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Abu Hanifa Ahmad ibn Dawud ibn Wanand al-Dinawari (A.D. 828-895)

This translation copyright Michael Richard Jackson Bonner 2012. Neither all of it, nor any part of it, may be used without written permission from the author.

The Book of Lengthy Histories

Wherein is a record of the kings of the earth from Adam, upon whom be peace, unto the end of the reign of Yazdajird son of Šahryār son of Kisrā Abarwīz, and a record of the kings of Qaḥṭān that ruled, and the kings of Rūm and the kings of the Turks in every epoch and age, and a record of imams and caliphs and wars such as the battle of Qādisīyya, and the conquests of ʿIrāq, and the extinction of the Empire of Iran, and the Battle of the Camel and Ṣiffīn, and the battle of Nahrawān, and the killing of Ḥusayn son of ʿAlī, (upon the two be peace); and the sedition of Ibn Zubayr, and the rebellion of the Azrāqites and their wars and their battles; and the story of Muḫtār son of Abu ʿUbayd, and his tale, and the reason for his rebellion, and the rebellion of ʿAbdu’l-Raḥmān son of Ašʿaṯ against al-Ḥajjāj, and what was between the two; and a record of the caliphate of ʿAbdu’l-Malik and al-Walīd Ibn ʿAbdu’l-Malik and ʿUmar Ibn ʿAbdū’l-ʿAzīz unto the extinction of the dominion of the sons of Umayya; and notice of the empire of the ʿAbbāsids, and the story of Abū Muslim unto the caliphate of al-Manṣūr and his building of the city of Baġdād and the days of the caliphs after him unto the extinction of the rule of Muḥammad al-Amīn, and an account of al-Ma’mūn unto the end of the days of al-Muʿtaṣim; and a notice of Bābak, and his wars and his battles: condensed from biographies, abridged for the sake of economy.

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful

Saith Abū Ḥanīfa Aḥmad Ibn Dāwūd al-Dīnawarī, may God have mercy upon him: 

I found in what the wise wrote in the earliest stories that the abode of Ādam (upon whom be peace), was the Sanctuary, and his sons were many in the time of Mihlīl son of Qīnān son of Anūš son of Šīṯ son of Ādam; and he was chief of the sons of Ādam in his age, and he undertook command of them; and thus were his fathers unto Ādam (upon whom be peace). Strife arose among them in the lands and Mihlīl separated them in the directions of the four winds. He favoured the sons of Šīṯ with the best land and settled them in ʿIrāq. 

[Idrīs and Nūḥ]

The first prophet after Šīṯ was Idrīs, and his name was Aḫnūḫ son of Yarad son of Mihlīl, and he is called Idrīs because of his manifold learning. Then God sent Nūḥ (upon whom be peace) unto the folk of his age, and his abode was in the land of ʿIrāq, and he was Nūḥ son of Lamak son of Mitūšilaḫ. But they denied him, and God drowned them, but rescued Nūḥ and them that were with him in the ship. The ship alighted, and its repose was upon the peak of Jūdī, the mountain of Baqardā and Bāzabdā in the land of al-Jazīra. When Nūḥ died, he appointed his son Sām as his successor, and he was the first who [p. 4] consolidated power. After Sām, Jamm son of Wīwanjahān son of Īrān (namely Arfaḫšađ son of Sām son of Nūḥ) set up the beacon of monarchy. God made barren all them that were rescued with Nūḥ in the ship save his three sons Sām, Ḥām and Yāfiṯ.

They say: Nūḥ had a fourth son whose name was Yām who was drowned, having no offspring; but as for the three others, all of them had offspring. 

They say: Sām was he that was entrusted with command of the sons of Nūḥ after him, and he would pass the winter in the land of Jawḫā, and the summer in Mawṣil, and his road was in Mabdāh and his departure unto the bank of the Dijla was from the eastern side, and it is called for that reason ‘Sām-Rāh’, and he is the one whom the Persians call Īrān. He had settled the land of ʿIrāq and had set it aside for himself, and it was called ‘Īrān-Šahr’. And his son Šālaḫ rose to power after him, and when death was upon him he entrusted command to the son of his brother Jamm son of Wīwanjahān son of Arfaḫšađ. He established the foundation of monarchy, made firm its pillars, set up its tokens, and adopted the day of Nayrūz as a festival.

[The Confounding of Tongues]

They say: in the time of Jamm tongues were confounded in Bābil — this was because the progeny of Nūḥ had multiplied there and and [Bābil] was burdened of them. The speech of all men had been the Syrian language, namely the language of Nūḥ, but at the beginning of that day their tongues became muddled, expressions changed, and they were convulsed one to another, and every group of them spoke in the tongue which their descendants speak unto this day. They went out from the land of Bābil, and each group became separated in a particular direction. The first that went out from among them were the sons of Yāfiṯ son of Nūḥ, and they were seven brothers: Turk, Ḫazar, Ṣaqlāb, Tārīs, Mansak, Kamārā, and Ṣīn. They took what lay between the east and the north. Then [p. 5] the sons of Ḥām son of Nūḥ left after them, and they were also seven brothers: Sind, Hind, Zanj, Qibṭ, Ḥabaš, Nūba, and Kanʿān. And they took what lay between the south and the west. And the sons of Sām son of Nūḥ dwelt with their cousin Jamm the king in the land of Bābil notwithstanding the change of their expressions. 

[The Semites]

Sām son of Nūḥ had five sons: Iram, who was the eldest of them by a year, Arfaḫšađ, ʿAlam, Yafar, and Aswar. The sons of Iram were favoured with the Arabic tongue at the confounding of tongues, and they were also seven brothers: ʿAd, Ṯamūd, Ṣuḥār, Ṭasm, Jadīs, Jāsim, and Wabār. ʿAd migrated with those who followed him until he settled in the land of Yaman. Ṯamūd son of Iram settled in what lies between the Ḥijāz unto al-Šām. Ṭasm son of Iram alighted in ʿUmān and Baḥrayn. Jadīs son of Iram alighted in Yamāma. Ṣuḥār alighted in what is between Ṭā’if as far as the two mountinas of Ṭayya. Jāsim settled in what is between the Sanctuary as far as Safawān, and Wabār son of Iram settled in what is behind Raml in the country that is known as Wabār.

They say: these first Arabs died out to the last man. They say also: when these went out, the hearts of the remaining sons of Nūḥ were moved to go out from Bābil: Ḫurāsān son of ʿĀlam son of Sām went out and adopted Ḫurāsān as a plot of land. Fārs son of Aswar son of Sām, Rūm son of Yafar son of Sām, Armīn son of Nawraj son of Sām (who was master of Armīnīyya), Kirmān son of Tāraḫ son of Sām, and Hayṭāl son of ʿĀlam son of Sām (whose sons are across the river of Balḫ which is called the country of the Hayṭāls) and every man among them settled, together with his offspring, [p. 6] in the land which is named after him and which is ascribed to him. Only the sons of Arfaḫšađ son of Sām remained with king Jamm in the land of Bābil.

They say: when ʿĀd became numerous in Yaman, they grew haughty and became insolent, and over them ruled Šadīd son of ʿImlīq son of ʿĀd son of Iram son of Sām son of Nūḥ. He dispatched to the sons of Sām the son of his brother, namely Ḍaḥḥāk son of ʿUlwān son of ʿImlīq son of ʿĀd, whom the Persians call Baywarāsif. He went to the land of Bābil. King Jamm fled from him. Ḍaḥḥāk searched for him until he caught him up, and he seized him and sawed him with a saw and took possession of his kingdom. He that was sent [by Ḍaḥḥāk] against the sons of Ḥām son of Nūḥ was his cousin Walīd son of Rayyān son of ʿĀd son of Iram. Their king in that day was Miṣr son of Qibṭ son of Ḥām who occupied the land of Egypt. Walīd son of Rayyān went to him and then killed him and took possession of his kingdom. Among the offspring of Walīd son of Rayyān was Rayyān son of Walīd ʿAzīz Miṣr, master of Yūsuf (upon whom be the blessing of God and peace). Among the offspring of the two of them was Walīd son of Masʿab, Pharaoh in the time of Mūsā, the blessings of God be upon him. Jālūt the Giant whom Dāwūd the prophet (the blessings of God be upon him) killed, was one of the sons of Walīd son of Rayyān. He that Šadīd son of ʿImlīq sent to the sons of Yāfiṯ son of Nūḥ was the son of his brother Ġānam son of ʿIlwān brother of Ḍaḥḥāk son of ʿUlwān.

The king of the descendants of Yāfiṯ son of Nūḥ in that day was Firāsyāb son of Tūđil son of Turk son of Yāfiṯ son of Nūḥ. He conquered his kingdom also and took possession of his land. And among the sons of Ġānam son of ʿUlwān, was (as it is said) Fūr, the king of Hind, whom Iskandar killed in hand to hand combat. And it is said: Rustam the mighty was among the sons of Ġānam.


They say: verily Ḍaḥḥāk, whom the Iranians call [p. 7] Baywarāsif, after his victory over king Jamm and his murder of him and [after] he was secure in his rule and at peace, took to gathering to himself sorcerers from the distant lands of his kingdom. He studied sorcery until he made himself master in it, he built the city of Bābil, made it four parasangs by four parasangs in size, filled it with armies of giants, and called it Ḫūb. He treated the sons of Arfaḫšađ harshly. There grew in his shoulders two cracks in the form of two snakes which would torment him, with the result that he fed them the brains of men and they calmed down. 

They say: every day he brought four stout men, and they were slaughtered and their brains were taken, and the two snakes were fed with them. He had a vizier from among his folk, and he put in charge of his ministry a man from the sons of Arfaḫšađ, who was called Armiyāyīl. When he brought the men to be slaughtered, he spared the life of two of them, and put in their stead two rams. And he ordered the two men to go where there would be no trace of them. They went into the mountains, and they stayed in them and did not come near villaged or cities. It is said that they were the origin of the Kurds.

[The Mission of Hūd]

And there reigned after Šadīd son of ʿImlīq his brother Šaddād son of ʿImlīq son of ʿĀd son of Iram. He was insolent and acted tyrannically, so God sent to him Hūd (peace be upon him), an apostle, and he was from the pure-bred of his folk and from their nobles, and he was Hūd son of Ḫālid son of Ḫulūd son of al-ʿĪs son of ʿImlīq son of ʿĀd. But Šaddād did not heed him, and so he destroyed him, and whoever disbelieved in him from among ʿĀd, just as God (be he blessed and exalted) has already told in his book, and it is a story most veracious. He says: there grew up in that time Ġābar son of Šālaḫ son of Arfaḫšađ son of Sām [p. 8] son of Nūḥ, and there was born unto him Fālaġ son of Ġābar. Then was born unto him after that Qaḥṭān son of Ġābar. He says: Qaḥṭān was only named for his putting an end to drought, and his liberality and open-handedness. Then was born to him Lām son of Ġābar. And he was the most worshipful of the folk of his age, and the scriptures of Ādam, Šīṯ, and Nūḥ came to him and he studied them and he learnt them. Then verily Ḍaḥḥāk Baywarāsif sought him out, that he might seduce him away from his religion. But he fled from him with his folk and his sons from the city of Bābil until he settled in the badlands belonging to the land of Rūm. His tomb is there and it is said that the place of his tomb is known even now.


They say: when God destroyed ʿĀd together with Šaddād the support of Ḍaḥḥāk grew weak, and his authority weakened. The sons of Arfaḫšađ son of Sām ventured out against him, and the plague came upon his army and the giants that were with him. But he went forth to seek his brother Ġānam son of ʿUlwān, whom Šadīd made king over the sons of Yāfiṯ, and he besought help from him for his plight. The sons of Arfaḫšađ son of Sām took advantage of his having gone away, and they sent word to Numrūđ son of Kanʿān son of Jamm the king. He and his father were hiding in the expanse of Ḍaḥḥāk’s kingdom in the mountain of Dunbāwand. He came to them and they appointed him king over them. And he lorded it over those in the land of Bābil among the folk of the house of Ḍaḥḥāk, and then he killed them all together and took possession of the kingdom of Ḍaḥḥāk. [News of] this reached Ḍaḥḥāk and he headed toward him, but Numrūđ defeated him and struck him upon the nape of the neck with a sharp mace. He felled him and bound him with a shackle, and took him to a cave in the mountain of Dunbāwand. He put him in it and sealed it. Numrūđ’s rule was strengthened and consolidated. Now, he is the one that the Persians call Farīdūn.

They say: when Hūd (the blessing of God be upon him) died, the sons of Iram son of Sām assembled [p. 9] from the quarters of the earth, and they appointed as king Marṯad son of Šaddād. This was at the beginning of the reign of Numrūđ son of Kanʿān. Numrūđ attacked them at the end of his reign, as their might had grown weak, and he had power over them. They say: Fālaġ and Qaḥṭān were brothers and they were sons of Ġābar. Fālaġ was the grandfather of Ibrāhīm (the blessing of God be upon him and peace), but as for Qaḥṭān, he was father of Yaman. 

It is related that Ibnu’l-Muqaffaʿ said: ‘ignorant Iranians allege and they that have no knowledge [say] that king Jamm was Sulaymān son of Dāwūd, but this an error, for between Sulaymān and Jamm there were more than three thousand years.’ It is said that Numrūđ son of Kanʿān was the Pharaoh of Ibrāhīm from among the sons of Jamm and was paternal-cousin to Āzar son of Tāriḫ, father of Ibrāhīm, namely Ibrāhīm son of Āzar son of Tāriḫ son of Nāhūr son of Arʿū son of Šālaḫ son of Arfaḫšađ, whom the Iranians call Īrān. And among the sons of Arfaḫšađ are all the Arabs, and among them also are the kings of Fārs, and their nobility are among the folk of ʿIrāq and others apart from them.


They say: when ʿĀd died out from the land of Yaman and went extinct (this being in the age of Numrūđ son of Kanʿān), Numrūđ bestowed it upon his cousin, Qaḥṭān son of Ġābar. He went to it together with his sons in order to settle in it, though in it [there was] a small remnant of ʿĀd that had faith in Hūd (upon whom be peace). Qaḥṭān dwelt near them there. It was not long until they died out and went extinct, and the land was made over to Qaḥṭān. And it is said that Yaʿrub son of Qaḥṭān went there after the death of his father. He went to it with his brothers and children and settled it. The mother of Yaʿrub was a woman from ʿĀd; she was not the mother of his brothers. So he spoke in the tongue of his mother, and it is related on the authority of Ibn al-Kayyis al-Namarī that he said that Qaḥṭān married a woman of the ʿAmālīq and she gave birth to Yaʿrub, Jurhum, al-Muʿtamar, al-Mutalammis, ʿĀsim, Manīʿ, al-Qutāmī, ʿĀsī, and Ḥimyar. They all spoke in the tongue of their mother, in Arabic. Qaḥṭān throve [p. 10] in the age of Numrūđ. It is related on the authority of Ibn Šariya that he said: ‘it was Yaʿrub son of Qaḥṭān that went forth together with his sons, and he was the greatest of them in years and the most mighty in power.’


They say: verily Ṯamūd stopped the disbelief in God and haughtiness to him practiced by ʿĀd. So Allah sent unto them Ṣāliḥ, a prophet. He was dignified among their aristocracy and highly regarded among their nobility. He summoned them to the unity of God, but they received it not, and they payed no heed, and God (be he exalted and glorified) destroyed them, as he set forth in his book and it is a most truthful tale. It is said that there were five hundred years between the destruction of ʿĀd and the destruction of Ṯamūd, and this was in the age of Ibrāhīm (upon whom be peace).


At the end of the rule of Numrūđ, whom the Persians call Farīdūn, Numrūđ was tyrannical and haughty, and was devoted to the science of the stars, and imported stargazers from the far-flung reaches of the earth and favoured them with riches, and chose seven men from the folk of his house and called them the Kawahbārūn. He made them managers of his affairs and empowered each man among them with an individual task. Āzar father of Ibrāhīm was one of the seven that he chose, and he meted out to him the east and the west. Among the business of the progenitor of Ibrāhīm was [determining] what the [heavenly] signs might tell. The first to believe in Ibrāhīm was Sāra his wife and she was among the most beautiful of the folk of her age. Lūṭ was the son of his sister. Ibrāhīm, together with his father, stayed as long as God willed, and then went forth as an emmigrant to him, and Sarah went forth with him. The father of Lūṭ was from the folk of the city of Sadūm, and his mother was the daughter of Āzar. He had only just gone to Bābil to visit his grandfather Āzar, and he believed in Ibrāhīm, and he dwelt with him in Bābil, helping him with his affairs. When Ibrāhīm, upon whom be peace, went forth as an emmigrant, Lūṭ went forth with him, and he caught up with his father and the folk of his house in Sadūm (which is between the land of Urdun [p. 11] and the border of the land of the Arabs), and Ibrāhīm went until he came to the land of Egypt.

[Jurhum and al-Muʿtamar]

They say: verily the sons of Qaḥṭān multiplied in the land of Yaman, and covetousness and envy arose between them. The sons of Yaʿrub son of Qaḥṭān rallied against the sons of Jurhum son of Qaḥṭān and the sons of Muʿtamar son of Qaḥṭān, and they banished them from Yaman and his land. Jurhum went towards the Sanctuary, and the Banū Muʿtamar went towards the Ḥijāz, and the chief of Jurhum was Mudād son of ʿImrū son of ʿAbd Allāh son of Jurhum son of Qaḥṭān, and they wanted to settle the Sanctuary but the ʿImālīq stopped them from it. They fought, and Jurhum took the Sanctuary from them by conquest, and banished them from it, and Jurhum settled in the Sanctuary. When they dwelt in it, word of this reached the Banū Muʿtamar son of Qaḥṭān, and they approached from the land of the Ḥijāz until they reached the Sanctuary, and they asked Jurhum for habitation with them, but Jurhum (being the chief of the Banū Mu‘tamar, Samaydaʿ son of ‘Imrū son of Qanṭūr son of Muʿtamar son of Qanṭūr son of Muʿtamar son of Qaḥṭān) refused them. The two parties challenged one another to battle, and in this their battle was called ‘the two creaks’, ‘the stoves’, ‘the chargers’, and ‘dishonour’, because in it the Banū Muʿtamar was dishonoured and Samaydaʿ was killed, and the victory went to Jurhum.

They say: Numrūđ had three sons: Īraj, Salm, and Ṭūs. His kingdom passed to Īraj, and he set Salm over the sons of Ḥām, and Ṭūs over the sons of Yāfiṯ. His two brothers envied Īraj since his father favoured him with power excluding them, though he was younger in years than they. The two grew insolent towards him, and slew him. The kingdom went to the son of his son, Manūšihr son of Īraj, and he turned away from his two sons Salm and Ṭūs. Then he died, and Manūšihr son of Īraj ruled. In the age of Manūšihr, Qaḥṭān multiplied in the land of Yaman, and they chose as king over themselves Saba son of Yašjub, [his] name being Saba ʿAbd Šams.


They say: in this age Ismaʿīl son of [p. 12] Ibrāhīm (upon the two be peace) died, and he left three sons: Qayđar son of Ismaʿīl, Nābat son of Ismaʿīl (namely he that was superintendant in charge of Mecca and the Sanctuary after Ibrāhīm), and Madyan son of Ismaʿīl (namely he that went to the land of Madyan and settled it, and among whose sons was Šuʿayb the prophet—upon whom be peace—and to whose folk he was sent). They say: when Bānat son of Ismaʿīl died, Jurhum conquered the House [of the Kaʿba] and the Sanctuary. Qayđar son of Isma‘īl went forth with his folk and possessions pursuing the track of the camel train all over Kāẓima and Ġamr Đū Kinda and the Two Šaʿṯams, and what borders these two lands, until his descendants multiplied and they predominated in the whole land of Tihāma, the Ḥijāz, and Najd. Saba son of Yašjub son of Ya‘rub son of Qaḥṭān ruled the land of Yaman during the reign of Manūšihr for one hundred and twenty years. Then he died and his son Ḥimyar son of Saba reigned after him, and he made his son Kahlān vizier of Ḥimyar.


They say: when the reign of Manūšihr attained one hundred and twenty years, Firāsyāb son of Fāyiš son of Nūđasif son of Turk son of Yāfiṯ son of Nūḥ marched against him, and this was when Ḥimyar ruled the land of Yaman. His journey was from the direction of the east together with all the sons of Yāfiṯ son of Nūḥ until he ended up in the land of Bābil, and Manūšihr went forth against him with his army. All Manūšihr’s forces were scattered, and Firāsyāb followed after Manūšihr until he overtook him. He killed him, took his kingdom, and sat upon his throne. He abased the descendants of Arfaḫšađ, and threw down the castles that were in the land of Bābil, ruined the springs in it, and he flooded the rivers that were there, and men thirsted [p. 13] with vehement thirst, and the folk of Īrān-Šahr in his reign were in great tribulation. 


But when nine years of the reign of Firāsyāb were complete there appeared in the land of Fārs Zāb son of Būdakān son of Manūšihr son of Iraj son of Numrūđ. He deposed Firāsyāb, and called [them] to himself, and all sons of Sām were favourably disposed to him because of the trouble that had taken hold of them in the reign of Firāsyāb. He marched against Firāsyāb until he deposed him from the kingdom, and betook himself to the cities and the castles which Firāsyāb had destroyed, and he restored their structures and dug the rivers and canals that he had flooded, and put to rights everthing that Firāsyāb had destroyed. He dug in ʿIrāq enormous rivers which he named ‘the Zāb’, whose names he derived from his own name, and they are the Upper Zāb and the Middle Zāb and the Lesser Zāb. He built the city of al-ʿAtīqa and called it ‘Madā’in’. Then he went after Firāsyāb (he was in Ḫurāsān with his troops and his armies) and Firāsyāb advanced against him. They met, and there drew nigh Arasnās, whom Manūšihr had ordered to teach men to shoot with arrows, and he strung his bow and aimed the arrows. He went forward and drew near Firāsyāb. When he was able, he shot an arrow which struck his heart, and he fell to the ground dead. The sons of Yāfiṯ went away when their king was killed, and they even went back to their land. Zāb attained many wounds, and he died of them after the destruction of Firāsyāb after a month. In that year Ḥimyar son of Saba died also.


They say: the kingdom of al-Walīd son of Musʿab, Pharaoh of Mūsā, upon whom be peace, was over the whole land of the sons of Ḥām, namely the kingdom which is known as the kingdom of Miṣr son of Ḥām. They say: when Yūsuf son of Yaʿqūb died, while his brothers were in the land of Egypt. [p. 14] There his progeny remained, and they multiplied in it. In the time of Mūsā they were six hundred thousand men. The king of Yaman at the time of Mūsā was Milṭāṭ son of ʿImrū son of Himyar son of Saba. The king in the land of Bābil was Kayqubāđ son of Zāb. Milṭāṭ was nicknamed ‘the Featherer’, because he put feathers on his bow and profited by them. The kings of all lands owed allegiance to Kayqubāđ, and they revered him with tribute. He had three sons: Qābūs, namely he that ruled after him; and Kayānibah, namely he that was the grandfather of Luhrāsif who was king after Sulaymān son of Dāwūd (upon whom be peace); and Qayūs, namely the grandfather of the Ašġān, who were kings of Jabal in the age of the the Regional Princes and in the age of the departure of Mūsā son of ʿImrān from Egypt, fleeing from Pharaoh, until he came to the land of Madyan, and he dwelt with Šuʿayb. He rewarded him for his three pilgrimages, as God (his praise be glorified) relates in the reasonable book. Then he went forth forth from Šuʿayb when the time came, and he went with his people and they were under his authority. God was generous to him in his speech and his prophetic mission, which he has narrated for us in his book. He departed to Šuʿayb and his folk went to him, and proceeded until he conveyed the revelation of his Lord. In the same age Šuʿayb was sent to his folk. God narrates in his book [a few stories] about them.


They say: then there reigned over the land of Yaman Abraha son of Milṭāṭ, namely Abraha Đū’l-Manār, who is called so because he commanded the building of a lighthouse, with flaming light upon it in the night, that his armies might be guided by it. Mūsā son of ʿImrān (upon whom be peace) died, and Yūšaʿ son of Nūn after him took command of the Banū Isrā’īl. He went out with the children of Israel from Miṣr into the land of al-Šām and he settled them in Falasṭīn. [p. 15]

They say: verily Abraha made ready and went with many men into the land of the west, and left his kingdom in the charge of his son Ifrīqīs. He went deep into the land of Sūdān and they accorded him obedience. He passed through their land, and even came upon a people among men whose eyes and mouths are in their chests. It is said that they are among the progeny of Nūḥ, upon whom be peace, at whom God was angry. He changed their customs, and they accorded him obedience. He went back and passed through a people among men called al-Nasnās, among whom the men and the women have half a head, half a face, one eye, half a body, one hand, and one leg. They hop about faster than the running of a racing horse, and they wander in the thickets which are on the shore of the sea behind heaps of sand, that is to say the sands of the country of Yaman. He asked of them, and he was informed that they were a people from the sons of Wabār son of Īram son of Sām son of Nūḥ.

[Kaykāwus son of Kayqubāđ]

They say: the king of Īrān in the age of Abraha son of Milṭāṭ was Kaykāwus son of Kayqubāđ, and he was harsh on the powerful and merciful on the weak. He was victorious and praiseworthy until he thought up a vain idea whereby he thought to go up to heaven. He was possessor of the casket and the eagles. He begrudged his son Sīyāwuš, though he had no son apart from him. He wished to kill him, but Sīyāwuš fled from him and attached himself to the king of the Turks and took up residence with him in a comfortable dwelling. He tried him and tested him and saw his intellect, his learning, his bravery, and his intrepidity. He entrusted him with rule. When the people of the king’s house saw this, they envied him and feared that he might take the kingdom from them. Those mighty in lineage put him down [p. 16] before the king, so much so that he attacked him and killed him. He married his sister and she was pregnant by him. He wanted to rip open her belly because of the foetus. But Abaryān the vizier besought him for her sake and for her son, that he not kill her without any crime. He said to him: ‘take her to yourself. If she gives birth, kill her child.’ She was with him until she gave birth to a boy, and he was Kayḫusraw who ruled after him. He took him from the city and had him suckled among the Kurds that dwell in the mountians, and he grew up among them. He said unto the king: ‘She brought forth a girl, and I have killed her.’ He believed him. 


Verily the folk of Fārs hated Kaykāwus on account of the tyranny, recalcitrance, and haughtiness that he showed unto God. They plotted his deposition. This was noised abroad until it reached the mother of the boy, and when he reached seventeen years, she dispatched a messenger into the folk of Fārs to inform them of the murder of Sīyāwuš. The lad commanded that they choose a man among their worthies called Zaw. They sent him to Abaryān the vizier to take care of the lad, and he stood before him and disclosed to him what the folk of Fārs had agreed to. He surrendered the boy to him, and he bore him upon the horse of his father Sīyāwuš who had come to him from ʿIrāq. Zaw went to him hiding by day and travelling by night until he came to the great river Jayḥūn, namely the river of Balḫ, and he crossed it by swimming on his horse. He proceeded with him until he brought him to the court of the king. They dethroned Kaykāwus, and chose the boy as king and called him Kayḫusraw, and bestowed obedience on him. He commanded that his father be imprisoned. He remained [p. 17] imprisoned until he perished.


They say: Kayḫusraw ruled and Ifrīqīs son of Abraha ruled in one and the same age, and that Ifrīqīs made ready, making for the west until he reached the land of Ṭanja and Andalus. He saw a spacious country and built there a city and called it Ifrīqīya, whose name he derived from his own name, and he brought inhabitants into it, and it is the city wherein dwell the ruler of that country and its grandees. Then he went back to his homeland. In that age there grew up Maʿadd son of ʿAdnān, and in it the sons of Iram went extinct from the whole land of the Arabs, save remnants of [the tribes] Ṭasm and Jadīs who remain in ʿUmān and Baḥrayn and Yamāma.

When Ifrīqīs son of Abraha died, there ruled his son Đū Jayšān son of Ifrīqīs. He prepared for raiding Kayḫusraw king of Fārs, and he gathered his forces and went until he halted in Najrān. There were in ʿUmān, Najrān, and Yamāma many persons of the sons of Ṭasm and Jadīs, the two sons of Iram son of Sām, and they belonged to the Full-Blooded Arabs, and their king was a man from the lineage of Ṭasm called ʿImlīqā. He was oppressive and tyrannical, and his haughtiness went as far as commanding that a woman from the lineage of Jadīs could not be given to her husband unless they brought him to her. They went on thus for a long while, but verily a man from the lineage of Jadīs took in marriage ʿUfayra daughter of Ġifār sister of Aswad son of Ġifār ʿAẓīm Jadīs and her master. When they wanted to lead her into the bridal chamber, she was taken first to the king and he deflowered her, and then he released her. She went forth to her people in her blood, lifting up her garments from her pudendum and she spoke... there follow three line of unattributed poetry [p. 18].

Jadīs was furious at this, and they carried off ʿImlīqā and killed him at a moment of inadvertance... there follow two lines of poetry attributed to Aswad son of Ġifār...

They destroyed the tribe of Ṭasm and none escaped from them, save one man called Riyāḥ son of Murra. Verily he departed on his own way until he came to Đū Jayšān, and he was encamped with his army at Najrān. He came before him, and then spoke... there follow four lines of poetry.

The king said: ‘How many [days] are between us and between them?’ He said: ‘Three.’ But those in his presence said: ‘He lieth, O king! Between thee and between the people are twenty nights.’ He commanded his army to march towards Yamāma, and in his march and in the story of al-Zarqā, al-Aʿšā spoke after this in a long age... there follows three lines of poetry [p. 19].

He went to Jadīs and extirpated them, and then travelled towards ʿIrāq making for Kayḫusraw, and Kayḫusraw marched against him. They met, Đū Jayšān was killed, and his host was scattered. Yaman chose as king his son al-Find Đū’l-Ađʿār, or he was rather nicknamed Đū al-Ađʿār because of men’s fear of him. But he had no care apart from avenging his father. 

He said: Yamāma and Baḥrayn remained after the death of Jadīs without anyone in them until Rabīʿa multiplied and spread out and became dispersed in the countries. ʿAnaza son of Asad son of Rabīʿa went, investigating places of rain, whilst ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā son of ʿImrū al-ʿAnazī went before them until he captured Yamāma. He beheld a broad country, date palms, and castles; and behold there was an old man seated under the palms, who declaimed in the rajaz metre... one line of poetry follows.

ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā said unto him: ‘who art thou, O elder?’ He said: ‘I am from Hizzān [tribe], the fellow lions, Đū Jayšān hath raided us, the king that is master of Yamān. Murrān was active therein, but no one remains in it but me, and I am Lafān.’

ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā said: ʿAnd who is Hazzān?’ He said: ‘Hazzān son of Ṭasm, brother of al-Nuhā and al-Ḥazm and son of Šajāʿ the master.’ ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā stayed there for a few days, but then he had had enough of where he was, and he went away travelling until he reached Baḥrayn. He beheld countries more extensive than Yamāma, and in it those of the sons of Kahlān who had settled in it, when they fled from the Vehement Flood. He stayed among them. The Banū Ḥanīfa went on that road, following the places of rain and ʿUbayd son of Yarbūʿ led them, for he was their lord. He settled near it. A lad travelled to him one day, until he intruded into Yamāma. He saw palms [p. 20] and the countryside, and behold some dates had been scattered below the palms. He took one of them and offered it to ʿUbayd, and he ate of it. He said: ‘by thy father verily this food is good!’ He went away until he came to Yamāma and goaded his horse and he halted at three houses and three gardens and called that place Ḥajr, and it is to-day the citadel of Yamāma and the regions nearby and its market place, and the Banū Ḥanīfa became known for what ʿUbayd son of Yarbūʿ achieved. They went until they came to Yamāma and dwelt in it, and their descendants are there to-day.


He said: Dāwūd the prophet (upon whom be peace) was in the age of al-Find đū’l-Ađʿār, and the king of Īrān was Kayḫusraw son of Sīyawuš, and he was ruler of the Banū Isrā’īl, who had become weak. The peoples around them were attacking them, and killing [them] and taking [them] prisoner. They went to their prophet Šuʿayb, and they said: ‘send us a king; and we shall fight in the way of God!’ He chose Ṭālūt as king over them, and he was of the tribe of Yūsuf (may God bless him) and he was the king in the land of Yahūđā. In those days Jālūt the giant, from the sons of ʿĀd, still existed. He went to attack the children of Israel with his army. Ṭālūt gathered the Banū Isrāʿīl to do battle with him. The passed by the river, from which Ṭālūt prevented them from drinking, but they [all] drank of it save three hundred and seventeen men, the number of the folk of Badr with the prophet of God, upon whom be blessings and peace. Dāwūd the prophet was at that time a young man. When the two companies fought in battle, Dāwūd (upon whom be peace) put a stone in his sling-shot, and then twisted it, and flung it, and struck Jālūt between the eyes. His spirit was in it. The Banū Isrā’īl routed his army and plundered their possessions, and the Banū Isrā’īl decided therefore to make Dāwūd king (may God bless him) and to depose Ṭālūt, because they were pleased with him. Dāwūd was of the tribe of Yahūđā son of Yaʿqūb.

They say: [p. 21] the king of Rūm in that age was Daqīnūs, he of the young companions of the cave. It is related from ʿAbd Allāh Ibn Ṣāmit; he says: ʿAbū Bakr the Veracious (may God be pleased with him) sent me to the king of Rūm in the year in which he became caliph, to call him to Islam or summon him to war.’ He said: ‘I went until I arrived at Qusṭanṭīniyya, and the Great One of Rūm summoned me, and we went in before him. We sat and we did not make an act of submission, and then we asked about the things pertaining to Islam. Then we went away from there quickly. Then he called to us on another day, and he called a servant to himself. He spoke to him about something. He went away and brought to him a reliquary in which were many boxes and upon each box was a small door. He opened one of its doors and took out a black cloth on which was a bright picture like the image of a comely man with a halo of the moon on the night of power. He said: ‘do ye recognise this?’ We said: ‘no.’ He said: ‘This is our lord Ādam, upon whom be peace.’ Then he returned it to its place. He opened another door, and took out a black cloth on which was a white picture likeuno the image of an old man of handsome countenance in whose face was a frown like the image of one sorrowing and pained. He said: ‘know ye aught of this?’ We said: ‘No.’ He said: ‘This is Nūḥ.’ Then he opened another door, and took out a black cloth on which was a white picture likeunto the image of our prophet Muḥammad, blessings and peace be upon him and upon all the prophets. When we looked upon it, we wept. He said: ‘what is this to you?’ We said: ‘this is a picture of our prophet Muḥammad, upon whom be the blessing of God and peace.’ He said: ‘is it in your religion that it is an image of your prophet?’ We said: ‘yes: there is a picture of our prophet: it is as though we see him alive.’ He folded it and put it back, and he said: ‘but it is the last of the boxes, and I want to know what ye have.’ Then he opened the other door, and took out of it a black cloth on which was a white image of the most handsome of men and resembling our prophet Muḥammad, upon whom be the blessing of God and pease, then he said: ‘This is Ibrāhīm.’ Then he opened another box and took out the picture of a tawny man [p. 22] likeunto the image of the one sorrowing and ruminating, then he said: ‘this is Mūsā son of ʿImrān.’ Then he opened another door, and took out a picture of a man who had two tresses, as though his face were the halo of the moon. Then he said: ‘this is Dāwūd.’ Then he opened another box, and he took out the picture of a handsome man upon a horse, who had two wings. Then he said: ‘this is Sulaymān, and this wind carries him.’ Then he opened another box, and he took out a picture of a boy of handsome face, in whose hand was a stick, and upon him a shirt of wool. Then he said: ‘this is ʿĪsā, the spirit of God and his word.’ Then he said: ‘verily this picture came to Iskandar and he bequeathed it to the kings after him until it passed to me.’

They say: Verily Đū’l-Ađʿār went out with his army seeking to avenge his father Đū Jayšān who went to the land of Fārs and made war on Kayḫusraw and was killed in battle. Đū’l-Ađʿār died on the road before he attained what he wanted. Yaman chose as king over them Hadhād son of Šuraḥbīl son of ʿImrū son of Mālik son of al-Rā’iš. Hadhād is surnamed Đū Šarḫ. He commanded that the body of Đū’l-Ađʿār be carried and brought back to his people in the land of Yaman. He commanded that it be buried at Ṣanʿā in the graveyard of the kings.

They say: Hadhād married the daughter of the king of the Jann in the land of Yaman. She bore him Balqīs. This is a [well] diffused story, which has been transmitted by reciters. They say: when she was thirty years old, death came to Hadhād. The chiefs of Ḥimyar assembled, and he said: ‘O tribe, verily I have put men to the test, and I have tried the folk of vision and intelligence, but I have not seen the like of Balqīs, therefore I entrust her with rule over you in order to manage the kingdom for you, until the son of my brother, Yāsar Yanʿam son of ʿImrū, come of age.’ They were pleased with this, and Balqīs ruled. 


At the beginning of her reign Dāwūd (upon whom be peace) died, [p. 23] and Sulaymān inherited his kingdom. All of this was in the age of Kayḫusraw son of Siyāwuš. When Sulaymān reigned, he went from the land of al-Šām to the land of ʿIrāq with his folk and his treasury. He reached Ḫurāsān and put down at the city Balḫ, for he had built it before this, and Sulaymān carried on until he halted in ʿIrāq. Sulaymān’s halting in the land of ʿIrāq reached Kayḫusraw and the greatness of his power, and fright filled him and sorrow permeated him and consumed him. It was but a little while before he died, and when Sulaymān went out of ʿIrāq to Marw, and then from there to Balḫ. Then he went from Balḫ to the lands of the Turk, and he went deep into them, and passed through it into Ṣīn. Then he turned from the place where the sun rises to the shore of the sea until he came to Qandahār, and from there he went to Mukrān and Kirmān. Then he passed through them until he came to the land of Fārs, and he halted there a few days. Then he went from there to Kaskar. Then he returned to al-Šām. He came to Tadmur, his residence. They say: there was found [written] on a rock at Kaskar: ‘we set out at sunrise from the land of Fārs, and behold! we are in the land of Kaskar. There is no power alike to that of our lord; we go to our homelands from the land of Tadmur.’

Dāwūd (upon whom be peace) had begun the building of the temple of the Holy House, but he died before its achievement. Sulaymān finished it, and completed the building of the city of Īliyā, for his father had begun it before him. He built its temple, a building whose like men had not seen. The radiance of its gleaming lamps shone in the gloom of the dark night, because of the multitude of jewels and gold that he had put on it. The day whereon he finished it he made thereof a yearly festival, and there was no more splendid, festival day in the land, nor one of greater [p. 24] gravity than it, nor one of more beauteous appearance. The temple remained as Sulaymān built it until Buḫt Naṣṣar attacked the Holy House and destroyed it and demolished the temple and took what gold and silver and jewels were in it, and moved them to ʿIrāq. 

They say: Sulaymān was generous with food. He would slaughter at lunchtime in the kitchen one thousand bulls and twenty thousand sheep. They say: when Sulaymān was finished with the building of the temple of Īlīyā, he made ready to go forth against Tihāma, making for the House of God, the Sanctuary, and he walked round it, hung a cloth on it, sacrificed before it, and stayed there seven days. Then he went to Ṣanʿā, and he sought for the bird, but he saw not the hoopoe (it was from his story and the story of the mistress of Saba, namely Balqīs, which God tells, who is blessed and exalted, in his book) until he married her. He built in the land of Yaman three castles, the like of which man had not seen. They were Salḥīn, Baynūn, Ġumdān. Sulaymān went back to al-Šām. He visited her every month, and stayed with her three days. 

[They say] that he attacked the land of the Maġrib, Andalus, Ṭanja, Faranja, and Ifrīqiya and the surrounding regions of the land of the Banū Kanʿān son of Ham son of Nūḥ. Over them ruled the tyrant ʿĀt, the great one of the kingdom, and he called him to belief in God and to putting off idolatry. He rose up against him and killed him, and took one of his daughters who was the most beautiful among men and took her as a concubine. She made a most pleasant impression on him. He returned to Syria and commanded that a palace be built for her and he put her inside it together with her nurse and her servants. Whenever Sulaymān went into her he found her weeping sorrowfully. That disturbed his love for her and his pleasure in her. She was the woman whom Sulaymān acquired amongst the spoil of his kingdom. The extinction of his reign, and the removal of his power and riches was when this woman took her father’s image into his palace and worshipped it in secret from Sulaymān. But her taking the image was by the knowledge [p. 25] and permission of Sulaymān). Thus he wanted her to be calm when she saw him, and to be glad. 

It is said that in the remotest parts of the lands of the Maġrib Sulaymān built a city of copper in the desert of Andalus. He put in it some of his treasures. They say that ʿAbd al-Malik son of Marwān wrote to his vicegerent in the land of the Maġrib, Mūsā son of Nuṣayr, (and he was one of the sons of al-ʿAjam, though his allegiance was turbulent) commanding him to go to this city so that he might learn of it, and he gave him written orders. Verily Mūsā son of Nuṣayr went thither, and went back as far as Qayruwān. He wrote with news to ʿAbd al-Malik and described the city and what he encountered on his journey thither and what he saw on his march towards it. 


They say: when Sulaymān died, there came to power after him Arḫabʿam son of Sulaymān. The Banū Isrā’īl became scattered, and their power weakened. They remained thus until Buḫt Naṣṣar (namely Būḫt Narsā of the Iranians) came to the Holy House and destroyed it.

They say: there arose as king in Yaman after Balqīs Yāsir Yanʿam son of ʿImrū son of Šarḥabīl son of ʿImrū, and he was son of the brother of al-Hadhād. He was called Yāsir Yanʿam because of his generosity to his people.

They say: verily Yāsir Yanʿam prepared an attack on the land of the Maġrib and he even reached the River of Sand, which no king before him had reached. He wanted to go across it, but there was no ford because sand, as they said, flowed in it as water flows. He camped on the bank of it, and he raised up an idol upon it. He wrote on its forehead, saying ‘there is no way through; depart!’ He went back to his lands.

[The Destruction of Īlīyā]

They say: when Sulaymān son of Dāwūd died, grandees and nobles of Fārs gathered, in order to chose a man from the progeny of Kayqubāđ the king, so that they might make him king over themselves, and their choice was fixed upon [p. 26] Luhrāsif son of Kaymīs son of Kayānibah son of Kayqubāđ the king. They chose him as king over themselves. Verily Luhrāsif entrusted his cousin Buḫt Naṣṣar son of Kāmjār son of Kayānibah son of Kayqubāđ with twelve thousand men from his forces and commanded him to go to al-Šām and to wage war upon Arḫabʿam son of Sulaymān. The victory went to him, for he killed as many as he could of the grandees of the Banū Isrā’īl, and he destroyed the city of Īlīyā. Buḫt Naṣṣar went until he came to al-Šām, and he attacked it, and he wrought-havoc, and he put to flight the kings of al-Šām from it. Arḫabʿam fled from the Holy House and arrived in Falisṭīn and died there. Buḫt Naṣṣar advanced until he came to the city of the Holy House. He went into it, without preventing anyone [from doing the same]. He put the children of Israel to the sword and took prisoner the sons of the kings and grandees and destroyed the city of Īlīyā. He did not leave within it a single house standing. He pulled down the temple and carried off what gold, silver, and jewels were in it, and carried off the chair of Sulaymān, and went back to ʿIrāq. Among the prisoners was Đānyāl the prophet, upon whom be peace. He went and he came to Luhrāsif the king, who was dwelling at Sūs. Đānyāl died with him at Sūs.

[Kings of Iran and Yaman]

They say: when death came to Luhrāsif kingship reposed upon his son Buštāsif. In that age died Yāsir Yanʿam, master of Yaman, and there came to power after him Šammar son of Ifrīqīs son of Abraha son of al-Rā’iš. He, they say, it was that went to Ṣīn and destroyed the city of Samarqand, and they say that the vizier of the lord of Ṣīn deceived him and this was because he commanded the king to cut of his nose and kill him. But the mutilated man went to Šammar and told him that he [p. 27] gave counsel to his master (namely the king of Ṣīn) and commanded him to be kind to Šammar and to accord him obedience and tribute, but he was angry at him and mutilated him. Verily he went to Šammar to show him the weakness of the lord of Ṣīn as recompense for what he had done to him. But Šammar was misled by this and asked about [his] counsel, and he said: ‘between thee and him is a desert which can be crossed in three days and its origin is near it. Take water for three days and go until I com upon him with thee from nearby, and you will seize his land and take it peacefully, together with his people and possessions.’ He did this. He went with him through the desert which was not far away. When they had gone three days, and when the water ran out and they saw no road sign and they came not to any water, they said to him: ‘where is that place that thou toldest us of?’ He told him that he had deceived him, and he preserved the folk of his house guard by himself, for he had known that he would kill him. He said: ‘I have already destroyed thee and I have done what thou hast done. Neither thou nor he that followeth thee have any desire for life.’ Šammar put his hauberk under his head and took up an iron shield that was with him above his head hiding himself from the sun with it. They say: the stargazers had said to him: ‘Thou shalt die between two hills of iron’, and he died between his hauberk and his shield—thirsting. Not one remained of his army, but they [all] perished, and we have heard of this story in another tale of Šammar.

[The Preaching of Zarādušt]

They say: Zarādušt, who was lord of the Magi, went to Buštāsif the king. He said: ‘I am God’s apostle to thee.’ He gave him the book that is in the hands of the Magi, and Buštāsif believed him, and yielded his allegiance to the faith of Zarādušt. The folk of his kingdom harkened unto him and answered him with hearing and obedience. Rustum the Mighty was his viceroy in Sijistān and Ḫurāsān and he was a giant of towering stature, of vehement strength, of huge body, and he was of the lineage of Kayqubāđ the king. When news of Buštāsif’s entry into Magianism and his forsaking the faith of his fathers reached him, he was wroth thereat with a vehement wrath, and said: ‘He hath forsaken the faith of our fathers, the faith that they bequeathed of yore, and inclined unto a new faith!’ Then he gathered the folk of Sijistān and persuaded them to depose Buštāsif, and they raised up an insurrection for him. Buštāsif summoned his son Isfandiyāđ who was the strongest of the folk of his age, and he said to him: ‘O my son! Verily the kingdom will pass to thee soon, and all thine affairs shall be not aright except thou kill Rustum: thou knowest his strength and power, and thou art his like in strength and power. Choose from the army what thou wilt, then march against him!’ Isfandiyāđ chose from the army of his father twelve thousand men from the knights of Īrān, and marched against Rustum, and Rustum marched against him. The two met between the countries of Sijistān and Ḫurāsān. Isfandiyāđ called for the release of the armies from the fight, and that each of the two of them do single combat with the other, whichever of the two kills the other shall take possession of his companions. Rustum was glad at this and promised it to him, and sware it. The two armies halted opposite one another, and each one of the two went forth to the other. They fought between the two lines, and about this the Iranians tell many a tale, except that Rustum was he that killed Isfandiyāđ, and his army returned to his father Buštāsif. They acquainted him with the calamity of his son Isfandiyāđ. Grief overcame him and wasted him. He took ill from this and died, and the kingdom passed to the son of his son, Bahman son of Isfandiyāđ. They say: when Rustum returned to his abode in the land of Sijistān it was not long ere he perished.

[The Rule of Abū Mālik son of Šammar]

They say: verily the folk of Yaman, when news of the demise of Šammar and his army in the land of Ṣīn reached them, they gathered and made king over themselves Abū Mālik son of Šammar, and it was he that al-Aʿšā commemorates in his verse... one line of poetry follows [p. 29]. It was he that they say perished in the extreme darkness that is in the region of the north, and he was buried in a part of it. 

They say: this was the man whom news of the the expedition of Đū’l-Qarnayn reached, and he extracted from it many a jewel and prepared himself seeking entry thereto. But the land of Rūm blocked the way thither, and he passed through it until he came to the region of darkness. He was ready to invade it, but he died before he could have gone in and was buried in a part of it. They that were with him returned to the land of Yaman.


They say: there reigned Bahman son of Isfandyāđ. He ordered that the remainder of them that were in captivity, whom Buḫt Naṣṣar had taken prisoner among the children of Israel, return to their home lands in the land of al-Šām. Before the kingdom came to him, he had married Irāḫt, daughter of Sāmil son of Arḫab‘am son of Sulaymān son of Dāwūd. Zuwibīl, the brother of his wife, ruled the land of al-Šām. He commanded him to go forth with him together with those who remained in captivity and to help in rebuilding Īlīyā, and he settled them in it, as they contine [to dwell there]. He sent back the throne of Sulaymān and he put it up in its place. Zuwibīl went forth thus until he arrived with them at Īlīyā and he helped in the rebuilding of it, and he rebuilt the temple. Bahman returned to Sijistān and killed those of the sons of Rustum that had power over it and the folk of his house and he laid waste his town.

They say: Bahman had gone into of the faith of the children of Israel but forsook it afterwards and returned to Magianism. He married his daughter Ḫumānā and she was the most beautiful of the folk of her age. Death overtook him while she was pregnant by him and he commanded that the crown be put upon her belly and intimated to the grandees of the folk of the kingdom that they must obey her authority until what was in her womb be brought forth; and if it were a boy he commanded them to put the rule into her hands until he grew up, attaining and reaching thirty years, and that the kingdom be entrusted to him.

They say: Sāsān son of Bahman in that day was a man of insight, intelligence, good manners, and grace. He was [p. 30] father to the kings of Fārs among the Kisrās, and for this reason they are called ‘the Sasanians’. Men had no doubt that the kingdom should pass to him after his father, and when his father made the kingdom over to his daughter Ḫumānā, he was scornful with vehement scorn and went away. He acquired livestock and went with the Kurds to the mountain, in which he dwelt by himself. He withdrew from the capital in anger at his father’s thoughtlessness to him. 

They say: and so unto this day the progeny of Sāsān are reviled for keeping livestock. Ḫumānā reigned, and when her pregancy was done she gave birth to a boy, and he was Dārā son of Bahman. Then verily she prepared herself for an attack on the land of Rūm. She went until she penetrated the land of Rūm and the king of Rūm went against her with his army. They met and they fought, and victory went to Ḫumānā. She slaughtered, she took captives, she took booty, and she went away. She carried with her two builders from among the builders of Rūm. They built for her in the land of Fārs three aywāns, one of which is in the midst of the city Iṣṭaḫr, the second upon the road which goes from Iṣṭaḫr to Ḫurāsān, and the third upon the road of Dārābjird two parasangs from Iṣṭaḫr. When thirty years came to her son Dārā, she gathered grandees of the kingdom and summoned her son Dārā and set him upon the throne of the kingdom, invested him with the crown and endowed him with authority.

