Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • Assef Ashraf (a1)


This article examines the social makeup of the early Qajar administration or chancery (dīvān). Using a wide range of Persian sources, the article focuses on those individuals who held offices in the dīvān and traces their family, social, and geographic backgrounds, highlights their marital ties, and reveals their sources of economic and social prestige. In doing so, the article draws attention to patterns of continuity and change between Safavid, Afsharid, Zand, and Qajar rule, and to the familial and informal nature of political power during the early Qajar period (1785–1834). Ultimately the article suggests that an analysis of the social makeup of the dīvān, and of what political office-holders actually do, offers a more fruitful pathway for understanding the formation of Qajar Iran than a focus on institutions and political structures.



Hide All


Author's note: For their constructive critiques of earlier versions of this article, I thank Abbas Amanat, Dominic Parviz Brookshaw, Arash Khazeni, Tanya Lawrence, and the anonymous IJMES reviewers. I also wish to thank Akram Khater and Jeffrey Culang for their help in shepherding the article through the review process and preparing it for publication. Finally, this article benefited from the questions and discussion during the Middle East Studies Association's 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

1 “Administration” is an admittedly inadequate translation of dīvān, which can be alternatively translated as “administrative office,” “chancery,” or even “government.” None of these terms, however, captures the full meaning of dīvān. The essential idea behind the word—which some scholars argue is derived from the Old Persian word meaning “inscription” or “document,” while others say is derived from the Arabic verb meaning “to collect” or “to register”—is that the dīvān is where government ministers, secretaries, and scribes conduct their record-keeping and administrative business. During the early Qajar period, the dīvān was also called the daftar-khānih (Chamber of Records). See Shirazi, Mirza Fazlullah Khavari, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, ed. Afsharfar, Nasir (Tehran: Kitabkhanih, Muzih, va Markaz-i Asnad-i Majlis-i Shura-yi Islami, 2001), 1:243; and Malcolm, John, The History of Persia from the Most Early Period to the Present Time (London: John Murray, 1815), 2:437. For more on the history and usage of the word dīvān, see François de Blois and C. Edmund Bosworth, “Dīvān,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, VII/4, 432–38, accessed 10 January 2018,; and A. A. Duri et al., “Dīwān,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, eds. P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs, accessed 10 January 2018,

2 There is a large body of writing on the “political men” of the Qajar period (rijāl-i dawrih-yi Qājār), which provides biographical information on—as the words suggest—the political men of the 19th century and their families. Most of this scholarship has focused on simply tracing the family backgrounds and networks of the men who held ministerial and secretarial posts. In that sense, the works are akin to the Dictionary of National Biography in the British context. For some examples, see Bamdad, Mahdi, Sharh-i Hal-i Rijal-i Iran dar Qarn-i 12, 13, 14 Hijri, 6 vols. (Tehran: Zuvvar, 2008); al-Mamalik, Dust ʿAli Khan Muʿayyir, Rijal-i ʿ Asr-i Nasiri, 3rd ed. (Tehran: Tarikh-i Iran, 2010); Nuri, Husayn Saʿadat, Rijal-i Dawrih-yi Qajar (Tehran: Intisharat-i Vahid, 1985); and Sasani, Khan Malik, Siyasatgaran-i Dawrih-i Qajar, 2 vols. (Tehran: Intisharat-i Hidayat, 1974). Even those scholarly works with a more analytic approach tend to be schematic and focus on the macro level. See, for instance, Shaʿbani, ʿAli, Hizar Famil (Tehran: Bu ʿAli, 1987), whose book divides Iranian history from the 18th to the 20th centuries into five distinct periods: the tribal era (dawrih-yi khānkhānī), the epoch of princes (ʿ aṣr-i shāhzādigān), the emergence of ministers (ẓuhūr-i dīvānsālārān), the presence of statesmen (ḥużūr-i dawlatmardān), and parliamentary government (ḥukūmat-i pārlamānī).

3 The scholarly literature on this topic is vast. For a classic comparative study of aristocracies across different regions, see Anderson, Perry, Lineages of the Absolutist State (London: New Left Books, 1974).

