The period of about seventy years which we are now considering is chiefly remarkable, from the literary point of This period pre-eminently that of the great historians view, for the large number of eminent Persian historians which it produced. At least eight of these deserve somewhat detailed notices, besides a rather larger number of notable poets, whose number might easily be increased if those of the second rank were included. Before considering these Persian writers, however, a few words must be said about the Arabic literature of this period of which it behoves even students whose primary interest is in Persian letters to have at least some general idea.

So long as the Caliphate endured and Baghdád remained, in theory at least, the metropolis of all orthodox Muslims,

Arabic literature in this period the Arabic language held throughout those wide domains a position analogous to that of Latin in Europe during the Middle Ages; that is to say it was not only (what it still remains) the language of theology, philosophy and science, but also to a large extent of diplomacy, polite society and belles lettres. The over­throw of the Caliphate by the Mongols greatly impaired its position and diminished its prestige, but this decline did not become very conspicuous so long as those survived whose education had been completed before Islám suffered this great disaster, that is to say for some fifty or sixty years after the fall of Baghdád. In the later periods which we have to consider a knowledge of contemporary Arabic literature, though always important, becomes less essential to the student of Persian history and letters, but at this period it is still vital, especially in the domains of history, biography and travel, not to mention theology, philosophy and science, where it continues to be indispensable.

The Arabic literature with which we are here concerned falls into three classes. First, the Arabic works of bilingual Three classes of Arabic literature important to the student of Per­sian Persians whose Persian writings entitle them to mention in the literary history of their country. Of this class the Qáḍi'l-Quḍát (Chief Justice) Náṣiru'd-Dín al-Bayḍáwí may be taken as an example. Al-Bayḍá (“the White”), from which he derived his cognomen, is the Arabic name of a place in Fárs so called on account of a white tomb (turbat-i-safíd)*

(1) Arabic works of bilingual writers who deserve mention on account of their contribu­tions to Persian literature which renders it conspicuous. Al-Bayḍáwí is best known as the author of the famous com­mentary on the Qur'án entitled Asráru't-Tanzíl, which is written in Arabic; * but he also wrote in Persian a history of Persia entitled Niẓámu't-Tawáríkh , whereof mention will be made in the course of this chapter. To speak of him merely as a his­torian of the second rank and to ignore his far more impor- (2) Arabic works which profoundly influenced Per­sian thought tant work as a commentator would be to do him a great injustice. Secondly, Arabic works by non-Persians which have profoundly in­fluenced Persian thought, such as the Fuṣúṣu'l-Ḥikam and other writings of Shaykh Muḥiyyu'd-Dín ibnu'l-'Arabí, and the writings of Shaykh Ṣadru'd-Dín of Qonya (3) Arabic histori­cal, geographical and biographical works (Iconium), which were the sources whence such mystical poets as Fakhru'd-Dín 'Iráqí derived their inspiration. Thirdly, and most important, Arabic historical, geographical and biographical works which throw light on the persons, places, circum­stances and ideas which we shall meet with in the course of our investigations. Amongst these special mention must be made of the lives of physicians (Ṭabaqátu'l-Aṭibbá) by Ibn Abí Uṣaybi'a * (d. 668/1270); the great biographical work of Ibn Khallikán (d. 681/1282) entitled Wafayátu'l-A'yán ; * the Átháru'l-Bilád (“Monuments of the Lands”) of Zakariyyá b. Muḥammad al-Qazwíní * (d. 682/1283); the general history, especially important for the Mongol period, entitled Mukhtaṣaru'd-Duwal of Abu'l-Faraj Bar-Hebraeus (d. July 30, 1289); * the well-known history of Abu'l-Fidá, Prince of Ḥamát (d. 732/1331), entitled Al-Mukhtaṣar fí Ta'ríkhi'l-Bashar; * and the illuminating travels of Ibn Baṭúṭa * (d. 779/1377), which extended over a period of 24 years (1325-1349) and included not only Persia but the greater part of Asia from Constantinople to India and China, and from Arabia to Afghánistán and Transoxiana.