[The Reign of Tubbaʿ]

They say: when Abū Mālik perished in the region of darkness, the nobles of the folk of Yaman gathered and they entrusted with rule over themselve Tubbaʿ al-Aqrān (he was called Tubbaʿ al-Aqrān because of his valour), though it had been said that he was really Tubbaʿ al-Aqran. All this is said. When he reigned, he readied himself, wishing to attack Ṣīn, to avenge his father and grandfather. He went there and passed by Samarqand, which was in ruins. He ordered its rebuilding and helped it. Then he travelled through the desert until he came to the country of Tubbat. He saw a wide place, whose waters were pure, and with good pasture. He built there a city and settled therein thirty [p. 31] thousand men of his companions. They are the Tubbaʿiyyūn, whose dress to this day is the dress of Arabs, and whose appearance is the appearance of Arabs. Then he went to the land of Ṣīn. He slaughtered, and laid waste the city of the king, and it is a ruin to this day. Then he returned and went back to Yaman, and his rule lasted to the rule of Iskandar and rule went from him. thereafter. He went as described [elsewhere]. They say: in this age there came into existence al-Naḍar son of Kināna.


They say: verily Dārā son of Bahman, when he ruled, prepared an attack on the land of Rūm with his army. He marched until he penetrated their land, and there went out against him Faylafūs, the king of Rūm, with his army. They met and fought, and the victory went to Dārā, and Faylafūs made peace with him on the condition of tribute and payment to him every year, and its amount was an hundred thousand eggs of gold, each egg weighing forty miṯqāls. He married his daughter and then returned to Fārs. When Dārā finished his twenty second year of rule, death came to him, and he favoured his son Dārā son of Dārā with rule, and it was he that was known as Dārāyūš, who contended with Iskandar. When rule came to Dārā son of Dārā he acted as a tyrant, shewed haughtiness, and was arrogant. A copy of his letters for his lieutenant was: ‘From Dārā son of Dārā who shineth for the folk of his kingdom as the sun unto So-and-so.’ He was the great ruler of many armies, in whose age there were no kings who did not abase themselves to him with obedience and who revered him with tribute.


Iskandar was born. The learned differ about his lineage. As for the folk of Fārs, they narrate that he was not the son of Faylafūs, but was rather the son of his daughter, and that his father was Dārā son of Bahman. They say: this was because when Dārā son of Bahman attacked the land of Rūm, Faylafūs (king of Rūm) made peace with him on condition of tribute, and Darius asked for the hand of his daughter, and after her marriage to him [p. 32] he took her into his homeland. When he wanted to lie with her, he found a smell coming from her, and he had an aversion to it and sent her to the ward of his womenfolk and commanded her to employ a remedy against this smell. The ward treated her with a herb that is called sandar and some of its odour went from it [into her]. Darius summoned her and found coming from her the odour of sandar, and he said: ‘āl sandar’ which is to say ‘sandar is strong’, āl being the word in the Persian tongue by which ‘strong’ is meant. He went into her and she became pregnant by him, but his heart liked her not because of that odour which was in her, and he returned her to her father Faylafūs. She bore Iskandar, and derived a name for him from the name of that plant she was treated with, according to what she heard Dārā say on the night he went into her. Iskandar grew up as an sensible, refined, and intelligent boy, and his grandfather Faylafūs entrusted him with all his power when he saw his resolution and precision. When death came to Faylafūs he made the kingdom over to him and he inspired the grandees of the kingdom to hear and obey him. When Iskandar ruled he had no zeal for anything but for the kingdom of his father Dārā son of Bahman. He went to his brother Dārā son of Dārā and fought him for his kingdom. 

As for the learned men of Rūm they reject this story and say that he was son of Faylafūs, truly his offspring, and that he (when Faylafūs died and the kingdom passed to Iskandar) had nothing to do with Dārā son of Dārā by reason of this tribute which his father had paid to him. Dārā son of Dārā wrote to him, ordering him to take this tribute and to inform him as to the nature of the agreement on it that was between his father and him. Iskandar wrote to him: ‘verily the hen which laid those eggs is dead.’ Dārā was angry at this, and he sware that he himself would surely attack the land of Rūm and even destroy it. But Iskandar took no heed of this, and attached no importance to it. Iskandar was also an astonishing tyrant, for he was extremely insolent [p. 33] and haughty at the beginning of his reign.

There was in the land of Rūm one of the virtuous men of the age, who was a wise philosopher called Arsṭāṭālīs. He affirmed the unity of God, and believed in him without assigning anything to him as a partner. When news of the insolence of Iskandar and his crudeness and the misfortune of his life reached him, he drew near the land of Rūm from the uttermost part of the earth until he came to Iskandar’s city. He entered it, and with him were his patricians and the heads of the folk of his kingdom. He came and stood before him without revering him, and he said: ‘O exalted tyrant! Except thou fear thy Lord that made thee and doeth good and is gracious unto thee, and except thou take warning from the tyrants that were before thee, how God destroyed them, when their thanksgiving to him diminished and their tyranny grew severe’ [and so forth] in a long exhortation. When Iskandar heard this he was wroth with vehement wrath and was troubled by it. Then he ordered his imprisonment, so that he made him a warning for the folk of his kingdom. Then verily Iskandar bethought himself of the matter and pondered his speech touching the good thing that God wanted for him, and it made an impression in his soul and this changed his heart. It filled him with emptiness. He gave heed and hearkened unto his exhortation, parable, and admonition, and he knew that what he said was the truth, and that what is worshipped apart from God is vain. He was attentive and answered the truth and his certitude was sound. He said to this worshipper [of God]: ‘verily I answer thee, that thou requirest me to take wisdom from thy learning and be illumined with the light of thy knowledge.’ He said to him: ‘if thou wish this, stop thy following of oppression and tyranny and the commission of forbidden things’. Iskandar approved of this and promised it. He gathered the folk of his kingdom and the chieftains of his hosts, and said to them: ‘know that unto this day we have worshipped idols, which avail us nothing, nor do they harm us. I command you, and if ye refuse not my command, I shall satisfy you with that worship of God which satisfieth my soul, [God who] is alone and hath no partner, and I command the putting down of what we worshipped apart from him.’ They said in their assembly: ‘we receieve [p. 34] thy voice and we know that what thou hast said is the truth, and we believe in thy God and our God.’ When the intention of [his] distinguished men turned out well for him and their way was made right for him and they made it conform with the truth, he commanded that it be made known to the people that ‘we have commanded that idols which we had worshipped be broken, whether ye think that they do good or do harm, and let what happened to them be put away from you, and know ye that in violation of my command and the worship of anything apart from God, no man shall have forbearance from me, for he is the god that hath made us all.’ 

Then he commanded the distribution of the book concerning this unto the east of the earth and the west of it, that men should be dealt with in accordance with their acceptance or refusal. His messengers went away with his book dealing with this to the kings of the earth. When his book came to Dārā son of Dārā, he was wroth at this with vehement wrath, and he wrote to him: ‘From Dārā son of Dārā who shineth as the sun upon the folk of his kingdom unto Iskandar son of Faylafūs; that there had been between us Faylafūs an agreement and a truce involving a levy which had not ceased to be paid to us throughout the days of his life. If this my letter is come to thee, then I shall surely know what hath made thee late, and I shall have experience of thee and the nature of thy rule. Then I shall not accept thine excuse. Peace.’ 

When his letter came to Iskandar, his army gathered unto him and he went forth, making his way to the land of ʿIrāq. News of this reached Dārā son of Dārā, and he fortified his treasuries, his harem and his children in the castle at Hamadān, which was one of his buildings. Then he met Iskandar going forth in haste, and he fought him in many battles. But Iskandar found not what he had hoped for, nor any thing among them; then verily he went in secret to two men of the folk of Hamađān who were among his knights and the distinguished [men] of his bodyguard. He gave them what they desired, for they were greedy, and they double-crossed Dārā. They came to him from behind when Iskandar’s battle line was drawn up one day, and they murdered him and he fell to the ground, and the hosts of Dārā were scattered. Iskandar drew near until he stopped above Dārā [p. 35] lying on the ground. He knelt down and put his head upon his bosom, for there was still the spark of life in it, and he felt regret for him. He said: ‘O my brother, if thou hadst not harmed by thine accident I should have left thee alone with thy kingdom: tell me what thou wishest, and be not burdened by it!’ Said Dārā: ‘explain to me how I was yesterday and how I am to-day. Am I not he whom kings feared, and to whom they submitted in obedience and who revered me with tribute, and behold I am this day laid low alone and far from the numerous host and the great power.’ Said Iskandar: ‘O my brother! Verily the fates fear not a king because of his host, nor do they despise a poor man because of his neediness; indeed the world doth ever end and run out quickly.’ Said Dārā: ‘I have come to know that every thing is at God’s behest and his strength, and all things are the same to him, and I am thy testator to them that come after from my folk and progeny, and I ask thee to take to wife Rūšanak, my daughter, for she is the consolation of my eye and the fruit of my heart.’ Said Iskandar: ‘I shall surely do this. But tell me who did this to thee, that I may have vengeance upon him.’ But Dārā made no answer to this, for his tongue stopped thereafter and then he died. Iskandar commanded that two murderers be crucified over the grave of Dārā. The two said: ‘O king! Saidst thou not that thou shouldest raise our stature in the thine army?’ Said he: ‘I have now done it.’ Then he commanded that the two be stoned until they died. Then he wrote to the mother of Dārā and his women in consolation (and they were at the city Hamađān), and he wrote to his mother (and she was at Iskandarīyya), that she go to the land of Bābil and prepare Rūšanak, daughter of Dārā, with the best of adornments and send her to him to the land of Fārs. She did this.

[Iskandar’s Conquests]

Then Iskandar went towards Fūr, the king of India, and the two met on the border of the land of Hind. Verily Iskandar summoned Fūr to a wrestling match, instead of letting the two groups fight one another. Fūr took advantage of it, for he was a man tall, great, and strong, and he saw Iskandar as small and slender. He wrestled [p. 36] with him, but the dust arose from Fūr who was slain, and his forces capitulated to him, and he accepted their surrender. 

He marched until he went into the land of Sudan, and saw men black as ravens, nude and barefoot, who roam about in thickets, and eat of the fruit there. If they undergo dearth or drought some of them eat one another. He went by them until he came to the sea and cut across to the shore of Aden from the land of Yaman, and Tubbaʿ al-Aqran, king of Yaman, marched against him. He submitted to him with obedience and he granted tribute, and he brought him into the city Ṣanʿā. He let him stay there and gave him some of the gifts of Yaman, and he stayed one month. Then he went to Tihāma and to them that dwell in Mecca (in that day, the tribe of Ḫuzāʿa, who had conquered it). Naḍar son of Kanāna visited him, and Iskandar said to him: ‘why is it that this tribe of Ḫuzāʿa is in this sanctuary?’ Then he took the Ḫuzāʿa out of Makka and dedicated it to Naḍar and to the sons of his father. Iskandar made the pilgrimage to the House of God, the Sanctuary, and he favoured among the offspring of Maʿadd son of ʿAdnān (the inhabitants of the Sanctuary) with blessing and kindness. Then he crossed the sea from Judda on his way to the countries of the west.

It is narrated on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās that Nūḥ (upon whom be peace) divided the earth among his three sons. He favoured Sām with the middle of the earth which the five rivers water, the Euphrates, the Tigris, Sarus, Jayḥūn, and Faysūn, namely the river of Balḫ. He gave to Ḥām what is behind the Nile unto the source of the western wind. He gave to Yāfiṯ what is behind the river Faysūn unto the source of the eastern wind. 

They say: the land was four and twenty thousand parasangs, and the lands of the Turks are three thousand parasangs from this, and the land of the Ḫazar is three thousand parasangs, and the land of Ṣīn one thousand parasangs, and the land of India and Sind, and Aethiopia, and the rest of the Sudan six thousand parasangs, and the land of Rūm three thousand parasangs, and the land of the the Slavs three thousand parasangs, and the land of , namely Egypt and what is behind it (such as Africa, Ṭanja, [p. 37] Faranja and Andalus) three thousand parasangs, and the Arabian peninsula and what is near it, one thousand parasangs.

They say: News of the rule of Qindāqa (queen of the Maġrib) her seven countries, the fertility of her land, and the magnitude of her kingdom reached Iskandar. He heard that her city was four parasangs and the size of a single stone in its wall was sixty cubits. He was told of the condition of Qindāqa, her intellect and her resolve, and wrote to her: ‘from Iskandar son of Faylafūs, the king who hath dominion over the kings of the earth, unto Qindāqa the blacks queen. But hereafter: surely the booty that God hath given me from the countries hath reached thee, and the abundance and spoil that he hath given me. If thou hear and obey and believe in God and put down the idols which thou worshippest apart from Gods, and bring me a portion of tax, I shall accept from thee and I shall leave thee alone, and I shall depart from thy land. But if thou refuse this, I shall march against thee, for there is no power but in God.’

She wrote to him: ‘he that entrusted thee with what thou hast written goeth beyond thy hubris, and thine astonishment in thyself. If thou wish to march, then march: thou shalt taste from me other than what thou hast tasted from others. Peace.’ When the answer to his writing arrived, he sent to her the king of Egypt (for he was obedient to him), so that he should call her to obedience and warn her about the nature of disobedience. He marched against her with a hundred men of his élite, but he found not what he wanted from her. He went back to Iskandar and informed him. Iskandar made ready to march against her, and he proceeded with his forces until he arrived at the city Qayruwān, and it is one month from Miṣr. He conquered it with mangonels. Then he went against Qindāqa. There are stories and reports about him and her. He made her contract an agreement and treaty of peace, without approaching her or anything in her kingdom. Then he went from there, making for the darkness in the north until he went into it. He went [p. 38] a goodly distance. Then he turned back so that he travelled to the borders of the land of Rūm. There he built two cities, one of which is called Qāfūniya, and the other Sūriya. 

Then he considered passing into the land of the east, and his viziers said to him: ‘how can it be possible for thee to pass into the place where the sun sets in this manner, and without this green sea in which thou had not put a ship, because its water is like pus and noone can bear the stench of its wind?’ He said: ‘marching is inevitable, and let no one be left behind.’ They said: ‘we shall be with thee wherever thou goest.’ He went all the way through the land of Rūm heading toward the place of the rising sun. Then he went by them into the land of the Ṣaqlāb, and they yielded obedience to him. He passed by them to the land of the Ḫazar and they submitted to him. He passed by them to the land of the Turk and they submitted to him. He travelled in their land until he reached the wasteland that is between them and the land of Ṣīn. He rode through it and went so that when drew near the land of Ṣīn, he asked a vizier (called Faynāwus) to sit in his throne room, and commanded him to call him by his name, and he was called Faynāwus. The king proceeded straightway until he came to him. When he came before him, he said: ‘who art thou?’ He said: ‘I am the messenger of Iskandar who hath power over the kings of the earth.” He said: ‘whither followest thou him?’ He said: ‘Unto the borders of thy land.’ He said: ‘why did he send thee?’ He said: ‘he sent me to enlighten thee, and I have decided to confirm thee in thy land and offer good things to thee, for I refuse to slay thee and waste thy land. If thou art ignorant of what I say, ask it of Dārā son of Dārā, king of Īrān-Šahr, whether there was on the earth a king greater in rule than he or greater in martial might or stronger in power; and [how] it came to him and [how] it was forced from him, and [how] his kingdom was stolen from him; and ask of Fūr, king of India, what his power lead to!’ Said the king of Ṣīn: [p. 39] ‘O Faynāwus, verily the authority of this man hath won over me and the conquest and victory that I have achieved. I was am under his guidance. Go before him and ask him for treaty and reconciliation for the sake of peace. Inform him that I owe him hearing and obedience and the payment of annual tribute. He hath no need to enter my land.’ Then he sent him his crown and some of the gifts of his land: sable, ermin, beaver pelts, Chinese silk, Indian swords, Chinese saddles, musk, amber, golden and silver bowls, hauberks, gauntlets, and eggs. 

[Yājūj and Mājūj]

Iskandar took possession of [all] this and went back to his army, and avoided the land of Ṣīn, and went to the people whose story God (be his praise exalted) hath told. They say ‘O Đū’l-Qarnayn, verily Yājūj and Mājūj are corruptors in the land.’ The story and report of it also includes the barrier which God tells about in his book. He asked them about the species of this people. They said: ‘We are called Who is nearer to us than them?’ As for what this means, we do not know. They are Yājūj and Mājūj and Tāwīl and Tārīs and Mansak and Kumārā. 

When he finished building the barrier between them and that people, he went away from them. He came to a people among men who were red of colour and reddish brown of skin, whose men were separated from the women, and did not gather together except on threee days in the year. If someone among them wishes to copulate, they can do it only in those three days. If a woman gives birth to a boy and weens him she pushes him away to his father in those three days, and if it is female they shut her up with her.

He travelled from them and went until he came to Firġāna, and he saw a people who were beautiful and shapely, and they yielded obedience to him. He went from Firġāna to Samarqand, and put down there and stayed for a month. [p. 40] Then he went and travelled to Buḫārā, and went as far as the Great River, which he crossed in boats to the city Āmūya, which is Āmul in Ḫurāsān. Then he went through the badlands until he went out into the land that had been overrun by water, and he went across swampy grounds and steppes. He commanded that this water be dammed up away from it so that the land became dry. He built a city there and settled inhabitants in it, and made districts, villages, and fortresses for it, and called it Marḫiyānūs, which is the city Marw, which is also called Maylānūs. Then he passed through Nīšāpūr and Ṭūs, until he ended up at Ray which did not exist in those days, for it was built after that in the reign of Fayrūz son of Yazdajird son of Bahrām Jūr. The he went from there to Jabal and Ḥulwān, and even came to ʿIrāq. He put down in the city of ʿAtīqa which is called Madā’in. He stayed for a year. Then he made for al-Šām, until he came to Īlīyā. 

[The Regional Princes]

When he rested there, he said to his teacher Arsṭāṭālīs: ‘verily I have made the folk of the earth one, by killing their kings and taking their countries and taking their possessions. But I fear that they will join forces against the folk of my land after me and kill them and exterminate them because of their resentment of me. I think that I shall send word to each noble and high-born and whoever is among their folk of rank in every land, and to every son of kings, and kill them.’ His teacher said to him: ‘this is not the opinion of the folk of righteousness and faith, nevertheless if thou killest the sons of kings and the folk of nobility and rank, men shall conceive against thee and against the folk of thy land a vehement hatred after thee. But if thou sendest to the sons of kings and the folk of rank and gather them before thee, and crown them with crowns, and make each man among them king over a region and country, verily thou shalt preoccupy them with this in mutual competition in rule and each one of them will covet what [p. 41] the other has instead of the destruction of thy land. Power will be bestowed among them and their business shall be their own.’ Iskandar accepted this from him and did it, and they were those who are called the Regional Princes.

Then Iskandar died at Īlīyā, having reigned for thirty years and having roamed the earth for twenty-four years. He stayed at Iskandarīyya for three years at the beginning of his rule, and in Syria for three years upon his return. He was placed in a coffin of gold and carried to Iskandarīyya. He built twenty-two cities called Iskandarīyya in the land of Egypt and the city of Najrān in the land of the Arabs, and the city of Marw in the land of Ḫusrāsān, and the city of Jay in the land of Iṣbahān, and a city on the coast of the sea called Ṣaydūd, and a city in the land of India caled Jarwīn, and a city in the land of Ṣīn called Faranīya, and the rest of them are in the land of Rūm.

They say: when Iskandar died, each man among those whom he had made king guarded his own domain and fought wars. But no man conquered another save in knowledge and manners, writing to one another with questions. If the one asked answered aright what the questioner had brought him, and if one of them wronged another or subtracted from his domain, they would all blame him for it. If he persisted, they would assemble for war against him, and they were called for this reason the Regional Princes.

[The Kings of Yaman]

They relate that four kings whom the prophet cursed (blessings and peace be upon him), and he cursed their sister Abḍaʿa [also], when they began to move the black stone to Ṣanʿā so that they might cut off the Pilgrimage of the Arabs from the House of the Sanctuary to Ṣanʿā. Because of this they betook themselves to Makka and the Kināna tribe gathered unto Fihr son of Mālik son of Naḍar. He met them and slaughtered them, and on of Fihr’s sons was killed, called Ḥāriṯ, without offspring, and he killed three of the four of the four kings and the fourth was taken prisoner, [p. 42] and he remained a prisoner with Fihr son of Mālik until he died. As for Abḍaʿa, it was she who was called al-ʿAnqafīr. She reigned after her brothers and was very wicked in her living. She chose men freely, and whoever appealed to her she summoned to herself and he would lie with her, noone being able to deny her. She caught sight of a youth from the Qays tribe, and he appealed to her and she summoned him to herself and he lay with her and impregnated her with two boys in the womb. She called one of them Sahl and the other ʿAwf....there follow two lines of poetry attributed to one of the Qays poets...

They say: đū’l-Šanātir was king of ʿAns and Yuḥāyir, and he had a huge kingdom and a great army, and he ruled over ʿUmān, Baḥrayn, Yamāma, and the shores of the sea.


They say: among the Regional Princes in the land of Īrān there was no king with greater kingdom or greater army than Ardawān son of Ašah son of Ašġān king of Jabal, who possessed Māhān, Māsabađān, Mihr-Janqađaq, and Ḥulwān. But as for the rest of the kings each man among them possessed one country and one city. When a king died his son or his friend came to power after him. All the Regional Princes were pleased with Ardawān king of Jabal in his generosity, because of Iskandar’s favour to him apart from them in the superiority of his kingdom. His abode was the city of Nihāwand the ancient. They say: in that age the Messiah ʿĪsā son of Maryam (upon whom be peace) was sent.

[Asʿad son of ʿImrū]

They say: Asʿad son of ʿImrū son of Rabī‘a son of Mālik son of Ṣubaḥ son of [p. 43] ʿAbd Allāh son of Zayd son of Yāsir Yan‘am was king after Sulaymān son of Dāwūd, may God bless him. When he was born and grew up, he was disgusted by the theft [perpetrated] by the tribes of the offspring of Kahlān son of Ṣubaḥ son of Yašjib son of Yaʿrub, king of Ḥimyar. He was their king and in their age. Himyar gathered to himself an army, and this was after the chiefs ruled in the land of Yaman. There were seven kings who inherited the kingdom for two hundred and fifty years. He marched against the kingdom of Hamađān, made war on it, and he was victorious over it. Then he marched against the kingdom of ʿAnas and Yuhāyir, and he dealt with it thus, and went to the kingdom of Kinda and obtained victory, and even gathered to himself the entire kingdom of Yaman.

When the kingdom was gathere to Asʿad, he sent his cousin al-Qayṭūn son of Sa‘ad to Tihāma and the Ḥijāz and he made him king over them, and he settled at Yaṯrib. He acted outrageously and tyrannically, and he even commanded that women be not brought to their husband until they gave him priority over her. In this matter he followed the way of ʿImlīq (king of Ṭasm) and Jadīs, until the daughter of Mālik son of ʿAjlān from Raḍāʿa was married. When they wanted to go with her to Qayṭūn, Mālik son of ʿAjlān hid with her in disguise. When he emptied the house [in search of] him, he ran to him with his sword and killed him, and they ran to his companions, and they were killed together. News of this reached Asʿad the king, and he went to them, and he put down at the city on a river that is called Bi’r-Malik, and his famous story we have already recorded in another place.


They say: when God sent ʿĪsā son of Maryam and the Jews devoted themselves to killing him, and God took him up to himself, and they went to Yahyā son of Zakaryā and killed him, God made king over them one of the Regional Princes [p. 44] from the descendents of Buḫt Naṣṣar the first. He killed the children of Israel, and baseness and poverty were imposed upon them.


They say: when two hundred and sixty six years had gone by for the Regional Princes, there arose Ardašīr son of Bābakān, and he was Ardašīr son of Bābak son of Sāsān the younger son of Fāfak son of Mahrīs son of Sāsān the elder son of Bahman the king son of Isfandyāđ son of Buštāsif. He arose in the city of Iṣṭaḫr and he gained the ascendancy in the restoration of the kingdom of Fārs to its rightful place. Wealth came to him. He continued to conquer and kill king after king and to take possession of what he had ruled, until he came to Farruḫān king of Jabal, who was the last king of the descendants of Ardawān. Ardašīr gave him written orders to enter into obedience to him. When his letter came to him, he was full of wrath, and he said to his messengers: ‘verily the son of Sāsān the shepherd has advanced in rank’, and he was ashamed but paid it no heed, and wrote to him, proposing: ‘let there be a meeting between me and thee in the wasteland of Hurmuzdajān at the end of the month Mihrmāh’. Ardašīr arrived in the place and Farruḫān appeared before him at the end of the month of Mihrajān. They fought and Ardašīr killed him and went immediately until he reached the city of Nihāwand. He put down at the castle of Farruḫān and stayed there a month. Then he went to Ray, then to Ḫurāsān, and he went not to a region but its king submitted to him in obedience. Then he went to Sijistān, then to Kirmān, and then he went to Fārs. He put down at the city of Istaḫr and stayed there a year. Then he went towards ʿIrāq. Those Party Kings that were in Ahwāz met him, and he fought them and killed them. Then he went so far as to bivouack in the area of present-day Madā’in, and he delineated the plans for it and had it built. When his rule become secure, he summoned to his court the daughter of Farruḫān’s brother whom he took from Farruḫān’s castle [p. 45] in Nihāwand. She was possessed of beauty and intelligence. When he came to her and asked her about her lineage and she informed him. He said to her: ‘Wert thou distressed when thou camest to know me because I am the one to whom God granted a promise that God would give me victory over Farruḫān, that he would not spare anyone of his royal house?’ Then he called Abarsām his vizier and said: ‘be off with this girl and kill her!’ Abarsām took the girl by the hand and led her away to carry out the command about her. When she went out she said to Abarsām: ‘I have been pregnant for months.’ When she said this to him, he went with her to his abode and commanded her good treatment, and he said to Ardašīr: ‘I have killed her’, and they relate that he castrated himself and took his pudenda and put them in a chest and sealed it. He went to Ardašīr and asked him to command that the chest be given to someone whom he trusted for safe-keeping (for he would have need of it one day), and Ardašīr commanded that the chest be kept safe. Then the girl gave birth to a boy, the handsomest of all boys, and he was Sābūr son of Ardašīr who reigned after him and Ardašīr stayed in ʿIrāq for a year. Then he went to Mawṣul and he killed its king. Then he turned round and began to march, and he went to ʿUmān and Baḥrayn and Yamāma, and Sanatruq the king of Baḥrayn went against him. He made war on him and Ardašīr killed him, and he commanded that his city be destroyed.

