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Full text of "Politicization of the background of Nizami Ganjavi: Attempted de-Iranization of a historical Iranian"

JlcJjuj ojj%j jj ^U (j\ 

• • • 

CjljujI ^L QjoJb jS± Ol CjljujI (j3uuJ 

Politicization of the background of Nizami 

Ganjavi: Attempted de-Iranization of a historical 

Iranian figure by the USSR 

B y D r. A li D oostzadeh 
(alidoostzadeh "AT"y ahoo.com) 

(In memory of Vladimir Minorsky and Nowruzali Mohammadzadeh) 

Special thanks go to Shahrbaraz http//:shahrbaraz.blogspot.com for proof-reading and 
adding useful comments. This article is dedicated to the memory of Novruzali 
Mammadov and Vladimir Minorsky. 

Note 1: The article believes that Nizami Ganjavi despite his Iranic background, culture 
and contribution to Iranian civilization, and being a product of this civilization is a 
universal figure. He is also equally a part of the heritage of Iran, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, 
Tajikistan and modern republic of Azerbaijan. These are people that are either Iranian or 
have been greatly affected by Iranian civilization although at his own time, the concept of 
nation-state did not exist for any particular modern country to claim Nizami Ganjavi. 
People of Iranic backgrounds and inheritors of Persian language, civilization and culture 
have the duty to present this universal figure to the world and keep his language alive. At 
the same time, this great figure has been politically manipulated by some ethno-minded 
scholars and USSR ethno-engineers. The article discusses this issue at length where 
USSR tried (and failed) to detach this great Iranian figure from Iranian civilization. 

Note 2: the PDF version of this article reads much better and can be downloaded from 

here: 

http://sites.google.com/site/rakhshesh/articles-related-to-iranian-history 



(look for PersianPoetNezamiGanjeiPoliticizationByUSSR.pdf) 

Or 

http://www.archive.org/details/PoliticizationOfTheBackgroundOfNizamiGanjaviAttempt 

edDe-iranizationOf 

(look for PDF file) 

Or 

http://www.kavehfarrokh.com/articles/pan-turanism/ 

(look for .pdf file) 

To Cite: 

Doostzadeh, Ali. "Politicization of the background of Nizami Ganjavi: Attempted de- 

Iranization of a historical Iranian figure by the USSR", June 2008 (Updated 2009). 

URL: http://sites.google.com/site/rakhshesh/articles-related-to-iranian-history 

The article should also be somewhere in www.archive.org 



The goal of this article is to examine the ethnic roots and cultural association of Nezami 
Ganjavi, one of the greatest Persian poets. It is of course well known that Nezami is a 
universal figure, but there are two reasons to examine his ethnic and cultural associations. 
The first reason is that it helps us understand his work better. We provide exposition of 
rare sources (such as Nozhat al-Majales) which are crucial for the study of the 12 th 
century region of Arran and Sherwan. The other reason to write this article, as explained 
later in this paper (under the section: politicization of Nizami USSR and its remnants 
today), is the politicization surrounding Nezami Ganjavi's ethnic and cultural background 
by the USSR for the purpose of nation building. Through objective analysis based on 
Nezami Ganjavi's work and other primary sources, we analyze the ethnic root and 
cultural background of Nezami Ganjavi. 

The politicization discussion centers on the following points. Despite the fact that Nizami 
Ganjavi being a Persian poet and all of his poetry is in Persian, is he a cultural icon from 
the Iranian civilization or Turkic civilization? What is his ethnic background and does it 
play role in assigning to which civilization he belongs? 

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kS\ c ^jjjj 9 uly^JLuul 9J ^jv-qjIo 

And does this question matter at all, given Nizami' s usage of Persian as his cultural 
vehicle and hence his contribution to Persian culture, language and civilization? Given 
the fact that Nizami Ganjavi's poem cannot be translated without losing its multi-layered 
symbolic meaning and fine details, and given the fact that there is no "pure ethnicity" in 
the modern Middle East and Caucasia, and given the fact that ethnic divisions were not as 
prominent as they are today, does the question even matter? The belief of this author is 
that the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi belongs to all humanity equally. At the same time, 
Nizami and his legacy are part of the same culture that he was influenced by and 
expanded upon. That is other great poets before him, including Ferdowsi, Asadi Tusi, 
Fakhr ad-in Asad Gorgani and Sanai were his predecessors. Those who speak, read and 
write Persian, and understand verses of Nizami' s poetry, are those that keep the heritage 



of Nizami alive today and have a special responsibility to pass down the cultural heritage 
of great Persian poets like Ferdowsi, Sanai, Nizami, Attar and many others. For example, 
Pushkin who is the most popular literary figure of Russians is a Russian poet and has 
served the Russian language and followed the Russian literary tradition. His ethnicity 
from his father's side was partially Ethiopian but nevertheless he is part of Russian 
culture and civilization. We shall get back to this issue in the conclusion of this essay. 
Thus the question of ethnicity is secondary relative to that of the culture/civilization 
which a poet arises from and contributes towards. Especially in the middle ages when the 
concept of nation-state did not exist and one has to concentrate on ethnicity and culture 
which defines ethnicity. 

Despite this simple fact that ethnicity of most 12 th century figures (and most people do 
not know their say 20 th ancestor!) cannot be 100% known, we will look into the details of 
Nizami 's background and we will provide criticism for invalid interpretations, recent 
forgeries of non-existent verses and the politicization of Nizami by the USSR in order to 
materialize Stalin's unfulfilled wish that "Nizami must not be surrendered to 
Iranian/Persian literature "! Ultimately, Nizami is part and parcel of Persian-Iranian 
literature and culture, since he lives through this language, all his thoughts are in this 
language and he is popular due the masterpieces in this language. The question of 
whether he belongs to Iranian civilization or Turkic civilization is simply answered by 
anyone who can read his untranslatable work in its original language. The issue of his 
ethnicity has no bearing on this fact. Yet, we will look at this issue in detail and show 
that there is nothing to support a Turkic ethnicity for Nizami where -as the corpus of 
Nizami' s work and other historical and cultural reasons show an Iranic 
background. That is the issue of claiming Turkic father line for Nizami lacks any 
solid proof and is used today ethno-nationalists from the republic of Azerbaijan to 
detach Nezami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization. 

It is clearly evident that in terms of cultural orientation, cultural background, legacy, 
myth, folklore and language, Nizami Ganjavi is part of Iranian civilization and a 
prominent of Persian cultural history. Thus attempted political annexation of Nizami 
Ganjavi from Iranian civilization and attribution of Nizami Ganjavi towards Turkic 
civilization will simply bear no fruit in the long run (since he does not even have a single 
verse in any other language than Persian) and is a futile political effort which was taken 
up by USSR for nation-building process and is continued today for unscientific reasons 
of ethnic nationalism. Nizami Ganjavi survives through more than 30000+ Persian 
verses and his background is well known to be at least half Iranic and we will show in 
this article that it was full Iranic. There is nothing to support a Turkic background for 
Nizami Ganjavi 's father, who Nizami was orphaned from in an early age and was raised 
by his Kurdish maternal uncle Khwaja Umar. 

The reader of course is free to make their own conclusion, but this does not change the 
simple fact that Nizami inherited the Persian heritage by previous Iranian poets, 
composed in the Persian language through Iranian culture, is alive through the Persian 
language, Iranian folklore, mythology and culture and finally it is the Persian speakers of 
the world who can read him in his own language and appreciate his untranslatable poetry 



(he is arguably one of the hardest poets to translate because of the multi-layered meaning 
of many verses, play with language and extensive use of symbolism/imagery pertinent to 
Persian language and culture). At the same time, we do not deny his shared heritage 
among countries that have been influenced heavily by Iranian culture and are inheritors 
of Iranian civilizations and culture. Thus besides highlighting the politicization by the 
USSR and Stalin, the article will expose many forgeries and invalid arguments to detach 
Nezami Ganjavi from Iranian background, language and culture. 



TABLE OF CONTENT 

Basic Nomenclature on ethnic names used in this writing 6 

On the ethnonym Azeri/Azerbaijani 7 

What did the USSR mean by Azerbaijani? 18 

Politicization of Nizami by the USSR and its Remnants Today 19 

Two important and recent articles on Politicization of Nezami by Alexandar Otarovich 

Tamazshvilli 40 

Article 1 of Tamazash villi: From the History of Study of Nezami-ye Ganjavi in the 

USSR: Around the Anniversary - E.E. Bertels, J.V. Stalin, and others" 42 

Article 2 of Tamazshvilli: Afterword: (Iranology in Russia and Iranologists) 70 

Recent Politicization of the Figure of Nizami Ganjavi 77 

Nizami 's Mother 90 

Nizami and his maternal uncle Khwaja Umar 94 

Nizami's Father 94 

Dynasties before and during the era of Nizami 97 

Pre-Islamic Iranic dynasties of Arran, Sherwan and Azerbaijan 97 

Post-Islamic period, the Iranian Intermezzo before the Seljuqids 100 

Seljuqid Empire and subsequent local Atabak dynasties 110 

Regional Iranian culture in Arran/Sherwan and Azerbaijan 122 

Arran/Sherwan and Nezami 's designation of Iran/Persia for his land 122 

Iranic languages and people of Azerbaijan 138 

Language of Tabriz as a special case 143 

Maragheh 149 

Another look at the linguistic Turkification of Azerbaijan, Arran and Sherwan 149 

Qatran Tabrizi, rise of Persian-Dari poetry and what a few modern scholars have called 

"Azerbaijani schooP'of Persian poetry 161 

What did Nezami call his own style? 168 

Persian poetry images and symbols: Turk, Hindu, Rum, Zang/Habash 169 

Which Turks are described in Persian Poetry? 206 

Unsound arguments made during the USSR era about the ethnicity of Nizami 211 

False argument: A false verse created in 1980 211 

Incorrect argument: Nizami uses "Turkish words" so "he must be Turkish" 214 

Incorrect argument: Nizami Praises Seljuq Turks (or Turks) so he was half Turkic . 221 
Invalid Argument: Nizami wanted to write Turkish but he was forced to write in 

Persian! 238 

The false statement from Stalin 238 

No evidence of Turkic literature in the Caucasus and historical invalidity of the 

argument due to Shirvanshah not being Persian and not Turkic rulers 239 

Example of politically minded writer today 246 

Criticial editions of the verses in question 250 

Translation and explanation of the introduction of Layli and Majnoon 257 

Misinterpretation of a verse in Haft Paykar 310 

Incorrect argument: Nizami and his research into Dari-Persian and Arabic literature 

means that he was aTurk 329 

Incorrect argument: Nizami praises Alexander, so "he must have been a Turk" 334 



Invalid arguments about Idioms, Dedicatees, Eldiguzids, Sunni and Shi'i and other 

invalid arguments 338 

Alleged Claim of Turkish Idioms 338 

Eldiguzids-Feudal lords (Atabekan) of Azerbaijan 343 

Invalid arguments: Dedicatees of Nezami were Turks so Nezami was a Turk! 349 

Invalid Argument: Court poetry and official language was in Persian and that is why 

Nezami wrote in Persian to get paid 350 

Sunni and Shi'i! 353 

Conclusion of invalid arguments 354 

Nizami's Iranian Background, Culture and Contribution to the Persian Language, Culture 

and Civilization 355 

Iranian background and some statements from scholars 356 

Nezami's reference to himself as the Persian Dehqan 359 

Nizami's reference to his wife and another proof of non-Turkic background for Nizami 

363 

Other Indicators of Nizami Ganjavi's Father line 369 

Lack of Turkish names unlike Turkish dynasties and groups 369 

Urban background 369 

Shafiite Madhab 370 

Qom theory 375 

Intermarriage was rare between Western Iranians and Turks due to both religious 

and ethnic factors 379 

Nizami Ganjavi's Culture 381 

Viewpoints of Navai and a perspective upon culture 382 

Nizami and the inheritance of Ferdowsi's throne 387 

Cultural Content of the works of Nizami Ganjavi 394 

Nizami Ganjavi's attachment to Iran 406 

Conclusion 407 

Bibliography 410 

Appendix A: Modern scholastic sources 415 

Corrected information 428 

Appendix B: Response to two arguments with regards to the population of Turks in 

Caucasus 431 

Do "Turkish" soldiers in Baghdad during the early Abbasid period have anything to do 

with Caucasus and Azerbaijan 431 

Akbar Kitab al-Tijan: The Arab folklore Kitab al-Tijan and fight between mythical 
Yemenese Kings and Turanians/Turks in Azerbaijan has no historical validity. On the 

background of Turanians 435 

Appendix C: Some important neglected sources in the study of Nezami Ganjavi 459 

Appendix D: On the etymology of the name Axsartan 460 



Basic Nomenclature on ethnic names used 
in this writing 



In this article we use the term Persian, Kurdish, Azeri, Iranic, Qipchaq, Oghuz and 
Turkic. It is important to have a clear definition with this regard. 

Kurdish: Speaker of the dialects and languages considered Kurdish which is the NW 
Iranian language family. 



Persian: Is a native speaker of various Iranian dialects. This includes Pahlavi dialects as 
well as NW Iranic languages identified as Fahlaviyyat and Azari during the middle ages 
and also the Parsi-Dari. The term Persian usually is not as a single linguistic term rather it 
denotes a speaker of variety any of the Iranic dialects who have pre-Islamic Sassanid 
heritage and Iranian mythology as exemplified by the Shahnameh. We will make a 
distinction when we speak of the Dari form of Persian (itself according to scholars the 
Khorasani dialect of Middle Persian) rather than what Qatran Tabrizi, Al-Masudi, Biruni 
and Nezami have called Persian (Parsi), which is the general definition. 



Iranic: Means a native speaker of the Iranic languages. This term encompasses both 
Persian and Kurdish and various other Iranian speakers including Soghdians, Scythians, 
Medes and etc. In general it encompasses the totality of Iranian civilization and languages 
as well those with Iranian heritages. 

Oghuz: Speaker of Oghuz dialects, mainly the western Turkic languages. 

Qipchaq: Speakers of Qipchaq or similar eastern Turkic languages. 

