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Volume 3 / 2018 / Issue 1

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    About Global Late Antiquity

    Local Histories from the Medieval Persianate World

    Memory, Legitimacy, and the Early Islamic Past

    About Global Late Antiquity

    Local Histories from the Medieval Persianate World

    Memory, Legitimacy, and the Early Islamic Past

    Introduction and overview

    Medieval local histories from the Persianate world form a notoriously heterogeneous genre. An issue of Iranian Studies in 2000 featured the variegated materials subsumed under the umbrella of Persianate local histories and highlighted the difficulty of speaking of these texts as a coherent genre. Persianate, in the broadest sense, has been used by scholars to refer to practices, texts, and norms prevalent in lands historically influenced by Persianate language and culture, which encompasses not only modern-day Iran but much of Central Asia as well as parts of South Asia. This essay considers Persianate local histories, mainly from what is today considered Iran and Central Asia, alongside contemporary Persian-language sources from Rūm (Anatolia) in order to highlight some characteristic traits of the former. It is guided by two questions: first, if medieval Persianate local histories can even be considered a genre, what are some recurring or signature characteristics and motifs? Second, if we compare these Persianate histories against sources about Rūm—a roughly contemporary and similarly heterogeneous collection of texts—what are the differences between them, and why do these differences exist? In this attempt to corral disparate texts together as a genre, the conclusions of this essay will necessarily be broad and comparative.

    In this article, I use the term “Persianate” specifically to refer to the geographic region of the vast lands inhabited by a loose Persian ethnic group and originally held under Achaemenid and Sasanian imperial control. I use this broader and shifting term “Persianate” (and so “Persia”) over “Iranian” (and so “Iran,” Īrān, Īrānshahr), as “Iran” and “Iranian” are less relevant for fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-century local histories.1 Also, I have chosen a subset of sources that are written at least partly in the Persian language (an issue I will discuss in more detail below). Therefore, I here use “Persianate” as a broad geographic and ethnic category—stemming from the notional entity of “Persia,” broadly defined—whereas I use “Persian” or “Persian-language” to mean sources composed at least partly in the Persian language that originated from a much wider geographical and cultural area than that signified by the term “Persianate.”

    As Iran and the Persianate lands transitioned from the late antique period into the Islamic era, a heterogeneous but related collection of locally-oriented histories were composed, translated, edited, and compiled. Patterns within city and regional histories from the peripheries of the Islamic empire—far from its perceived heartlands in Arabia, Syria, and Iraq—identify local structures of authority and legitimacy and also resonate with universal Islamic themes and topoi. Local identity manifests itself differently in the Persian-language sources from Rūm and, through these differences, illuminates the distinctive characteristics of Persianate histories.

    Persianate local histories and Persian-language dynastic histories from Rūm provide contrasting examples of the ways in which Persian-language historical writing manifests the priorities and symbols of legitimation at the time of their production. Boundaries, rulers, and norms shift over the centuries, as do the ways in which authors frame their claims for legitimacy and articulate their multilayered identities. Thus, Persianate sources show vestiges of their pre-Islamic past at the same time that they are steeped in Islamic norms. In contrast, sources from Seljuq Rūm concentrate more heavily on dynastic elements to demonstrate legitimacy.

    This essay considers three specific literary strategies that the authors of Persianate annalistic local histories employed to frame claims to legitimacy, identity, and belonging in their works: constructing etymologies (Bukhara, Qum, and Ṭabaristān); associating ṣaḥābah and other living faḍāʾil (virtues) with the region (Ṭabaristān and Bayhaq); and likewise associating sayyids, sharīfs, and Alids with the region (Qum and Ṭabaristān). The final section of this essay argues that within the heterogeneous genre of medieval Islamic Persian-language local histories, multiple modes of legitimacy are employed to forge different connections to memory and history. Persian-language sources from Rūm depart markedly from their Persianate counterparts in terms of the ways in which legitimacy is presented and connections to earlier histories are asserted. In contrast to the Persianate histories, however, locally-oriented histories from Rūm composed during the seventh/thirteenth to eighth/fourteenth centuries focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.

    Four examples of Persianate local history

    This essay analyzes four annalistic Persianate local histories from the fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-centuries which were composed (to varying degrees) in both Arabic and Persian: Tārīkh-i Bukhārā,2 Tārīkh-i Bayhaq,3 Tārīkh-i Qum,4 and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān.5 Persianate local histories from this period vary in form and content. In terms of form, these local histories lie on a spectrum from biographical dictionaries at one end to narrative chronicles on the other, and they are often some combination of both. In terms of content, historical writing ranges from a town or city history (Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, and Tārīkh-i Qum) to provincial history (Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān). Linguistically, they are, to varying degrees, bilingual in Persian and Arabic. It is their heterogeneity of form and content that makes it challenging to speak of Persianate local histories as a single genre. The Persianate local histories considered here consist primarily of narrative annalistic chronicle-style material.

    Tārīkh-i Bukhārā is a local history that is a Persian translation of a lost Arabic original; the Persian text is simultaneously an abridgment of the original Arabic and an expansion of it with new material. The original Arabic-language Tārīkh-i Bukhārā was written in 332/943 or 944 by Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar b. Zakariyyā b. Khaṭṭāb b. Sharīk al-Narshakhī (d. ca. 348/959) from the village of Narshakh in the vicinity of Bukhara, who dedicated it to the Samanid amīr Nūḥ b. Naṣr (r. 331–343/943–954) in 332/943–944; it was translated into Persian by Abū Naṣr Aḥmad al-Qubawī in 522/1128–1129.6

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq is a mid-sixth/twelfth-century Persian local history of Bayhaq, a modest city located in northeastern Iran near the modern city of Mashhad and the Iranian border with Turkmenistan. Abū’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Abī’l-Qāsim Zayd b. Muḥammad b. al-Ḥusayn al-Bayhaqī (d. 565/1169), also known as Ibn Funduq, composed Tārīkh-i Bayhaq in 563/1167, two years before his death, during the rule of Muʾayyad al-Dawlah Ay Aba (d. 659/1174), who controlled Khurasan.7

    Tārīkh-i Qum was originally written in Arabic in the fourth/tenth century by Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. Ḥasan al-Qummī (d. ca. 406/1015–1016) in 378/988–989, although that original text is now lost. Tārīkh-i Qum survives only in the form of a later Persian translation made in 805–806/1402–1403 by Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. Ḥasan b. ʿAbd al-Malik al-Qummī for Ibrahīm b. Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-Safī (both fl. late eighth/fourteenth to early ninth/fifteenth century). The translated manuscript was then copied in 837/1433 in the city of Qum.8

    Finally, Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ḥasan b. Isfandiyār (d. after 613/1217), known as Ibn Isfandiyār, composed Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān in Persian in the early part of the seventh/thirteenth century. Both E. G. Browne and ʿAbbās Iqbāl date Ibn Isfandiyār’s composition of the text to 613/1216. The history is a composite work: Ibn Isfandiyār composed the original text in Persian and died sometime after 613/1216–1217, after which an anonymous compiler working sometime after the eighth/mid-fourteenth century then added to the work by updating it. The anonymous writer continued where Ibn Isfandiyār left off, in 606/1210, and brings the history up to ca. 750/1349.

    The three seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth century sources from Rūm that I will consider as heuristic counterpoints here are the chronicle of Ibn Bībī (d. ca. after 683–684/1285 or 686–687/1288), the chronicle of Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī (d. ca. between 723–733/1323–1333), and the anonymous Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq (“History of the Seljuqs”), completed in 765/1363; they are all Persian-language sources. Naturally, the limited sample set and the nature of the sources themselves constrain my observations and conclusions. While the sources that I compare here are different—Persian-language local histories from Persia during the fourth/tenth to ninth/fifteenth centuries on the one hand (which I have called Persianate local histories) and Persian-language dynastic histories of the Seljuqs of Rūm from the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries on the other—these two bodies of literature are the most closely aligned contemporary sources from the geographically contiguous regions of Persia and Anatolia.  There are no extant local histories of Rūm that are truly analogous to the annalistic Persianate local histories. Instead, what we have available to us are dynastic histories, a genre that was well-established by the eighth/fourteenth century in the broader Islamicate world.

    Consequently, we must consider apples alongside oranges, as it were, to make any kind of comparative assessment of these Persian-language histories, all locally oriented in their horizons and produced in or around two geographically contiguous regions located on the peripheries of the symbolic heartland of the Islamic empire in Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. There are other important peripheries of the Islamic empire during the fourth/tenth- to ninth/fifteenth centuries, for example Egypt and the Iberian Peninsula. The histories of these regions, which were written in Arabic, could also provide us with fruitful comparanda.9 However, on account of their geographic proximity and their use of Persian as the language of composition, the abovementioned sources from Rūm offer us the clearest heuristic comparison with the Persianate local histories.

    As mentioned above, authors of local histories from the Persianate world argued for the legitimacy and importance of their communities on the peripheries of empire by including narratives about descendants of the Prophet associated with the region; recounting narratives of legitimating dreams and visions; associating ṣaḥābah with the land; highlighting sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah); and incorporating sacralizing etymologies.10 By pursuing such strategies, the authors of the Persianate local histories claimed the centrality of their ostensibly peripheral regions.11 In contrast, the construction of dynastic and specifically Seljuq legitimacy are central concerns for the sources from Rūm from the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries, which present claims to such legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.

    Strategies of legitimation, I: etymologies in Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Qum, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    Qummī adduces multiple possible etymologies for the name of his native city in his Tārīkh-i Qum, and in so doing weaves the etymology, mythology, and history of Qum deep into the fabric of revelation and prophecy. Tārīkh-i Qum offers multiple etymologies for Qum, some fanciful and some more plausible; many are based on word play.12 One etymology traces the origins of Qum back to the prophet Noah.13 Qummī also adduces a Shi’i tradition about the naming of Qum, which claims that Qum is named as such because its inhabitants will be standing (qāʾim) steadfast with the family of Muḥammad, and they will stand upright (qāʾim) with him and will represent the victory of the family of the Prophet and will come to his aid.14 Other various possible etymologies suggest that a shepherd’s shack or a local stream may be the source of Qum’s etymology. Qummī’s most striking etymologies for Qum invoke the sacred.

    Regardless of the true origin or origins of Qum’s name, a story about Qum, Muḥammad, and Iblīs on the night of the miʿrāj is particularly noteworthy. The miʿrāj, the Prophet Muḥammad’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem (al-masjid al-aqṣā) and subsequent ascension to heaven from there, is a pivotal qurʾānic moment.15 In asserting Qum’s etymology into this qurʾānic event, Qummī embeds Qum deep into the framework of prophetic and Islamic history. According to Qummī:

    On the night of the Prophet’s ascension (miʿrāj), Iblīs the Accursed came to this place (boqʿ) on his knees (be zānū dar āmade būd) and he put both his elbows16 upon his knees, and looked upon the ground. The Prophet said to Iblīs: “Qum yā malʿūn” which means “Rise, O accursed one.” And it is for this reason that Qum was given the name ‘Qum.’17

    Understood in this way, the prophetic etymology of Qum on the night of the miʿrāj is a form of “elaboration of memory,” and a way of merging the memory of the early Islamic past and pivotal qurʾānic moments with Qum’s Islamic Persianate present.18 By participating in qurʾānic and biblical events (through an etymology invoking the Prophet Noah), Qum exists both within and beyond time—at once both memorialized in qurʾānic time and existing in its Persianized present.

    In Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Narshakhī incorporates sacralizing etymologies that include prophetic ḥadīth as one among other literary strategies to link Bukhara to Muḥammad’s legacy and Islamic modes of legitimacy. Narshakhī states that although the region is known by many names, the Companion Salmān al-Fārisī transmitted a tradition of the Prophet about the reason the city is named Bukhara. As a Persian and a Companion of the Prophet, Salmān al-Fārisī and his tradition about the etymology of Bukhara adds another dimension to the ways in which Narshakhī binds Bukhara to Muhammad and early Islamic memory. Narshakhī quotes Salmān al-Fārisī’s ḥadīth of the Prophet as follows:

    [Salmān said:] “The Prophet of God said that Gabriel told him that in the land of the East was a place called Khurasan. On the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, three cities of Khurasan will be adorned with red rubies and coral, and their radiance will shine about them. Around these cities there will be many angels, and they will praise, glorify, and exalt God. These angels will bring forth these cities onto the plains in grandeur and splendor, like a bride who is brought into the house of her betrothed. In each of these cities there will be 70,000 banners and under each banner there will be 70,000 martyrs. In the entourage of each martyr will be 70,000 believers, who will be speaking Persian and receiving salvation. On the Day of Judgment, every side of these cities—to the right and left, front and rear, for a distance of ten days’ journey—will be filled with martyrs.

    “The Prophet said, ‘O Gabriel, tell me the names of these cities.’ Gabriel replied, ‘The name of one of these cities in Arabic is Qāsimiyyah and in Persian Yishkard. The second in Arabic is Sumrān, in Persian Samarqand. The third in Arabic is Fākhirah, and in Persian Bukhārā.’ The Prophet asked, ‘O Gabriel, why is it called Fākhirah?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Because on the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, Bukhārā shall excel all other cities in glory (fakhr) because of the multitude of martyrs [buried there].’19 The Prophet cried, ‘God bless the people of Fākhirah and purify their hearts through the fear of God. Improve their actions and make them among the merciful of my people.’”

    Narshakhī then adds, “The significance of this is that from the east to the west it is attested that the people of Bukhārā are noted for their belief and purity.”20

    Narshakhī incorporates this prophetic ḥadīth in his history to bind Bukhara to Islamic memory and to the Prophet’s legacy. R. N. Frye surveyed the possible etymology and pre-Islamic history of Bukhara, and exhaustively assessed the sources for convincing etymologies; he ultimately found the data inconclusive.21 Narshakhī’s use of this etymology—regardless of its facticity regarding the actual etymology of Bukhara—is significant because he ties the city of Bukhara to the legacy of the Prophet through an etymology related by the Persian Companion Salmān al-Fārisī, thereby asserting a powerful form of non-biological lineage and heirship to the Prophet and his legacy.

    The etymologies offered by Persianate local histories may be tied to an Islamic past, a pre-Islamic past, or both, as is the case in Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. The etymologies and virtues (faḍāʾil) of Ṭabaristān are rich in pre-Islamic lore and Alid elements, as well as those that are not discernibly either Islamic or non- or pre-Islamic. Some etymologies offered by the author do capture the ancient Iranian and pre-Islamic character of the region. For example, regarding the etymology of the locale called Farshwāgdar, Ibn Isfandiyār offers several etymologies that range from “living safely” to “land of the mountain, plain, and sea,” among others.22 Ibn Isfandiyār relates that the region of Mazandaran was possessed by demons until the era of Jamshīd, who purportedly conquered them and commanded them to transform the land to make it more habitable and hospitable. The region was originally called mūz andar ūn, meaning that the region was within the area of the Mūz mountains.23 Ibn Isfandiyār neither forgets nor elides the pre-Islamic past, but instead incorporates it into a broader narrative that ultimately leads to the region of Ṭabaristān being imbued with Alids and sayyids and embedded within the Islamic narrative.24 Memory of the early Islamic past presents a form of legitimacy and belonging, but in this case it is an identity that overlaps with memories of the region’s pre-Islamic heritage and earlier non- and pre-Islamic modes of memory, legitimacy, and belonging in the Persianate world and the specifically local context.

    Strategies of legitimation, II: ṣaḥābah and living virtues of the land in Tārīkh-i Bayhaq and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    The close association to Muḥammad of the ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, and other early members of the Muslim community expands the notion of heirship from biological connections to ones based on association and community. Just as Muḥammad’s biological descendants are held in high esteem as living links to him, individuals who are not biologically linked to the Prophet are also celebrated as living virtues of the land that connect a place to early Islamic memory and bring prestige and legitimacy to the region. These individuals can take the form of ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, and their descendants, as in the case of Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, or they can be a wider array of individuals who are considered the living faḍāʾil of the region, as in the case of Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān.

    The term faḍāʾil, meaning virtue or excellence, is used in Arabic-language and Persian-language Islamicate writing to refer to a range of virtues, or else to a person, place, or thing that may be considered excellent. Within the genre of Persianate local histories, people—as well as places and natural phenomena—can be referred to as faḍāʾil. In the case of Ṭabaristān, this category includes notables,25 learned men,26 imāms,27 saints and ascetics,28 sages and philosophers,29 and—to a lesser extent—writers and scribes,30 physicians and poets,31 and astronomers,32 all of whom are described in Ibn Isfandiyār’s Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. It is significant that Ibn Isfandiyār’s list of virtues of Ṭabaristān includes faḍāʾil that are unambiguously Islamic such as imāms and saints; those who derive their prestige from the pre-Islamic era such as local notables; and those who are not inherently either, such as poets and physicians. For Ibn Isfandiyār, the markers and signifiers of legitimacy and belonging in Ṭabaristān include a layering of pre-Islamic heritage, early Islamic memory, and merits and virtues that are not necessarily either, but may be considered as generally signifying accomplishments of learning and culture.

    Tor has argued for the ways in which Islamic literatures and political theories absorbed, modified, and Islamized pre-Islamic Iranian ideals of rulership, including Sasanian genealogies, titulature, and symbols of rulership.33 Persianate Islamic identity in Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān is not either-or, but both-and, a multi-dimensional understanding of what constitutes legitimacy and identity in the local sphere of Ṭabaristān and in the broader sweep of Islamic history.

    Whereas Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān addresses the faḍāʾil of an entire region, Ibn Funduq’s Tārīkh-i Bayhaq catalogs the notable individuals associated with this modest city. And whereas Ibn Isfandiyār’s history pays close attention to the forceful displays of fiscal and political autonomy by the inhabitants of Ṭabaristān—thereby emphasizing the activities and importance of important pre-Islamic notable families in Ṭabaristān—Ibn Funduq takes a different approach to depicting the legitimacy of his native land.

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq claims the Companion al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās al-Sulamī (d. after 23/644) as one of its own, as he putatively died in the vicinity of Bayhaq, although no other source that I have identified associates him with Bayhaq. Being associated with Bayhaq could mean that an individual lived, taught, died, or otherwise had ties to the city. In an article, Pourshariati finds that of the ṣaḥābah listed by Ibn Funduq, only two individuals had anything to do with Bayhaq that could be verified or corroborated with a source other than Ibn Funduq’s history.34 Building on Pourshariati’s earlier work, I argue that one of these two individuals, al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās al-Sulamī (Pourshariati renders his name as al-ʿAbbās b. Mardās al-Salmī), likely had no significant connection to Bayhaq. If he is associated with any region, it is with the desert area surrounding Basra.35

    ʿAbbās was one of the Companions of the Prophet, a warrior of the Banū Sulaym, and a prominent poet.36 Not much is known about him (to the extent that it is not entirely clear what his name is),37 but he nevertheless appears in the Sīrah of the Prophet in an incident in which he rebuked the Prophet for what he considered an unfairly meager share of the booty.38 ʿAbbās also appears in the histories of al-Balādhurī and Khalīfah b. Khayyāṭ as collecting the zakāt alms tax from the Banū Sulaym on behalf of the Prophet, and he is purported to have been an envoy from the Prophet to the Arabs of al-Bādiyyah sent to persuade them to participate in the battle of Tabūk.39

    It is unlikely that we will ever know with certainty whether ʿAbbās actually lived and died in Bayhaq. Ibn Saʿd (d. 230/845) associates him with the region surrounding Basra.40 Moreover, if ʿAbbās ever visited or lived in Bayhaq, we would expect him to appear in the ṭabaqāt (biographical dictionaries) of Nishapur, which was the closest city of significant size and prominence. However, the ṭabaqāt work of al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī (fl. ca. fourth/tenth century) remains silent about ʿAbbās. Of ʿAbbās’s descendants, the only named individual listed in the Tārīkh-i Bayhaq is Shaykh Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn b. Abī’l-Qāsamak Mirdās, who was a ḥadīth teacher who transmitted traditions he learned from the shaykh al-sunnah Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. Fāṭimah al-Bayhaqī. Neither ʿAbbās’s descendant nor the descendant’s ḥadīth teacher has an entry in the ṭabaqāt of al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī either. For Ibn Funduq, what made ʿAbbās an important person was not his transmission of ḥadīth (some of which were eventually included in what became the canonical collections), but rather his proximity to the Prophet as a Companion. As a Companion, ʿAbbās’s role tied Bayhaq to the Prophet and to memories of early Islam.

    Ibn Funduq’s organization of his work underscores his desire to claim for Bayhaq prophetic sanction and blessing through association with ṣaḥābah. He begins his chapter on the virtues of Bayhaq with the ḥadīth that “None among my Companions dies in a land except that he will be resurrected as a leader and a light for those people on the Day of Resurrection.”41 Ibn Funduq explains in Persian that the ḥadīth means that “in every place on the earth that one of the great ones of the Companions of the Prophet dies an exalted death (shahādat yāfte bāshad ) or bids farewell to the world, [God] will honor that place… and on Judgment Day those Companions will be a leader and a light for those people.”42 Ibn Funduq also writes, “The Prophet of God said, ‘Blessed be Nishapur in Khurasan,’ because Nishapur in Bayhaq is part of Khurasan, its regions are the best regions, and the blessed Prophet arrived in Khurasan and built in every city”; this is followed by an explanation of why the Arabs were drawn to Khurasan.43 The purpose and effect of Ibn Funduq’s claim that ʿAbbās is a man of Bayhaq is to intertwine the story of Bayhaq with the story of the formative years of Islam. ʿAbbās is part of an apparatus of legitimacy that connects Bayhaq to early Islamic memory and establishes Bayhaq’s legitimacy as a bona fide Muslim city of significance.

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq contains scant evidence for the settlement of Arabs in the region, such as mosques, qanāt irrigation channels, gates, mīdāns, or other physical or symbolic markers of Arab settlement. The insistence of Tārīkh-i Bayhaq on Arab ṣaḥābah as critical early members of the community suggests that the absence of notable early Arab settlers created an undercurrent of anxiety about the region’s Islamic legitimacy. Regardless of the veracity of Ibn Funduq’s claims, ṣaḥābah and tābiʿūn bind Bayhaq to the Prophet’s legacy and link the modest city with early Islamic memory through central events and characters of the ummah.

    Strategies of legitimation, III: sayyids, sharīfs, and Alids in Tārīkh-i Qum and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    Descendants of the Prophet brought the prestige and sanction of Muḥammad’s legacy to the places with which they were associated. I borrow my understanding of the term “descendants of the Prophet” from Kazuo Morimoto and Teresa Bernheimer, and define them here as a wide array of cross-sectarian individuals and families who claimed—and were believed by their communities to enjoy—kinship with the Prophet, a phenomenon that was both biological and socially constructed.44 The terms that commonly denote different types of lineal descent from Muḥammad or his kinship group—Alid or al-ʿAlawī, Hasanid, Husaynid, Talibid, sayyid, and sharīf—are all ambiguous. They are used flexibly and with wide variation in the medieval sources themselves, especially in the medieval Islamic east of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.45

    In Tārīkh-i Qum, the author (and later his translator) bound Qum to key moments and figures in Islamic and cosmic history and to prophetic authority by constructing an identity for the city based on its Alid inhabitants, Ashʿarī Arab Alid progenitors, and a considerable number of sayyids and other descendants of the Prophet. Reports (akhbār) and traditions about the faḍāʾil of Qum and its areas and inhabitants emphasize the area’s Shi’i and sayyid identity, through such characters as Shi’i Imāms—especially ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib and the Imām ʿAlī al-Riḍā—as well as the angel Gabriel, Iblīs, Jesus, and the Prophet Muḥammad.46

    Sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah) continued to invest the locale with Islamic legitimacy and constantly renewed memories of the early Islamic past. This is the case with the shrine complex of Fāṭimah Maṣʿūmah in Qum. Though not martyred herself, Fāṭimah’s hagiographical account is closely tied to that of her brother, the Imām al-Riḍā, martyred in Ṭūs in 203/818.47 When Fāṭimah died en route from Medina to Marv in 201/816–817 while she was travelling to visit her brother, she was buried in Qum, and her interment there became an occasion for later Safavid rulers to develop it into a full-fledged shrine city.

    Fāṭimah’s body became a source of barakah for the inhabitants of Qum and its visitors and pilgrims. Qummī includes a ḥadīth attributed to the Sixth Imām, Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (d. 148/765), in which the imām predicts the future death and burial of his descendant Fāṭimah and claims that “everyone who does ziyārah to her will find he or she certainly goes to heaven (har kas ke ziyārat-e ou dar yābad be-behesht ravad o behesht-e ou rā wājib shavad).48 In becoming a site of pious visitation (ziyārah), Fāṭimah’s body and the shrine sanctuary that surrounded it not only continued to invest Qum with Islamic legitimacy, but also created a way of constantly recognizing and renewing memories of the early Islamic past through Muḥammad’s descendants.

    Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān includes narratives about the sayyids and sharīfs associated with the region, as well as other faḍāʾil, or virtues. Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān brims with Islamic characteristics, especially those that emphasize the region’s Shi’i credentials and ties to Alid sayyids. There is a section devoted the sayyids who ruled in Ṭabaristān.49 Ibn Isfandiyār records the names of notables and the places they visited, such as Imām Ḥasan b. ʿAlī visiting a place called Māmṭīr.50 Descendants of Muḥammad connect the region to Muḥammad’s legacy and the memory of the early Muslim community. The ispahbad, the local ruler of Ṭabaristān, gave generous gifts during the Hajj season, such as gifts to multiple shrines of members of the house of the Prophet, the poor, and the amīrs of Mecca. Ibn Isfandiyār documents the ispahbad’s gifts as a way of underscoring how the local ruler of Ṭabaristān acknowledged, respected, and gave generously to the shrines of the Shi’i Imāms and other pious figures.51

    The solipsism of the peripheries: local texts with local horizons

    Persianate local histories are conditioned by their immediate local horizons, and consequently are characterized by a certain degree of solipsism. The authors of these texts composed them with full awareness of the broader ummah and notions of what constitutes Islamic legitimacy and authority, but they were not particularly concerned with the centrality or marginality of other cities or regions along the peripheries. Put another way, the author of Tārīkh-i Bukhārā is unconcerned with the perceived centrality or marginality of Qum or Ṭabaristān. The medieval authors or editors of these works do not engage with other ostensibly peripheral regions, although we as historians may consider works from other comparable Persianate peripheries as part of the same genre and may read them side by side, or at least within the same context. This is in contradistinction to universal histories, such as Ṭabarī’s encyclopedic chronicle, which is concerned with Islamic history more broadly, from the dawn of time and earlier prophets to the present dawlah. Local histories are highly attuned to their locales, and other regions—particularly neighboring communities or agents of the caliph, such as individuals attempting to enforce tax payment —intrude into the local sphere only when they factor into the history of the specific location, be it Bayhaq or Ṭabaristān.

    Regional and local histories are preoccupied with local notables and local faḍāʾil—material, living, and deceased—whose relevance is generally limited to that particular city or region. Sacred or notable places identified in these histories are generally of local interest, and only on rare occasions—such as the shrine sanctuary of Fāṭimah in Qum—do they have a wider resonance beyond the local or regional context. But these locally significant phenomena are framed within a broader Islamic narrative to assert both local values and participation in the Muslim ummah. These phenomena are thus both local and global, universal and specific, Persian and Muslim. For example, the memory of Zoroastrian fire-temples in Qum is not purposefully forgotten or elided but is instead recorded and retained as one of the local faḍāʾil.52. In a similar vein, prominent pre-Islamic families in Ṭabaristān retain their political prestige and importance during the Islamic era; their prestige and eminence remain intact as the region transitions from the pre-Islamic to the Islamic era, and their local importance translates effectively through time and across religious divides.

    This local orientation, at least in part, reflects the intended audience of the text. The rationale for the local focus of the text is particularly clear in cases when the work was written for and dedicated to a patron, as with the original Arabic Tārīkh-i Qum (though only the later Persian translation survives), which was written under the patronage of Ismāʿīl b. ʿAbbād b. al-ʿAbbās b. ʿAbbād, wazīr to the Buyid Fakhr al-Dawlah b. Rukn al-Dawlah (r. 366–387/976–997), to whom the work was dedicated. In other texts, for which the history of production, transmission, and dissemination is murkier, the rationale for the local orientation is less obvious. Nevertheless, we can at least determine that local histories tend to share this solipsism, in that they do not explicitly engage with other perceived “centers” or “peripheries” of the Islamic empire but are instead focused on their own limited and geographically bounded horizons.

    Persianate local histories elucidate regional iterations of a hybrid and multifaceted Perso-Muslim identity. Pre-Islamic Persian identity is not effaced; simultaneously, a Perso-Muslim identity is not compromised. For example, in Tārīkh-i Qum, Qummī records the Zoroastrian fire-temples in his city of Qum, a city in which sectors are conspicuously named for its early Arab Muslim settlers from the Ashʿarī tribe. In Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, Ibn Isfandiyār notes the magnanimity of Ṭabaristān’s dynastic rulers and the piety of the region’s sayyids. Sacred sites, such as Fāṭimah’s shrine sanctuary in Qum, transform the soil into sacred ground. These texts simultaneously reach outwards—towards the percieved centers of of the Islamic empire in Iraq, Syria, and Arabia—and also pull inwards towards their own regions on the ostensible peripheries, providing concrete local iterations of universally resonant Islamic themes and priorities. This dialogue within the sources—what Zayde Antrim, in her work on Arabic-language sources, has termed “a discourse of place”—evidences the oblique discussions, definitions, and negotiations about sources of legitimacy and authority across the vast, decentralized, multiethnic, multilingual empire that spread from North Africa, the Arab lands, the Iberian Peninsula, Persia, and Central Asia.53

    Locally-oriented histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm

    Rūm, or Anatolia, was another notable non-Arab periphery of the medieval Islamic empire. Persia and Rūm were Islamized at different times, and the political and social situations in the two regions were different. There is no one definitive or homogenous style of local historical writing from or about Rūm, just as there is no singular unified style of Persianate local historical writing. Nevertheless, comparing contemporaneous Persian-language histories about Rūm with the Persianate local histories we have discussed above allows us to assess one periphery against another and consider how two different regions approached local historical writing within the medieval Islamicate world.