They say that Abarsām went in to Ardašīr one day whilst he was sitting alone, deep in thought. He said: ‘O king, may God prolong thy life! Why do I see thee deep in sadness? May God grant thee thy wish! God hath returned to thee the kingdom of thy fathers! To-day art thou Šāhān-Šāh’. Said Ardašīr: ‘what afflicteth me is that I have gained mastery over the earth, and all kings have submitted to me, but I have no son who shall inherit my realm that I myself allot to him’. When Abarsām heard this he said to himself: ‘This is the time to reveal that Ašġān woman’. For five years had come upon her son. He said [p. 46]: ‘O king! Verily on the day whereon thou didst command me to kill that Ašġān woman, I entrusted to thee a sealed box, which I might have need of one day’, and he was moved to take it out. Ardašīr commanded that it be brought to him. He opened it and Ardašīr looked and indeed his private parts were there, which had dried at the bottom of the box. Ardašīr said to him: ‘What is this?’ He told him the news and informed him of the condition of the boy. Ardašīr rejoiced at this. Then said Ardašīr: ‘Bring the boy to me and put him among an hundred boys of his age [?].” Abarsām did this. When he brought them before him, he looked at them one boy at a time, until, when he reached Sābūr, he saw the resemblance between himself and him, and his heart was moved; but he held himself back, without speaking to him. He commanded that a polo mallet be given to all the boys and that a ball be thrown to them in the field, that they play before him in front of the Aywān. He said to Abarsām: ‘Bring it about that the ball falls down before me in the aywān’. He did this, and the ball fell upon his carpet. All these boys stopped at the door of the aywān, and none of them dared go in and retrieve the ball from before him except the boy. Verily he burst in from among them to his father and retrieved the ball from before him. When Ardašīr saw this he stretched forth his hand and received the boy and embraced him and kissed him. He ordered that he and his mother be brought to him, and he was Sābūr who reigned after him. He was favourable to Abarsām and allotted to him many fiefs, and he ordered that the picture of Abarsām be struck on dirhams and carpets until their reign be ended.

They say: in the reign of Ardašīr, God the most high sent ʿĪsā (upon whom be peace) and they relate that he dispatched one of his disciples to Ardašīr, and he went to the city of Madā’in and stayed with Abarsām. When evening came, he lighted a lamp for himself, and he would pray throughout the night, and he read the gospel aloud. Abarsām asked him about his story and his religion [p. 47] and he told him that he was an apostle of the Messiah ʿĪsā son of Maryam. Abarsām brought the news to Ardašīr and he summoned him, and he looked upon his manner and calmness and the old man showed him some of the signs about the Messiah. He did not remove himself from Ardašīr, and he was nolonger stirred up for evil-living.


They say: ‘in the time of the Party Kings there was a tale of Jirjīs and his coming to the king of Mawṣul, who was a tyrant and overbearing, a worshipper of idols. He induced men to their worship also. Jirjīs was from the folk of al-Jazīra, and what is told about him and about this king is as the reports go.

Ardašīr was he that had perfected the conduct of kings and regulated ranks, lived judiciously, and investigated small matters and his great ones, so that he put everything in its proper place, and he imposed a clear obligation upon kings. They imitated him and adhered to him and took delight in his protection and acting in accordance with him, and they made him their lesson, and he raised up leaders for them. He built six cities, amongst which were Madā’in in the land of Fārs, the city of Ardašīr Ḫurra, the city of Rām Ardašīr, the city of Hurmazdān Ardašīr, and they were the fortresses of Ahwāz, and the city of Astāđ Ardašīr, and they were Karḫ Maysān, and the city of Fūrān Ardašīr, and these were in Baḥrayn, and a city in Mawṣul which was called Ḫurrazād Ardašīr.

[Malikaykarib and Tubbaʿ]

They say: there ruled after Asʿad (the king of Yaman who dressed the kaʿba and made sacrifice before it and circumambulated it and enlarged it) the son of his uncle Malikaykarab, son of ʿImrū son of Mālik son of Zayd son of Sahl son of ʿImrū son of Đū’l-Ađʿār, and he reigned for twenty [p. 47] years without moving his house, and without making raids as did the kings before him, which made him abstain from bloodshed. Then there reigned after him his son Tubbaʿ son of Malakaykarab, and he was the last Tubbaʿ, for there were three Tubba‘s, the first of whom was Šammar Abū Karab who raided Ṣīn and laid waste the city of Samarqand, the second was was Tubbaʿ Asʿad who made sacrifices to the Holy House and fastened to it a golden door, and the third was Tubbaʿ son of Malakaykarab. Apart from these three no kings of Yaman were named Tubbaʿ. This last Tubbaʿ was in the age of Sābūr son of Ardašīr and in the age of Hurmazd son of Sābūr. He was of great stature, a great ruler, and it was he that raided the land of India and killed its king, who was among the sons of Fūr, the king whom Iskandar killed. Then he went back to Yaman and died in the reign of Bahrām son of Hurmazd son of Sābūr son of Ardašīr. Then there reigned after Tubbaʿ his son Ḥassān son of Tubbaʿ son of Malakaykarab and it was he who raided the land of Fārs, as they relate. It was he that angered Ḥimyar by his many raids and the littleness of his position in the land of Yaman. He induced his brother ʿImrū son of Tubbaʿ to kill him in order to make him king over them. They all agreed with him in this apart from Đū Ruʿayn. Verily he refused this and did not join with the tribe in this. ʿImrū acted unjustly to his brother and killed him, and ruled after him, and went back with his tribe to Yaman. Sahar was put in power over them. 


When Sābūr son of Ardašīr ruled, he raided the land of Rūm and conquered the city of Qālūqīya and the city of Qabadūqīya and massacred the enemy in Rūm. Then he returned to ʿIrāq, and he went to the land of Ahwāz to explore a place in which to build a city in which to settle the prisoners that he had come with from the land of Rūm. He built the city Junday-Sābūr, whose name in Ḫūzīya is Nīlāṭ, and they call its people Nīlāb. Sābūr had taken captive Alyaryānūs, successor to the lord of Rūm. He commanded the building of an aqueduct upon the river Tustar in order to empty it. The king of Rūm sent to it people from the land of Rūm and material, and he built it. When he was finished with it he set him free. In the age of Sābūr, Mānī the heretic appeared, and he led the folk astray. Sābūr died before he vanquished him.

[Hurmazd I, Bahrām I, Bahrām II, Narsā]

Sābūr reigned twenty one years, and the kingdom went after him to his son Hurmuz son of Sābūr. He took Mānī and commanded that his skin be flayed, and he stuffed it with straw, and he hung him from the gate of the city of Junday-Sābūr. It is to this day called ‘The Gate of Mānī’. He tracked down his followers and those who hearkened to him, and he killed them all. He reigned for thirty years. 

The kingdom reposed upon his son Bahrām son of Hurmuz, and he reigned twenty seven years. Then reigned his son Bahrām son of Bahrām. Then reigned his son Narsā son of Bahrām son of Bahrām. He reigned seven years and died. His son Hurmazdān son of Narsā reigned, and he reigned seven years and died. He did not have a son to whom to pass the kingdom. But his wife had been pregnant for a month. He ordered the crown to be put upon her belly, and she suggested to the grandees of the folk of Fārs that they not choose for king any man until they see what is born to him; and if it be male to name him Sābūr and to put him in power over the kingdom, and to put him in charge of rearing him and he would have command of the kingdom until his maturity; and if it be female to choose a man for themselves from the folk of his house. They chose him as king over them and the woman gave birth to a boy and they called him Sābūr, namely he that is nicknamed as Đū’l-Aktāf. When the two Hurmuzes died, it became known in the corners of the earth that the land of Fārs was without a king and that they had recourse to a child in a cradle. They coveted the kingdom of Fārs, and a great [p. 50] host of the Arabs came from the region of Baḥrayn and Kāẓima to Abaršahr and the coasts of Ardašīr-Ḫurrah. They made predatory incursions, and one of the kings of the Ġassān came into al-Jazīra with an huge host and even raided the Sawād. The kingdom of Fārs remained for a time without hindering the enemy due to the weakness of the kingdom’s power. When the lad grew up, the first manifestation of his resoluteness was his being woken up suddenly in the night, whilst asleep in his palace in the city of Madā’in, by the din of folk becuase of their going to and fro on the bridge across the Tigris. He said: ‘what is this din?’ And he was informed. He said: ‘let there be another bridge built for them, one of the two being for those that go, and the other being for those that come back’. They did it and they spread word of the perspicacity that he had shown despite his youth. When twenty five years came upon him he devoted himself wholly to the rule of the kingdom and the banishment of enemies from it. He readied himself and went to Abaršahr and drove away those Arabs that had come against it and he killed them with a most wicked slaughter, and he did likewise in al-Jazīra. He went against Ḍayzan the Ġassānī, and besieged him in the city that is one the shore of the river Euphrates, from what borders Raqqa. They relate that the daughter of Ḍayzan, whose name was Malayka, [sic] and they relate that her mother was Sābūr’s aunt, Daḫtanūs, daughter of Narsā, and that Ḍayzan had taken her prisoner when he invaded the city of Madā’in. Malayka looked upon the army of Sābūr, whilst he was besieging her father and she saw Sābūr and she loved him. She wrote to him in order to lead him to her father’s weak spot in order to have him marry her. Sābūr promised this to her. She did it and she made the guards of one the gates drunk on saffron wine until they slept, and she commanded that the door be opened. Sābūr and his army went in and took Ḍayzan and killed him. He tore out the shoulders [p. 51] of his companions and pierced them, as he did to those whom he had taken prisoner among the enemy. And thus he was called ‘Đū’l-Aktāf’. He lived up to what he had promised his daughter. Then he killed her by tying her to two horses making them run. The two clove her. He said to her: ‘If thou art unrighteous to thy father, thou shalt be unrighteous to me’. Sābūr commanded that the city of Anbar be built for him, and he called it Fayrūz-Sābūr, and its districts were one district. He built a city in Sūs, and it that which is beside the fortress that is called Sādāniyāl, wherein was the body of Dāniyāl, upon whom be peace.

They say: they king of Rūm at this time was Mānūs. He believed as they report before the religion of the Christians took hold. When he reigned he made the folk of Rūm manifest the earlier [religion] and he ordered the burning of the gospel and the destruction of churches and the killing of bishops. When Sābūr killed Ḍayzan the Ġassānī, he was angry at this and he gathered all the Ġassān that were in Syria and advanced with them, an army of Rūm being with him, until he arrived in ʿIrāq. Sābūr sent spies to bring him information about them. His spies came back to him and gave him different reports. He went out one night with thirty horsemen in order to watch the camp of Rūm, and twenty of them went ahead of him and Rūm took them. Al-Yūbiyānūs, successor to the king and son of his uncle, went with them and asked them about their business and he threatened them with slaughter. One man among them went before him secretly from his companions. He said to him: ‘Verily Sābūr is near thee; join forces with me, that I may bring thee to him as a prisoner, there being love and friendship between Al-Yūbiyānūs and Sābūr.’ He wrote to Sābūr, pledging it solemnly. He went back. The king of Rūm went to the gate of the city of Madā’in, and Sābūr went out against him with his army [p. 52]. The Roman routed him and even reached the Jāzir canal, and the Roman took possession of the city of Madā’in without being able to take the palace by reason of its being invulnerable, and whoever was with him from Ḥumā. The men returned to Sābūr. He advanced to the army of Rūm and drove them from the city and he camped at the gate of it. The king of Rūm wrote to him. While they were in this behold a stray arrow came to the king of Rūm, while he was in his tent and his generals were about him. He was struck and he fell in the midst of the Romans in the place where they were, while the advance of their enemy was upon them. They entreated Al-Yūbiyānūs, saying ‘he shall make him king over them’. But he refused and said: ‘I cannot be king over a people which differs from me in my religion, for I belong to the religion of the Christians, but ye belong to the earlier religion of Rūm’. The bishops and grandees said to him: ‘verily we all belong to what ye belong to, but we had concealed this for fear of the king’. Al-Yūbiyānūs was made king over them and he wore the crown. Report of them reached Sābūr and he wrote to them: ‘Ye are come so far under my guidance and my strength; and I shall surely kill you in this your place by starvation and emaciation’. Al-Yūbiyānūs mustered [his forces] against Sābūr’s advance, because of the treaty that was between them. But the bishops and chiefs refused and he differed from them. He went to him, and Sābūr requited him in warning him on that night, and he made over to him Nuṣaybīn and its environs in compensation for what Rūm had destroyed of his kingdom and he wrote to him thus a document. This reached the folk of Nuṣaybīn. They went away from it sparing Nuṣaybīn, and disgusted at the choice of the Persians for king over them. Sābūr moved to it twenty two thousand from Iṣṭaḫr and settled them in it. Their progeny is there to this day. The Rūm returned to their land. When seventy two years had passed for Sābūr [p. 53], death was upon him. He gave authority after him to his son Sābūr son of Sābūr. When five years of his reign had finished, he went out hunting one day and he put down in a certain place and his tent was set up and he sat therein. A band of assassins approached one night and they cut the ropes of the tent and it fell upon him and he died.

[Bahrām I and Yazdjird I]

There reigned after him his son Bahrām son of Sābūr, and he was in power over Kirmān. When his father was killed he advanced and established himself in rule. When twenty three years of his rule were gone, he went forth one day hunting. He was shot with arrows and they struck him. When he sensed death, he bequeathed the kingdom to the son of his brother Yazdgard son of Sābūr son of Sābūr, and he was younger by a year than he, and he came to power after him, and it was he that was surnamed ‘the Sinful’. He was dark, of evil character; he did not compensate evil with good; he was generous going beyond a sin; he punished a small sin as he punished a great one, and no one had power over his speech by reason of his uncouthness and rudeness, except if his viziers were better, showing a kindly attitude and supporting one another. There was born to him Bahrām who was called Bahrām Jūr. He handed him over to Munđir father of Nu‘mān for his upbringing and Munđir went with Bahrām to Ḥīra, for it was his abode, and Munđir chose for him wetnurses, and gave him a fine upbringing. When it was time for him to be educated, his father sent to him tutors from among the Persians, and Munđir presented to him tutors from among the Arabs. He organised the two groups of tutors and he finished among the them. He grew up a praiseworthy youth and he was proficient in manners and riding. He went forth intelligent, sensitive, good-looking and comely. Munđir allowed him to enjoy himself in sport and maidens. He rode horses of high breed, and singing girls rode behind him, entertaining and diverting him. He devoted himself fully to the hunt and the chase in this way. He was possessed of a careless and unstraitened state of mind.

They say: when ʿImrū son of Tubbaʿ killed his brother Ḥassān son of Tubbaʿ and the nobles of his tribe, [p. 54] the authority of the Ḥimyar decayed. A man from among them called Ṣuhbān son of Đū Ḫarb (he was not even from the folk of the king’s house) pounced upon ʿImrū son of Tubbaʿ and killed him and took possession of the kingdom. He says: it was he that went to Tihāma to make war upon the descendants of Maʿadd son of ʿAdnān; and the reason for this was that Maʿadd were oppressive and tyrannical when they expanded. They sent to Ṣuhbān asking him to make king over them a man who would strengthen their weakness, fearing hostility in wars. He sent to them Ḥāriṯ son of ʿImrū’l-Kindī. He chose him for them because Ma‘add were his uncles of his mother, a woman from the Banū ʿĀmir son of Ṣaʿṣaʿa. Ḥāriṯ went against them with his people and his offspring. When he settled among them he appointed his son Ḥujar son of ʿImrū, namely son of ʿImrū’l-Qays the poet, over Asad and Kināna, and he appointed his son Šaraḫbīl over Qays and Tamīm; and he appointed his son Maʿdī Karib, and was the grandfather of Ašʿaṯ son of Qays, and Rabīʿa. They stayed this way until Ḥāriṯ son of ʿImrū died. Ṣuhbān settled everyone among them in his kingdom. They stayed this way not long; then the Banū Asad jumped upon their king, Ḥujar son of ʿImrū. They killed him. When this reached Ṣuhbān, he dispatched to Muḍar ʿImrū son of Nābil the Laḫm and to Rabī‘a Labīd son of Nu‘mān the Ġassānī and he sent along a man from Ḥimyar called ʿAwfā son of ʿUnuq al-Ḥīra. He commanded him to kill the Banū Asad with general slaughter. When this reached Asad and Kināna, they prepared themselves. When this reached him he went towards Suhbān, and Qays and Tamīm assembled, and brought out their king ʿImrū son of Nābil for them. And he caught up with Ṣuhbān and the remnant of Maʿaddī Karib, grandfather of al-Ašʿaṯ king over Rabīʿa. When the news of what Muḍar had done to his vassals reached Ṣuhbān, he swore that he would make war on Muḍar himself. This reached Muḍar and he assembled his nobles and they took counsel about the matter. [p. 55] They knew that they had no potency in their king save in Rabīʿa’s joining them. They sent delegations to Rabīʿa, amongst whom were ʿAwf son of Munqiđ al-Tamīmī, and Suwayd son of ʿImrū’l-Asad grandfather of ʿAbīd son of al-Abraṣ, and al-Aḥwaṣ son of Jaʿfar al-ʿAmarī, and ʿUdas son of Zayd al-Ḥanẓalī. They went until they approached Rabīʿa and the chief of them was at that time Kulayb son of Rabī’a al-Taġlabī, namely Kulayb Wā’il. Then Rabīʿa answered [their request for] help. And they invested Kulayb with power and he came before their king Labīd son of Nuʿmān and he killed him. Then they assembled and marched, and the king met them in Sullān. They fought and all Yaman was defeated. There follow two lines of poetry spoken by al-Farazdaq to Jarīr...

The king went back to his country defeated, and stayed there a year. Then he made ready to resume the war. He went and Maʿadd assembled with Kulayb at their head and they decided unanimously at Ḫazāzā. Kulayb sent al-Suffāḥ son of ʿImrū ahead of him and ordered him, when he met the tribe, to light a fire: a sign which he made between them. Al-Suffāḥ went one night until he came to the king’s camp at Ḫazāzā, and he lit the fire and Kulayb approached with his host towards the fire. Each one approached before the other. They fought and the king Ṣuhbān was slain and his host was scattered. There follows a line of poetry attributed to ‘Amrū son of Kalṯūm.

When Ṣuhbān was killed, his murder made Ḥimyar humbler and weaker. Rabīʿa son of Naṣar the Laḫm grandfather of al-Nuʿmān son of Munđir gathered his tribe and those who owed him allegiance among the descendants of Kuhlān son of Saba. He was wroth at Ḥimyar the king. The land of Yaman gathered to him and he ruled it for a time, and he was Rabī‘a son of Naṣar son of al-Ḥāriṯ son of ʿImrū son of Laḫm son of ʿAdī son of Marra son of Zayd [p. 56] son of Kahlān son of Saba son of Yaʿrab son of Qahṭān. When control of Yaman had been gathered unto Rabīʿa son of Naṣar, he saw in his sleep a dream which frightened him and he was afraid of it. He sent to Šiqq and Satīḥ, the seers, and he told them what he saw. They told him, in explaining it, the coming conquest of the black Africans over the land of Yaman, the Persian conquest after them, then the coming of the prophet, upon whom be peace. When he heard this he had fearsome forebodings within himself. He wished that his son and the nobles of his folk would leave the land of Yaman. 

He sent his son ʿAmr to Yazdjird son of Sābūr (and it is said that this was in this time of Đū’l-Aktāf) and he settled him in Ḥīra. In those days Ḥīra was built. ʿImrū joined with him, as did his brethren and the folk of his house. From there the family of Laḫm arrived at Ḥīra and they allied themselves with the [house of] Kisrā, and they gave them dominion over the Arabs. When he died there followed after him his son Jađīma son of ʿImrū. Jađīma married his daughter from the son of his uncle ‘Adī son of Rabī‘a son of Naṣar. She gave birth by him to ʿImrū son of ʿAdī whom the Jinn drove mad and about whom there is a story. Jađīma continued as king in Ḫūrnaq for a time until his soul summoned him to marry Māriya daughter of Zubbā the Ġassān, and she was queen of al-Jazīra which she ruled after her uncle Ḍayzan whom Sābūr killed, and there is a famous story about him and her. She killed Jađīma, and then Qayṣar his protector killed her. When he died, there followed the son of his sister and the son of the son of his uncle ʿImrū son of ʿAddā, namely the grandfather of Nuʿmān son of Munđir son of ‘Amrū son of ‘Addā son of Rabīʿa. They say: this was in the age of Yazdjird son of Sābūr son of Bahrām Jūr. 

They say: in this age perished ʿAbd Manāf son of Quṣā, and there followed him in power his son Hišām son of ʿAbd Manāf. They say: Yazdjird the Sinful died, having reigned [p. 57] twenty one years and a half, and Bahrām Jūr was away from Ḥīra with Munđir in Ḫūrnaq and the grandees of Fārs pledged that not one of the sons of Yazdjird would be king because of the evil-living that he showed to them (amongst them Bisṭām Isbahbad of the Sawād whose rank was called Hazāraft, Yazd-Jušnas fāđūsfān of Zawābī, Fīrak whose rank was called Mihrān, Jūdarz scribe of the army, Jušnas-Āđarbīš scribe of the ḫarāj, Fannā-Ḫusraw master of the alms-giving of the kingdom, and others apart from these from the folk of the nobility and the royal house). They assembled and chose a man from the lineage of Ardašīr son of Bābakān who was called Ḫusraw and they made him king over them. This reached Bahrām Jūr whilst he was with Munđir, and Munđir commanded Bahrām to go forth and to claim the heritage of his father, and he sent with him his son Nuʿmān. Bahrām went and even approached Madā’in and put down near it with his woolen tents, his tents of hair cloth, and his domed tents. Nuʿmān continued to travel between him and between the grandees of Fārs and her nobles in order that he might go and come back to Bahrām. Bahrām took delight in their hope and imposed upon them justice and good conduct, and they gave him a free hand in the kingdom, and they heard and obeyed. Bahrām loved Munđir and Nuʿmān and he was generous to them, and he repayed him generously for his upbringing and nursing, and he consigned to him all the land of the Arabs, and he sent him away to his residence from Ḥīra.

[Bahrām V]

When rule became stable for Bahrām, he preferred amusement to what was appropriate for him, with the result that his subjects blamed him, and those kings that surrounded him were envious of him. And he was the first to see the Turkish lord, for he arose with his host of Turks and even penetrated deep into Ḫurāsān [p. 58]. He made raids therein and tidings of this reached Bahrām, and he quit the reckless behaviour in which he was engaged, and went straightway to his enemy. But he made clear that he was making for Āđarbāyjān to hunt there and he made merry on his journey thither. He chose from among the horsemen of his company seven thousand men and he mounted them upon camels, avoiding horses. He appointed over his kingdom his brother Narsā. Then he went towards Āđarbāyjān, and he commanded each man among his companions whom he had chosen to have with him a falcon and a dog. Men did not doubt that this his expedition would be put to flight by the enemy and submission to his kingdom [would follow]. The grandees and nobles assembled and they conferred amongst themselves. Their opinion settled on sending a deputation from among themselves to the ḫāqān, the Turkish lord, with treasure which they would send to him in order to dissuade him from despoiling the country. And it reached the ḫāqān that Bahrām had fled and that the folk of the kingdom had assembled in order to submit themselves to him. But he was deceived and had confidence in his forces. He stayed where he was expecting the embassy and treasure.

They say: verily Bahrām commanded seven thousand bulls to be slaughtered and their skins to be removed. He herded on with himself seven thousand yearling colts and he began to travel in the night, hiding by day, and he barred the way to Ṭabaristān and kept to the bank of the river and even went out to Jurjān, and then he went thence to Nasā, and thence to the city of Marw, where the ḫāqān had bivouacked in Kušmayhan, until suddenly Bahrām went from Marw to a way-station, the ḫāqān knowing nothing about these skins. They were blown up and he put pebbles in them and they were dried. Then he hung them upon the necks of these colts until he drew near the ḫāqān’s camp (their arrival was on the desert side six farsakhs from the city of Marw) and they left these colts alone in the night, and drove them from behind, and because of these [p. 59] skins and rocks that were on them and the galloping of the colts with them and their beating them with their hands, there arose noises more dreadful than a falling mountain or thunderbolts. The Turks heard these noises and feared them without knowing what they were and and they began to think their number greater than their own. They ran away from their camp, and they went out in a cowardly fashion, with Bahrām in pursuit. The ḫāqān’s mount fell upon the ḫāqān and Bahrām reached him and slew him with his hand and he plundered his camp and all the treasure that was in it. He took the ḫātūn, the ḫāqān’s wife, and Bahrām sought revenge on the Turks all day and night, killing them and taking them prisoner and even went as far as Āmūya. Then he crossed the river Balḫ, following their trail, and when he came near the Turks submitted to him, and they asked him to build for them a barrier which would be known between him and between them, which they would not pass. He delimited for them a place far into their land, and he ordered a tower to be built there, and he made it the barrier. Then he went back to the abode of his kingdom, and he removed the ḫarāj from the folk for that year. He parcelled out among the weak and poor half what he had taken, and he parcelled out the other half amongst the army that was with him. Happiness prevailed over the folk of his kingdom, they delighted in gladness and rejoicing. The cost of a show horse in that day was twenty dirhams, and a basil crown was one dirham. 