Turkic: Like Iranic, it denotes the speakers of Turkic languages. In Persian literature, the 
Mongols have also been considered as Turks since the bulk of the troops and tribes of the 
Mongol federation were of Turkic rather than Mongolic origin. Also the term Tatar has 
been used in this fashion. Thus Turkic encompasses the totality of various Turkic 
cultures, language and civilizations and the Altaic people. It should be noted that 
however in early Islamic era, non- Altaic speakers such as Soghdians, Alans and A vesta 
Turanians etc. have also been lumped with Turks in some sources due to geographical 
reasons. See Appendix B and C of this article for some observations with this regard. 

Arabic: Native Arab speaker. 

Armenian: Native Armenian speaker. 

Georgian/Caucasian: Speaker of one of the languages that has been loosely classified as 
Caucasian languages by linguists of today. 

On the ethnonym Azeri Azerbaijani 



The name Azerbaijan is a Persian word and goes back to the Persian Satrap of Media, 
Atropates. 

Professor Vladimir Minorsky writes: 

"Called in Middle Persian Aturpatakan, older new-Persian Adharbadhagan, 

Adharbayagan, at present Azarbaydjan, Greek ' Axpo7iaxf|vr| ? Byzantine Greek 

' ASpaPiydvcov, Armenian Atrapatakan, Syriac Adhorbayghan, the province was called 

after the general Atropates ("protected by fire"), who at the time of Alexander's invasion 

proclaimed his independence (328 B.C.) and thus preserved his kingdom (Media Minor, 

Strabo, xi, 13, 1) in the north-western corner of later Persia (cf. Ibn al-Muqaffa, in Yaqut, 

i, 172, and al-Maqdisi, 375: Adharbadh b. Biwarasf). 

(Minorsky, V. "Adharbaydjan (Azarbaydjan) ."Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: 

P.Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. 

Brill Online.) 

Professor K. Shippmann states: 

"In the Achaemenid period Azerbaijan was part of the satrapy of Media. When the 
Achaemenid Empire collapsed, Atropates, the Persian satrap of Media, made himself 
independent in the northwest of this region in 321 B.C. Thereafter Greek and Latin 
writers named the territory Media Atropatene or, less frequently, Media Minor (e.g. 
Strabo 11.13.1; Justin 23.4.13). The Middle Persian form of the name was (early) 
Aturpatakan, (later) Adurbadgan) whence the New Persian Adarbayjan" 
(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Azerbaijan: Pre-Islamic History", K. Shippmann). 

The word AzarilAzeri has been used in the early Islamic period for a Persian related 
Iranian dialect. Naturally the name of the dialect was derived from the name of the region 
itself. We will make mention of this Iranic dialect later in the article. 

But it is important to note that the ethnonym Azeri/ Azerbaijani has been used no earlier 
than the late 19 th century or the early 20 th century to designate Turkic speaking Shi'i 
Muslims(Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, "Turko-Tatars")(Roy, Oliver. 
"The new Central Asia: The Creation of Nations") and was really accepted as a self- 
designation around 1930. 
The origin of Turkic speaking Azeris has been described as: 

1) Iranic 

2) Turkic 

3) Symbiosis of Iranic and Turkic 

4) Symbiosis of Iranic, Turkish and Caucasian peoples 



According to the multi-volume book "History of the East" ("Transcaucasia in XI-XV 
centuries" in Rostislav Borisovich Rybakov (editor), History of the East. 6 volumes, v. 2. 
"East during the Middle Ages: Chapter V., 2002. - ISBN 5-02-01771 1-3. 
http://gumilevica.kulichki.com/HE2/he2510.htm ) 



The formation of a distinct Turkic speaking groups who speak the language called 
"Azerbaijani-Turkic"(note in Iran it is called Torki and the pre-fix "Azerbaijani" to 
Turkic is also recent) language occurred between 15 th - 16 th century. 

"CoBpeMeHHa^ Hayica othocht 3aBepineHne cjio)KeHH5i TypeijKoii Hapo^HOCTH k KOHijy 

XV b. OneBHAHO, Tax hkq cjie^yeT ^arapoBaTB h cjio)KeHHe a3ep6aii,z];}KaHCKoro 3THOca" 

Translation: 

"Modern science considers the completion of addition of the Turkish nation by the end of 

XV century. Obviously, the same should be dated and addition of the Azerbaijani ethnic 

group. " 

The book also states that: 



B XIV-XV bb. c HanajiOM (J)opMHpoBaHH5i asepGaH^aHCKoro TiopKo-5i3biHHoro 3raoca 
B03HHKaeT h ero KyjibTypa. nepBOHanajiBHO OHa He HMejia cbohx CTa6njiBHBix ijeHTpOB 
(BcnoMHHM, hto o^hh H3 ee paHHHx npeACTaBHTejieii, HecHMH, norn6 b Chphh), h ee 
AObojibho Tpy^HO j\ji% AaHHoro BpeMeHH OT^ejiHTB ot ocMaHCKoii (TypeijKoii) KyjiBTypBi. 
^a^e 3THHHecKa^ rpamiija Me^y TypxaMH h a3ep6aii,z];)KaHijaMH ycTaHOBHjiacB tojibko 
b XVI b., ^a h Toiyja OHa eme oKOHnaTejiBHO He onpe^ejiKjiacB. TeM He MeHee b XV b. 
^opMHpyioTC^ Asa i^eHTpa a3ep6aii,z];)KaHCKoii KyjiBTypBi - K))khbih A3ep6aii,z];)KaH h 
Kapa6ax (paBHHHHBiii). OicoHHaTejiBHO ohh cjio)khjihcb y)Ke no3)Ke, b XVI-XVIII bb. 

ToBop^ o B03HHKHOBeHHH a3ep6aH,z];)KaHCKoii KyjiBTypBi HMeHHO b XIV-XV bb., cjie^yeT 
HMeTB b BH^y npoK^e Bcero jiHTepaTypy h ^pyrne nacTH KyjiBTypBi, opraHHHecKH 
CB^3aHHBie c 5I3bikom. Hto KacaeTC5i MaTepnajiBHoii KyjiBTypBi, to OHa ocTaBajiacB 
TpaAHi^HOHHoii h nocjie TiopKroaijHH MecTHoro HacejieHH^. BnponeM, Hajinnne 
mohjhoto njiacTa HpaHijeB, npHH^Binnx ynacrae b (J)opMHpoBaHHH a3ep6aii,z];)KaHCKoro 
3THOca, Hajio)KHjio CBoii OTnenaTOK npe^e Bcero Ha jieKCHKy a3ep6aii,z];)KaHCKoro 5i3BiKa, 

B KOTOpOM OrpOMHOe HHCJIO HpaHCKHX H apa6cKHX CJIOB. IIoCJieAHHe BOHIJIH H B 

a3ep6aii,z];>KaHCKHH, h b TypeijKHii 5I3bik rjiaBHBiM o6pa30M nepe3 npaHCKoe nocpe^CTBO." 
Translation: 



In the XIV-XV cc, as the Azerbaijani Turkic-language ethnos was beginning to form, 
arose its culture, as well. At first it had no stable centers of its own (recall that one of its 
early representatives, Nesimi, met his death in Syria) and it is rather difficult at that time 
to separate from the Osman (Turkish) culture. Even the ethnic boundary between the 
Turks and the Azerbaijanis stabilized only in the XVI c, and even then it was not quite 
defined yet. Nevertheless, in the XV c, two centers of the Azerbaijani culture are 
forming: the South Azerbaijan and (lowland) Karabakh. They took final shape later, in 
the XVI-XVIII cc. 

Speaking of the Azerbaijan culture originating at that time, in the XIV-XV cc, one must 
bear in mind, first of all, literature and other parts of culture organically connected with 



the language. As for the material culture, it remained traditional even after the 
Turkicization of the local population. However, the presence of a massive layer of 
Iranians that took part in the formation of the Azerbaijani ethnos, have imposed its 
imprint, primarily on the lexicon of the Azerbaijani language which contains a great 
number of Iranian and Arabic words. The latter entered both the Azerbaijani and the 
Turkish language mainly through the Iranian intermediary. Having become independent, 
the Azerbaijani culture retained close connections with the Iranian and Arab cultures. 
They were reinforced by common religion and common cultural-historical traditions." 

Thus neither the ethnonym nor ethnic group nor language by the name Azerbaijani- 
Turk has been recorded in the 12 th century. Since this ethnonym Azeri/Azerbaijani 
was not in use during the time of Nizami to refer to any dialect and group of Turkic 
speaking people, then it is not used in this work. Also one cannot necessarily talk of 
an Azerbaijani Turkic group in the 12 th century as noted by the sources above (we will 
show Azerbaijan was far from Turkified by the 12 l century using primary sources). The 
fact remains that the ethnonym Azeri/Azerbaijani was not in use at the time of Nezami, 
although Azerbaijanis have a thick layer of Iranian culture as well. Thus to say Nezami 
was an Azerbaijani poet does not correspond to any historical fact, since the term 
Azerbaijani was not used for an ethnic group (it was a geographical location of NW Iran) 
and the Azerbaijani Turkic ethnic group was not formed back then. He did not write in 
Azerbaijani-Turkish language (no one from 1140-1209 has written in that language from 
the Caucasus) and neither was the ethnic designation Azerbaijani used during or before 
his time. The formation/ethno genesis of ethnic Azerbaijanis as a symbiosis and blending 
of Iranic, Turkic and Caucasian elements comes in a much later. Also the land of Nezami 
Ganjavi, where he might have been born (most likely Ganja according to modern scholars 
and a minority of manuscripts have said Qom in central Persia or some scholars have said 
his ancestry from his father-side was in Tafresh), was really called Arran rather than 
Azerbaijan by most historical/geographical sources at that time. Indeed Nizami uses 
Arran, Armenia and Azarabadegan (Azerbaijan) and the majority of historical sources 
have differentiated between these three lands at the time of Nezami Ganjavi. 

Some might make a counter-argument that they want to use the term Oghuz Turk or 
Turkic in general instead of Azeri. In their opinions, modern Azerbaijanis are Oghuz 
Turks (also called Tatars by Russians). The difference between eastern Turkic (Qipchaq) 
and Western Turkic Oghuz had become significant at the time of Nizami. Thus they 
might even reduce it to Western Turkic. In any case, "Turk" is a very generic term as an 
ethnic indicator: Would it have suggested "Azeri Turkish " in Nezami' s day, or was there 
even yet such a language branched out from the common Oghuz? Definitely not - most 
likely it would suggest the Seljuq tribesmen, whom I believe were Oghuz, but around the 
same time, it could also refer to Khatai Turkic, or Uighur, Chaghatay, Turkoman, Mongol 
(Mongols and Turks being used interchangeably in Persian literature around the time of 
the Mongol invasion), Kipchaks, Chinese, and Tibetans(being identified with Turks in 
some Islamic literature like Qabusnama), Iranic Sogdians (they have been identified with 
Turks in some Arabic literature due to being neighbors of Turks) etc.? We have no exact 
data from those days, but we may assume that the various Turkic speakers, to the extent 
that they held a shared sense of identity, would do so on the basis of a similar language 



10 



and nomadic lifestyles although tribal identifications would overtake any sort of shared 
cultural identity between these groups. 

Here are what some scholars and authorities state on the ethno genesis of modern 
Azerbaijanis. Some have stated that an Azerbaijani ethnic group was formed by the XIII 
centuries, however more specialized sources put it around the Safavid era XVI. We 
believe the fact that Safina Tabrizi and Nozhat al-Majales (to be discussed later) show 
major urban centers of Arran, Sherwan and Azerbaijan to have been Iranic even in the 
Ilkhanid era are an elegant proof that the latter date of XVI is when Azerbaijan and 
Eastern Transcaucasia was decisively Turkified. 



Professor Richard Frye states: 

The Turkish speakers of Azerbaijan are mainly descended from the earlier Iranian 

speakers ', several pockets of whom still exist in the region 

(Frye, Richard Nelson, "Peoples of Iran", in Encyclopedia Iranica). 

For example Professor Tadsuez Swietchowski states: 

What is now the Azerbaijan Republic was known as Caucasian Albania in the pre-Islamic 
period, and later as Arran. From the time of ancient Media (ninth to seventh centuries 
B.C.) and the Persian Empire (sixth to fourth centuries B.C.), Azerbaijan usually shared 
the history of what is now Iran. According to the most widely accepted etymology, the 
name "Azerbaijan "is derived from Atropates, the name of a Persian satrap of the late 
fourth century B.C. Another theory traces the origin of the name to the Persian word azar 
Cfire " ') - hence Azerbaijan, "the Land of Fire ", because ofZoroastrian temples, with 
their fires fueled by plentiful supplies of oil. 

Azerbaijan maintained its national character after its conquest by the Arabs in the mid- 
seventh century A.D. and its subsequent conversion to Islam. At this time it became a 
province in the early Muslim empire. Only in the 11th century, when Oghuz Turkic tribes 
under the Seljuk dynasty entered the country, did Azerbaijan acquire a significant 
number of Turkic inhabitants. The original Persian population became fused with the 
Turks, and gradually the Persian language was supplanted by a Turkic dialect that 
evolved into the distinct Azerbaijani language. The process of Turkification was long 
and complex, sustained by successive waves of incoming nomads from Central Asia. After 
the Mongol invasions in the 13th century, Azerbaijan became apart of the empire of 
Hulagu and his successors, the Il-Khans. In the 15th century it passed under the rule of 
the Turkmens who founded the rival Qara Qoyunlu (Black Sheep) andAq Qoyunlu 
(White Sheep) confederations. Concurrently, the native Azerbaijani state of the Shirvan- 
Shahs flourished. 

(Swietochowski, Tadeusz. "AZERBAIJAN, REPUBLIC OF",., Vol. 3, Colliers 
Encyclopedia CD-ROM, 02-28-1996) 

"The mass of the Oghuz Turkic tribes who crossed the Amu Darya towards the west left 
the Iranian plateau, which remained Persian, and established themselves more to the 
west, in Anatolia. Here they divided into Ottomans, who were Sunni and settled, and 
Turkmens, who were nomads and in part Shiite (or, rather, Alevi). The latter were to keep 

11 



the name "Turkmen" for a long time: from the 13th century onwards they "Turkised"the 
Iranian populations of Azerbaijan (who spoke west Iranian languages such as Tat, which 
is still found in residual forms), thus creating a new identity based on Shiism and the use 
of Turkish. These are the people today known as Azeris. " 
(Olivier Roy. "The new Central Asia", LB. Tauris, 2007. Pg 7) 

Although, we do not believe the Oghuz nomads were Shi'ites when they entered Iran, 
rather they were Hanafis. They turned to Shi'ism probably due to the Ilkhanid 
atmosphere where Shi'ism was supported by some Ilkhanid rulers like Sultan 
Khodabanda. A further testament to this fact is that there is not Turkic Shi'ites in Central 
Asia and thus the adoption of Shi'ism by Turkic speaking tribes occurred in Anatolia and 
Persia. 

Professor Peter Golden has written one the most comprehensive book on Turkic people 
called An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples (Peter B. Golden. Otto 
Harrasowitz, 1992). Professor Golden confirms that the Medes were Iranians and Iranian 
languages like Talyshi/Tati speakers being assimilated into Turkish speakers. 
Considering the Turkic penetration in Caucasian Azerbaijan and the Turkification of 
large parts of North Western Persia, Professor Golden states in pg 386 of his book: 

Turkic penetration probably began in the Hunnic era and its aftermath. Steady pressure 
from Turkic nomads was typical of the Khazar era, although there are no unambiguous 
references to permanent settlements. These most certainly occurred with the arrival of 
the Oguz in the 11th century. The Turkicization of much of Azarbayjan, according to 
Soviet scholars, was completed largely during the Ilxanid period if not by late Seljuk 
times. Sumer, placing a slightly different emphasis on the data (more correct in my view), 
posts three periods which Turkicization took place: Seljuk, Mongol and Post-Mongol 
(Qara Qoyunlu, Aq Qoyunlu and Safavid). In the first two, Oguz Turkic tribes advanced 
or were driven to the western frontiers (Anatolia) and Northern Azarbaijan (Arran, the 
Mugan steppe). In the last period, the Turkic elements in Iran (derived from Oguz, with 
lesser admixture ofUygur, Qipchaq, Qaluq and other Turks brought to Iran during the 
Chinggisid era, as well as Turkicized Mongols) were joined now by Anatolian Turks 
migrating back to Iran. This marked the final stage of Turkicization. Although there is 
some evidence for the presence of Qipchaqs among the Turkic tribes coming to this 
region, there is little doubt that the critical mass which brought about this linguistic shift 
was provided by the same Oguz-Turkmen tribes that had come to Anatolia. The Azeris of 
today are an overwhelmingly sedentary, detribalized people. Anthropologically, they are 
little distinguished from the Iranian neighbors. 

It should be noted that Professor Golden on pg 12 of the same book states: 

"Turkic population of today shows extraordinary physical diversity, certainly much 
greater than that of any group of Altaic language. The original Turkish physical type, if 
we can really posit such, for it should be borne in mind that this mobile population was 
intermixing with its neighbors at a very stage, was probably of the Mongloid type(in all 
likelihood in its South Siberian variant). With may deduce this from the fact that 

12 



populations in previously Europoid areas of Iranian speech begin to show Mongoloid 
influences coincidental with the appearances of Turkic people. The physical 
transformation of these Turkicizing peoples, however, illustrated by the population of 
Uzbekistan, Karakalpakia and especially the Turkic population of Iran and Turkey itself 
To add to the complexity of this process, the Turkic populations that moved to Central 
Asia were themselves already mixed. In general, then, the further east, the more 
Mongloid the Turkic population is; the further west, the more Europoid" 

We shall affirm this fact by showing the description of Turks in classical Persian 
literature in another section. Indeed, this physical description, as described by countless 
poets including Nizami was Mongloid rather than Caucasoid and this point to the 
Turkification of the mainly Caucasoid-featured population by the Mongolid-featured 
Altaic groups. 

According to Professor Xavier De Planhol: 

"Azeri material culture, a result of this multi-secular symbiosis, is thus a subtle 
combination of indigenous elements and nomadic contributions, but the ratio between 
them is remains to be determined. The few researches undertaken {Planhol, I960) 
demonstrate the indisputable predominance of Iranian tradition in agricultural 
techniques {irrigation, rotation systems, terraced cultivation) and in several settlement 
traits {winter troglodytism of people and livestock, evident in the widespread 
underground stables). The large villages of Iranian peasants in the irrigated valleys have 
worked as points for crystallization of the newcomers even in the course of linguistic 
transformation; these places have preserved their sites and transmitted their knowledge. 
The toponyms, with more than half of the place names of Iranian origin in some areas, 
such as the Sahand, a huge volcanic massif south of Tabriz, or the Qara Dagh, near the 
border (Planhol, 1966, p. 305; Bazin, 1982, p. 28) bears witness to this continuity. The 
language itself provides eloquent proof. Azeri, not unlike Uzbek (see above), lost the 
vocal harmony typical of Turkish languages. It is a Turkish language learned and spoken 
by Iranian peasants. " 
(X. Planhol, Encyclopedia Iranica, "Iran: Lands of Iran ") 

Professor Gemot Windfuhr in the article: Isoglosses: A Sketch on Persians and 
Parthians, Kurds and Medes, in Hommages et Opera Minora, Monumentum H. S. 
Nyberg, Vol. 2., Acta Iranica 5. Tehran-Liege: Bibliotheque Pahlavi, 457-472. On pg 
468, he writes: 

One may add that the overlay of a strong superstate by a dialect from the eastern parts of 
Iran does not imply the conclusion that ethnically all Kurdish speakers are from the east, 
just as one would hesitate to identify the majority of Azarbayjani speakers as ethnic 
Turks. The majority of those who now speak Kurdish most likely were formerly speakers 
of Median dialect. 

It is important to note that the Oghuz Turks who Turkified Azerbaijan linguistically were 
not themselves pure Turks according to Mahmud Kasghari. Although without a doubt 

13 



Turkic speaking, Turkology expert N. Light comments on this in his Turkic literature and 
the politics of culture in the Islamic world (1998): 

"... It is clear that he [al-Kashgari] ' a priori' excludes the Oghuz, Qipchaq andArghu 
from those who speak the pure Turk language . These are the Turks who are most distant 
from Kashghari 's idealized homeland and culture, and he wants to show his Arab 
readers why they are not true Turks, but contaminated by urban and foreign influences. 
Through his dictionary, he hopes to teach his readers to be sensitive to ethnic differences 
so they do not loosely apply the term Turk to those who do not deserve it . ... " 

N. Light further explains: 

"... Kashgari clearly distinguishes the Oghuz language from that of the Turks when he 
says that Oghuz is more refined because they use words alone which Turks only use in 
combination, and describes Oghuz as more mixed with Persian ..." 

The actual Arabic statement of Kashghari is follows: 

(73 OjLxjJj J.£ IgjlSuO Cb-JuJjUJI CjJLoJliLjuJ I 9 \Sjji\ Cjl^J ,JjO \jJuiS Cju^jUU ^jjJ^qJj CjJqLl^I LoJ QjjS^i\» 

Translation: 

The Ghuzz due having mixed with Persians (Iranians/Far s) have forgotten many Turkic 

words and use Persian words instead. 

Taymas, Abdullah Battal. "Divan Lagait - Turk Tercumesi", Turkiyat Mecmuasi, Cilt 
(XI), Istanbul. 1954, pg. 76" 

There are others opinions but we believe that a symbiosis between Iranian and Turkic 
elements (where the Oghuz nomads themselves before entering Azerbaijan and the 
Caucasia had already assimilated some Iranian nomads in Central Asia) formed the 
ethnicity of modern Azerbaijanis in the Caucasus and Iran, although the number of 
Turkmen nomads who entered Azerbaijan and Caucasia was small relative to the original 
population. The Turkmens of Iran and Turkmenistan, all of them nomads till the last 
century, also speak an Oghuz dialect which has been described as more archaic than that 
of the Turkish of NW Iran, Caucasia and Anatolia. There are probably many similarities 
between them and the Oghuz nomads who entered Azerbaijan during the Seljuq prelude 
and Turkmens of Iran and Turkmenistan. 

Since the term Azeri/ 'Azerbaijani as an ethnic term for the speakers of Turkic languages in 
Iran and Caucasia was adopted in the late 19 th century(possibly some Russian works 
might have used Azerbaijani-Tatar and shortened it to Azerbaijani) or early 20 th , we will 
not use it in this article. If some feel the identification of Azerbaijani Turk with Oghuz 
Turks because of linguistic reason, then we have used the term Oghuz Turks and Turkic 
in this article. Because the terms Oghuz and Turk are historical term that had been in use 
since at least 10 th century. On the other hand, the ethnic name Azeri/ Azerbaijani Turkic 
was not accepted until the 1920s or 1930s by its speakers and the overwhelming 



14 



reference to "Azerbaijani" without any suffix is geographical in the period before the 
adoption of this name for ethnic identification. 

As noted by Oliver Roy: 

"The concept of Azeri identity barely appears at all before 1920. Up until that point 

Azerbaijan had been a purely geographical area. Before 1924, the Russians called Azeri 

Tatars "Turk" or "Muslims ".(Roy, Oliver. "The new Central Asia: The Creation of 

Nations"). 

According to Prof. Tadeusz Swietochowski: "Azerbaijani" was coined in the 1930s to 
refer to the inhabitants of the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. (Azerbaijan Seven Years of 
Conflict Nagorno-Karabagh - Human Rights Watch / Helsinki- December 1994 by 
Human Rights Watch). 

Overall then, the term Azeri/Azerbaijani was overwhelmingly and primarily used as a 
geographical area before 1930 and also designates inhabitants of the newly formed state 
of Azerbaijan regardless of their ethnicity (Talysh, Tat, Azeris, Lezgins, Kurds, 
Armenians). So words like "Azerbaijan poet" or "Azerbaijani poet" might have been 
used a geographical designation for some poets of the area by scholars, but they did not 
have any sort of ethnic meaning and were purely geographical. Just like Khorasani poets 
or Khwarizmi Poet or Esfahani Poet or Shirazi poet.. and etc is geographical. Some 
authors also distinguish between "Azerbaijani" and "Azeri". "Azerbaijani" means citizen 
of the republic of Azerbaijan or from the land of Azerbaijan where-as "Azeri" means the 
native speaker of Azeri Turkic. 

In any event, we shall show from Nizami and the writing of other Persian poets, the 
physical features of Turk are clearly described as Mongloid and do not resemble those of 
the Caucasoid Anatolian and Azerbaijani Turkic speakers This alongside recent genetic 
evidence indicates that a language replacement via elite dominance is a likely explanation 
of the Turkification of Anatolia, Caucasia and Iranian Azerbaijan. Nizami does use 
Iranians, Parsi/ , Ajam(Persian) ,Kurd(Kurd), Taazi(Arab), Turk(Oghuz, Qipchaq, 
Khatai..), Alan and Rus (the Viking Rus) and etc. So we will use the terminology used 
during his time and this is the correct historiography that diligent historians of that era 
utilize. We should note that term ' Ajam was originally used by Arabs for Iranians but 
slowly this term became accepted and even Iranian nationalist poets like Ferdowsi and 
Asadi Tusi have used it in a positive manner and Nezami who was influenced by these 
two poets has also used it interchangeably with Parsi. Also Khaqani's title was the 
Persian Hessan al- c Ajam (the Persian Hessan, Hessan being a very famous Arab poet 
before Islam and Khaqani is the Persian version of him by this title). 

It should be noted that Nezami has specifically himself mentioned the area where he 
lived as part of the "Persian realm" which is a cultural and geographical term. The reader 
can also see the section: Regional Iranian Culture and Nezami' s designation of 
Iran/Persian for his land of this article for further usage of these terms. 



15 



Usage of Azerbaijani to describe Nezami based on geography is also not valid at 
Nizami 's time (although he was born in the territory that is called Azerbaijan today), 
since the territory around Ganja usually was primarily called Arran rather than 
Azerbaijan in medieval history. Thus we should mention that some Western sources and 
possibly other sources have used the term Azerbaijani or Azerbaijan poet (not ethnic 
sense since such a name was not adopted until the 1930s and before 1930s its primarily 
and overwhelming usage was geographic) for Nezami as a geographical designation, but 
this is not historically valid as Nizami himself uses the terms Aran, Arman and 
Azarabadegaan. Also Nezami has praised three different rulers as rulers of Iran/Persian 
and Persian lands, and this shows that not only culture but the land was considered part of 
the geographical/cultural region of Persia/Iran. 

An example of erroneously using this term and anachronism is for example given by this 
quote by a noted scholar: "In the fifteenth century a native Azeri state of Shirvanshahs 
flourished north oftheAraxes. " (Tadeusz Swietochowski. Russia and Azerbaijan: A 
Borderland in Transition, Columbia University, 1995, p. 2.) 

Yet the Shirvanshah called their territory Shirwan, not Azerbaijan. Also the Shirwanshah 
were not ethnically Turkic, but were a mixture of Iranians and Arabs and culturally they 
were Persians. And also "Azeri" denotes the native Turkic speaker where-as Azerbaijani 
would at least have geographical meaning. 

This sort of wrong and anachronistic application of geographical name has unfortunately 
occurred many times and has been used for various poets and scientific figures. 

An inquirer asked one academic writer who used this term: 

In the book "Early Mongol Rule in Thirteenth-century Iran " on page 65 you wrote "The 
renowned Azerbaijani poet, Nizami of... ". 

What do you mean with "Azerbaijani poet Nizami" ? Ethnic, cultural, geographical or 
other characteristic? 

The Author of the book who used the term responded back: 

geographical. The whole subject of nationalities is fraught with controversy since in 
mediaeval times nation-states did not exist people could not so easily be labeled. Often 
people were defined by their city, e.g. Samarqandi, Balkhi, though often by the region, 
Rumi. Nizami has been claimed by the modern state of Azerbaijan though he continues 
to be considered a Persian poet and for the student seeking further information 
Azerbaijan could be a starting point for their research. You should not read too much 
into such labels. George Lane 

Despite this, we should note that Ganja at that time was part of Arran and the area was 
not called Azerbaijan. So indeed this is a wrong and anachronistic application of the 
geographical conventions. At the same time, it illustrates that by this convention, is 



16 



being used as a modern geographical location(Azeri, Azerbaijani) and not necessarily 
culture, ethnicity, language and heritage. 

Also as the author who responded back noted, the concept of nation-state did not exist 
back then. This is an important point which some people have not unfortunately grasped. 
So for example to speak of Iranian or Turkic or Azeri or Arab or Armenian or Georgian 
citizenship or nationality(based on citizenship rather than culture/ethnicity) at that era 
does not make sense since the ethnicity of the ruler had no implication on the citizenship 
(e.g. Seljuqs controlled Iran but overwhelming majority of the inhabitants were neither 
Turks or Seljuqians and no one identified their identity through a state). 

