Skip to main content Accessibility help

Fragile Frontiers: The Diminishing Domains of Qajar Iran

  • Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet (a1)


Long before the French Revolution, an anonymous geographer of the 10th century had already imagined the “boundaries of the world”—(ḥudūd al-ʿālam)—as comprising distinct regions. According to this unknown figure, each territory varied from another “First, by the difference of water, air, soil, and temperature (garma-va-sarma). Secondly, by the difference of religion, law (sharīʿat) and beliefs (kīsh). Thirdly, by the difference of words (lughāt) and languages. Fourthly, by the difference of kingdoms (padshāʾī-hā).” These criteria, as well as natural barriers—mountains, rivers, deserts—allowed the author of this work to divide the world into tracts much like nation-states today.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Fragile Frontiers: The Diminishing Domains of Qajar Iran
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Fragile Frontiers: The Diminishing Domains of Qajar Iran
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Fragile Frontiers: The Diminishing Domains of Qajar Iran
      Available formats



Hide All


Author's note: This essay forms part of my dissertation, “Frontier Fictions: Land, Culture, and Shaping the Iranian Nation, 1804–1946”. I thank Hamid Dabashi, Paul Kennedy, Ervand Abrahamian, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Ṣükrü Hanioğlu, Hossein Modarressi, Michael Cook, and especially Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi for their helpful comments on this paper. I am grateful to Professor Stephen Humphreys for his careful editing of the text and to the anonymous reviewers of IJMES for their comments. The following individuals and institutions also provided invaluable assistance: Yale Institute for International and Area Studies; Smith Richardson Foundation; Bradley Foundation; Mellon Foundation; the National Archives in Tehran, especially Mr. Laylaz and Mr. Baqaʾi; the Foreign Ministry Archives in Tehran, especially Mr. Kavusi and Ms. ʿAzimi; the National Library in Tehran, especially Ms. Babak; the Institute for Cultural Studies (Bunyād-i Mustaẓʿafān); the Yale University Map Collection; Princeton University Library, especially Dr. Weinberger and Ms. Ashraf; and my entire family in Iran. I am, of course, solely responsible for the shortcomings of this essay.

1 In this translation of Ḥudūd al-ʿalam, V. Minorsky has used the terms “regions” for ḥudūd and “country” for nāḥiyat. Although it would have served my purpose well to have borrowed Minorsky's choice of words, I have preferred instead to employ the terms “boundaries” for ḥudūd and “region” for nāḥiyat, because they strike me as more precise equivalents of the concepts described. See Ḥudūd al-ʿālam, trans. Minorsky, V. (London: Luzac & Co., 1937), 82.

2 Ibid., 82. Gerald R. Tibbetts makes the interesting observation that despite Ḥudūd al-ʿālam's textual description of geography, “There was probably no attempt to include a set of maps, in spite of the numerous references from the Balkhi school geographers”. See Tibbetts, Gerald R., “Later Cartographic Developments”, in The History of Cartography, ed. Harley, J. B. and Woodward, David (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1992), 2:139.

3 Indeed, the criteria employed by this medieval scholar do not much differ from those used by modern thinkers to justify the existence of their nations. For example, Nicholas Ziadeh has asserted that “the Arabs are a nation which has been fashioned from three elements, namely race, habitat, and history”. Similarly, Ziya Gökalp has claimed that “those who speak the same language are usually descendants of the same stock, and thus a nation also means an ethnic unity⃜. As language plays a part in deciding religious affiliation, so religion plays a part in determining membership in a nationality”. Both excerpts can be found in Nationalism in Asia and Africa, ed. Kedourie, Elie (New York and Cleveland: New American Library, 1970), 294, 200, respectively. Also, the Zionist Jacob Klatzkin described his views as such: “Jewish nationalism does not deny Jewish spiritual values—it only refuses to raise them to the level of a criterion by which the nation is defined. It refuses to define being a Jew as something subjective, as a faith, but prefers to base it on something objective: on land and language. These are the basic categories of national being”. See The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader, ed. Hertzberg, Arthur (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co. and Herzl Press, 1959), 318.

4 S. Maqbul Ahmad, Encyclopaedia of Islam, new edition, s.v. “Djughrāfiya”. Also Corbin, Henry, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, trans. Pearson, Nancy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977), 335.