    Rūm was Islamized roughly 500 years after Islamization occurred in Iran.54 Byzantine culture, in the form of Orthodox Christianity and Greek language and culture, was important in the region. Various tribal Turkic peoples gradually entered Anatolia at the beginning of the fifth/eleventh century, but Islamization was slow. It was only in the seventh/thirteenth century that Muslim institutions and Sufi orders grew while the Orthodox Church weakened. This coincided with, and was due at least in part to, a series of events that included the Mongol invasions, the subsequent disintegration of Byzantine and Seljuq power in Rūm, and the influx of Turkmen groups into Anatolia.55 Hillenbrand argues that the influx of Persian Muslim refugees into Anatolia during the Mongol invasions helped to solidify the existence of Muslim religious institutions there. These displaced persons from the Persianate world—including scholars, bureaucrats, and craftsmen—traveled westwards into Rūm, especially Konya, between in the early decades of the seventh/thirteenth century and were instrumental in forging a new Persianate culture in Rūm, albeit one that differed from the Persianate culture in Iran and Central Asia.56

    Branches of the Seljuq clan: the Great Seljuqs and the Rūm Seljuqs

    The Seljuqs were a Turkic dynasty with multiple offshoots. The branch of the Seljuqs known as the Great Seljuqs, who were based in western Iran and Persian Iraq (or ʿIrāq-i ʿAjam57), are the better-documented branch of the Seljuqs; they ruled in Iraq and Iran ca. 421-590/ 1030–1194.58 The Great Seljuqs reached their acme with the three most powerful sultans who ruled from 429–485/1039–1092: Tughril Beg, Alp Arslān, and Malik Shāh.59 The histories of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq were written and composed by members of the secretarial scribal classes, who wrote in Persian and Arabic. The Great Seljuq sultans had a complicated relationship with the Abbasid Caliphate, and the notion of the Great Seljuqs as the defenders of Sunni orthodoxy in contradistinction to the Shi’i Buyids has been increasingly problematized.60

    At an early point in the history of the dynasty, the branch of the Seljuq dynasty that ruled Rūm split from the broader family of Seljuqs, and became known as the sultanate of the Seljuqs of Rūm, since Byzantine-influenced Anatolia was known as Rūm. The Great Seljuq Sultanate ruled in Iraq and Iran ca. 421-590/1030–1194, whereas the Rūm Seljuqs split off from their relatives and predecessors and ultimately outlasted them, ruling in Anatolia ca. 470-707/1077–1307.61

    Historiography of the Seljuqs of Rūm

    There are few very works about the Seljuqs of Rūm who ruled independently of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, and this relative dearth becomes especially evident when we consider the sources that exist about the Great Seljuqs.62 Simply put, the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq are much better documented and appear much more prominently in the extant sources available to us. As Melville notes, the Seljuqs of Rūm hardly feature in the few dynastic histories of the Seljuqs that exist.63 Local or regional histories in the mold of annalistic Persian local histories, such as Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Qum, Tārīkh-i Sīstān, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān—all produced between the fifth/eleventh and ninth/early-fifteenth centuries—do not exist for early Islamic Rūm. Likewise, we do not have comparable biographical dictionaries that are akin to the ṭabaqāt of, for example, al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī, nor do we have conquest narratives akin to Tārīkh iftitāḥ al-Andalus or Futūḥ Miṣr wa-akhbāruhā from Islamic Spain and Egypt, respectively.

    The three historical texts we will consider here are among the few extant works that focus on the Seljuqs of Rūm, and they are all from the seventh/late-thirteenth through eighth/mid-fourteenth centuries.64 They were written during the decline of the Rūm Seljuqs as well as that of their relatives, the Great Seljuqs ruling further east in Persia and Iraq.65

    Musāmarāt al-akhbār wa-musāyarat al-akhyār (“Nighttime narratives and keeping up with the good”) by Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī (d. ca. between 723–733/1323–1333), is as close as one might get to the Persianate regional histories (such as that of Ṭabaristān) considered earlier in this essay.66 Befitting his position as a scribe in the local bureaucracy, Āqsarāʾī’s horizon was primarily regional: his history, thin on specific dates, concentrates on Anatolia, which Āqsarāʾī saw within the context of the activities of the powerful Mongol Ilkhanids, who ruled what is now modern day Iran, Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, the southern Caucasus, Iraq, and much of Anatolia from 658/1260 to around 735–736/1335.67

    Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq (“History of the Seljuqs”) is an anonymous, and possibly composite, text that records the history of the Seljuqs in a chronological fashion.68 Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq was completed in the mid-eighth/fourteenth century (sometime after Muḥarram 765/October 1363) and was composed for Sultan ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn b. Seljuq Sulaymānshāh, who was the son of Seljuq Malik Rukn al-Dīn and grandson of Sultan Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kay-Khusraw b. ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād.69 According to the way the anonymous author presents the dynasty, the Seljuqs derived their legitimacy and authority to rule through their prowess as warriors. The author outlines the origins and descendants of the Seljuq dynasty, and then covers the reigns of Sultan ʿAḍud al-Dawlah Abū Shujāʿ Alp Arslān b. Dāwūd70 and the reign of Sultan Abū’l-Fatḥ Malik Shāh.71 The author continues in this fashion to cover the reigns of several more sultans, Khwarazmshāhs, and Abbasid caliphs, up to the era of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rūm with ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād (r. 617–635/1220–1237).72

    The third text, which is also thin on specific dates, is Ibn Bībī’s Al-Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah fī’l-umūr al-ʿalāʾiyyah (“ʿAlāʾī’s commands over exalted affairs”).73 It lauds the Seljuqs and is a mélange of Seljuq dynastic history and personal memoir, concentrating on the events of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rūm from ca. 584/1188 to late 679/early 1281. Related to this text is Mukhtaṣar-i Saljūqnāmah, which is an anonymous Persian abridgment of Ibn Bībī’s Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah, which was also written in Persian.74 Ibn Bībī (d. after 684/1285 or 687/1288) was a scribe (munshī) in the Khwarazmian court, and he wrote his history at the behest of ʿAṭā-Malik Juvaynī, the governor of Baghdad.75 Despite the fact that the Seljuqs of Rūm had already declined and the powerful Mongol Empire was already a dominant force, Ibn Bībī framed the Seljuqs of Rūm as legitimate rulers to whom the Great Seljuqs gave independent rule over provincial domains in Anatolia.76

    Characteristics of Rūm sources: Seljuq descent and dynastic identity

    The seventh/thirteenth- and eighth/fourteenth-century dynastic chronicles about the Seljuqs of Rūm focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, Seljuq genealogy, the meritorious activities of the Rūm Seljuq sultans, the regional importance of Konya (the de facto capital of Rūm), and the virtues of kingly rule. Hailing from the Seljuq lineage is itself a source of legitimacy. Being connected to Seljuq ancestors confers legitimacy, not because the Seljuqs are links to an earlier dynasty, but because Seljuq descent is itself a source of the right to rule.

    In both Rūm and the Persianate world, issues of legitimacy, autonomy, and the right to rule were highly significant. Local authorities and rulers were important agents in the administration of regions, which lay hundreds or thousands of miles from the theoretical seat of imperial power in Baghdad, where the Abbasid caliph resided. Using dynastic sources as a heuristic device permits us to ask why dynastic concerns feature so prominently as a mode of claiming religio-political legitimacy in Rūm sources, and why this is not the case in roughly contemporary Persianate sources.

    Sources from and about Rūm evidence allegiance to the ruling but outgoing Seljuq dynasty as it gave way to the Mongol Empire. Whereas the authors of Persianate local histories of Bukhara, Qum, Ṭabaristān, and Bayhaq demonstrate a loyalty to the land and physical environment, local religious practices, local patrician families, and notable local individuals, as well as claiming various faḍāʾil that make the city or region meritorious—including genealogies, dreams, etymologies, and lore—that are characteristic of early Islamic Persian local histories, claims to legitimacy in Rūm Seljuq dynastic histories and chronicles are largely genealogically-based.

    Descent from Seljuq progenitors formed a claim to legitimacy for the Seljuqs of Rūm in contradistinction to the ways in which genealogy and the prestige and legitimacy derived from it manifests itself in Persianate local histories. In the Persianate local histories, it is a broader array of types of descent and connection that tethers the Persian locations and communities to the legacy of the Prophet. Sayyids, sharīfs, Alids, and early Arab settlers from the ranks of the ṣaḥābah created living connections to the Prophet. Genealogies that included Persians in Arab lineages—be they sacred, invented, or based on the mawlā relationship of clientage—established powerful relationships that included but extended beyond the purely biological. In Rūm Seljuq dynastic histories and chronicles, claims to legitimacy are genealogically based, with descent from the Seljuqs being the fundamental mode of legitimation.

    Descent from the Seljuq dynasty and allegiance to the Rūm Seljuq Sultanate

    If Persianate local histories are characterized by a constellation of literary devices that use various merits to bring Persia and Persians into the central narrative of Islamic history while simultaneously maintaining their strongly local tenor, then historical writing from Rūm is characterized by a focus on Seljuq heritage and affiliation with the Rūm Seljuq Sultanate. Melville agrees with Cahen’s earlier assessment that the chronicles of Ibn Bībī, Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī, and the anonymous Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq are linked to the development of a local identity in Anatolia that is characterized by a clear allegiance to the declining Rūm Seljuq Sultanate during the period of increasing Mongol power when all three authors were active.77

    Peacock argues that it was during the seventh/thirteenth century—when our major sources from Rūm were composed—that Seljuq descent became an important source of legitimacy for the Seljuqs of Rūm.78 In their use of titulature, it was the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, and not the rulers of Byzantium, that the Seljuqs of Rūm emulated.79 However, Seljuq descent was not the sole factor that conferred legitimacy. Kinship through blood and marriage to other genealogical lines could be legitimating factors for the Seljuqs, just as they were elsewhere in the Islamic world. The Kingdom of Georgia and the Seljuqs of Rūm formed an alliance—complete with a marriage between a Seljuq sultan and a member of the Georgian Bagratid dynasty—in the seventh/thirteenth century as a bulwark against the Mongol threat, and the Rūm Seljuqs likely derived prestige through their association with the ruling Georgian Bagratids.80 Additionally, not every dynasty claimed to derive their legitimacy on a genealogical basis through descent from the eponymous Seljuq ancestor.81

    Reasons for differences between Persianate local histories and sources from Rūm

    Charles Melville has convincingly argued that the general paucity of Islamic historical writing about the Seljuqs of Rūm is due at least in part to circumstances in Anatolia that were unfavorable to the production of such writing. Specifically, Greek and Orthodox Christian culture was only slowly replaced over the course of centuries by Islamic structures of learning and governance; initial colonization was not by settled Persians or Arabs but primarily by Turkmen nomads; Byzantine forces long resisted Muslim incursions; and boundaries between the Byzantines and incoming Turkmens frequently shifted and were in flux.82 All of these factors contributed to a relative lack of historical writing in Rūm, as well as the differences between Persianate and Rūm local historical writing.

    Persianate local histories and the histories of Rūm also reflect differences in audience. The Seljuq histories were written for the court. Consequently, they valorize, memorialize, and reference events, individuals, and genealogies that are of relevance to the Seljuqs and their court. The anonymous author of Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, for example, is concerned with the heroic deeds of the Seljuqs and their dawlah. It is the Seljuqs and not the land of Rūm, per se, that is important. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq valorizes the Seljuqs as brave and skilled warriors, which forms the basis of their qualifications and legitimacy as rulers of Rūm.

    In contrast, Persian local histories, though they may be composed for consumption at court, also target an audience that was largely urban. The texts are concerned with the land, soil, and physicality of the local territory. Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, and Tārīkh-i Qum are concerned with the history of their lands and the human and natural virtues that constitute the history of the region. Tārīkh-i Qum, for example, documents in detail the areas of the city named after the Arabs who settled the region. In Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, a dream in which the Prophet appears in the city’s bazaar sanctifies the very land and soil of Bukhara, as do and the sacred etymologies adduced in the history.

    Moreover, while I argue that Persianate historical writing evidences various characteristics, trends, and identities, these local identities do not preclude other, larger, geographically-bounded identities. To this end, A. C. S. Peacock has recently argued that local identity coexisted simultaneously with a broader “Khurasani patriotism” during this same period.83 It is therefore more productive to think of identities and loyalties in terms of overlapping and partially nested concentric circles: a geographically-bounded connection to one’s town or region, such as Bayhaq or Qum, might coexist alongside other allegiances, such as perhaps being part of Khurasan, in the case of Bayhaq, or having strong ties to Ashʿarī Arabs, Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs, in the case of Qum. Identity and allegiance were not exclusive but instead expanded or contracted according to circumstance and context.

    The absence in Rūm sources of ties to physical places, particularly as faḍāʾil or as local places of interest, curiosity, or significance, is especially noticeable when compared to Persianate local histories. The colonization of Rūm primarily by Turkmen nomads goes a significant way to explaining some of the differences in the culture of writing between the settled scribal classes in Persian cities versus Seljuq Rūm, where a great influx of Turkmen migrated into Anatolia from the steppes. In addition, the tendency of Turks to form their power base in the countryside without establishing a permanent court was another contributing factor to the major differences between Persianate sources and writing in or about Rūm. This contrasts with the situation in Persianate areas, such as Qum, which was settled by Ashʿarī Arabs during the first/seventh century. The inhabitants of Qum were sedentary and traced their lineage back to the Ashʿarī Arabs, naming the mīdāns of the city after these Arabs and closely identifying the physical land of Qum with this earlier Islamic Arab heritage.

    In addition to these early patterns of conquest, migration, or settlement by Arabs in Persia, Persian dynasts based themselves around urban centers. The Persian dihqān class of landed gentry held power in the countryside, but the court was nevertheless a settled and urban phenomenon. This is in contradistinction to the Turks, who retained strong affiliations with their nomadic heritage and negotiated complex relationships with the nomadic Turkmen.

    Complex urban-nomadic relationships for the Seljuqs of Rūm

    This is not to suggest that life was entirely nomadic in Seljuq Rūm. Peacock, who has described the complex relationship between the Seljuqs of Rūm and the nomadic peoples within Rūm over whom they ruled, documented an urbanized Persianate culture that began to develop and thrive from the late-sixth/twelfth century onwards, one that was albeit distinct from the Persianate culture that manifests itself in the histories from what is now Iran and Central Asia we have discussed above such as Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Qum, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. Konya was the capital and center of urban development, with a high-point of urban palace building in the early-seventh/thirteenth century during the reign of ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād I (r. 616–634/1219–1237).84

    A bifurcation in culture between the urbanized Rūm Seljuqs (the Turks) versus the nomads within their domains (the Turkmens) is probably overly simplistic. Peacock proposes that even at the height of their dynastic rule in the early-seventh/thirteenth century, the Rūm Seljuqs maintained close contact with at least some Turkmen groups.85 Konya was not an exclusive capital, since the court was itinerant, but it was a center of gravity and a royal dynastic burial ground for the Rūm Seljuqs and their court as they traveled through their realms in contact with their Turkmen subjects.86 The boundary between the urban domain and the ūj or aṭrāf—the domain of the nomadic Turkmen—was a porous and complexly negotiated one.87 For the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, like the Seljuqs of Rūm, the court was a peripatetic phenomenon.88 Consequently, Rūm sources focus on tribal elements and dynastic legitimation, in contrast to the Persianate sources that tend to focus on the city as the unit of measure.

    With the major exception of Tabriz, which became a de facto capital for the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, the Turks tended to live in tents, not in cities, and they did not establish a permanent court.89 The Great Seljuqs favored Tabriz, but they did not establish a permanent court even there, which ultimately meant that Tabriz would not become a permanent metropolis with an established cultural apparatus, a “cultural magnet” like Baghdad or Cairo.90

    There were other factors that account for the differences in the culture of Islamicate writing in the Persianate local histories and those about Seljuq Rūm. Greek and Orthodox Christian culture persisted and were only slowly replaced by Islamic institutions of governance and learning such as the madrasah, and during the protracted period of religio-cultural transition as the Byzantines resisted the Turkic invasions, the borders shifted.91 Anatolia retained a Christian population, particularly in central and inland Anatolia, where there remained a substantial Christian element, and Seljuq sultans in Anatolia married Greek and Georgian princesses.92

    While Persianate local histories and Seljuq Rūm sources are contemporary, Islamization had occurred much earlier and very differently in Persia. In contrast to Rūm, Persian lands were generally less nomadic and had more settled populations of villages and cities. The Arab armies that invaded Persia came within the first few decades of the Muslim conquests. By the fourth/tenth century, an urban Persianate Muslim civilization flourished, and perhaps by 400/1000 the majority of Persians had in some substantive way converted to Islam.93

    During the fourth/tenth to ninth/early-fifteenth centuries, further demographic and cultural shifts took place in Persia. The center of intellectual and political gravity within Islam moved eastward into Persia from its former basis in Arab territories in Arabia, Syria, and Iraq, and a major revival occurred in Persian cultural and literary production. Persians—the famed Saʿdī and Ferdowsī, among others—could write in the blossoming New Persian language without their Muslim identity necessarily being called into question. Rapidly growing cities in Persia were focal points of intellectual, religious, and cultural activity. Local dynasties rose to prominence and power in Khurasan.94

    The Persianate local histories examined in this essay were written at the time of the rise of local dynasties in Khurasan. Local dynasts and governors, who ruled as amīrs on behalf of the Abbasid caliphate, used these literary forms in order to maintain the fine balance of local authority and legitimacy that was simultaneously nominally or actually subordinate to Abbasid power and was situated within the religio-political framework of the broader Muslim ummah. Nevertheless, what was locally important was not necessarily globally significant.

    Sources from the peripheries in the Persianate world and Rūm were not the only works to claim their importance and centrality. Histories from and about Baghdad—the political and symbolic heart of the caliphate—also asserted time and again the centrality and importance of the city. Writing about the city of Baghdad and focusing on Arabic-language literature from the medieval period, Cooperson has argued that descriptions of Baghdad incorporate a persistent and recurrent set of topoi that refer to Baghdad and to the broader corpus of literary descriptions about urban life.95 Antrim has argued that claims about Baghdad’s centrality connected the city to the ummah throughout time and legitimized Baghdad.96 Regardless of whether these claims were repeated tropes or were distinct and variable, it is clear that the dynamics of power were multilayered and multidirectional, and cities and regions simultaneously constituted and were constituted by their representations in written sources.97  

    Conclusions and implications

    Given the heterogeneous nature of the sources themselves, analyzing Persianate local histories is, by definition, a comparative exercise. These histories were composed over a span of several centuries in different regions. They were composed at a geographic and cultural remove from the notional center of the empire in Baghdad during an era marked by the rise of local dynasties (such as the Buyids during the fourth/tenth century), when Abbasid power was decentralized and stretched across vast areas with multiple regional foci across Persianate lands.

    The authors, editors, compilers and translators who produced these texts wrote at multiple registers for both perceived and real audiences. Sometimes, when a text exists only in a later translation, as is the case with Tārīkh-i Qum, it is difficult if not impossible to tell where the editor or translator may have shifted the tenor, tone, content, or emphasis of the text to speak to one of many audiences that the text may have reached at different times and places.

    The disparate constellation of texts collectively considered annalistic Persianate local histories are linked in their tendency to position their communities to better fit into the scope of Islamic history by resonating with both globally Islamic and regionally specific Persian themes. Therefore, these texts simultaneously respond to and challenge assumptions about the centrality of Arabs, Arabic, Arabia, Iraq, Syria, ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs while at the same claiming their own importance within these same frameworks. Persian local histories are characterized by the use of myriad literary strategies to claim religio-political authority, including dream narratives; emphasis on ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, sayyids, sharīfs, and other associates or descendants of Muḥammad, sometimes as ḥadīth transmitters who lived and taught in the region as living virtues (faḍāʾil) and custodians of the faith; and foundation narratives or etymologies that embed the city or region into pivotal moments in Islamic history or link it to prophetic authority. Legitimating dreams; records of the sayings, teachings, and burial places of notables, imāms, descendants and associates of Muḥammad; physical marvels and virtues of the land; and glorious etymologies all bring the prestige of religious sanction to these locales.

    In contrast, the histories about the Rūm Seljuqs were conditioned by the contexts of their production, which during the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries was dominated by the Mongol invasions and its aftermath and consequences.98 As the Byzantine foci of power gave way first to the Turkic Seljuqs and then to the Mongols, authors confronted how to recount, represent, and frame their past and present both to themselves and to others. The originally nomadic Turkic tribesmen who invaded and Islamized Rūm were not bound to the land in the way that Persian authors were, and consequently historical writing from Seljuq Rūm is not tied to the land in the way that Persianate sources are. We do not see the standard sections on wonders and marvels of the land, or the emphasis on the virtues of the land and its denizens, which occur in Persianate local histories. Rather, there is a heavier focus on the warrior heroism of the Seljuqs, which confers legitimacy on the dynasty. Annalistic Persian local histories do not form a neatly regimented whole. Given the unevenness of the genre of Persian language local histories, comparisons with locally-oriented historical writing about Rūm—another periphery—draw out the distinctive characteristics of medieval Islamic Persianate local histories.

    About the author

    Mimi Hanaoka is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Richmond, where she teaches Islam and Islamic history. Her first book, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography: Persian Histories from the Peripheries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), explains themes and literary strategies that “centered” texts from “peripheral” regions in medieval Persia.  Her current research project investigates the ways in which Muslim reformists in Iran and South Asia approached Japan as a non-Western model of modernity and educational reform during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Notes