So for example the Buyids were an "Iranian State"(meaning an Iranic-speaking ruling 
elite controlled a state) but they controlled areas (such as Iraq) that had a substantial non- 
Iranian population. Those non-Iranian population will not be considered Iranians 
ethnically or culturally just because the Buyids were Iranian rulers(which some might call 
"Iranian State"). The same is true with Seljuqs or the semi-autonomous Atabeks who 
had established a state with Turkic ruling elite, but their main population was non- 
Turkic and so the identity of their inhabitants should not be erroneously described 
as the citizenship/nationality(based on state not ethnicity/language)/nation-state 
concepts that did not exist at that time. 

As per the term Azari, there was an ancient Azari-Fahlavi language or group of dialects 
spoken in Iranian- Azerbaijan (Atrapatakan) (remnants of it being the Tati in Iran), but 
this was an Iranic language. We shall touch upon this later. Scientifically, one cannot 
impose a different space and time upon medieval historical settings. So at the time of 
Nizami Ganjavi, the term Azerbaijani did not denote a subset of Turkic speakers. At his 
time, the overwhelming majority of the sources have referred to the area of Ganja as part 
of Arran. For example, to say, Homer was Turkish because he was born in the land of 
Turkey does not seem correct. Certainly the people of Turkey should be proud of him that 
such a great figure has come from their land, but to assign him the modern majority 
ethnicity Turkish of Turkey does not make sense since such a term even did not exist nor 
is attested during the time of Homer. This author is of the opinion of Professor Xavier 
Planhol: 

"Azeri material culture, a result of this multi-secular symbiosis, is thus a subtle 
combination of indigenous elements and nomadic contributions, but the ratio between 
them is remains to be determined. " 

Thus just like ancient Egyptians spoke ancient Egyptian, but modern Egyptians speak 
Arabic, it does not mean that ancient Egyptians are not connected to modern Egyptians. 
Same with modern Turks of Anatolia who also share in the pre-Turkic Greek civilization. 
Although it should be mentioned that there are Iranian speakers in some of these 
countries although many of them have become Turcophones gradually in the last several 
hundred years and rapidly in last century. The difference with Iranian cultural items that 
are claimed by modern Turkic speaking countries (Biruni, Rudaki, and Avicenna in 
Uzbekistan; Nizami, Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism, Bahmanyar.. in the Republic of 
Azerbaijan; and Abu Said Abul Khair in Turkmenistan) is that there are also countries 



17 



that speak Iranian languages and Persian in particular, thus they rightfully also claim to 
be inheritors of these Iranian cultural items, since the culture has continued. Especially 
for such a poet as Nizami Ganjavi, who only wrote in Persian and contributed to the 
Persian culture and language, expanded Persian myths and legends and finally came from 
an Iranian background. In the end, these countries (both Iranian speaking and Turkic 
speaking) have a shared heritage due to the fact that some of these Turkic countries had a 
linguistic shift from Iranian languages to Turkish languages due to migration of Turkic 
nomads and the Turkification of some of the lands. The question of whether Nizami 
belongs to Iranian civilization or Turkic civilization is something we will discuss in this 
article. We also note that modern nationalism especially that of pan-Turkism which has 
also influenced Caucasia, was a reactionary movement spawning out of the decay and 
disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Thus that secular identity created by it today 
(which is based on ethno-nationalism as seen in modern Turkey and republic of 
Azerbaijan) in our opinion is radically different than the identities of the Caucasia and 
Ottoman Empire prior to this period. For a clear picture of identity of the Caucasus in the 
12 th century, one can look at the book Nozhat al-Majales which we shall discuss later in 
this article. 



What did the USSR mean by Azerbaijani? 

Since the ethnonym Azerbaijani for an ethnic group was new, the USSR era did not 
provide a clear definition. For example some considered Azerbaijanis to be Medes, 
others as Turks and others as Caucasian Albanians. Then there was theories combining 
some or all of these. This is another reason why calling Nezami Ganjavi as "Azerbaijani" 
in the politicized USSR sources lacks clarity. Do they mean Medes(and the descendant 
of Iranic Medes like Talysh, Kurds?), or Caucasian Albanians or Turks and etc. 

For example Bolukbashi mentions: 

"During the Stalin era, Azeri historians were forced to link Azeri history to Persian 
Medes, whose appearance in Iran and the southern Caucasus dates back to the 
ninth century BC. In the post-Stalin era, this theory gave away to one which linked 
the Azeris' origin to the Atropathenes and Caucasian Albania. By the early 1970s, 
however, the Turkic role in Azeri history had begun to be admitted, so that until the 
Gorbachev era the Azerbaijani historiography based Azeri identity on a 
combination of the Medes, the Atropathenes, the Albanians and the Turkic settlers, 
a formula which helped prevent the emergence of an all-Turkic historiography" 
(Susha Bolukbashi, 'Nation building in Azerbaijan: The Soviet Legacy and the Impact of 
the Karabakh Conflict' in Van Schendel, Willem(Editor) . Identity Politics in Central 
Asia and the Muslim World: Nationalism, Ethnicity and Labour in the Twentieth 
Century. London , GBR: I. B. Tauris & Company, Limited, 2001.) 

Arya Wasserman notes: 



18 



"The growing interest in the nationalities problem and the rising influence of the 
ideology ofTurkism revived the old controversy over the ethnogenesis of the Azerbaijani 
people, that is between adherents of the concept of the decisive Turkic role and 
supporters of the pro-Iranian theory. In the mid 1970s, the republican authorities 
headed by the First Secretary Heydar Aliev had resolved the debate by ruling in favour of 
the Iranian concept. Now, for the first time monographs dedicated of this problem were 
published. The purely scientific problem of ethnogenesis became a regular theme in 
newspapers. The authors of some articles used this discussion to express their 
opposition to the policy of Turkicization. Politicians also intervened in the dispute. The 
President 's adviser on nationalities, Idaiat Orujev, supported the concept according to 
which Azerbaijan was the homeland ofOguz Turks, which obviously meant that he was 
inclined to accept the theory of the Turkic origins of the Azerbaijani people. 

Opponents of the proto-Turkic conceptions of ethnogenesis of the Azerbaijani people 
insist that the Kurds, Talysh, Lakhij and other Persian-speaking peoples are ethnic 
Azerbaijanis, who had apart from ancient times in the ethnogenesis of the Azerbaijani 
people, and that all of them share the same Caspian racial type, to which no other 
Turkic-speaking peoples, not even the Turks themselves, belong to " 
(Aryeh Wasserman, "A Year of Rule by the Popular Front of Azerbaijan" in Yaacov Roi, 
"Muslim Eurasia", Routeldge, 1995. pp 150-152.) 

Thus the usage of "Azerbaijani" as an ethnic term was recent and doing the USSR era, 
the term did not necessarily mean Turcophone people. Now, today the designation 
"Azeri" and "Azerbaijani" are further confused because Azerbaijani has been used as a 
geographical term since 1918 for all inhabitants of Eastern Southern Caucasus 
(corresponding to the modern republic of Azerbaijan) where as "Azeri" denotes the 
Oghuz Azerbaijani-Turkic speaker of that area. But for the USSR, it seems to have 
meant a combination of Turks, Iranians and Caucasian Albanians who became 
Turcophones. Prior to that, the term was mainly geographical and it could be possible 
some authors after 1918 have referred to Nezami as an Azerbaijani/ Azerbaijanian poet 
noting that he lived most if not all of his life in Ganja. However, such an ethnic 
formation had not yet occurred during the time of Nezami Ganjavi as noted. Thus the 
article will not use anachronistic terms and will stick with terms such as Persian, Iranic, 
Turkic, Oghuz, Kurds and etc. 

Politicization of Nizami by the USSR and 
its Remnants Today 

The reason to write this article is due to the fact that the USSR politicized and even 
distorted the character of Nizami Ganjavi for the purpose of nation building. Remnant of 
that period still can be seen in some modern post-USSR texts. The USSR tried to detach 
Nizami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization and use him for nation building. In this section 
we show many of political manipulations surrounding the figure of Nizami Ganjavi. We 
will evaluate the merit of the arguments of the USSR era in a later section and show its 

19 



invalidity. So in this section, we prove that politicization of the figure of Nizami Ganjavi 
and the USSR's efforts to detach him from Persian and Iranian culture and appropriate 
him to an ethnic and cultural Turkic label. (Something we believe lacks any evidence 
when one actually reads Nizami 's works and considers the cultural background of his 
work). For example, in recent years, false verses that are not in any edition or 
manuscripts of the works of Nizami have found their way on the internet and are quoted 
extensively by nationalistic sites. 

One of these false verses is as follows: 

Translation: 

"Father upon father of mine were all Turks, 

In wisdom each one of them was a wolf"! 

The problems with the above verse is that not only it is not found in any extant 
manuscript of Nizami Ganjavi' s work, but also the words "Tork/Turk" do not rhyme with 
the words "Gorg/Gurg"(Wolf). For more on the history of the falsification of this verse 
which was traced back to 1980 in Azerbaijan SSR see: 

Matini, J. "A solid proof on the Turkic roots of Nizami Ganjavi?!", Iranshenasi, Volume 
4, 1371 (1992-1993). 

Other times, poetry from Turkic language poets are ascribed to Nizami Ganjavi. Since 
Nizami Ganjavi wrote all his works in Persian, this has led to some nationalist pan- 
Turkist groups making such unfounded claims. For example, a news report appeared 
where two pan-Turkist nationalists have claimed that they have found the Divan of 
Nizami Ganjavi in Turkish. 

Here is a link for such a news item: 

http://www.apa.az/en/news.php?id=28178 

Nizami Ganjavi's divan in Turkish published in Iran 

[08 Jun 2007 13:17] 

Divan of Nizami Ganjavi in Turkish was found in Khedivial library of Egypt, poet and 
researcher Sadiyar Eloglu told the APA exclusively. 

Eloglu said that he is analyzing Nizami Ganjavi's divan in Turkish. He added that the divan was 
found by Iranian researcher of Azerbaijani origin Seid Nefisi 40 years ago in Khedivial library but 
for some reasons the scientist did not analyze the book. 



20 



Poetess from Maraga Fekhri Vahizeden living in Egypt found the divan two years ago and sent a 
copy of it to Sadiyar Eloglu. The scientist has been analyzing the work for two years. He said that 
the claims denying the works'belonging to Nizami Ganjavi were not proved. 

"Historical points and personalities noted in the works were Nizami Ganjavi's contemporaries/'he 
said. He noted that 213 couplets in the divan were proved to be written by Nizami Ganjavi. 

Eloglu has already published these poems in Iran. /APA/ 

This Turkish Diwan was found to be from a poet named Nizami Qunavi (d. 1469 or 
1473) from the Ottoman Empire and it is written in the Ottoman Turkish language. 

.1384 
See: 

Tabrizi, Mohammad Ali Karim Zadeh. "The (supposed) Turkish Diwan of Nizami 
Ganjavi!", Iranshenasi, Seventeenth year, Volume 3, 2005. 

See also: 

(Osman G. Oguzdenli, "Nezami Qunavi" in Encylopedia Iranica) 

We will later show that at the time of Nizami Ganjavi, not a single verse of Turkish has 
ever been written from the area and essentially there is no proof that a Turkish literary 
tradition existed in the Caucasia (Arran) or Azerbaijan at that time. 

False arguments created by the USSR, like "Nizami was forced to write Persian for the 
Shirvanshah", based on misinterpretation of verses shall also be dealt with in this article. 

Another nationalistic writer who has equated Azeris with Turks (unlike what we wrote) 
has written: "Although Nizami did not produce his work in Azeri language, his narratives 
are, nonetheless, rooted in Azeri culture and tradition." 

The reader is surprised by the above writer since he must think that the Sassanid heritage 
(like the stories of Khusraw o Shirin, Haft Paykar) or the Irano-Islamic rendition of 
Alexander (Eskandarnama) or the Persianized story (by Nizami) of Layli o Majnoon 
have their roots in Turkic cultures and tradition. Such nationalistic outbursts are common 
from ethnic nationalistic scholars but they lack any scientific basis. 

So what is the root of all these modern forgeries? Why is there a need to retroactively 
Turkify Nizami Ganjavi by attributing to him works that are not his? What is the purpose 
of creating false verses within the last 30 years or so in order to attribute Grey Wolf 
myths to Nizami Ganjavi? What is the origin of the false argument that "Nizami was 
forced to write in Persian " or Nizami was "a victim of Persian Chauvinism "!? 

We must seek the root of all these forgeries by going back to the nation-building period 
of the USSR. I always bring the example of famous Russian poet Pushkin when some 
nationalists make their claims about Nizami and attribute him to Turkic civilization. 

21 



Pushkin was of Ethiopian origin (his grandfather was Tsar Peter the Great's slave). 
However, he considered himself and is widely regarded as a Russian poet, and not 
Ethiopian poet. No one makes even an attempt to talk about Pushkin's ethnic origin and 
question his place in Russian literature or assign him to Ethiopian literature! In the case 
of Nizami Ganjavi however, false verses and unsound reasons were invented (as we shall 
see mainly misinterpretation of verses associated with the introduction of Layli o 
Majnoon) to claim him of non-Iranian origin and detach him from the Iranian culture 
world. So unlike Pushkin were one can reliably confirm some Ethiopian ancestry, there 
is absolutely nothing to suggest Nezami was Turkic, where-as he was at least half Iranic 
and we will show in this article that he was full Iranic based on different valid arguments. 
The USSR attempted to disconnect him from the category of Persian literature altogether 
and to assign him to the non-existent category (during Nizami' s time) of Azeri literature , 
where-as Azeri-Turkic is a branch of Turkic and Nizami Ganjavi does not have a single 
verse in that language and actually the first evidence of poetry from that language from 
Azerbaijan or Anatolia or Caucasia comes many years after Nizami. 

The Encyclopedic Dictionary Brockhaus and Efron, published between 1890-1906 
(before the USSR) has an entry on Nizami Ganjavi. It goes as: 

"Nizamy (Sheikh Nizamoddin Abu-Mohemmed Ilyas ibn-Yusof) is the best romantic 
Persian poet (1141-1203), born in Cumsky (Qom), but the nickname is "Ganjevi 
(Gandzhinsky) because most of life spent in Gunja (now Elizavetpol), and there however 
died. 