The student of Persian history and literature who ignores these books is cut off from some of the richest sources of Value of the Átháru'l-Bilád trustworthy information, yet they are constantly neglected even by experts who write authorita­tively on the Persian poets and other kindred topics. Take only the “Monuments of the Lands” of al-Qazwíní above mentioned, consider the following list of eminent Persian poets to whom reference is made under the towns wherein they were born or where they spent their lives, and see how much information about them is given which is vainly sought in the Persian tadhkiras or “Memoirs” commonly consulted on such matters: * —Anwarí (p. 242), 'Asjadí (p. 278), Awḥadu'd-Dín Kirmání (p. 164), Fakhrí of Jurján (p. 351), Farrukhí (p. 278), Firdawsí (pp. 278-9 and a verse from the Sháhnáma quoted on p. 135), Jalál-i-Ṭabíb (p. 257), Jalál-i-Khwárí (p. 243), Kháqání (pp. 272-3, where 3 bayts of his poetry are cited, and p. 404), Abú Ṭáhir al-Khátúní (p. 259), Mujír of Baylaqán (p. 345), Niẓámí (pp. 351-2), Náṣir-i-Khusraw (pp. 328-9), Abú Sa'íd ibn Abi'l-Khayr (pp. 241-2), Saná'í (p. 287), Shams-i-Ṭabasí (pp. 272-3), 'Umar-i-Khayyám (p. 318), 'Unṣurí (p. 278) and Rashídu'd-Dín Waṭwáṭ (pp. 223-4). Here, then, we have notices, some fairly full and containing matter not to be found elsewhere, of 19 important Persian poets who flourished before or during the thirteenth century, these being in many cases the oldest notices extant, * since the Lubábu'l-Albáb of 'Awfí and the Chahár Maqála, “Four Discourses,” of Niẓámí-i-'Arúḍí of Samarqand are almost the only Persian works of greater antiquity which treat more or less systematically of the lives of Persian poets. And this is only one subject out of many interesting to the student of Persian dealt with in this most entertaining work.

We must now pass to the historians, who, as I have already said, are by far the most important writers of this period, for, while other periods, both earlier and later, have produced poets alike more numerous and more celebrated, none have produced historians comparable in merit to these.

Of 'Aṭá Malik-i-Juwayní's Ta'ríkh-i-Jahán-gushá or “History of the World-Conqueror” (i.e. Chingíz Khán),

The Ta'ríkh-i­Jahán-gushá repeated mention was made in a preceding volume, * but something more must be added here. It was completed in 658/1260, but con­cludes with the events of the year 655/1257, notably the destruction of the Assassins by the author's master and patron Húlágú Khán. Some few MSS. contain an Appendix describing the sack of Baghdád, which took place in the following year, but this is probably an addition by a later hand. The work comprises three parts, of which the first deals with the history of Chingíz Khán and his ancestors, and his successors down to Chaghatáy; the second relates the history of the Khwárazm-sháhs, especially of the two last rulers of this dynasty, Quṭbu'd-Dín Muḥammad and his son Jalálu'd-Dín; while the third treats of the Isma'ílí sect and especially of Ḥaṣan-i-Ṣabbáḥ and his successors, the Assassins of Alamút. The work is therefore not a general history, but a historical monograph on Chingíz Khán and his predecessors and successors, to which are added accounts of the two chief dynasties with which he came in conflict in Persia and Mesopotamia. Further par­ticulars about this most valuable and original history are given in an article which I contributed to the J.R.A.S. for January, 1904, pp. 1-17, and the first and second of the three volumes which it comprises have already appeared (in 1912 and 1916 respectively) in the “E. J. W. Gibb Memorial” Series (xvi, 1 and xvi, 2), edited by my learned friend Mírzá Muḥammad ibn 'Abdu'l-Wahháb of Qazwín, who has prefixed to the first volume * a full and critical account of the work and its author, and of the family of statesmen to which he belonged, He died in March 1283. His brother Shamsu'd-Dín the Ṣáḥib-Díwán wrote this verse on his death: