This section opens with a glowing panegyric on this noble family, whose court is described, in very florid lan­guage, as an ever-open refuge to ṭhe distressed and the unfortunate.

1. The Ispahbad 'Alá`u`d-Dawla 'Alí b. Shahriyár b. Qárin. His virtues, his doughty deeds, and how he secured the kingdom to himself in spite of jealous brothers and kinsmen will be mentioned subsequently. Amongst those who took refuge at his court were the following. Shírzád*, son of Sulṭán Mas'úd (III) of Ghazna, who for a while shared the throne of Ghazna with Bahrámsháh (his brother). When he expressed a desire to perform the Pilgrimage to Mecca, the Ispahbad arranged his journey and supplied all that he needed day by day at every stage. After his return he was enabled to proceed once more to Ghazna.

Sulṭán Mas'úd b. Muḥammad the Seljúq, nephew of Sinjar, twice took refuge with the Ispahbad; first, when the Caliph [al-Mustarshid] was assassinated [A. H. 529 = A. D. 1135] he came thither with his son; secondly, when he quarrelled with Ṭughril, he brought his women-folk thither, and placed them in the hamlet of ´Aram (<Arabic>) in the palace of the Ispahbad’s son Sháh-i-Ghází Rustam, while he himself received help to enable him to return to 'Iráq.

When Muḥammad b. Maliksháh died, all his sons took the oath of allegiance to Maḥmúd, and when he died they fell to fighting with one another, and Ṭughril, being defeated, fled to his [the Ispahbad’s] house. At the Pass (Darband) of Kilís he was stopped by 'Alí b. Zarrín-Kamar, and his two brothers Muḥammad and Abú Shujá'. He told then that he was flying from pursuing foes, but they told him that without the King’s permission he could not advance. When news of this was sent to Sháh-i-Ghazí Rustam, he at once rode out as far as the village of Maqṣúra, brought in Ṭughril, and sent him to Sárí to his father the Ispahbad.

Khwárazmsháh-i-Sa'íd Muḥammad had four sons, who, on his death, fell to quarrelling, and two of them fled to the Ispahbad, who heaped such favours upon them that men still talk of his bounty.

The Amír 'Abdu`r-Raḥmán Ṭugha-Turk (<Arabic>) the Atábek came to his court from Ardabíl with a number of his retainers, and was hospitably entertained and then sent back along the coast to his kingdom. 'Imádí the poet, who was the panegyrist of this Atábek, speaks of him as follows:

<Arabic>* <Arabic>

The Amír of Ḥilla, the son of Ṣadaqa “King of the Arabs”, one of the most puissant, noble, generous and high-minded princes of the world, accompanied by 200 of his mounted retainers, took refuge with the Ispahbad, who on the first day of his arrival sent him a present consisting of 200 caparisoned horses, 300 coats and caps (<Arabic>), 100 girdles, swords, coats of mail, helmets, and suits of horse-armour, and 10,000 gold dínárs. On another occasion Baraka (<Arabic>), the brother of the above-mentioned Amír, came to beg the Ispahbad to intercede for him with the Caliph, whom he had offended. The Ispahbad did so, obtained for him a written pardon and assurance of safety, and supplied him with money and other necessaries to take him back to his kingdom.

When Qatírmish (<Arabic>) rebelled against the Sulṭán, he confided his brothers, children and women-folk to the Ispahbad’s care; they received from him the utmost kindness and attention, and, when it was safe, were sent back to their home.

2. The Ispahbad Nuṣratu`d-Dín Rustam, son of the above. He was, according to the author, the greatest ruler of Ṭabaristán since the time of Ferídún and Minúchihr, and the greatest possessor of treasures since Khusraw Parwíz. His power extended from Jájarm, Gurgán, Bisṭám and Dámghán to Múqán. He was the first of this House to sit on a throne at his receptions. Even in the author’s time there remained forty castles filled with the gold and jewels and other precious things which he had amassed. When Kay-ká`ús Ustundár, with the approval of his chief judge, revolted against him, he marched to Rúyán to meet him, devastating and setting fire to the whole country. On this the Ispahbad Khurshíd b. Abu`l-Qásim Mámṭírí composed the following verses in the dialect of Ṭabaristán*:


