(A.H. 736-807 = A.D. 1335-1405.)


The power of the Mongols in Persia practically came to an end on the death of Abú Sa'íd (13 Rabí' II, A.H. 736

Definition of the period about to be considered = Nov. 30, 1335), and some eight months later in the same year of the hijra (Shá'bán 25 = April 8, 1336) was born Tímúr, called Lang (“the limp­ing”), and generally known in the West as “Tamerlane,” who was destined to become in his turn almost as great a scourge to the Muslims of Western and Central Asia as Chingíz Khán. The approximate coincidence of the death of the last great Mongol ruler of Persia with the birth of this new organizer of Tartar depredations has been remarked by the author of the Maṭla'u's-Sa'dayn, * and makes this date a convenient starting-point for the period of seventy years which we are now about to consider; a period which, in spite of the anarchy wherewith it began and the bloodshed where­with it ended, is remarkable alike for the quantity and the Eminent writers of this period quality of the poets and writers which it pro­duced. Of the former were Salmán of Sáwa, Khwájú of Kirmán, 'Ubayd-i-Zákání, 'Imád of Kirmán, 'Aṣṣár of Tabríz, the two Jaláls, known respectively as 'Aḍudí and Ṭabíb (“the physician”), Kamál of Khujand, Maghribí, Busḥaq, Ibn-i-Yamín, and last but not least the incomparable Ḥáfiẓ of Shíráz; of the latter were the historians of Tímúr, Niẓám-i-Shámí and Sharafu'd-Dín 'Alí Yazdí, and Mu'ínu'd-Dín Yazdí, the historian of the House of Muẓaffar which perished at Tímúr's hands, not to mention others who, though Persians, wrote chiefly in Arabic, such as the Sayyid-i-Sharíf of Jurján, Sa'du'd-Dín Taftázání, and 'Aḍudu'd-Dín al-Íjí.

Tímúr's first invasion of Persia took place in A.D. 1380, when he subdued Khurásán, Sístán and Mázandarán; his Tímúr's three invasions of Persia second in A.D. 1384-5, when he again invaded Mázandarán and extended his operations into Ádharbáyján, 'Iráq-i-'Ajam and Georgia, finish­ing up with the subjugation of Shíráz and a massacre of 70,000 persons at Iṣfahán; and his third and last in A.D. 1392, when he again subdued Fárs and extirpated the Muẓaffarí dynasty, having already destroyed the Sarbadárs of Sabzawár (in 1381) and the Kurts of Herát (in 1389). During the 45 years succeeding Tímúr's birth and Abú Sa'íd's death (A.D. 1335-1380) Persia was, however, left to its The minor dynasties destroyed by Tímúr own devices, and was divided between four or five petty dynasties, of which the Muẓaffarís, ruling over Fárs, 'Iráq-i-'Ajam and Kirmán, were the most important; then the Jalá'irs (or Íl-khánís) of Baghdád and Ádharbáyján; and lastly the Sarbadárs of Sabzawár and the Kurts of Herát, both in the North-East. The history of these dynasties is very intricate, and, perhaps, hardly worth a detailed study; while the territories over which each held control were indeterminate, and their fron­tiers (if such existed) constantly shifting, and often—indeed generally—civil war prevailed between members of the same dynasty, and their heritage was divided amongstrival brothers or cousins. What is remarkable, however, is that it is pre- Persian litera­ture most flour­ishing in troubled times cisely during such periods of anarchy and division of power that Persian literature has flourished most; so that, for example, while a dozen first-class poets lived in the brief period of 45 years now under discussion, the whole Ṣafawí period, which in all lasted 234 years (A.D. 1502-1736), and in which Persia reached a degree of power, splendour and consolidation un­equalled in modern times, hardly produced half that number of poets of more than local fame, though arts flourished and theology reached its zenith. The cause of this curious phenomenon will be further discussed when we come to speak of the Ṣafawí period; but it would seem that the existence of numerous small courts, rivals to one another, and each striving to outshine the others, was singularly favourable to the encouragement of poets and other men of letters, who, if disappointed or slighted in one city, could generally find in another a more favourable reception.