When twenty three years of rule had come to him, he went out hunting. A herd of wild asses came upon him, and he impelled his horse in pursuit of them. His horse brought him to the bank of a body of water and he plunged into it and drowned. This reached his mother and she went to that place and commanded that that lake be found. They drew out a mound of the pebbles and sand, but they did not find him. It was said that this place was a part of Māh which is called Dāy Marj; it was called by his mother because ‘mother’ [p. 60] in the Persian tongue is Dāy. It was a well-known Marj and this story is famous in the region. It is as they tell it in the story there: a hole opened in the earth because of the water whose bottom could not be reached, and this was near marshlands and stagnant water.

When Bahrām perished they made his son Yazdjird son of Bahrām king. The life of his father went for seventeen years, and death came upon him, and he had two sons Fayrūz and Hurmazd, Fayrūz being older by one year. Hurmazd claimed the kingdom without his brother Fayrūz. Fayrūz fled and even reached the country of the Hephthalites, namely Tuḫaristān Ṣaġāniyān, Kābulistān, and the lands that follow the Great River in what borders the land of Balḫ. He went before the king of this land and told him about the tyranny of his brother against him and his taking possession of the kingdom though he was younger than he by one year. He asked him to help him with an army so that he might take back the kingdom. He said: ‘I shall not answer what thou askest unless thou swear that thou art older than he by one year’. Fayrūz swore. He helped him with thirty thousand men on the condition that he make for him the frontier at Tirmiđ. Fayrūz went with the army, and there followed him most of the folk of his house. They saw that he had told the truth about the reign of Hurmazd because of the boorishness of Hurmazd and his evil ways. They made war on him so as to wrest the kingdom from him, and he pardoned his brother for his transgression and did not punish him for what he had done.


They say: Fayrūz was a king of limited ability and most of what he said and did in what was of no use to him. Verily folk thirsted in his reign for seven years, and the rivers dried up, and the waters and springs were dimished, and the earth grew dry and the trees were desiccated. Beasts and birds died and flocks perished. And the water of the Tigris and Euphrates and the other rivers grew small. Fayrūz lifted the ḫarāj from the peasants and he wrote to his lieutenants to govern the folk expediently [p. 61], and he threatened them, that if one of them died of hunger he would take revenge on the lieutenant or the vicegerent for it. Prudently he governed the folk at these times wherein not one of the folk died of hunger. He called the people to [pay] the ḫarāj on open fields, and all the people went forth from among men, women, and youths. They prayed to God for rain and he gave them rain, and he sent rain and it returned the earth to its good state and the rivers flowed and springs gushed. Men came back to their good habits. God was with them in abundance and comfort and fertility.

Fayrūz built the city of Ray and he called it Rām Fayrūz and he caused to be built in Āđarbāyjān the city of Ardabīl, and he called it Bāđ Fayrūz. Then he prepared himself and made ready for attacking the Turks. He brought with him the Mobad and the rest of his viziers, and he carried with him his daughter Fayrūz-Duḫt, and he took with him many treasures and chattels.

He put in charge of his kingdom a man from among his grandees and viziers called Šūḫar whose rank was Qārin. He went and even he crossed the tower that Bahrām had built between him and the Turks, and he destroyed it. He penetrated the their land. The king of the Turks at that time was Āḫšuwān ḫāqān. The king of the Turks sent to Fayrūz, telling him that he had gone too far and warning him of the consequence of his audacity. But heeded this not. The ḫāqān began to show disgust for war, and he delayed in order to prepare a trench whose depth in the earth was twenty cubits and whose breadth was ten cubits, and he made it wide between its two sides. He made it far from his frontier. Then he covered it with weak sticks and he lay reeds over it and hid it with earth. Then Fayrūz went out to war and the hour [of death] came upon him. Then he suffered defeat. Fayrūz made for him and his army. The ḫāqān followed the highway that he had taken between his rear and the trench. Fayrūz went [forward] blindly and he and his army were ensnared in that trench and Aḫšuwān and his tarḫāns turned to back him, and killed them with stones. And Aḫšuwān took possession of Fayrūz’ camp and his army and all chattels and womenfolk that were in it. He took the mūbad prisoner and he took Fayrūz-Duḫt , daughter of Fayrūz. 

The remnants of the army fell to Šūḫar, and they told him of the misfortune of Fayrūz and his army. Šūḫar encouraged the men to seek to avenge their king, and all the men of the army and the folk of the country hastened to Šūḫar. He went with a great host and even penetrated deep into the country of the Turks. Aḫšuwān was afraid to approach Šūḫar because of the size of his army and the number of it. He sent to him asking him for a treaty in order that he might send back the mūbad and Fayrūz-Duḫt and all prisoners in his possession and all that he had taken from Fayrūz’ chattels and his treasures and his war engines. And Šūḫar granted him this. He took hold of it and returned to his country and land.

After Fayrūz, Balās son of Fayrūz was made king, and he ruled for four years. Then he died. And after him Šūḫar gave the kingdom to his brother Qubāđ son of Fayrūz.

[Đū Nuwās]

They say: in the reign of Qubāđ son of Fayrūz, Rabīʿa son of Naṣr the Laḫmī died. He returned to Ḥimyar and he appointed over them Đū Nuwās, and his name was Zurʿa son of Zayd son of Kaʿb Kahf al-Ẓulm son of Zayd son of Sahl son of ʿAmrū son of Qays son of al-Ġawṯ son of Jadār son of Qaṭan son of ʿArīb son of al-Rā’iš son of Ḥimyar son of Saba son of Yašjab son of Yaʿrub son of Qaḥṭān. But he was called Đū Nuwās because of his forelock that dangled from his head.

They say: in the land of Yaman Đū Nuwās had a fire which he and his tribe worshipped. Tongues of flame went forth from that fire. The length of it reached three farsakhs and then it went back to its place. Then those jews that were in Yaman said to Đū Nuwās: ‘O king, verily thy worship of this fire is in vain. If thou worshippest in our religion we shall put out the fire if God chose, so that thou mayest know that thou art in danger from thy religion. He replied to them [by saying that] he would go into their religion if they should put out the fire. When the flame went forth, they brought out the Torah and opened it and began to read from it and the fire dimished until it reached the house that it was in. They continued to read the Torah until it died down and Đū Nuwās became a jew and he called the folk of his house to go into it also and whoever refused he killed. Then he went to the city Najrān to make the Christians there to become jews. 

There was a tribe which adhered to the Christian religion which had not changed, and he called them to forsake their religion and enter judaism. But they refused. He ordered that their king, whose name was ʿAbd Allāh son of Ṯāmir, be beheaded with a sword. Then it was put on the wall of the city and it was attached to it, and he made a furrow for trenches for those who remained, and he burnt them in them. They were the Companions of the Trench of whom God tells (be his name exalted) in the Quran. Daws Đū Ṯaʿlabān escaped and went to the king of Rūm and informed him of what Đū Nuwūs had done to the folk of his religion: killing bishops and burning the gospel and razing churches. He wrote to the Najāšī, king of the Ḥabaša and sent Aryāṭ with a great force and he sailed the sea until he got out on the shore of ʿAdan. Đū Nuwās went to him and attacked him and Đū Nuwās was killed. Ariyāṭ went into Ṣanʿa and the name of it was Đamār, but Ṣan‘a is the Aethiopian word, or ‘Fortified Stronghold’, and Ṣanʿa is called thus.

When Ariyāṭ was secure and he had killed the jews [p. 64] and ruled Yaman, treasure accrued to him. Whoever loves [these things] begins to grow fat on them. The Ḥabaša were angry at this. They went to Abraha, father of Yaksūm (and he was one of their lieutenants), and they complained to him about what Ariyāṭ had done and they pledged allegiance to him. The Ḥabaša went away in their groups, one of whom was with Ariyāṭ and the other was with Abraha, and they stood in battle formation for war. But Abraha called him to single combat and he fought him and Ariyāṭ threw his spear against him. And it stuck in the face of Abraha and it split it. Because of this he was called ‘al-Ašram’ and Abraha struck Ariyāṭ with his sword on the base of his head and he killed him and the Ḥabaša joined him. He ruled them and the Najāšī set him up in authority over Yaman. And he stayed there for four years. He built churches in Ṣanʿā, the like of which no one had seen. He announced in the whole land of Yaman that they should make a pilgrimage to it. But the Arabs hated this and a man from among the folk of Tihāma came one night and shat in it. When the folk came in the morning they looked upon the evil of evils in the church. And when Abraha said: ‘Who contemplated this deed?’ They said: ‘It could only have been one from the house that is in Makka who was angry when thou commandedst the pilgrimage to this church’. Abraha was wroth at this with vehement wrath and prepared himself to march on Makka to destroy the kaʿba. He sent to the Najāšī and he furnished him with an elephant the size of a mountain who was called Maḥmūd. He went to Makka, and the matter was as God narrated in the Sūrat al-Fīl.

They say: when God destroyed Abraha, his son Yaksūm son of Abraha succeeded him in power in the kingdom of Yaman. He was more wicked than his father and more evil in his living. He stayed in Yaman twenty-nine years. Then he died. His brother Masrūq reigned after him, and he was worse than his brother and more wicked in his living. 

[Sayf son of Đū Yazan]

When [word of] this extended [p. 65] over the folk of Yaman, Sayf son of Đū Yazan the Ḥimyarī went forth from the progeny of of Đū Nuwās and even went to Qayṣar, and he was at Anṭākyā. He complained to him about what the blacks had done to them and asked him to help and to banish them from their land and to make the rule of Yaman his. Qayṣar said to him: ‘These belong to my religion and ye are worshippers of graven images, and I cannot let you triumph over them’. When he had given up hope he betook himself to Kisrā, and he approached Ḥīra which was under the control of Nuʿmān son of Munđir and he complained to him about the matter and Nuʿmān said to him: ‘What was the reason for our grandfather Rabīʿa son of Naṣr’s going out from the land of Yaman to us, and our settling in this place, except for this thing? Draw near! For verily I have an audience every year with the king Kisrā son of Qubāđ. It has drawn nigh, and when I go out I shall take thee with me, and I shall have thee announced and I shall intercede for thee to him about what thou purposest’. He did this, and had him announced and he interceded, And Kisrā dispatched (him) with a gathering of those who were in gaol. And he put in command over them a man among them called Wahriz son of Kāmjār, and he was a very old man [p. 65: l. 12], who was beyond one hundred years, and he was among the horsemen of Īrān and her braves and of the royal house and noble. And he had feared for his life, and Kisrā had locked him up. Wahriz went with his companions to al-Ubulla, and he sailed the sea from there and Sayf son of Đū Yazan was with him and they even went out on the shore at ʿAdan. The news reached Masrūq, and he went against them. When they advanced and met for battle Wahriz hastened to him with arrows and he shot at him and did not miss between the eyes, and it went out from the back of his neck and he fell dead and his army was routed. Wahriz went into Ṣanʿa and took over Yaman. He wrote to Kisrā about the conquest, and Kisrā wrote to him ordering him to kill all the blacks in Yaman and to make Sayf king over it and to come back to him. He did it. 

Verily the remainder of the blacks which Sayf had spared and won over to his side [p. 66] ran away from him when riders attacked Sayf one day. And they were before him in his convoy, and they struck him with their spears until they killed him. And Kisrā sent Wahriz back to the land of Yaman and commanded him not to leave any blacks in it, and not [even] those blacks who struck him, but to kill him. He stayed there for five years. 

When death came to him he called for his bow and arrows. Then he said: ‘Come to me’. Then he reached for his bow and he shot, and he said: ‘See where my arrows are stopped and then build for me a sarcophagus and put me in it’. And his arrows stopped behind the church, and that place is called to this day ‘Grave of Wahriz’. Then Kisrā sent Bādān to the land of Yaman, and he remained king there until the rise of Islam.


They say: when the kingdom passed to Qubāđ, he had passed one year beyond five and ten years, but he was of splendid intelligence, fragrant of soul, open handed, and profound. But he entrusted command of the kingdom to Šūḫar, and the people did not therefore take Qubāđ seriously and they despised him on account of Šūḫar’s taking power instead of him. Qubāđ had no regard for the kingdom for five years, but then he spurned this course and wrote to Sābūr Rāzī, who is from the sons of the most excellent Mihrān family, his governor in Bābil and Ḫuṭarnīya, that he come before him and bear him aid from his forces. When he came before him, he disclosed what was within himself, and enjoined upon him the murder of Šūḫar. Sābūr went unto Qubāđ and found Šūḫar sitting with him, and he walked towards Qubāđ passing by Šūḫar and taking no heed of Šūḫar until Sābūr threw a lasso round him, and the lasso alighted on his neck. Then he dragged him, until he brought him out of the hall, and this vexed him keenly. He consigned him to gaol, and then Qubāđ commanded that he be killed.

When ten years of Qubāđ reign had passed, there came to him a man of the folk of Iṣṭaḫr, [p. 67] who was called Mazdak. He called him to the religion of Mazdakism, and Qubāđ inclined thereto. But the Persians were wroth at this with vehement wrath, and meditated the murder of Qubāđ. He made excuse to them, but they received not his excuse, and they deposed him from the kingdom and put him in gaol, and invested with power, and chose for their king, Jāmāsf son of Fayrūz, brother of Qubāđ.

Verily Qubāđ’s sister went in secret to Qubāđ, and even compassed his going out by subterfuge. She abode there a while in hiding until he was safe from search. Then he went forth with five men whom he trusted (amongst whom was Zarmihr son of Šūḫar) towards the Hephthalites seeking aid from their king. He took the Ahwāz road and he alighted in Urmšīr. Then he went to a village on the border of Ahwāz and Iṣfahān and abode there disguised. His abode was with its dihqān. Qubāđ gazed upon his landlord’s daughter, possessed of beauty, and she afflicted his heart. He said to Zarmihr son of Šūḫar: ‘Verily I love this girl and she hath afflicted my heart; haste thee to her father and ask for her hand in marriage for me’. He did this, and Qubāđ sent to the girl with his sealing ring, and he made this her wedding gift, and she was loved and entered by him. Qubāđ had pleasure in her, and was glad in her with great gladness when he found her possessed of wisdom and beauty and learning and comeliness. He abode with her three days, and then enjoined upon her her own safekeeping, and set out until he came to the chief of Hephthalites. He complained to him of what his folk had done to him, and he asked him to bear him aid with an army so as to recover his kingdom. He granted this, and made this condition for them that he yield to him the realm of Ṣiġāniyān, and he sent with him thirty thousand men.

He drew near with them, seeking his brother. He took the same road on which he had set out in the beginning, until he alighted at the town wherein he had coupled with that woman, and he put down with her father, and asked him about her. He told him that she had brought forth a boy. He her to come in before him with her son. She came in and with her was the boy. He was well pleased in him. He saw him, how much more handsome was he [p. 68] than other boys. He called him Kisrā, that is Kisrā Anušarwān, who was made king after him. He said to Zarmihr: ‘Go forth and ask for me of this man, the father of the girl, whether he hath nobility of old.’ He asked of him and he told him that they were of the progeny of Farīdūn the king, and he rejoiced at this. He ordered that the girl and her father be carried with him. 

When he reached the city Madā’in the Persians blamed one another for what had happened, and they said: ‘Verily Qubāđ hath renounced for us the faith of Mazdak and he hath refrained from what had bothered us. We did not accept this from him [before] and confiscated his possessions, so we made peace with him [now]’. They went to him together, Jāmāsf his brother whom they had chosen as king being among them, and they made excuse to him, and he accepted this from them. He forgave his brother Jāmāsf and them, and he advanced. He went into the palace of the king, and there arrived the army with which he had advanced, and he was generous and favourable to them, and sent them back to their kingdom. He ordered that the girl be settled in the finest of his appartments.

Then verily Qubāđ made ready and marched with his forces to raid the land of Rūm, and he conquered the city Āmid and Mayyāfāriqīn, whose folk he took prisoner. He commanded, and there was built for them a city in what is between Fārs and Ahwāz, and he settled them therein. He called it Abarqubāđ, and it was an exalted astān. He made for it three ṭassūjes: one ṭassūj was Anbār, and within it were Hīt and ʿĀnāt, which Yazīd son of Muʿāwīya annexed when he ruled al-Jazīra; one ṭassūj was Bādūrīyā, one ṭassūj was Maskin and the districts of the kūra of Middle Bihqubāđ and the Lesser Bihqubāđ, and he added to them eight ṭassūjes, to each kūra four ṭassūjes, namely the astāns. He divided the kūra of Iṣfahān into two kūras Jay division and Taymura division.

Qubāđ had [p. 69] many sons, among whom he preferred none more than Kisrā because of the gathering of noble qualities within him. But as for him, he was over-suspicious of any evil thought. Qubāđ did not praise him because of it and said to him on that day: ‘O my son, there are within thee traits that concern the whole of the kingdom, for thou art over-suspicious and that such thought, when misplaced, is a cause of trouble and liable to bring ruin’. Kisrā asked pardon of his father for what had afflicted his heart, and his soul was deemed good in his view.

[Kisrā Anūšarwān]

When king Qubāđ reached his forty-third [regnal] year, death was upon him, and he gave power to his son Kisrā, namely Anūšarwān. He was king after his father, and he ordered a search for Mazdak son of Māzayyār, who had made men believe in doing forbidden things, and by such baseness provoked the commission of sin, and facilitated the height of rapine and of injustice. And he was sought until found, and Anūšarwān ordered his murder and impaling, and the killing of whoever else had joined the sect.

Then Kisrā Anūšarwān split the kingdom into four quarters, and set over each quarter a trustworthy man. The first quarter was Ḫurāsān and Sijistān and Kirmān; the second was Iṣbahān, Qumm, Jabal, Āđarbayjān and Armīnīyya; the third was Fārs and Ahwāz down to Baḥrayn; the fourth was ʿIrāq unto the border with the Kingdom of Rūm. And among these four he extended to each man the utmost dignity and esteem.

And he sent his army into the country of the Hephthalites, and conquered Tuḫāristān, Zābulistān, Kābulistān, and Ṣiġānīyān. The king of the Turks, Sinjibū ḫāqān, gathered unto himself the people of his kingdom and he prepared himself [for war]. He went towards the land of Ḫurāsān until he conquered Šāš, Farġāna, Samarqand, Kaš, and Nasaf, and he ended in Buḫārā. [p. 70] [News of] this reached Kisrā and he entrusted his son Hurmazd (who was king after him) with a copious army and sent him to fight the Turkish ḫāqān. He marched until he found himself near him, who abandoned what he had conquered, and returned to his country. Kisrā wrote to his son Hurmazd that he should return.

[The Roman War of 540]

The say also that Ḫālid son of Jabala the Ġassānī made a raid on Nuʿmān son of Munđir, namely Munđir the second, for there were two Munđirs and two Nuʿmāns, as Munđir the first was he whom Bahrām Jūr had put in power, but Munđir the second was in the time of Kisrā Anūsharwān, and they were Kisrā’s governors on the frontier of the land of the Arabs. And he killed some of the companions of Munđir with great butchery, and he drove away the camels of Munđir and his horses. And Munđir wrote to Kisrā Anūšarwān telling him what Ḫālid son of Jabala had perpetrated on him. And Kisrā wrote to Qayṣar that he should demand blood money from Ḫālid [paid] to Munđir for killing Ḫālid’s companions, and to return what he had taken of his chattels. Qayṣar did not take note of his letter and Kisrā prepared himself for battle with him. He marched until he penetrated the lands of al-Jazīra, which were under Roman control at the time and he took Dārā, and the city Edessa, and the city of Chalcis, and the city of Hierapolis, and the city of Aleppo, until he arrived in Antioch. He took it, as it was the greatest city in al-Šāms and al-Jazīra, and he took captive its people, the people of Antioch, and he carried them off to Iran [?]. He commanded that a city be built for them beside Madā’in, corresponding [exactly] to the construction of the city Antioch in its lanes and its streets and in its houses, for nothing was missing from it at all. He called it Zabr-Ḫusrū, and it is the city which is beside Madā’in, which is called al-Rūmīyya. Then the people were sent into it. And every man passed by a likeness of his house that was in his city of Antioch. He [p. 71] appointed over them a lieutenant to command them, a man from the Christians of Ahwāz, called Yazdfanā.

Qayṣar wrote to Kisrā asking for a peace treaty and the return of what he had taken for himself among those cities, on the condition that he should pay to him a fixed levy every year, for Kisrā hated being oppressive. And Kisrā accepted what Qayṣar had offered, and entrusted the annual collection and transmission thereof to Šarvīn Dastabāy. And he stayed there with the king of Rūm, and Ḫurrīn his famous slave (a victorious and brave horseman) was with him.

And when Kisrā began to leave the land of al-Šām, a severe disease came upon him. And he sought rest in the city Ḥimṣ. And he stayed in it with his army until he recovered. And Qayṣar began to gather his army to himself in order to withdraw.

They say that Kisrā Anūšarwān had a son who was called Anūš Zāđ, whose mother was a Christian of great beauty. And Kisrā had pleasure in her and wished that she should leave Christianity and enter Magianism, but she refused, and her son Anūš Zāđ inherited this from her, and he was at variance with his father in religion. And he became angry with him and ordered his imprisonment in the city Jundaysābūr. And when Kisrā attacked Syria, and news of his illness and location at Ḥimṣ reached Anūš Zāđ, he beguiled the people of the prison and sent messengers of his among the Christians of Jundaysābūr and the whole province of Ahwāz. And he had broken the prison, and he went forth and those Christians gathered round him. And he cast out his father’s governors from the district of Ahwāz and possessed himself of their goods. He circulated a rumour about the death of his father and prepared himself to march towards ʿIrāq. But his deputy in the city Madā’in wrote, giving him news of his son, and what he had done. But Kisrā wrote to him:

‘Send the armies against him, and seize him in battle: be cunning that thou mayest capture him! If fate come upon him that he be killed, [his] most despicable blood, and most wayward soul [have deserved it]. [p. 72] For the wise man knoweth that the purity of the world is not perfect and its pardon endureth not. For if there were any thing that were free of suspicion, then surely it would be the rain which giveth live to the unliving earth, or surely it would be the daylight which cometh to men that sleep, and lighteneth them that are blind. But despite this, how much suffering is in the rain, and our keeping it away from buildings? And how much dread is in its floods and lightnings? And how much harm and corruption is in the noonday sun? Uproot the swarms with thy blade, and let not the great multitude of them affright thee, for their thorns remain nolonger. How shall the Christians remain, when in their religion a man among them must offer his right cheek when his left cheek is struck? If Anūš Zāđ and his followers surrender, do thou send back to their cells those among them that had been in prison, but without increasing their distress and dearth of food and clothing. But whoever among them was from the class of knights, do thou cut off his head, and allow not from thyself any mercy upon them. And whoever among them were baseborn and criminals, do thou kill them and take no heed of them. I have understood that thou hast mentioned about the punishments inflicted by thee upon the multitude who reviled Anūš Zāđ publicly and [who] mentioned his mother [also]. For I know that they are possessed of a hidden malice and secret hostility, and they accomplished the abuse of Anūš Zāđ on a pretext to slander us, and as a means to offend us. Thou hast done well in thy punishment of them. Permit no one to imitate what they say. Peace.’

When Kisrā recovered from his disease, and withdrew together with his army to the land of his dominion, his son Anūš Zāđ had been taken prisoner, and it was unto Anūš Zāđ as Kisrā had commanded.

They say: the Persian kings imposed a customary rate of taxation upon the crops of the lands, at a rate of a half, a third, a quarter, or fifth up to a tenth commensurate with the proximity of the estate to the cities, and according to the quantity of growth and yield. [p. 73] But Qubāđ wished to overthrow this system and establish a ḫarāj, but he died before the cadastral survey was complete. But Kisrā Anūšarwān ordered its completion. He gave orders to the scribes, and they set forth and expressed in detail the levying and imposition of the jizya on [all] four social classes, but they exempted from it the nobility, the Marzbāns, the knights, and the scribes, and anyone in the service of the king. No one was compelled to pay who had not attained twenty years, or who had passed fifty years. And this imposition was written in three copies: one copy which Kisrā’s own diwān preserved, one copy which was dispatched to the tax office, and one copy which was presented to the magistrates in the countryside, in order that the tax-collectors might abstain from transgressing what was [written] in their copy. And he commanded that the ḫarāj be collected in three instalments. He called the place in which it was collected the Sarāy Samarra, and the explanation of this is ‘the place of three installments’, and it is the place which is known to-day as Šimarraj, and it has also been said by way of explanation that it means ‘the place of calculation’, for ‘calculation’ is šamarra in Persian. This word, which is understood in the Persian language to this day, they call the ḫarāj šimarrah with the letter šīn, in order to mean ‘calculation’. The capitation tax was lifted from the poor and the chronically ill, and likewise was the crop tax, and it was lifted from what misfortune had afflicted commensurate with the loss done to it. And Kisrā put in charge of all this a trusty group of just people who were to implement it and impose the tax upon people equitably.

There had not yet been among the Persian kings a king who had gathered together the various disciplines of humanities and wisdom, nor one who had taken interest in science. But Kisrā approached the people of literature and knowledge, and he recognised their virtue. The greatest of the savants of his age was Buzurjmihr son of Baḫtakān, and he was among the wise men of the Persians and one of their intelligent men. Kisrā preferred him over his vazīrs and scholars of his age.

