[THE author* himself gives his name at full length as Khwája Abú-l Fazl bin al Hasan al Baihakí. According to his own account he was sixteen years of age in 402 Hijra (1011 A.D.) and he writes of a period as late as 451 H. (A.D. 1059), being then as he says an old man, or, as would appear, approaching 70 years of age. Khákí Shírází states that he died in 470 (1077 A.D.)

The title of the work is sometimes read “Táríkh-i Ál-i Subuktigín,”* and it is also known as the “Táríkh-i Baihakí.” Its voluminous extent has also obtained for it the name of the “Mujalladát-i Baihakí; Volumes of Baihakí.” The work would also seem to have been known under the name of the “Táríkh-i Násirí,” for a passage in the Táríkh-i Wassáf attri­butes a history of this name to Abú-l Fazl Baihakí. It therefore seems to be a title of this work, or at least of some of its earlier volumes devoted to the history of Násiru-d dín Subuktigín, in the same way as the later volumes containing the reign of Mas'úd are entitled Táríkh-i Mas'udí.* The portion relating to Mah-múd's history was called Táju-l Futúh as is evident from Unsúrí's Kasáid.

Hájí Khalfa, in his Lexicon, describes this work as a com­prehensive history of the Ghaznivides in several volumes. Mirkhond quotes it among Persian histories, and in his preface to the Rauzatu-s safá, he says that it consists of thirty volumes. Firishta evidently refers to this author, when he speaks of the Mujalladát of Abú-l Fazl, at the beginning of Mahmúd's reign, but it may be doubted if he ever saw the work. He does not notice it in his list of works, and he certainly did not use it for Mas'úd's reign, as he omits many important events recorded in it. The Mujalladát are also referred to for the same reign by the Táríkh-i Guzída. The author is mentioned by Haidar Rází, by Zíáu-d dín Barní, by Abú-l Fazl in the Ayín-i Akbarí, and by Jahángír in his Memoirs.

Though the work was thus well-known to historians, a large portion of it seems to be irrecoverably lost, and the extant portions are of rare occurrence in India. After some research, Sir H. Elliot discovered a portion of the work in the possession of Zíáu-d dín Khán, of Lohárú near Dehlí, and he subsequently procured three other copies, one from Dr. Sprenger (Lucknow), another from Agra, and a third from Lahore. The Dehli MS. was forwarded to the late Mr. Morley, in England, who was pre­viously in possession of a copy.* Another MS. was found in the Bodleian Library, and the libraries of Paris and St. Petersburg also possess one copy each. The last two were lent to Mr. Morley,* who, after a collation of six MSS., produced a revised text, which some years after his death was printed in the Biblio­theca Indica under the supervision of Major N. Lees and his staff of munshis. This comprises part of vol. 6, the whole of vols. 7, 8, 9, and part of vol. 10 of the original work. There is some confusion in the numbering of the volumes; for instance, the indices of the Dehli and Agra MSS. call that portion of the work, vol. 5, which Mr. Morley calls vol. 6, but there is ample evidence among Sir H. Elliot's papers, that Mr. Morley took great pains to ascertain the correct division of the work, and his decision must be accepted.

All, or at any rate, six of the MSS. contain exactly the same matter, beginning and ending with the same words, and they further agree in showing a lacuna after the account of the raid to Benares (page 408 of Morley's edition), where about a page and a half of matter seems to be missing. Mr. Morley remarks that one copy had a marginal note of Sic in orig.

Thus it is apparent that all these copies must have been taken immediately or intermediately from the same original. The dates of the various MSS. are not all known, but that of the Paris copy is 1019 Hijra (1610 A.D.) The inference to be drawn from these facts is, that the voluminous work of Baihakí was reduced to the remnant which we still possess by the end of the sixteenth century, and the chance of recovering the remainder though not impossible, is beyond hope.]

Baihakí has laid down the requisites for a good historian at the beginning of his tenth volume, and he has professed to con­form to the model he has there laid down. He says:—“Man can be read by the heart of man. The heart is strengthened or weak­ened by what it hears and sees, and until it hears or sees the bad and the good, it knows neither sorrow nor joy in this world. Be it therefore known that the eyes and ears are the watchmen and spies of the heart, which report to it what they see and hear, that it may take advantage of the same, and represent it to Wisdom, who is a just judge, and can separate the true from the false, and can avail itself of that which is useful, and reject that which is otherwise. It is for this reason that man wishes to learn that which is concealed, that which is neither known nor heard of; that which has occurred in past times, and that which has not. But this historical knowledge can only be obtained with difficulty, either by travelling round the world and under­going trouble, or searching in trustworthy books, and ascertain­ing the real occurrences from them. * * * There are two kinds of past history, and no third is known; either that which one hears from others, or that which one reads in books. It is a necessary condition that your informant should be trustworthy and true, and that wisdom should testify to the probability of the story, to give independent sanction to the statements, and that the book should be such that the reader or hearer should not reject but readily adopt its assertions. Most people are so con­stituted that they love silly stories more than truth, such as those about fairies, hills, and the demons of the deserts and seas, which fools make so much fuss about: as where a narrator says that in a certain sea I saw an island, on which five hundred people landed, and we baked our bread and boiled our pots, and when the fire began to burn briskly, the heat descended into the earth, and it then moved away, when we saw that it was merely a fish. Also, I saw such and such things moving on a certain hill. Also, how an old woman turned a man into an ass by witchcraft, and how another old woman by the same means, after rubbing oil in his ear, turned him into a man again, and other fables like to these which bring sleep, when they are repeated at night-time to people who are ignorant, for so they are considered by those who search for truth that they may believe it. Of these the number is exceedingly small, who can accept the true and reject the false. I, who have undertaken the history, have endeavoured so to manage, that whatever I write may be from my own ob­servation, or from the accounts I have received from credible informants.”

The Táríkhu-s Subuktigín wears more the appearance of a gossiping memoir than an elaborate history. The author per­petually alludes to himself, his own intimacies, his own proceed­ings, and his own experiences. He gives us a graphic account of most of the contemporary nobles; the pursuits of the emperor Mas'úd bin Mahmúd; his dictations to his secretaries; his ad­diction to wine; and his repentance on the occasion of one of his visits to Hindústán, when he forswore liquor and threw the wine and drinking vessels into the river Jailam; which strongly reminds us of a later but identical freak of Bábar's. We have a vivid re­presentation of the court; the mode of transacting business, the agents by whom it was transacted, and the nature of the sub­jects which came under discussion before the council at Ghazní. [All related with such detail and verbosity as to be open to the charge of prolixity which the author apprehended. But although tedious, the work is eminently original, and it presents such a reflex of the doings and manners of the time that its minutiæ and trifles frequently constitute its chief merit. The writer may not inaptly be described as an oriental Mr. Pepys.]

The book is very discursive, and by no means adheres to a chronological succession of events. At one time the author mentions his personal interviews with the famous Emperor Mah-múd; at another we are favoured with a view of the court of Ibráhím or Mas'úd, then we are suddenly transported back again to that of Mahmúd. He states in one part that he has written the events of fifty years in several thousand pages, and that if any one complains of his prolixity, it must be remembered that he has written of several princes and illustrious persons, and that the matter, therefore, was too important to be compressed in a small space, especially when it concerned the great Emperors whose servant and subject he was.