    1. For bibliography and discussion of the secondary literature on the concept of “Iran,” see Sarah Bowen Savant, The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), Ch. 1, esp. 8–12. See also Patricia Crone, The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 161–162, 376. On the concept of Iran and Iranian identity, especially during the Sasanian period, see Gherardo Gnoli, The Idea of Iran: An Essay on its Origin (Rome: Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1989). More recently, Touraj Daryaee explores the concept of Īrānshahr and its boundaries and borders (particularly in the form of rivers and walls as physical barriers) during the Sasanian period in “The Idea of the Sacred Land of Eranshahr,” in R. Strootman & M. J. Versluys (eds.), Persianism in Antiquity (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2017), 393–399. For an overview of the literature, see also Mimi Hanaoka, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography: Persian Histories from the Peripheries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), Ch. 2.
    2. Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar al-Narshakhī, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, translated by Abū Naṣr Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Qubawī and abridged by Muḥammad b. Zufar b. ʿUmar. Ed. Mudarris Razavī (Tehran: Bunyād-i Farhang-i Iran, 1972). An English translation is available as The History of Bukhara, Translated from a Persian Abridgement of the Arabic Original by Narshakhī, ed. and trans. Richard N. Frye (Cambridge, MA: Medieval Academy of America, 1954).
    3. Abū’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Zayd al-Bayhaqī, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, ed. Aḥmad Bahmanyār (2nd ed.; Tehran: Muʾassas va-Mudīr-i Bungāh-i Dānesh, 1965). See Julie S. Meisami, “History as Literature,” in Charles Melville (ed.), Persian Historiography (A History of Persian Literature 10; London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), 209.
    4. Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, translated by Tāj al- Dīn Ḥasan b. Bahāʾ al-Dīn ʿAlī Qummī. Ed. Muḥammad Riḍā Anṣārī Qummī (Qum: Kitābkhānah-i Buzurg-i Ḥazrat-i Āyat Allāh al-ʿUẓmā Marʿashī Najafī, 2006). See Ann K. S. Lambton, “An Account of the Tarikhi Qumm,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 12 (1948): 586–596. Lambton’s important early study of the work summarizes the history of the text.
    5. Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, ed. ʿAbbas Iqbal (2 vols.; Tehran: Muḥammad Ramazani, 1941). An abridged English translation is available as Abridged Translation of the History of Tabaristan Compiled about A.H. 613 (A.D. 1216) by Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Isfandiyar, Based on the India Office Ms. Compared with Two Mss. in the British Museum, trans. Edward G. Browne (Leiden: Brill, 1905).
    6. Qubawī extended the history covered to the year 365/975. The Persian translation was then abridged in 574/1178–1179 by Muḥammad b. Zufar b. ʿUmar, who also added to the work from other texts. See History of Bukhara, ed. and trans. Frye, xii. The Samanid amīr Manṣūr b. Nūḥ commissioned Balʿamī’s Tārīkhnāmā, ostensibly an abridged Persian translation of Ṭabarī’s fourth/tenth-century Arabic Tārīkh al-rusul wa’l-mulūk (“History of Prophets and Kings”). On the original nature of Balʿamī’s Tārīkhnāmā and a reconstruction of the politics of the Samanid court based in Bukhara, see A.C. S. Peacock, Mediaeval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy: Balʿamī’s Tārikhnāma (London: Routledge, 2007). On translation movements as a mode of storing up a dynasty’s legitimacy, see Dimitri Gutas, Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and Early Abbasid Society (2nd–4th/8th–10th Centuries) (London: Routledge, 1998), 29, 45. See also Peacock, Medieval Islamic Historiography, 169.
    7. For biographical information, see D. M. Dunlop, “al-Bayhaḳī, Ẓahīr al-Dīn Abū ‘l-ḤasanʿAlī b. Zayd b. Funduḳ,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v. See also Meisami, “History as Literature,” 209.
    8. The editor, Muḥammad Riḍā Anṣārī Qummī, states that the extant manuscripts of the Persian translation of Tārīkh-i Qum he has seen originate from two sources. The manuscripts on which the text is based have some special characteristics, including numerous letter substitutions, which the printed edition retains, along with the occasional use of Arabic words instead of Persian ones, and variant spellings of proper nouns. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 4, 60–61, 63–67. See also Lambton, “An Account of the Tarikhi Qumm.”
    9. On the historiography of the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, see Nicola Clarke, The Muslim Conquest of Iberia: Medieval Arabic Narratives (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012).
    10. For a detailed treatment of this argument, see Hanaoka, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography.
    11. Mimi Hanaoka, “Perspectives from the Peripheries: Strategies for ‘Centering’ Persian Histories from the ‘Peripheries,’” Journal of Persianate Studies 8 (2015): 1–22.
    12. For the etymologies, see Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 39–52.
    13. Ibid., 269–270.
    14. Ibid., 278.
    15. The miʿrāj is often understood as an event to which multiple qurʾānic passages allude, and it is treated extensively in the exegetical and mystical traditions within Islam.
    16. Ibid., 51. The editor translates mirfaq as āranj, meaning elbows.
    17. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 51.
    18. The term “elaboration of memory” is from Jonathan Z. Smith, To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 112. Smith discusses Christian myth and reconstructions of visits to the Holy Land through ritual experience.
    19. I add “buried here,” since this is occurring on the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, when the bodily resurrection of all people would occur. I take the 70,000 martyrs who will appear on the Day of Resurrection in Bukhara to be 70,000 martyrs who were buried there.
    20. This is Frye’s translation. The History of Bukhara, ed. and trans. Frye, 21–22; Narshakhī, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, 30–32.
    21. Richard Nelson Frye, “Notes on the History of Transoxiana,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 19 (1956): 106–125. He also included some corrections to his History of Bukhara. See also, W. Barthold and R. N. Frye, “Buk̲h̲ārā,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    22. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.56; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 14.
    23. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.56–58; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 14–16.
    24. On concepts of Persia, Persianness, and memories of the pre-Islamic and proto-Islamic past, see Sarah Bowen Savant, “Isaac as the Persians’ Ishmael: Pride and the Pre-Islamic Past in Medieval Islam,” Comparative Islamic Studies 2 (2006): 5–25.
    25. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.122; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 73–74.
    26. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.122–125; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 74–76.
    27. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.125–130; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 76–80.
    28. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.130–135; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 80–85.
    29. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.135–137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 85–86.
    30. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.130; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 80.
    31. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 86.
    32. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 87.
    33. D. G. Tor, “The Long Shadow of Pre-Islamic Iranian Rulership: Antagonism or Assimilation?” in Teresa Bernheimer and Adam Silverstein (eds.), Late Antiquity: Eastern Perspectives (Oxford: Oxbow, 2012), 145–163. “To say that the ‘Islamic ideal of rulership’ was in conflict with the Iranian ideal that was actively embraced and absorbed into Islamic culture from the Abbasid era onwards is simply not accurate… In short, the Iranian ideal saved the Islamic polity at a crucial moment, when the caliphate had failed and was in the process of collapse; it was one of the two legitimising factors—the other being the jihād—that was able to turn mere amīrs, or military commanders, into Sultans—legitimate political authorities. The essential reason why the Iranian ideal was revived, reshaped, and given a new lease on life was precisely the lack of a viable mainstream Islamic ideal after the ideological implosion that followed on the heels of the Abbasid failure,” 163. See also Tor, “The Islamising of Iranian Kingly Ideals in the Persianate Fürstenspiegel,” Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies 49 (2011): 15–22.
    34. Parvaneh Pourshariati, “Local Histories of Khurasan and the Pattern of Arab Settlement,” Studia Iranica 27 (1998): 64–66; see also Charles Melville, “Introduction,” in idem (ed.), Persian Historiography, 145–146.
    35. Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad Ibn Saʿd writes: “And Muḥammad b. ʿUmar said: al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās did not live [in] Mecca, and neither did he live in Medina, and he engaged with military expeditions with the Prophet, and he returned to the country of his tribe (qawmihi) and he settled in the al-Bādiyyah area near Basra and would go often to Basra, and the people of Basra spoke about him. The rest of his children were in the al-Bādiyyah [area] of Basra and a tribe descended [in] Basra.” Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad Ibn Saʿd, Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, ed. ʿAlī Muḥammad ʿUmar (11 vols.; Cairo: Maktabat al-Khānjī, 2001), 5:160–162, no. 821.
    36. Seyyed Mohammad Seyyedi, “ʿAbbās b. Mirdās,” Encyclopaedia Islamica (Leiden: Brill, 2008), s.v.; Renate Jacobi, “Mukhaḍram,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    37. According to Seyyedi, his kunyah is given either as Abū’l-Faḍl or Abū’l-Haytham. His great-grandfather’s name is Abū ʿĀmir or Abū Ghālib b. Rifāʿah b. Ḥārithah. This information is found in Ibn Ḥazm, Jamharat ansāb al-ʿArab (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1983), 263; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb fī maʿrifat al-aṣḥāb (Cairo: n.p., n.d.), 2.817; and al-Marzubānī, Muʿjam al-shuʿarāʾ (Cairo: ʿĪsā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1960), 102. Régis Blachère estimates that ʿAbbās was born around 570 CE: see Histoire de la littérature arabe (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1952), 274–275. Abū ʿUbaydah identifies al-Khansāʾ, the famous female Arab poet, as his mother (cited in Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī, Kitāb al-Aghānī [Beirut : Dār al-Thaqāfah, 1956], 14.285, 301). On the other hand, some sources claim that al-Khansāʾ was the mother of all of Mirdās’s children except for al-ʿAbbās; see, e.g., Abū ʿUbayd al-Bakrī, Simṭ al-laʾālī [Beirut: n.p., n.d.], 1.32. See Seyyedi, “Al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās.”
    38. ʿAbd al-Malik Ibn Hishām (d. 218/834), The Life of Muhammad; A Translation of Isḥaq’s [sic] Sīrat Rasūl Allah. Trans. A. Guillaume (Lahore: Oxford University Press, 1967), 594–595.
    39. Seyyedi cites al-Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf (Damascus: Dār al-Yaqaẓah, 1997), 1.629 and Khalīfah b. Khayyāṭ, Tārīkh, ed. Suhayl Zakkār (n.p., n.d.), 1.75–76 on the zakāt and al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās, Dīwān al-‘Abbās ibn Mirdās al-Sulamī, ed. Yaḥyā al-Jubūrī (Baghdad: Dār al-Jumhūriyyah, 1968), 24, for ʿAbbās being an envoy to al-Bādiyyah. Seyyedi, “Al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās.”
    40. Ibn Saʿd, Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, 5.160–162, no. 821.
    41. Muḥammad b. ʿĪsā al-Tirmidhī, Sunan al-Tirmidhī: Jamʿ jawāmiʿ al-aḥādīth wa’l-asānīd wa-makniz al-ṣiḥāḥ wa’l-sunan wa’l-masānīd (2 vols.; Vaduz, Liechtenstein: Jamʿiyyat al-Maknaz al-Islāmī, 2000), 977 (kitāb al-manāqib 60, no. 4239): mā min aḥad min aṣḥābī yamūtu bi-arḍin illa buʿitha qāʾidan wa-nūran lahum yawm al-qiyāmah.
    42. Ibn Funduq, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, 22.
    43. Ibn Funduq, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, 22.
    44. The work of Kazuo Morimoto and Teresa Bernheimer on the Alids (Bernheimer) and “sayyido-sharifology” (Morimoto) and genealogies of the Prophet’s family provide the basis for my definition of these terms. See Kazuo Morimoto, “Toward the Formation of Sayyido-Sharifology: Questioning Accepted Fact,” Journal of Sophia Asian Studies 22 (2004): 87–103; ibid. (ed.), Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies: The Living Links to the Prophet (London: Routledge, 2012); Teresa Bernheimer, The ʿAlids: The First Family of Islam, 750–1200 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
    45. Bernheimer, The ʿAlids, 2–4.
    46. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 256–280. On the Shi’i imāms see, for example, 259–262, 266, 269, 277, 279; on Iblīs, 259; on the angel Gabriel, 261–262; on Muḥammad, 259–280.
    47. B. Lewis, “ʿAlī al- Riḍā, Abu ‘l-Ḥasan b. Mūsā b. Ḏjaʿfar,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    48. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 573.
    49. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.94–106; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 47–58.
    50. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.73; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 27.
    51. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.120; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 70.
    52. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 29, 104, 249–255. Fire temples are used in the Zoroastrian religion, which was predominant in Iran during the pre-Islamic era.
    53. Zayde Antrim offers a detailed discussion of early Muslim attitudes toward lands and homelands and the conceptual framework of what she terms “a discourse of place,” in Routes and Realms: The Power of Place in the Early Islamic World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
    54. The history of pre- and early Islamic Anatolia is difficult to untangle, and I make no attempt here to reconstruct a chronology of Islamization in Rūm. This analysis relies heavily on the work on Turkic, Anatolian, Rūm, and Seljuq history undertaken by C. E. Bosworth, Peter Golden, David Durand-Guedy, Carole Hillenbrand, Charles Melville, Julie S. Meisami, Songül Mecit, Andrew Marsham, A. C. S. Peacock, Sara Nur Yildiz, and, in an earlier generation, by C. A. Storey and Claude Cahen. Major standard studies by the earlier generation include Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey: A General Survey of the Material and Spiritual Culture and History c. 10711330, trans. J. Jones-Williams (New York: Taplinger, 1968); idem, The Formation of Turkey: The Seljukid Sultanate of Rūm: Eleventh to Fourteenth Century, ed. and trans. P. M. Holt (New York: Longman, 2001); idem, La Turquie pré-ottomane (Istanbul: Dıvıt Matbaacılık ve Yayıncılık, 1988); Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey (5 vols. in 12; London: Luzac & Co., 1927–1971 [incomplete]). Peacock offers voluminous and exemplary work on Anatolia and Seljuq history, including Peacock, Early Seljūq History: A New Interpretation (New York: Routledge, 2010); idem, Mediaeval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy: Balʿamī’s Tārikhnāma (London: Routledge, 2007). See also Marsham, Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession and Succession in the First Muslim Empire (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). Peacock and Yildiz (eds.), The Seljuks of Anatolia: Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013) is a rich volume of edited essays that focuses on Seljuq Anatolia from the sixth/late-twelfth through seventh/late-thirteenth centuries. Bosworth has authored numerous works on Iranian dynasties that are relevant when trying to piece together the chronology of events in Anatolia. See also Hillenbrand, “Aspects of the Court of the Great Seljuqs,” in Christian Lange and Songül Mecit (eds.), The Seljuqs: Politics, Society and Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011), 22–38; eadem, Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol: The Battle of Manzikert (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007); Melville, “Anatolia under the Mongols,” in Kate Fleet (ed.), Cambridge History of Turkey, Vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 51–101; Meisami, “Rāvandī’s Rāḥat al-Ṣudūr: History or Hybrid?” Edebiyât (n.s.) 5 (1994): 181–215; eadem, “Why Write History in Persian? Historical Writing in the Samanid Period,” in Hillenbrand (ed.), Studies in Honor of Clifford Edmund Bosworth, II: The Sultan’s Turret: Studies in Persian and Turkish Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 348–374; Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs: Evolution of a Dynasty (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014); Lange and  Mecit (eds.), The Seljuqs: Politics, Society and Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014). For a summary of the secondary literature, see Hanaoka, Authority and Identity, Ch. 9.
    55. Speros Vryonis Jr., The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1971). See also R. Stephen Humphrey’s assessment of Vryonis’s chronology of the Islamization in Anatolia in Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), 279–281.
    56. Carole Hillenbrand, “Rāvandī, the Seljuk Court at Konya and the Persianization of Anatolian Cities,” in Gary Leiser (ed.), Les Seldjoukides d’Anatolie (Paris: Editions Hêrodotos, 2005), 157–169, esp. 162–169.
    57. Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿAj̲amī (“Persian Iraq”) was distinguished from al-ʿIrāq al-ʿArabī (“Arab ʿIrāq”). Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿAj̲amī or Persian Iraq referred to the mountainous, western portion of Persia, formerly known as Māh (Māda, Media). Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿArabī or Arab ʿIrāq referred to Lower Mesopotamia. See C. Edmund Bosworth, “ʿERĀQ-E ʿAJAM(Ī),” Encyclopedia Iranica, s.v. (1998); L. Lockhart, “D̲j̲ibāl,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    58. Carole Hillenbrand, “Some Reflections on Seljuq Historiography,” in Antony Eastmond (ed.), Eastern Approaches to Byzantium: Papers from the Thirty-third Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, March 1999 (Aldershot: Ashgate-Variorum, 2001), 73–88.
    59. On the Great Seljuqs, see the chapters by Bosworth, Lambton, and Bausani in J. A. Boyle (ed.), The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 5: The Saljuq and Mongol Periods (Cambridge: Cambridge, University Press, 1968). See also Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey, 119–139 and idem, The Formation of Turkey, 47–71.
    60. For example, see Deborah G. Tor, “A Tale of Two Murders: Power Relations between Caliph and Sultan in the Saljūq Era,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 159 (2009): 279–297.
    61. Hillenbrand, “Some Reflections on Seljuq Historiography,” 73–88.
    62. For a treatment of the court history of the Seljuq Empire in Iran and Iraq (ca. 432–590/1040–1194) written in Arabic and Persian, see Peacock, “Court Historiography of the Seljuq Empire in Iran and Iraq: Reflections on Content, Authorship and Language,” Iranian Studies 47 (2014): 327–345. Peacock analyzes the historical writing that was focused on the activities of the Great Seljuqs and their successors, the Seljuq Sultanate of Iraq; these sources were primarily written by bureaucrats who were associated with the court about which they wrote.
    63. Charles Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” in Judith Pfeiffer and Sholeh A. Quinn (eds.), History and Historiography of Post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East: Studies in Honor of John E. Woods (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006), 135–166.
    64. For an overview of literatures in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish from Anatolia during the eighth/fourteenth and ninth/fifteenth centuries and new scholarly approaches to these literatures, see Peacock and Yildiz, “Introduction: Literature, Language and History in Late Medieval Anatolia,” in Peacock and Yildiz (eds.), Islamic Literature and Intellectual Life in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century Anatolia (Würzburg: Ergon, 2016), 19–48.
    65. These sources are also valuable for understanding the role of the Khwarazmshāh and what happened to the sultanate of Rūm after the Mongol invasions. Kōzō Itani, “Mongoru shin’nyū-go no rūmu: Kyōdai-kan no surutan-i arasoi o megutte [The Rūm Sultanate after the Mongol Invasion],” Tōyōshi Kenkyu 39 (1980): 358–387. See also Itani, “Rūmu sarutanato to horazumushā [The Rūm Sultanate and the Khwārazmshāh],” Tōyōshi Kenkyu 47 (1988): 116–149.
    66. Karīm al-Dīn Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad Āqsarāʾī, Tārīkh-i Salājiqah, yā Musāmarāt al-akhbār wa-musāyarat al-akhyār (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Asāṭīr, 1362 [1983-1984]).
    67. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166.
    68. Although the anonymity of the text complicates the issue, the text was composed for one of the last Seljuq sultans. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq dar Ānātūlī, ed. Nādirah Jalālī (Tehran: Daftar-i Nashr-i Mīrāth-i Maktūb, Āyinah-i Mīrāth: 1999).
    69. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 40.
    70. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 49–51.
    71. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 51–73.
    72. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 74–78.
    73. Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad Ibn Bībī, Akhbār-i Salājiqah-i Rūm, bā matn-i kāmil-i Saljūqnāmah-i Ibn Bībī, jāmiʿ-i maṭālib-i tārīkhī-i kitāb-i Al-Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah fī’l-umūr al-ʿalāʾiyyah, ed. Muḥammad Javād Mashkūr (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-i Tihrān, 1971). This 1971 Tehran edition edited by Mashkūr is a reprint of the 1902 edition published in Leiden by Brill and is also known as Mukhtaṣar-i Saljūqnāmah.
    74. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166. On Ibn Bībī, see also Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs, xxxi–xxxii.
    75. Juvaynī had a relative who had been Ibn Bībī’s father’s patron. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166. Anooshahr covers Ibn Bībī and his Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah in Ali Anooshahr, The Ghazi Sultans and the Frontiers of Islam: A Comparative Study of the Late Medieval and Early Modern Periods (New York: Routledge, 2009), 110–117. See also 13, 100, 136, 143, 147, 148, and 151.
    76. Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs, 23–29.
    77. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135.
    78. Later dynasties, including the Ottomans and Karamanids, argued that they were successors to the Seljuqs through claims of real and mythological descent. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” in The Seljuqs: Politics, Society, and Culture, 81–82, 86–92.
    79. Korobeinikov dates the emergence of Rūm Seljuq titles to the sixth/mid-twelfth century, ca. 551/1156. The title of the Rūm Seljuq Sultan Qilich Arslān II (r. 551–588/1156–1192), who styled himself as a sultan with rule limited to Anatolia, refers to some of the titles used by the Great Seljuq Sultan Malikshāh, instead of using titulature that would indicate that he was a successor to the Byzantines. Rūm Seljuq Sultan ʿIzz al-Dīn Kay-Kawūs I (r. 608–616/1211–1219) claimed the title malik al-mashriq wa’l-maghrib (“King of the East and West”) and “Lord of the Arabs and Persians,” styling himself in the model of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, who used such titles. Dimitri Korobeinikov, “‘The King of the East and the West’: The Seljuk Dynastic Concept and Titles in the Muslim and Christian Sources,” in The Seljuks of Anatolia: Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East, 68–90. In this, the Seljuqs of Rūm were not alone: the Mamluk ruler Baybars also adopted symbols of Seljuq power—though the Great Seljuqs were by then far past the acme of the their rule—such as the nawbah drum band and chatr parasol, as physical symbols of his legitimacy as a ruler. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” 82–84.
    80. Peacock, “Georgia and the Anatolian Turks in the 12th and 13th Centuries,” Anatolian Studies 56 (2006): 127–146. In this case, sometime in the second quarter of the seventh/thirteenth century, the Georgian queen Rusudan (r. 620–645/1223–1247) married a Seljuq, the son of Mughīth al-Dīn Tughril-Shāh of Erzurum, who converted to Christianity when the Georgians balked at having a Turkish Muslim king.
    81. The Dānishmendids and Saltukids—rivals of the Seljuqs of Rūm—ruled without claiming Seljuq descent as the basis of their legitimacy. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” 81–82.
    82. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166.
    83. For a recent study that examines two partially preserved Khurasani histories, see A. C. S. Peacock, “Khurasani Historiography and Identity in the Light of the Fragments of the Akhbār Wulāt Khurāsān and the Tārīkh-i Harāt,” in A. C. S. Peacock and D. G. Tor (eds.), Medieval Central Asia and the Persianate World: Iranian tradition and Islamic Civilisation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2015), 143–160. Peacock examines the fourth/tenth century Akhbār Wulāt Khurāsān (“History of the Governors of Khurasan,” no longer extant in its entirety but preserved through quotations in other works, and which Peacock considers a composite work written by three members of the same family) and the sixth/twelfth century Tārīkh-i Harāt (which survives in fragmentary form). Peacock argues that local identity exited simultaneously with a broader Khurasani identity: “These works suggest that local allegiances to one’s own town could co-exist with a broader sense of Khurasani patriotism. The Tārīkh-i Harāt, however, is also characterized by a distinct anti-Iraqi sentiment, testimony not just to the political and cultural fissures that rent the Seljuq Empire but also to this distinct sense of Khurasani identity that had developed since the region’s incorporation into the Arab empire and evidently survived to the eve of the Mongol invasions,” 144–145. Put another way, “The regional identities that Sarah Savant, on the basis of works down to the fifth/eleventh century, observed as pre-eminent, continued to dominate into the sixth/twelfth century. However, even to describe them as regional is somewhat misleading: these texts give no sense that Khurasan was part of a larger Iran,” 154.
    84. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” in David Durand-Guedy (ed.), Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 191–222, esp. 193–197.
    85. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” see 193–194 for an outline of his argument. For more on the complex relationships forged between the nomadic Turkmen groups and the Seljuqs of Anatolia, see also idem, “From the Balkhān-Kūhīyān to the Nāwakīya: Nomadic Politics and the Foundations of Seljūq Rule in Anatolia,” in Jürgen Paul (ed.), Nomad Aristocrats in a World of Empires (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2013), 55–80. In short, “the link between the dynasty and the Turkmens was far from completely broken” (Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 194).
    86. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 193–205, 211.
    87. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 193–199; see 199–205 and 211 on the ūj or aṭrāf.
    88. For the Great Seljuqs, Durand-Guedy has likewise argued for a reassessment that takes into account the complex relationship between the Seljuqs and the Turkmen nomads, whose presence and value may be undervalued in the sources—composed by the Persian and Arab secretarial class—but whose contributions were nevertheless a critical component in the complex and shifting military and political structures of power and allegiances forged by the Great Seljuqs; see “New Trends in the Political History of Iran under the Great Saljuqs (11th -12th Centuries),” History Compass 13 (2015): 321–337. In addition to an excellent and very condensed summary of scholarship on the Seljuqs, Durand-Guedy also provides a valuable simplified genealogical tree of the Seljuqs, including where the Anatolian branch and the Kirmani branches break off from the rest of the Seljuqs.
    89. Crone, Nativist Prophets, 490–491.
    90. Crone, Nativist Prophets, 491.
    91. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166, esp. 136.
    92. C. E. Bosworth, R. Hillenbrand, J. M. Rogers, F. C. de Blois, and R. E. Darley-Doran, “Sald̲j̲ūḳids,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    93. For this rate of conversion and the argument that Persia had become majority-Muslim by around the year 400/1000, see Richard W. Bulliet, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period: An Essay in Quantitative History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979); ibid., The Patricians of Nishapur: A Study in Medieval Islamic Social History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972); ibid., “A Quantitative Approach to Medieval Muslim Biographical Dictionaries,” Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient 13 (1970): 195–211. Bulliet uses onomastic data derived from biographical dictionaries and proposes that the majority of the population had converted to Islam and that conversion had tapered off by ca. 400/1000. He notes that issues concerning onomastic data can be tricky, in that there are Christians and Jews with Arabic names and Muslims with non-Arabic names; however, most of these appear after ca. 300/900. Around this time, Iranian Muslims again begin to have Persian names. See also Bulliet, “Conversion Stories in Early Islam,” in Michael Gervers and Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (eds.), Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands: Eighth to Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1990), 123–133. Morony offers a critical assessment of Bulliet’s work on the rate of conversion in Michael Morony, “The Age of Conversions: A Reassessment,” in Conversion and Continuity, 135–150. See also Thomas Carlson’s contribution to this volume, specifically discussing the Christian population of Iraq.
    94. The province of Khurasan in modern-day northeastern Iran is significantly smaller than what the term meant in the early medieval period, when it included vast and ill-defined swathes of Central Asia and Afghanistan in addition to the massive region of eastern Iran. Bosworth, “Khurāsān,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    95. Michael Cooperson, “Baghdad in Rhetoric and Narrative,” Muqarnas 13 (1996): 99-113.
    96. Zayde Antrim, “Connectivity and Creativity: Representations of Baghdad’s Centrality, 3rd/9th to 5th/11th Centuries,” in İsmail Safa Üstün (ed.), İslam Medeniyetinde Bağdat (Medînetü’s-Selâm) Uluslararası Sempozyum/International Symposium on Baghdad (Madinat al-Salam) in the Islamic Civilization (Istanbul: Marmara Üniversitesi, IRCICA, 2011), 55–74. Antrim argues that “rehearing the claims to the city’s centrality evoked a sense of connectivity to the Islamic umma past and present, a sense of connectivity that was useful and compelling in legitimizing creativity and authority in the Islamic world more broadly,” 56–57.
    97. Michael Cooperson provides a fascinating discussion of Arabs and Iranians and the role and meaning of ethnicity during the early Abbasid period, in which he outlines the fragility, flexibility, and contingency of ethnic identities. See “‘Arabs’ and ‘Iranians’: The Uses of Ethnicity in the Early Abbasid Period,” in Asad Q. Ahmed, Behnam Sadeghi, Robert G. Hoyland, and Adam Silverstein (eds.), Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts: Essays in Honor of Professor Patricia Crone (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 364–387.
    98. Anatolian authors produced what Melville categorizes as “works of local historiography, as one would expect from a peripheral region both geographically separate and accustomed to political autonomy, yet at the same time they were composed in, and part in response to, a wider imperial context… the Mongol conquests generated an interest in historical literature that the earlier Seljuk invasions had not.” Melville dates the development of a distinct historiography in Islamic Anatolia to the seventh/late-thirteenth century, when it became an important province of the Mongol Empire. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 136.
    Cite this passage

    Local Histories from the Medieval Persianate World

    Memory, Legitimacy, and the Early Islamic Past

    Medieval Persianate local histories form a heterogeneous genre, but a trait these diverse texts share is that they perform a balancing act: they simultaneously respond to and challenge assumptions about the centrality of Arabs, Arabic, Arabia, Iraq, Syria, the ṣaḥābah (Companions of the Prophet), tābiʿūn (Successors of the Companions), Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs while at the same time claiming their own importance within these frameworks. Authors of Persianate local histories composed during the fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-centuries argued for the legitimacy and centrality of their communities on the peripheries of empire by including narratives about descendants of the Prophet associated with the region addressed in the history, be it a city, town, or province; incorporating narratives of legitimating dreams and visions; associating ṣaḥābah with the land; highlighting sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah); and incorporating sacralizing etymologies. Within the larger discourse of Persian-language historical writing in the Islamicate world, there are different traditions, which may be distinguished by the varying modes of legitimacy to which they turn. Local histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm (Anatolia) written in the Persian language offer an instructive contrast to Persianate local histories centering on cities and regions of modern-day Iran and Central Asia. These histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm—which are the most similar extant types of histories from the Islamicate world to the Persianate local histories—are contemporary with the Persianate local histories and are from a geographically contiguous region. However, in contrast to the Persianate local histories of Iran and Central Asia, these locally-oriented histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm composed during the seventh/thirteenth to eighth/fourteenth centuries focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.

    Introduction and overview

    Medieval local histories from the Persianate world form a notoriously heterogeneous genre. An issue of Iranian Studies in 2000 featured the variegated materials subsumed under the umbrella of Persianate local histories and highlighted the difficulty of speaking of these texts as a coherent genre. Persianate, in the broadest sense, has been used by scholars to refer to practices, texts, and norms prevalent in lands historically influenced by Persianate language and culture, which encompasses not only modern-day Iran but much of Central Asia as well as parts of South Asia. This essay considers Persianate local histories, mainly from what is today considered Iran and Central Asia, alongside contemporary Persian-language sources from Rūm (Anatolia) in order to highlight some characteristic traits of the former. It is guided by two questions: first, if medieval Persianate local histories can even be considered a genre, what are some recurring or signature characteristics and motifs? Second, if we compare these Persianate histories against sources about Rūm—a roughly contemporary and similarly heterogeneous collection of texts—what are the differences between them, and why do these differences exist? In this attempt to corral disparate texts together as a genre, the conclusions of this essay will necessarily be broad and comparative.

    In this article, I use the term “Persianate” specifically to refer to the geographic region of the vast lands inhabited by a loose Persian ethnic group and originally held under Achaemenid and Sasanian imperial control. I use this broader and shifting term “Persianate” (and so “Persia”) over “Iranian” (and so “Iran,” Īrān, Īrānshahr), as “Iran” and “Iranian” are less relevant for fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-century local histories.1 Also, I have chosen a subset of sources that are written at least partly in the Persian language (an issue I will discuss in more detail below). Therefore, I here use “Persianate” as a broad geographic and ethnic category—stemming from the notional entity of “Persia,” broadly defined—whereas I use “Persian” or “Persian-language” to mean sources composed at least partly in the Persian language that originated from a much wider geographical and cultural area than that signified by the term “Persianate.”

    As Iran and the Persianate lands transitioned from the late antique period into the Islamic era, a heterogeneous but related collection of locally-oriented histories were composed, translated, edited, and compiled. Patterns within city and regional histories from the peripheries of the Islamic empire—far from its perceived heartlands in Arabia, Syria, and Iraq—identify local structures of authority and legitimacy and also resonate with universal Islamic themes and topoi. Local identity manifests itself differently in the Persian-language sources from Rūm and, through these differences, illuminates the distinctive characteristics of Persianate histories.

    Persianate local histories and Persian-language dynastic histories from Rūm provide contrasting examples of the ways in which Persian-language historical writing manifests the priorities and symbols of legitimation at the time of their production. Boundaries, rulers, and norms shift over the centuries, as do the ways in which authors frame their claims for legitimacy and articulate their multilayered identities. Thus, Persianate sources show vestiges of their pre-Islamic past at the same time that they are steeped in Islamic norms. In contrast, sources from Seljuq Rūm concentrate more heavily on dynastic elements to demonstrate legitimacy.

    This essay considers three specific literary strategies that the authors of Persianate annalistic local histories employed to frame claims to legitimacy, identity, and belonging in their works: constructing etymologies (Bukhara, Qum, and Ṭabaristān); associating ṣaḥābah and other living faḍāʾil (virtues) with the region (Ṭabaristān and Bayhaq); and likewise associating sayyids, sharīfs, and Alids with the region (Qum and Ṭabaristān). The final section of this essay argues that within the heterogeneous genre of medieval Islamic Persian-language local histories, multiple modes of legitimacy are employed to forge different connections to memory and history. Persian-language sources from Rūm depart markedly from their Persianate counterparts in terms of the ways in which legitimacy is presented and connections to earlier histories are asserted. In contrast to the Persianate histories, however, locally-oriented histories from Rūm composed during the seventh/thirteenth to eighth/fourteenth centuries focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.

    Four examples of Persianate local history

    This essay analyzes four annalistic Persianate local histories from the fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-centuries which were composed (to varying degrees) in both Arabic and Persian: Tārīkh-i Bukhārā,2 Tārīkh-i Bayhaq,3 Tārīkh-i Qum,4 and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān.5 Persianate local histories from this period vary in form and content. In terms of form, these local histories lie on a spectrum from biographical dictionaries at one end to narrative chronicles on the other, and they are often some combination of both. In terms of content, historical writing ranges from a town or city history (Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, and Tārīkh-i Qum) to provincial history (Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān). Linguistically, they are, to varying degrees, bilingual in Persian and Arabic. It is their heterogeneity of form and content that makes it challenging to speak of Persianate local histories as a single genre. The Persianate local histories considered here consist primarily of narrative annalistic chronicle-style material.

    Tārīkh-i Bukhārā is a local history that is a Persian translation of a lost Arabic original; the Persian text is simultaneously an abridgment of the original Arabic and an expansion of it with new material. The original Arabic-language Tārīkh-i Bukhārā was written in 332/943 or 944 by Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar b. Zakariyyā b. Khaṭṭāb b. Sharīk al-Narshakhī (d. ca. 348/959) from the village of Narshakh in the vicinity of Bukhara, who dedicated it to the Samanid amīr Nūḥ b. Naṣr (r. 331–343/943–954) in 332/943–944; it was translated into Persian by Abū Naṣr Aḥmad al-Qubawī in 522/1128–1129.6

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq is a mid-sixth/twelfth-century Persian local history of Bayhaq, a modest city located in northeastern Iran near the modern city of Mashhad and the Iranian border with Turkmenistan. Abū’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Abī’l-Qāsim Zayd b. Muḥammad b. al-Ḥusayn al-Bayhaqī (d. 565/1169), also known as Ibn Funduq, composed Tārīkh-i Bayhaq in 563/1167, two years before his death, during the rule of Muʾayyad al-Dawlah Ay Aba (d. 659/1174), who controlled Khurasan.7

    Tārīkh-i Qum was originally written in Arabic in the fourth/tenth century by Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. Ḥasan al-Qummī (d. ca. 406/1015–1016) in 378/988–989, although that original text is now lost. Tārīkh-i Qum survives only in the form of a later Persian translation made in 805–806/1402–1403 by Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. Ḥasan b. ʿAbd al-Malik al-Qummī for Ibrahīm b. Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-Safī (both fl. late eighth/fourteenth to early ninth/fifteenth century). The translated manuscript was then copied in 837/1433 in the city of Qum.8

    Finally, Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ḥasan b. Isfandiyār (d. after 613/1217), known as Ibn Isfandiyār, composed Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān in Persian in the early part of the seventh/thirteenth century. Both E. G. Browne and ʿAbbās Iqbāl date Ibn Isfandiyār’s composition of the text to 613/1216. The history is a composite work: Ibn Isfandiyār composed the original text in Persian and died sometime after 613/1216–1217, after which an anonymous compiler working sometime after the eighth/mid-fourteenth century then added to the work by updating it. The anonymous writer continued where Ibn Isfandiyār left off, in 606/1210, and brings the history up to ca. 750/1349.

    The three seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth century sources from Rūm that I will consider as heuristic counterpoints here are the chronicle of Ibn Bībī (d. ca. after 683–684/1285 or 686–687/1288), the chronicle of Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī (d. ca. between 723–733/1323–1333), and the anonymous Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq (“History of the Seljuqs”), completed in 765/1363; they are all Persian-language sources. Naturally, the limited sample set and the nature of the sources themselves constrain my observations and conclusions. While the sources that I compare here are different—Persian-language local histories from Persia during the fourth/tenth to ninth/fifteenth centuries on the one hand (which I have called Persianate local histories) and Persian-language dynastic histories of the Seljuqs of Rūm from the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries on the other—these two bodies of literature are the most closely aligned contemporary sources from the geographically contiguous regions of Persia and Anatolia.  There are no extant local histories of Rūm that are truly analogous to the annalistic Persianate local histories. Instead, what we have available to us are dynastic histories, a genre that was well-established by the eighth/fourteenth century in the broader Islamicate world.

    Consequently, we must consider apples alongside oranges, as it were, to make any kind of comparative assessment of these Persian-language histories, all locally oriented in their horizons and produced in or around two geographically contiguous regions located on the peripheries of the symbolic heartland of the Islamic empire in Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. There are other important peripheries of the Islamic empire during the fourth/tenth- to ninth/fifteenth centuries, for example Egypt and the Iberian Peninsula. The histories of these regions, which were written in Arabic, could also provide us with fruitful comparanda.9 However, on account of their geographic proximity and their use of Persian as the language of composition, the abovementioned sources from Rūm offer us the clearest heuristic comparison with the Persianate local histories.

    As mentioned above, authors of local histories from the Persianate world argued for the legitimacy and importance of their communities on the peripheries of empire by including narratives about descendants of the Prophet associated with the region; recounting narratives of legitimating dreams and visions; associating ṣaḥābah with the land; highlighting sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah); and incorporating sacralizing etymologies.10 By pursuing such strategies, the authors of the Persianate local histories claimed the centrality of their ostensibly peripheral regions.11 In contrast, the construction of dynastic and specifically Seljuq legitimacy are central concerns for the sources from Rūm from the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries, which present claims to such legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.

    Strategies of legitimation, I: etymologies in Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Qum, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    Qummī adduces multiple possible etymologies for the name of his native city in his Tārīkh-i Qum, and in so doing weaves the etymology, mythology, and history of Qum deep into the fabric of revelation and prophecy. Tārīkh-i Qum offers multiple etymologies for Qum, some fanciful and some more plausible; many are based on word play.12 One etymology traces the origins of Qum back to the prophet Noah.13 Qummī also adduces a Shi’i tradition about the naming of Qum, which claims that Qum is named as such because its inhabitants will be standing (qāʾim) steadfast with the family of Muḥammad, and they will stand upright (qāʾim) with him and will represent the victory of the family of the Prophet and will come to his aid.14 Other various possible etymologies suggest that a shepherd’s shack or a local stream may be the source of Qum’s etymology. Qummī’s most striking etymologies for Qum invoke the sacred.

    Regardless of the true origin or origins of Qum’s name, a story about Qum, Muḥammad, and Iblīs on the night of the miʿrāj is particularly noteworthy. The miʿrāj, the Prophet Muḥammad’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem (al-masjid al-aqṣā) and subsequent ascension to heaven from there, is a pivotal qurʾānic moment.15 In asserting Qum’s etymology into this qurʾānic event, Qummī embeds Qum deep into the framework of prophetic and Islamic history. According to Qummī:

    On the night of the Prophet’s ascension (miʿrāj), Iblīs the Accursed came to this place (boqʿ) on his knees (be zānū dar āmade būd) and he put both his elbows16 upon his knees, and looked upon the ground. The Prophet said to Iblīs: “Qum yā malʿūn” which means “Rise, O accursed one.” And it is for this reason that Qum was given the name ‘Qum.’17

    Understood in this way, the prophetic etymology of Qum on the night of the miʿrāj is a form of “elaboration of memory,” and a way of merging the memory of the early Islamic past and pivotal qurʾānic moments with Qum’s Islamic Persianate present.18 By participating in qurʾānic and biblical events (through an etymology invoking the Prophet Noah), Qum exists both within and beyond time—at once both memorialized in qurʾānic time and existing in its Persianized present.