5 al-Iṣṭakhrī, Abu Isḥāq al-Fārsī, Mamālik va Masālik, ed. Afshār, Īraj (Tehran: Bungāh-i Tarjumah va Nashr-i Kitāb, 1340/1961), 5. This is a Persian translation of the original Arabic. Al-Iṣṭakhrī specifies that mamālik refers to kingdoms, of which one is called a mamlikat.

6 The 10th century saw a renewed interest in Persian history and culture. Firdausi worked on his famous epic, the Shāhnamah, and the Shuʿubiyah movement took off, as well. According to Tibbetts, it was also at this time that the Samanids sponsored al-Balkhi and al-Istakhri. For more on this point, see Tibbetts, Gerald R., “The Balkhi School of Geographers”, in History of Cartography, 2:115.

7 Mustawfī, Ḥamd Allāh, Nuzhat al-qulūb, ed. Siyāqī, Muḥammad Dabīr (Tehran, 1336/1957). For an English translation, see Strange, Guy Le, The Geographical Part of the Nuzhat al-qulūb (London: Luzac & Co., 1919), 23. Mustawfi refers to Masālik al-Mamālik in several instances, which might explain his familiarity with the notion of “Iranshahr”. For one example, see Strange, Le, Geographical Part, 34.

8 Strange, Le, Geographical Part, 23. For the Persian, see Mustawfī, , Nuzhat al-qulūb, 2223.

9 Here I take issue with Benedict Anderson, who neglects to explore the continuity between medieval and modern attempts to define territories: cf. Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London and New York: Verso, 1983; repr. 1991).

10 Strange, Le, Geographical Part, 2324. In the Persian, see Mustawfī, , Nuzhat al-qulūb, 23.

11 As Le Strange observes in his preface to the Geographical Part (p. x), Sunnism was dominant in many parts of Iran as late as the 14th century, so Shiʿism was not a strong component of his identity.

12 I view maps as essential texts and vital empirical data in my effort to trace the origins of Iranian nationalism. For a discussion of maps as texts, refer to Harley, J. B., “Historical Geography and the Cartographic Illusion”, Journal of Historical Geography, 15, 1 (01 1989): 8091. See also idem, Deconstructing the Map”, Cartographia, 26, 2 (1989): 120.

13 Cyrus Alaʾi notes that this convention is in accord with Ptolemaic ideas, because Ptolemy did not use the word “Persia” to refer to the whole area. “Instead, he limited himself to including the names of the provinces, or more accurately, the states which together formed Persia”. See Alaʾi, Cyrus, “Persia or Iran? What Do the Maps Say?Map Collector 70 (Spring 1995): 12.

14 Tibbetts, , “The Balkhi School of Geographers”, 115. For more on the historical geography of Iran, see Barthold, W., An Historical Geography of Iran (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984).

15 Strange, Le, Geographical Part, 111. For the Persian, see Mustawfī, , Nuzhat al-qulūb, 135. In Persian, the expression used is mulūk-i Furs.

16 Strange, Le, Geographical Part, 111. For the Persian, see Mustawfī, , Nuzhat al-qulūb, 135.

17 Alaʾi discusses the earliest versions of such maps in “Persia or Iran?” 14. Also, see an anonymous map ca. 1787 and F. de Wit's map of Persia, Armenia, Anatolia, and Arabia, ca. 1690, at Yale University Map Collection. Another map of Arabia and Persia by M. Sanlon, ca. 1693, brings together the Iranian lands and refers to the area as the “Kingdom of Persia”. A ca. 1753 map of the Ottoman Empire, Persia and Uzbekistan labels the same provinces as Persia. This map was made by R. de Vaugondy; it is located, along with Sanlon's map, in Yale's Map Collection.

18 Anderson's observation about Thai maps is not applicable to the following case, because Müteferrika's print did indeed mark the border between the Ottoman Empire and Iran: cf. Anderson, , Imagined Communities, 170–73.

19 For a discussion of this period in Ottoman–Iranian relations, see Olson, Robert W., The Siege of Mosul and Ottoman–Persian Relations, 1718–1743 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975).

20 A print of Müteferrika's map can be found at the Yale Map Collection.

21 In the Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1st ed., s.v. “Persia”, the Orientalist J. H. Kramers claimed that “the use of the word Irān for the modern kingdom of Persia is probably not older than the xixth century, when the Persians began to call themselves Irāniyān”. Historical works from the medieval and Safavid periods, however, demonstrate that the term “Iran” was in use well before the 19th century. See Munshī, Iskandar Beg, Tārīkh-iʾālam arā-yiʾabbāsī, ed. Afshār, Iraj (Tehran: Chapkhānah-i Musavī, 1334/1955), 1:35, 2:712, 3:1020, as some examples.