And Kisrā put in charge [p. 74] of the war office one of the scribes, a man who was distinguished and renowned for intellect and ability, who was called Bābak son of Nihrawān. And he said to Kisrā:

‘O king! Verily thou hast invested me with command, by virtue of which thou shalt endure from me a measure of harshness in the matters touching military inspection every four months. Do thou take every manner of equipment in full and take account of what the instructors teach men in riding and shooting, and regard their excellence therein and their short-coming. Verily it is a means to good political order.’

Said Kisrā: ‘What is the best answer to him that speaketh, to participate with them in his favour, and the power of him that answereth then in repose? Verify thy saying’.

He commanded that a platform be built in a part of the field and he spread upon it magnificent carpets. Then he sat, and his herald called out: ‘Not one man among the fighting forces is to lag behind, but all must be present in the field’. They assembled. But he saw not Kisrā among them. Her commanded that they go away. He did this on the second day, but he saw not Kisrā, and they went away. He called out on the third day: ‘O men, not one man of the fighting force may be absent, not even if he is honoured by possessing the crown and throne’. He showed to him neither exception nor partiality.

[Word of] this reached Kisrā, and he armed himself with armour. Then he rode and presented himself to Bābak. What a knight takes with him [is this]: a cataphract, a shirt, a haubergeon, a coat of plate-mail, a helmet, two vambraces, two cuisses, a lance, a shield, and a mace which he bound to his waist, and an axe, a sword, and a quiver in which were two bows and their two strings and thirty arrows, and two wound strings [p. 75] which the knight hangs behind on his helmet. Kisrā appeared before Bābak in full armour save the two strings which he lacked. Bābak did not pass over his name, and Kisrā remembered the two strings and he hung them from his helmet and he appeared before Bābak, and he passed by his name. He said: ‘To the lord of the brave warriors let four thousand and one dirhams be given!’ It was more than the [usual] wage of four thousand dirhams, for he gave Kisrā one dirham [more]. When Bābak rose from his seat, he went forth to Kisrā and he said: ‘O king, thou didst receive my harshness, only because I wish nothing but equity and just requital, and the cutting off of privilege’.

Said Kisrā: ‘No one hath treated us harshly in thy providing for us or for the good condition of our realm, but we bore the harshness of it as a man endures the drinking of a loathsome medecine because of the benefit that he hopeth from it.’

They say that Kaskar was a small region. Kisrā Anūšarwān therefore added to it some of Bahurasīr province and Hurmizd province and the khurra and province of Maysān, and thus he enlarged it. And he made it into two districts: one district was Jundaysābūr and one district was Zandaward, and Bajūḫāy province, and Ḫusrūmāh province. And he made for it six municipalities: one municipality was Madā’in, that is Madā’in and Ṭaysfūn the town that is on the Tigris three parasangs below Qibāb Ḥumayd, which is called in Nabataean Ṭaysfūnaj, and one district was Jāzir, and one district was Kalwāđā, and one municipality was Nahr Būq, and one district was Jalūlā, and one district was Nahr al-Malik.

[The Birth of Muḥammad]

The Apostle of God, upon whom be peace etc., was born at the end of Anūšarwān’s reign. He dwelt at Makka for forty years until he was sent on his prophetic mission. He lived through the last seven years of the reign of Anūšarwān, [p. 76] and [all] nineteen years of the reign of Hurmazd son of Anūšarwān, and he was sent on his mission when sixteen years had passed from the reign of Kisrā Abarwīz. He dwelt in Makka during his prophethood (may God honour him and grant him peace and his kin) for thirteen years, and he migrated to Madīna, when nine and twenty years had passed from the rule of Abarwīz. He dwelt in Madīna for ten years, and he died (may God bless him and his family). His life (may God honour him and grant him peace) was three and sixty years.

[The End of Kisrā’s Reign]

They say that jackals appeared in ʿIrāq at the end of Anūšarwān’s reign, and they fell upon it from the lands of the Turks, and men were distressed at this and marvelled at it. News of this reached Kisrā and he said to the mobad: ‘My astonishment hath increased because of these beasts which plunder our land!’ Said the mobad: ‘it hath reached me, O king, according to what has been passed down by the ancients that tyranny hath overcome justice in the land which the beasts plunder.’ When he heard this he suspected the conduct of his viceroys and he sent to the remote parts of his kingdom thirteen men among his trusted counsellors who would not hide anything and who were disguised and unrecognised. They returned and acquainted him with the evil conduct of his viceroys, and this vexed him. He sent [word] to nine men among them who were noted for evil conduct, and their heads were chopped off. His viceroys then restrained themselves, and just conduct was their duty.

[Hurmazd IV]

Kisrā Anūšarwān had many sons, but they were all children of plebeians and bondwomen save his son Hurmazd son of Kisrā who reigned after him. Verily his mother was daughter of the ḫāqān of the Turks, and his grandmother was [the] ḫātūn, the queen. His father decided that he should rule after him, and he put spies upon him to bring him reports about him [i.e., Hurmazd]. What he wanted to hear was brought to him, and he wrote unto him a covenant, and the chief of their hierophants in their religion ratified it. When his rule completed eight and forty years, he died. When Anūšarwān died, his son Hurmazd [p. 77] son of Kisrā reigned.

[Hurmazd’s Speech from the Throne]

Said he on the say he began to rule: ‘Forebearnce is the pillar of rule, and intellect the pillar of religion, and friendliness the foundation of power, and sagacity the foundation of thought. O men! Verily God hath favoured us with rule and hath imbued you with humble veneration, and hath exalted our kingdom. He hath made you safe in it, and hath made us mighty and hath made you strong in our might; he hath invested us with government among you, and hath enjoined upon you obedience to our authority. Ye are divided two groups: one of them a strong folk and the other a weak, and the mighty among you ought never to devour the possessions of the weak, nor ought the weak among you in any wise dupe the strong, nor ought any one to long for harming the weak folk because of his own superiority, for herein is our kingdom’s weakness. Surely all among the folk of weakness desireth not subjugation, for herein is the disintigration of that whose proper arrangement we desire, and the extinction of that whose firmness we have tried to establish, and the disappearance of that which we have tried to attain. Know ye, O men, that from our government cometh the attachment to the mighty because of their predominance, and the elevation of their rank and mercy upon the weak and defence of them, and preventing the powerful from oppressing them and acting tyrannically over them. Know ye, O men, that in our view your demands of us are our demands of you, and our demands of you are the cause of your demands of us, and that the burden of those things which ye put on us light upon us, and the lightness of what we take upon ourselves from you is heavy for your weakness from that with which we are conversant, and we know what maketh you weak, rather ye praise the good ordering of our rule over you, and the grace of our life among you, if ye cut yourselves off from what we forbid you to do and cleave to what we command you [to do]. 

O men! Distinguish between similitudes; do not poison piety with hypocrisy; high rank is not hypocrisy; doing evil is not courage; resoluteness is not tyranny; revenge is not the mercy of God; gentleness is not dreaded of death; [p. 78] insincere is not reverence for kinship [?]; anger is not impiety; purification is not doubt; weakness is not equality; a miracle is not high-mindedness; indolence is not habit; observing virtue is not abjectness and lowliness; good manners are not intelligence; sinfulness is not carelessness and trickery; treachery is not a necessity; chastity is not outward show; outward show is not devotion; shunning evil is not fear; caution is not timidity; greed is not effort; crime is not plunder; being prudent is not being niggardly; making things difficult for yourself and stinginess is not prudence; prodigality openhandedness; forgiveness is not prodigality; stubbornness is not ambition; nobility is not stubbornness.

Thus do not consider happiness as tolerance, or unhappiness to be deserved. Do not consider exalting and helping the undeserving to go forward to be something good, nor calumny to be humorous, nor indolence to be stability and consistency, nor stability to stupidity, nor gossip to be a means to do anything, nor striving to be a means to an end. Do not think kindness to be weakness and impotence, nor calumny to be justice or revenge, nor nonsense to be eloquence, nor eloquence to be complicated. nor wishing to fulfill the desires of evil men to be thankfulness, nor flattery to be agreement, nor assisting tyranny to be self-control, nor showing off to be gentlemanliness, nor debauchery to be amusement, nor tyranny and oppression a means to achieve a goal, nor harsh speech to be honour, nor good thoughts to be going to be wasteful, nor seducing people to be benevolence, nor the seducer to be clever. Hypocrisy is not kindness. Think not that laziness is contemplation, nor that shame and bashfulness is fearfulness, nor that stupidity is power, nor that meddling in [other’s] affairs is stability, nor that disobedience is self-protection, nor that jealousy and invidiousness is the essence of contentment. Think not that self-love is perfection, nor that carelessness is zeal, nor that rancour is noble or generose, nor that making things hard is caution, nor that tyranny is inescapable, nor that fear and timidity are caution, nor that manners are a tool. [p. 79]

Think not that nit-picking is sinfulness, nor seeking-a-position to be never-questioning-human-values, nor destiny to be an excuse for committing sin. Think not that that which is impossible is possible, nor that that which is possible is impossible.

In all ways avoid the inferior among the things which appear to be the same. Be steadfast in what requireth our help, for this your steadfastness in fulfilling our command endeth in your deliverance from our wrath. Your resignation from differing with us endeth in your remaining safe from our punishment.

The justice and righteousness which we try to achieve and ours and your moral soundness is this: ye all be together and equal with us, and soon ye shall know how we shall prevent the strong from being cruel to the weak. We ourselves shall take in charge the poor and destitute, and we shall seat the lowly in our own place, and we shall stop humble men who wish to attain an deserved position from having it, save them that have deserved it with good effort, trial, and intercession.

O men, know that we have separated our flail and sword, and we use them with patience and good method. He that is not thankful for what we gave him and who differeth with our command, and does what we have forbidden, we shall not forget to chasten our flock. With punishment and retribution upon them that differ from our command and upon them that are disobedient and refractory to our policy, and who strive for the vanishing of our rule, we shall make have retribution. Let none expect us to ignore this, nor let any wish kindness and clemency from our part, for we shall not be slack in doing and carrying out what God hath enjoined upon us. Accustom yourselves to two policies, prepare yourself for one of them.

Either be consistent in what is good for you, or be fearful for that wherein ye differ from us. Ye must take care of our empire and rule. Do not take lightly our threat and mination, and imagine not that our behaviour shall differ from what we have said. We wished to make you aware of our intention and policy [p. 80], for there shall be no turning a blind eye nor any reserve, and before all else we shall declare the matter clearly, so that no pretext or excuse remain. We shall behave toward the peasantry in a suitable and just manner. Ye also should choose submission and obedience, for it shall be the essence of friendship and stability, and trust ye the threats which I have uttered, and fear ye my threats and minations, and we shall ask of God that he keep you safe from the temptation of Satan and his sinfulness, and that he be kind to you in whatever bringeth you nearer to him and attaineth his favour. Peace.’

When the people heard this, the weak and the folk of lowliness rejoiced in it one to another, but this weakened the members of the upper class, and vexed them and they turned away from arrogance to the weak and from subjugating the folk of lowliness. Hurmazd strove assiduously for upright living, being zealous for the protection of the peasantry, being merciful to the poor and harsh to the mighty. [Report of] his justice and his striving for the truth has been transmitted. He would go every year to the land of the two Māhs and therein pass the summer. On his journey thither he had commanded a herald, and he announced amidst his army that they be guarded against despoiling [fields] and against harming the Dihqāns. He put a trusty man in charge of seeking out and punishing transgression of his command. But his son Kisrā, who ruled after him and surnamed Abarwīz, was with him on his journey. One day, one of his mounts strayed, and stopped in a field by his road and grazed therein and ruined it. The master of the field took this mount and drove it back to the overseer, but the could not punish Kisrā. He raised his matter with his father and he ordered that the horse’s ear be cut and its tail be clipped; and his father imposed a fine to the measure of an hundred times the value of the damage done by the horse to that field. The overseer went out with this [instruction] from before the king, that he might execute the king’s command. Kisrā sent a group of the Marzbāns and nobles [p. 81] unto the overseer with this, that they should ask him to change from this, paying a thousand fold more than the value of that which the mount ruined, because to cut the ear of the horse and to clip its tail was an evil omen. But the overseer made no answer to this, and commanded that the mount’s ear be cut and its tail be clipped. Kisrā was made to pay for what had afflicted the master of the field just as all other men would have payed.

[The Beginning of Hurmazd’s Reign]

Hurmazd son of Kisrā had no concern nor avidity save for pacifying the lowly and dealing justly with them that were mighty, and in his reign the strong and the weak were equal. Hurmazd was victorious and successful, without wishing to attain a thing except he gave it, and no army was ever put to flight by him. For most of his time he was away from Madā’in, rather passing the winter in the Sawād and the summer in Māh. 

But [when] eleven years [had passed] from his rule, enemies encircled him from every direction, and they encompassed him with the compassing of a string around the curvature of the bow. As for the east, the Šāhānšāh of the Turks appraoched and even reached Hirat and drove away the viceroys of Hurmazd; as for the west the king of Rūm approached and even came within sight of Nuṣaybīn, demanding the return of Amida, Martyropolis, Dārā, and Nuṣaybīn. As for Armīnīyya, the king of the Khazars approached and even penetrated Āzarbāyjān and spread rapine therein. When [word of] this reached Hurmazd, he began with Qayṣar and gave back to him the cities that his father had forced from him, and then asked for peace and a truce. Qayṣar granted this and went away. Then he wrote to his viceroys in Armīnīyya and Āzarbāyjān and they gathered and put up a resistence to the lord of the Khazars until they expelled him from his land. When he was finished with all this, he turned his attention to the master of the Turks, who was the strongest of the enemies against him.

He wrote to Bahrām son of Bahrām Jušnas [p. 82], his viceroy on the border of Āzarbāyjān and Armīnīyya (he that was surnamed Šūbīn), ordering him to go to him. It was not long before he came and allowed him to come before him: he raised up his seat, showed munificence and treated him well. He acquainted him with the matter that he wanted for him, namely sending him against the Šāhānšāh of the Turks. Bahrām hastened to obey him and followed his command. Hurmazd commanded that Bahrām be made ruler over store-houses of equipment and armour, and that the war office be made over to him, that he might choose who was pleasing to his eye. He brought Bahrām to the diwān, and [there] he gathered to himself the marzbāns and the nobles and chose twelve thousand men from among the knights among whom there was none but men who had passed the age of forty. 

[Word of] this reached the king, and he said to him: ‘thou has chosen only this number, but thou wishest to go with them against three hundred thousand men?’ Bahrām said: ‘knowest thou not, O King, that when Qābūs went and was gaoled in the castle of Māsafrā, Rustam went against him with twelve thousand troops and delivered him from the hands of two hundred thousand men; and that when Isfandyāđ went against Arjāsf to seek from him the bow-string which was his, there were with him twelve thousand men; and that Kayḫusraw sent Jūdarz to avenge his father Sīyāwuš with twelve thousand men, and he appeared against three hundred thousand men? Any army that vanquisheth not with twelve thousand men shall not ever vanquish any thing!’ 

When Bahrām departed with his army from Madā’in, the king took his leave and said to him: ‘Beware of covetousness, for covetousness shall be the downfall him that possesseth it, and it shall be destruction upon thee, for [that] is the end of him that desireth it; and take care that thou goest only to do battle, and if thou puttest down, do thou protect thine army thyself and restrain thy forces [p. 83] from destruction and ruin. Take care to decide, and even to reflect or not to reflect, until the folk of good counsel and reliability have deliberated.’ 

Then the king went away, and Bahrām went and took the Ahwāz road, and [word of] the army’s advance to battle reached the Turkish king. King Hurmazd had already sent to the Turkish king a man from among his marzbāns called Hurmazd-Jurābzīn, and he was among the wiliest of the Iranians, and, effecting a ruse, he charmed them powerfully. He commanded that he inform him that he was a messenger of the king, whom he had sent for his advisement and to stop his ruining the land of Ḫurāsān. When Hurmazd learnt that Bahrām had drawn near Hirat, he went forth at night and caught up with Bahrām. When [word of] the arrival of the army reached the king of the Turks, he said to the chief of his bodyguard: ‘hurry off and bring me this deceptive horseman.’ They sought him and found him. But he escaped in the middle of the night, and the ḫāqān went forth from the city of Hirat to meet him, and there were forty thousand men in his vanguard. When they met, he sent to Bahrām: ‘join me, that I may appoint thee king of Īrān-Šahr and make you the highest of my men.’ But Bahrām sent to him in return: ‘how canst thou appoint me king of Īrān-Šahr, when her kingdom belongeth to the folk of the noble house among us and is not permitted to pass from them to others. But come now, [and prepare] for war!’ 

The Turkish king was wroth at this and commanded that the trumpet of war be blown. The two divisions marched, and the Turkish king upon a throne of gold above a hill looked down upon the two divisions. When war broke out, Bahrām made for the hill with a hundred horsemen among the bravest of his army, and drove from him them that were round the king of the Turks [p. 84]. When the king saw this he called for his chariot, and came into view of Bahrām. He shot an arrow which went through him, and he fell down to the ground, and the Turks were routed. The Šāhānšāh had appointed his son Yaltikīn as successor to the kingdom, and when [word of] his father’s murder came to him, he mobilised the Turks and advanced with a vast number of Turks, and the remnants of the army joined him. The news came to Bahrām and he had been sent to the quarters of Ḫurāsān and many men gathered unto him. He went advancing toward Yaltikīn, and they met on the shore of the great river near which is near Tirmiđ, and each man of the two armies intimidated his opponent. A mediator went between them in peace and Bahrām sent to him: ‘ye are a company of the ḫāqānate that killed our king Fayrūz, and his blood is unavenged, and we accept peace from you, for thus they did to us.’ Yaltikīn answered him favourably about the peace treaty subject to Hurmazd the king. The two stayed in their places, and Bahrām wrote to Hurmazd with this [information]. 

Hurmazd wrote to him: ‘send me Yaltikīn in honour together with the elite of his tarḫāns and the grandees of his army’. He sent Yaltikīn to ʿIrāq, and when he came within sight of Madā’in, Hurmazd went forth to meet him. Each man of the two sides walked toward his opponent, and Hurmazd showed generosity to Yaltikīn, and he put him up in his palace. Each one among the two sides took a firm oath to his opponent in peace forever, and then he took his leave and went back to his kingdom. 

When he penetrated deep into Ḫurāsān, Bahrām went to meet him with his army, and he went with him unto the border of his country, and Bahrām went back until he reached the city of Balḫ. He put down there and sent to king Hurmazd the booty that he had taken from the camp of the Šāhānšāh. He sent him the golden throne, and what he sent to him reached him: three hundred camel loads. When the booty arrived to Hurmazd and it was spread before him [p. 85] and around him and behind him and the grandees of his Marzbāns, said Yazdān Jušnās the chief of the viziers: ‘what was the great board whence cometh this mouthful?’ This speech struck the heart of Hurmazd and he worried about the trustworthiness of Bahrām, and he suspected that the matter was as Yazdān Jušnas said. He saw how this saying would bring calamity, wars, and disaster, and, because of this, anger and wrath at Bahrām went into Hurmazd, what his excellent bravery had made him forget. He sent Bahrām the necklace and belt of a woman, together with a spindle, and he wrote to him: ‘prove to me that thou hast not sent me only a little booty from a great mass of it, else it was a transgression for me to exalt thee. I send thee a necklace that thou mayest put it on thy neck, and the belt of a woman. Gird thyself with it. As for the spindle, let it be in thy hand; for verily perfidy and ugratefulness are the attributes of women.’ 

When this reached Bahrām, he restrained his anger and knew that it had been brought to pass by slanderers. He put the necklace upon his neck and put the belt round his waist, and took the spindle in his hand. Then he called to the grandees among his companions and they came before him. Then he read to them the king’s letter to him. When his companions heard this they were aggrieved at the disposition of the king and they knew that he was not thankful to them for their excellent bravery, and they said: ‘we say as our ancestors said that rebelled against Ardašīr: “Ardašīr is not king, nor is Yazdān vizier”, and we say also “Hurmazd is not king, nor is Yazdān Jušnas vizier”.’ The story of their rebellious ancestors was that a disciple travelled to Ardašīr Bābakān. He complied with him and entered the religion of Christ, may God bless him. It was in his age. His vizier Yazdān followed him in this, and the Iranians were wroth at this, and they were minded to depose Ardašīr until he showed an aversion to what he had contemplated, [p. 86] and they installed him as king.

The companions of Bahrām said to Bahrām: ‘dost thou agree with us in the deposition of Hurmazd and rebellion against him, or should we depose thee and appoint another as chief?’ When he saw their gathering for this reason, he answered them with grief, anxiety, and disgust.

There went forth from Bahrām’s camp Hurmazd Jurābzīn and Yazdak the scribe until the two came to Madā’in and they acquainted Hurmazd with the news. Then Bahrām went with his army towards ʿIrāq, to make war on Hurmazd the king, until he came to the city of Ray. He stayed there and took to minting coins with the image of Kisrā Abarwīz, the son of the king, and his face and name. He struck ten thousand dirhams and commanded that the dirhams be carried in secret until they arrived at Madā’in and were distributed into the hands of men. Word of this reached Hurmazd, and he did not doubt that his son Kisrā was trying to get hold of the kingdom, and this was because he commanded the minting of these coins and this was what Bahrām wanted him to do. The king contemplated killing his son Kisrā, but Kisrā fled from Madā’in at night towards Āzarbāyjān until he came there, and stayed there. The king called for Bindūya and Bisṭām, and they were the two uncles of Kisrā, and he asked the two about Kisrā. They said: ‘We have no knowledge of him’, but he was suspicious of them and commanded their imprisonment.

Then verily the king gathered his counsellors and sought their advice, and they said: ‘O king! Verily thou hastenest the reign of Bahrām, for we think that thou shouldest send to Bahrām Yazdān Jušnas, for Bahrām will not kill him if he go to him, and he shall make excuse to him and he shall repent of his error before him; it may be that thou canst mollify the soul of Bahrām, and bring him back to obedience. Thou shalt thus spare his blood.’ 

The king accepted this and sent Yazdān Jušnas the vizier. When he prepared for the journey, he sent to him [p. 87] his cousin who had been imprisoned in the king’s prison for certain crimes, asking it as a boon from the king, and he took him out with him. Verily he had riches and helpful things. Yazdān Jušnas did this, and took him out with him. But when he went to the city of Hamađān, he was suspicious of his cousin by reason of this. He wrote a letter to the king that he would return him to him, that he should order his murder or send him back to his prison, and that he was a perfidious assassin. He said to him: ‘Verily I have written a letter to the king about many matters, so hastened the journey to the place whither thou goest, and tell noone about this. But the man was suspicious about this, and when he was away from Yazdān Jušnas he opened the letter and read it, and behold his death was [mentioned] in it. He returned to Yazdān Jušnas, while he was in private, and he beat him until he killed him, and he took his head and returned with it to Bahrām, who was at Rayy. He met him in his presence, and said: ‘This is the head of thine enemy Yazdān Jušnas, who slandered thee to the king and corrupted his heart against thee.’ Said Bahrām: ‘O wanton! Thou hast killed Yazdān Jušnas together with his nobility and generosity, for he had gone out toward me to beg me to accept his excuse for what he had done, and to make peace between me and the king.’ Then he ordered that his head be chopped off. News of the murder of Yazdān Jušnas reached the grandees, nobles, and Marzbāns at the court of the king, for he had been a grandee among them. 

[The Plot to Depose Hurmazd]

Some of them went to others and resolved on deposing the king and enthroning his son Kisrā, and this was because Bindūya and Bisṭām, Kisrā’s uncles, made this seem appealing to them and convinced them, though they were in prison. So they sent to the grandees: ‘Put your souls at ease from the son of the Turkish woman’, meaning the king Hurmazd, ‘for he killed our nobles and exterminated our chiefs, and this was because he was obsessed with the upper class because of their overbearing attitude to the folk of weakness, and he killed many among them.’ They reached an agreement on that day whereon they would assembe for this purpose. They proceeded [p. 88] all together until they freed Bindūya and Bisṭām from the prison and all that were there also. Then they advanced to king Hurmazd and puled him off his throne, and they took his crown, his belt, his sword, and his robe, and sent them to Kisrā, who was in Āzarbāyjān. When these came to him, he went forth, proceeding until he came to Madā’in and went into the Aywān. He gathered unto himself the grandees, and put an orator before them. Among what he said was: ‘Fate beholdeth the passage of that which it had not conceived, and the reasons are different desires. Haughtiness shall be the downfall of folk [who partake of it], and he shall fail because of his pernicious desire, and he shall be resolute because of the weapons that have passed to him, but his soul wishes not for more than it. O men! Cleave unto that obedience to us and good counsel which bring you closer to us, and put far from you the transgression of our command and haughtiness over us. Verily we are for you a place of repose and refreshment.’

When the men of state dispersed from him, he began to walk until he went in to visit his father, who was in one of the castle’s appartments. He kissed his hands and his feet, and said: ‘O father! I wished not this thing [that has happened] in thy life, nor should I [ever] desire it, but had I not accepted it, truly would it have gone from us and vanished from us unto another.’ Said his father to him: ‘Thou speakest the truth. I accept thine excuse. Take command then! Take it upon thyself! But have thou concern for me in mind.’ He said: ‘O father! What wouldst thou of me?’ He said: ‘Thou seest them that arranged my deposition from the throne and took the crown from my head and disdained me: they are such and such persons’, and he named them. ‘Hasten their murder, and accomplish for thy father his revenge upon them!’ 