Before speaking of Tímúr, then, it is necessary to give some account of the petty dynasties which flourished in Muẓaffarís Persia during this half-century's interregnum. Of these the Muẓaffarís were the most important, both on account of the position and extent of their realms, and by reason of the eminent poets—notably Ḥáfiẓ of Shíráz—who frequented their courts. Next to them we Jalá'irs or Il-khánís may place the Jalá'ir or Íl-khání princes who ruled over Baghdád and Tabríz as the direct heirs of the shrunken Mongol power, and under whose ægis likewise many eminent poets flourished. The Sarbadárs Sarbadárs (or Sarbadáls) of Sabzawár seem to have held sway over a very restricted territory, and were in fact (as their name, “Head-on-the-gallows,” implies) little better than successful outlaws and highway- Kurts robbers; while the Kurts of Herát, though more civilized, greater patrons of letters, and more stable in character (they ruled for 144 years, from A.D. 1245 to 1389), were established in a domain which is no longer included in Persia, but now forms part of Afghánistán, and were themselves, perhaps, of Afghán or semi-Afghán descent. Of each of these dynasties some brief account must now be given.


Apart from the general histories, such as the Rawḍatu'ṣ-Ṣafá , with which every student of Persian is familiar, there Authorities for history of Muẓaffarís exists a monograph on the House of Muẓaffar by a contemporary scholar of some repute, Mu'ínu'd-Dín of Yazd, who was made professor at one of the colleges of Kirmán in 755/1354. This history exists only in manuscript, * and I have been able to consult it in an old copy belonging to the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, * dated 778/1376-7, and, since January, 1917, in two MSS., one written in the author's life-time, from the library of the late Sir A. Houtum-Schindler. It comes down only to the year 767/1365-6, and so omits the last thirty years of the dynasty; and it is, moreover, written in a very stilted and artificial style. So difficult, indeed, was it that a certain Maḥmúd Kutbí, while engaged in transcribing the Ta'ríkh­i-Guzída in 823/1420, thought good to add to that history an independent account of the Muẓaffarí dynasty from his own pen. This account is contained in the fac-simile of an old MS. of the Guzída published in the Gibb Memorial Series (vol. xiv, 1, pp. 613-755), * and carries the history of the dynasty down to its extinction in Rajab, 795 (May, 1393). This, and the account contained in the modern Fárs-náma-i-Náṣirí * of Ḥájjí Mírzá Ḥasan (pp. 49-66), have been chiefly used in compiling the following brief account of the dynasty, but I should like also to acknowledge my indebtedness to an excellent and most readable sketch of its history contained in the Introduction to Miss Gertrude Lowthian Bell's Poems from the Divan of Hafiz * (pp. 8-28).

The ancestors of the House of Muẓaffar are said to have come to Persia from Arabia in the early days of the Mu- Origin of the Muẓaffarí Dynasty hammadan conquest, and to have settled near Khwáf in Khurásán, whence Amír Ghiyáthu'd-Dín Ḥájji Khurásání, the grandfather of Mu-bárizu'd-Dín Muḥammad, the first king of the dynasty, migrated to Yazd during the period of the Mongol invasion. One of his three sons, Abú Bakr, with 300 horsemen, accom­panied Húlágú's expedition against Baghdád, and was subsequently killed in Egypt by Arabs of the Banú Khafája tribe. His brother Muḥammad succeeded him as deputy to the Governor of Yazd, but died without issue. The third son, Jalálu'd-Dín Manṣúr, lived at Maybud, near Yazd, and like­wise left three sons, Sharafu'd-Dín Muẓaffar, Zaynu'd-Dín 'Alí, and Mubárizu'd-Dín Muḥammad. The first is said to have been notified in a dream of the distinction to which his family was destined, and while still young distinguished himself by destroying a band of robbers from Fárs who were committing depredations in his province. In 685/1286 he went to Kirmán and entered the service of Súrghatmish Qará-Khitá'í. Later he served the four Mongol sovereigns Arghún, Gaykhátú, Gházán and Uljáytú Khudá-banda, to the last-named of whom he was presented at Khániqín in 711/1311, and who conferred on him a more extensive government. He died in 713/1313, leaving to succeed him his son Mubárizu'd-Dín Muḥammad, then only thirteen years of age, who was confirmed in his father's offices by Uljáytú (died Dec. 16, 1316). At the age of 29 he married as his second wife Bánú Jahán, the grand-daughter of Súrghat-mish. He had five sons, Sharafu'd-Dín Muẓaffar (born 725/1325, died of a wound in 754/1353); Sháh Shujá' (born 733/1333); Quṭbu'd-Dín Maḥmúd (born 737/1336); and two others named Aḥmad and Báyazíd.