    In Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Narshakhī incorporates sacralizing etymologies that include prophetic ḥadīth as one among other literary strategies to link Bukhara to Muḥammad’s legacy and Islamic modes of legitimacy. Narshakhī states that although the region is known by many names, the Companion Salmān al-Fārisī transmitted a tradition of the Prophet about the reason the city is named Bukhara. As a Persian and a Companion of the Prophet, Salmān al-Fārisī and his tradition about the etymology of Bukhara adds another dimension to the ways in which Narshakhī binds Bukhara to Muhammad and early Islamic memory. Narshakhī quotes Salmān al-Fārisī’s ḥadīth of the Prophet as follows:

    [Salmān said:] “The Prophet of God said that Gabriel told him that in the land of the East was a place called Khurasan. On the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, three cities of Khurasan will be adorned with red rubies and coral, and their radiance will shine about them. Around these cities there will be many angels, and they will praise, glorify, and exalt God. These angels will bring forth these cities onto the plains in grandeur and splendor, like a bride who is brought into the house of her betrothed. In each of these cities there will be 70,000 banners and under each banner there will be 70,000 martyrs. In the entourage of each martyr will be 70,000 believers, who will be speaking Persian and receiving salvation. On the Day of Judgment, every side of these cities—to the right and left, front and rear, for a distance of ten days’ journey—will be filled with martyrs.

    “The Prophet said, ‘O Gabriel, tell me the names of these cities.’ Gabriel replied, ‘The name of one of these cities in Arabic is Qāsimiyyah and in Persian Yishkard. The second in Arabic is Sumrān, in Persian Samarqand. The third in Arabic is Fākhirah, and in Persian Bukhārā.’ The Prophet asked, ‘O Gabriel, why is it called Fākhirah?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Because on the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, Bukhārā shall excel all other cities in glory (fakhr) because of the multitude of martyrs [buried there].’19 The Prophet cried, ‘God bless the people of Fākhirah and purify their hearts through the fear of God. Improve their actions and make them among the merciful of my people.’”

    Narshakhī then adds, “The significance of this is that from the east to the west it is attested that the people of Bukhārā are noted for their belief and purity.”20

    Narshakhī incorporates this prophetic ḥadīth in his history to bind Bukhara to Islamic memory and to the Prophet’s legacy. R. N. Frye surveyed the possible etymology and pre-Islamic history of Bukhara, and exhaustively assessed the sources for convincing etymologies; he ultimately found the data inconclusive.21 Narshakhī’s use of this etymology—regardless of its facticity regarding the actual etymology of Bukhara—is significant because he ties the city of Bukhara to the legacy of the Prophet through an etymology related by the Persian Companion Salmān al-Fārisī, thereby asserting a powerful form of non-biological lineage and heirship to the Prophet and his legacy.

    The etymologies offered by Persianate local histories may be tied to an Islamic past, a pre-Islamic past, or both, as is the case in Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. The etymologies and virtues (faḍāʾil) of Ṭabaristān are rich in pre-Islamic lore and Alid elements, as well as those that are not discernibly either Islamic or non- or pre-Islamic. Some etymologies offered by the author do capture the ancient Iranian and pre-Islamic character of the region. For example, regarding the etymology of the locale called Farshwāgdar, Ibn Isfandiyār offers several etymologies that range from “living safely” to “land of the mountain, plain, and sea,” among others.22 Ibn Isfandiyār relates that the region of Mazandaran was possessed by demons until the era of Jamshīd, who purportedly conquered them and commanded them to transform the land to make it more habitable and hospitable. The region was originally called mūz andar ūn, meaning that the region was within the area of the Mūz mountains.23 Ibn Isfandiyār neither forgets nor elides the pre-Islamic past, but instead incorporates it into a broader narrative that ultimately leads to the region of Ṭabaristān being imbued with Alids and sayyids and embedded within the Islamic narrative.24 Memory of the early Islamic past presents a form of legitimacy and belonging, but in this case it is an identity that overlaps with memories of the region’s pre-Islamic heritage and earlier non- and pre-Islamic modes of memory, legitimacy, and belonging in the Persianate world and the specifically local context.

    Strategies of legitimation, II: ṣaḥābah and living virtues of the land in Tārīkh-i Bayhaq and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    The close association to Muḥammad of the ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, and other early members of the Muslim community expands the notion of heirship from biological connections to ones based on association and community. Just as Muḥammad’s biological descendants are held in high esteem as living links to him, individuals who are not biologically linked to the Prophet are also celebrated as living virtues of the land that connect a place to early Islamic memory and bring prestige and legitimacy to the region. These individuals can take the form of ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, and their descendants, as in the case of Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, or they can be a wider array of individuals who are considered the living faḍāʾil of the region, as in the case of Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān.

    The term faḍāʾil, meaning virtue or excellence, is used in Arabic-language and Persian-language Islamicate writing to refer to a range of virtues, or else to a person, place, or thing that may be considered excellent. Within the genre of Persianate local histories, people—as well as places and natural phenomena—can be referred to as faḍāʾil. In the case of Ṭabaristān, this category includes notables,25 learned men,26 imāms,27 saints and ascetics,28 sages and philosophers,29 and—to a lesser extent—writers and scribes,30 physicians and poets,31 and astronomers,32 all of whom are described in Ibn Isfandiyār’s Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. It is significant that Ibn Isfandiyār’s list of virtues of Ṭabaristān includes faḍāʾil that are unambiguously Islamic such as imāms and saints; those who derive their prestige from the pre-Islamic era such as local notables; and those who are not inherently either, such as poets and physicians. For Ibn Isfandiyār, the markers and signifiers of legitimacy and belonging in Ṭabaristān include a layering of pre-Islamic heritage, early Islamic memory, and merits and virtues that are not necessarily either, but may be considered as generally signifying accomplishments of learning and culture.

    Tor has argued for the ways in which Islamic literatures and political theories absorbed, modified, and Islamized pre-Islamic Iranian ideals of rulership, including Sasanian genealogies, titulature, and symbols of rulership.33 Persianate Islamic identity in Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān is not either-or, but both-and, a multi-dimensional understanding of what constitutes legitimacy and identity in the local sphere of Ṭabaristān and in the broader sweep of Islamic history.

    Whereas Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān addresses the faḍāʾil of an entire region, Ibn Funduq’s Tārīkh-i Bayhaq catalogs the notable individuals associated with this modest city. And whereas Ibn Isfandiyār’s history pays close attention to the forceful displays of fiscal and political autonomy by the inhabitants of Ṭabaristān—thereby emphasizing the activities and importance of important pre-Islamic notable families in Ṭabaristān—Ibn Funduq takes a different approach to depicting the legitimacy of his native land.

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq claims the Companion al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās al-Sulamī (d. after 23/644) as one of its own, as he putatively died in the vicinity of Bayhaq, although no other source that I have identified associates him with Bayhaq. Being associated with Bayhaq could mean that an individual lived, taught, died, or otherwise had ties to the city. In an article, Pourshariati finds that of the ṣaḥābah listed by Ibn Funduq, only two individuals had anything to do with Bayhaq that could be verified or corroborated with a source other than Ibn Funduq’s history.34 Building on Pourshariati’s earlier work, I argue that one of these two individuals, al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās al-Sulamī (Pourshariati renders his name as al-ʿAbbās b. Mardās al-Salmī), likely had no significant connection to Bayhaq. If he is associated with any region, it is with the desert area surrounding Basra.35

    ʿAbbās was one of the Companions of the Prophet, a warrior of the Banū Sulaym, and a prominent poet.36 Not much is known about him (to the extent that it is not entirely clear what his name is),37 but he nevertheless appears in the Sīrah of the Prophet in an incident in which he rebuked the Prophet for what he considered an unfairly meager share of the booty.38 ʿAbbās also appears in the histories of al-Balādhurī and Khalīfah b. Khayyāṭ as collecting the zakāt alms tax from the Banū Sulaym on behalf of the Prophet, and he is purported to have been an envoy from the Prophet to the Arabs of al-Bādiyyah sent to persuade them to participate in the battle of Tabūk.39

    It is unlikely that we will ever know with certainty whether ʿAbbās actually lived and died in Bayhaq. Ibn Saʿd (d. 230/845) associates him with the region surrounding Basra.40 Moreover, if ʿAbbās ever visited or lived in Bayhaq, we would expect him to appear in the ṭabaqāt (biographical dictionaries) of Nishapur, which was the closest city of significant size and prominence. However, the ṭabaqāt work of al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī (fl. ca. fourth/tenth century) remains silent about ʿAbbās. Of ʿAbbās’s descendants, the only named individual listed in the Tārīkh-i Bayhaq is Shaykh Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn b. Abī’l-Qāsamak Mirdās, who was a ḥadīth teacher who transmitted traditions he learned from the shaykh al-sunnah Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. Fāṭimah al-Bayhaqī. Neither ʿAbbās’s descendant nor the descendant’s ḥadīth teacher has an entry in the ṭabaqāt of al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī either. For Ibn Funduq, what made ʿAbbās an important person was not his transmission of ḥadīth (some of which were eventually included in what became the canonical collections), but rather his proximity to the Prophet as a Companion. As a Companion, ʿAbbās’s role tied Bayhaq to the Prophet and to memories of early Islam.

    Ibn Funduq’s organization of his work underscores his desire to claim for Bayhaq prophetic sanction and blessing through association with ṣaḥābah. He begins his chapter on the virtues of Bayhaq with the ḥadīth that “None among my Companions dies in a land except that he will be resurrected as a leader and a light for those people on the Day of Resurrection.”41 Ibn Funduq explains in Persian that the ḥadīth means that “in every place on the earth that one of the great ones of the Companions of the Prophet dies an exalted death (shahādat yāfte bāshad ) or bids farewell to the world, [God] will honor that place… and on Judgment Day those Companions will be a leader and a light for those people.”42 Ibn Funduq also writes, “The Prophet of God said, ‘Blessed be Nishapur in Khurasan,’ because Nishapur in Bayhaq is part of Khurasan, its regions are the best regions, and the blessed Prophet arrived in Khurasan and built in every city”; this is followed by an explanation of why the Arabs were drawn to Khurasan.43 The purpose and effect of Ibn Funduq’s claim that ʿAbbās is a man of Bayhaq is to intertwine the story of Bayhaq with the story of the formative years of Islam. ʿAbbās is part of an apparatus of legitimacy that connects Bayhaq to early Islamic memory and establishes Bayhaq’s legitimacy as a bona fide Muslim city of significance.

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq contains scant evidence for the settlement of Arabs in the region, such as mosques, qanāt irrigation channels, gates, mīdāns, or other physical or symbolic markers of Arab settlement. The insistence of Tārīkh-i Bayhaq on Arab ṣaḥābah as critical early members of the community suggests that the absence of notable early Arab settlers created an undercurrent of anxiety about the region’s Islamic legitimacy. Regardless of the veracity of Ibn Funduq’s claims, ṣaḥābah and tābiʿūn bind Bayhaq to the Prophet’s legacy and link the modest city with early Islamic memory through central events and characters of the ummah.

    Strategies of legitimation, III: sayyids, sharīfs, and Alids in Tārīkh-i Qum and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    Descendants of the Prophet brought the prestige and sanction of Muḥammad’s legacy to the places with which they were associated. I borrow my understanding of the term “descendants of the Prophet” from Kazuo Morimoto and Teresa Bernheimer, and define them here as a wide array of cross-sectarian individuals and families who claimed—and were believed by their communities to enjoy—kinship with the Prophet, a phenomenon that was both biological and socially constructed.44 The terms that commonly denote different types of lineal descent from Muḥammad or his kinship group—Alid or al-ʿAlawī, Hasanid, Husaynid, Talibid, sayyid, and sharīf—are all ambiguous. They are used flexibly and with wide variation in the medieval sources themselves, especially in the medieval Islamic east of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.45

    In Tārīkh-i Qum, the author (and later his translator) bound Qum to key moments and figures in Islamic and cosmic history and to prophetic authority by constructing an identity for the city based on its Alid inhabitants, Ashʿarī Arab Alid progenitors, and a considerable number of sayyids and other descendants of the Prophet. Reports (akhbār) and traditions about the faḍāʾil of Qum and its areas and inhabitants emphasize the area’s Shi’i and sayyid identity, through such characters as Shi’i Imāms—especially ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib and the Imām ʿAlī al-Riḍā—as well as the angel Gabriel, Iblīs, Jesus, and the Prophet Muḥammad.46

    Sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah) continued to invest the locale with Islamic legitimacy and constantly renewed memories of the early Islamic past. This is the case with the shrine complex of Fāṭimah Maṣʿūmah in Qum. Though not martyred herself, Fāṭimah’s hagiographical account is closely tied to that of her brother, the Imām al-Riḍā, martyred in Ṭūs in 203/818.47 When Fāṭimah died en route from Medina to Marv in 201/816–817 while she was travelling to visit her brother, she was buried in Qum, and her interment there became an occasion for later Safavid rulers to develop it into a full-fledged shrine city.

    Fāṭimah’s body became a source of barakah for the inhabitants of Qum and its visitors and pilgrims. Qummī includes a ḥadīth attributed to the Sixth Imām, Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (d. 148/765), in which the imām predicts the future death and burial of his descendant Fāṭimah and claims that “everyone who does ziyārah to her will find he or she certainly goes to heaven (har kas ke ziyārat-e ou dar yābad be-behesht ravad o behesht-e ou rā wājib shavad).48 In becoming a site of pious visitation (ziyārah), Fāṭimah’s body and the shrine sanctuary that surrounded it not only continued to invest Qum with Islamic legitimacy, but also created a way of constantly recognizing and renewing memories of the early Islamic past through Muḥammad’s descendants.

    Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān includes narratives about the sayyids and sharīfs associated with the region, as well as other faḍāʾil, or virtues. Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān brims with Islamic characteristics, especially those that emphasize the region’s Shi’i credentials and ties to Alid sayyids. There is a section devoted the sayyids who ruled in Ṭabaristān.49 Ibn Isfandiyār records the names of notables and the places they visited, such as Imām Ḥasan b. ʿAlī visiting a place called Māmṭīr.50 Descendants of Muḥammad connect the region to Muḥammad’s legacy and the memory of the early Muslim community. The ispahbad, the local ruler of Ṭabaristān, gave generous gifts during the Hajj season, such as gifts to multiple shrines of members of the house of the Prophet, the poor, and the amīrs of Mecca. Ibn Isfandiyār documents the ispahbad’s gifts as a way of underscoring how the local ruler of Ṭabaristān acknowledged, respected, and gave generously to the shrines of the Shi’i Imāms and other pious figures.51

    The solipsism of the peripheries: local texts with local horizons

    Persianate local histories are conditioned by their immediate local horizons, and consequently are characterized by a certain degree of solipsism. The authors of these texts composed them with full awareness of the broader ummah and notions of what constitutes Islamic legitimacy and authority, but they were not particularly concerned with the centrality or marginality of other cities or regions along the peripheries. Put another way, the author of Tārīkh-i Bukhārā is unconcerned with the perceived centrality or marginality of Qum or Ṭabaristān. The medieval authors or editors of these works do not engage with other ostensibly peripheral regions, although we as historians may consider works from other comparable Persianate peripheries as part of the same genre and may read them side by side, or at least within the same context. This is in contradistinction to universal histories, such as Ṭabarī’s encyclopedic chronicle, which is concerned with Islamic history more broadly, from the dawn of time and earlier prophets to the present dawlah. Local histories are highly attuned to their locales, and other regions—particularly neighboring communities or agents of the caliph, such as individuals attempting to enforce tax payment —intrude into the local sphere only when they factor into the history of the specific location, be it Bayhaq or Ṭabaristān.

    Regional and local histories are preoccupied with local notables and local faḍāʾil—material, living, and deceased—whose relevance is generally limited to that particular city or region. Sacred or notable places identified in these histories are generally of local interest, and only on rare occasions—such as the shrine sanctuary of Fāṭimah in Qum—do they have a wider resonance beyond the local or regional context. But these locally significant phenomena are framed within a broader Islamic narrative to assert both local values and participation in the Muslim ummah. These phenomena are thus both local and global, universal and specific, Persian and Muslim. For example, the memory of Zoroastrian fire-temples in Qum is not purposefully forgotten or elided but is instead recorded and retained as one of the local faḍāʾil.52. In a similar vein, prominent pre-Islamic families in Ṭabaristān retain their political prestige and importance during the Islamic era; their prestige and eminence remain intact as the region transitions from the pre-Islamic to the Islamic era, and their local importance translates effectively through time and across religious divides.

    This local orientation, at least in part, reflects the intended audience of the text. The rationale for the local focus of the text is particularly clear in cases when the work was written for and dedicated to a patron, as with the original Arabic Tārīkh-i Qum (though only the later Persian translation survives), which was written under the patronage of Ismāʿīl b. ʿAbbād b. al-ʿAbbās b. ʿAbbād, wazīr to the Buyid Fakhr al-Dawlah b. Rukn al-Dawlah (r. 366–387/976–997), to whom the work was dedicated. In other texts, for which the history of production, transmission, and dissemination is murkier, the rationale for the local orientation is less obvious. Nevertheless, we can at least determine that local histories tend to share this solipsism, in that they do not explicitly engage with other perceived “centers” or “peripheries” of the Islamic empire but are instead focused on their own limited and geographically bounded horizons.

    Persianate local histories elucidate regional iterations of a hybrid and multifaceted Perso-Muslim identity. Pre-Islamic Persian identity is not effaced; simultaneously, a Perso-Muslim identity is not compromised. For example, in Tārīkh-i Qum, Qummī records the Zoroastrian fire-temples in his city of Qum, a city in which sectors are conspicuously named for its early Arab Muslim settlers from the Ashʿarī tribe. In Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, Ibn Isfandiyār notes the magnanimity of Ṭabaristān’s dynastic rulers and the piety of the region’s sayyids. Sacred sites, such as Fāṭimah’s shrine sanctuary in Qum, transform the soil into sacred ground. These texts simultaneously reach outwards—towards the percieved centers of of the Islamic empire in Iraq, Syria, and Arabia—and also pull inwards towards their own regions on the ostensible peripheries, providing concrete local iterations of universally resonant Islamic themes and priorities. This dialogue within the sources—what Zayde Antrim, in her work on Arabic-language sources, has termed “a discourse of place”—evidences the oblique discussions, definitions, and negotiations about sources of legitimacy and authority across the vast, decentralized, multiethnic, multilingual empire that spread from North Africa, the Arab lands, the Iberian Peninsula, Persia, and Central Asia.53

    Locally-oriented histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm

    Rūm, or Anatolia, was another notable non-Arab periphery of the medieval Islamic empire. Persia and Rūm were Islamized at different times, and the political and social situations in the two regions were different. There is no one definitive or homogenous style of local historical writing from or about Rūm, just as there is no singular unified style of Persianate local historical writing. Nevertheless, comparing contemporaneous Persian-language histories about Rūm with the Persianate local histories we have discussed above allows us to assess one periphery against another and consider how two different regions approached local historical writing within the medieval Islamicate world.

    Rūm was Islamized roughly 500 years after Islamization occurred in Iran.54 Byzantine culture, in the form of Orthodox Christianity and Greek language and culture, was important in the region. Various tribal Turkic peoples gradually entered Anatolia at the beginning of the fifth/eleventh century, but Islamization was slow. It was only in the seventh/thirteenth century that Muslim institutions and Sufi orders grew while the Orthodox Church weakened. This coincided with, and was due at least in part to, a series of events that included the Mongol invasions, the subsequent disintegration of Byzantine and Seljuq power in Rūm, and the influx of Turkmen groups into Anatolia.55 Hillenbrand argues that the influx of Persian Muslim refugees into Anatolia during the Mongol invasions helped to solidify the existence of Muslim religious institutions there. These displaced persons from the Persianate world—including scholars, bureaucrats, and craftsmen—traveled westwards into Rūm, especially Konya, between in the early decades of the seventh/thirteenth century and were instrumental in forging a new Persianate culture in Rūm, albeit one that differed from the Persianate culture in Iran and Central Asia.56

    Branches of the Seljuq clan: the Great Seljuqs and the Rūm Seljuqs

    The Seljuqs were a Turkic dynasty with multiple offshoots. The branch of the Seljuqs known as the Great Seljuqs, who were based in western Iran and Persian Iraq (or ʿIrāq-i ʿAjam57), are the better-documented branch of the Seljuqs; they ruled in Iraq and Iran ca. 421-590/ 1030–1194.58 The Great Seljuqs reached their acme with the three most powerful sultans who ruled from 429–485/1039–1092: Tughril Beg, Alp Arslān, and Malik Shāh.59 The histories of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq were written and composed by members of the secretarial scribal classes, who wrote in Persian and Arabic. The Great Seljuq sultans had a complicated relationship with the Abbasid Caliphate, and the notion of the Great Seljuqs as the defenders of Sunni orthodoxy in contradistinction to the Shi’i Buyids has been increasingly problematized.60

    At an early point in the history of the dynasty, the branch of the Seljuq dynasty that ruled Rūm split from the broader family of Seljuqs, and became known as the sultanate of the Seljuqs of Rūm, since Byzantine-influenced Anatolia was known as Rūm. The Great Seljuq Sultanate ruled in Iraq and Iran ca. 421-590/1030–1194, whereas the Rūm Seljuqs split off from their relatives and predecessors and ultimately outlasted them, ruling in Anatolia ca. 470-707/1077–1307.61

    Historiography of the Seljuqs of Rūm

    There are few very works about the Seljuqs of Rūm who ruled independently of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, and this relative dearth becomes especially evident when we consider the sources that exist about the Great Seljuqs.62 Simply put, the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq are much better documented and appear much more prominently in the extant sources available to us. As Melville notes, the Seljuqs of Rūm hardly feature in the few dynastic histories of the Seljuqs that exist.63 Local or regional histories in the mold of annalistic Persian local histories, such as Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Qum, Tārīkh-i Sīstān, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān—all produced between the fifth/eleventh and ninth/early-fifteenth centuries—do not exist for early Islamic Rūm. Likewise, we do not have comparable biographical dictionaries that are akin to the ṭabaqāt of, for example, al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī, nor do we have conquest narratives akin to Tārīkh iftitāḥ al-Andalus or Futūḥ Miṣr wa-akhbāruhā from Islamic Spain and Egypt, respectively.

    The three historical texts we will consider here are among the few extant works that focus on the Seljuqs of Rūm, and they are all from the seventh/late-thirteenth through eighth/mid-fourteenth centuries.64 They were written during the decline of the Rūm Seljuqs as well as that of their relatives, the Great Seljuqs ruling further east in Persia and Iraq.65

    Musāmarāt al-akhbār wa-musāyarat al-akhyār (“Nighttime narratives and keeping up with the good”) by Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī (d. ca. between 723–733/1323–1333), is as close as one might get to the Persianate regional histories (such as that of Ṭabaristān) considered earlier in this essay.66 Befitting his position as a scribe in the local bureaucracy, Āqsarāʾī’s horizon was primarily regional: his history, thin on specific dates, concentrates on Anatolia, which Āqsarāʾī saw within the context of the activities of the powerful Mongol Ilkhanids, who ruled what is now modern day Iran, Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, the southern Caucasus, Iraq, and much of Anatolia from 658/1260 to around 735–736/1335.67

    Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq (“History of the Seljuqs”) is an anonymous, and possibly composite, text that records the history of the Seljuqs in a chronological fashion.68 Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq was completed in the mid-eighth/fourteenth century (sometime after Muḥarram 765/October 1363) and was composed for Sultan ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn b. Seljuq Sulaymānshāh, who was the son of Seljuq Malik Rukn al-Dīn and grandson of Sultan Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kay-Khusraw b. ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād.69 According to the way the anonymous author presents the dynasty, the Seljuqs derived their legitimacy and authority to rule through their prowess as warriors. The author outlines the origins and descendants of the Seljuq dynasty, and then covers the reigns of Sultan ʿAḍud al-Dawlah Abū Shujāʿ Alp Arslān b. Dāwūd70 and the reign of Sultan Abū’l-Fatḥ Malik Shāh.71 The author continues in this fashion to cover the reigns of several more sultans, Khwarazmshāhs, and Abbasid caliphs, up to the era of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rūm with ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād (r. 617–635/1220–1237).72

    The third text, which is also thin on specific dates, is Ibn Bībī’s Al-Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah fī’l-umūr al-ʿalāʾiyyah (“ʿAlāʾī’s commands over exalted affairs”).73 It lauds the Seljuqs and is a mélange of Seljuq dynastic history and personal memoir, concentrating on the events of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rūm from ca. 584/1188 to late 679/early 1281. Related to this text is Mukhtaṣar-i Saljūqnāmah, which is an anonymous Persian abridgment of Ibn Bībī’s Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah, which was also written in Persian.74 Ibn Bībī (d. after 684/1285 or 687/1288) was a scribe (munshī) in the Khwarazmian court, and he wrote his history at the behest of ʿAṭā-Malik Juvaynī, the governor of Baghdad.75 Despite the fact that the Seljuqs of Rūm had already declined and the powerful Mongol Empire was already a dominant force, Ibn Bībī framed the Seljuqs of Rūm as legitimate rulers to whom the Great Seljuqs gave independent rule over provincial domains in Anatolia.76

    Characteristics of Rūm sources: Seljuq descent and dynastic identity

    The seventh/thirteenth- and eighth/fourteenth-century dynastic chronicles about the Seljuqs of Rūm focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, Seljuq genealogy, the meritorious activities of the Rūm Seljuq sultans, the regional importance of Konya (the de facto capital of Rūm), and the virtues of kingly rule. Hailing from the Seljuq lineage is itself a source of legitimacy. Being connected to Seljuq ancestors confers legitimacy, not because the Seljuqs are links to an earlier dynasty, but because Seljuq descent is itself a source of the right to rule.

    In both Rūm and the Persianate world, issues of legitimacy, autonomy, and the right to rule were highly significant. Local authorities and rulers were important agents in the administration of regions, which lay hundreds or thousands of miles from the theoretical seat of imperial power in Baghdad, where the Abbasid caliph resided. Using dynastic sources as a heuristic device permits us to ask why dynastic concerns feature so prominently as a mode of claiming religio-political legitimacy in Rūm sources, and why this is not the case in roughly contemporary Persianate sources.

    Sources from and about Rūm evidence allegiance to the ruling but outgoing Seljuq dynasty as it gave way to the Mongol Empire. Whereas the authors of Persianate local histories of Bukhara, Qum, Ṭabaristān, and Bayhaq demonstrate a loyalty to the land and physical environment, local religious practices, local patrician families, and notable local individuals, as well as claiming various faḍāʾil that make the city or region meritorious—including genealogies, dreams, etymologies, and lore—that are characteristic of early Islamic Persian local histories, claims to legitimacy in Rūm Seljuq dynastic histories and chronicles are largely genealogically-based.

    Descent from Seljuq progenitors formed a claim to legitimacy for the Seljuqs of Rūm in contradistinction to the ways in which genealogy and the prestige and legitimacy derived from it manifests itself in Persianate local histories. In the Persianate local histories, it is a broader array of types of descent and connection that tethers the Persian locations and communities to the legacy of the Prophet. Sayyids, sharīfs, Alids, and early Arab settlers from the ranks of the ṣaḥābah created living connections to the Prophet. Genealogies that included Persians in Arab lineages—be they sacred, invented, or based on the mawlā relationship of clientage—established powerful relationships that included but extended beyond the purely biological. In Rūm Seljuq dynastic histories and chronicles, claims to legitimacy are genealogically based, with descent from the Seljuqs being the fundamental mode of legitimation.

    Descent from the Seljuq dynasty and allegiance to the Rūm Seljuq Sultanate

    If Persianate local histories are characterized by a constellation of literary devices that use various merits to bring Persia and Persians into the central narrative of Islamic history while simultaneously maintaining their strongly local tenor, then historical writing from Rūm is characterized by a focus on Seljuq heritage and affiliation with the Rūm Seljuq Sultanate. Melville agrees with Cahen’s earlier assessment that the chronicles of Ibn Bībī, Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī, and the anonymous Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq are linked to the development of a local identity in Anatolia that is characterized by a clear allegiance to the declining Rūm Seljuq Sultanate during the period of increasing Mongol power when all three authors were active.77

    Peacock argues that it was during the seventh/thirteenth century—when our major sources from Rūm were composed—that Seljuq descent became an important source of legitimacy for the Seljuqs of Rūm.78 In their use of titulature, it was the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, and not the rulers of Byzantium, that the Seljuqs of Rūm emulated.79 However, Seljuq descent was not the sole factor that conferred legitimacy. Kinship through blood and marriage to other genealogical lines could be legitimating factors for the Seljuqs, just as they were elsewhere in the Islamic world. The Kingdom of Georgia and the Seljuqs of Rūm formed an alliance—complete with a marriage between a Seljuq sultan and a member of the Georgian Bagratid dynasty—in the seventh/thirteenth century as a bulwark against the Mongol threat, and the Rūm Seljuqs likely derived prestige through their association with the ruling Georgian Bagratids.80 Additionally, not every dynasty claimed to derive their legitimacy on a genealogical basis through descent from the eponymous Seljuq ancestor.81

    Reasons for differences between Persianate local histories and sources from Rūm

    Charles Melville has convincingly argued that the general paucity of Islamic historical writing about the Seljuqs of Rūm is due at least in part to circumstances in Anatolia that were unfavorable to the production of such writing. Specifically, Greek and Orthodox Christian culture was only slowly replaced over the course of centuries by Islamic structures of learning and governance; initial colonization was not by settled Persians or Arabs but primarily by Turkmen nomads; Byzantine forces long resisted Muslim incursions; and boundaries between the Byzantines and incoming Turkmens frequently shifted and were in flux.82 All of these factors contributed to a relative lack of historical writing in Rūm, as well as the differences between Persianate and Rūm local historical writing.

    Persianate local histories and the histories of Rūm also reflect differences in audience. The Seljuq histories were written for the court. Consequently, they valorize, memorialize, and reference events, individuals, and genealogies that are of relevance to the Seljuqs and their court. The anonymous author of Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, for example, is concerned with the heroic deeds of the Seljuqs and their dawlah. It is the Seljuqs and not the land of Rūm, per se, that is important. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq valorizes the Seljuqs as brave and skilled warriors, which forms the basis of their qualifications and legitimacy as rulers of Rūm.