4 Lambton, Ann K. S., “The Tribal Resurgence and the Decline of the Bureaucracy in the Eighteenth Century,” in Studies in Eighteenth Century Islamic History, ed. Naff, Thomas and Owen, Roger (Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977), 108–32. On Iran's economy during the 18th century, see Fars, Mirza Muhammad Kalantar-i, Ruznama-yi Mirza Muhammad Kalantar-i Fars, ed. Iqbal, Abbas (Tehran: Shirkat-i Sahami, 1946); al-Hukama, Muhammad Hashim Asaf Rustam, Rustam al-Tavarikh, ed. Mushiri, Muhammad (Tehran: Taban, 1969); and Issawi, Charles P., The Economic History of Iran, 1800–1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 13.

5 The years 1785 to 1834 correspond to the reigns of Agha Muhammad Khan (r. 1785–97) and Fath-ʿAli Shah (r. 1797–1834).

6 On the rise of the Qajars as being a “watershed” in Iranian history, see Lambton, Ann K. S., “Persian Trade under the Early Qajars,” in Qajar Persia: Eleven Studies (Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 1987), 110.

7 Martin, Vanessa, “An Evaluation of Reform and Development of the State in the Early Qājār Period,” Die Welt Des Islams 36 (1996): 124; Meredith, Colin, “Early Qajar Administration: An Analysis of Its Development and Functions,” Iranian Studies 4 (1971): 5984.

8 For studies on Qajar efforts to create a centralized bureaucracy, see Bakhash, Shaul, Iran: Monarchy, Bureaucracy, and Reform Under the Qajars: 1858–1896 (London: Ithaca Press, 1978); Bakhash, Shaul, “The Evolution of Qajar Bureaucracy: 1779–1879,” Middle Eastern Studies 7 (1971): 139–68; Sheikholeslami, A. Reza, The Structure of Central Authority in Qajar Iran, 1871–1896 (Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1997); and Sheikholeslami, , “The Patrimonial Structure of Iranian Bureaucracy in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Iranian Studies 11 (1978): 199258. There are exceptions, of course. For an example of a study that places early Qajar kingship in the context of historical Persian, Turco-Mongolian, and Islamic institutions, see Amanat, Abbas, Pivot of the Universe: Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831–1896, 2nd ed. (London: I.B.Tauris, 2008), 713.

9 The relationship between the ʿulamaʾ and the Qajar state has generated vigorous scholarly debate. For some studies, see Algar, Hamid, Religion and State in Iran, 1785–1906: The Role of the Ulama in the Qajar Period (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1969); Arjomand, Said Amir, “The Shiʿite Hierocracy and the State in Pre-Modern Iran: 1785–1890,” European Journal of Sociology 22 (1981): 4078; Arjomand, , “The Office of Mulla-Bashi in Shiʿite Iran,” Studia Islamica 57 (1983): 135–46; Arjomand, , The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam: Religion, Political Order, and Societal Change in Shiʿite Iran from the Beginning to 1890 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 215–59; Lambton, Ann K. S., “A Reconsideration of the Position of the Marjaʿ Al-Taqlīd and the Religious Institution,” Studia Islamica 20 (1964): 115–35; Lambton, , “Some New Trends in Islamic Political Thought in Late 18th and Early 19th Century Persia,” Studia Islamica 39 (1974): 95128; and Amanat, Abbas, Resurrection and Renewal: The Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844–1850 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1989), 3369.

10 Hambly, Gavin, “Āghā Muḥammad Khān and the Establishment of the Qājār Dynasty,” in The Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 7, From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic, ed. Avery, Peter, Hambly, Gavin, and Melville, Charles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 104–43; Gavin Hambly, “Iran During the Reigns of Fath ʿAlī Shāh and Muhammad Shāh,” in The Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 7, From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic, 144–73; Leonard Helfgott, “The Rise of the Qajar Dynasty: The Political Economy of Tribalism in Eighteenth Century Persia” (PhD diss., University of Maryland, 1978); Ebrahimnejad, Hormoz, Pouvoir et Succession en Iran: Les Premiers Qâjâr, 1726–1834 (Paris: L'Harmattan, 2000); Shaʿbani, Hizar Famil, 19–36.

11 I have borrowed the phrase “socially oriented political history” from Peirce, Leslie, “Writing Histories of Sexuality in the Middle East,” The American Historical Review 114 (2009): 1325.