22 Vaziri, Mostafa, Iran as Imagined Nation (New York: Paragon House, 1993).

23 Cf. Foucault, Michel, The Order of Things: An Archeology of Human Knowledge (New York, Random House, 1970). Foucault argues that the “codes of a culture” determine the parameters within which each person functions. This process of encoding explains the order upon which knowledge was understood in society. Mapping, like other forms of cultural encoding, transmitted a particular order and perception of the world meant to reinforce the mapmaker's bias.

24 See Gellner, Ernest, Thought and Change (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964), 169. Also, Gellner, , Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1983), 4749, and Anderson, , Imagined Communities, 6. Also, Hobsbawm, Eric, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), although Hobsbawm's introductory essay on inventing traditions is more relevant to my observations. See Hobsbawm, Eric, “Introduction: Inventing Traditions”, in The Invention of Tradition, ed. by Hobsbawm, Eric and Ranger, Terence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). It is puzzling that Anderson, Hobsbawm, and Gellner have made such little use of geographical data to trace the birth of nation-states, which are, after all, geographic entities, though Anderson has highlighted the importance of cartography and the census in discussing nationalism. In addition, each neglects to address the importance of the academic discipline of geography in the rise of nationalism. Geography contributed just as much as, if not more than, history and historiography to whetting people's nationalist longings, yet it remains a discipline overlooked and understudied by theorists and historians of nationalism. Also, Peter Sahlins makes some comparable observations on the frontier issue, although our arguments diverge in several important ways because of the different geographical and historical perspectives we have on the subject. See Sahlins, Peter, Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989).

25 “Frontier” refers both to a boundary line and to the periphery in the Persian context. The term marz, corresponding to the English word “frontier”, occurred less frequently in the 19th century, while ḥudūd or sarḥad were more common than marz when referring to borders. Marz gradually gains popularity as Iran's boundaries grow politicized and as nationalization and an emphasis on the Persian language set in.

26 For further discussion of my theoretical approach to frontiers and nationalism, as well as of research into cartography and geography in Iran, see my article, “The Frontier Phenomenon: Perceptions of the Land in Iranian Nationalism”, Critique, forthcoming.

27 Curzon, George Nathaniel, Frontiers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907), 8. Curzon goes on to distinguish between natural and artificial frontiers, in particular “astronomical frontiers”. Noting again the centrality of frontiers, he states that in modern times “The primitive forms [of frontiers], except where resting upon indestructible natural features, have nearly everywhere been replaced by boundaries, the more scientific character of which, particularly where it rests upon treaty stipulations, and is sanctified by International Law, is undoubtedly a preventive of misunderstanding, a check to territorial cupidity, and an agency of peace” (p. 48). However, he reveals his usual biases by claiming that “in Asiatic countries it would be true to say that demarcation has never taken place except under European pressure and by the intervention of European agents” (p. 49). In addition, Curzon notes, the creation of the International Tribunal at Hague “will probably become in an increasing degree the referee and arbiter of the Frontier disputes of the future” (p. 53).

28 al-Ḥukamā, Muḥammad Hāshim Aṣaf Rustam, Rustam al-Tavārīkh (Tehran: Chapkhānah-i Sipihr, 1978), 454–55.

29 Fasaʾi, Ḥasan, History of Persia Under Qajar Rule, trans. Busse, H. (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1972), 65. For the Persian, see Fasaʾi, Ḥasan, Fārsnāmah-i Nāṣiri, ed. Fasaʾi, Manṣūr Rastigār (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Amiīr Kabīr, 1367/1988), 1:660–61. Busse's translation is somewhat liberal here.

30 Fasaʾi, , History of Persia, 66. For the Persian, see Fasaʾi, , Fārsnāmah-i Nāṣirī, 1:661. Busse rightly points out in his edition (p. 66, n. 261) that Irakli was referred to as wali “because he was considered as a vassal of Persia, which the rulers of Georgia had been in Safarid [sic] times”.

31 Hidāyat, Riẓā Qulī Khān, Tārikh-i Rawẓāt al-ṣafā-i Nāṣirī (Qum, 1960), 9:45.

32 al-Salṭanah, Muḥammad Ḥasan Khān Iʾtimād, Khalṣah, mashhūr bi khwābnāmah, ed. Kātīraʾī, Maḥmūd (Tehran, 1357/1978), 2333.