After the death of Sinjar, his nephew Sulaymán Sháh fled from Maḥmúd Khán, the successor of Sinjar and his sister’s son, and took refuge with the Ispahbad Rustam while he made preparations for attempting to recover 'Iráq. During the two months that he spent there, he and his followers were entertained daily at tables set in the Maydán-i-Tápán, till he had collected 20,000 man of Gílán, Daylamán and other parts of Ṭabaristán. The Ispahbad further sup­plied him with the necessary arms, stores and munitions of war, brought him to Ray, and set him on the throne. The amírs of 'Iráq and ´Adharbayján gathered round him, and Ray and Sáwa were surrendered to the Ispahbad. When Sulṭán Maḥmúd Khán learned his absence from Ṭabaristán, he marched thither with all Sinjar’s amírs. In two days the Ispahbad hastened thither from Ray, and encamped at the hamlet of Kúsán at the foot of the Castle of ´Ab-Dara; and one night gave permission to king Qárin (<Arabic>) to attack the Turks with 400 ghuláms and 500 men of Báwand. These penetrated to Sulṭán Maḥmúd’s quarters, inflicting considerable losses on the Seljúq troops. Next day Maḥmúd sent his kinsman Ṃu`ayyid ´Ayi ´Aba to attack and plunder Sárí. The Ispahbad sent his son Ḥasan Sharafu`l-Mulúk by way of Lákash-i-Mihrawán to lie in ambush for the raiders, who fell into the ambush. A thousand Turks, including a kinsman of Sulṭán Maḥmúd, were taken captive, while Mu`ayyid, with a few followers, succeeded in effecting his escape. The Ispahbad treated the prisoners kindly, bestowed on them robes of honour, and sent them to Maḥmúd Khán with the following message: “Our people are independent house-holders, and what they do is done without our sanction.” Mahmúd than sent one of his chief nobles, 'Azíz-i-Ṭughrá`í, to the Ispahbad, and it was agreed that in consideration of the sum of 20,000 dínárs the Sulṭán should withdraw to Gurgán, and that the Ispahbad should pay over this sum to the tithe-collectors (muḥaṣṣilán). When Maḥmúd had retired to Gurgán, the Ispahbad drove away the collectors, bidding them say to their master, “We gave up the money for [fear of] their maces”


The trouble which at this juncture broke out in Khurásán prevented Sulṭán Maḥmúd from taking any further steps; and he was nick-named in Ṭabaristán “Maḥmúd the Wheat-crusher” (gandum-kúb), because his soldiers, finding no bread, used to cut and crush the ears of wheat which they found, and eat them.

Rashíd`d-Dín Waṭwáṭ, the Court-poet and secretary of Atsiz Khwárazm-sháh, composed many qaṣídas in praise of the Ispahbad, who in return used each year to send him 500 dínárs, a turban and coat (jubba), and a fully caparisoned horse. He composed the following qaṣída on the occasion when the Ispahbad went to Ray and seated Sulaymán Sháh on the throne:


On another occasion, when the Ispahbad went to Ray, set his own governor over it, and held it for a year and a half, Rashíd-i-Waṭwáṭ composed and sent to him the following poem:


The following verses are from a qaṣída which the same poet composed in honour of the Ispahbad when he took the Castles of Mihrín and Man'úr-kùh (<Arabic>) from the Assassins:


The author says that, through many Arabic-writing poets have praised the House of Báwand, he has only cited Rashíd-i-Waṭwáṭ because he was the greatest and most famous of their panegyrists, and because his own eulogies would be discounted by reason of his connection with the Dynasty, and the country over which it ruled.

One of the customs of the Ispahbad Rustam was that at the close of a wine-bout he would give permission to his boon-companions to take what they liked from his treasury. On one such occasion his kinsman the Amír Sábiqu`d-Dawla 'Alí Gílkhwárán, 'Alí Riḍá the chamberlain (<Arabic>) and his sons, As'adu`d-Dín Ḥusayn “the madman” (díwána), the Nidhám Muḥammad and the Qiwám Farámarz went together, when they rose up from drinking, to the treasury, but found that all the money and jewels and most precious things had been already taken, and that only some bundles (<Arabic>) of silk were left. So each of them took three bundles of silk on their backs and twisted the contents of another round their feet. Being thus heavily laden, certain wits likened them to asses carrying bales of merchandise, and Bárbad-i-Jarídí, the Ṭabarí poet, extemporized the following couplet over them in the dialect of Ṭabaristán:


Another of the Ispahbad’s customs was that he would not suffer poets to recite his praises in his presence, saying, “They falsely ascribe to me deeds which I never performed, and thereby I am put to shame.” At length a poet named Mudhaffarí came from Khurásán and said, “I will praise you for deeds that you have done,” and he than recited a poem beginning:


For each couplet he was rewarded with ten gold dínárs, and he also received a horse, a coat (<Arabic>) and a hat (<Arabic>).

3. The Ispahbad Táju`l-Mulúk 'Alí b. Mardáwíj.

He was sent by his father to Merv in the reign of Sin­jar, who gave him his sister in marriage, and held him so dear that he would not go forth from his palace until he had first seen him. On his father’s death, he was made ruler of the Castle of Jahína and the country round about Tammísha (<Arabic>). On the death of Sinjar, Sulaymán Sháh, who succeeded to the Seljúq throne, first took refuge with him.