    In contrast, Persian local histories, though they may be composed for consumption at court, also target an audience that was largely urban. The texts are concerned with the land, soil, and physicality of the local territory. Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, and Tārīkh-i Qum are concerned with the history of their lands and the human and natural virtues that constitute the history of the region. Tārīkh-i Qum, for example, documents in detail the areas of the city named after the Arabs who settled the region. In Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, a dream in which the Prophet appears in the city’s bazaar sanctifies the very land and soil of Bukhara, as do and the sacred etymologies adduced in the history.

    Moreover, while I argue that Persianate historical writing evidences various characteristics, trends, and identities, these local identities do not preclude other, larger, geographically-bounded identities. To this end, A. C. S. Peacock has recently argued that local identity coexisted simultaneously with a broader “Khurasani patriotism” during this same period.83 It is therefore more productive to think of identities and loyalties in terms of overlapping and partially nested concentric circles: a geographically-bounded connection to one’s town or region, such as Bayhaq or Qum, might coexist alongside other allegiances, such as perhaps being part of Khurasan, in the case of Bayhaq, or having strong ties to Ashʿarī Arabs, Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs, in the case of Qum. Identity and allegiance were not exclusive but instead expanded or contracted according to circumstance and context.

    The absence in Rūm sources of ties to physical places, particularly as faḍāʾil or as local places of interest, curiosity, or significance, is especially noticeable when compared to Persianate local histories. The colonization of Rūm primarily by Turkmen nomads goes a significant way to explaining some of the differences in the culture of writing between the settled scribal classes in Persian cities versus Seljuq Rūm, where a great influx of Turkmen migrated into Anatolia from the steppes. In addition, the tendency of Turks to form their power base in the countryside without establishing a permanent court was another contributing factor to the major differences between Persianate sources and writing in or about Rūm. This contrasts with the situation in Persianate areas, such as Qum, which was settled by Ashʿarī Arabs during the first/seventh century. The inhabitants of Qum were sedentary and traced their lineage back to the Ashʿarī Arabs, naming the mīdāns of the city after these Arabs and closely identifying the physical land of Qum with this earlier Islamic Arab heritage.

    In addition to these early patterns of conquest, migration, or settlement by Arabs in Persia, Persian dynasts based themselves around urban centers. The Persian dihqān class of landed gentry held power in the countryside, but the court was nevertheless a settled and urban phenomenon. This is in contradistinction to the Turks, who retained strong affiliations with their nomadic heritage and negotiated complex relationships with the nomadic Turkmen.

    Complex urban-nomadic relationships for the Seljuqs of Rūm

    This is not to suggest that life was entirely nomadic in Seljuq Rūm. Peacock, who has described the complex relationship between the Seljuqs of Rūm and the nomadic peoples within Rūm over whom they ruled, documented an urbanized Persianate culture that began to develop and thrive from the late-sixth/twelfth century onwards, one that was albeit distinct from the Persianate culture that manifests itself in the histories from what is now Iran and Central Asia we have discussed above such as Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Qum, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. Konya was the capital and center of urban development, with a high-point of urban palace building in the early-seventh/thirteenth century during the reign of ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād I (r. 616–634/1219–1237).84

    A bifurcation in culture between the urbanized Rūm Seljuqs (the Turks) versus the nomads within their domains (the Turkmens) is probably overly simplistic. Peacock proposes that even at the height of their dynastic rule in the early-seventh/thirteenth century, the Rūm Seljuqs maintained close contact with at least some Turkmen groups.85 Konya was not an exclusive capital, since the court was itinerant, but it was a center of gravity and a royal dynastic burial ground for the Rūm Seljuqs and their court as they traveled through their realms in contact with their Turkmen subjects.86 The boundary between the urban domain and the ūj or aṭrāf—the domain of the nomadic Turkmen—was a porous and complexly negotiated one.87 For the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, like the Seljuqs of Rūm, the court was a peripatetic phenomenon.88 Consequently, Rūm sources focus on tribal elements and dynastic legitimation, in contrast to the Persianate sources that tend to focus on the city as the unit of measure.

    With the major exception of Tabriz, which became a de facto capital for the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, the Turks tended to live in tents, not in cities, and they did not establish a permanent court.89 The Great Seljuqs favored Tabriz, but they did not establish a permanent court even there, which ultimately meant that Tabriz would not become a permanent metropolis with an established cultural apparatus, a “cultural magnet” like Baghdad or Cairo.90

    There were other factors that account for the differences in the culture of Islamicate writing in the Persianate local histories and those about Seljuq Rūm. Greek and Orthodox Christian culture persisted and were only slowly replaced by Islamic institutions of governance and learning such as the madrasah, and during the protracted period of religio-cultural transition as the Byzantines resisted the Turkic invasions, the borders shifted.91 Anatolia retained a Christian population, particularly in central and inland Anatolia, where there remained a substantial Christian element, and Seljuq sultans in Anatolia married Greek and Georgian princesses.92

    While Persianate local histories and Seljuq Rūm sources are contemporary, Islamization had occurred much earlier and very differently in Persia. In contrast to Rūm, Persian lands were generally less nomadic and had more settled populations of villages and cities. The Arab armies that invaded Persia came within the first few decades of the Muslim conquests. By the fourth/tenth century, an urban Persianate Muslim civilization flourished, and perhaps by 400/1000 the majority of Persians had in some substantive way converted to Islam.93

    During the fourth/tenth to ninth/early-fifteenth centuries, further demographic and cultural shifts took place in Persia. The center of intellectual and political gravity within Islam moved eastward into Persia from its former basis in Arab territories in Arabia, Syria, and Iraq, and a major revival occurred in Persian cultural and literary production. Persians—the famed Saʿdī and Ferdowsī, among others—could write in the blossoming New Persian language without their Muslim identity necessarily being called into question. Rapidly growing cities in Persia were focal points of intellectual, religious, and cultural activity. Local dynasties rose to prominence and power in Khurasan.94

    The Persianate local histories examined in this essay were written at the time of the rise of local dynasties in Khurasan. Local dynasts and governors, who ruled as amīrs on behalf of the Abbasid caliphate, used these literary forms in order to maintain the fine balance of local authority and legitimacy that was simultaneously nominally or actually subordinate to Abbasid power and was situated within the religio-political framework of the broader Muslim ummah. Nevertheless, what was locally important was not necessarily globally significant.

    Sources from the peripheries in the Persianate world and Rūm were not the only works to claim their importance and centrality. Histories from and about Baghdad—the political and symbolic heart of the caliphate—also asserted time and again the centrality and importance of the city. Writing about the city of Baghdad and focusing on Arabic-language literature from the medieval period, Cooperson has argued that descriptions of Baghdad incorporate a persistent and recurrent set of topoi that refer to Baghdad and to the broader corpus of literary descriptions about urban life.95 Antrim has argued that claims about Baghdad’s centrality connected the city to the ummah throughout time and legitimized Baghdad.96 Regardless of whether these claims were repeated tropes or were distinct and variable, it is clear that the dynamics of power were multilayered and multidirectional, and cities and regions simultaneously constituted and were constituted by their representations in written sources.97  

    Conclusions and implications

    Given the heterogeneous nature of the sources themselves, analyzing Persianate local histories is, by definition, a comparative exercise. These histories were composed over a span of several centuries in different regions. They were composed at a geographic and cultural remove from the notional center of the empire in Baghdad during an era marked by the rise of local dynasties (such as the Buyids during the fourth/tenth century), when Abbasid power was decentralized and stretched across vast areas with multiple regional foci across Persianate lands.

    The authors, editors, compilers and translators who produced these texts wrote at multiple registers for both perceived and real audiences. Sometimes, when a text exists only in a later translation, as is the case with Tārīkh-i Qum, it is difficult if not impossible to tell where the editor or translator may have shifted the tenor, tone, content, or emphasis of the text to speak to one of many audiences that the text may have reached at different times and places.

    The disparate constellation of texts collectively considered annalistic Persianate local histories are linked in their tendency to position their communities to better fit into the scope of Islamic history by resonating with both globally Islamic and regionally specific Persian themes. Therefore, these texts simultaneously respond to and challenge assumptions about the centrality of Arabs, Arabic, Arabia, Iraq, Syria, ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs while at the same claiming their own importance within these same frameworks. Persian local histories are characterized by the use of myriad literary strategies to claim religio-political authority, including dream narratives; emphasis on ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, sayyids, sharīfs, and other associates or descendants of Muḥammad, sometimes as ḥadīth transmitters who lived and taught in the region as living virtues (faḍāʾil) and custodians of the faith; and foundation narratives or etymologies that embed the city or region into pivotal moments in Islamic history or link it to prophetic authority. Legitimating dreams; records of the sayings, teachings, and burial places of notables, imāms, descendants and associates of Muḥammad; physical marvels and virtues of the land; and glorious etymologies all bring the prestige of religious sanction to these locales.

    In contrast, the histories about the Rūm Seljuqs were conditioned by the contexts of their production, which during the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries was dominated by the Mongol invasions and its aftermath and consequences.98 As the Byzantine foci of power gave way first to the Turkic Seljuqs and then to the Mongols, authors confronted how to recount, represent, and frame their past and present both to themselves and to others. The originally nomadic Turkic tribesmen who invaded and Islamized Rūm were not bound to the land in the way that Persian authors were, and consequently historical writing from Seljuq Rūm is not tied to the land in the way that Persianate sources are. We do not see the standard sections on wonders and marvels of the land, or the emphasis on the virtues of the land and its denizens, which occur in Persianate local histories. Rather, there is a heavier focus on the warrior heroism of the Seljuqs, which confers legitimacy on the dynasty. Annalistic Persian local histories do not form a neatly regimented whole. Given the unevenness of the genre of Persian language local histories, comparisons with locally-oriented historical writing about Rūm—another periphery—draw out the distinctive characteristics of medieval Islamic Persianate local histories.

    About the author

    Mimi Hanaoka is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Richmond, where she teaches Islam and Islamic history. Her first book, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography: Persian Histories from the Peripheries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), explains themes and literary strategies that “centered” texts from “peripheral” regions in medieval Persia.  Her current research project investigates the ways in which Muslim reformists in Iran and South Asia approached Japan as a non-Western model of modernity and educational reform during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Notes

    1. For bibliography and discussion of the secondary literature on the concept of “Iran,” see Sarah Bowen Savant, The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), Ch. 1, esp. 8–12. See also Patricia Crone, The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 161–162, 376. On the concept of Iran and Iranian identity, especially during the Sasanian period, see Gherardo Gnoli, The Idea of Iran: An Essay on its Origin (Rome: Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1989). More recently, Touraj Daryaee explores the concept of Īrānshahr and its boundaries and borders (particularly in the form of rivers and walls as physical barriers) during the Sasanian period in “The Idea of the Sacred Land of Eranshahr,” in R. Strootman & M. J. Versluys (eds.), Persianism in Antiquity (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2017), 393–399. For an overview of the literature, see also Mimi Hanaoka, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography: Persian Histories from the Peripheries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), Ch. 2.
    2. Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar al-Narshakhī, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, translated by Abū Naṣr Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Qubawī and abridged by Muḥammad b. Zufar b. ʿUmar. Ed. Mudarris Razavī (Tehran: Bunyād-i Farhang-i Iran, 1972). An English translation is available as The History of Bukhara, Translated from a Persian Abridgement of the Arabic Original by Narshakhī, ed. and trans. Richard N. Frye (Cambridge, MA: Medieval Academy of America, 1954).
    3. Abū’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Zayd al-Bayhaqī, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, ed. Aḥmad Bahmanyār (2nd ed.; Tehran: Muʾassas va-Mudīr-i Bungāh-i Dānesh, 1965). See Julie S. Meisami, “History as Literature,” in Charles Melville (ed.), Persian Historiography (A History of Persian Literature 10; London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), 209.
    4. Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, translated by Tāj al- Dīn Ḥasan b. Bahāʾ al-Dīn ʿAlī Qummī. Ed. Muḥammad Riḍā Anṣārī Qummī (Qum: Kitābkhānah-i Buzurg-i Ḥazrat-i Āyat Allāh al-ʿUẓmā Marʿashī Najafī, 2006). See Ann K. S. Lambton, “An Account of the Tarikhi Qumm,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 12 (1948): 586–596. Lambton’s important early study of the work summarizes the history of the text.
    5. Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, ed. ʿAbbas Iqbal (2 vols.; Tehran: Muḥammad Ramazani, 1941). An abridged English translation is available as Abridged Translation of the History of Tabaristan Compiled about A.H. 613 (A.D. 1216) by Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Isfandiyar, Based on the India Office Ms. Compared with Two Mss. in the British Museum, trans. Edward G. Browne (Leiden: Brill, 1905).
    6. Qubawī extended the history covered to the year 365/975. The Persian translation was then abridged in 574/1178–1179 by Muḥammad b. Zufar b. ʿUmar, who also added to the work from other texts. See History of Bukhara, ed. and trans. Frye, xii. The Samanid amīr Manṣūr b. Nūḥ commissioned Balʿamī’s Tārīkhnāmā, ostensibly an abridged Persian translation of Ṭabarī’s fourth/tenth-century Arabic Tārīkh al-rusul wa’l-mulūk (“History of Prophets and Kings”). On the original nature of Balʿamī’s Tārīkhnāmā and a reconstruction of the politics of the Samanid court based in Bukhara, see A.C. S. Peacock, Mediaeval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy: Balʿamī’s Tārikhnāma (London: Routledge, 2007). On translation movements as a mode of storing up a dynasty’s legitimacy, see Dimitri Gutas, Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and Early Abbasid Society (2nd–4th/8th–10th Centuries) (London: Routledge, 1998), 29, 45. See also Peacock, Medieval Islamic Historiography, 169.
    7. For biographical information, see D. M. Dunlop, “al-Bayhaḳī, Ẓahīr al-Dīn Abū ‘l-ḤasanʿAlī b. Zayd b. Funduḳ,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v. See also Meisami, “History as Literature,” 209.
    8. The editor, Muḥammad Riḍā Anṣārī Qummī, states that the extant manuscripts of the Persian translation of Tārīkh-i Qum he has seen originate from two sources. The manuscripts on which the text is based have some special characteristics, including numerous letter substitutions, which the printed edition retains, along with the occasional use of Arabic words instead of Persian ones, and variant spellings of proper nouns. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 4, 60–61, 63–67. See also Lambton, “An Account of the Tarikhi Qumm.”
    9. On the historiography of the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, see Nicola Clarke, The Muslim Conquest of Iberia: Medieval Arabic Narratives (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012).
    10. For a detailed treatment of this argument, see Hanaoka, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography.
    11. Mimi Hanaoka, “Perspectives from the Peripheries: Strategies for ‘Centering’ Persian Histories from the ‘Peripheries,’” Journal of Persianate Studies 8 (2015): 1–22.
    12. For the etymologies, see Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 39–52.
    13. Ibid., 269–270.
    14. Ibid., 278.
    15. The miʿrāj is often understood as an event to which multiple qurʾānic passages allude, and it is treated extensively in the exegetical and mystical traditions within Islam.
    16. Ibid., 51. The editor translates mirfaq as āranj, meaning elbows.
    17. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 51.
    18. The term “elaboration of memory” is from Jonathan Z. Smith, To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 112. Smith discusses Christian myth and reconstructions of visits to the Holy Land through ritual experience.
    19. I add “buried here,” since this is occurring on the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, when the bodily resurrection of all people would occur. I take the 70,000 martyrs who will appear on the Day of Resurrection in Bukhara to be 70,000 martyrs who were buried there.
    20. This is Frye’s translation. The History of Bukhara, ed. and trans. Frye, 21–22; Narshakhī, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, 30–32.
    21. Richard Nelson Frye, “Notes on the History of Transoxiana,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 19 (1956): 106–125. He also included some corrections to his History of Bukhara. See also, W. Barthold and R. N. Frye, “Buk̲h̲ārā,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    22. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.56; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 14.
    23. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.56–58; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 14–16.
    24. On concepts of Persia, Persianness, and memories of the pre-Islamic and proto-Islamic past, see Sarah Bowen Savant, “Isaac as the Persians’ Ishmael: Pride and the Pre-Islamic Past in Medieval Islam,” Comparative Islamic Studies 2 (2006): 5–25.
    25. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.122; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 73–74.
    26. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.122–125; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 74–76.
    27. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.125–130; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 76–80.
    28. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.130–135; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 80–85.
    29. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.135–137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 85–86.
    30. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.130; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 80.
    31. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 86.
    32. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 87.
    33. D. G. Tor, “The Long Shadow of Pre-Islamic Iranian Rulership: Antagonism or Assimilation?” in Teresa Bernheimer and Adam Silverstein (eds.), Late Antiquity: Eastern Perspectives (Oxford: Oxbow, 2012), 145–163. “To say that the ‘Islamic ideal of rulership’ was in conflict with the Iranian ideal that was actively embraced and absorbed into Islamic culture from the Abbasid era onwards is simply not accurate… In short, the Iranian ideal saved the Islamic polity at a crucial moment, when the caliphate had failed and was in the process of collapse; it was one of the two legitimising factors—the other being the jihād—that was able to turn mere amīrs, or military commanders, into Sultans—legitimate political authorities. The essential reason why the Iranian ideal was revived, reshaped, and given a new lease on life was precisely the lack of a viable mainstream Islamic ideal after the ideological implosion that followed on the heels of the Abbasid failure,” 163. See also Tor, “The Islamising of Iranian Kingly Ideals in the Persianate Fürstenspiegel,” Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies 49 (2011): 15–22.
    34. Parvaneh Pourshariati, “Local Histories of Khurasan and the Pattern of Arab Settlement,” Studia Iranica 27 (1998): 64–66; see also Charles Melville, “Introduction,” in idem (ed.), Persian Historiography, 145–146.
    35. Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad Ibn Saʿd writes: “And Muḥammad b. ʿUmar said: al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās did not live [in] Mecca, and neither did he live in Medina, and he engaged with military expeditions with the Prophet, and he returned to the country of his tribe (qawmihi) and he settled in the al-Bādiyyah area near Basra and would go often to Basra, and the people of Basra spoke about him. The rest of his children were in the al-Bādiyyah [area] of Basra and a tribe descended [in] Basra.” Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad Ibn Saʿd, Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, ed. ʿAlī Muḥammad ʿUmar (11 vols.; Cairo: Maktabat al-Khānjī, 2001), 5:160–162, no. 821.
    36. Seyyed Mohammad Seyyedi, “ʿAbbās b. Mirdās,” Encyclopaedia Islamica (Leiden: Brill, 2008), s.v.; Renate Jacobi, “Mukhaḍram,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    37. According to Seyyedi, his kunyah is given either as Abū’l-Faḍl or Abū’l-Haytham. His great-grandfather’s name is Abū ʿĀmir or Abū Ghālib b. Rifāʿah b. Ḥārithah. This information is found in Ibn Ḥazm, Jamharat ansāb al-ʿArab (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1983), 263; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb fī maʿrifat al-aṣḥāb (Cairo: n.p., n.d.), 2.817; and al-Marzubānī, Muʿjam al-shuʿarāʾ (Cairo: ʿĪsā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1960), 102. Régis Blachère estimates that ʿAbbās was born around 570 CE: see Histoire de la littérature arabe (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1952), 274–275. Abū ʿUbaydah identifies al-Khansāʾ, the famous female Arab poet, as his mother (cited in Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī, Kitāb al-Aghānī [Beirut : Dār al-Thaqāfah, 1956], 14.285, 301). On the other hand, some sources claim that al-Khansāʾ was the mother of all of Mirdās’s children except for al-ʿAbbās; see, e.g., Abū ʿUbayd al-Bakrī, Simṭ al-laʾālī [Beirut: n.p., n.d.], 1.32. See Seyyedi, “Al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās.”
    38. ʿAbd al-Malik Ibn Hishām (d. 218/834), The Life of Muhammad; A Translation of Isḥaq’s [sic] Sīrat Rasūl Allah. Trans. A. Guillaume (Lahore: Oxford University Press, 1967), 594–595.
    39. Seyyedi cites al-Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf (Damascus: Dār al-Yaqaẓah, 1997), 1.629 and Khalīfah b. Khayyāṭ, Tārīkh, ed. Suhayl Zakkār (n.p., n.d.), 1.75–76 on the zakāt and al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās, Dīwān al-‘Abbās ibn Mirdās al-Sulamī, ed. Yaḥyā al-Jubūrī (Baghdad: Dār al-Jumhūriyyah, 1968), 24, for ʿAbbās being an envoy to al-Bādiyyah. Seyyedi, “Al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās.”
    40. Ibn Saʿd, Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, 5.160–162, no. 821.
    41. Muḥammad b. ʿĪsā al-Tirmidhī, Sunan al-Tirmidhī: Jamʿ jawāmiʿ al-aḥādīth wa’l-asānīd wa-makniz al-ṣiḥāḥ wa’l-sunan wa’l-masānīd (2 vols.; Vaduz, Liechtenstein: Jamʿiyyat al-Maknaz al-Islāmī, 2000), 977 (kitāb al-manāqib 60, no. 4239): mā min aḥad min aṣḥābī yamūtu bi-arḍin illa buʿitha qāʾidan wa-nūran lahum yawm al-qiyāmah.
    42. Ibn Funduq, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, 22.
    43. Ibn Funduq, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, 22.
    44. The work of Kazuo Morimoto and Teresa Bernheimer on the Alids (Bernheimer) and “sayyido-sharifology” (Morimoto) and genealogies of the Prophet’s family provide the basis for my definition of these terms. See Kazuo Morimoto, “Toward the Formation of Sayyido-Sharifology: Questioning Accepted Fact,” Journal of Sophia Asian Studies 22 (2004): 87–103; ibid. (ed.), Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies: The Living Links to the Prophet (London: Routledge, 2012); Teresa Bernheimer, The ʿAlids: The First Family of Islam, 750–1200 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
    45. Bernheimer, The ʿAlids, 2–4.
    46. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 256–280. On the Shi’i imāms see, for example, 259–262, 266, 269, 277, 279; on Iblīs, 259; on the angel Gabriel, 261–262; on Muḥammad, 259–280.
    47. B. Lewis, “ʿAlī al- Riḍā, Abu ‘l-Ḥasan b. Mūsā b. Ḏjaʿfar,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    48. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 573.
    49. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.94–106; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 47–58.
    50. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.73; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 27.
    51. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.120; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 70.
    52. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 29, 104, 249–255. Fire temples are used in the Zoroastrian religion, which was predominant in Iran during the pre-Islamic era.
    53. Zayde Antrim offers a detailed discussion of early Muslim attitudes toward lands and homelands and the conceptual framework of what she terms “a discourse of place,” in Routes and Realms: The Power of Place in the Early Islamic World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
    54. The history of pre- and early Islamic Anatolia is difficult to untangle, and I make no attempt here to reconstruct a chronology of Islamization in Rūm. This analysis relies heavily on the work on Turkic, Anatolian, Rūm, and Seljuq history undertaken by C. E. Bosworth, Peter Golden, David Durand-Guedy, Carole Hillenbrand, Charles Melville, Julie S. Meisami, Songül Mecit, Andrew Marsham, A. C. S. Peacock, Sara Nur Yildiz, and, in an earlier generation, by C. A. Storey and Claude Cahen. Major standard studies by the earlier generation include Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey: A General Survey of the Material and Spiritual Culture and History c. 10711330, trans. J. Jones-Williams (New York: Taplinger, 1968); idem, The Formation of Turkey: The Seljukid Sultanate of Rūm: Eleventh to Fourteenth Century, ed. and trans. P. M. Holt (New York: Longman, 2001); idem, La Turquie pré-ottomane (Istanbul: Dıvıt Matbaacılık ve Yayıncılık, 1988); Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey (5 vols. in 12; London: Luzac & Co., 1927–1971 [incomplete]). Peacock offers voluminous and exemplary work on Anatolia and Seljuq history, including Peacock, Early Seljūq History: A New Interpretation (New York: Routledge, 2010); idem, Mediaeval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy: Balʿamī’s Tārikhnāma (London: Routledge, 2007). See also Marsham, Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession and Succession in the First Muslim Empire (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). Peacock and Yildiz (eds.), The Seljuks of Anatolia: Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013) is a rich volume of edited essays that focuses on Seljuq Anatolia from the sixth/late-twelfth through seventh/late-thirteenth centuries. Bosworth has authored numerous works on Iranian dynasties that are relevant when trying to piece together the chronology of events in Anatolia. See also Hillenbrand, “Aspects of the Court of the Great Seljuqs,” in Christian Lange and Songül Mecit (eds.), The Seljuqs: Politics, Society and Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011), 22–38; eadem, Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol: The Battle of Manzikert (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007); Melville, “Anatolia under the Mongols,” in Kate Fleet (ed.), Cambridge History of Turkey, Vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 51–101; Meisami, “Rāvandī’s Rāḥat al-Ṣudūr: History or Hybrid?” Edebiyât (n.s.) 5 (1994): 181–215; eadem, “Why Write History in Persian? Historical Writing in the Samanid Period,” in Hillenbrand (ed.), Studies in Honor of Clifford Edmund Bosworth, II: The Sultan’s Turret: Studies in Persian and Turkish Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 348–374; Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs: Evolution of a Dynasty (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014); Lange and  Mecit (eds.), The Seljuqs: Politics, Society and Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014). For a summary of the secondary literature, see Hanaoka, Authority and Identity, Ch. 9.
    55. Speros Vryonis Jr., The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1971). See also R. Stephen Humphrey’s assessment of Vryonis’s chronology of the Islamization in Anatolia in Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), 279–281.
    56. Carole Hillenbrand, “Rāvandī, the Seljuk Court at Konya and the Persianization of Anatolian Cities,” in Gary Leiser (ed.), Les Seldjoukides d’Anatolie (Paris: Editions Hêrodotos, 2005), 157–169, esp. 162–169.
    57. Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿAj̲amī (“Persian Iraq”) was distinguished from al-ʿIrāq al-ʿArabī (“Arab ʿIrāq”). Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿAj̲amī or Persian Iraq referred to the mountainous, western portion of Persia, formerly known as Māh (Māda, Media). Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿArabī or Arab ʿIrāq referred to Lower Mesopotamia. See C. Edmund Bosworth, “ʿERĀQ-E ʿAJAM(Ī),” Encyclopedia Iranica, s.v. (1998); L. Lockhart, “D̲j̲ibāl,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    58. Carole Hillenbrand, “Some Reflections on Seljuq Historiography,” in Antony Eastmond (ed.), Eastern Approaches to Byzantium: Papers from the Thirty-third Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, March 1999 (Aldershot: Ashgate-Variorum, 2001), 73–88.
    59. On the Great Seljuqs, see the chapters by Bosworth, Lambton, and Bausani in J. A. Boyle (ed.), The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 5: The Saljuq and Mongol Periods (Cambridge: Cambridge, University Press, 1968). See also Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey, 119–139 and idem, The Formation of Turkey, 47–71.
    60. For example, see Deborah G. Tor, “A Tale of Two Murders: Power Relations between Caliph and Sultan in the Saljūq Era,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 159 (2009): 279–297.
    61. Hillenbrand, “Some Reflections on Seljuq Historiography,” 73–88.
    62. For a treatment of the court history of the Seljuq Empire in Iran and Iraq (ca. 432–590/1040–1194) written in Arabic and Persian, see Peacock, “Court Historiography of the Seljuq Empire in Iran and Iraq: Reflections on Content, Authorship and Language,” Iranian Studies 47 (2014): 327–345. Peacock analyzes the historical writing that was focused on the activities of the Great Seljuqs and their successors, the Seljuq Sultanate of Iraq; these sources were primarily written by bureaucrats who were associated with the court about which they wrote.
    63. Charles Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” in Judith Pfeiffer and Sholeh A. Quinn (eds.), History and Historiography of Post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East: Studies in Honor of John E. Woods (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006), 135–166.
    64. For an overview of literatures in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish from Anatolia during the eighth/fourteenth and ninth/fifteenth centuries and new scholarly approaches to these literatures, see Peacock and Yildiz, “Introduction: Literature, Language and History in Late Medieval Anatolia,” in Peacock and Yildiz (eds.), Islamic Literature and Intellectual Life in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century Anatolia (Würzburg: Ergon, 2016), 19–48.
    65. These sources are also valuable for understanding the role of the Khwarazmshāh and what happened to the sultanate of Rūm after the Mongol invasions. Kōzō Itani, “Mongoru shin’nyū-go no rūmu: Kyōdai-kan no surutan-i arasoi o megutte [The Rūm Sultanate after the Mongol Invasion],” Tōyōshi Kenkyu 39 (1980): 358–387. See also Itani, “Rūmu sarutanato to horazumushā [The Rūm Sultanate and the Khwārazmshāh],” Tōyōshi Kenkyu 47 (1988): 116–149.
    66. Karīm al-Dīn Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad Āqsarāʾī, Tārīkh-i Salājiqah, yā Musāmarāt al-akhbār wa-musāyarat al-akhyār (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Asāṭīr, 1362 [1983-1984]).
    67. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166.
    68. Although the anonymity of the text complicates the issue, the text was composed for one of the last Seljuq sultans. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq dar Ānātūlī, ed. Nādirah Jalālī (Tehran: Daftar-i Nashr-i Mīrāth-i Maktūb, Āyinah-i Mīrāth: 1999).
    69. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 40.
    70. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 49–51.
    71. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 51–73.
    72. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 74–78.
    73. Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad Ibn Bībī, Akhbār-i Salājiqah-i Rūm, bā matn-i kāmil-i Saljūqnāmah-i Ibn Bībī, jāmiʿ-i maṭālib-i tārīkhī-i kitāb-i Al-Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah fī’l-umūr al-ʿalāʾiyyah, ed. Muḥammad Javād Mashkūr (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-i Tihrān, 1971). This 1971 Tehran edition edited by Mashkūr is a reprint of the 1902 edition published in Leiden by Brill and is also known as Mukhtaṣar-i Saljūqnāmah.
    74. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166. On Ibn Bībī, see also Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs, xxxi–xxxii.
    75. Juvaynī had a relative who had been Ibn Bībī’s father’s patron. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166. Anooshahr covers Ibn Bībī and his Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah in Ali Anooshahr, The Ghazi Sultans and the Frontiers of Islam: A Comparative Study of the Late Medieval and Early Modern Periods (New York: Routledge, 2009), 110–117. See also 13, 100, 136, 143, 147, 148, and 151.
    76. Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs, 23–29.
    77. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135.
    78. Later dynasties, including the Ottomans and Karamanids, argued that they were successors to the Seljuqs through claims of real and mythological descent. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” in The Seljuqs: Politics, Society, and Culture, 81–82, 86–92.
    79. Korobeinikov dates the emergence of Rūm Seljuq titles to the sixth/mid-twelfth century, ca. 551/1156. The title of the Rūm Seljuq Sultan Qilich Arslān II (r. 551–588/1156–1192), who styled himself as a sultan with rule limited to Anatolia, refers to some of the titles used by the Great Seljuq Sultan Malikshāh, instead of using titulature that would indicate that he was a successor to the Byzantines. Rūm Seljuq Sultan ʿIzz al-Dīn Kay-Kawūs I (r. 608–616/1211–1219) claimed the title malik al-mashriq wa’l-maghrib (“King of the East and West”) and “Lord of the Arabs and Persians,” styling himself in the model of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, who used such titles. Dimitri Korobeinikov, “‘The King of the East and the West’: The Seljuk Dynastic Concept and Titles in the Muslim and Christian Sources,” in The Seljuks of Anatolia: Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East, 68–90. In this, the Seljuqs of Rūm were not alone: the Mamluk ruler Baybars also adopted symbols of Seljuq power—though the Great Seljuqs were by then far past the acme of the their rule—such as the nawbah drum band and chatr parasol, as physical symbols of his legitimacy as a ruler. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” 82–84.
    80. Peacock, “Georgia and the Anatolian Turks in the 12th and 13th Centuries,” Anatolian Studies 56 (2006): 127–146. In this case, sometime in the second quarter of the seventh/thirteenth century, the Georgian queen Rusudan (r. 620–645/1223–1247) married a Seljuq, the son of Mughīth al-Dīn Tughril-Shāh of Erzurum, who converted to Christianity when the Georgians balked at having a Turkish Muslim king.
    81. The Dānishmendids and Saltukids—rivals of the Seljuqs of Rūm—ruled without claiming Seljuq descent as the basis of their legitimacy. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” 81–82.
    82. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166.
    83. For a recent study that examines two partially preserved Khurasani histories, see A. C. S. Peacock, “Khurasani Historiography and Identity in the Light of the Fragments of the Akhbār Wulāt Khurāsān and the Tārīkh-i Harāt,” in A. C. S. Peacock and D. G. Tor (eds.), Medieval Central Asia and the Persianate World: Iranian tradition and Islamic Civilisation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2015), 143–160. Peacock examines the fourth/tenth century Akhbār Wulāt Khurāsān (“History of the Governors of Khurasan,” no longer extant in its entirety but preserved through quotations in other works, and which Peacock considers a composite work written by three members of the same family) and the sixth/twelfth century Tārīkh-i Harāt (which survives in fragmentary form). Peacock argues that local identity exited simultaneously with a broader Khurasani identity: “These works suggest that local allegiances to one’s own town could co-exist with a broader sense of Khurasani patriotism. The Tārīkh-i Harāt, however, is also characterized by a distinct anti-Iraqi sentiment, testimony not just to the political and cultural fissures that rent the Seljuq Empire but also to this distinct sense of Khurasani identity that had developed since the region’s incorporation into the Arab empire and evidently survived to the eve of the Mongol invasions,” 144–145. Put another way, “The regional identities that Sarah Savant, on the basis of works down to the fifth/eleventh century, observed as pre-eminent, continued to dominate into the sixth/twelfth century. However, even to describe them as regional is somewhat misleading: these texts give no sense that Khurasan was part of a larger Iran,” 154.
    84. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” in David Durand-Guedy (ed.), Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 191–222, esp. 193–197.
    85. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” see 193–194 for an outline of his argument. For more on the complex relationships forged between the nomadic Turkmen groups and the Seljuqs of Anatolia, see also idem, “From the Balkhān-Kūhīyān to the Nāwakīya: Nomadic Politics and the Foundations of Seljūq Rule in Anatolia,” in Jürgen Paul (ed.), Nomad Aristocrats in a World of Empires (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2013), 55–80. In short, “the link between the dynasty and the Turkmens was far from completely broken” (Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 194).
    86. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 193–205, 211.
    87. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 193–199; see 199–205 and 211 on the ūj or aṭrāf.
    88. For the Great Seljuqs, Durand-Guedy has likewise argued for a reassessment that takes into account the complex relationship between the Seljuqs and the Turkmen nomads, whose presence and value may be undervalued in the sources—composed by the Persian and Arab secretarial class—but whose contributions were nevertheless a critical component in the complex and shifting military and political structures of power and allegiances forged by the Great Seljuqs; see “New Trends in the Political History of Iran under the Great Saljuqs (11th -12th Centuries),” History Compass 13 (2015): 321–337. In addition to an excellent and very condensed summary of scholarship on the Seljuqs, Durand-Guedy also provides a valuable simplified genealogical tree of the Seljuqs, including where the Anatolian branch and the Kirmani branches break off from the rest of the Seljuqs.
    89. Crone, Nativist Prophets, 490–491.
    90. Crone, Nativist Prophets, 491.
    91. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166, esp. 136.
    92. C. E. Bosworth, R. Hillenbrand, J. M. Rogers, F. C. de Blois, and R. E. Darley-Doran, “Sald̲j̲ūḳids,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    93. For this rate of conversion and the argument that Persia had become majority-Muslim by around the year 400/1000, see Richard W. Bulliet, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period: An Essay in Quantitative History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979); ibid., The Patricians of Nishapur: A Study in Medieval Islamic Social History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972); ibid., “A Quantitative Approach to Medieval Muslim Biographical Dictionaries,” Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient 13 (1970): 195–211. Bulliet uses onomastic data derived from biographical dictionaries and proposes that the majority of the population had converted to Islam and that conversion had tapered off by ca. 400/1000. He notes that issues concerning onomastic data can be tricky, in that there are Christians and Jews with Arabic names and Muslims with non-Arabic names; however, most of these appear after ca. 300/900. Around this time, Iranian Muslims again begin to have Persian names. See also Bulliet, “Conversion Stories in Early Islam,” in Michael Gervers and Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (eds.), Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands: Eighth to Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1990), 123–133. Morony offers a critical assessment of Bulliet’s work on the rate of conversion in Michael Morony, “The Age of Conversions: A Reassessment,” in Conversion and Continuity, 135–150. See also Thomas Carlson’s contribution to this volume, specifically discussing the Christian population of Iraq.
    94. The province of Khurasan in modern-day northeastern Iran is significantly smaller than what the term meant in the early medieval period, when it included vast and ill-defined swathes of Central Asia and Afghanistan in addition to the massive region of eastern Iran. Bosworth, “Khurāsān,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    95. Michael Cooperson, “Baghdad in Rhetoric and Narrative,” Muqarnas 13 (1996): 99-113.
    96. Zayde Antrim, “Connectivity and Creativity: Representations of Baghdad’s Centrality, 3rd/9th to 5th/11th Centuries,” in İsmail Safa Üstün (ed.), İslam Medeniyetinde Bağdat (Medînetü’s-Selâm) Uluslararası Sempozyum/International Symposium on Baghdad (Madinat al-Salam) in the Islamic Civilization (Istanbul: Marmara Üniversitesi, IRCICA, 2011), 55–74. Antrim argues that “rehearing the claims to the city’s centrality evoked a sense of connectivity to the Islamic umma past and present, a sense of connectivity that was useful and compelling in legitimizing creativity and authority in the Islamic world more broadly,” 56–57.
    97. Michael Cooperson provides a fascinating discussion of Arabs and Iranians and the role and meaning of ethnicity during the early Abbasid period, in which he outlines the fragility, flexibility, and contingency of ethnic identities. See “‘Arabs’ and ‘Iranians’: The Uses of Ethnicity in the Early Abbasid Period,” in Asad Q. Ahmed, Behnam Sadeghi, Robert G. Hoyland, and Adam Silverstein (eds.), Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts: Essays in Honor of Professor Patricia Crone (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 364–387.
    98. Anatolian authors produced what Melville categorizes as “works of local historiography, as one would expect from a peripheral region both geographically separate and accustomed to political autonomy, yet at the same time they were composed in, and part in response to, a wider imperial context… the Mongol conquests generated an interest in historical literature that the earlier Seljuk invasions had not.” Melville dates the development of a distinct historiography in Islamic Anatolia to the seventh/late-thirteenth century, when it became an important province of the Mongol Empire. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 136.