12 A seminal study of the informal ties that sustained political power during the early Islamic period is Mottahedeh, Roy P., Loyalty and Leadership in an Early Islamic Society (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1980). For helpful introductions to the literature on state formation after the social and cultural turns, see Steinmetz, George, ed., State/Culture: State-Formation After the Cultural Turn (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999); and Sharma, Aradhana and Gupta, Akhil, eds., The Anthropology of the State: A Reader (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006).

13 See Julia Adams’ work on The Netherlands during the early modern period: The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2005).

14 On this point, see Philliou, Christine, Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in an Age of Revolution (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2011), xxiiixxv.

15 The two examples mentioned here, of course, do not cover the full spectrum of the scholarship on family history in the Middle East. For a helpful introduction to the small, but burgeoning, field of Middle Eastern family history, see Doumani, Beshara, “Introduction,” in Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property, and Gender, ed. Doumani, Beshara (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 119.

16 Hourani, Albert, “Ottoman Reform and the Politics of Notables,” in The Modern Middle East: A Reader, ed. Hourani, Albert, Khoury, Philip S., and Wilson, Mary C., 2nd ed. (London: I.B.Tauris, 2004), 89.

17 Gelvin, James L., “The ‘Politics of Notables’ Forty Years After,” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 40 (2006): 26. For an example of how local urban elites were not necessarily intermediaries between the state and local society, and sometimes acted as a self-determining political force of their own, see Thompson, Elizabeth, “Ottoman Political Reform in the Provinces: The Damascus Advisory Council in 1844–45,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 25 (1993): 457–75.

18 This is less true in the Ottoman context, where scholars have tied the growth of provincial households to the expansion of the empire. For example, see Khoury, Dina Rizk, State and Provincial Society in the Ottoman Empire: Mosul, 1540–1834 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). For examples of studies on Qajar Iran, see Gustafson, James M., Kirman and the Qajar Empire: Local Dimensions of Modernity in Iran, 1794–1914 (London: Routledge, 2015); Walcher, Heidi, In the Shadow of the King: Zill Al-Sultan and Isfahan under the Qajars (London: I.B.Tauris, 2008); and Werner, Christoph, An Iranian Town in Transition: A Social and Economic History of the Elites of Tabriz, 1747–1848 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2000).

19 See Herzig, Edmund, “The Family Firm in the Commercial Organization of the Julfa Armenians,” in Etudes safavides, ed. Calmard, Jean (Paris: Institut Français de recherches en Iran, 1993), 287304; Matthee, Rudi, “Merchants in Safavid Iran: Participants and Perceptions,” Journal of Early Modern History 4 (2000): 233–68; Aslanian, Sebouh, “The Circulation of Men and Credit: The Role of the Commenda and the Family Firm in Julfan Society,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 50 (2007): 124–70; Aslanian, , From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2011); and Floor, W. M., “The Merchants (Tujjār) in Qājār Iran,” Zeitschrift Der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 126 (1976): 101–35. For similar work done in the context of South Asia, see Subrahmanyam, Sanjay and Bayly, C. A., “Portfolio Capitalists and the Political Economy of Early Modern India,” Indian Economic & Social History Review 25 (1988): 401–24; Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, “Iranians Abroad: Intra-Asian Elite Migration and Early Modern State Formation,” The Journal of Asian Studies 51 (1992): 340–63; and Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, “Of Imârat and Tijârat: Asian Merchants and State Power in the Western Indian Ocean, 1400 to 1750,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 37 (1995): 750–80.

20 The father and son Mirza ʿIsa “Buzurg” Qaʾim-Maqam and Mirza Abu al-Qasim Qaʾim-Maqam are also included, since they functioned as the ṣadr-i a ʿ ẓam for ʿAbbas Mirza, the heir-apparent and influential prince under Fath-ʿAli Shah. The other main dīvān positions of the early Qajar period included the revenue secretary to the army (lashkarnivīs), head of the dīvān (ṣāḥib-i dīvān), court chronicler (vaqāyi ʿ -nigār), mint master (mu ʿ ayyir al-mamālik), reader of the khutba at ceremonial occasions (khātib al-mamālik), and chief astrologer (munajjim-bāshī). See Lambton, “Persian Society under the Qajars,” in Qājār Persia: Eleven Studies, 99.