33 Ibid., 45–46.

34 Ibid., pp. 46–47. See also Amir-Mokri, C., “Redefining Iran's Constitutional Revolution” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1992), 2528.

35 It is interesting to note that this custom was not lost on foreigners. As George Fowler noticed, “The Persians have almost a sacred respect for their sovereign…. He is the Vicegerent of Omnipotence upon Earth … the Source of Majesty, of Grandeur, of Honour, and of Glory—whose Throne is the Stirrup of Heaven—Equal to the Sun, and Brother of the Moon and of the Stars—the King of Kings … Chief of the Most Excellent Seat of the Universe” and so on. Fowler, George, Three Years in Persia (London: Henry Colburn, 1841), 2:1213.

36 Naṣīrī, Muḥammad Riẓā, Asnād va Mukātabāt-i Tārīkh-i (Qājāīya) (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Kayhān, 1366/1987), 1:23, 7–8.

37 Buzurg, Mīrzā (ʾIsā) Farāhānī, Qāʾim Maqām, Jihādīya (Tehran, 1974), 1–2, 9. See also the introduction by Maqami, J. Qaʾim, 58.

38 Ibid., 21. For more on the woman analogy, see p. 25.

39 Ibid., 23.

40 Ibid., 24–25.

41 For an English version of the treaty, see Hurewitz, J. C., Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East: A Documentary Record, 1535–1914 (New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1956), 1:96102. For discussions of the Russo-Persian Wars, see Atkin, Muriel, Russia and Iran, 1780–1828 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980); Algar, Hamid, Religion and State in Iran, 1785–1906: the Role of the ʿUlama in the Qajar Period (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969). For Persian accounts, see Mīrzā, Jahāngīr, Tārīkh-i naw (Tehran, 1327/1948); Quzanlu, Jamīl, Jang-i dah ṣāliḥ yā jang-i avval-I Irān va Rūs (Tehran, 1315/1936); Dunbulī, ʿAbd al-Razzāq Maftūn, Maʾāthir Sulṭānīya, ed. Afshār, Ghulām Riẓā Ḥusayn Ṣadrī, reprint edition (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Ibn Sina, 1972).

42 Farāhānī, Qāʾim Maqām, Namihhā-yi siyāsi va tārīkhī-yi sayyid al-vuzarāʾ Qārʾim Maqām Farāhāni (Tehran: Dānishgāh-i Millī-yi Īrān, 1358/1979), p. 160.

43 Amanat, Abbas, “Russian Intrusion into the Guarded Domain: Reflections of a Qajar Statesman on European Expansion”, Journal of the American Oriental Society 113, 1 (1993): 3556.

44 See Encyclopaedia Iranica, s.v. “Abbas Mirza”, in which Busse relates the competition ʾAbbas Mirza faced from his brothers, who were rival claimants to the throne. ʾAbbas Mirza expressed his frustration with his brothers explicitly in a letter addressed to Muhammad Mirza, urging his son to beware of familial rivalry. See Najmī, Nāṣir, Īrān dar miyān-i tufān yā sharḥ-i zindagān-yīʾAbbās Mirzā Nāʾib al-Salṭanah va jang'hā-yi Īrān va Rūs (Kanun-i Ma'rifat: n.p., n.d.), 330.

45 For more on Qaʾim Maqam, see al-Salṭanah, Muḥammad Ḥasan Khān Iʾtimād, Ṣadr al-tavārīkh yā tārīkh-i ṣudūr-i Qājār, 2nd ed. (Tehran, 1978).

46 Amanat, , “Russian Intrusion”, 38.

47 Farāhānī, Abū al-Qāsim Qāʾim Maqām, Munshaʾāt-i Qāʾim Maqām, ed. Maqāmī, J. Qāʾim (Tehran, 1337/1958), 269–70.

48 See Yaghmāʾi's, Sayyid Badr al-Dīn introduction to Divān-i Ashʾār-i Mirzā Abu al-Qāsim Qāʾim Maqām Farāhānī, ed. Yaghmāʾi, Sayyid Badr al-Din (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Sharq, 1366/1987), 6. For the qasida, see ibid., 104–12. Also Amanat, , “Russian Intrusion”, 39.