Said Kisrā: ‘This shall not ever be possible until God kill our enemy Bahrām and power be within our reach. But consider how I should detroy them, and take revenge for thee upon them.’ His father was thus pleased [hearing] this from him, and Kisrā went forth from before him and sat in the council chamber [p. 89] of the kingdom.

There reached Bahrām [news of] what had happened while he was at Rayy, and what the matter was, and he was wroth with vehement wrath for Hurmazd’s sake. Ardour for him and friendliness came upon him and hatred went from him. He marched with his army at a swift pace to kill Kisrā, and those whom he had put in command by his authority, and to put Hurmazd back into his kingdom. [Word of] his being away from Rayy reached Kisrā and what he had begun to do, but he hid this from his father and we went to meet Bahrām with his army. He sent a trusty man and commanded him to go to Bahrām’s army in disguise and to observe his conduct and report back to him the nature of the matter. The man went. 

Bahrām went to Hamađān and stayed among his army until he knew the whole matter, and then he returned to Kisrā and informed him that Bahrām was advancing: on his right side was Mardān Sīna al-Ruwaydaštī and on his left side was Yazd-Jušnas son of Ḥalabān. He informed him also that no one man in the army hoped to win over any of the peasantry by means of love, and no one won them over; that when he bivouacked he called for the book of Kalīla and Dimna, and ceased not to be engrossed in it all the day long. 

Kisrā said to his two uncles, Bindūya and Bisṭām: ‘I never [before] feared Bahrām as I did in the hour when I was acquainted with his devotion to reading the Book of Kalīla and Dimna, for verily the Book of Kalīla and Dimna discloses to comprehension a counsel better than his counsel and more discrimination than his discrimination because of the advice and sagacity that are in it.’

Verily Kisrā and Bahrām met at the Nahrawān canal, and both armies stood opposite one another, and dug a trench for themselves. Then verily Bahrām built a bridge and went across to Kisrā. As the two groups faced each other down, Bahrām came suddenly and even appeared within sight of Kisrā’s ranks. Then he shouted at the top of his voice: ‘May evil befall you, kinsfolk of Īrān, because of the deposition of your king. O men! [p. 90] Return to your lord from what ye do now, and join me in your multitude, that I may return the empire to your kin after God hath sent down upon you his retribution!’ 

When the companions of Kisrā heard this, some said to others: ‘By God, Bahrām speaketh the truth, and verily the matter is perhaps as he saith. Onward! let us carry out what hath been commanded to us, and let us give a good answer to what Bahrām deemeth right!’ 

All together they went away and joined Bahrām. There remained with Kisrā only his two uncles Bindūya and Bisṭām, Hurmazd Jurābzīn, the Nuḫārjān, Sābūr son of Abarkān, Yazdak, scribe of the army, Bād son of Fayrūz, Šarwīn son of Kāmjār, Kurdī son of Bahrām Jušnas, brother of Bahrām Šarwīn to his father and mother, and he was among Kisrā’s trusted men and friends. These [men] said to Kisrā: ‘O king! What dost thou? Look thou not upon all the men that have separated from thee and joined thine enemy!’ He went towards Madā’in and then when he came to the bridge of Jūđarz and turned round, behold there was Bahrām alone. The men who followed him had left, and then drew near him and his companions. Kisrā stopped on his way to the bridge and strung his bow, for he was a marksman. He put arrows in it, but feared to take aim and shoot at Bahrām. The arrow would not go in owing to the excellence of his hauberk. He wished to take aim at his face, for he did not believe that he would shield himself with his buckler or bend his face down from his arrow. He shot at the brow of his horse and struck middle of it. The horse turned from the force of the blow, and then fell, and Bahrām remained on foot. 

Kisrā went at the gallop all the way into Madā’in to go to his father, but did not tell him that Bahrām was aiming to make the kingdom over to him; rather he said to him: ‘My companions all feel sympathy for him’, and then said: ‘What thinkest thou to be best?’ He said: [p. 91]: ‘I advise thee to betake thyself to Qayṣar. He shall help and assist thee in order that thy kingdom return to thee.’ Kisrā kissed the hands and legs of his father and took his leave and went towards the bridge with his companions. There were nine and he was the tenth. Some of them said to others that Bahrām had appeared at Madā’in on the following day and had made Hurmazd king; [that] he was king as though he has never ceased to be, [and that] Hurmazd had then written to Qayṣar and [that] ‘he sent us to him’ and [that] ‘he will kill us all’, and [that] ‘Kisrā is not king as long as his father liveth’. 

Bindūya and Bisṭām, uncles to Kisrā said: ‘We disdain you for this.’ The two went to the barrier, and then they drew near and even went into the royal palace and went into the appartment where Hurmazd was. His entourage was occupied in weeping and wailing for the flight of Kisrā from his enemy. They put his turban round his neck and strangled him with it until he died.

[The Flight of Young Ḫusraw]

Then the two caught up with Kisrā, but did not tell him about this. They hastened at a swift gallop straightway for fear of a search, and on the next day they even drew near the city of Hīt and reached a convent of monks. They put down there. They gave them barley bread, and they moistened it with water and they ate it, and they brought them vinegar and they mingled it with water and they drank from it. Kisrā leant on his uncle Bisṭām, and he slept for the strength of the weariness that beset him. While they were thus a monk shouted from this convent: ‘O band, horsemen come to you from afar’, and this was because, when Bahrām had come to Madā’in and had come upon king Hurmazd dead, his wrath grew against Kisrā as did his rage, and he dispatched in search of him Bahrām son of Siyāwušān with a thousand riders on swift horses. When Kisrā and his companions beheld the horsemen they stood aghast and they despaired of themselves. 

Bindūya said to Kisrā: ‘I shall deliver thee with all my might, and I shall expose myself to danger.’ Said Kisrā to him: [p. 92] ‘O uncle, truly thou if thou guardest me by thyself, whether thou be safe or be slain, thou shalt be rewarded with lasting renown and lofty rank. Ārasnās risked his life at the command of Manūšihr, and he went to Firāsyāb king of the Turks (who was in the midst of his army) and shot him with an arrow and slew him, and he saved king Zāb from him and Manūšihr had revenge, though he was killed, and he is renowned among men and the memory of him has grown. Jūdarz risked his life for Sābūr đū’l-Aktāf, when he was overseer of the kingom, and he seized his dominion. Men envied him for this, and when Sābūr attained his rule over all his possessions, and they entrusted his rule to him.’ 

Bindūya said to him: ‘Put off thy cloak and belt, let go thy sword, and take off thy crown. Go with the remainder of thy companions. Go into the valley, and therein run quickly and call to me and the band.’ Kisrā did what he commanded and he went into the valley and he went with the remainder of his companions.

Bindūya took up the cloak of Kisrā and put in on and girt himself with his belt and he put the crown upon his head. Then said he to the monks: ‘A great company of men is upon you! Catch them up that those horsemen may turn away, for I am not without fear that they may kill you down to the last of you!’ They left the monastery all together, and they went out from the convent.

Bindūya went and came to the terrace of the convent and he locked the door upon him, whilst dressed in the raiment of Kisrā. He stood upon his two feet until he knew that the band had seen him. Then he went down to the convent and put off the clothing of Kisrā and donned his own clothing. Then he went back to the terrace of the convent, which the horsemen had surrounded, and he said: ‘O band, who is your commander?’ Bahrām son of Siyāwušān said: ‘I am their commander; what wilt thou, Bindūya?’ He said: ‘The king sends thee greeting.’ He said: ‘Verily we [p. 93] have only just alighted and we are weary, and we have no means to escape thee. Leave us as were are in the monastery this evening, so we may come out to thee and hasten with thee to Bahrām, so that his wishes concerning us be granted. Bahrām son of Siyāwušān said: ‘this shall be respected.’

Then Bindūya and the band surrounding the monastery put down. When they went in the evening Bindūya went again to the terrace of the monastery, and he said to Bahrām son of Siyāwušān: ‘Verily the king saith to thee this evening (as we have no wing in which there is a guard and ye have surrounded the monastery): “leave us this night, that we may rest, and trust us in this. We shall go in the morning and go out to thee, and we shall go with thee”.’ 

Said Bahrām: ‘May he have love and generosity.’ Then he commanded his companions to form two groups, one to sleep and another to keep watch.

When Bindūya came in the morning he opened the door and he went out to the band and he said: ‘Kisrā has gone from me since yesterday at this time, and even ye were swift as the wind ye shall not catch him up! What ye heard from me was a feint and a strategem.’ 

They trusted him not, and went into the monastery and they searched chamber after chamber, but Bahrām son of Siyāwušān was bewildered and could not think how to explain himself to Bahrām Šūbīn. He bore Bindūya back and travelled until he came to Bahrām Šūbīn and told him of the strategem which Bindūya had enployed. Bahrām summoned him and said: ‘thou art not pleased with thy murder of king Hurmazd, so that thou didst redeem the sinful Kisrā? He escaped from me.’ Bindūya said: ‘As for my killing of Hurmazd, I make no excuse for it but tyranny and outrage and the killing of the nobles of Īrān and throwing arrows among them and dividing their authority. As for my strategem in the rescue of my nephew Kisrā, there is no reproach upon me in this save that he was of my family.’ Said Bahrām: ‘He he hath not stopped me from hastening thy murder, and I hope [p. 94] only for my victory over the sinful Kisrā. I shall kill him and I shall kill thee right after him. Then said he to Bahrām son of Siyāwušān: ‘Put him in prison with thee shackled, until I summon thee with him.’ 

Then verily Bahrām gathered to himself [an army from] all the sides of the kingdom, and he said: ‘Ye had known already what great sin Kisrā had committed in killing his his father, and his flight as a fugitive: are ye pleased that this realm stands in need of rule until Šahryār son of Hurmazd reaches manhood and I shall entrust it to him?’ One party was pleased at this and one party refused it. Among them that refused was Mūsīl the Armīnī and he was among the greatest of the marzbāns. He said to Bahrām: ‘O iṣbahbađ, it is not possible for thee to manage any of this whilst Kisrā is lord of the realm and its living inheritor’. Said Bahrām: ‘Whoever is not pleased, let him go away from Madā’in; and if I meet anyone who be not pleased remaining in Madā’in after three days, I shall cut off his head!’ And Mūsīl went away with those who were of his opinion. Their number was twenty thousand men. They went to Āzarbāyjān and they stayed there waiting expectantly for the approach of Kisrā from the land of Rūm and Bindūya remained in prison with Bahrām son of Siyāwušān.

Bahrām son of Siyāwušān was kind to him in food and drink in order thus to curry favour with him, because he thought that Kisrā would come back and take back the kingdom for himself. And so [?] when night covered him he took him out of his prison and bade him sit down with him at drink, and on that night Bindūya said to Bahrām: ‘O Bahrām verily what ye are involved in shall disappear and shall pass away because of the tyranny of Bahrām Šūbīn and his outrage.’ Said Bahrām: ‘Verily I know what thou sayest, and verily I am contemplating something.’ Said Bindūya: ‘And what is it?’ He said: ‘To-morrow I shall kill Bahrām Šūbīn, and men shall have respite of him, [p. 95] so that the realm may go back to its leader and family.’ Bindūya said: ‘As for thy opinion, set me free of my bonds and give me a mount and weapons.’ He did, and when in the morning Bahrām son of Siyāwušān came he put beneath his garment a hauberk and he enfolded his sword within. His wife caught sight of this (she was the daughter of Bahrām Šūbīn’s sister), and she was suspicious. She sent to Bahrām Šūbīn, telling him this.

Bahrām set out for Madā’in. No one of his companions went past him without striking him on the side with a polo mallet. When he heard the sound of the hauberk, he drew his sword, and struck him until he killed him, and he announced to the people in the square the death of Bahrām.

Bindūya thought that Bahrām Šūbīn had been slain, and he mounted his horse and rode to the square. [But] when he learnt that his companion had been slain, he went forth in disguise, travelling by night and hiding by day until he came to Āzarbāyjān. He stayed there with Mūsīl and his companions. When Kisrā had been travelling from the convent for one day and one night two Arabs met them. They stopped before him and Kisrā asked him (he spoke Arabic well) who he was. He told him that he was from the tribe of Ṭayy and that his name was Iyās son of Qabīṣa, and he said to him: ‘Where is the tribe?’ He said: ‘Near’. He said: ‘Is there a town nearby, for hunger has come upon us.’ He said: ‘Yes’. And they turned away from him towards the tribe. They put down there, and they sent their horses to pasture, and he stayed with them for a while, and he treated them well and gave them provisions. He went out with them when they went on the morrow, showing them the way, and even went with them three stages from the shore of the Euphrates. Then he returned, and Kisrā went as far as Yarmuk. Ḫālid son of Jabala, the Ġassanī, came to him. He treated him well and he sent horsemen with him, until he reached Qayṣar. He went before him, and he told him in secret about his plight and [p. 96] what had happened to him. He found him hopeful for his aid and assistance. His patriarch said to him: ‘O king, thou knowest what befel thy fathers from such things since the time of Iskandar. The last thing that befel us was this man’s grandfather’s seizure of the cities of al-Šām which we still possess as an inheritance from our fathers for a thousand years. This man’s father returned them to thee, as soon as thou took the advantage over his cavalry and men. Dismiss the group [of men] who busy themselves with one another. There shall be a great victory when the enemy are furious at one another.’

Qaysar said to the great bishop: ‘What sayest thou, our great one?’

He said: ‘Let not his failure come upon thee, if he had desired it, and the plan to help him shall be [as a treaty of] peace for thee forever.’

Said Qayṣar: ‘Is it right for kings, if one seeketh protection with them, that they grant him not asylum?’

He brought an agreement and treaty of peace to Qayṣar, and he took his daughter Maryam [p. 96: l. 11] as a wife. Then he entrusted his son Ṯiyādūs amongst the braves of his forces, amongst whom were ten men of the Hazārmardān, and he emboldened them with provisions and equipment, and he commanded them to march with them and to escort them for three days. Kisrā went with the army. They took hold of Armīnīyya, and when they came to Āzarbāyjān, his uncle Banduya joined him along with Mūsīl the Armīnī [p. 96: l. 14], and his Marbāns and the Marzbāns of Fārs.

News of this reached Bahrām Šūbīn, and he went earnestly with his forces until he arrived at Āzarbāyjān. He bivouacked one parasang from the camp of Kisrā. Then they marched and a throne of gold for Kisrā and Ṯiyādūs was placed upon a hill, overlooking the two upon the people’s battlefield. When the two cavalries fought one another, a man of the Hazārmardān approached and even drew near Kisrā. He said: ‘Behold this [man], who hath taken thy kingdom from thee!’ Disdain overcame Kisrā because of his outrage against him. He was furious at it, but Bahrām Šūbīn saw him and said: ‘He is [p. 97] master of the piebald horse, wearing a red turban, standing before his companions.’ 

The Roman went towards Bahrām Šūbīn. He called to him: ‘Up, to battle!’ Bahrām went to him. Each struck two blows in turn. The Roman sword did nothing to Bahrām because of the excellence of his hauberk, but Bahrām struck him on the top of his head whilst his helmet was upon it, and he clove the helmet in two, and the sword reached the Roman’s chest. He clove him and the two halves fell to the right and to the left.

Kisrā caught sight of this. He found it odd, and laughed. Ṯiyādūs was wroth, and he said: ‘Thou sawest one of my companions, helping [thee] with a thousand men, being slain and it made thee laugh, as though thou wert pleased at the slaughter of a Roman?’

Said Kisrā: ‘My laughter was not out of my happiness at his killing, but rather he rebuked me as thou didst hear, and I wished him to know him that had taken my kingdom from me, and from whom I fled to you, for it was his blow’.

The people fought for two days. When it was the third day Bahrām summoned Kisrā to single combat, but Kisrā was wary of doing it and Ṯiyādūs tried to prevent him, but Kisrā refused, and he went forth to Bahrām and they chased one another for an hour. Then Kisrā turned away, put to flight. But Bahrām resisted him and he cut him off him from his companions. Kisrā went towards a mountain and Bahrām shouted after him with sword in hand, saying ‘whither goest thou, degenerate?’ Kisrā gathered himself, and his people encouraged him to climb the mountain. When Bahrām saw Kisrā upon the summit of the mountain, he knew that he was victorious over him. He went back in haste, and Kisrā came down at length in order to go to his companions. 

Then two sides formed battle lines on the fourth day, and they fought, and victory went to Kisrā. Bahrām went back with his army in retreat to his camp. Said Bindūya to Kisrā: ‘O king, verily the forces that are with Bahrām if they had no fear for themselves, they would have joined thee. Give me leave to grant them security with thee’. He gave him leave.

When Bindūya came the next day, he approached and stopped at the hill overlooking Bahrām’s camp. Then he asked at the top of his voice: ‘O men! Verily I am Bindūya, son of Sābūr, and Kisrā the king hath commanded me to offer you security; and whosoever among you cometh to us this night, himself, his folk, and his possession shall be safe.’ Then he returned. When the night darkened upon the companions of Bahrām, they set out and made for the camp of Kisrā, but for the number of four thousand men. Verily they stayed with Bahrām. When Bahrām came in the morning, he saw his camp empty. He said: ‘Now is a good time to flee’, and he went back with his companions that had stayed with him, amongst whom were Mardān Sīna and Yazd-Jušnas, and they were among the horsemen of Īrān.

[The Flight of Bahrām]

Kisrā sent in search of him Sābūr son of Abarkān with ten thousand horsemen. He caught up with him, and Bahrām turned to him in the midst of his companions. They fought and Sābūr was routed, and Bahrām went his own way, and continued on his road to a village and he put down in it. Both he and Mardān Sīna and Yazd-Jušnas put down in the house of an old woman. They took food for themselves. They supped and ate, and the old woman was bounteous to him. They brought out drink, and Bahrām spoke to the old woman: ‘hast thou aught to drink from?’ She said: ‘I have a small gourd.’ And she gave it to them and they filled the gourd, and they began to drink from it. Then they brought out nuts, and they said to the old woman: ‘Hast thou aught to put the nuts in?’ And she gave them a winnow. They put the nuts in it. Bahrām ordered the woman to drink. Then he said to her: ‘What news hast thou, old woman?’ She said: ‘We have news that Kisrā has drawn near with his army to Rūm and Bahrām attacked him and beat him and took his kingdom from him.’ Said Bahrām: ‘What is thy saying about Bahrām?’ She said: ‘An ignorant, most foolish man who assumed the kingdom presumptuously, and not [p. 99] of the Royal House.’ Said Bahrām: ‘Why drink we this from a gourd, and eat from a winnow?’ It goes as a proverb among the Iranians whose saying it is.

Bahrām went until he came to Qūmis, and Qārin Jabalī Nihāwandī was there, and he was viceroy of Ḫurāsān, over its defences and its taxes, and [viceroy of] Gurgān—and he was an old man who was over one hundred [years old]—for he was in charge of this region because of Kisrā Anūšarwān. Then Hurmazd son of Kisrā confirmed him [in his position]. When command came to Bahrām he acknowledged his authority in Īrān, and he was generous to him and confirmed him in his place. When Bahrām reached him, Qārin sent his son with ten thousand horsemen, and they barred the way between Bahrām and the way forward. Bahrām sent to him: ‘What is this repayment from thee for my confirming thee in thy position?’ 

Qārin sent to him:‘Verily the obligation that is upon me to the kingdom of Kisrā, and the obligation to his fathers is greater than my obligation to thee, and it would be likewise for thee if thou hadst acknowledged [him], for it ennobled thee. But thou hast paid him back by putting off obedience to him, and thou hast set ablaze the kingdom of Īrān with fire and war, and thou canst at best fall back unsuccessful and spent. Thou hast filled up all the folk with chatter.’

Bahrām said to him: ‘The goat shall be worth two dirhams twice if it was a small she-goat. But if he is become senile and his teeth are fallen out, he is not worth the same [price], but [only] two dirhams. Thus [art] thou in thy senility and the decline of thy reason.’

When this letter reached Qārin, he was wroth and went forth with three thousand riders and foot soldiers from his army and the two divisions advanced to war. When they met, the son of Qārin was slain and his companions were put to flight and went from that region deep into the country of the Turks, betaking himself to the ḫāqān to seek protection with him and aid and guarding. [Word of] Bahrām’s approach reached the ḫāqān. He commanded his tarḫāns and they drew near him [p. 100] and he approached so as to come before the ḫāqān. He preserved him in the safety of his kingdom, and he said: ‘Verily I am come to thee, O king, seeking protection with thee from Kisrā and the folk of his house, so that thou mayest keep me and my companions safe.’ 

Said the ḫāqān to him: ‘Thou and thy companions shall have safety, consolation, and fellowship with me. Then he had a city built, and he built in the midst of it a palace, and he settled him in it and his companions [he settled] there [also], and he apportioned [goods] to them and favoured them with gifts. Bahrām came before the ḫāqān every day, and he sat with him in the council chamber of his brothers, and his distinguished close relatives.

The ḫāqān had a brother called Baġāwīr who was possessed of bravery at skill at riding. Bahrām saw him boasting in his discourse without fear of the king, and showing no respect to his council. Said he on that day to the ḫāqān: ‘O king! Verily I see thy brother boasting in speech and not showing respect to thy council, as he ought to respect the council of kings, and our pledge to kings [to the effect that] their brothers or sons shall not speak before them, save when they ask of him.’

Said the ḫāqān: ‘verily Baġāwīr has received glory in war and horsemanship, and he taketh pride in this in order to expect calamities from me, and he hideth [in his heart] envy for me and hostility.’

Said Bahrām to him: ‘wishest thou, O king, that I should put thee at ease from him.’ He said: ‘How?’ He said: ‘by slaying him.’

He said: ‘yes. Verily I shall allow this for thee on condition that there be no blame upon me for it.’

Said Bahrām: ‘there shall come from this nothing which shall bring disgrace to thee, nor fault.’

When they went in the morning on the next day, Baġāwīr sat and began to boast in his speech. Bahrām said to him: ‘O my brother, why givest thou not full due to the king, nor showest reverence for men, nor givest them honour?’

Said Baġāwīr to him: ‘what art thou? Thou art a fugitive and vagabond Persian!’

Bahrām said to him: ‘thinkest thou that thou hast attained success in horsemanship, wherein none is greater than I?’

Said Baġāwīr to him: ‘what sayest thou to a competition with me?’ I shall acquaint thee with thyself.’

Said [p. 101] Bahrām to him: ‘as for thee, I want this not. When I have mastery over thee, I shall not kill thee because of thy place in the kingdom.’

Said Baġāwīr: ‘but I, when I have mastery over thee, I shall kill thee. Come, let us go out to the desert!’

Said Bahrām: ‘unto justice then! The king hath said this, and there shall be no retaliation for me if I kill thee and no reproach from the king and his tarḫāns.’

He said: ‘yes.’

Saith the ḫāqān: ‘what is it to thee this man seeking help from us, [and] seeking refuge in our protection?’

Said Baġāwīr: ‘I summon him to combat!’

He said: ‘what manner of combat?’

He said: ‘let him stand before me, and I shall stand before him, twenty cubits distant, and I shall shoot at him, and he shall shoot at me, and whichever of us kills the other, there shall be no blame on him, and no blood price.’

Said the ḫāqān to him: ‘be merciful to thyself; thou hast not a mother.’

Said he he: ‘by God, let him do it, or I shall slay him before thee.’

Said he: ‘Thou only.’

Baġāwīr and Bahrām went forth with a number of tarḫāns to the desart, and the tarḫāns stood looking on, and Baġāwīr stood two hundred cubits away from Bahrām. Bahrām said to the tarḫāns: ‘There shall be no shame on me if I kill him. He hath wronged me, as ye see.’

They said: ‘there shall be no shame upon thee.’

Baġāwīr answered: ‘wilt thou begin, or shall I?’

Bahrām called to him: ‘begin thou! Shoot, for thou art covetous and tyrannical.’

Baġāwīr strung his bow and put an arrow to it. Then he drew so that he stretched it far and then shot it. He struck Bahrām below the navel in the midst of his belt and it went through the belt and the armour and the rest of his clothes, even reaching the underskin of his back, and it stayed in him. Bahrām responded and pulled it out, and stood for a moment without putting his hand to his bow because of the strength of the pain that had hit him. Baġāwīr thought that he had killed him, and he rode toward him. Bahrām called out: ‘return to thy place and stand before me, as I did for thee.’

He went back to his place and stood. Bahrām took out his bow and strung it, for he had not [yet] strung it [p. 102]. Then he put an arrow to it and drew it so that he brought it far back. Then he shot it and it struck Bahrām in the same place where the arrow had struck Bahrām in the midst of the belt and the armour, and it went through the belt and the armour and the rest of his clothes, and it went through the other side without any of the feathers going from it. Quickly Baġāwīr fell dead. 

[Word of this] this reached the ḫāqān and he said: ‘may God not not estrange him from others; I tried to hold him back from hubris but he refused.’ Then he proceeded to his tarḫāns and the folk of his house, and he said: ‘Surely I know one among you intended evil for Bahrām without being reprehensible. When Bahrām was alone with the ḫāqān, he thanked him for what he had done, and said: ‘verily thou hast put me at ease from one who desired my death in order to take possession of the kingdom apart from my progeny.’

Then he magnified honour for him and rank and land, and the power of Bahrām grew in the land of the Turks, and he acquired a square by the gate of his palace, and he got a retinue of slave girls, songstresses, and beasts, and he was among the folk most honoured by the ḫāqān.