21 Maftun, ʿAbd al-Razzaq Bayg Dunbuli, Tazkirih-yi Nigaristan-i Dara, ed. Khayyampur, ʿAbd al-Rasul (Tabriz: Kitabfurushi-yi Tehran, 1963); Qajar, Mahmud Mirza, Safinat al-Mahmud, ed. Khayyampur, ʿAbd al-Rasul, 2 vols. (Tabriz: Shafaq, 1968); Garrusi, Fazil Khan, Tazkirih-yi Anjuman-i Khaqan (Tehran: Layla, 1997); Shirazi, Ahmad Divan Baygi, Hadiqat al-Shuʿara, ed. Navaʾi, Abd al-Husayn, 3 vols. (Tehran: Zarrin, 1985).

22 Mustawfi, ʿAbd Allah, Sharh-i Zindigani-yi Man: Tarikh-i Ijtimaʿi va Idari-i Dawrih-yi Qajariyyih (Tehran: Zuvvar, 1964); al-Saltanih, ʿAli Quli Mirza Iʿtizad, Iksir al-Tavarikh, ed. Kiyanfar, Jamshid (Tehran: Visman, 1991); al-Dawlih, Ahmad Mirza Qajar ʿAzud, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, ed. Navaʾi, ʿAbd al-Husayn (Tehran: ʿIlm, 1997); Khavari Shirazi, “Khatimih-yi Ruznamchih-yi Humayun,” in Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 2:949–1165.

23 al-Saltanih, Muhammad Hasan Khan Iʿtimad, Sadr al-Tavarikh: Sharh Hal-i Sadr Aʿzam'ha-yi Padshahan-i Qajar, ed. Mushiri, Muhammad (Tehran: Ruzbihan, 1978); Sulaymani, Karim, Alqab-i Rijal-i Dawrih-yi Qajariyyih (Tehran: Kitabkhanih-i Milli-i Iran, 2000).

24 Isfahani, Mirza Muhammad Sadiq Musavi Nami, Tarikh-i Giti-Gusha, ed. Nafisi, Saʿid (Tehran: Iqbal, 1937); MSaruʾi, uhammad, Tarikh-i Muhammadi: Ahsan al-Tavarikh, ed. Majd, Ghulam Reza Tabatabaʾi (Tehran: Muʾassasih-i Intisharat-i Amir Kabir, 1992); Shirazi, Khavari, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn; Qajar, Mahmud Mirza, Tarikh-i Sahib-Qirani: Havadis-i Tarikh-i Silsilih-yi Qajar (1190–1248 A.H.), ed. Jalali, Nadirih (Tehran: Majlis, 2010).

25 Julia Adams’ work, in particular, has revised traditional Weberian understandings of the state. See The Familial State.

26 For more on “states in the making,” see Stoler, Ann Laura and McGranahan, Carole, “Introduction: Refiguring Imperial Terrains,” in Imperial Formations, ed. Stoler, Ann Laura, McGranahan, Carole, and Perdue, Peter C. (Santa Fe, N.M.: School for Advanced Research Press, 2007), 8; Adams, The Familial State, 13.

27 On the Zand dīvān, see Perry, John, Karīm Khān Zand: A History of Iran, 1747–1779 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), 217–18.

28 Mustawfi, Sharh-i Zindigani-yi Man, 2, 7; Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 21–22.

29 Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 20; Sulaymani, Alqab-i Rijal, 176; Bamdad, Sharh-i Hal, 2:37–39.

30 Abbas Amanat, “Ebrāhīm Kalāntar Šīrāzī,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, VIII/1, 66–71, accessed 10 January 2018,

31 Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 1:243.

32 For differences between the early Qajar and Safavid administration, see Hambly, “Iran During the Reigns of Fath ʿAlī Shāh and Muhammad Shāh,” 157n21.

33 Minorsky, Vladimir, Taẕkirat al-Mulūk: A Manual of Ṣafavid Administration (London: Luzac, 1943), 115.

34 C. Edmund Bosworth, “Dīvān ii. Government office,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, VII/4, pp. 432–438, accessed on 10 January 2018,

35 Hambly, “Āghā Muḥammad Khān,” 114.

36 See Roemer, H.R., “The Safavid Period,” in The Cambridge History of Iran, ed. Jackson, Peter and Lockhart, Lawrence, vol. 6 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986): 330–31.