3a cboio no3My "XocpoB h IIlHpHHa"(l 180), nocBflmeHHyio a3ep6aiiA)KaHCKHM 
aTa6eKaM, H. 6biji npn3BaH ko ABOpy, ho oneHb cKopo yzjajinjicii ot ero cyeTbi h Beji 
)KH3Hb acKeTHHecKyio." 

http://be.sci-lib.com/article071752.html 

It is worthy to check what the Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 with this regard. Under 
Nizami, it is written: 

"Nizam-uddin Abu Mohammad Ilyas bin Yusuf Persian Poet, was born 535 A.H. (1141 
A.D. " 

We note that before the USSR, not a single book or article has described Nizami Ganjavi 
as Turkic poet. Even as will be shown later, a Turkic nationalist like the Chagatai poet 
Alisher Navai considers Nizami Ganjavi as a Persian and not a Turk. This indeed shows 
how Nezami 's cultural heritage and background was ascertained 200-300 years after his 
own time. 

So what did occur during the USSR era? For the readers in Persian, there is an article by 
Professor Sergei Aghajanian which has outlined exactly what has occurred: 

.(1371 jlpj) <Sj bj\jxjjj A JLjj j^^oujLljJj gI^jjI t « L jvjoLbu 

22 



Sergei Aghajanian, "The fiftieth anniversary of a historical distortion: On the occasion of 
the 850 th anniversary of the birth ofNizarnF, Iranshenasi, 4 th year, Volume 1, 1992-1993. 

According to Aghajanian, around 1930 or so, Nizami Ganjavi's heritage was changed to 
Azerbaijani from Persian and the USSR political committee decided to detach him from 
Persian literature and incorporate him into Azerbaijani literature. Of course part of it had 
to do with the fact that a new country by the name Azerbaijan was formed in 1918 and 
the name persisted as Azerbaijan SSR during the USSR era. Thus one argument was that 
since Nizami was from Ganja, then he is Azerbaijanian (which he would have been from 
a citizenship perspective had he been born in the 20 th century and the concept of nation 
state existed! But it did not exist in the 12 century!). This argument again is misplacing 
both time and space. During Nizami Ganjavi's time, the region was called Arran and in 
general, the Islamic-Iranian culture was a continuously present throughout the whole 
urban Eastern Muslim world, especially in the Caucasia. Also as we mentioned, later on 
Azerbaijani despite the quotes we brought, has taken to be equivalent to Turkic by some 
authors. 

Interestingly enough, the writer of the 1897 (Brockhaus and Efron) wrote "Persian and its 
literature" in 1900 and also its third edition in 1912 all mentioning Nizami as Persian 
poet. But because of the political climate in 1939(see below and the Appendix), he wrote 
a monograph "Nizami and his contemporaries" claiming: 

""We should fully realize and accept Azerbaijani Nizami, of course, was true Azerbaijani 
poet, and Heroes" Leila and Majnun " is not the Arabs from an Arab legend, but Turkic 
romantic heroes."" 

Such baseless claims like Lili o majnoon was a Turkic legend! Or Nizami was 
Azerbaijani poet (rather than Persian poet) were made during the political atmosphere of 
1930s and onward. 

In the book Russia and her Colonies, Walter Kolarz exposes the USSR's anti-Iranian 
schemes (both cultural and territorial) and support of irredentist policy vis-a-vis Iranian 
Azerbaijan: 

"Whilst trying to link Azerbaidzhani culture as closely as possible with Russian culture, 
the Soviet regime is equally eager to deny the existence of close cultural ties between 
Azerbaidzhan and Persia. The fact that most of the great poets brought forth by 
Azerbaidzhan in the past wrote mainly in Persian does not discourage the Soviet 
theoreticians, who are working out the ideological basis of Soviet nationalities policy. 
They declare categorically that everything produced by poets born in Azerbaidzhan 
'belongs to the Azerbaidzhani people, 'notwithstanding the language in which the works 
of the so-called Azerbaidzhani poets were written. (46) According to this theory the 
Persians have no right to claim any of the outstanding poets who had written in the 
Persian language; if, nevertheless, they do advance such a claim they are immediately 
branded as guilty of 4 pan-Iranianism'. 

23 



The attempt to 'annex' an important part of Persian literature and to transform it 
into 'Azerbaidzhani literature' can be best exemplified by the way in which the 
memory of the great Persian poet Nizami (1141-1203) is exploited in the Soviet 
Union. The Soviet regime does not pay tribute to Nizami as a great representative of 
world literature, but is mainly interested in him as a 'poet of the Soviet Union', 
which he is considered to be because he was born in Gandzha in the territory of the 
present Azerbaidzhani Soviet Republic. The Soviet regime proclaims its ownership over 
Nizami also by 'interpreting' his works in accordance with the general pattern of Soviet 
ideology. Thus the leading Soviet journal Bolshevik stressed that Nizami's 'great 
merit' consisted in having undermined Islam by 'opposing the theological teaching of the 
unchangeable character of the world'. (47) 

Stalin himself intervened in the dispute over Nizami and gave an authoritative verdict on 
the matter. In a talk with the Ukrainian writer, Mikola Bazhan, Stalin referred to Nizami 
as 'the great poet of our brotherly Azerbaidzhani people' who must not be surrendered to 
Iranian literature, despite having written most of his poems in Persian [Note by the author 
of the present article: It should be noted that not a single verse of Turkish was ever 
written by Nizami and his mother was Kurdish and his works point to a father oflranic 
background] . Stalin even quoted to Bazhan a passage from Nizami where the poet said 
that he was forced to use the Persian language because he was not allowed to talk to the 
people in their native tongue [Note by the writer of this present article: Shirvanshahs 
were not Turkic speaking and Nizami wrote his introduction after completing the story of 
the Layli and Majnoon. The verse in question has to do with Ferdowsi and Mahmud, and 
Nizami through the mouth of Shirvanshah 's versifies that we are not unfaithful like Turks, 
so we need eloquent speech not low speech. This issue has been expanded upon by the 
Iranian writer Abbas Zarin Khoi and this invalid claim will be examined in detail later], 
(48) 

Thus in Stalin's view Nizami is but a victim of Persian centralism and of a 
denationalization policy directed against the ancestors of the Azerbaidzhani Turks. 
Nizami is not a Persian poet, but a historical witness of Persian oppression of 
'national minorities'. It is by no means surprising that Stalin should take this line or 
that he should attach the greatest importance to everything that would undermine 
Persia's cultural and political prestige. Stalin's interest in Persia is that of a Georg- 
ian rather than that of a Russian. In spite of being, as we have seen, a bad Georgian 
nationalist in many other respects, he is animated as far as Persia is concerned by a 
traditional Georgian animosity against the 'hereditary enemy'. To gain economic 
and political influence in Persia is traditional Russian policy ever since Peter the 
Great, but the Soviet Government, thanks to Stalin's influence, has done more than 
follow in the footsteps of Czarist diplomacy. It has put into effect new methods to 
disintegrate Persia, methods which only a Caucasian neighbour of the Persians and 
an expert on nationality problems could design. 

THE OTHER AZERB AIDZHAN 



24 



Even before the Second World War the Soviet authorities of Moscow and Baku knew 
that autonomist and separatist movements would emerge one day in Persia, particularly 
among the Turks of Persian Azerbaidzhan. It was felt however that some time might 
elapse before conditions would be ripe for launching a 'national liberation' campaign in 
Persia. The organ of the Soviet of Nationalities, Revolyutsiya i Natsionalnosti, stated as 
late as 1930 that the Azerbaidzhani Turks of Persia never ceased to consider themselves 
as an integral part of the Pahlevi monarchy and continued to supply both leaders and 
pioneers for the Persian national movement. However, the same article forecast that the 
growth of Turkic culture in Soviet Azerbaidzhan and the attraction of the Baku oilfields 
would play their part in awakening the Turkic national consciousness of the people of 
Persian Azerbaidzhan. (49) 

The 'awakening' of the Azerbaidzhani Turks came earlier than the Soviet sociologists 
could have foreseen in 1930, and was a direct consequence of the Russian military 
occupation of Northern Persia of 1941-46. During this occupation the Persian 
Azerbaidzhani were brought into close contact with the people of the Azerbaidzhani 
Soviet Republic, and it is small wonder that the idea of a union took shape in the two 
Azerbaidzhans, which, though widely differing economically and politically, are united 
by the bond of a common language. With the assistance of the 'brothers from the 
North'this Turkic language - ignored under Persian rule - was given the first place in 
education and administration all over Persian Azerbaidzhan. An Azerbaidzhani university 
and an Azerbaidzhani National Museum were opened; Azerbaidzhani books and 
newspapers were either printed on the spot or imported from Soviet Azerbaidzhan. While 
contact between Tabriz, the capital of Persian Azerbaidzhan, and Teheran was practically 
cut off; the most advanced Turkic nationalists were encouraged to look to Baku for 
political and cultural inspiration. Left-wing Azerbaidzhani poets praised Baku with 
oriental hyperbole. One of them, Tavrieli, described Baku as the 'Rose of beauty graved 
in stone 'and another, Muhammed Biriya, poet and also secretary of the trade unions of 
Persian Azerbaidzhan, said he came to Baku to drink the 'life-giving water' of this city 
and that he wept 'happy tears 'on seeing Baku. (50) 

In 1946, when the Soviet troops left Northern Persia, the Persian Government only too 
easily swept away the regime set up by pro-communist Azerbaidzhani autonomists in 
Tabriz. The nationalism of the Azerbaidzhani Turks of Persia was still too feeble to put 
up a successful resistance even to a weak Persian State. The end of the Azerbaidzhani 
separatist government was, however, not the end of the Azerbaidzhan problem. The 
Soviet regime did its best to keep the issue alive both in Soviet 'Northern 
Azerbaidzhan' and in Persian 'Southern Azerbaidzhan'. Soviet Azerbaidzhani poets and 
writers continued to deal in their works with the problem of the unredeemed brothers in 
the South and thus to foster an irredentist ideology among the people of the Azer- 
baidzhani S.S.R. On the other hand communist refugees from Southern Azerbaidzhan 
were given shelter in Baku and were assisted in their efforts to keep in touch with the 
Turkic-speaking people of Northern Persia. 
(Walter Kolarz., Russia and her Colonies. London: George Philip. 1952.) 

Indeed Stalin in his interview in April of 1939 expressed the opinion as noted by Kolarz: 

25 



"Comrade Stalin in an interview with the writers of Azerbaijan (SSR) was talking about 
Nizami Ganjavi and brought some verses from him in order to reject the fact that this 
poet of our brothers (he means the Azerbaijan SSR) is part of Iranian/Persian literature, 

just due to the fact that he has written ttlOSt of his w ork in Persian "(Kolarz, 
Aghajanian) 

We note the amazing forgery here. Nizami Ganjavi does not have one verse of Turkish. 
There is not a single non-Persian verse from Nizami Ganjavi. Yet Stalin claims that 
Nizami Ganjavi was a victim of Persian oppression and only "most of his work" (in 
reality all of his work) is in Persian. We note that the first verse in classical Azerbaijani 
Turkish was written much later than Nizami' s passing away. It is amazing that Nizami 
Ganjavi is not part of Persian literature according to the chief USSR ideologue, despite 
the fact that he wrote not "most", but all of his work in the Persian language and is 
known throughout the world for his quintuple Persian masterpiece. 

As Walter Kolarz has correctly noted: 

The attempt to 'annex' an important part of Persian literature and to transform it 

into 'Azerbaidzhani literature' can be best exemplified by the way in which the 

memory of the great Persian poet Nizami (1141-1203) is exploited in the Soviet 

Union. 

We may quote the modern Turkic nationalist newspaper Ayna which regularly uses the 

term Persian Chauvinists(common amongst pan-turkist nationalists) to describe Iranians. 

The newspaper Ayna states: 

"Ayna, Baku 

10 Aug 04Now, let us have a brief look at Khatami's mistake. While on a trip to 

Ganca, he wrote down his words and wishes in the visitors' book at the 

world's renowned thinker Nizami Gancavi's mausoleum. There he called 

Nizami a poet of "Persian literature". We have always boasted our hospitality. This 

national value has always been a feature distinguishing Azerbaijani Turks from others. 

Our ills 

have often resulted from this feature. With his remarks Khatami proved 

that he was a representative of the chauvinist Persian ideology masked 

under the cover of democracy." 

Yet no one dispute Nizami wrote in Persian and is part of Persian literature. Even 
Nizami himself says he is composing Persian literature and nowhere does he use the term 
Turkish literature or any other ethno-linguistic term that would imply it is not Persian 
literature. For example, when he was inspired and advised by the Prophet Khezr, Nizami 
who calls the Persian language as Dorr-i-Dari (a term that was used at least since the time 
of Nasir Khusraw) states in his Sharafnama: 

When all those advices were accepted by me 

I started composing in the Persian Pearl (Dorr-i-Dari) 



26 



Or again for example in the Sharafnama he states: 

OLJUU9I jlslj-wu 0±j5 /xAdj iSj± 



Nizami whose endeavor is producing Persian poetry (Nazm-e-Dari) 
Versification of Persian(Dari Nazm Kardan) poetry is what suits him 

Nizami never says I have composed in 'Turkish " or "Azerbaijani literature"^ term that 
did not exist back then and Azerbaijan at that time would be part of the geographical 
region of Iran and its people would not be Turcophones at that time). He clearly states 
Nazm-e-Dari (Persian poetry). Parsi-i-Dari(term used by Ferdowsi) being the Khurasani 
Persian. Nezami uses Parsi and Dari sometimes interchangeably but other times, like 
Qatran Tabrizi, local dialects were also called Parsi and this is distinguished within its 
own context. 

Professor. Gilbert Lazard, a famous Iranologist and also the writer of Persian grammar 
states: "The language known as New Persian, which usually called at this period by the 
name of Dari or Parsi-Dari,can be classified linguistically as a continuation of Middle 
Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanian Iran, itself a continuation 
of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids. Unlike the other languages and 
dialects, ancient and modern, of the Iranian group such as Avestan, Parthian, Soghdian, 
Kurdish, Pashto, etc., Old Middle and New Persian represent one and the same language 
at three states of its history. It had its origin in Fars (the true Persian country from the 
historical point of view and is differentiated by dialectical features, still easily 
recognizable from the dialect prevailing in north-western and eastern Iran". (Lazard, 
Gilbert 1975, "The Rise of the New Persian Language" in Frye, R. N. ? The Cambridge 
History of Iran, Vol. 4, pp. 595-632, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 



Unfortunately, few people (some politically minded and some ignorant) who cannot read 
Persian have started to call Nizami Ganjavi's poetry as something else rather than Persian 
literature. 