49 Farāhānī, Qāʾim Maqām, Munshaʾāt, 71.

50 Farāhānī, Qāʾim Maqām, Dīvān, vv. 1010–14. For a translation of these verses, see Amanat, , “Russian Intrusion”, 39. Also v. 999.

51 Farāhaāī, Qāʾim Maqām, Dīvān, 73. For a translation and further explanation of the qasida, see Amanat, , “Russian Intrusion”, 4045.

52 Farāhāni, Mīrzā Abū al-Qāsim Qāʾim Maqām, Namih'hā-yi parakandih-i Qāʾim Maqām Farāhānī, ed. Maqāmī, Jahāngīr Qāʾim (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Bunyād-i Farhang-i Īrān, 1979), 2:55.

53 Ibid., 73.

54 Ibid., 63. For more on Qāʾim Maqām's writings regarding the situation after Griboedov's death, see Munshaʾat, 121–22, 127–28, 132–36.

55 Maqām, Qāʾim, Namih'hā-yi parakandah, 19.

56 Ibid., 78–83, 84–90.

57 Ibid., 91–93.

58 For a detailed description of Iran's frontier with Russia, see William Monteith, Notes on Georgia and the New Russian Conquest beyond the Caucasus (n.p., n.d.).

59 Loftus, William Kennett, Travels and Researches in Chaldea and Susiana (London: James Nisbet and Co., 1857), 1.

60 For translations of the texts of the treaties, see Hurewitz, , Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East, 21–23, 5152, respectively.

61 Cf. Sahlins, Peter, Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989), 102. Sahlins's observations have helped me to construct some of my arguments for Iran.

62 Naṣīrī, , Asnād va Mukātabāt-i Tārīkh-i (Qājārīya), 1:26, 43.

63 Parsadust, Manūchehr, Zamīnih'hā-yi Ikhtilāfāt-i Īrān vaʿĪrāq, 1514–1980 (n.p.: Shirkat-i Sahamī -yi Intishār, 1364/1985), 5759. For a Persian translation of the Treaty of 1823, see ibid., 213–17. For the second treaty, see 218–24. Also, Ādamiyat, , Īrān va Amīr Kabīr (Tehran: Chap-i Pīrūz, 1334/1955).

64 The Iran-Iraq Border: 1840–1958, ed. Schofield, Richard (Buckinghamshire: Archive Editions, 1989), 1:84. See also Schofield's introduction, xxxix-xlvi.

65 Ibid., 1:101. For an overview of the May talks, see 1:93103.

66 Ibid., 1:104–8.

67 Ibid., 1:108.

69 Ibid., 1:124.

71 Ibid., 1:125. The flag also became a point of contention between the Afghans and the Persians. See Eastern Persia: An Account of the Journeys of the Persian Boundary Commission, 1870–72 (London: Macmillan and Co., 1876), 307.

72 Iran–Iraq Border, 1:665.

73 Ibid., 1:661.

74 Khān, Mīrzā Sayyid Jaʿfar, Risālah-i taḥqīqāt-i sarḥaddīya, ed. Mushīrī, Muḥammad (Tehran: Bunyād-i Farhang-i Īrān, 1348/1969), 192.

75 Ibid., 38–40.

76 Ibid., 47–48.

77 Ibid., 48.

78 Iran-Iraq Border, 2:62.

79 Khān, , Risālah-i taḥqīqāt-i sarḥaddīya, 5051.

80 Ibid., 58–59

81 By 1865, the British worried about the prolongment of the negotiations and the additional expenses that the British government would have to incur as a result of the Perso-Ottoman boundary dispute. At that time, there was a suggestion to appoint “the diplomatic agents of the Two Powers at Constantinople, with the assistance of the two commissioners” to draw a frontier line “as nearly in conformity with the stipulations of the Treaty of Erzeroom as the existing knowledge of the country will admit.” See Iran-Iraq Border, 2:554–55.

82 Iran-Iraq Border, 2:604. Many inaccuracies were detected in the maps, which further detracted from their utility: ibid., 608.

83 Maqām, Qāʾim, Munshaʾāt, 71.

84 Armstrong, T. B., Journal of Travel in the Seat of War (London, 1831), 120.

85 This map makes one sympathetic to the challenges facing the Perso-Ottoman Boundary Commission. Cary's 1811 map is available in Yale's Map Collection. Cary's 1801 map is available in Princeton University's Map Collection, Firestone Library.

