.L. Rabino Mázandarán and Astarábád (Gibb Mem. Ser. n.s. vii), London 1928, p. 42.

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“3.21 History of Persia: Ṭabaristān”, in: Storey Online, Charles Ambrose Storey. Consulted online on 03 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2021

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