Professor Yuri Slezkine has given a more general description of that era of USSR nation 
building as well a reference to Nizami Ganjavi: 

. . ..After the mid- 1930s students, writers, and shock-workers could be formally ranked - 
and so could nationalities. Second, if the legitimacy of an ethnic community depended on 
the government's grant of territory, then the withdrawal of that grant would automatically 
"denationalize" that community (though not necessarily its individual passport-carrying 
members!). This was crucial because by the second half of the decade the government 
had obviously decided that presiding over 192 languages and potentially 192 
bureaucracies was not a very good idea after all. The production of textbooks, teachers 
and indeed students could not keep up with formal "nationalization,"the fully 
bureaucratized command economy and the newly centralized education system required 
manageable and streamlined communication channels, and the self-consciously Russian 

27 



"promotees"who filled the top jobs in Moscow after the Great Terror were probably 
sympathetic to complaints of anti-Russian discrimination (they themselves were 
beneficiaries of dass-based quotas). By the end of the decade most ethnically defined 
Soviets, villages, districts and other small units had been disbanded, some autonomous 
republics forgotten and most "national minority" schools and institutions closed down. 

However - and this is the most important "however"of this essay -the ethnic groups that 
already had their own republics and their own extensive bureaucracies were actually told 
to redouble their efforts at building distinct national cultures. Just as the 
"reconstruction of Moscow"was changing from grandiose visions of refashioning the 
whole cityscape to a focused attempt to create several perfect artifacts, so the nationality 
policy had abandoned the pursuit of countless rootless nationalities in order to 
concentrate on a few full-fledged, fully equipped "nations." While the curtailment of 
ethnic quotas and the new emphasis on Soviet meritocracy ("quality of cadres") slowed 
down and sometimes reversed the indigenization process in party and managerial 
bureaucracies, the celebration of national cultures and the production of native 
intelligentsias intensified dramatically. Uzbek communities outside Uzbekistan were left 
to their own devices but Uzbekistan as a quasi-nation-state remained in place, got rid of 
most alien enclaves on its territory and concentrated on its history and literature. The 
Soviet apartment as a whole was to have fewer rooms but the ones that remained were to 
be lavishly decorated with hometown memorabilia, grandfather clocks and lovingly 
preserved family portraits. 

Indeed, the 1934 Congress of Soviet Writers, which in many ways inaugurated high 
Stalinism as a cultural paradigm, was a curiously solemn parade of old-fashioned 
romantic nationalisms. Pushkin, Tolstoy and other officially restored Russian icons 
were not the only national giants of international stature - all Soviet peoples possessed, or 
would shortly acquire, their own classics, their own founding fathers and their own 
folkloric riches. The Ukrainian delegate said that Taras Shevchenko was a "genius"and a 
"colossus" "whose role in the creation of the Ukrainian literary language was no less 
important than Pushkin's role in the creation of the Russian literary language, and 
perhaps even greater." The Armenian delegate pointed out that his nation's culture was 
"one of the most ancient cultures of the orient," that the Armenian national alphabet 
predated Christianity and that the Armenian national epic was "one of the best examples 
of world epic literature" because of "the lifelike realism of its imagery, its elegance, the 
profundity and simplicity of its popular wisdom and the democratic nature of its plot." 
The Azerbaijani delegate insisted that the Persian poet Nizami was actually a classic 
of Azerbaijani literature because he was a "Turk from Giandzha" and that Mirza Fath Ali 
Akhundov was not a gentry writer, as some proletarian critics had charged, but a "great 
philosopher-playwright" whose "characters [were] as colorful, diverse and realistic as the 
characters of Griboedov, Gogol' and Ostrovskii." The Turkmen delegate told the 
Congress about the eighteenth-century " coryphaeus of Turkmen poetry,"Makhtum-Kuli; 
the Tajik delegate explained that Tajik literature had descended from Rudaki, Firdousi, 
Omar Khayyam and "other brilliant craftsmen of the world"; while the Georgian delegate 
delivered an extraordinarily lengthy address in which he claimed that Shot' ha 
Rust'haveli's The Man in the Panther's Skin was "centuries ahead of west European 

28 



intellectual movements,"infmitely superior to Dante and generally "the greatest literary 
monument of the whole ... so-called medieval Christian world." 

According to the new party line, all officially recognized Soviet nationalities were 
supposed to have their own nationally defined "Great Traditions"that needed to be 
protected, perfected and, if need be, invented by specially trained professionals in 
specially designated institutions. A culture's "greatness" depended on its administrative 
status (from the Union republics at the top to the non-territorial nationalities who had but 
a tenuous hold on "culture"), but within a given category all national traditions except 
for the Russian were supposed to be of equal value. Rhetorically this was not always the 
case (Ukraine was sometimes mentioned as second-in-command while central Asia was 
often described as backward), but institutionally all national territories were supposed to 
be perfectly symmetrical - from the party apparatus to the school system. This was an old 
Soviet policy but the contribution of the 1930s consisted in the vigorous leveling of 
remaining uneven surfaces and the equally vigorous manufacturing of special - and also 
identical - culture-producing institutions. By the end of the decade all Union republics 
had their own writers' unions, theaters, opera companies and national academies that 
specialized primarily in national history, literature and language. Republican plans 
approved by Moscow called for the production of ever larger numbers of textbooks, 
plays, novels, ballets and short stories, all of them national in form (which, in the case of 
dictionaries, folklore editions and the "classics", series came dangerously close to being 
in content as well). 



Even in 1936-1939, when hundreds of alleged nationalists were being sentenced to death 
"the whole Soviet country"was noisily celebrating the 1000 th anniversary of Firdousi, 
claimed by the Tajiks as one of the founders of their (and not Persian) literature. . . 
(Slezkine, Yuri. "The Soviet Union as a Communal Apartment."in Stalinism: New 
Directions. Ed. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Routledge, New York, 2000. pages 330-335) 



Professor Bert G. Fragner has also examined the arbitrary decisions of central powers in 
the USSR to determine and make history for the purpose of nation building: 

Peculiarities of Soviet Nationalism 

If these were the basic requirements, we should now look for the consequences. According to the 
Soviet concept, nations had to have their own specific territories. Territorialism was obligatory 
according to Stalin's basic theses on the National Question. The Soviet principle of territoriality 
clearly and outspokenly contradicts the theories of Renner and Bauer, who rejected territorial 
requirements for national minorities etc. Within the Soviet system, any decisions on the limitation 
of territory were the exclusive prerogative of the central power in Moscow. Economic 
considerations and planning were also largely concentrated in central hands. The Soviet power 
created territories for created nations like planned habitats or biotopes, according to their Utopian 
vision of human and social engineering. 



29 



This means that in Soviet nationalism there was no place for direct political leadership towards 
national independence, and no place for a nation's independent economic growth. But there was 
an important task for potential national leaders: to support distinct collective identification with 
the specific nation, that is, its territory, its (regulated, or at least standardized) language, and its 
internal administration. This set of tasks was to be crowned by the development of a specific and 
distinct culture within the Soviet frame, not to be confused with others. Therefore, Soviet 
nationalism was less harmonizing than was widely believed; it accepted inner-Soviet nationalist 
contradictions and dissent on territories, divergent interpretations of the cultural heritage (such as: 

Was al-Farabi a Kazakh? Was Ibn Sina (Avicenna) a Tajik or an 
Uzbek? To whom does al-Biruni belong?) It was up to the central 
power to solve these kinds of contradiction by arbitrary decisions. This 
makes clear that Soviet nationalism was embedded into the political 
structure of what used to be called 'Democratic Centralism'. The 
territorial principle was extended to all aspects of national histories, not 
only in space but also in time: 'Urartu was the oldest manifestation of a 
state not only on Armenian soil but throughout the whole Union (and, 
therefore, implicitly the earliest forerunner of the Soviet state)', 
'Nezami from Ganja is an Azerbaijani Poet', and so on. The Georgian 

linguist Nikolai Marr's bizarre, not to say extremist, theoretical rejection of any migrations in 
world history was, after some years of disastrous consequences, officially rejected itself, during 
Stalin's lifetime. In practice, this concept never vanished from the national discourses in the 
Soviet Union, albeit on a scholarly or on a popular and even folkloristic level. 
(Fragner. B.G., 'Soviet Nationalism': An Ideological Legacy to the Independent 
Republics of Central Asia'in: Willem van Schendel/Erik J. Ziircher (eds.), Identity 
Politics in Central Asia and the Muslim World. Nationalism, Ethnicity and Labour in the 
Twentieth Century, London 2001) 

We note that Uzbekistan still claims that Biruni is an Uzbek despite the fact that Biruni 
has a direct statement saying the people of Chorasmia are a branch of Persian and it is 
known that his language was the Chorasmian Iranian language (which he has left 
important remnants of). He has specifically mentioned that his native language was the 
Iranian Chorasmian language. 

J.G. Tiwari has also summarized and examined the USSR nation building policies with 
regards to Azerbaijan SSR. 

(Excerpted from Muslims Under the Czars and the Soviets by J.G. Tiwari, 1984, AIRP). 
Taken from: http://admin.muslimsonline.com/babri/azerbaijanl.htm (access date June 
2006) 

"Right on heels of October Revolution, the Bolsheviks in the Russian dominated town of 
Baku seized political power although they were in a minority [100] in the local Soviet. 
But the nationalists led by their Mussavat Party overthrew that government and set up 
their own independent government in its place in November, 1918 [101]. The Eleventh 
Russian Soviet Army was sent to Baku to curb the nationalists and seize power from 
them. On April 27, 1920 the nationalist government was overthrown and Soviet authority 

30 



was established [102] and the army captured millions of puds of oil, according to April 
28, 1920 telegram sent to Moscow by Revolutionary War Council of the Eleventh 
Russian Soviet Army concerning the liberation of Baku [103]. 

Immediately after this economic exploitation of Azerbajian began. Oil drilling rapidly 
increased. Influx of Russian settlers to Baku was accelerated. By 1934, only one out of 
five oil workers was the Azerbaijani Turk. In 1949 Russian was the language employed 
in most of the schools [104]. The economy of Azerbaijan being mostly agricultural, 
emphasis was given on increasing the area under cotton cultivation. Between 1913 and 
1938 the area under cotton increased by 90 per cent while that under wheat shrunk by 12 
per cent and that under rice cultivation by 48 percent. There was popular opposition to 
cotton growing. Even the Communist Party organization in villages and rural districts 
sabotaged the instructions which Baku authorities issued for the implementation of the 
cotton plan [105]. Coercion was employed to extend cotton area, to set up collective 
farms and to implement alphabet revolution. 

Within the Communist Party, opposition arose against Russification and economic 
exploitation of Azerbaijan. Between 1921 and 1925, this opposition was led by 
Sultangaliyevists who were working within the party under the leadership of Narimanov. 
The deviationists were liquidated. This was followed by another similar revolt in the 
party led by Khanbudagovism demanding the end of Russian colonization and the 
replacement of Turkic workers by Non-Turkic workers. Beria, the NKVD Chief was 
specially sent there in the thirties who took a "merciless part in unmasking and 
extermination of the Trotskyite-Bukharinist and bourgeois-nationalist deviationists in the 
country [106]. 

Azerbaijan history was re- written to establish the existence of strong friendly relations 
between Russia and Azerbaijan in the past and to deny close cultural ties with Persia of 
which for hundreds of years Azerbaijan was an integral part. Vigorous attempts were 
made to snap Azerbaijan's cultural ties with Iran. 

A striking example of Soviet attempts to snap the cultural ties between Azerbaijan and 
Persia was their treatment of Nizami, one of the most outstanding Persian poets. Since 
Nizami was born in a place that now falls within Soviet Azerbaijan, their propagandists 
claimed that Nizami belonged to Soviet Azerbaijan. The Soviet regime went to the extent 
of proclaiming that Nizami' s works were in accordance with Soviet ideology. Their 
leading journal Bolshevik stressed that Nizami's 'great merit' consisted in having 
undermined Islam [107]. Stalin referred to Nizami 'as the great poet of our brotherly 
Azerbaijan people 'who must not be surrendered to Iranian literature, despite having 
written most of his poems in Persian. Stalin even quoted passages from Nizami showing 
that he was forced to write in Persian language because he was not allowed to talk to his 
people in their native language [108]. He emphasized the view that Nizami was a victim 
of Persian oppression of Azerbaijanis and he opposed Persian oppression of minorities. 

New generation of Azerbaijan poets has cropped whose main theme is that Azerbaijanis 
in Persia live under oppression while the people of Soviet Azerbaijan live a prosperous 



31 



life. One Azerbaijani poet in one of his works puts the following words in the mouth of 
Stalin: 

From here the light will burst in living torrents, On Araby, Afghanistan and Iran; and 
dawn will bathe the Orient tomorrow, From this thy land, the happiest of lands [109]. 

The objective of Soviet literature and propaganda in Azerbaijan is to alienate the 
Azerbaijanis from Tehran, from Iran's religion and culture and to encourage people to 
look to Baku and not Tehran for cultural and political inspiration. 

Since the very inception of Bolshevik regime Baku and Azerbaijan have been used as 
instruments for Soviet expansionist aims. Baku is the venue of the Soviet University of 
the Peoples of the East where cadres are trained for work beyond the southern borders of 
Soviet Union. In 1921 and 1941, twice Soviet army in Azerbaijan aggressed on Iran and 
made abortive attempts to set up puppet Soviet regimes there. As early as 1930, the organ 
of the Soviet Nationalities, Revolyutsiyai Natsionalnost i, complained that Azerbaijan 
Turks consider themselves as integral part of Pahelvi's monarchy and forecasted that in 
due course of time Baku would play an important role in bringing about a new 
consciousness among Turks of Persian Azerbaijan, [110] in other words implying that 
Baku would be used as a propaganda centre for instigating Communist revolts in Iran. 
These endeavours have been reinforced by the recurrent theme of Soviet propagandists 
and litterateurs that their brothers in Persian Azerbaijan should be redeemed. In this way 
an irredentist ideology has been kept alive in Soviet Azerbaijan. Soviet Azerbaijan is the 
sanctuary of Iranian Communists and a centre for funding the Iranian Communist Party. 
On its Iranian border is positioned a radio station, called the National Voice of Iran which 
beams communist propaganda to Iran. As many as 28 Soviet divisions are stationed for 
action in Iran [111] and this border is connected by road net- works with the metropolitan 
cities of Soviet Union. In other words Soviet Azerbaijan is being keyed to play a vital 
role in the realization of Soviet plan to reach Gulf waters. Communist Party of 
Azerbaijan remained an important source of help for Afghan communists before they 
took over. 