86 Richardson, John, A Persian, Arabic, English Dictionary (London, 1806), 1:143.

87 Kinneir, John MacDonald, A Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire (London: 1813; reprint, Arno Press, 1973), 12.

88 Fraser, James B., Historical and Descriptive Account of Persia, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1834), 16.

89 Najmī, , Īrān dar miyān-i tufān, 329.

90 Great Britain, Foreign Office, Correspondence Relating to Persia and Affghanistan (London: J. Harrison and Son, 1839), 4.

91 Ibid., 6. For more on British fears regarding Russia, see pp. 1011

92 Ibid., 6.

93 Ibid., 5. This passage is also cited in Captain Hunt's, George Henry and Outram Havelock's Persian Campaign (London: Routledge ' Co., 1858), 89.

94 Great Britain, Foreign Office, Correspondence, 5.

95 According to British sources, “Hajee Ibrahim, one of the great Ispahan Mooshtehids, (Doctors of Divinity), has been induced to declare from the pulpit, that an expedition against the Affghans is a holy war, and that all who fall in it are entitled to the privilege of martyrdom” (ibid., 12).

96 For more on the Herat expedition, see Khān, Muḥammad Taqī, Sipihr, Lisān al-Mulk, Nasīkh al-Tavārīkh, ed. Bihbūdī, Bāqir (Tehran, 1965), 2:302–30.

97 Hunt, , Outram and Havelock's Campaign, 150.

98 Ibid., 155 and Hurewitz, , Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East, 142.

99 Bourne, Kenneth and Watt, D. Cameron, ed., British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Part I, Series B, The Near and Middle East, Persia, 1856–1885 (Bethesda, Md.: University Publications of America, 1984), 10:136.

100 al-Salṭanah, Iʿtimād, Tārīkh-i Munṭazam-i Nāṣirī, ed. Riẓvānī, Muḥammad Ismāʿil (Tehran, 1367/1988), 3:1793–94; al-Mulk, Lisān, Nasīkh al-Tavārītkh, 4:205–7.

101 Markham, Clements R., A General Sketch of the History of Persia (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1874), 517. For more discussion of the Sistan boundary, see Greaves, Rose L., “Iranian Relations with Great Britain and British India, 1798–1921,” in Cambridge History of Iran: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic, ed. MelvillePeter Avery, Gavin Hambly, and Charles Peter Avery, Gavin Hambly, and Charles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) 7:397. See also idem, “Sistan in British Indian Frontier Policy,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 49 (1986): 90102.

102 British Foreign Office, F.O. 60/325, 14 (7 01 1870).

103 Ibid., 12 (7 January 1870).

104 Eastern Persia, xiii.

105 Ibid., 149.

106 Ibid., xliv, xlvi.

107 For example, see Farmā, Fīrūz Mīrzā Farmān, Safarnāmah-i Kirmān va Balūchistān, ed. Neẓām-Mafī, Mansureh (Tehran: Nashr-i Tārīkh-i Īrān, 1360/1981), 10–12, 18–19, 41–43, 5859. There are countless other such recommendations in the text.

108 Eastern Persia, 396, 399.

109 The newspaper, Vaqayiʿ Ittifāqiah carried several notices between 1268/1851 and 1270/1853 that the Shāhnāmah was being regularly printed and was on sale at a local printer's. See also Tavakoli-Targhi, M., “Refashioning Iran: Language and Culture during the Constitutional Revolution,” Iranian Studies 23 (1990): 80, for a discussion of the popularity of the Shāhnāmah in the 19th century and its printing in India. Also, see Afshār, Īraj, Kitābshināsī-yi Shāhnāmah (Tehran, 1347/1968), for a list of 19th-century Shāhnāmahs. Also, in its sixth issue, Rūznāmah-i millatī published a brief biography of Firdausi, : Rūzānmah-i Millatī, 6, 25 Ramadan 1283 A.H.

110 Ākhundzādah, Mīrzā Fatḥ ʿAlī, Mukātabah-i Jalāl va Kamāl al-Dawla yā sah maktūb, 1285/1868 (Manuscript at the Kitābkhānah-yi Mellī-yi Īrān, no. 1123), 2021. I thank Mr. Zargari Nizhad for giving me a copy of this manuscript. Akhundzadah also laments the fact that Iran's current conditions have forced many of its inhabitants to live abroad (p. 22). Kirmānī, Mīrzā ĀqāKhān also regrets the loss of empire in his Sah Maktūb, which is a pastiche of Akhundzadah's Maktūbāt. See Sah Maktūb, ed. Choubine, Bahram (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Mard-i Imrūz, 1370/1991), 68, in which Kirmani makes the additional observation that Iran's territorial domination was even represented on the reliefs of the Behistun.

