This article explores the historical writings of Rashid al-Din Tabib (d. 1318) as part of a programme of political legitimisation for the Mongol Ilkhans of Iran. By considering both volumes of the Jami` al-tawārikh alongside one another and in their political context, it reveals aspects of the text that get lost when the dynastic and world history are treated in isolation. Rashid al-Din's presentation of legendary figures of communal identity from Perso-Islamic and Turko-Mongol traditions responds to immediate political conflicts between his patrons and their neighbours, the Jochid Mongols of the Volga region and the Mamluks of Egypt. In the relative absence of documentary evidence, court-sponsored narrative chronicles can in this way inform our understanding of ruling ideology during the period.
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