Mardáwíj was one of the hardest and most expert riders ever seen. He would sometimes, on mounting, put a gold coin between each foot and the stirrup and gallop till mid­day without letting either slip out. One day when he and Sulaymán Sháh were encamped together at Gulpáyagán, there was a wager between them, the former betting a certain Arab horse, 4000 royal dínárs, and 100 silken garments, etc., against a favourite slave belonging to the latter. Mardáwíj won the wager, but at once sent back the slave-boy mounted on the Arab horse fully caparisoned, and accompanied by two other slaves. The great poet Anwarí composed in his praise, besides other poems, the qaṣída beginning:


In the service of Sulṭán Mas'úd the Seljúq was a certain champion called Sábiq of Qazwín, whose fame had spread throughout 'Iráq, Arabia and Khurásán. Him the Ispahbad induced to enter his service, giving him Bisṭám, Dámghán and Jájarm in order that he might combat the Assassins. This Sábiq was very prodigal, and on one occasion he wrote to the Ispahbad complaining that he lacked money to pay his troops. The Ispahbad turned to his nobles and said, “He is an ocean (in munifence): what adequate gift can one confer on the ocean? Let 20,000 dínárs be now sent to him, and let an order be written that henceforth all that he can conquer in those regions shall be his, together with the fief-holds there.”

4. The Ispahbad 'Alá'u`d-Dawla Ḥasan b. Rustam b. 'Alí.

He also was a man whose generosity and statesmanship “had transcended perfection by several parasangs.” His only fault was that he was too impetuous and self-confident, which qualities brought disaster both on him and his subjects. Yet:


When ´Il-Arslán Khwárazmsháh died (A. H. 568 = A. D. 1172), and his son Tukush wrested the throne of Khwárazm from his brother Sulṭán Sháh Maḥmúd, the latter with his mother took refuge with the Ispahbad, who came to Tam­mísha to meet them, and sent forward his governors and officers from Gílán and the districts of Ray with presents, while in the plain of Ganjína, as far as Ispíd Dáristán, for a distance of a parasang, he caused such a feast to be spread as no man ever saw before or since.

5. The Ispahbad Ḥusámu`d-Dawla wa`d-Dín Ardashír b. Ḥusayn*. He reigned for 35 years over Ṭabaristán. — Eulogy of his virtues and talents.

After the death of the Atábek Muḥammad b. Tlduguz, Sulṭán Ṭughril (II) b. Arslán, in consequence of a dispute which arose between him and his brother Qizil Arslán, wrote from 'Iráq:

<Arabic>* <Arabic>

The Ispahbad, in response to this appeal, being encamped at Dih-i-Fulúl in Láriján, sent out his amírs and nobles to Ray to meet the Seljúq king, and himself went forward to Lár, where, on meeting him, he alighted from his horse, brought his royal guest to Fulúl, and there enthroned and entertained him royally. Qizil Arslán, hearing of this, sent 'Izzu`d-Dín Yaḥyá to Ardashír to persuade him, by reminding him of the favours which he had formerly received from his father and brother, to arrest and bind Ṭughril and sur­render him to his antagonist, promising the Ispahbad in return for this service the rule of Roy, Sáwa, Qum, Káshán and Qazwín, and full authority over 'Iráq and ´Adharbayján. The Ispahbad indignantly rejected the proposal that he should betray his guest, and after a while sent Ṭughril to Dámghán and Bisṭám, bidding his officers there supply all his needs day by day until he reached his capital.

In A. H. 579 (= A. D. 1183—4) an ambassador named Khujand (?), with two companions, came from the Maharája of India to the Ispahbad, stating that an 'Alawí of the Imámí (Shí'ite) sect had come to that country to endeavour to persuade men to his views, and ḥad prevailed in argument against their doctors; whereupon the Maharája had despatched a letter to “the just and upright king in Ṭabaristán, who is descended from the Kisrás (House of Sásán), and who holds this doctrine” with an embassy of 40 persons, of whom 38 had perished on the way. At the command of the Ispahbad, the answer to this letter was written at great length by Sayyid Bahá`u`d-Dín al-Ḥasan b. al-Mahdí al-Mámṭírí, who was living at this time. A long extract from this letter, written in very florid Arabic, and celebrating the praises of Ṭabaristán and its ruler Ardashír, here fol­lows. Indeed it seems to have been not so much a letter as a tract, bearing the formal title Risálatu`l-Hunúd fí ijábati da'wa dhawi `l-'Anúd (“the Epistle to the Indians in reply to the pretensions of the obdurate”).