111 Gurney, John D., “The Transformation of Tehran in the Later Nineteenth Century,” in Téhéran: capitale bicentenaire, ed. Adle, Chahryar and Hourcade, Bernard (Paris and Tehran: Institut francais de recherché en Iran, 1992), 5152. Also Moghtader, Réza, “Téhéran dans ses murailles (1553–1930),” in Téhéran: capital bicentenaire, 3949.

112 Curzon, George Nathaniel Lord, Persia and the Persian Question (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1892), 1:305.

113 Ibid., 1:306.

114 Shāh, Nāṣir al-DīnSafarnāmah-i ʿIrāq-i ʿajam (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Tīrāj, 1362/1983), 158–59.

115 Khan, Mirza Mehdi, “Notes on Persian Beluchistan,Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 9 (1877): 154.

116 Mīrzā, Riẓā Qulī, Safarnāmah-i Riẓā Qulī Mīrzā Navih-i Fatḥ ʿAlī Shāh (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Asatir,1361/1982), 631–32.

117 Ganjī, Muḥammad Ḥasan, Jughrāfiya dar Īrān: Az Dār al-Funūn tā Inqilāb-i Islāmī (Mashhad: Intish ā r ā t-i Ast ā n-i Quds Ra ẓ avī, 1367/1988), 2629.

118 Farhang, Isfahan, no. 41, 27Rabiʿal-Thani, 1297/8 04 1880, 1.

119 al-Mulk, Ḥājj ʿAbd al-Ghaffār Najm, Safarnāmah-i Khuzistān (Tehran, 1341/1962), 1.

120 Ibid., 107.

121 Ibid.

122 Ibid., 108–12.

123 al-Salṭanah, Iʿtimād, Mirʾāt al-Buldān, ed. Navāʾi, ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Dānishgāh-i Tihrān, 1367/1988), 1:6. Afsaneh Najmabadi also discusses Iʿtimad al-Saltanah's geographical study in “Beloved and Mother: The Erotic Vatan [homeland]: To Love, To Possess, and To Protect,” in Comparative Studies in Society and History, forthcoming.

124 See al-Salṭanah, Iʿtimād, Tārīkh-i Muntaẓam-i Nāṣirī, 1:492. Also cited in introduction of Mirʾāt by Navāʾi, ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn, 1:3435.

125 al-Salṭanah, Iʿtimād, Mirʾ āt al-Buldān, 1:3.

126 Hyacinth Louis Rabino claims that lṭṭilāʿ was a semiofficial organ of the Iranian government and a twin brother of the official Iranian gazette. As head of the Press and Translation Ministry, Iʿtimad al-Saltanah oversaw the paper: Rabino, H. L., Rūznāmah'hā-yi Irān, trans. Khumāmizādah, Jaʿfar (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Iṭṭilāʿ āt, 1373/1994), 64.

127 lṭṭilāʿ, no. 10, 26 Rajab 1298/24 06 1881, 12. Also, see Rūznāmah-i ʿilmīya-i dawlat-i Irān, which devoted several of its articles to promoting the sciences, including astronomy, medicine, agriculture, and geography. The emphasis on science was hoped to bring about progress by substituting for traditional approaches new advances made in these fields in Europe. Articles from October through December 1869 in particular tended to have a geographical focus. In addition, the fourth issue discusses Iran's progress in the sciences.

128 Rawlinson, George, Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy (London, 1873).

129 al-Salṭanah, Iʿtimād, Durar al-Tījān fi Tārīkh BanīAshkān, ed. Aḥmadī, Niʿmat (Tehran: Atlas, 1371/1993), 2627.

130 al-Salṭanah, Iʿtimād, Taṭbīq-i Lughat-i jughrāfiya-yi qadim va jadīd-i Irān, ed. Muḥaddis, Mir Hāshim (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Amīr Kabīr, 1363/1984), 16. I am aware only of these works produced by d'Anville and Kiepert: d'Anville, Jean-Baptiste Bourgignon, Traité des mesures itinéraires anciennes et modernes (Paris, 1769); Kiepert, Heinrich, Itinerare aufder Insel Lesbos (Berlin, 1890).