    Local Histories from the Medieval Persianate World

    Memory, Legitimacy, and the Early Islamic Past

    Local Histories from the Medieval Persianate World

    Memory, Legitimacy, and the Early Islamic Past

    About Global Late Antiquity

    Local Histories from the Medieval Persianate World

    Memory, Legitimacy, and the Early Islamic Past

    Medieval Persianate local histories form a heterogeneous genre, but a trait these diverse texts share is that they perform a balancing act: they simultaneously respond to and challenge assumptions about the centrality of Arabs, Arabic, Arabia, Iraq, Syria, the ṣaḥābah (Companions of the Prophet), tābiʿūn (Successors of the Companions), Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs while at the same time claiming their own importance within these frameworks. Authors of Persianate local histories composed during the fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-centuries argued for the legitimacy and centrality of their communities on the peripheries of empire by including narratives about descendants of the Prophet associated with the region addressed in the history, be it a city, town, or province; incorporating narratives of legitimating dreams and visions; associating ṣaḥābah with the land; highlighting sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah); and incorporating sacralizing etymologies. Within the larger discourse of Persian-language historical writing in the Islamicate world, there are different traditions, which may be distinguished by the varying modes of legitimacy to which they turn. Local histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm (Anatolia) written in the Persian language offer an instructive contrast to Persianate local histories centering on cities and regions of modern-day Iran and Central Asia. These histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm—which are the most similar extant types of histories from the Islamicate world to the Persianate local histories—are contemporary with the Persianate local histories and are from a geographically contiguous region. However, in contrast to the Persianate local histories of Iran and Central Asia, these locally-oriented histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm composed during the seventh/thirteenth to eighth/fourteenth centuries focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.
    Medieval Persianate local histories form a heterogeneous genre, but a trait these diverse texts share is that they perform a balancing act: they simultaneously respond to and challenge assumptions about the centrality of Arabs, Arabic, Arabia, Iraq, Syria, the ṣaḥābah (Companions of the Prophet), tābiʿūn (Successors of the Companions), Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs while at the same time claiming their own importance within these frameworks. Authors of Persianate local histories composed during the fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-centuries argued for the legitimacy and centrality of their communities on the peripheries of empire by including narratives about descendants of the Prophet associated with the region addressed in the history, be it a city, town, or province; incorporating narratives of legitimating dreams and visions; associating ṣaḥābah with the land; highlighting sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah); and incorporating sacralizing etymologies. Within the larger discourse of Persian-language historical writing in the Islamicate world, there are different traditions, which may be distinguished by the varying modes of legitimacy to which they turn. Local histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm (Anatolia) written in the Persian language offer an instructive contrast to Persianate local histories centering on cities and regions of modern-day Iran and Central Asia. These histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm—which are the most similar extant types of histories from the Islamicate world to the Persianate local histories—are contemporary with the Persianate local histories and are from a geographically contiguous region. However, in contrast to the Persianate local histories of Iran and Central Asia, these locally-oriented histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm composed during the seventh/thirteenth to eighth/fourteenth centuries focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.
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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    About Global Late Antiquity

    Local Histories from the Medieval Persianate World

    Memory, Legitimacy, and the Early Islamic Past

    Introduction and overview

    Medieval local histories from the Persianate world form a notoriously heterogeneous genre. An issue of Iranian Studies in 2000 featured the variegated materials subsumed under the umbrella of Persianate local histories and highlighted the difficulty of speaking of these texts as a coherent genre. Persianate, in the broadest sense, has been used by scholars to refer to practices, texts, and norms prevalent in lands historically influenced by Persianate language and culture, which encompasses not only modern-day Iran but much of Central Asia as well as parts of South Asia. This essay considers Persianate local histories, mainly from what is today considered Iran and Central Asia, alongside contemporary Persian-language sources from Rūm (Anatolia) in order to highlight some characteristic traits of the former. It is guided by two questions: first, if medieval Persianate local histories can even be considered a genre, what are some recurring or signature characteristics and motifs? Second, if we compare these Persianate histories against sources about Rūm—a roughly contemporary and similarly heterogeneous collection of texts—what are the differences between them, and why do these differences exist? In this attempt to corral disparate texts together as a genre, the conclusions of this essay will necessarily be broad and comparative.

    In this article, I use the term “Persianate” specifically to refer to the geographic region of the vast lands inhabited by a loose Persian ethnic group and originally held under Achaemenid and Sasanian imperial control. I use this broader and shifting term “Persianate” (and so “Persia”) over “Iranian” (and so “Iran,” Īrān, Īrānshahr), as “Iran” and “Iranian” are less relevant for fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-century local histories.1 Also, I have chosen a subset of sources that are written at least partly in the Persian language (an issue I will discuss in more detail below). Therefore, I here use “Persianate” as a broad geographic and ethnic category—stemming from the notional entity of “Persia,” broadly defined—whereas I use “Persian” or “Persian-language” to mean sources composed at least partly in the Persian language that originated from a much wider geographical and cultural area than that signified by the term “Persianate.”

    As Iran and the Persianate lands transitioned from the late antique period into the Islamic era, a heterogeneous but related collection of locally-oriented histories were composed, translated, edited, and compiled. Patterns within city and regional histories from the peripheries of the Islamic empire—far from its perceived heartlands in Arabia, Syria, and Iraq—identify local structures of authority and legitimacy and also resonate with universal Islamic themes and topoi. Local identity manifests itself differently in the Persian-language sources from Rūm and, through these differences, illuminates the distinctive characteristics of Persianate histories.

    Persianate local histories and Persian-language dynastic histories from Rūm provide contrasting examples of the ways in which Persian-language historical writing manifests the priorities and symbols of legitimation at the time of their production. Boundaries, rulers, and norms shift over the centuries, as do the ways in which authors frame their claims for legitimacy and articulate their multilayered identities. Thus, Persianate sources show vestiges of their pre-Islamic past at the same time that they are steeped in Islamic norms. In contrast, sources from Seljuq Rūm concentrate more heavily on dynastic elements to demonstrate legitimacy.

    This essay considers three specific literary strategies that the authors of Persianate annalistic local histories employed to frame claims to legitimacy, identity, and belonging in their works: constructing etymologies (Bukhara, Qum, and Ṭabaristān); associating ṣaḥābah and other living faḍāʾil (virtues) with the region (Ṭabaristān and Bayhaq); and likewise associating sayyids, sharīfs, and Alids with the region (Qum and Ṭabaristān). The final section of this essay argues that within the heterogeneous genre of medieval Islamic Persian-language local histories, multiple modes of legitimacy are employed to forge different connections to memory and history. Persian-language sources from Rūm depart markedly from their Persianate counterparts in terms of the ways in which legitimacy is presented and connections to earlier histories are asserted. In contrast to the Persianate histories, however, locally-oriented histories from Rūm composed during the seventh/thirteenth to eighth/fourteenth centuries focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.

    Four examples of Persianate local history

    This essay analyzes four annalistic Persianate local histories from the fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth-centuries which were composed (to varying degrees) in both Arabic and Persian: Tārīkh-i Bukhārā,2 Tārīkh-i Bayhaq,3 Tārīkh-i Qum,4 and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān.5 Persianate local histories from this period vary in form and content. In terms of form, these local histories lie on a spectrum from biographical dictionaries at one end to narrative chronicles on the other, and they are often some combination of both. In terms of content, historical writing ranges from a town or city history (Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, and Tārīkh-i Qum) to provincial history (Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān). Linguistically, they are, to varying degrees, bilingual in Persian and Arabic. It is their heterogeneity of form and content that makes it challenging to speak of Persianate local histories as a single genre. The Persianate local histories considered here consist primarily of narrative annalistic chronicle-style material.

    Tārīkh-i Bukhārā is a local history that is a Persian translation of a lost Arabic original; the Persian text is simultaneously an abridgment of the original Arabic and an expansion of it with new material. The original Arabic-language Tārīkh-i Bukhārā was written in 332/943 or 944 by Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar b. Zakariyyā b. Khaṭṭāb b. Sharīk al-Narshakhī (d. ca. 348/959) from the village of Narshakh in the vicinity of Bukhara, who dedicated it to the Samanid amīr Nūḥ b. Naṣr (r. 331–343/943–954) in 332/943–944; it was translated into Persian by Abū Naṣr Aḥmad al-Qubawī in 522/1128–1129.6

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq is a mid-sixth/twelfth-century Persian local history of Bayhaq, a modest city located in northeastern Iran near the modern city of Mashhad and the Iranian border with Turkmenistan. Abū’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Abī’l-Qāsim Zayd b. Muḥammad b. al-Ḥusayn al-Bayhaqī (d. 565/1169), also known as Ibn Funduq, composed Tārīkh-i Bayhaq in 563/1167, two years before his death, during the rule of Muʾayyad al-Dawlah Ay Aba (d. 659/1174), who controlled Khurasan.7

    Tārīkh-i Qum was originally written in Arabic in the fourth/tenth century by Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. Ḥasan al-Qummī (d. ca. 406/1015–1016) in 378/988–989, although that original text is now lost. Tārīkh-i Qum survives only in the form of a later Persian translation made in 805–806/1402–1403 by Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. Ḥasan b. ʿAbd al-Malik al-Qummī for Ibrahīm b. Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-Safī (both fl. late eighth/fourteenth to early ninth/fifteenth century). The translated manuscript was then copied in 837/1433 in the city of Qum.8

    Finally, Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ḥasan b. Isfandiyār (d. after 613/1217), known as Ibn Isfandiyār, composed Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān in Persian in the early part of the seventh/thirteenth century. Both E. G. Browne and ʿAbbās Iqbāl date Ibn Isfandiyār’s composition of the text to 613/1216. The history is a composite work: Ibn Isfandiyār composed the original text in Persian and died sometime after 613/1216–1217, after which an anonymous compiler working sometime after the eighth/mid-fourteenth century then added to the work by updating it. The anonymous writer continued where Ibn Isfandiyār left off, in 606/1210, and brings the history up to ca. 750/1349.

    The three seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth century sources from Rūm that I will consider as heuristic counterpoints here are the chronicle of Ibn Bībī (d. ca. after 683–684/1285 or 686–687/1288), the chronicle of Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī (d. ca. between 723–733/1323–1333), and the anonymous Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq (“History of the Seljuqs”), completed in 765/1363; they are all Persian-language sources. Naturally, the limited sample set and the nature of the sources themselves constrain my observations and conclusions. While the sources that I compare here are different—Persian-language local histories from Persia during the fourth/tenth to ninth/fifteenth centuries on the one hand (which I have called Persianate local histories) and Persian-language dynastic histories of the Seljuqs of Rūm from the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries on the other—these two bodies of literature are the most closely aligned contemporary sources from the geographically contiguous regions of Persia and Anatolia.  There are no extant local histories of Rūm that are truly analogous to the annalistic Persianate local histories. Instead, what we have available to us are dynastic histories, a genre that was well-established by the eighth/fourteenth century in the broader Islamicate world.

    Consequently, we must consider apples alongside oranges, as it were, to make any kind of comparative assessment of these Persian-language histories, all locally oriented in their horizons and produced in or around two geographically contiguous regions located on the peripheries of the symbolic heartland of the Islamic empire in Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. There are other important peripheries of the Islamic empire during the fourth/tenth- to ninth/fifteenth centuries, for example Egypt and the Iberian Peninsula. The histories of these regions, which were written in Arabic, could also provide us with fruitful comparanda.9 However, on account of their geographic proximity and their use of Persian as the language of composition, the abovementioned sources from Rūm offer us the clearest heuristic comparison with the Persianate local histories.

    As mentioned above, authors of local histories from the Persianate world argued for the legitimacy and importance of their communities on the peripheries of empire by including narratives about descendants of the Prophet associated with the region; recounting narratives of legitimating dreams and visions; associating ṣaḥābah with the land; highlighting sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah); and incorporating sacralizing etymologies.10 By pursuing such strategies, the authors of the Persianate local histories claimed the centrality of their ostensibly peripheral regions.11 In contrast, the construction of dynastic and specifically Seljuq legitimacy are central concerns for the sources from Rūm from the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries, which present claims to such legitimacy in terms of military success, genealogy, and the virtues of kingly rule.

    Strategies of legitimation, I: etymologies in Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Qum, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    Qummī adduces multiple possible etymologies for the name of his native city in his Tārīkh-i Qum, and in so doing weaves the etymology, mythology, and history of Qum deep into the fabric of revelation and prophecy. Tārīkh-i Qum offers multiple etymologies for Qum, some fanciful and some more plausible; many are based on word play.12 One etymology traces the origins of Qum back to the prophet Noah.13 Qummī also adduces a Shi’i tradition about the naming of Qum, which claims that Qum is named as such because its inhabitants will be standing (qāʾim) steadfast with the family of Muḥammad, and they will stand upright (qāʾim) with him and will represent the victory of the family of the Prophet and will come to his aid.14 Other various possible etymologies suggest that a shepherd’s shack or a local stream may be the source of Qum’s etymology. Qummī’s most striking etymologies for Qum invoke the sacred.

    Regardless of the true origin or origins of Qum’s name, a story about Qum, Muḥammad, and Iblīs on the night of the miʿrāj is particularly noteworthy. The miʿrāj, the Prophet Muḥammad’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem (al-masjid al-aqṣā) and subsequent ascension to heaven from there, is a pivotal qurʾānic moment.15 In asserting Qum’s etymology into this qurʾānic event, Qummī embeds Qum deep into the framework of prophetic and Islamic history. According to Qummī:

    On the night of the Prophet’s ascension (miʿrāj), Iblīs the Accursed came to this place (boqʿ) on his knees (be zānū dar āmade būd) and he put both his elbows16 upon his knees, and looked upon the ground. The Prophet said to Iblīs: “Qum yā malʿūn” which means “Rise, O accursed one.” And it is for this reason that Qum was given the name ‘Qum.’17

    Understood in this way, the prophetic etymology of Qum on the night of the miʿrāj is a form of “elaboration of memory,” and a way of merging the memory of the early Islamic past and pivotal qurʾānic moments with Qum’s Islamic Persianate present.18 By participating in qurʾānic and biblical events (through an etymology invoking the Prophet Noah), Qum exists both within and beyond time—at once both memorialized in qurʾānic time and existing in its Persianized present.

    In Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Narshakhī incorporates sacralizing etymologies that include prophetic ḥadīth as one among other literary strategies to link Bukhara to Muḥammad’s legacy and Islamic modes of legitimacy. Narshakhī states that although the region is known by many names, the Companion Salmān al-Fārisī transmitted a tradition of the Prophet about the reason the city is named Bukhara. As a Persian and a Companion of the Prophet, Salmān al-Fārisī and his tradition about the etymology of Bukhara adds another dimension to the ways in which Narshakhī binds Bukhara to Muhammad and early Islamic memory. Narshakhī quotes Salmān al-Fārisī’s ḥadīth of the Prophet as follows:

    [Salmān said:] “The Prophet of God said that Gabriel told him that in the land of the East was a place called Khurasan. On the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, three cities of Khurasan will be adorned with red rubies and coral, and their radiance will shine about them. Around these cities there will be many angels, and they will praise, glorify, and exalt God. These angels will bring forth these cities onto the plains in grandeur and splendor, like a bride who is brought into the house of her betrothed. In each of these cities there will be 70,000 banners and under each banner there will be 70,000 martyrs. In the entourage of each martyr will be 70,000 believers, who will be speaking Persian and receiving salvation. On the Day of Judgment, every side of these cities—to the right and left, front and rear, for a distance of ten days’ journey—will be filled with martyrs.

    “The Prophet said, ‘O Gabriel, tell me the names of these cities.’ Gabriel replied, ‘The name of one of these cities in Arabic is Qāsimiyyah and in Persian Yishkard. The second in Arabic is Sumrān, in Persian Samarqand. The third in Arabic is Fākhirah, and in Persian Bukhārā.’ The Prophet asked, ‘O Gabriel, why is it called Fākhirah?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Because on the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, Bukhārā shall excel all other cities in glory (fakhr) because of the multitude of martyrs [buried there].’19 The Prophet cried, ‘God bless the people of Fākhirah and purify their hearts through the fear of God. Improve their actions and make them among the merciful of my people.’”

    Narshakhī then adds, “The significance of this is that from the east to the west it is attested that the people of Bukhārā are noted for their belief and purity.”20

    Narshakhī incorporates this prophetic ḥadīth in his history to bind Bukhara to Islamic memory and to the Prophet’s legacy. R. N. Frye surveyed the possible etymology and pre-Islamic history of Bukhara, and exhaustively assessed the sources for convincing etymologies; he ultimately found the data inconclusive.21 Narshakhī’s use of this etymology—regardless of its facticity regarding the actual etymology of Bukhara—is significant because he ties the city of Bukhara to the legacy of the Prophet through an etymology related by the Persian Companion Salmān al-Fārisī, thereby asserting a powerful form of non-biological lineage and heirship to the Prophet and his legacy.

    The etymologies offered by Persianate local histories may be tied to an Islamic past, a pre-Islamic past, or both, as is the case in Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. The etymologies and virtues (faḍāʾil) of Ṭabaristān are rich in pre-Islamic lore and Alid elements, as well as those that are not discernibly either Islamic or non- or pre-Islamic. Some etymologies offered by the author do capture the ancient Iranian and pre-Islamic character of the region. For example, regarding the etymology of the locale called Farshwāgdar, Ibn Isfandiyār offers several etymologies that range from “living safely” to “land of the mountain, plain, and sea,” among others.22 Ibn Isfandiyār relates that the region of Mazandaran was possessed by demons until the era of Jamshīd, who purportedly conquered them and commanded them to transform the land to make it more habitable and hospitable. The region was originally called mūz andar ūn, meaning that the region was within the area of the Mūz mountains.23 Ibn Isfandiyār neither forgets nor elides the pre-Islamic past, but instead incorporates it into a broader narrative that ultimately leads to the region of Ṭabaristān being imbued with Alids and sayyids and embedded within the Islamic narrative.24 Memory of the early Islamic past presents a form of legitimacy and belonging, but in this case it is an identity that overlaps with memories of the region’s pre-Islamic heritage and earlier non- and pre-Islamic modes of memory, legitimacy, and belonging in the Persianate world and the specifically local context.

    Strategies of legitimation, II: ṣaḥābah and living virtues of the land in Tārīkh-i Bayhaq and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    The close association to Muḥammad of the ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, and other early members of the Muslim community expands the notion of heirship from biological connections to ones based on association and community. Just as Muḥammad’s biological descendants are held in high esteem as living links to him, individuals who are not biologically linked to the Prophet are also celebrated as living virtues of the land that connect a place to early Islamic memory and bring prestige and legitimacy to the region. These individuals can take the form of ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, and their descendants, as in the case of Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, or they can be a wider array of individuals who are considered the living faḍāʾil of the region, as in the case of Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān.

    The term faḍāʾil, meaning virtue or excellence, is used in Arabic-language and Persian-language Islamicate writing to refer to a range of virtues, or else to a person, place, or thing that may be considered excellent. Within the genre of Persianate local histories, people—as well as places and natural phenomena—can be referred to as faḍāʾil. In the case of Ṭabaristān, this category includes notables,25 learned men,26 imāms,27 saints and ascetics,28 sages and philosophers,29 and—to a lesser extent—writers and scribes,30 physicians and poets,31 and astronomers,32 all of whom are described in Ibn Isfandiyār’s Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. It is significant that Ibn Isfandiyār’s list of virtues of Ṭabaristān includes faḍāʾil that are unambiguously Islamic such as imāms and saints; those who derive their prestige from the pre-Islamic era such as local notables; and those who are not inherently either, such as poets and physicians. For Ibn Isfandiyār, the markers and signifiers of legitimacy and belonging in Ṭabaristān include a layering of pre-Islamic heritage, early Islamic memory, and merits and virtues that are not necessarily either, but may be considered as generally signifying accomplishments of learning and culture.

    Tor has argued for the ways in which Islamic literatures and political theories absorbed, modified, and Islamized pre-Islamic Iranian ideals of rulership, including Sasanian genealogies, titulature, and symbols of rulership.33 Persianate Islamic identity in Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān is not either-or, but both-and, a multi-dimensional understanding of what constitutes legitimacy and identity in the local sphere of Ṭabaristān and in the broader sweep of Islamic history.

    Whereas Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān addresses the faḍāʾil of an entire region, Ibn Funduq’s Tārīkh-i Bayhaq catalogs the notable individuals associated with this modest city. And whereas Ibn Isfandiyār’s history pays close attention to the forceful displays of fiscal and political autonomy by the inhabitants of Ṭabaristān—thereby emphasizing the activities and importance of important pre-Islamic notable families in Ṭabaristān—Ibn Funduq takes a different approach to depicting the legitimacy of his native land.

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq claims the Companion al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās al-Sulamī (d. after 23/644) as one of its own, as he putatively died in the vicinity of Bayhaq, although no other source that I have identified associates him with Bayhaq. Being associated with Bayhaq could mean that an individual lived, taught, died, or otherwise had ties to the city. In an article, Pourshariati finds that of the ṣaḥābah listed by Ibn Funduq, only two individuals had anything to do with Bayhaq that could be verified or corroborated with a source other than Ibn Funduq’s history.34 Building on Pourshariati’s earlier work, I argue that one of these two individuals, al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās al-Sulamī (Pourshariati renders his name as al-ʿAbbās b. Mardās al-Salmī), likely had no significant connection to Bayhaq. If he is associated with any region, it is with the desert area surrounding Basra.35

    ʿAbbās was one of the Companions of the Prophet, a warrior of the Banū Sulaym, and a prominent poet.36 Not much is known about him (to the extent that it is not entirely clear what his name is),37 but he nevertheless appears in the Sīrah of the Prophet in an incident in which he rebuked the Prophet for what he considered an unfairly meager share of the booty.38 ʿAbbās also appears in the histories of al-Balādhurī and Khalīfah b. Khayyāṭ as collecting the zakāt alms tax from the Banū Sulaym on behalf of the Prophet, and he is purported to have been an envoy from the Prophet to the Arabs of al-Bādiyyah sent to persuade them to participate in the battle of Tabūk.39

    It is unlikely that we will ever know with certainty whether ʿAbbās actually lived and died in Bayhaq. Ibn Saʿd (d. 230/845) associates him with the region surrounding Basra.40 Moreover, if ʿAbbās ever visited or lived in Bayhaq, we would expect him to appear in the ṭabaqāt (biographical dictionaries) of Nishapur, which was the closest city of significant size and prominence. However, the ṭabaqāt work of al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī (fl. ca. fourth/tenth century) remains silent about ʿAbbās. Of ʿAbbās’s descendants, the only named individual listed in the Tārīkh-i Bayhaq is Shaykh Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn b. Abī’l-Qāsamak Mirdās, who was a ḥadīth teacher who transmitted traditions he learned from the shaykh al-sunnah Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. Fāṭimah al-Bayhaqī. Neither ʿAbbās’s descendant nor the descendant’s ḥadīth teacher has an entry in the ṭabaqāt of al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī either. For Ibn Funduq, what made ʿAbbās an important person was not his transmission of ḥadīth (some of which were eventually included in what became the canonical collections), but rather his proximity to the Prophet as a Companion. As a Companion, ʿAbbās’s role tied Bayhaq to the Prophet and to memories of early Islam.