37 Examples include Mirza Shafiʿ (Shiraz), Mirza Abu al-Qasim Qaʾim-Maqam (Tabriz), and Khavari Shirazi (Shiraz).

38 See “Savad-i Faramin-i Salatin va Umaraʾ-yi Hukkam,” n.d. MS. 331, Majlis Library, Tehran (hereafter Majlis MS. 331). For a discussion of this source, see Assef Ashraf, “From Khan to Shah: State, Society, and Forming the Ties that Made Qajar Iran” (PhD diss., Yale University, 2016), 181–88.

39 On this point, see Amanat, Pivot of the Universe, 3.

40 “Statement of the Fixed Revenue of Persia, 1811,” 8 August 1811. IOR/L/PS/9/67 f. 6, The British Library. There is no mention of an author on the document, but the date suggests it may have been Gore Ouseley, the British envoy in Iran in 1811. It is unclear how the Qajar government's financial information came into the hands of the British. Thus the figures in the statement should be read with caution. Nevertheless, the statement does illustrate that revenue was collected from at least Azerbaijan, Gilan, Mazandaran, Khurasan, Arak, Fars, and tribes like the Bakhtiyari and Khudabandihlu.

41 One tūmān was worth roughly half a pound sterling at this point. For a discussion of the tūmān’s value in the 19th century, see Issawi, Economic History of Iran, 343.

42 Ibid., 13.

43 There is a long tradition in Islamic history of family lineage playing a role in determining who is appointed to administrative posts. For examples from early Islamic history, see Mottahedeh, Loyalty and Leadership, 98–104.

44 For an early Qajar taẕkirih of women poets, see Qajar, Mahmud Mirza, Tazkirih-yi Nuql-i Majlis, ed. Nasiri, Muhammad and Jalali, Nadirih (Tehran: Miras-i Maktub, 2006). See also Brookshaw, Dominic Parviz, “Women in Praise of Women: Female Poets and Female Patrons in Qajar Iran,” Iranian Studies 46 (2013): 1748; and Brookshaw, Dominic, “Qajar Confection: The Production and Dissemination of Women's Poetry in Early Nineteenth-century Iran,” Middle Eastern Literatures 17 (2014): 115–16. On early-Qajar taẕkirihs, see Vanzan, Anna, “Adabiyan va Ijtimaʿ dar Dawran-i Zand va Avaʾil-i Qajar bar Asas-i Tazkirih-yi Jahan-ara,” Iranshenasi 9 (1997): 3752; and Abe, Naofumi, “The Politics of Poetics in Early Qajar Iran: Writing Royal-Commissioned Tazkeras at Fath-ʿAli Shāh's Court,” Journal of Persianate Studies 10 (2017): 129–57.

45 See, for example, Dunbuli Maftun, Tazkirih-yi Nigaristan-i Dara, 78.

46 Ibid., 145.

47 For instance, Iʿtimad al-Saltanih writes that Mirza Agha Khan Nuri's ancestors were descended from Imam ʿAli's family, and were “venerable and respected” (mukarram va muḥtaram) during the Safavid, Afsharid, and Zand periods. Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 233.

48 See Amanat, Pivot of the Universe, 7–13.

49 Amanat, “Ebrāhīm Kalāntar Šīrāzī.”

50 For an account of Iʿtimad al-Dawlih's execution, see Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 18–20.

51 Ibid., 15–21.

52 Ibid., 45.

53 Ibid., 69.

54 Iʿtizad al-Saltanih, Iksir al-Tavarikh, 247; Dunbuli Maftun, Tazkirih-yi Nigaristan-i Dara, 63–64. On Zinat al-Tavarikh, see Storey, Persian Literature, 1:147.

55 Another early Qajar minister whose family held administrative roles back to the Safavid era was the muʿayyir al-mamalik (mint-master). Dust ʿAli Khan Muʿayyir al-Mamalik writes that his ancestors served as mint-masters since “the middle of the Safavid period” (avāsiṭ-i dawrān-i Ṣafaviyyih), when they were known as muʿayyir-bāshī. Muʿayyir al-Mamalik, Rijal-i ʿAsr-i Nasiri, 27.

56 Farinaz Mutasharʿi, “Nasabnama-yi Qaʾim-Maqam,” Payam-i Baharistan 8 (Payiz 1387 Sh. / Autumn 2008): 376.

57 Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 1:105; Iʿtizad al-Saltanih, Iksir al-Tavarīkh, 396; Dunbuli Maftun, Tazkirih-yi Nigaristan-i Dara, 113–114; Perry, Karīm Khān Zand, 218. See also Meredith, “Early Qajar Administration,” 79n16; and ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, 289.