[The Restoration of Ḫusraw and the Death of Bahrām]

Verily Kisrā, at the routing of Bahrām and his flight, honoured Ṯiyādūs, and those that were with him, and he gave them rewards and blessing, and he dismissed them to their country, and he put his uncle Bindūya in charge of the diwāns and the treasuries, and he carried out his orders throughout the whole kingdom, and he made his uncle Bisṭām governor of Ḫurāsān, Qūmis, Gurgān, and Ṭabaristān. He sent his viceroys to the four corners of the world, and he lifted half the ḫarāj from the people.

When [word of] the great power of the Bahrām with the ḫāqān reached Kisrā, and the vastness of his house in the land of the Turk, he feared that he would raise an army and renew his war. So he sent Hurmazd Jurābzīn to the ḫāqān, desiring to renew the treaty. He sent with him gifts and presents, and he commanded him to be so courteous to the ḫāqān that his heart might be estranged from Bahrām. Hurmazd Jurābzīn went and came before the ḫāqān, and with him was a letter from Kisrā, and Kisrā’s gifts arrived to him [p. 103] and his courteous letter. The ḫāqān received them, and ordered a place [to stay] for him, in order that he might carry out the things that he needed. Hurmazd would go before the ḫāqān with the envoys of kings, and he would greet the king with a salute. Then he went on that day and saw him. He said: ‘O king, verily I see that thou hast deemed Bahrām pure, and that thou hast made his house splendid; but our king did to him much more than thou hast done. But his recompense for it was that he unthroned him and wished to shed his blood, and he went forth against his son Kisrā, in order to cast him out of his kingdom. I doubt not that in the end he shall be treacherous and shall break his promise to thee. Beware of him, O king, lest he estrange thy kingdom from thee.’

When the ḫāqān heard this from him he was wroth with vehement wrath, and he said: ‘Were it not that thou art an envoy and messenger, I would have prevented thy coming to me, for thou hast shown stupidity and thou hast shamed my brother and friend in my presence. Thou shalt surely not repeat this.’

Said Hurmazd Jurābzīn: ‘But if this, O king, be thy counsel on it, I ask thee to hide me, or else [word of] it shall come to him and he shall kill me.’

And he said: ‘It shall be thus for thee.’

Hurmazd went forth despairing of it and went in secret to his wife the ḫātūn (for among women dimwittedness and unbelief are favorable) and he went to her on that day, but did not meet anyone with her, for fear of him. He said to her: ‘O queen, verily ye chose Bahrām and raised up above his power, without trusting that he would take your kingdom as he took it from Hurmazd our king,’ then he narrated to her what he did, and he said: ‘O queen, hadst thou forgotten his slaying of thine uncle the Šāhānšāh, and his taking hold of his throne and his treasure?’ He continued to recount this and [other] examples until hatred of Bahrām made an impression on her heart and fear of him [came] upon her husband and her children.

She said: ‘O woe! How could I have had dealings with him and how did he obtain his rank?’

He said: ‘the counsel is that [p. 104] thou shalt send someone to slay him, and thou shalt trust thy husband and thy son.’

She commanded one of her slaves, whom she trusted to assassinate him boldly. She said to him: ‘set off at once and go before Bahrām and murder him in secret, and return not to me unless thou hast finished with him.’ The slave set off to go into Bahrām’s house with a dagger in his keeping which he had hidden. That day was Wahrām Rūz. 

They say: stargazers had said at his birth that his death would be on Wahrām Rūz, and he had not gone out that day from his house, nor had he made it known to any one but his trusty friends and elites. But the herald went in and informed him that a messenger of the kingdom was seeking leave [to enter], and he gave permission. He went in. Bahrām saluted him. He said: ‘verily the queen hath sent me to thee with a letter. Be thou along with me.’ They that were with Bahrām stood and they went out and the Turk came near him, for he was seeking to attack him. Then he drew his dagger and slit him open with it and went out. He mounted his horse and went away. The companions of Bahrām went in and came upon him bleeding and in his hand was a garment wherewith he dried the blood, and when they saw him in this condition they were astounded, and they said: ‘how didst thou call not to us? How did we not catch him?’ He said: ‘nay, a dog had been commanded to do something and went away.’

He said to them: ‘if [my] strength goeth, watchfulness will not suffice. I have appointed a successor, my brother Mardān-Sīna. Obey his command!’ He sent word to the ḫāqān informing him about himself, and the ḫāqān went towards him in a transport of rage. He came upon him dead, and he buried him in a sarcophagus. He contemplated slaying the ḫātūn, but he was prevented from doing this by reason of the position of his sons [that he had had] by her.

Verily the companions of Bahrām quarelled amongst themselves, and they said: ‘what good have we amongst these [Turks]. There is no counsel but to go out from their land. Verily they are perfidious in promise, and ungrateful to good deeds. Let us depart into the country of Daylam, for it is near our land, and it shall be possible for us to take revenge on our kings who drove us away.’ They asked of the ḫāqān leave to return, and he granted it, [p. 105] and he treated them well. He encouraged them and escorted them to the border of his land. 

There was with Bahrām his sister Kurdīya, and she was among the most beautiful women of Īrān and the most excellent of them in skill and the most perfect of them in noble character and the most skilled on them in riding. The companions of Bahrām went out and Kurdīya was at the head of them upon the horse of Bahrām, accoutred in his armour, until they came to the river Jayḥūn, which is near Ḫurāsān. They crossed there. From them the tarḫāns went away. The companions of Bahrām took the shore of the river. Then they went down to Gurgan and followed the road to Ṭabaristān. Then they kept close to the shore of the sea until they came to the country of Daylam. The inhabitants asked them [to stay] with them in their country. They agreed to it, and they wrote a letter among them, [to the effect] that no one should do any damage to any one, and they gave promise of safety. They got food from towns villages and fertile fields. They worked with the men of Daylam in every matter.

[The Rebellion of Bisṭām]

When Bahrām was killed Kisrā saw that the kingdom was firmly his. He had no care apart from seeking to avenge his father Hurmazd, and he wished to begin with his two uncles Bindūya and Bisṭām, and he forget Bindūya’s assistance to him. Kisrā continued to act boldly towards the two for ten years. Verily he went out in the days of spring, as was his custom, making for al-Jabal, that he might spend the summer there. He put down at Ḥulwān, and Bindūya was with him. He commanded that his tent be struck in the square, so that he might look upon the Marzbāns playing polo. He sat in that tent and saw Šīrzād son of Bahbūđān strike the ball, and he played well. Whatever he hit, he did well. Kisrā said to him ‘zih suwār,’ and the lieutenant enumerated his saying this a hundred times. He wrote to Bindūya with four hundred thousand dirhams (four thousand dirhams for each time). When the document arrived to Bindūya, he cast it away from his hand and said: ‘the treasury is not established for this waste.’ What he said reached Kisrā, and he made this a pretext [p. 106] for pouncing upon him. 

He ordered the chief guard to go to him and cut off his hands and feet. The chief guard went forward in order to carry out the order against him. Kisrā ordered Bindūya to meet him, heading for the square. He ordered him to get off his horse and to cut his hands and his feet and to leave him, stranded where he was, bleeding. Bindūya began to insult Kisrā and to insult his father and to mention the perfidy of the house of Sāsān and their breach of faith. He was saying all this to Kisrā, and he said to those of his viziers that were around him: ‘Bindūya claims that the folk of Sāsān is perfidious and faith-breaking, whilst he himself hath forgotten his [own] perfidy in the reign of our father, when he went to him with his brother Bisṭām, and the two cast off the turban from his neck, and then strangled him with it cruelly and in hostility, in order thereby to get near me, as though he were not my father.’

Then he rode to the square, and passed by Bindūya, while he was on the open road, and he ordered the peope to pelt him with stones, and they stoned him until he died. He said: ‘[Do] this until his sister comes’, [for] that is what he wanted from the entourage of Bisṭām and his brother Bindūya.

Then he ordered the Scribe of Secrets to write to Bisṭām to appoint a trusty successor over his work. He went forward, hurrying along, to investigate the matter with him. Bisṭām did this, and he received the missive. When he arrived at the border of Qūmis, Mardān Bih Qahramān (whose brother was Bindūya) welcomed him. When he saw him from afar, he raised his voice in weeping and wailing. Bisṭām said to him: ‘Go thou back!’ He told him of the murder of his brother. But he did not find his way into the land. He turned back to the companions that were in Daylam. 

[Word of] Bisṭām’s advance towards him reached Mardān-Sīna, chief of the companions of Bahrām. He rejoiced at it and went forth to receive him with all his companions because of Bisṭām’s honour in Īrān and his importance. Then they went forward with him until they settled him in a beautiful house, and the nobles of that country rode to him. He gave them assurances of safety. Then [p. 107] verily Mardān-Sīna and the grandees said to Bisṭām: ‘why is it that Kisrā laid claim to the kingdom from thee, whilst thou art son of Sābūr son of Ḫurbundād of the pure lineage of Bahman son of Isfandyāđ? Verily ye are brothers to the house of Sāsān and partakers with them in the kingdom. Come now! Let us pledge allegiance to thee and give thee Kurdiya as wife, sister of Bahrām. We have a golden throne which Bahrām had brought from Madā’in. Sit upon it and take it for thyself. The folk of thy house from the sons of Dārā son of Bahman shall flock to thee, and if thy bravery be potent and thine army great, thou shalt go to the perfidious Kisrā and make war upon him and seek to gain the kingdom. If thou be victorious, our wish and thine shall be fulfilled; and if thou art slain, thou art slain whilst taking a kingdom, and shalt win thereby glory and honour!’

When Bisṭām heard this he heeded it, and gave approval to what they had set forth before him. They gave him Kurdiya as wife, and they sat him upon the golden throne, and they put the crown upon his head, and they pledged allegiance to him down to the last of them, and they hailed him as king. The nobles of the country followed him, and there flocked to him Gilan and Babr, and Taylasān and many peoples of the folk of his house from the region of ʿIrāq of those who had been fond of him and fond of his brother, so that he went forward with one hundred thousand men. 

He went out to Dastabāy, and he stayed in it and sent forth raiding parties in the land of al-Jabal, and they even reached Ḥulwān and Saymara, and Māsabađān. Kisrā’s viceroys fled and the dihqāns fortified themselves in fortresses and mountain tops. [Word of] this reached Kisrā and he stood aghast, and he knew that he had not taken full command by killing Bindūya; he had taken command by deceit. He wrote to Bisṭām [to the effect] that ‘word of thy march to sinful perfidy hath reached me; [as hath word of] the companions of the godless Bahrām and their dissembling to you what is right for thee. Then they bore thee along unto attacking the kingdom and creating disaster in it and corruption [p. 108], but thou knowest what I have in mind for thee, and what hath been as punishment for thee. Put off persisting in error and receive safety from me, without suffering the same savage murder as thy brother Banduya.’

Bisṭām answered him thus: ‘thy letter is come to me with thy deceit that thou hast told me of, and the guile that thou hast written. Die in thine anger and taste of the evil of thy deed, and know that thou art not more worthy of this power than I, but rather I am more worthy of it than thee, for I am the son of Dārā son of Dārā, who fought Iskandar, but ye (O son of Sāsān) took what was righfully ours by force and craft. Your father Sāsān was only a shepherd, and if his father had known better he would not have kept the kingdom from him and given it to his daughter Ḫumānā.’

When his letter reached Kisrā, he knew that he desired it not, and dispatched against him three chiefs with three armies, each army having twelve thousand men in it. The first army went through, having at its head Sābūr son of Abarkān; then he added to it the second army, and at its head was Hurmazd Jurābzīn. When the three divisions of the army met with Bisṭām, they went towards him and came to Hamađān. They stayed there, and he sent forth soldiers to the top of a steep road in order to prevent people from going up and getting through.

He said: ‘put the armies in the foothills in a place called Qalūṣ’, and they wrote to Kisrā telling him of this. Kisrā went out by himself with fifty thousand horsemen and he came to his army (they were bivouacked at Qalūṣ), and he stayed there with them for a while, and rested. Then he went to a district called Šawāh, and from there he went into Hamađān by the road in which there are no mountains and no steep roads, until he reached the interior of Hamađān. The army was there. He dug a trench for himself, and Bisṭām came against him with his army. They fought with a mighty slaughter [p. 109]. They fought for three days without anyone on either side suffering defeat. When Kisrā saw this, he said to Kurdī son of Bahrām Jušnas, brother to Bahrām Šūbīn (by his father and his mother), and he was among the most sincere of Kisrā’s Marzbāns, and the strongest of them in affection for him, and the swiftest of them in obedience to him. He said: ‘Thou hast seen what [condition] we are in because of the ferocity of this war, and I hope for repose from it by means of a subtle trick.’

He said: ‘And what is it, O king?’

He said: ‘Verily thy sister Kurdiya, wife of Bisṭām, yearneth most certainly to return to her people and homeland, and I know that if she achieveth the murder of Bisṭām, she shall be happily rid of him and glad of her keenness and boldness, which I have heard of. If she kill him she she shall have from me the protection of God. I shall take her to wife and make her lady of my women, and I shall pass on the kingdom after me to her offspring, if I have any by her, and I shall put this in a letter. Send it to her, so that this shall be declared to her and what toucheth her shall be clear.’

Kurdī said to him: ‘O king, write to her in thy letter what thou wishest, and know the truthfulness of thy speech therein, that I may dispatch it to her in a letter with my wife. Verily I put faith in her character in concealing the secret. Kisrā wrote to her to this effect, and gave her assurance, and Kurdī took the letter and dispatched it with his wife to Kurdiya. Bisṭām had gone out to her with it, because of the strength of his love for her. When Kurdiya read Kisrā’s letter, she knew his firmness and she told her secret to her nurses and trusty people, and he suggested to her that they look out expectantly to their home countries.

Bisṭām had nothing to do with the coming of women to Kurdiya, for he knew of a thousand women and their exchange of visits. When Bisṭām had gone back to his abode that evening, where Kurdiya was, tired, for fatigue had attacked him [p. 110] due to the vehemence of the war, he called for food, and he partook of it. Then he called for drink. Kurdiya served the drink unmixed, so that drunkenness overcame him and he slept. She went to his sword and put the edge of the sword on his breast and she pushed on it, so that it went out his back. Then she went out straightway and departed with her retinue and nurses. Her brother, accompanied by horsemen, stopped her on the road. When she reached him, she carried on with him, and she went in the baggage train.

When the companions of Bisṭām went in the morning, and found him slain, they went away in flight toward the country of Daylam, and Kisrā sent Sābūr son of Abarkān with twenty thousand horsemen, and he commanded him to stay in Qazwīn. She was armed there, and she wished to go from the land of Daylam to his kingdom. Then he gave Kurdiya in marriage and put her under his protection, and he went back to Madā’in and Kurdiya stayed in the midst of it in an exceedingly pleasant place. He thanked her for what she had done. 

The dejection and desire for avenging his father’s death that had been in Kisrā’s soul went away, and his rule was secure. He was calm and he settled down.

[Ḫusraw II’s Roman War]

They say: then verily the son of Qayṣar, the king of Rūm approached Kisrā Abarwīz and informed him that the patriach of Rūm and his grandees had pounced upon his father Qayṣar and his brother Ṯiyādūs son of Qayṣar and they slew them together, and they appointed as king over them a man of their tribe called Kawkasān, and he recounted to him the calamity of his father and his brother before him. Abarwīz was wroth at it, and he dispatched with him three commanders, one of whom was Šahīn, with twenty four thousand men. They went deep into the land of Rūm, and he spread predatory incursions throughout it, until he reached the straights of Constantinople, and he camped there. His other lieutenant was Būđ, and he went towards the land of Egypt and made predatory incursions and created disorder and wasted [the land] until he came to Iskandarīyya. He conquered it by force, and went [p. 111] to the great church that is at Iskandarīyya, and he took its bishop and tortured him until he revealed the location of the wood whereon Christians say that Christ was crucified, and it had been buried in a place, above which basil had been planted.

The third commander was Šahryār. He went until he entered Syria, and he killed its people with brisk slaughter until he took all of it by force.

When the grandees of Rūm saw what had befallen them because of Kisrā, they foregathered and killed the man whom they had made king and they said: ‘Verily the like of this man besat not the kingdom’, and they chose for themselves the son of the uncle of the slain Qayṣar, who was called Hiraql, him that built the city Hiraql. This was the victory whereof God most high speaks in his book.

Verily Hiraql, whom Rūm chose as king, raised an army of the folk of his kingdom, and went against the commander that was encamped on the straights [of Constantinople], and he made war on him until he drove him out of the land of Rūm. Then he repaired to the one that was in the land of Egypt, and he drove him from it. Then he turned to Šahryār and drove him from Syria. Then all the armies arrived in al-Jazīra, and Heraql went towards them. He attacked them and routed them and they even retreated to Mawṣil. [Word of ] this reached Kisrā and he went forth with his army towards Mawṣil, and his three commanders joined him. They went towards Hiraql, and they fought, and the Persians were routed. When Kisrā saw this he was wroth at the grandees of his army and his Marzbāns. He commanded that they be put into prison so that they be killed.

[The Deposition of Ḫusraw II]

When the folk of the kingdom saw this, they sent messages to one another and they resolved upon the deposition of Kisrā and the appointment of Šīrūya son of Kisrā as king. They unthroned him and made Šīrūya king, and imprisoned Kisrā in one of the chambers of the palace, and they put in charge of him Ḥīlūs, chief of the courageous men. This was in the ninth year of the prophet’s migration (peace be upon him and upon his family and blessing). [p. 112] Verily Šīrūya commanded that his father be moved from the palace of the kingdom, and be imprisoned in the house of one of the Marzbāns called Harsafta. His head was veiled and he was borne on a horse of mean breed, and be betook himself on it to that place and was imprisoned there. Ḥīlūs was put in charge of him with five hundred brave troops.

Then verily the grandees of the kingdom went before Šīrūya, and they said ‘it is not right that there be two kings over us; order the killing of thy father and take command alone, or we shall depose thee and give rule back to him as it was!’

This saying crushed Šīrūya, then he said: ‘give me a day’s delay.’ Then he ordered Yazdān Jušnas chief of the secretaries charged with official correspondence, and he said to him: ‘depart to our father and tell him, from our letter, that:

“Punishment that is visited upon thee from God is because of thine evil conduct. First, what thou didst to thy father Hurmazd; next, thy forbidding us the livelihood of thy children, and depriving us of land, and thine imprisonment of us in the palace as thought it were a prison, and [thy shewing] neither mildness nor mercy; next, thine ingratitude to Qayṣar’s kindness to thee and his assistance to thee, and thou didst not respect his son and his relations, inasmuch as they came to thee asking thee to return the wood of the cross which Šahīn had sent to thee from Iskandarīyya. Thou didst prevent them from [having] it, though thou hadst no need of it, nor entitlement to withold it; next, didst thou not command the killing of thirty thousand men from among thy Marzbāns and grandees of thy knights because thou didst claim that they had been defeated by Rūm? Next, the great amount of possessions which thou didst pile up including goods and treasure in thy treasury from sudden rises in taxation with increasing severity: it is rather better for kings to fill their treasuries with what they take from enemy countries with the necks [p. 113] of horses and the points of lances, not with what they ask of their peasants; next, thy murder of Nuʿmān son of Munđir and thy estranging the land of his kingdom from his offspring and the folk of his house to others, namely Iyās son of Qabīṣa al-Ṭayy. Thou didst not protect them as thy father protected him, from the upbringing of Bahrām Jūr thy grandfather, and his assistance after the kingdom went away from him and even returned it to him. All these are the offences which thou didst perpetrate and sins which thou didst commit, and God was not pleased with thee, and he punished thee for them”.’

Yazdān Jušnas went away and brought Šīrūya’s letter to Kisrā, without diminishing a word from it. Kisrā said to him: ‘[the letter] is come; behold [my] answer as I convey the letter. Say to Šīrūya the short-lived, the small, the gullible, of defective intellect: 

“We bring thee answer to all that thou hast sent us without excuse in order to increase knowledge in thy ignorance. But we are pleased at what thou hast said about the killing of our father. Verily I was not acquainted with the plot hatched by the people to seize upon him. For thou knowest that, when my reign was secure, I spared no one that had taken part in unseating him or bringing about his murder, but killed them all. I finished this off with my two uncles Bindūya and Bisṭām together with all them that were with them under my command. As for my depriving you of the livelihood of my sons, verily I separated you so that thou mightest learn manners, and I prevented thee from being involved in what concerned you not. Nevertheless I was not sparing in feeding you, nor in your expenses, nor in your clothes, nor in your good things, nor in your riding mounts. As for thee in particular, verily the stargazers ordained at thy birth the censure of our kingdom and the destruction of our power at thy hand. But we ordered not thy murder. Moreover Qarmīsiyā the king of India wrote to us informing us that at the end of the thirty-ninth year of our reign this power would come to thee. We hid this book from thee together with our knowledge that [rule] should not come to thee [p. 114] save by our destruction. This book together with the prophecy of thy birth is with Šīrīn, our consort. If thou wishest, take them and read them until thy grief and ruin increase.

As for what thou hast recounted of my perfidy to Qayṣar’s kindness by my taking away his son, the folk of his house, and the wood of the cross, O sobbing [child], greater than this wood are the thiry million [dirhams] that I spent on the men of Rūm who came with me and the million dirhams that I sent as a gift to Qayṣar, and likewise I accompanied his son Ṯiyādūs on his return to his kingdom. Am I niggarly who spent more than fifty million dirhams on them, whilst keeping the worthless wood? I kept it because of their obedience to it, and so that they should obey me in whatever I wish of them, because of the great strength of the wood among them.

But as for my wrath against Qayṣar and my seeking revenge on him, I killed a vast number of the Rūm.

As for thy saying to those marzbāns and the chief knights that I planned to kill, verily I took care of them for thirty years, I raised their pay, and I gave them gifts. I raised no grievance against them thoughout my life save on that day whereon they became weak and become disobedient. But ask, thou awkward youth, the judges of this religion about [each man] who failed in helping his king and who refrained from making war on his enemies, and they shall tell thee that they deserve neither forgiveness nor mildheartness. As for thine upbraiding me about the gathering of treasure, that tax was not an innovation by me, for kings before me have always required it for the strength of the kingdom and as a glory for the ruler. Verily on of the kings of India wrote to my grandfather Anūšarwān: “‘the kingdom is likeunto a flourishing garden around which is a sturdy wall and a strong door; if the wall be thrown down and the gates be broken, it shall not be safe for thee to pasture asses and cows in it.’” My door in the wall is the army and its gates are riches. Remember, thou simpleton, this wealth is a fortress for the kingdom and strength for the ruler, and a help against enemies, and glory amongst kings.

As for what thou hast claimed about my killing of Nuʿmān son of Munđir and my putting an end to the rule of the people of ʿAmīn son of ʿAdī and giving it to Iyās son of Qabīṣa, verily Nuʿmān and the folk of his house agreed with the Arabs for they knew them. The kingdom’s tax dripped from us to them, and books had been put down about this for them. I killed him and appointed Arabs of the desert without his knowing anything of this.” Go to Šīrūya and tell him all this.’

Yazdān Jušnas communicated it without dimishing aught from it. Grief overtook Šīrūya. When on the morrow the grandees of the folk of the kingdom had gathered, they went before Šīrūya as they had done on the day before and he himself was afraid. He caused to be sent man after man of the Marzbāns to kill his father. But not one could approach him, until he sent a youth of them called Yazdak the scribe son of Mardān Šāh, Marzbān of Bābil and Ḫuṭarnīyya. When he came before him, he said: ‘Who art thou?’

He said: ‘I am the son of Mardān Šāh, Marzbān of Bābil and Ḫuṭarnīyya.’

Kisrā said to him: ‘Thou art master of my life, and this because I killed thy father unjustly.’ The lad struck him until he slew him. He returned to Šīrūya, and he told him [about it]. Šīrūya struck him on the face and tore out his hair and put him in prison. He returned to the grandees of the folk of the kingdom in order to put him inside a coffin. Then he went back and commanded that the boy that killed his father be killed.

In that year in which Šīrūya reigned the Apostle of God (peace be upon him and blessing) died and appointed Abū Bakr as his successor. Then Šīrūya, when rule went [p. 116] to his brothers — and they were twenty five men — and he cut off their heads for fear that they would deprive him of rule, but sickness and illness took hold of him so that he died. His reign was nine months.

After him Fārs chose as king for itself his son Šīrzād son of Šīrūya. But he was a boy and they put in charge of him a man to take care of him and to oversee the rule of the kingdom until he grew up.

When the killing of Kisrā reached Šahryār, who was near Rūm, he approached with his army and arrived at Madā’in. Šīrūya had died and his son Šīrzād had been made king. He was furious at this matter and went into Madā’in. He killed all hat had abetted the murder of Kisrā and his deposition. He killed Šīrzād and his ward, and he took charge of the kingdom and called himself king. This was in the twenty second year of history.

When the reign of Šahryār was finished, the disdain of the grandees of the folk of the kingdom grew because the kingdom had been entrusted to one who was not of the royal house. They pounced on him and killed him, and they made king over them Juwān Šīr son of Kisrā, and he was a child and his mother was Bahrām Šūbīn and he reigned for one year. The he died and they chose to rule over them Būrān daughter of Kisrā and this was because Šīrūya had left no brothers, but had killed all of them save Juwān Šīr. Verily he was a child and moreover he was a weak ruler of Fārs and their affairs were weakened and their valour was broken.

Here Pourshariati’s translation takes over (Pourshariati 2010, p. 261 et seqq.)

Mike Richard,
Sep 18, 2011, 1:33 AM
Mike Richard,
Jun 3, 2012, 2:44 PM
Mike Richard,
Jun 3, 2012, 2:42 PM
Mike Richard,
Jun 7, 2011, 6:50 AM
Mike Richard,
Sep 18, 2011, 1:35 AM