    Ibn Funduq’s organization of his work underscores his desire to claim for Bayhaq prophetic sanction and blessing through association with ṣaḥābah. He begins his chapter on the virtues of Bayhaq with the ḥadīth that “None among my Companions dies in a land except that he will be resurrected as a leader and a light for those people on the Day of Resurrection.”41 Ibn Funduq explains in Persian that the ḥadīth means that “in every place on the earth that one of the great ones of the Companions of the Prophet dies an exalted death (shahādat yāfte bāshad ) or bids farewell to the world, [God] will honor that place… and on Judgment Day those Companions will be a leader and a light for those people.”42 Ibn Funduq also writes, “The Prophet of God said, ‘Blessed be Nishapur in Khurasan,’ because Nishapur in Bayhaq is part of Khurasan, its regions are the best regions, and the blessed Prophet arrived in Khurasan and built in every city”; this is followed by an explanation of why the Arabs were drawn to Khurasan.43 The purpose and effect of Ibn Funduq’s claim that ʿAbbās is a man of Bayhaq is to intertwine the story of Bayhaq with the story of the formative years of Islam. ʿAbbās is part of an apparatus of legitimacy that connects Bayhaq to early Islamic memory and establishes Bayhaq’s legitimacy as a bona fide Muslim city of significance.

    Tārīkh-i Bayhaq contains scant evidence for the settlement of Arabs in the region, such as mosques, qanāt irrigation channels, gates, mīdāns, or other physical or symbolic markers of Arab settlement. The insistence of Tārīkh-i Bayhaq on Arab ṣaḥābah as critical early members of the community suggests that the absence of notable early Arab settlers created an undercurrent of anxiety about the region’s Islamic legitimacy. Regardless of the veracity of Ibn Funduq’s claims, ṣaḥābah and tābiʿūn bind Bayhaq to the Prophet’s legacy and link the modest city with early Islamic memory through central events and characters of the ummah.

    Strategies of legitimation, III: sayyids, sharīfs, and Alids in Tārīkh-i Qum and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān

    Descendants of the Prophet brought the prestige and sanction of Muḥammad’s legacy to the places with which they were associated. I borrow my understanding of the term “descendants of the Prophet” from Kazuo Morimoto and Teresa Bernheimer, and define them here as a wide array of cross-sectarian individuals and families who claimed—and were believed by their communities to enjoy—kinship with the Prophet, a phenomenon that was both biological and socially constructed.44 The terms that commonly denote different types of lineal descent from Muḥammad or his kinship group—Alid or al-ʿAlawī, Hasanid, Husaynid, Talibid, sayyid, and sharīf—are all ambiguous. They are used flexibly and with wide variation in the medieval sources themselves, especially in the medieval Islamic east of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.45

    In Tārīkh-i Qum, the author (and later his translator) bound Qum to key moments and figures in Islamic and cosmic history and to prophetic authority by constructing an identity for the city based on its Alid inhabitants, Ashʿarī Arab Alid progenitors, and a considerable number of sayyids and other descendants of the Prophet. Reports (akhbār) and traditions about the faḍāʾil of Qum and its areas and inhabitants emphasize the area’s Shi’i and sayyid identity, through such characters as Shi’i Imāms—especially ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib and the Imām ʿAlī al-Riḍā—as well as the angel Gabriel, Iblīs, Jesus, and the Prophet Muḥammad.46

    Sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah) continued to invest the locale with Islamic legitimacy and constantly renewed memories of the early Islamic past. This is the case with the shrine complex of Fāṭimah Maṣʿūmah in Qum. Though not martyred herself, Fāṭimah’s hagiographical account is closely tied to that of her brother, the Imām al-Riḍā, martyred in Ṭūs in 203/818.47 When Fāṭimah died en route from Medina to Marv in 201/816–817 while she was travelling to visit her brother, she was buried in Qum, and her interment there became an occasion for later Safavid rulers to develop it into a full-fledged shrine city.

    Fāṭimah’s body became a source of barakah for the inhabitants of Qum and its visitors and pilgrims. Qummī includes a ḥadīth attributed to the Sixth Imām, Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (d. 148/765), in which the imām predicts the future death and burial of his descendant Fāṭimah and claims that “everyone who does ziyārah to her will find he or she certainly goes to heaven (har kas ke ziyārat-e ou dar yābad be-behesht ravad o behesht-e ou rā wājib shavad).48 In becoming a site of pious visitation (ziyārah), Fāṭimah’s body and the shrine sanctuary that surrounded it not only continued to invest Qum with Islamic legitimacy, but also created a way of constantly recognizing and renewing memories of the early Islamic past through Muḥammad’s descendants.

    Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān includes narratives about the sayyids and sharīfs associated with the region, as well as other faḍāʾil, or virtues. Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān brims with Islamic characteristics, especially those that emphasize the region’s Shi’i credentials and ties to Alid sayyids. There is a section devoted the sayyids who ruled in Ṭabaristān.49 Ibn Isfandiyār records the names of notables and the places they visited, such as Imām Ḥasan b. ʿAlī visiting a place called Māmṭīr.50 Descendants of Muḥammad connect the region to Muḥammad’s legacy and the memory of the early Muslim community. The ispahbad, the local ruler of Ṭabaristān, gave generous gifts during the Hajj season, such as gifts to multiple shrines of members of the house of the Prophet, the poor, and the amīrs of Mecca. Ibn Isfandiyār documents the ispahbad’s gifts as a way of underscoring how the local ruler of Ṭabaristān acknowledged, respected, and gave generously to the shrines of the Shi’i Imāms and other pious figures.51

    The solipsism of the peripheries: local texts with local horizons

    Persianate local histories are conditioned by their immediate local horizons, and consequently are characterized by a certain degree of solipsism. The authors of these texts composed them with full awareness of the broader ummah and notions of what constitutes Islamic legitimacy and authority, but they were not particularly concerned with the centrality or marginality of other cities or regions along the peripheries. Put another way, the author of Tārīkh-i Bukhārā is unconcerned with the perceived centrality or marginality of Qum or Ṭabaristān. The medieval authors or editors of these works do not engage with other ostensibly peripheral regions, although we as historians may consider works from other comparable Persianate peripheries as part of the same genre and may read them side by side, or at least within the same context. This is in contradistinction to universal histories, such as Ṭabarī’s encyclopedic chronicle, which is concerned with Islamic history more broadly, from the dawn of time and earlier prophets to the present dawlah. Local histories are highly attuned to their locales, and other regions—particularly neighboring communities or agents of the caliph, such as individuals attempting to enforce tax payment —intrude into the local sphere only when they factor into the history of the specific location, be it Bayhaq or Ṭabaristān.

    Regional and local histories are preoccupied with local notables and local faḍāʾil—material, living, and deceased—whose relevance is generally limited to that particular city or region. Sacred or notable places identified in these histories are generally of local interest, and only on rare occasions—such as the shrine sanctuary of Fāṭimah in Qum—do they have a wider resonance beyond the local or regional context. But these locally significant phenomena are framed within a broader Islamic narrative to assert both local values and participation in the Muslim ummah. These phenomena are thus both local and global, universal and specific, Persian and Muslim. For example, the memory of Zoroastrian fire-temples in Qum is not purposefully forgotten or elided but is instead recorded and retained as one of the local faḍāʾil.52. In a similar vein, prominent pre-Islamic families in Ṭabaristān retain their political prestige and importance during the Islamic era; their prestige and eminence remain intact as the region transitions from the pre-Islamic to the Islamic era, and their local importance translates effectively through time and across religious divides.

    This local orientation, at least in part, reflects the intended audience of the text. The rationale for the local focus of the text is particularly clear in cases when the work was written for and dedicated to a patron, as with the original Arabic Tārīkh-i Qum (though only the later Persian translation survives), which was written under the patronage of Ismāʿīl b. ʿAbbād b. al-ʿAbbās b. ʿAbbād, wazīr to the Buyid Fakhr al-Dawlah b. Rukn al-Dawlah (r. 366–387/976–997), to whom the work was dedicated. In other texts, for which the history of production, transmission, and dissemination is murkier, the rationale for the local orientation is less obvious. Nevertheless, we can at least determine that local histories tend to share this solipsism, in that they do not explicitly engage with other perceived “centers” or “peripheries” of the Islamic empire but are instead focused on their own limited and geographically bounded horizons.

    Persianate local histories elucidate regional iterations of a hybrid and multifaceted Perso-Muslim identity. Pre-Islamic Persian identity is not effaced; simultaneously, a Perso-Muslim identity is not compromised. For example, in Tārīkh-i Qum, Qummī records the Zoroastrian fire-temples in his city of Qum, a city in which sectors are conspicuously named for its early Arab Muslim settlers from the Ashʿarī tribe. In Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, Ibn Isfandiyār notes the magnanimity of Ṭabaristān’s dynastic rulers and the piety of the region’s sayyids. Sacred sites, such as Fāṭimah’s shrine sanctuary in Qum, transform the soil into sacred ground. These texts simultaneously reach outwards—towards the percieved centers of of the Islamic empire in Iraq, Syria, and Arabia—and also pull inwards towards their own regions on the ostensible peripheries, providing concrete local iterations of universally resonant Islamic themes and priorities. This dialogue within the sources—what Zayde Antrim, in her work on Arabic-language sources, has termed “a discourse of place”—evidences the oblique discussions, definitions, and negotiations about sources of legitimacy and authority across the vast, decentralized, multiethnic, multilingual empire that spread from North Africa, the Arab lands, the Iberian Peninsula, Persia, and Central Asia.53

    Locally-oriented histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm

    Rūm, or Anatolia, was another notable non-Arab periphery of the medieval Islamic empire. Persia and Rūm were Islamized at different times, and the political and social situations in the two regions were different. There is no one definitive or homogenous style of local historical writing from or about Rūm, just as there is no singular unified style of Persianate local historical writing. Nevertheless, comparing contemporaneous Persian-language histories about Rūm with the Persianate local histories we have discussed above allows us to assess one periphery against another and consider how two different regions approached local historical writing within the medieval Islamicate world.

    Rūm was Islamized roughly 500 years after Islamization occurred in Iran.54 Byzantine culture, in the form of Orthodox Christianity and Greek language and culture, was important in the region. Various tribal Turkic peoples gradually entered Anatolia at the beginning of the fifth/eleventh century, but Islamization was slow. It was only in the seventh/thirteenth century that Muslim institutions and Sufi orders grew while the Orthodox Church weakened. This coincided with, and was due at least in part to, a series of events that included the Mongol invasions, the subsequent disintegration of Byzantine and Seljuq power in Rūm, and the influx of Turkmen groups into Anatolia.55 Hillenbrand argues that the influx of Persian Muslim refugees into Anatolia during the Mongol invasions helped to solidify the existence of Muslim religious institutions there. These displaced persons from the Persianate world—including scholars, bureaucrats, and craftsmen—traveled westwards into Rūm, especially Konya, between in the early decades of the seventh/thirteenth century and were instrumental in forging a new Persianate culture in Rūm, albeit one that differed from the Persianate culture in Iran and Central Asia.56

    Branches of the Seljuq clan: the Great Seljuqs and the Rūm Seljuqs

    The Seljuqs were a Turkic dynasty with multiple offshoots. The branch of the Seljuqs known as the Great Seljuqs, who were based in western Iran and Persian Iraq (or ʿIrāq-i ʿAjam57), are the better-documented branch of the Seljuqs; they ruled in Iraq and Iran ca. 421-590/ 1030–1194.58 The Great Seljuqs reached their acme with the three most powerful sultans who ruled from 429–485/1039–1092: Tughril Beg, Alp Arslān, and Malik Shāh.59 The histories of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq were written and composed by members of the secretarial scribal classes, who wrote in Persian and Arabic. The Great Seljuq sultans had a complicated relationship with the Abbasid Caliphate, and the notion of the Great Seljuqs as the defenders of Sunni orthodoxy in contradistinction to the Shi’i Buyids has been increasingly problematized.60

    At an early point in the history of the dynasty, the branch of the Seljuq dynasty that ruled Rūm split from the broader family of Seljuqs, and became known as the sultanate of the Seljuqs of Rūm, since Byzantine-influenced Anatolia was known as Rūm. The Great Seljuq Sultanate ruled in Iraq and Iran ca. 421-590/1030–1194, whereas the Rūm Seljuqs split off from their relatives and predecessors and ultimately outlasted them, ruling in Anatolia ca. 470-707/1077–1307.61

    Historiography of the Seljuqs of Rūm

    There are few very works about the Seljuqs of Rūm who ruled independently of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, and this relative dearth becomes especially evident when we consider the sources that exist about the Great Seljuqs.62 Simply put, the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq are much better documented and appear much more prominently in the extant sources available to us. As Melville notes, the Seljuqs of Rūm hardly feature in the few dynastic histories of the Seljuqs that exist.63 Local or regional histories in the mold of annalistic Persian local histories, such as Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Qum, Tārīkh-i Sīstān, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān—all produced between the fifth/eleventh and ninth/early-fifteenth centuries—do not exist for early Islamic Rūm. Likewise, we do not have comparable biographical dictionaries that are akin to the ṭabaqāt of, for example, al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī, nor do we have conquest narratives akin to Tārīkh iftitāḥ al-Andalus or Futūḥ Miṣr wa-akhbāruhā from Islamic Spain and Egypt, respectively.

    The three historical texts we will consider here are among the few extant works that focus on the Seljuqs of Rūm, and they are all from the seventh/late-thirteenth through eighth/mid-fourteenth centuries.64 They were written during the decline of the Rūm Seljuqs as well as that of their relatives, the Great Seljuqs ruling further east in Persia and Iraq.65

    Musāmarāt al-akhbār wa-musāyarat al-akhyār (“Nighttime narratives and keeping up with the good”) by Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī (d. ca. between 723–733/1323–1333), is as close as one might get to the Persianate regional histories (such as that of Ṭabaristān) considered earlier in this essay.66 Befitting his position as a scribe in the local bureaucracy, Āqsarāʾī’s horizon was primarily regional: his history, thin on specific dates, concentrates on Anatolia, which Āqsarāʾī saw within the context of the activities of the powerful Mongol Ilkhanids, who ruled what is now modern day Iran, Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, the southern Caucasus, Iraq, and much of Anatolia from 658/1260 to around 735–736/1335.67

    Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq (“History of the Seljuqs”) is an anonymous, and possibly composite, text that records the history of the Seljuqs in a chronological fashion.68 Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq was completed in the mid-eighth/fourteenth century (sometime after Muḥarram 765/October 1363) and was composed for Sultan ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn b. Seljuq Sulaymānshāh, who was the son of Seljuq Malik Rukn al-Dīn and grandson of Sultan Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kay-Khusraw b. ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād.69 According to the way the anonymous author presents the dynasty, the Seljuqs derived their legitimacy and authority to rule through their prowess as warriors. The author outlines the origins and descendants of the Seljuq dynasty, and then covers the reigns of Sultan ʿAḍud al-Dawlah Abū Shujāʿ Alp Arslān b. Dāwūd70 and the reign of Sultan Abū’l-Fatḥ Malik Shāh.71 The author continues in this fashion to cover the reigns of several more sultans, Khwarazmshāhs, and Abbasid caliphs, up to the era of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rūm with ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād (r. 617–635/1220–1237).72

    The third text, which is also thin on specific dates, is Ibn Bībī’s Al-Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah fī’l-umūr al-ʿalāʾiyyah (“ʿAlāʾī’s commands over exalted affairs”).73 It lauds the Seljuqs and is a mélange of Seljuq dynastic history and personal memoir, concentrating on the events of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rūm from ca. 584/1188 to late 679/early 1281. Related to this text is Mukhtaṣar-i Saljūqnāmah, which is an anonymous Persian abridgment of Ibn Bībī’s Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah, which was also written in Persian.74 Ibn Bībī (d. after 684/1285 or 687/1288) was a scribe (munshī) in the Khwarazmian court, and he wrote his history at the behest of ʿAṭā-Malik Juvaynī, the governor of Baghdad.75 Despite the fact that the Seljuqs of Rūm had already declined and the powerful Mongol Empire was already a dominant force, Ibn Bībī framed the Seljuqs of Rūm as legitimate rulers to whom the Great Seljuqs gave independent rule over provincial domains in Anatolia.76

    Characteristics of Rūm sources: Seljuq descent and dynastic identity

    The seventh/thirteenth- and eighth/fourteenth-century dynastic chronicles about the Seljuqs of Rūm focus on the construction of dynastic legitimacy and couch claims to legitimacy in terms of military success, Seljuq genealogy, the meritorious activities of the Rūm Seljuq sultans, the regional importance of Konya (the de facto capital of Rūm), and the virtues of kingly rule. Hailing from the Seljuq lineage is itself a source of legitimacy. Being connected to Seljuq ancestors confers legitimacy, not because the Seljuqs are links to an earlier dynasty, but because Seljuq descent is itself a source of the right to rule.

    In both Rūm and the Persianate world, issues of legitimacy, autonomy, and the right to rule were highly significant. Local authorities and rulers were important agents in the administration of regions, which lay hundreds or thousands of miles from the theoretical seat of imperial power in Baghdad, where the Abbasid caliph resided. Using dynastic sources as a heuristic device permits us to ask why dynastic concerns feature so prominently as a mode of claiming religio-political legitimacy in Rūm sources, and why this is not the case in roughly contemporary Persianate sources.

    Sources from and about Rūm evidence allegiance to the ruling but outgoing Seljuq dynasty as it gave way to the Mongol Empire. Whereas the authors of Persianate local histories of Bukhara, Qum, Ṭabaristān, and Bayhaq demonstrate a loyalty to the land and physical environment, local religious practices, local patrician families, and notable local individuals, as well as claiming various faḍāʾil that make the city or region meritorious—including genealogies, dreams, etymologies, and lore—that are characteristic of early Islamic Persian local histories, claims to legitimacy in Rūm Seljuq dynastic histories and chronicles are largely genealogically-based.

    Descent from Seljuq progenitors formed a claim to legitimacy for the Seljuqs of Rūm in contradistinction to the ways in which genealogy and the prestige and legitimacy derived from it manifests itself in Persianate local histories. In the Persianate local histories, it is a broader array of types of descent and connection that tethers the Persian locations and communities to the legacy of the Prophet. Sayyids, sharīfs, Alids, and early Arab settlers from the ranks of the ṣaḥābah created living connections to the Prophet. Genealogies that included Persians in Arab lineages—be they sacred, invented, or based on the mawlā relationship of clientage—established powerful relationships that included but extended beyond the purely biological. In Rūm Seljuq dynastic histories and chronicles, claims to legitimacy are genealogically based, with descent from the Seljuqs being the fundamental mode of legitimation.

    Descent from the Seljuq dynasty and allegiance to the Rūm Seljuq Sultanate

    If Persianate local histories are characterized by a constellation of literary devices that use various merits to bring Persia and Persians into the central narrative of Islamic history while simultaneously maintaining their strongly local tenor, then historical writing from Rūm is characterized by a focus on Seljuq heritage and affiliation with the Rūm Seljuq Sultanate. Melville agrees with Cahen’s earlier assessment that the chronicles of Ibn Bībī, Karīm al-Dīn Āqsarāʾī, and the anonymous Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq are linked to the development of a local identity in Anatolia that is characterized by a clear allegiance to the declining Rūm Seljuq Sultanate during the period of increasing Mongol power when all three authors were active.77

    Peacock argues that it was during the seventh/thirteenth century—when our major sources from Rūm were composed—that Seljuq descent became an important source of legitimacy for the Seljuqs of Rūm.78 In their use of titulature, it was the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, and not the rulers of Byzantium, that the Seljuqs of Rūm emulated.79 However, Seljuq descent was not the sole factor that conferred legitimacy. Kinship through blood and marriage to other genealogical lines could be legitimating factors for the Seljuqs, just as they were elsewhere in the Islamic world. The Kingdom of Georgia and the Seljuqs of Rūm formed an alliance—complete with a marriage between a Seljuq sultan and a member of the Georgian Bagratid dynasty—in the seventh/thirteenth century as a bulwark against the Mongol threat, and the Rūm Seljuqs likely derived prestige through their association with the ruling Georgian Bagratids.80 Additionally, not every dynasty claimed to derive their legitimacy on a genealogical basis through descent from the eponymous Seljuq ancestor.81

    Reasons for differences between Persianate local histories and sources from Rūm

    Charles Melville has convincingly argued that the general paucity of Islamic historical writing about the Seljuqs of Rūm is due at least in part to circumstances in Anatolia that were unfavorable to the production of such writing. Specifically, Greek and Orthodox Christian culture was only slowly replaced over the course of centuries by Islamic structures of learning and governance; initial colonization was not by settled Persians or Arabs but primarily by Turkmen nomads; Byzantine forces long resisted Muslim incursions; and boundaries between the Byzantines and incoming Turkmens frequently shifted and were in flux.82 All of these factors contributed to a relative lack of historical writing in Rūm, as well as the differences between Persianate and Rūm local historical writing.

    Persianate local histories and the histories of Rūm also reflect differences in audience. The Seljuq histories were written for the court. Consequently, they valorize, memorialize, and reference events, individuals, and genealogies that are of relevance to the Seljuqs and their court. The anonymous author of Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, for example, is concerned with the heroic deeds of the Seljuqs and their dawlah. It is the Seljuqs and not the land of Rūm, per se, that is important. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq valorizes the Seljuqs as brave and skilled warriors, which forms the basis of their qualifications and legitimacy as rulers of Rūm.

    In contrast, Persian local histories, though they may be composed for consumption at court, also target an audience that was largely urban. The texts are concerned with the land, soil, and physicality of the local territory. Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, and Tārīkh-i Qum are concerned with the history of their lands and the human and natural virtues that constitute the history of the region. Tārīkh-i Qum, for example, documents in detail the areas of the city named after the Arabs who settled the region. In Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, a dream in which the Prophet appears in the city’s bazaar sanctifies the very land and soil of Bukhara, as do and the sacred etymologies adduced in the history.

    Moreover, while I argue that Persianate historical writing evidences various characteristics, trends, and identities, these local identities do not preclude other, larger, geographically-bounded identities. To this end, A. C. S. Peacock has recently argued that local identity coexisted simultaneously with a broader “Khurasani patriotism” during this same period.83 It is therefore more productive to think of identities and loyalties in terms of overlapping and partially nested concentric circles: a geographically-bounded connection to one’s town or region, such as Bayhaq or Qum, might coexist alongside other allegiances, such as perhaps being part of Khurasan, in the case of Bayhaq, or having strong ties to Ashʿarī Arabs, Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs, in the case of Qum. Identity and allegiance were not exclusive but instead expanded or contracted according to circumstance and context.

    The absence in Rūm sources of ties to physical places, particularly as faḍāʾil or as local places of interest, curiosity, or significance, is especially noticeable when compared to Persianate local histories. The colonization of Rūm primarily by Turkmen nomads goes a significant way to explaining some of the differences in the culture of writing between the settled scribal classes in Persian cities versus Seljuq Rūm, where a great influx of Turkmen migrated into Anatolia from the steppes. In addition, the tendency of Turks to form their power base in the countryside without establishing a permanent court was another contributing factor to the major differences between Persianate sources and writing in or about Rūm. This contrasts with the situation in Persianate areas, such as Qum, which was settled by Ashʿarī Arabs during the first/seventh century. The inhabitants of Qum were sedentary and traced their lineage back to the Ashʿarī Arabs, naming the mīdāns of the city after these Arabs and closely identifying the physical land of Qum with this earlier Islamic Arab heritage.

    In addition to these early patterns of conquest, migration, or settlement by Arabs in Persia, Persian dynasts based themselves around urban centers. The Persian dihqān class of landed gentry held power in the countryside, but the court was nevertheless a settled and urban phenomenon. This is in contradistinction to the Turks, who retained strong affiliations with their nomadic heritage and negotiated complex relationships with the nomadic Turkmen.

    Complex urban-nomadic relationships for the Seljuqs of Rūm

    This is not to suggest that life was entirely nomadic in Seljuq Rūm. Peacock, who has described the complex relationship between the Seljuqs of Rūm and the nomadic peoples within Rūm over whom they ruled, documented an urbanized Persianate culture that began to develop and thrive from the late-sixth/twelfth century onwards, one that was albeit distinct from the Persianate culture that manifests itself in the histories from what is now Iran and Central Asia we have discussed above such as Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, Tārīkh-i Qum, and Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān. Konya was the capital and center of urban development, with a high-point of urban palace building in the early-seventh/thirteenth century during the reign of ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Kay-Qubād I (r. 616–634/1219–1237).84

    A bifurcation in culture between the urbanized Rūm Seljuqs (the Turks) versus the nomads within their domains (the Turkmens) is probably overly simplistic. Peacock proposes that even at the height of their dynastic rule in the early-seventh/thirteenth century, the Rūm Seljuqs maintained close contact with at least some Turkmen groups.85 Konya was not an exclusive capital, since the court was itinerant, but it was a center of gravity and a royal dynastic burial ground for the Rūm Seljuqs and their court as they traveled through their realms in contact with their Turkmen subjects.86 The boundary between the urban domain and the ūj or aṭrāf—the domain of the nomadic Turkmen—was a porous and complexly negotiated one.87 For the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, like the Seljuqs of Rūm, the court was a peripatetic phenomenon.88 Consequently, Rūm sources focus on tribal elements and dynastic legitimation, in contrast to the Persianate sources that tend to focus on the city as the unit of measure.

    With the major exception of Tabriz, which became a de facto capital for the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, the Turks tended to live in tents, not in cities, and they did not establish a permanent court.89 The Great Seljuqs favored Tabriz, but they did not establish a permanent court even there, which ultimately meant that Tabriz would not become a permanent metropolis with an established cultural apparatus, a “cultural magnet” like Baghdad or Cairo.90

    There were other factors that account for the differences in the culture of Islamicate writing in the Persianate local histories and those about Seljuq Rūm. Greek and Orthodox Christian culture persisted and were only slowly replaced by Islamic institutions of governance and learning such as the madrasah, and during the protracted period of religio-cultural transition as the Byzantines resisted the Turkic invasions, the borders shifted.91 Anatolia retained a Christian population, particularly in central and inland Anatolia, where there remained a substantial Christian element, and Seljuq sultans in Anatolia married Greek and Georgian princesses.92

    While Persianate local histories and Seljuq Rūm sources are contemporary, Islamization had occurred much earlier and very differently in Persia. In contrast to Rūm, Persian lands were generally less nomadic and had more settled populations of villages and cities. The Arab armies that invaded Persia came within the first few decades of the Muslim conquests. By the fourth/tenth century, an urban Persianate Muslim civilization flourished, and perhaps by 400/1000 the majority of Persians had in some substantive way converted to Islam.93

    During the fourth/tenth to ninth/early-fifteenth centuries, further demographic and cultural shifts took place in Persia. The center of intellectual and political gravity within Islam moved eastward into Persia from its former basis in Arab territories in Arabia, Syria, and Iraq, and a major revival occurred in Persian cultural and literary production. Persians—the famed Saʿdī and Ferdowsī, among others—could write in the blossoming New Persian language without their Muslim identity necessarily being called into question. Rapidly growing cities in Persia were focal points of intellectual, religious, and cultural activity. Local dynasties rose to prominence and power in Khurasan.94

    The Persianate local histories examined in this essay were written at the time of the rise of local dynasties in Khurasan. Local dynasts and governors, who ruled as amīrs on behalf of the Abbasid caliphate, used these literary forms in order to maintain the fine balance of local authority and legitimacy that was simultaneously nominally or actually subordinate to Abbasid power and was situated within the religio-political framework of the broader Muslim ummah. Nevertheless, what was locally important was not necessarily globally significant.

    Sources from the peripheries in the Persianate world and Rūm were not the only works to claim their importance and centrality. Histories from and about Baghdad—the political and symbolic heart of the caliphate—also asserted time and again the centrality and importance of the city. Writing about the city of Baghdad and focusing on Arabic-language literature from the medieval period, Cooperson has argued that descriptions of Baghdad incorporate a persistent and recurrent set of topoi that refer to Baghdad and to the broader corpus of literary descriptions about urban life.95 Antrim has argued that claims about Baghdad’s centrality connected the city to the ummah throughout time and legitimized Baghdad.96 Regardless of whether these claims were repeated tropes or were distinct and variable, it is clear that the dynamics of power were multilayered and multidirectional, and cities and regions simultaneously constituted and were constituted by their representations in written sources.97  

    Conclusions and implications

    Given the heterogeneous nature of the sources themselves, analyzing Persianate local histories is, by definition, a comparative exercise. These histories were composed over a span of several centuries in different regions. They were composed at a geographic and cultural remove from the notional center of the empire in Baghdad during an era marked by the rise of local dynasties (such as the Buyids during the fourth/tenth century), when Abbasid power was decentralized and stretched across vast areas with multiple regional foci across Persianate lands.

    The authors, editors, compilers and translators who produced these texts wrote at multiple registers for both perceived and real audiences. Sometimes, when a text exists only in a later translation, as is the case with Tārīkh-i Qum, it is difficult if not impossible to tell where the editor or translator may have shifted the tenor, tone, content, or emphasis of the text to speak to one of many audiences that the text may have reached at different times and places.

    The disparate constellation of texts collectively considered annalistic Persianate local histories are linked in their tendency to position their communities to better fit into the scope of Islamic history by resonating with both globally Islamic and regionally specific Persian themes. Therefore, these texts simultaneously respond to and challenge assumptions about the centrality of Arabs, Arabic, Arabia, Iraq, Syria, ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs while at the same claiming their own importance within these same frameworks. Persian local histories are characterized by the use of myriad literary strategies to claim religio-political authority, including dream narratives; emphasis on ṣaḥābah, tābiʿūn, sayyids, sharīfs, and other associates or descendants of Muḥammad, sometimes as ḥadīth transmitters who lived and taught in the region as living virtues (faḍāʾil) and custodians of the faith; and foundation narratives or etymologies that embed the city or region into pivotal moments in Islamic history or link it to prophetic authority. Legitimating dreams; records of the sayings, teachings, and burial places of notables, imāms, descendants and associates of Muḥammad; physical marvels and virtues of the land; and glorious etymologies all bring the prestige of religious sanction to these locales.