131 al-Salṭanah, Iʿtimād, Taṭbīq, 2329.

132 Ibid., 18. Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohamad notes that a majlis-i akadīmī was finally formed in 1903. See Tavakoli-Targhi, M., “Refashioning Iran: Language and Culture During the Constitutional Revolution,” Iranian Studies 23 (1990): 93. Also, see Tavakoli-Targhi, M., “Tarikh pardazi va Iran ara-yi”, Iran namah, 12 (Fall, 1373/1994): 583628, which contains engaging discussions of this passage as well as other cultural issues. It is worth noting, however, that Tavakoli-Targhi does not make the connection between land, geography, and frontiers, focusing instead on historiographical matters.

133 al-Salṭanah, Iʿtamād, Taṭbīq, 16.

134 Ākhundzādah, Mīrzā Fatḥ ʿAlī, Maqālāt, ed. Muʾminī, Bāqir (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Avā), 193. “Jam-i Jam” refers to the geographical work translated by Farhad Mirza, who had sent Fath ʿAli a copy of the work.

135 H.Déhérain, , “Les reconnaissances géographiques et archélogiques du Capitaine Truilhier en Perseen 1807–1808”, in Mélanges syriens offerts à M. René Dussaud (Paris, 1939).

136 For some of Rawlinson's, findings, see Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 10 (1847), for his published results.

137 Loftus, , Travels and Researches, 326.

138 Ibid., 360.

139 Ḍar Sharḥ-i Takht-i Jamshīd (Manuscript at Kitābkhānah-yi millī, no. 2156 F/6), 141. This is a short manuscript, approximately four pages long, and the author's identity is nowhere cited.

140 Ibid., 145.

141 Shīrāzī, Muḥammad Nāṣir Mīrzā Fursat Ḥusayni, Āsār-i ʿajam (Bombay, 1353/1934), 9.

142 Ḥabl al-Matīn, 5, 11 Rajab 1318/5 11 1900, 15.

143 Gobineau, Arthur de, Trois ans en asie (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1905), 268. It was clearly not Gobineau who instilled this idea among Iranians; rather, it was the Iranians who gave him this impression.

144 Gobineau, , Trois ans, 268.

145 In “Refashioning Iran”, Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi makes many interesting observations regarding historiography, though he does not place Iranians' interest in reviving ancient history within the broader context of territorial issues and imperialism: Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, “Refashioning Iran”.

146 Kirmānī, Mīrzī Āqā Khān, Āyinah-i Sikandarī (Tehran, 1324/1906), 12.

147 See my forthcoming article, “The Frontier Phenomenon”, Critique, for more on the issue of geography and notions of the homeland (vaḥan).

148 My analysis stands in contrast to several important works published on Iranian nationalism that have not examined the primacy of land, frontiers, and geography, including the following: Cottam, Richard W., Nationalism in Iran (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1964);Katouzian, Homayoun, “Nationalist Trends in Iran, 1921–1926”, International Journal of Middle East Studies 10 (1979): 533–51;Ghods, M. Reza, “Iranian Nationalism and Reza Shah”, Middle Eastern Studies 27 (1991): 3545;Tavakoli-Targhi, , “Refashioning Iran”, 77101;Najmabadi, Afsaneh, “Zanha-yi Millat: Women or Wives of the Nation?Iranian Studies 26 (1993): 5171;Chehabi, Houchang E., “Staging the Emperor's New Clothes: Dress Codes and Nation-Building under Reza Shah”, Iranian Studies 26 (1993): 209–33.

149 I am using the term –closed” here in a figurative sense. Frontiers were as always susceptible to change, but for the time being the more powerful hands of Russia and Britain, which had helped to draw these frontiers, would not allow any immediate political shift in the boundary lines, though unmonitored tribes continued to breach these borders. The frontier then was closed only in the sense that the possibility of expansion at the end of the 19th century did not appear imminent. This situation would, of course, change at the end of World War I.

150 In the 11 January 1864 issue of Rūznāmah-i ʿllmīya-i dawlat-i Īrān, no. 1, which published its articles in the three languages of Persian, Arabic, and French, the Persian term millat was used in the context of the French word nation, indicating that by this time, the term millat no longer exclusively carried a religious meaning, although millat was still used in a religious context. An example of its religious use can be found in a discussion of the faiths of the world in a later issue of the Rūznāmah-i ʿllmīya, no. 48, 8 09 1869.


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