The reign of Shah ‘Abbas

FazliGhereghlou, Kioumars (ed.). 2015. A chronicle of the reign of Shah ‘Abbas: Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani. Gibb Memorial Trust.

This substantial and largely unknown Persian chronicle of the reign of Shah ‘Abbas I (1587-1629) exists in a unique manuscript, recently discovered in the Library of Christ’s College, Cambridge. Its author, Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani, member of an important bureaucratic family, provides an insider’s account of this crucial period in Persian history, with a wealth of detail about the central and provincial administration and much information not found in other sources. Shortly after the succession of Shah Safi (1629-42), Fazli Beg left for India, where he continued to work on his chronicle. So far, three volumes of the Afzal al-tavarikh have come to light, covering the reigns of Shah Isma‘il, Shah Tahmasp, and Shah ‘Abbas; none of them is complete and each exists only in a sole copy. Volume 3 on Shah ‘Abbas is a composite work, containing many of the author’s handwritten corrections and marginalia, making it a fascinating example of the composition of a work in progress. The complete text of 579 folios has been edited by Kioumars Ghereghlou (Columbia University Center for Iranian Studies); the publication is accompanied by detailed indexes and a substantial introduction by Kioumars Ghereghlou and Charles Melville (University of Cambridge) on the life and career of Fazli Beg, the significance of his work, and the manuscripts on which it is based. Volume 1 covers the years 996-1019 AH/ 1587-1610. Volume 2 covers the years 1020-1037 AH / 1611-1629. Both volumes are accompanied by a DVD with the text of the manuscript for the years in question.