“Niẓāmī” ʿArūżī Samarqandī, Aḥmad ibn ʿUmar ibn ʿAlī, Niẓām al-Dīn fl. ca. 551-2/1156-7

Aḥmad b.ʿUmar b. ʿAlī was born some time toward the end of the 5th/11th century according to what he tells us in his Čahār maqāla (“Four Discourses”), his only work to survive in its entirety. He was known by his pen-name Niẓāmī though always spoken of as Nizāmī-I-ʿArūẕī (the "prosodist") of Samarqand to distinguish him from other more celebrated Niẓāmīs (particularly the great Niẓāmī of Ganja). Considered to be one of the most remarkable writers of Persian prose, “one of those who throws a far fuller light…on the intimate life of Persian and Central Asian Courts in the twelfth century of our era,” Niẓāmī was a court poet of the Ğūrid princes for 45 years, under whose auspices he composed his Čahār maqāla.


Čahār Maqālah     The Four Discourses

Composed ca. 551-2/1156-7.

As its name implies, Čahār Maqālah is divided into four sections each dealing with a separate class of men that the author deems as indispensable to the service of kings: secretaries, poets, astrologers and physicians. Each section begins with general comments followed by anecdotes often based on Niẓāmī’s personal experience of which it may be said “he was not modest as to his attainments”. Though portions of the Čahār maqāla are historically inaccurate, it nonetheless remains a superior example of Persian and includes the earliest notice to Firdawsī (see author 68) and the only contemporary reference to Hayyām (see author 88).