58 Iʿtizad al-Saltanih, Iksir al-Tavarikh, 397.

59 Iʿtizad al-Saltanih describes Haydar ʿAli as “among the relations” (az aqvām) of Haji Ibrahim. Ibid., 396.

60 On this point, see Amanat, “Ebrāhīm Kalāntar Šīrāzī.”

61 ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarīkh-i ʿAzudi, 113.

62 Majlis MS. 331, ff. 26v and 27r.

63 For an introduction to Kalb-ʿAli Khan's life see Majlis MS. 331, ff. 25v and 26.

64 For some examples, see Maftun, ʿAbd al-Razzaq Bayg Dunbuli, Maʾasir-i Sultaniyyih, ed. Mansuri, Firuz (Tehran: Muʾassasih-yi Ittilaʾat, 2005), 93, 100; Mirza, Nadir, Tarikh va Jughrafi-yi Dar al-Saltanih-yi Tabriz, ed. Majd, Ghulam Reza Tabatabaʾi (Tabriz: Intisharat-i Sutudih, 1994), 222–23; and Akty Sobrannye Kavkazskoi͡u Arkheograficheskoi͡u Kommissiiei͡u (AKAK), (Tiflis: Glavnago Upravlenii͡a Nami͡estnika Kavkazskago, 1866), 1:408–10, 623–30.

65 Siyāq was the shorthand numerical system used for accounting purposes by secretaries and financial accountants across much of the Islamic world. For an introduction to the system, see Isfahani, Muhammad ʿAli Furugh, Furughistan: Danishnama-yi Fann-i Istifa va Siyaq, ed. Afshar, Iraj (Tehran: Miras-i Maktub, 1999); and Bagheri, Mohammad, “Siyāqat Accounting: Its Origins, History, and Principles,” Acta Orientalia: Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 51 (1998): 297301. On the “professional toolkit” of the scribal class, see Kinra, Rajeev, “Master and Munshī: A Brahman Secretary's Guide to Mughal Governance,” Indian Economic & Social History Review 47 (2010): 530.

66 For more on the Devellū and the Quyunlū branches of the Qajars, and their significance, see Hambly, “Āghā Muḥammad Khān,” 106–13.

67 Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 105.

68 Morier, James, A Second Journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia minor, to Constantinople, between the years 1810 and 1816 (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1818). 131. See also Hambly, “Āghā Muḥammad Khān,” 139–40.

69 Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 1:244; Iʿtizad al-Saltanih, Iksir al-Tavarikh, 242–43.

70 Ashraf, Assef, “The Politics of Gift Exchange in Early Qajar Iran, 1785–1834,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 58 (2016): 560.

71 The “Sun Throne” was renamed in honor of Tavus Khanum because the latter was the shah's favorite wife. For more on her, see ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, 19–27, 71–76.

72 On the giving of the gift, see Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 1:163. For a discussion, see Ashraf, “Politics of Gifts,” 564.

73 On this point, see Amanat, Abbas, “The Downfall of Mirza Taqi Khan Amir Kabir and the Problem of Ministerial Authority in Qajar Iran,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 23 (1991): 577.

74 The precise number of Fath-ʿAli Shah's wives and children is disputed. For some figures, see Sipihr, Muhammad Taqi, Nasikh al-Tavarikh, ed. Bihbudi, Muhammad Baqir (Tehran: Kitabfurushi-yi Islamiyyih, 1998), 2:140–46; Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 2:969–1035; and ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, 336–64. See also Amanat, Pivot of the Universe, 19; and Abrahamian, Ervand, A History of Modern Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 14.

75 ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, 63, 65, 112, 213. See also Brookshaw, “Qajar Confection,” 118–19.

76 ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, 355; Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 2:1018–19. The numbering is based on Khavari Shirazi's numbering.

77 ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, 356–57.

78 Ibid., 353–54.

79 A notable example is Shirazi, Khavari, “Khatimih-yi Ruznamchih-yi Humayun,” also published separately as Mirza Fazlullah Khavari Shirazi, Tazkirih-yi Khavari, ed. Muhaddis, Mir Hashim (Zanjan: Zangan, 2000).

80 ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, 23.