Because of the iron curtain the outside world knows very little of the current popular 
reaction to Soviet regime in Azerbaijan, but the following two reports in ABN 
Correspondence can serve as an indication: 

"The Daily Telegraph dated May 22 1973 reported that the nationalist upsurge has taken 
place in Ukraine. Recently two writers have been sentenced to 7 and 5 years forced 
labour, respectively, for participating in activities of a 'national cultural movement'. 
There has been considerable national and religious uprising in Latvia and Lithunia. 
Similar activities are evident in Tadzhikstan, Azerbaijan and Turkestan. [112] 

"The underground radio stations 'are known to exist in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Lithunia, 
Uzbekistan and Ukraine." [1 13] 



32 



References: 

1. Kolarz Walter, Russia and Her Colonies, p. 32. 

2. Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1976, Vol. 9, p. 493 and Vol. 7, p. 71. 

An example of nation building process is also given by Ismet Cherif Vanly in his article 
describes the official state policy (which was really part of the USSR policy of 
assimilating smaller groups into larger groups): 

"Not only did Turkey and Azerbaijan pursue an identical policy, both employed identical 
techniques, e.g. forced assimilation, manipulation of population figures, settlement of non- 
Kurds in areas predominantly Kurdish, suppression of publications and abolition of 
Kurdish as a medium of instruction in schools. A familiar Soviet technique was also 
used: Kurdish historical figures such as Sharaf Khan of Bitlis and Ahmad Khani 
and the Shaddadid dynasty as a whole were described as Azeris. Kurds who 
retained "Kurdish"as their nationality on their internal passports as opposed to 
"Azeri"were unable to find employment." 

(Ismet Cheriff Vanly, "The Kurds in the Soviet Union", in: Philip G. Kreyenbroek & S. 
Sperl (eds.), The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview (London: Routledge, 1992)) 

It should be pointed out that during the decay and finally the demise of the USSR, some 
notable Russian scholars have spoken about the political attempt of detaching Nizami 
Ganjavi from Persian literature and the wider Iranian culture and civilization. 

The late Professor Igor M. Diakonoff gives a background on his writing of the book 
History of Media and he clearly states as he always had maintained that the Medes were 
Iranians. He also gives his impression on the 800* anniversary celebration of Nizami 
Ganjavi. He gives an overview of the USSR nation building. 

http://www.srcc.msu.su/uni-persona/site/ind_cont.htm 
http://www.srcc.msu.su/uni-persona/site/authors/djakonov/posl_gl.htm 

Accessed August 2006. 

I.M. Dyakonoff(1915- 1999) 

Publisher: (European House), Sankt Petersburg, Russia, 1995 

ISBN 5-85733-042-4 

The book can also be found at the Russian National Library 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_National_Library 
http://www.nlr.ru/cgi-bin/opac/nog/opac.exe 



^bakohob, Hropb MHxaiijioBHH(1915-). 
KHHra BOcnoMHHaHHH. - CII6.: Ooha pernoH. 
pa3BHTH5i CaHKT-rieTep6ypra h Ap., 1995. 
- 765, [2] c: nopTp.+ 25 cm. - (^hcbhhkh 
h BOcnoMHHaHHH neTep6yprcKHx yneHBix). 



33 



H3£. coBMecTHO c OOO "EBpon. aom", EBpon. 
yH-TOM b CaHKT-rieTep6ypre. - ISBN 
5-85733-042-4 (000 "EBpon. «om"). 

I. ^HeBHHKH h BOcnoMHHaHH^ neTep6yprcKHx 
yneHbix (3arji. cep.) 



MecTOHaxo)K r z];eHHe(inH(^p) : 
NLR 96-7/890 



^b^kohob, HropB MHxaiijioBHH(1915-). 
Kmira BOcnoMHHaHHii. - CII6.: Ooha pernoH. 
pa3BHTH^ C.-rieTep6ypra h jsp., 1995. - 767 
c: nopTp., (j)aKC.+ 25 cm. - (Cepn^ 
",3,HeBHHKH h BOcnoMHHaHH^ neTep6yprcKHx 
yneHBix"/ Pe^. cobct: B.B. AHaHBHH h ,zjp.). 
Ha o6opoTe tht. ji. aBT.: boctokobca H.M. 
Ab5ikohob. - ISBN 5-85733-042-4. 

I. CepHil "^HeBHHKH H BOCIIOMHHaHHil 

neTep6yprcKHx yHeHBix"(3arji. cep.) 



MecTOHaxo)K,z];eHHe(inH(j)p) : 
NLR 96-7/531 

The Book of Memoirs 

Last Chapter (After the war) 
pp 730 - 731 

Our faculty at the University, as I already mentioned, was closed "for Zionism ". There 
was only one position left open ("History of the Ancient East") which and I have 
conceded to Lipin, not knowing for sure then, that he was an (secret service) informer, 
and was responsible for death of lovely and kind Nika Erschovich. But Hermitage salary 
alone was not enough for living, even combined with what Nina earned, and I, following 
to an advice from a pupil of my brother Misha, Lesha Brstanicky, [signed a contract and] 
agreed to write "History of the Media" for Azerbaijan. All they searched for more 
aristocratic and more ancient ancestors, and Azerbaijanis hoped, that Medes were their 
ancient ancestors. 

The staff of Institute of History of Azerbaijan resembled me a good panopticon. All 
members had appropriate social origin and were party members (or so it was 

34 



considered); few could hardly talk Persian, but basically all were occupied by mutual 
eating (office politics). Characteristic feature: once, when we had a party (a banquet) in 
my honor at the Institute director 'apartment (who, if I am not wrong, was commissioned 
from a railway related-job), I was amazed by fact that in this society consisted solely of 
Communist party members, there were no women. Even the mistress of the house 
appeared only once about four o 'clock in the morning and has drunk a toast for our 
health with a liqueur glass, standing at the doors. 

The majority of employees of the Institute had very distant relation to science. Among 
other guests were my friend Lenja Bretanitsky (which, however, worked at other 
institute), certain complacent and wise old man, who according to rumors, was a red 
agent during Musavatists time, one bearer of hero of Soviet Union medal, Arabist, who 
later become famous after publication of one scientific historical medieval, either Arabic, 
or Persian manuscript, from which all quotes about Armenians were removed 
completely; besides that there were couple of mediocre archeolo gists; the rest were 
[Communist] party activists, who were commissioned to scientific front. 

Shortly before that celebrations of a series of anniversaries of great poets of the USSR 
people started. Before the war a celebration of Armenian epos hero of David ofSassoon 
anniversary took place (epos 'date was unknown, though). I caught only the end of the 
celebrations in 1939 while participating in the expedition, excavating Karmir Blur [in 
Armenia]. And it was planned an anniversary of the great poet Nizami celebration in 
Azerbaijan. There were slight problems with Nizami -first of all he was not Azeri 
but Persian (Iranian) poet, and though he lived in presently Azerbaijani 
city ofGanja, which, like many cities in the region, had Iranian 
population in Middle Ages. Second, according to the ritual, it was required to place 
a portrait of the poet on a prominent place, and whole building in one of the central 
areas of Baku was allocated for a museum of the paintings illustrating Nizami poems. 

Problem was that the Koran strictly forbids any images of alive essences, and nor a 
Nizami portrait, neither paintings illustrating his poems existed from NizamVs time. 

So Nizami portrait and paintings illustrating his poems were ordered three months before 
celebrations start. The portrait has been delivered to the house of Azerbaijan Communist 
Party first secretary Bagirov, local Stalin. He called a Middle Ages specialist from the 
Institute of History, drew down a cover from the portrait and asked: 

- Is it close to original? 

- Who is the original? - the expert has shy mumbled. Bagirov has reddened from anger. 

- Nizami! 

- You see, - the expert told, - they have not created portraits in Middle Ages in the East... 

All the same, the portrait occupied a central place in gallery. It was very difficult to 
imagine more ugly collection of ugly, botched work, than that which was collected on a 
museum floor for the anniversary. 

35 



/ could not prove to Azeris, that Medes were their ancestors, because, after all, it was not 
so. But I wrote "History of the Media", big, detailed work. Meanwhile, according to the 
USSR law a person could not have more than one job, so I was forced to leave (without a 
regret) Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, and, alas, the Hermitage, with its scanty 
earnings. For some period I worked at Leningrad's Office of History museum... 

(It should be noted that Diakonoff here considers Azeris as equivalent to a Turkic group, 
where-as in this author's opinion, Azeri's have a considerable Iranic heritage and thus the 
Medes and their civilization are part of the broader Iranic heritage of Azeris as well. This 
is what Prof. Planhol has called a multi-secular symbiosis. It is noteworthy that the whole 
concept of USSR nation building is succinctly described by one of its greatest historians 
(Diakonov). 

http://www.srcc.msu.su/uni-persona/site/authors/djakonov/posl gl.htm 

Original Russian of Professor Diakonov (this author does not speak Russian and thanks 
the anonymous friend who helped him by translating it and the translation was checked 
via computerized translator): 

B Vnueepcumeme namy Kacpedpy, Kax r yjtce eoeopiui, 3aKpbinu <oa cuohu3m». no 
cneijuajibuocmu «ucmopun Jfpeenezo BocmoKa" ocmaeunu odny cmaeKy - unycmynun 
ee Jlununy, ne 3nan eu^e mozda docmoeepno, nmo on cmyKan, u na ezo coeecmu otcmnb 
mujio30 u do6po30 Huku Epcxoeuua. Ho na odny spMumacHcnyjo 3apnnamy 6biJio ue 
npooicumb c ceMbeu, daotce c meM, nmo 3apa6ambieajia Huna, un, no coeemy ynenuKa 
Moezo 6pama Muiuu, Jlenu EpcmanuijKoso, nodpndujicn uanucamb dnn A3ep6audotcana 
«Hcmopujo Muduu». Bee mozda ucKajiu npedKoe no3namuee u nodpeenee, u 
a3ep6audofcamjbi nademucb, nmo Mudnne - ux dpeenue npedKU. KojineKmm 
Hucmumyma ucmopuu A3ep6audotcana npedcmaenwi codou xopoiuuu nauonmuKyju. C 
coijuajibHbiM npoucxojtcdenueM u napmuunocmbw y ecex 6ujio ece e nopndKe (unu maK 
cnumajiocb); Koe-Kmo moz odhHcuumbcn no-nepcudcKU, ho e ocnoenoM ohu 6ujiu 
3anHmbi 63auMHbiM noedanueM. XapaKmepnan nepma: odnajtcdu, Kozda e mow uecmb 
6biJi yempoen 6aw<em na Keapmupe dupeianopa uncmumyma (Kaotcemcn, 
nepedpotuennoso c napmuunou padomu na jtcejie3uou dopoze), n 6uji nopajtcen meM, 
umo e 3moM odu^ecmee, cocmonemeM U3 odnux HJieuoe napmuu KOMMyuucmoe, ne 6ujio 
uu oduou Dtcenu^UHbi. fjaoice xo3HUKa doMa euiujia k naM monbKO okojio nemeepmozo 
uaca ympa u eununa 3a name 3dopoebe pwMOHKy, cmon e deepnx KOMuamu. K uayKe 
dojibiuuncmeo compyduuKoe uncmumyma UMeno doeonbuo Koceennoe omnoiuenue. 
Cpedu nponux zocmeu ebidenmucb mou dpyz Jlenn EpemauuifKuu (Komopuu, enpoueM, 
padomaji e dpyzoM uncmumyme), odun neKuu dnasodyiunbiu u Mydpuu cmapeij, 
Komopuu, no cnyxaM, 6uji KpacuuM mnuonoM, Kosda ejiacmb e A3ep6audofcaue 6ujia y 
Mycaeamucmoe, odun zepou CoeemcKozo Cow3a, apaducm, npocjiaeueiuuucn 
enocjiedemeuu empozo uayuubiM u3danueM oduozo ucmopunecKozo cpedneeeKoeozo, ne 
mo apado-, ne mo upano-R3bmnozo ucmopunecKozo ucmonnuKa, U3 Komopozo, odnaKO, 
6binu mujamejibuo yempaneuu ece ynoMunauuH 06 apMHnax; KpoMe mozo, 6bwu odun 
ujiu dea eecbMa emopocmenennbix apxeonosa; ocmanbuue eec 6ujiu napmpadomnuKU, 
dpoiueuubie na uayuy. H3biCKauubie eocmonuue mocmu npodonotcanucb do ympa. 

36 



He3adomo neped meM nauajiacb cepun K)6ujieee eenuKux nosmoe napodoe CCCP. Tleped 
eounou ormpeMen wduneu apMHHCKOso snoca ffaeuda CacyncKozo (dama Komopozo 
eoo6iife-mo ueu36ecmua) - xeocmuK 3mozo n 3axeamuji e 1939 ^ eo epeMR sKcnedutfuu 
uapacKoriKU KapMup-djiypa. A ceuuac e A3ep6audotcane somoeuncn wduneu eenuKoso 
nosma HmaMU. C HmaMU 6biJia HeKomopan nedojibiuan nenoeKocmb: eo-nepeux, on 
6bin ne a3ep6audotcancKuu, a nepcudcKuu (upancKuu) no3m, xonrn Jtcun on e nune 
a3ep6audjfcaucKOM zopode rnndotce, Komopcm, kcik u dojibiuuncmeo 3demnux zopodoe, 
UMejia e Cpednue eeKa upancKoe 



uacejieuue. Kpojue mozo, no pumycmy nonasanocb eucmaeumb na eudnoM Mecme 
nopmpem nosma, u e odnoM U3 ijenmpajibHbix pauonoe EaKy 6ujio eudeneno ijenoe 
3dauue nod My3eu Kapmun, ujuijocmpupyjonfux nosMbi Hu3aMU. Ocodan mpyduocmb 
3aKjuouajiacb e mom, umo Kopan cmpojtcautue 3anpeu^aem ecnKue u3o6pajtcenun otcueux 
cyu^ecme, u nu nopmpema, nu ujuijocmpaifuou Kapmun eo epeMeua Hmajuu e npupode ne 
cyu^ecmeoeano. ITopmpem Hu3ajuu u Kapmunu, ujijuocmpupyjoufue ezo nosMbi 
(uucjieuHOcmbJO ua ijejiyw dojibtuyujyjo sanepeio) donotcnu 6biJiu mzomoeumb k jodujiew 
3a mpu Mecnija. 

