The present translation, as noted in the preface to the Persian text of the Nuzhat-al-Qulūb, was made some years ago when collating the MSS for that volume, and is now published to com- plete the work. This sets out to give a description of Persia and Mesopotamia in the decadent days of Sulṭān Abū Sa`īd the Īl- Khān, the great-grandson of Hūlāgū the conqueror of Baghdād; but there is not, I fear, a very great amount of new information to be gained from the pages of Mustawfī’s geographical epitome. Ḥamd-Allāh quotes largely from older authorities, and in most cases we possess the texts which he used. However, in many of his accounts of towns and descriptions of provinces he has added something of his own, from personal observation, to what he has translated not very accurately from the Arabic texts. As State Accountant (Mustawfī) for so many years in the service of the Īl-Khāns, the revenue-lists at his command have enabled him to add interesting details not found elsewhere, and in spite of plagiarism (acknowledged or ignored) from prede- cessors, his work gives a graphic picture of the Lands of Īrān in the latter days of the Īl-Khāns. And as remarked in the preface to the Text, his account of Rūm (Asia Minor) is unique, and of unknown origin.

Ḥamd-Allāh, as proved by many passages in his writings, was a convinced Shī`ah. In the present work he recalls with pride his descent from Ḥurr Riyāḥī, who was the first to give his life for Ḥusayn, the Commander of the Faithful and grandson of the Prophet, being the proto-martyr at the Karbalā battle. But the Shī`ahs, in the time of Abū Sa`īd, do not appear to have been fanatics, and Ḥamd-Allāh’s great-grandfather (whom he quotes as to revenue details) had been State Accountant (Mus- tawfī of `Irāq) at Baghdād under one of the last Caliphs. In the matter of the Sunnī and Shī`ah population, it is interesting to observe in how many places in Persia the former sect was still in the preponderance as late as the middle period of the 14th century A.D.

In my translation proper names of persons have been shortened as much as possible, and the filiations have been omitted: the Fatimīd Caliph Al-Ḥākim bi-`amr-Allāh figures as Ḥākim, and `Omar ibn `Abd-al-`Azīz stands as `Omar II. Pious formulas have often been suppressed. For a like reason, in quotation, the name of the author is generally given in pre- ference to the title of his book. Yāqūt stands for the Mu-`jam- al-Buldān, and Qazvīnī for either the `Ajāib-al-Makhlūqāt, the Āthār-al-Bilād, or the Tuḥfat-al-Gharāib. Again, the references to page and volume of the texts has not in this translation been repeated from the foot-notes of the Persian text, to the pages of which the Arab figures in brackets, e.g. [<Arabic>], refer. In the long lists of villages (for example, round Qazvīn and in other places where Ḥamd-Allāh had himself been) the variants are often as numerous as the number of the MSS. consulted, and these variants must be sought in the notes to the Text. In the explanatory notes to the present volume, the reader will find references, as a rule, only to translations of Oriental works, and for the Arabic, Persian or Turkish originals he must turn to the foot-notes of the Persian volume.

In the Itineraries (Chapter XV) and occasionally elsewhere my friend the late General Sir A. H. Schindler, whose know- ledge of Persian geography was unrivalled, had supplied me with a few notes, and these have been inserted under his initials [A. H. S.]. For the identification and situation of the towns and provinces described by Ḥamd-Allāh the reader may refer to the Lands of the Eastern Caliphate or to Palestine under the Moslems; where, also, a short account will be found of the various Oriental Geographers, whose names precede the in- numerable quotations given by our author.

As was the case in printing the Text, my friend Professor E. G. Browne has come to my help, he has read the proofs, and in many places emended my translation. To him I owe a great debt of gratitude, and my work would have been far more faulty, lacking his aid, than it is, I fear, even now. ‘Traduttore traditore’ says the Italian proverb, and I agree. Nevertheless Professor Browne must not be held responsible for my transla- tion as a whole; in rendering the Persian into English, when I considered my method of rendering Ḥamd-Allāh sufficiently adequate, the corrections suggested have often been neglected.