On one occasion Núru`d-Dín Ṣabbágh came to the Ispah­bad as an ambassador from Tukush b. ´Il-Arslán at Dawlat­ábád near Sárí, (f. 56b) and there he caused a pulpit to be erected and preached a sermon, concluding with the following verse:


Indeed, says the author, there was never a more law-abiding (<Arabic>) king than he. His capital was at Sárí, where dwelt his ministers, and where was situated their díwán, called the Díwán-i-Waṣl. Every year he used to disburse in pensions more than 100,000 gold dínárs, and every Friday, wherever he might be, he used to give 100 dínárs out of the palace treasury to the Minister of Justice (<Arabic>), who used then to go to the public square (maydán) and distribute the money amongst the most deserving persons whom he found waiting there. Sayyids, men of learning, poets and literary men used to flock to his court with books, poems and prayers which they desired to lay before him; and amongst the most distinguished men who were his pensioners were Sayyid 'Izzu`d-Dín Yaḥyá, the judges (<Arabic>) of Ray, and the Shaykhu`l-Islám Ruknu`d-Dín <Arabic>(?), each of whom used to receive 700 dínárs, a fully caparisoned horse, a turban and a cloak (jubba), Khwája Imám Faqíh-i-´Al-i-Muḥammad Abu`l-Faḍl Ráwandí, Sayyid Murtaḍá Káshání, Afḍalu`d-Dín Máhabádí, the judges of Iṣfahán, the family of the poet Shafarwuh, and all the Sayyids of Qaz­wín, Abhar and the districts round Kharaqán. From Egypt, Syria and Arabia also two or three thousand 'Alawís used to come yearly to pass the winter in Ṭabaristán, where they received free entertainment, clothes and money for their expenses. When the Ispahbad rode out, these 'Alawís marched beside him in ranks, and whatever boon any one of them craved was granted to him, the Ispahbad saying, “In all the world these have no other door than this court; give them therefore what they need.” On one occasion he gave a sum of 29,000 dínárs of ´Amul from his treasury to enable poor 'Alawís of both sexes to marry. Every year at the season of the Pilgrimage, also, he used to disburse the following sums:

For “water-money” (<Arabic>), 4000 dínárs; and his standard was carried side by side with that of the Caliph, while the standards of all the other kings and rulers of the time followed behind.

For the Amíru`l-Ḥajj, or Leader of the Pilgrimage, 2000 dínárs and a fully caparisoned horse, in substitution for the tax which they used to levy on the pilgrims; and a herald used to proclaim. “All the pilgrims are the freed men of the King of Mázandarán.”

For the Shrine (mashhad) of Sámarra, or Surra man ra`a, 500 dínárs.

For the Shrine of 'Abdu`l-'Adhim in Ray, 200 dínárs.

For the Graves of Quraysh, 300 dínárs.

For the Shrines of the sons of the Imám Ḥasan at Madá`in, 200 dínárs*.

For the Shrine of 'Alí b. Abí Ṭálib, 2000 dínárs.

For the Shrine of Salmán the Persian at al-Madá`in, 150 dínárs.

For the Shrine of Imám Ḥusayn at Kerbelá, 6000 dínárs.

For the Shrine of Abu`l-Ḥasan 'Alí b. Músa al-Báqir (sic), 1000 dínárs*.

For the Amírs of Mecca, 200 dínárs for turbans and cloaks.

For the Shrine of the Ka'ba and the water-carriers (<Arabic>), 1000 dínárs.

For the pigeons of Mecca, the produce of a village, mill and hot bath.


For the poor of Mecca, 5 bales (<Arabic>) of silk.

For al-Madína, 3000 dínárs.

For the Shrines of the Imáms buried at al-Baqí', 1000 dínárs.

For the poor of al-Madína, the value of 5 bales (<Arabic>) of silk. These bales were sold in Baghdad, and the money thus obtained was spent on linen (<Arabic>), which was divided amongst the poor.

The most eminent of contemporary poets, Dhahíru`d-Dín Fáryábí, has many qaṣídas in praise of this Ispahbad, amongst them the following:


After the poet had been for some time at the Ispahbad’s court, and had received at his hands many favours, he asked and received permission to visit the Atábek Qizil Arslán, son of the Atábek ´Ilduguz, who was at that time in possession of 'Iráq and ´Adharbayján. There he composed a qaṣída in which occurred the following verse:


(f. 58a) Some of the servants of the Ispahbad Ardashír were present when this poem was ecited before Qizil Arslán, and they sent a copy of it to their master, who thereupon sent the poet 100 dínárs, a fully caparisoned horse, a necklace, a cap and a coat.