Murder of the royal princes.— Mahmôd becomes mad, and dies.— Ashraf, the Afghan, seats himself on the throne of Ispha­han.— Battle of Ahmed Pasha with the Afghans, and defeat of the Turks.— Soltân Hosein is put to death.

AFTER two years' possession of the sovereign power, which accident had placed in his hands, the worthless Mahmôd gave orders for the death of the Safavean princes, who were his prisoners; and nine-and-thirty innocent seyyids, some grown up, others in their childhood, were barbarously slaughtered. It is wonderful, that on the same night, a change passed over him, and he became deranged. He began to gnaw his own hands, and ate his own excrements.* Every per­son that approached him, he overwhelmed with abuse; and in this condition died. A person named Ashraf, of their nation, seated himself in his place; and was qualified with bravery and prudence. By persuasion and coercion he gained to himself adherents from among the people of Irâk and Fârs; and having equipped a numerous army, and assembled his forces, he subdued the greater part of the last mentioned province; so that his affairs assumed a very great splendour. The Turkish general, Ahmed Pasha, having marched against him with an immense army, they gave battle in the neighbourhood of a small town called Anjadân. At first the Afghans were broken by the fire of the Turkish artillery, and were forced to abandon their position. When evening came on, Ashraf again drew up his forces, and, after the manner of the Kizil Bâsh, having raised on all sides a noise like thunder by the sound of trumpets and the beat of drums, he rushed upon the Turks, who, with their com­mander Ahmed Pasha, were routed and put to flight. At length a peace was concluded between them.

Soon afterwards, Ashraf put to death the Shah Soltân Hosein, and sent his corpse to be interred at the court of the faithful, Com. Ashraf remained firm on the throne until he was finally routed and destroyed by Shah Tahmâsb, as will be hereafter described.