    In contrast, the histories about the Rūm Seljuqs were conditioned by the contexts of their production, which during the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries was dominated by the Mongol invasions and its aftermath and consequences.98 As the Byzantine foci of power gave way first to the Turkic Seljuqs and then to the Mongols, authors confronted how to recount, represent, and frame their past and present both to themselves and to others. The originally nomadic Turkic tribesmen who invaded and Islamized Rūm were not bound to the land in the way that Persian authors were, and consequently historical writing from Seljuq Rūm is not tied to the land in the way that Persianate sources are. We do not see the standard sections on wonders and marvels of the land, or the emphasis on the virtues of the land and its denizens, which occur in Persianate local histories. Rather, there is a heavier focus on the warrior heroism of the Seljuqs, which confers legitimacy on the dynasty. Annalistic Persian local histories do not form a neatly regimented whole. Given the unevenness of the genre of Persian language local histories, comparisons with locally-oriented historical writing about Rūm—another periphery—draw out the distinctive characteristics of medieval Islamic Persianate local histories.

    About the author

    Mimi Hanaoka is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Richmond, where she teaches Islam and Islamic history. Her first book, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography: Persian Histories from the Peripheries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), explains themes and literary strategies that “centered” texts from “peripheral” regions in medieval Persia.  Her current research project investigates the ways in which Muslim reformists in Iran and South Asia approached Japan as a non-Western model of modernity and educational reform during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Notes

    1. For bibliography and discussion of the secondary literature on the concept of “Iran,” see Sarah Bowen Savant, The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), Ch. 1, esp. 8–12. See also Patricia Crone, The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 161–162, 376. On the concept of Iran and Iranian identity, especially during the Sasanian period, see Gherardo Gnoli, The Idea of Iran: An Essay on its Origin (Rome: Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1989). More recently, Touraj Daryaee explores the concept of Īrānshahr and its boundaries and borders (particularly in the form of rivers and walls as physical barriers) during the Sasanian period in “The Idea of the Sacred Land of Eranshahr,” in R. Strootman & M. J. Versluys (eds.), Persianism in Antiquity (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2017), 393–399. For an overview of the literature, see also Mimi Hanaoka, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography: Persian Histories from the Peripheries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), Ch. 2.
    2. Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar al-Narshakhī, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, translated by Abū Naṣr Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Qubawī and abridged by Muḥammad b. Zufar b. ʿUmar. Ed. Mudarris Razavī (Tehran: Bunyād-i Farhang-i Iran, 1972). An English translation is available as The History of Bukhara, Translated from a Persian Abridgement of the Arabic Original by Narshakhī, ed. and trans. Richard N. Frye (Cambridge, MA: Medieval Academy of America, 1954).
    3. Abū’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Zayd al-Bayhaqī, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, ed. Aḥmad Bahmanyār (2nd ed.; Tehran: Muʾassas va-Mudīr-i Bungāh-i Dānesh, 1965). See Julie S. Meisami, “History as Literature,” in Charles Melville (ed.), Persian Historiography (A History of Persian Literature 10; London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), 209.
    4. Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, translated by Tāj al- Dīn Ḥasan b. Bahāʾ al-Dīn ʿAlī Qummī. Ed. Muḥammad Riḍā Anṣārī Qummī (Qum: Kitābkhānah-i Buzurg-i Ḥazrat-i Āyat Allāh al-ʿUẓmā Marʿashī Najafī, 2006). See Ann K. S. Lambton, “An Account of the Tarikhi Qumm,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 12 (1948): 586–596. Lambton’s important early study of the work summarizes the history of the text.
    5. Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, ed. ʿAbbas Iqbal (2 vols.; Tehran: Muḥammad Ramazani, 1941). An abridged English translation is available as Abridged Translation of the History of Tabaristan Compiled about A.H. 613 (A.D. 1216) by Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Isfandiyar, Based on the India Office Ms. Compared with Two Mss. in the British Museum, trans. Edward G. Browne (Leiden: Brill, 1905).
    6. Qubawī extended the history covered to the year 365/975. The Persian translation was then abridged in 574/1178–1179 by Muḥammad b. Zufar b. ʿUmar, who also added to the work from other texts. See History of Bukhara, ed. and trans. Frye, xii. The Samanid amīr Manṣūr b. Nūḥ commissioned Balʿamī’s Tārīkhnāmā, ostensibly an abridged Persian translation of Ṭabarī’s fourth/tenth-century Arabic Tārīkh al-rusul wa’l-mulūk (“History of Prophets and Kings”). On the original nature of Balʿamī’s Tārīkhnāmā and a reconstruction of the politics of the Samanid court based in Bukhara, see A.C. S. Peacock, Mediaeval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy: Balʿamī’s Tārikhnāma (London: Routledge, 2007). On translation movements as a mode of storing up a dynasty’s legitimacy, see Dimitri Gutas, Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and Early Abbasid Society (2nd–4th/8th–10th Centuries) (London: Routledge, 1998), 29, 45. See also Peacock, Medieval Islamic Historiography, 169.
    7. For biographical information, see D. M. Dunlop, “al-Bayhaḳī, Ẓahīr al-Dīn Abū ‘l-ḤasanʿAlī b. Zayd b. Funduḳ,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v. See also Meisami, “History as Literature,” 209.
    8. The editor, Muḥammad Riḍā Anṣārī Qummī, states that the extant manuscripts of the Persian translation of Tārīkh-i Qum he has seen originate from two sources. The manuscripts on which the text is based have some special characteristics, including numerous letter substitutions, which the printed edition retains, along with the occasional use of Arabic words instead of Persian ones, and variant spellings of proper nouns. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 4, 60–61, 63–67. See also Lambton, “An Account of the Tarikhi Qumm.”
    9. On the historiography of the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, see Nicola Clarke, The Muslim Conquest of Iberia: Medieval Arabic Narratives (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012).
    10. For a detailed treatment of this argument, see Hanaoka, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography.
    11. Mimi Hanaoka, “Perspectives from the Peripheries: Strategies for ‘Centering’ Persian Histories from the ‘Peripheries,’” Journal of Persianate Studies 8 (2015): 1–22.
    12. For the etymologies, see Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 39–52.
    13. Ibid., 269–270.
    14. Ibid., 278.
    15. The miʿrāj is often understood as an event to which multiple qurʾānic passages allude, and it is treated extensively in the exegetical and mystical traditions within Islam.
    16. Ibid., 51. The editor translates mirfaq as āranj, meaning elbows.
    17. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 51.
    18. The term “elaboration of memory” is from Jonathan Z. Smith, To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 112. Smith discusses Christian myth and reconstructions of visits to the Holy Land through ritual experience.
    19. I add “buried here,” since this is occurring on the Day of the Resurrection and Final Judgment, when the bodily resurrection of all people would occur. I take the 70,000 martyrs who will appear on the Day of Resurrection in Bukhara to be 70,000 martyrs who were buried there.
    20. This is Frye’s translation. The History of Bukhara, ed. and trans. Frye, 21–22; Narshakhī, Tārīkh-i Bukhārā, 30–32.
    21. Richard Nelson Frye, “Notes on the History of Transoxiana,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 19 (1956): 106–125. He also included some corrections to his History of Bukhara. See also, W. Barthold and R. N. Frye, “Buk̲h̲ārā,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    22. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.56; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 14.
    23. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.56–58; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 14–16.
    24. On concepts of Persia, Persianness, and memories of the pre-Islamic and proto-Islamic past, see Sarah Bowen Savant, “Isaac as the Persians’ Ishmael: Pride and the Pre-Islamic Past in Medieval Islam,” Comparative Islamic Studies 2 (2006): 5–25.
    25. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.122; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 73–74.
    26. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.122–125; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 74–76.
    27. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.125–130; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 76–80.
    28. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.130–135; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 80–85.
    29. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.135–137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 85–86.
    30. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.130; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 80.
    31. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 86.
    32. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.137; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 87.
    33. D. G. Tor, “The Long Shadow of Pre-Islamic Iranian Rulership: Antagonism or Assimilation?” in Teresa Bernheimer and Adam Silverstein (eds.), Late Antiquity: Eastern Perspectives (Oxford: Oxbow, 2012), 145–163. “To say that the ‘Islamic ideal of rulership’ was in conflict with the Iranian ideal that was actively embraced and absorbed into Islamic culture from the Abbasid era onwards is simply not accurate… In short, the Iranian ideal saved the Islamic polity at a crucial moment, when the caliphate had failed and was in the process of collapse; it was one of the two legitimising factors—the other being the jihād—that was able to turn mere amīrs, or military commanders, into Sultans—legitimate political authorities. The essential reason why the Iranian ideal was revived, reshaped, and given a new lease on life was precisely the lack of a viable mainstream Islamic ideal after the ideological implosion that followed on the heels of the Abbasid failure,” 163. See also Tor, “The Islamising of Iranian Kingly Ideals in the Persianate Fürstenspiegel,” Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies 49 (2011): 15–22.
    34. Parvaneh Pourshariati, “Local Histories of Khurasan and the Pattern of Arab Settlement,” Studia Iranica 27 (1998): 64–66; see also Charles Melville, “Introduction,” in idem (ed.), Persian Historiography, 145–146.
    35. Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad Ibn Saʿd writes: “And Muḥammad b. ʿUmar said: al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās did not live [in] Mecca, and neither did he live in Medina, and he engaged with military expeditions with the Prophet, and he returned to the country of his tribe (qawmihi) and he settled in the al-Bādiyyah area near Basra and would go often to Basra, and the people of Basra spoke about him. The rest of his children were in the al-Bādiyyah [area] of Basra and a tribe descended [in] Basra.” Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad Ibn Saʿd, Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, ed. ʿAlī Muḥammad ʿUmar (11 vols.; Cairo: Maktabat al-Khānjī, 2001), 5:160–162, no. 821.
    36. Seyyed Mohammad Seyyedi, “ʿAbbās b. Mirdās,” Encyclopaedia Islamica (Leiden: Brill, 2008), s.v.; Renate Jacobi, “Mukhaḍram,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    37. According to Seyyedi, his kunyah is given either as Abū’l-Faḍl or Abū’l-Haytham. His great-grandfather’s name is Abū ʿĀmir or Abū Ghālib b. Rifāʿah b. Ḥārithah. This information is found in Ibn Ḥazm, Jamharat ansāb al-ʿArab (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1983), 263; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb fī maʿrifat al-aṣḥāb (Cairo: n.p., n.d.), 2.817; and al-Marzubānī, Muʿjam al-shuʿarāʾ (Cairo: ʿĪsā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1960), 102. Régis Blachère estimates that ʿAbbās was born around 570 CE: see Histoire de la littérature arabe (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1952), 274–275. Abū ʿUbaydah identifies al-Khansāʾ, the famous female Arab poet, as his mother (cited in Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī, Kitāb al-Aghānī [Beirut : Dār al-Thaqāfah, 1956], 14.285, 301). On the other hand, some sources claim that al-Khansāʾ was the mother of all of Mirdās’s children except for al-ʿAbbās; see, e.g., Abū ʿUbayd al-Bakrī, Simṭ al-laʾālī [Beirut: n.p., n.d.], 1.32. See Seyyedi, “Al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās.”
    38. ʿAbd al-Malik Ibn Hishām (d. 218/834), The Life of Muhammad; A Translation of Isḥaq’s [sic] Sīrat Rasūl Allah. Trans. A. Guillaume (Lahore: Oxford University Press, 1967), 594–595.
    39. Seyyedi cites al-Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf (Damascus: Dār al-Yaqaẓah, 1997), 1.629 and Khalīfah b. Khayyāṭ, Tārīkh, ed. Suhayl Zakkār (n.p., n.d.), 1.75–76 on the zakāt and al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās, Dīwān al-‘Abbās ibn Mirdās al-Sulamī, ed. Yaḥyā al-Jubūrī (Baghdad: Dār al-Jumhūriyyah, 1968), 24, for ʿAbbās being an envoy to al-Bādiyyah. Seyyedi, “Al-ʿAbbās b. Mirdās.”
    40. Ibn Saʿd, Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, 5.160–162, no. 821.
    41. Muḥammad b. ʿĪsā al-Tirmidhī, Sunan al-Tirmidhī: Jamʿ jawāmiʿ al-aḥādīth wa’l-asānīd wa-makniz al-ṣiḥāḥ wa’l-sunan wa’l-masānīd (2 vols.; Vaduz, Liechtenstein: Jamʿiyyat al-Maknaz al-Islāmī, 2000), 977 (kitāb al-manāqib 60, no. 4239): mā min aḥad min aṣḥābī yamūtu bi-arḍin illa buʿitha qāʾidan wa-nūran lahum yawm al-qiyāmah.
    42. Ibn Funduq, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, 22.
    43. Ibn Funduq, Tārīkh-i Bayhaq, 22.
    44. The work of Kazuo Morimoto and Teresa Bernheimer on the Alids (Bernheimer) and “sayyido-sharifology” (Morimoto) and genealogies of the Prophet’s family provide the basis for my definition of these terms. See Kazuo Morimoto, “Toward the Formation of Sayyido-Sharifology: Questioning Accepted Fact,” Journal of Sophia Asian Studies 22 (2004): 87–103; ibid. (ed.), Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies: The Living Links to the Prophet (London: Routledge, 2012); Teresa Bernheimer, The ʿAlids: The First Family of Islam, 750–1200 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
    45. Bernheimer, The ʿAlids, 2–4.
    46. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 256–280. On the Shi’i imāms see, for example, 259–262, 266, 269, 277, 279; on Iblīs, 259; on the angel Gabriel, 261–262; on Muḥammad, 259–280.
    47. B. Lewis, “ʿAlī al- Riḍā, Abu ‘l-Ḥasan b. Mūsā b. Ḏjaʿfar,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    48. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 573.
    49. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.94–106; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 47–58.
    50. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.73; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 27.
    51. Ibn Isfandiyār, Tārīkh-i Ṭabaristān, 1.120; Abridged Translation, trans. Browne, 70.
    52. Qummī, Tārīkh-i Qum, 29, 104, 249–255. Fire temples are used in the Zoroastrian religion, which was predominant in Iran during the pre-Islamic era.
    53. Zayde Antrim offers a detailed discussion of early Muslim attitudes toward lands and homelands and the conceptual framework of what she terms “a discourse of place,” in Routes and Realms: The Power of Place in the Early Islamic World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
    54. The history of pre- and early Islamic Anatolia is difficult to untangle, and I make no attempt here to reconstruct a chronology of Islamization in Rūm. This analysis relies heavily on the work on Turkic, Anatolian, Rūm, and Seljuq history undertaken by C. E. Bosworth, Peter Golden, David Durand-Guedy, Carole Hillenbrand, Charles Melville, Julie S. Meisami, Songül Mecit, Andrew Marsham, A. C. S. Peacock, Sara Nur Yildiz, and, in an earlier generation, by C. A. Storey and Claude Cahen. Major standard studies by the earlier generation include Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey: A General Survey of the Material and Spiritual Culture and History c. 10711330, trans. J. Jones-Williams (New York: Taplinger, 1968); idem, The Formation of Turkey: The Seljukid Sultanate of Rūm: Eleventh to Fourteenth Century, ed. and trans. P. M. Holt (New York: Longman, 2001); idem, La Turquie pré-ottomane (Istanbul: Dıvıt Matbaacılık ve Yayıncılık, 1988); Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey (5 vols. in 12; London: Luzac & Co., 1927–1971 [incomplete]). Peacock offers voluminous and exemplary work on Anatolia and Seljuq history, including Peacock, Early Seljūq History: A New Interpretation (New York: Routledge, 2010); idem, Mediaeval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy: Balʿamī’s Tārikhnāma (London: Routledge, 2007). See also Marsham, Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession and Succession in the First Muslim Empire (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). Peacock and Yildiz (eds.), The Seljuks of Anatolia: Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013) is a rich volume of edited essays that focuses on Seljuq Anatolia from the sixth/late-twelfth through seventh/late-thirteenth centuries. Bosworth has authored numerous works on Iranian dynasties that are relevant when trying to piece together the chronology of events in Anatolia. See also Hillenbrand, “Aspects of the Court of the Great Seljuqs,” in Christian Lange and Songül Mecit (eds.), The Seljuqs: Politics, Society and Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011), 22–38; eadem, Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol: The Battle of Manzikert (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007); Melville, “Anatolia under the Mongols,” in Kate Fleet (ed.), Cambridge History of Turkey, Vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 51–101; Meisami, “Rāvandī’s Rāḥat al-Ṣudūr: History or Hybrid?” Edebiyât (n.s.) 5 (1994): 181–215; eadem, “Why Write History in Persian? Historical Writing in the Samanid Period,” in Hillenbrand (ed.), Studies in Honor of Clifford Edmund Bosworth, II: The Sultan’s Turret: Studies in Persian and Turkish Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 348–374; Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs: Evolution of a Dynasty (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014); Lange and  Mecit (eds.), The Seljuqs: Politics, Society and Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014). For a summary of the secondary literature, see Hanaoka, Authority and Identity, Ch. 9.
    55. Speros Vryonis Jr., The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1971). See also R. Stephen Humphrey’s assessment of Vryonis’s chronology of the Islamization in Anatolia in Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), 279–281.
    56. Carole Hillenbrand, “Rāvandī, the Seljuk Court at Konya and the Persianization of Anatolian Cities,” in Gary Leiser (ed.), Les Seldjoukides d’Anatolie (Paris: Editions Hêrodotos, 2005), 157–169, esp. 162–169.
    57. Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿAj̲amī (“Persian Iraq”) was distinguished from al-ʿIrāq al-ʿArabī (“Arab ʿIrāq”). Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿAj̲amī or Persian Iraq referred to the mountainous, western portion of Persia, formerly known as Māh (Māda, Media). Al-ʿIrāq al-ʿArabī or Arab ʿIrāq referred to Lower Mesopotamia. See C. Edmund Bosworth, “ʿERĀQ-E ʿAJAM(Ī),” Encyclopedia Iranica, s.v. (1998); L. Lockhart, “D̲j̲ibāl,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    58. Carole Hillenbrand, “Some Reflections on Seljuq Historiography,” in Antony Eastmond (ed.), Eastern Approaches to Byzantium: Papers from the Thirty-third Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, March 1999 (Aldershot: Ashgate-Variorum, 2001), 73–88.
    59. On the Great Seljuqs, see the chapters by Bosworth, Lambton, and Bausani in J. A. Boyle (ed.), The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 5: The Saljuq and Mongol Periods (Cambridge: Cambridge, University Press, 1968). See also Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey, 119–139 and idem, The Formation of Turkey, 47–71.
    60. For example, see Deborah G. Tor, “A Tale of Two Murders: Power Relations between Caliph and Sultan in the Saljūq Era,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 159 (2009): 279–297.
    61. Hillenbrand, “Some Reflections on Seljuq Historiography,” 73–88.
    62. For a treatment of the court history of the Seljuq Empire in Iran and Iraq (ca. 432–590/1040–1194) written in Arabic and Persian, see Peacock, “Court Historiography of the Seljuq Empire in Iran and Iraq: Reflections on Content, Authorship and Language,” Iranian Studies 47 (2014): 327–345. Peacock analyzes the historical writing that was focused on the activities of the Great Seljuqs and their successors, the Seljuq Sultanate of Iraq; these sources were primarily written by bureaucrats who were associated with the court about which they wrote.
    63. Charles Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” in Judith Pfeiffer and Sholeh A. Quinn (eds.), History and Historiography of Post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East: Studies in Honor of John E. Woods (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006), 135–166.
    64. For an overview of literatures in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish from Anatolia during the eighth/fourteenth and ninth/fifteenth centuries and new scholarly approaches to these literatures, see Peacock and Yildiz, “Introduction: Literature, Language and History in Late Medieval Anatolia,” in Peacock and Yildiz (eds.), Islamic Literature and Intellectual Life in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century Anatolia (Würzburg: Ergon, 2016), 19–48.
    65. These sources are also valuable for understanding the role of the Khwarazmshāh and what happened to the sultanate of Rūm after the Mongol invasions. Kōzō Itani, “Mongoru shin’nyū-go no rūmu: Kyōdai-kan no surutan-i arasoi o megutte [The Rūm Sultanate after the Mongol Invasion],” Tōyōshi Kenkyu 39 (1980): 358–387. See also Itani, “Rūmu sarutanato to horazumushā [The Rūm Sultanate and the Khwārazmshāh],” Tōyōshi Kenkyu 47 (1988): 116–149.
    66. Karīm al-Dīn Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad Āqsarāʾī, Tārīkh-i Salājiqah, yā Musāmarāt al-akhbār wa-musāyarat al-akhyār (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Asāṭīr, 1362 [1983-1984]).
    67. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166.
    68. Although the anonymity of the text complicates the issue, the text was composed for one of the last Seljuq sultans. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq dar Ānātūlī, ed. Nādirah Jalālī (Tehran: Daftar-i Nashr-i Mīrāth-i Maktūb, Āyinah-i Mīrāth: 1999).
    69. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 40.
    70. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 49–51.
    71. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 51–73.
    72. Tārīkh-i Āl-i Saljūq, 74–78.
    73. Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad Ibn Bībī, Akhbār-i Salājiqah-i Rūm, bā matn-i kāmil-i Saljūqnāmah-i Ibn Bībī, jāmiʿ-i maṭālib-i tārīkhī-i kitāb-i Al-Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah fī’l-umūr al-ʿalāʾiyyah, ed. Muḥammad Javād Mashkūr (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-i Tihrān, 1971). This 1971 Tehran edition edited by Mashkūr is a reprint of the 1902 edition published in Leiden by Brill and is also known as Mukhtaṣar-i Saljūqnāmah.
    74. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166. On Ibn Bībī, see also Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs, xxxi–xxxii.
    75. Juvaynī had a relative who had been Ibn Bībī’s father’s patron. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166. Anooshahr covers Ibn Bībī and his Awāmir al-ʿAlāʾiyyah in Ali Anooshahr, The Ghazi Sultans and the Frontiers of Islam: A Comparative Study of the Late Medieval and Early Modern Periods (New York: Routledge, 2009), 110–117. See also 13, 100, 136, 143, 147, 148, and 151.
    76. Mecit, The Rum Seljuqs, 23–29.
    77. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135.
    78. Later dynasties, including the Ottomans and Karamanids, argued that they were successors to the Seljuqs through claims of real and mythological descent. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” in The Seljuqs: Politics, Society, and Culture, 81–82, 86–92.
    79. Korobeinikov dates the emergence of Rūm Seljuq titles to the sixth/mid-twelfth century, ca. 551/1156. The title of the Rūm Seljuq Sultan Qilich Arslān II (r. 551–588/1156–1192), who styled himself as a sultan with rule limited to Anatolia, refers to some of the titles used by the Great Seljuq Sultan Malikshāh, instead of using titulature that would indicate that he was a successor to the Byzantines. Rūm Seljuq Sultan ʿIzz al-Dīn Kay-Kawūs I (r. 608–616/1211–1219) claimed the title malik al-mashriq wa’l-maghrib (“King of the East and West”) and “Lord of the Arabs and Persians,” styling himself in the model of the Great Seljuqs of Iran and Iraq, who used such titles. Dimitri Korobeinikov, “‘The King of the East and the West’: The Seljuk Dynastic Concept and Titles in the Muslim and Christian Sources,” in The Seljuks of Anatolia: Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East, 68–90. In this, the Seljuqs of Rūm were not alone: the Mamluk ruler Baybars also adopted symbols of Seljuq power—though the Great Seljuqs were by then far past the acme of the their rule—such as the nawbah drum band and chatr parasol, as physical symbols of his legitimacy as a ruler. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” 82–84.
    80. Peacock, “Georgia and the Anatolian Turks in the 12th and 13th Centuries,” Anatolian Studies 56 (2006): 127–146. In this case, sometime in the second quarter of the seventh/thirteenth century, the Georgian queen Rusudan (r. 620–645/1223–1247) married a Seljuq, the son of Mughīth al-Dīn Tughril-Shāh of Erzurum, who converted to Christianity when the Georgians balked at having a Turkish Muslim king.
    81. The Dānishmendids and Saltukids—rivals of the Seljuqs of Rūm—ruled without claiming Seljuq descent as the basis of their legitimacy. Peacock, “Seljuq Legitimacy in Islamic History,” 81–82.
    82. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166.
    83. For a recent study that examines two partially preserved Khurasani histories, see A. C. S. Peacock, “Khurasani Historiography and Identity in the Light of the Fragments of the Akhbār Wulāt Khurāsān and the Tārīkh-i Harāt,” in A. C. S. Peacock and D. G. Tor (eds.), Medieval Central Asia and the Persianate World: Iranian tradition and Islamic Civilisation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2015), 143–160. Peacock examines the fourth/tenth century Akhbār Wulāt Khurāsān (“History of the Governors of Khurasan,” no longer extant in its entirety but preserved through quotations in other works, and which Peacock considers a composite work written by three members of the same family) and the sixth/twelfth century Tārīkh-i Harāt (which survives in fragmentary form). Peacock argues that local identity exited simultaneously with a broader Khurasani identity: “These works suggest that local allegiances to one’s own town could co-exist with a broader sense of Khurasani patriotism. The Tārīkh-i Harāt, however, is also characterized by a distinct anti-Iraqi sentiment, testimony not just to the political and cultural fissures that rent the Seljuq Empire but also to this distinct sense of Khurasani identity that had developed since the region’s incorporation into the Arab empire and evidently survived to the eve of the Mongol invasions,” 144–145. Put another way, “The regional identities that Sarah Savant, on the basis of works down to the fifth/eleventh century, observed as pre-eminent, continued to dominate into the sixth/twelfth century. However, even to describe them as regional is somewhat misleading: these texts give no sense that Khurasan was part of a larger Iran,” 154.
    84. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” in David Durand-Guedy (ed.), Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 191–222, esp. 193–197.
    85. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” see 193–194 for an outline of his argument. For more on the complex relationships forged between the nomadic Turkmen groups and the Seljuqs of Anatolia, see also idem, “From the Balkhān-Kūhīyān to the Nāwakīya: Nomadic Politics and the Foundations of Seljūq Rule in Anatolia,” in Jürgen Paul (ed.), Nomad Aristocrats in a World of Empires (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2013), 55–80. In short, “the link between the dynasty and the Turkmens was far from completely broken” (Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 194).
    86. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 193–205, 211.
    87. Peacock, “Court and Nomadic Life in Saljuq Anatolia,” 193–199; see 199–205 and 211 on the ūj or aṭrāf.
    88. For the Great Seljuqs, Durand-Guedy has likewise argued for a reassessment that takes into account the complex relationship between the Seljuqs and the Turkmen nomads, whose presence and value may be undervalued in the sources—composed by the Persian and Arab secretarial class—but whose contributions were nevertheless a critical component in the complex and shifting military and political structures of power and allegiances forged by the Great Seljuqs; see “New Trends in the Political History of Iran under the Great Saljuqs (11th -12th Centuries),” History Compass 13 (2015): 321–337. In addition to an excellent and very condensed summary of scholarship on the Seljuqs, Durand-Guedy also provides a valuable simplified genealogical tree of the Seljuqs, including where the Anatolian branch and the Kirmani branches break off from the rest of the Seljuqs.
    89. Crone, Nativist Prophets, 490–491.
    90. Crone, Nativist Prophets, 491.
    91. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 135–166, esp. 136.
    92. C. E. Bosworth, R. Hillenbrand, J. M. Rogers, F. C. de Blois, and R. E. Darley-Doran, “Sald̲j̲ūḳids,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    93. For this rate of conversion and the argument that Persia had become majority-Muslim by around the year 400/1000, see Richard W. Bulliet, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period: An Essay in Quantitative History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979); ibid., The Patricians of Nishapur: A Study in Medieval Islamic Social History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972); ibid., “A Quantitative Approach to Medieval Muslim Biographical Dictionaries,” Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient 13 (1970): 195–211. Bulliet uses onomastic data derived from biographical dictionaries and proposes that the majority of the population had converted to Islam and that conversion had tapered off by ca. 400/1000. He notes that issues concerning onomastic data can be tricky, in that there are Christians and Jews with Arabic names and Muslims with non-Arabic names; however, most of these appear after ca. 300/900. Around this time, Iranian Muslims again begin to have Persian names. See also Bulliet, “Conversion Stories in Early Islam,” in Michael Gervers and Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (eds.), Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands: Eighth to Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1990), 123–133. Morony offers a critical assessment of Bulliet’s work on the rate of conversion in Michael Morony, “The Age of Conversions: A Reassessment,” in Conversion and Continuity, 135–150. See also Thomas Carlson’s contribution to this volume, specifically discussing the Christian population of Iraq.
    94. The province of Khurasan in modern-day northeastern Iran is significantly smaller than what the term meant in the early medieval period, when it included vast and ill-defined swathes of Central Asia and Afghanistan in addition to the massive region of eastern Iran. Bosworth, “Khurāsān,” Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1954–2005), s.v.
    95. Michael Cooperson, “Baghdad in Rhetoric and Narrative,” Muqarnas 13 (1996): 99-113.
    96. Zayde Antrim, “Connectivity and Creativity: Representations of Baghdad’s Centrality, 3rd/9th to 5th/11th Centuries,” in İsmail Safa Üstün (ed.), İslam Medeniyetinde Bağdat (Medînetü’s-Selâm) Uluslararası Sempozyum/International Symposium on Baghdad (Madinat al-Salam) in the Islamic Civilization (Istanbul: Marmara Üniversitesi, IRCICA, 2011), 55–74. Antrim argues that “rehearing the claims to the city’s centrality evoked a sense of connectivity to the Islamic umma past and present, a sense of connectivity that was useful and compelling in legitimizing creativity and authority in the Islamic world more broadly,” 56–57.
    97. Michael Cooperson provides a fascinating discussion of Arabs and Iranians and the role and meaning of ethnicity during the early Abbasid period, in which he outlines the fragility, flexibility, and contingency of ethnic identities. See “‘Arabs’ and ‘Iranians’: The Uses of Ethnicity in the Early Abbasid Period,” in Asad Q. Ahmed, Behnam Sadeghi, Robert G. Hoyland, and Adam Silverstein (eds.), Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts: Essays in Honor of Professor Patricia Crone (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 364–387.
    98. Anatolian authors produced what Melville categorizes as “works of local historiography, as one would expect from a peripheral region both geographically separate and accustomed to political autonomy, yet at the same time they were composed in, and part in response to, a wider imperial context… the Mongol conquests generated an interest in historical literature that the earlier Seljuk invasions had not.” Melville dates the development of a distinct historiography in Islamic Anatolia to the seventh/late-thirteenth century, when it became an important province of the Mongol Empire. Melville, “The Early Persian Historiography of Anatolia,” 136.