81 Sipihr, Muhammad Taqi, Nasikh al-Tavarikh, ed. Bihbudi, Muhammad Baqir, 2nd ed. (Tehran: Kitabfurushi-yi Islamiyyih, 1965), 2:140–146.

82 For more see Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 31–35, 40–43.

83 For examples, see Ibid., 40, 81.

84 Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 1:574; Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 136; Mustawfi, Sharh-i Zindigani-yi Man, 26; Shirazi, Hadiqat al-Shuʿara, 1497; Sulaymani, Alqab-i Rijal, 145.

85 Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 21–22; Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 1:131.

86 Iʿtizad al-Saltanih, Iksir al-Tavarikh, 420, 500. Mirza Agha Khan Nuri would later become ṣadr-i aʿzam, during the 1850s, under Nasir al-Din Shah. Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 233–48.

87 On the themes of encounter and violence in Mughal India, see Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, Courtly Encounters: Translating Courtliness and Violence in Early Modern Eurasia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012); and Truschke, Audrey, Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016). On the role of violence in court culture, see Elias, Norbert, The Court Society, trans. Jephcott, Edmund, 1st American ed. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1983).

88 On this point, see Ricks, Thomas M., “Towards a Social and Economic History of Eighteenth-Century Iran,” Iranian Studies 6 (1973): 118.

89 Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 53–54.

90 Ibid., 46.

91 For an account of this campaign, see Saruʾi, Tarikh-i Muhammadi, 292–93; Khavari Shirazi, Tarikh-i Zu al-Qarnayn, 1:45–50.

92 Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 46–47.

93 Muhammad Mahdi ibn Isfahani, Muhammad Riza, Nisf-i Jahan fi Taʿrif al-Isfahan, ed. Sutudah, Manuchihr (Isfahan: Taʿyid, 1961), 71, 75, 110, 281.

94 Qaʾim-Maqam, Mirza Abu al-Qasim, Munshaʾat-i Qaʾim-Maqam, ed. Qaʾim-Maqami, Jahangir (Tehran: Kitabkhanih-yi Ibn Sina, 1958); Farahani, Mirza Buzurg Qaʾim Maqam, Jihadiyyih, ed. Qaʾim-Maqami, Jahangir (Tehran: Shirkat-i Ufsit, 1974); Qaʾim-Maqam, Mirza Abu al-Qasim, Nama'ha-yi Parakandih-yi Qaʾim-Maqam-i Farahani, ed. Qaʾim-Maqami, Jahangir, 2 vols. (Tehran: Bunyad-i Farhang-i Iran, 1978); Qaʾim-Maqam, Mirza Abu al-Qasim, Nama'ha-yi Siyasi va Tarikhi-i Sayyid al-Vuzaraʾ Qaʾim-Maqam Farahani, ed. Qaʾim-Maqami, Jahangir (Tehran: Danishgah-i Milli-i Iran, 1979).

95 On this point, see ʿAzud al-Dawlih, Tarikh-i ʿAzudi, 150. For an introduction to his poetry, see Dunbuli Maftun, Tazkirih-yi Nigaristan-i Dara, 134–138; and Mahmud Mirza Qajar, Safinat al-Mahmud, 49–74. See also Brookshaw, “Qajar Confection.”

96 For a discussion of these works, see Amanat, Abbas, “‘Russian Intrusion into the Guarded Domain’: Reflections of a Qajar Statesman on European Expansion,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 113 (1993): 3556.

97 On the Amin al-Dawlih's land policies, see Walcher, In the Shadow of the King, 11–12. The rise of Haji Mirza Aghasi, prime minister from 1835 to 1848, was especially ruinous for these families. See Abbas Amanat, “Āqāsī,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, II/2, 183–88, accessed 10 January 2018,

98 See Iʿtimad al-Saltanih, Sadr al-Tavarikh, 23–24. See also Amanat, “Ebrāhīm Kalāntar Šīrāzī.”

99 He was married to Khurshid Kulah Khanum Shams al-Dawlih, the daughter of the shah and Tavus Khanum.

100 Saʿadat-Nuri, Rijal-i Dawrih-yi Qajar, 51; Sipihr, Nasikh al-Tavarikh, 1:20.

101 For the rivalry between Iʿtimad al-Dawlih and Mirza Shafiʿ, see Sadr al-Tavarikh, 23–24, 46.



  • Assef Ashraf (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed