As very little of the history of Shah Tahmasp is generally known, I have, by permission of the Committee of the Oriental Translation Fund, reprinted the English part of a chapter of the Aalem Aray Abbassy, published by me as an Appendix to the Descriptive Catalogue of the Library of Tippoo Sultan of Mysore in the year 1809, (now out of print,) as throwing a considerable light on the reign of that Persian monarch.

Tarikh Aalum Aray Abbassy.

Book I. contains the genealogy of the Persian kings of the Seffy dynasty, traced to Aly, the son-in-law of Muhammed; and the history of Shah Ismael, the first monarch of that race, who commenced his reign, A. D. 1499; also the Life of his son Shah Tahmasp, with memoirs of the learned and other illustrious men who flourished during their reigns.

Book II. The History of Persia from the death of Shah Tahmasp in 1575 to the accession of Shah Abbas.

Book III. Memoirs of the first thirty-three years of the reign of Shah Abbas the Great, who ruled Persia with an iron hand for forty-five years.

Author, Sekunder Humneshyny (the companion, A. D. 1616) dedicated to Shah Abbas.


An Account of the Arrival of Ambassadors from different Monarchs, at the Foot of the Imperial Throne of Shah Tahmasp.*

When his Majesty, who now resides in Paradise, had settled all the internal commotions of his king­dom, and had concluded a permanent peace with all his neighbours, he resided tranquilly for twenty years at the royal city of Cazvin, without ever moving to any (considerable) distance from it.

During the whole period in which the royal throne was adorned by his Majesty’s presence, the standards of his prosperity daily rose higher, and the eagle of his good fortune at length ascended to the sky. Various Kings sent eloquent ambassadors to his court, entrusted with costly presents and valuable curiosities, as offerings to his Majesty. Of the most potent sovereigns of the world, and rulers of independent kingdoms, who frequently sent embassies to his Majesty, the first was, the chief of the Emperors of the age, the greatest of the Kings of the dynasty of Othman, the Sovereign of Rum, Soleyman the Magnificent,* who, after being engaged for many years in war with his Majesty, sent the most confidential and principal of his ministers, Mohammed Pasha, with letters, to solicit peace. In return for which compliment, Mir Shems Addeen Khan was sent with an embassy from Persia; to whom the Emperor Soleyman was pleased to say, “From the commencement of the prosperity of the house of Othman to the present moment, although Kings from all quarters of the world have sent ambassadors to us, we have never (before) sent an embassy to any one, nor have we ever done more than merely sent a messen­ger with letters from our ministers.” And, in fact, it never had been customary with the Othmans to send ambassadors, until Sinan Beg, one of the chief confidants (of Soleyman), who, being taken prisoner by the Persians, and afterwards released, as we have before related, was sent, on the conclusion of peace between the two Empires, by Sultan Soleyman, to demand the Turkish Prince, Sultan Bayezid.* This ambassador arrived at the Gate of Paradise, Cazvin, A. H. 966, (A. D. 1558); when, having obtained the honour of an audience, he assured his Majesty of the friendship of his master, and stated the objects of his embassy. During the conference, his Majesty observed, “As it is not customary for the Othman princes to send ambassadors to foreign courts, how does it happen that the Grand Signior has now sent you, a pious Mussulman, on this business?”* The answer which Sinan Beg gave to this question was a very sensible one, and much approved. He observed that it certainly was contrary to their customs to send ambassadors to strangers; but as the strictest intimacy and friend­ship now subsisted between the two States, and all animosity and jealousy was prefectly eradicated, an exchange of embassies between such friends was by no means inconsistent with their rules and regulations. His Majesty applauded the speaker, and said,—

The abilities of the messenger discover the judgment of the master.

After the return of Sinan Beg, two ambassadors of the Grand Signior,* viz. Aly Pasha and Hussen Agha, arrived, attended by an escort of 300, and having in their train altogether 708 persons. They were honoured the first day by an audience in the garden of Saadet Abad, when they presented a letter, replete with expressions of friendship, written entirely by Soleyman himself.

On the second day they were again honoured by an audience at the palace, when they delivered their presents, consisting of various valuable and curious articles; such as, instruments and vessels inlaid with gold and precious stones, daggers, scymitars, cloths of different kinds, and rarities from the several countries of Europe. All these articles were displayed to the royal view, in front of the lofty gallery of the palace, called the Chehel Situm (Forty Pillars). His Majesty, having (some time after) conferred honours on all the members of the embassy according to their respective ranks, gave them their audience of leave.*

In the year of the Hejira 969, (A. D. 1561,) Khosrau Pasha, a person of the highest rank among the Othmans, accompanied by Aly Agha Capujy Bashi, arrived, and presented letters, written in the most friendly and cociliatory style, from the Emperor Soleyman. The consequences of this embassy have been related in our account of the Prince Bayezid.* After this a fourth embassy, at the head of which was Asbeg Beg, a confidential person of the Grand Signior’s, arrived at the Heavenly Court, bringing with him numerous presents from the Turkish Emperor for his Majesty of Persia. The most valuable of these were, forty Syrian and Arabian horses, each of which rivalled the others in goodness and swiftness. Every horse bore a saddle studded with gold, silver, and precious stones, and covered with housings of embroidered cloth. There was also the sum of 500,000 Falory* ashrafies, equal, in the currency of Persia, to 50,000 royal Iraky tomans,* besides various rarities and curiosities; the whole of which his Majesty, whose generous mind is as capacious as the ocean, distributed amongst the princes, nobles, governors, and officers, according to their respective ranks; excepting some articles which he sent to different princes; viz. to the Uzbeg chiefs; to Pir Mohammed Khan, of Balkh; to Abd Allah Khan, of Bokhara; to Abu Saed Khan, of Khuarizm; and to Abul Mohammed Khan, and Jajim Khan, of Urgenj. He also sent a portion of the Othman presents to his mother.*

After the death of Soleyman, and the accession of Sultan Selim (the Second) to all his father’s dominions, this Prince, in the year 975, (A. D. 1567,) sent a splendid embassy, under Mohammed Agha, to the court of Cazvin. The letter which he brought was written in the most affectionate terms, and in the style of a dutiful son to his father. The subject of it was, soliciting a confirmation and renewal of the treaty of peace, and assurances of eternal friend­ship. During the course of the following year, the Persian ambassador, Masum Beg Sufavy, having undertaken the pilgrimage of Mecca, was, with his son Khan Mirza and all his retinue, murdered on the road; and thus obtained the honour of martyr­dom. The Turks threw the blame of this disgrace­ful action on the savage Arabian robbers of the Desert; and Sultan Selim sent an ambassador, named Aly Agha, to make his excuses, and to excul­pate him from having any share in it. His Majesty, regarding the good of his people, and reflecting on the miseries that a war would bring on the Mussul­mans, admitted of these excuses, and disturbed not the chain of friendship.

From the descendants of Jengiz Khan of the tribe of Uzbeg, there arrived, in the year 948, (A. D. 1541,) Adineh Behadur,* an ambassador sent by Kusken Cara Sultan, the Sovereign of Balkh and its dependencies.

From Abd al Aziz Khan, son of Obeid Khan, King of Bokhara, arrived Khodavurdy Behadur, for the purpose of removing all cause of former enmity, and to establish the bonds of friendship. Frequent embassies also arrived from the Sultan of Khuarizm and Urgunj. From the Princes of the Dekhan often came ambassadors, especially from Nizam Shah, the ruler of Ahmednagur Puttun, and Cutb Shah,* the ruler of Golcondah and Hyderabad, (both of whom claimed the honour of being Shiahs,) with professions of friendship, and assurances of their great respect for Aly, the other Imams,* and their descendants;* on all of whom be the grace of God!

Aly Aadil Shah, the ruler of Bijapor, also fre­quently sent embassies with assurances of friendship and attachment, accompanied by valuable presents and curiosities. This Prince also informed his Majesty, that he had ordered the Khutbeh* of the Shiahs to be read in all the mosques through his dominions, in the illustrious name of his Majesty the King of Persia. This circumstance gave much satis­faction; and the ambassadors were gratified by dresses of honour, crowns inlaid (with precious stones), horses with rich saddles, swords, &c. &c.

In the year 971, (A. D. 1563,) Sultan Mahmud Khan, the ruler of Sind and Bikr, sent Abul Mukarim, as his ambassador, with professions of fidelity, and a representation of his family attach­ment and ancient claims, together with many curiosities and pious offerings. During the year 958, (A. D. 1544,) there arrived ambassadors from the descendants of Shiban the Turkoman chief; also several envoys from the Kings of different countries of Europe; bringing letters containing professions of friendship, together with numerous presents. Although the latter class were strangers to the Mohammedan religion, yet, as they were known by some of the persons connected with the court to be sovereigns of consequence and repute, the envoys were graciously received.*

Again, in the year 982, (A. D. 1574,) an ambas­sador of consequence and repute, having a retinue of fifty persons besides servants, arrived at the Imperial court, sent by the King of Portugal, in order to strengthen the foundations of friendship and good faith. This person brought with him some very incomparable presents, and such curiosities as have been very seldom seen at any Mohammedan court; but the ambassadors having been guilty of some action contrary to the Mussulman religion, and the prohibition of the use of mosques, which had been issued by the Christians (in India), prevented their being honoured with any proofs of the royal favour. Nor did they obtain leave to depart during the life­time of his Majesty; but soon after the accession of Sultan Mohammed (who dwells in Paradise), they received their dismission, and returned in haste to their own country.*