Ilopmpem 6uji docmaenen ua doM nepeojuy ceKpemapw L[K KIT A3ep6audofcana 
Eazupoey, jiOKajibnojuy Cmanuny. Tom ebuean k cede eedyiyeso Medueeucma U3 
Hncmumyma ucmopuu, omdepnyn nonomno c nopmpema u cnpocun: 

- Iloxojfc? 

- Ha kozo?... -podKO npoMRMJiun 3Kcnepm. Eazupoe noKpacnen om zneea. 

- Ha Hu3ajuu! 

- Budume nu, - CKa3an 3Kcnepm, - e Cpednue eeKa na BocmoKe nopmpemoe ne 
co3daeajiu... 

Kopoue zoeopn, nopmpem 3anm eedyu^ee juecmo e sanepee. Eonbiueso codpanun 
6e3o6pa3uou Ma3nu, neM 6ujio codpano ua My3eunoM smaotce k wdujiew, edea nu 
Mootcno cede eoo6pa3umb. 

ffoKa3amb a3ep6audcncanijaM, umo Mudnne - ux npedKU, n ne cmoz, nomojuy umo 3mo 
ece-maKU ne maK. Ho «Hcmopuw Muduu "nanucan - dojibtuou, mojicmuu, nodpodno 
apsyMenmupoeauubiu moM. Mejtcdy meM, e cmpane ebiiuen 3aKon, 3anpeujajou{uu 
coejuecmumejibcmeo, u Mm npuiujiocb (6e3 cootcanenun) dpocumb u A3ep6audotcancKyio 
AKadeMUJO uayK, u, yeu, SpMumaotc c ezo MmepuuM 3apa6omKOM. HeKomopoe epeMH 
padoman c JlenumpadcKOM omdenenuu Hncmumyma ucmopuu, co3dannoM napyunax 
pa38poMJiennoso ynuKajibuoso My3en ucmopuu nucbMennocmu H.n.JIuxaucea, a odno 
epeMR Hucjiujicn noueMy-mo no MOCKoecKOMy omdejienuw 3mozo Jtce Hncmumyma 
ucmopuu. " 

37 



Another Russian scholar that can be mentioned Victor A. Shnirelman, who received his 
Ph.D. in History and is a leading scientist of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology 
of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has published studies and articles on interethnic 
relations and conflicts, and focused on Russian nationalist ideologies and anti-Semitism 
from the historical and current perspectives. He teaches the sociology of interethnic 
relations and nationalism, as well as an introduction to the History of anti-Semitism at the 
Jewish University of Moscow. 
Shnirelman writes in his important book in 2003: 

K 3T0My BpeMeHH OTMeneHHbie npaHCKHH h apM5iHCKHH (j)aKTopi>i cnoco6cTBOBanH 
6bictpoh asepGaHA^KamoamiH HcropHHecKHx repoeB h hctophhcckhx nojiHTHnecKHx 
o6pa30BaHHH Ha TeppHTopHH A3ep6aii,zpKaHa. B nacTHOCTH, b 1938 r. Hn3aMH b cb5I3h c 
ero 800-jieTHHM K)6HjieeM 6blji o6i>5iBjieH reHHajiBHbiM a3ep6aH,i];)KaHCKHM iio3tom 
(HcTopH5i, 1939. C. 88-91). Ha caMOM Aejie oh 6biji nepcH^CKHM iio3tom, hto h 
Hey^HBHTejiBHO, Tax KaK ropo^cKoe HacejieHHe b Te ro^Bi 6bijio npe^CTaBjieHO nepcaMH 
(^bakohob, 1995. C. 731). B CBoe Bpejvui 3to npH3HaBajiocB BceMH 

3HI^HKJI0ne r Z];HHeCKHMH CJIOBap^MH, BBIXOAHBHIHMH B POCCHH, H JIHHIB BoJIBHia^ 

CoBeTCKa^ 3Hi^HKjione r z];H^ BnepBBie b 1939 r. o6i>5iBHjia HroaMH "bcjihkhm 
asepGaiiA^KaHCKHM no3TOM M (Cp. BpoKray3 h E(j)poH, 1897. C. 58; TpaHaT, 1917. C. 195; 
EC3, 1939. C. 94). 

Translation from Russian: 

By that time, already mentioned Iranian and Armenian factors contributed to the rapid 
azerbaijanization of historical heroes and historical political entities on the territory of 
Azerbaijan. In particular, in 1938, Nizami in connection with his 800-year anniversary 
was declared a genius(marvelous) Azerbaijani poet (History, 1939. Pp 88-91). In fact, he 
was a Persian poet, which is not surprising, because the urban population in those years 
was Persian (Dyakonov, 1995. page. 731). At one time it was recognized by all 
Encyclopedic Dictionaries of published in Russia, and only the Big Soviet Encyclopedia 
for the first time in 1939, announced Nizami as a "Great Azerbaijani poet (Sr. Brockhaus 
andEfron, 1897. page. 58; Garnet, 1917. page. 195 ; BSE, 1939. p. 94). 
Source: 

(Russian) Shnirelman, Viktor A. Memory Wars: Myths, Identity and Politics in 
Transcaucasia. Moscow: Academkniga, 2003 ISBN 5-9462-8118-6. 

Note the above book is critical of ethnic driven historiography in the Transcaucasia 
(Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia) in general. 

The Russian philologist Ivan Mikhailovich Steblin-Kamensky, Professor and the Dean of 

the Oriental Department of Saint Petersburg University comments 

("Oriental Department is ready to cooperate with the West", Saint Petersburg University 

newspaper, No 24—25 (3648—49), 1 November 2003"). 

http://www.spbumag.nw.ru/2003/24/l.shtml ): 

Mm roTOBHjiH TaKHx cneijHajiHCTOB, ho, KaK noKa3bmaeT Haine c hhmh oGmemie, TaM onem 

MHOrO HaiJHOHaJlHCTHHeCKHX TemjeHIJHH, HayHHBIX (j)aJTBCH(j)HKaLI,HH. Bh^HMO, 3TO CB5I3aHO c 

nepBbiMH ro^aMH caMOCTOirrejibHOCTH. B hx Tpyzjax npncyTCTByeT HaijHOHanHCTHHecKoe 

38 



Hanajro, HeT o6i>eKTHBHoro B3rsmjia, HayHHoro noHHMamra npo6jieM, xom HCTopHHecicoro 
pa3BHTH^. IloAHac - OTKpoBeHHa^ (j)ajibCH(j)HKaLi,Ha. HanpHMep, HH3aMH, naM5ITHHK KOTOpOMy 
B03,z],BHrHyT Ha KaMeHHOOCTpoBCKOM npocneKTe, oG^zBimeTcn bcjihkhm a3ep6aH,zpKaHCKHM 
noaTOM. Xota oh no-a3ep6aH,zpKaHCKH ^a^ce He roBopHji. A o6ocHOBbraaiOT 3to tcm, hto oh tkwi 
Ha TeppHTopHH HbiHeniHero A3ep6aH,zpKaHa - ho Be/jb HroaMH nncaji cboh cthxh h no3Mbi Ha 
nepcH^CKOM ^3biKe! 
Translation: 

" We trained such specialists, but, as shown by our communication with them, there are a 
lot of nationalistic tendencies there and academic fraud. Apparently it's related to the first 
years of independence. Their works include nationalist beginnings. Objective perspective, 
scientific understanding of the problems and timeline of historical developments are 
lacking. Sometimes there is an outright falsification. For example, Nizami, the 
monument of whom was erected at Kamennoostrovsk boulevard, is proclaimed Great 
Azerbaijani poet. Although he did not even speak Azeri. They justify this by saying that 
he lived in the territory of current Azerbaijan, but Nizami wrote his 
poems in Persian language!" 



Overall, it seems the political detachment of Nezami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization is 
recognized by authors who write about the former USSR: Yo'av Karny, "Highlanders : A 
Journey to the Caucasus in Quest of Memory", Published by Macmillan, 2000. Pg 124: 
"In 1991 he published a translation into Khynalug of the famous medieval poet Nezami, 
who is known as Persian but is claimed by Azeri nationalists as their own." 

Another Russian scholar, by the name of Mikhail Kapustin in 1988 (during the time when 
the USSR was opening up to the world and there was no pressure on scholars to 
manipulate fact) wrote in the cultural magazine of Soviets: 

Nizami Ganjavi is one of the greatest thinkers and poets of the middle ages and belongs 
to the exceptional heritage of Persian literature of Iran. He had no connection with the 
current culture ofAzarbaijan. And Azerbaijanis are making a useless effort to claim him 
as one of their own. At the time of Nizami, Azeri-Turks did not exist in that land. 
(Sovietkaya Kultura (Soviet Culture) magazine, 27 of December, 1988). 

This author does not agree with Mikhail Kapustin in terms of not having any connection 
with the culture of Azerbaijan. Nizami Ganjavi has influenced the whole realm of Islamic 
literature and he is also part of the Iranian heritage of the Republic of Azerbaijan. At the 
same time, the folklore of Nizami Ganjavi is based on Persian (Sassanid, Shahnameh) 
and Iranian folklore (with the exception of the case of Layli o Majnoon which was a 
Persianized version of an original Arab story) and not Turkmen/Oguz folklore like those 
of Dede Qorqud or Grey- Wolves. Nizami Ganjavi' s epics are not based on Turkic 
themes. It is also important to emphasize that the two major influences on Nizami were 
Sanai and Ferdowsi. So Nizami Ganjavi is part of the Iranian heritage of Iranian people 
and people that also have Iranian heritage including Azerbaijanis. The view of Diakonof 
and Kapustin put Nizami Ganjavi in Iranian civilization. 



39 



For example, a relatively nationalistic website mentions: 

"The original opera had been based on "Kaveh, the Blacksmith". However, such a plot 
would absolutely have jeopardized their lives. First of all, it was based on a foreign tale: 
Kaveh was a mythical figure of ancient Persia, memorialized by 10th century Ferdowsi in 
Persian verse in the u Shahnameh "(Book of the Kings) " 

http://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/ail42 folder/142 articles/142 koroghlu 

why.html 
(Betty Blair, Why Hajibeyov wrote the Opera Koroghlu, Azerbaijan International, 
Summer 2006) 

On the other hand, Nizami Ganjavi has mentioned dozens of Shahnameh figures in his 
Panj-Ganj or Khamseh (these is a small section on this in this article). He has written that 
he considers himself a successor and inheritor of Ferdowsi. He has never mentioned once 
a symbol from Turkish mythology like those of Grey Wolf, Dede Qorqud, Oghuz-nama 
and other myths/folklore of Turkic groups. Ferdowsi is widely praised and used by 
Nizami Ganjavi, yet a nationalist journal claims Ferdowsi's work is a foreign tale. So a 
minority of the modern intellectuals (from both Iranian Azerbaijan and the Republic of 
Azerbaijan) identify themselves solely with Oghuz Turks and even if there are strong 
Iranic elements in the history of Azerbaijan and the Caucasia (like Masud ibn Namdar, 
Nasir ad-din Tusi, Bahmanyar, Nizami Ganjavi, Zoroaster, Medes, Parthians, 
Achaemenids), some of these intellectuals will either dismiss them or attempt to Turkify 
them if possible. 



Two important and recent articles on Poiiticization of Nezami by 
Alexandar Otarovich Tamazshvilli 

Alexander Otarovich Tamazshvilli worked as one of the scholar in the Russian institute 
of Oriental studies in St. Petersburg until his retirement. He has written two important 
articles on the poiiticization of Nezami and USSR views on the Persian culture heritage. 
This author through a friend that spoke Russian as good as a native speaker had a chance 
to ask him several questions through the phone. We obtained his phone number through 
the Russian institute of Oriental Studies and unfortunately he did not use email. 

Question: Your two articles on poiiticization of Nezami are very important. Can they be 
translated? 

Answer: Yes of course. 

Question: Do you have an e-mail? 

Answer: No I do not use e-mail but I can give you my address for further questions. 



40 



Question: Do you think Nezami was Iranian or Azerbaijani Turkic? Because in your 
article you mention that the overwhelming orientalist scholars consider him Persian, yet 
you mention that the USSR results could have been reached later, but they came during 
his 800 th anniversary? 

Answer: I am not a scholar Nezami or ancient history of the East. Rather I study the 
politicization and USSR politics. So I have no position on the ethnicity or cultural 
attribution of Nezami. 

Question: Do you think that the republic of Azerbaijan will reconsider its position on 
Nezami? 

Answer: No. Nezami is a very important figure for Azerbaijani nation building. Thus the 
view that he is an Azerbaijani will remain therefor the foreseeable future. 

Anyhow, despite Dr. Tamazshvilli not taking a position himself (which is reasonable 
since he did not consider himself an expert), he has two articles which reveal how 
Nezami was politicized and used for nation building. We should recall though that in the 
USSR era especially 1 940-1 970 's, the term "Azerbaijani" was not equivalent to Turkic 
rather it meant primarily a synthesis of Iranian (Medes) and Caucasian Albanians. Indeed 
the USSR Great Soviet Encyclopedia mentions the Avesta as the oldest form of 
Azerbaijani literature, where the Avesta is in an Iranian language and the correct term 
would be Iranian literature. 

Dr. Tamazshvilli wrote two important articles and here we provide translations of both 
articles where it concerns politicization of Nezami. Dr. Tamazshivilli himself though 
took no position on the actual background of Nezami in our interview and said he is not 
an expert in ancient history or Persian literature. 

Article 1: 

Tamazshvilli A.O. "From the History of Study of Nezami-ye Ganjavi in the USSR: 
Around the Anniversary - E.E. Bertels, J.V. Stalin, and others" in "Unknown pages of 
domestic oriental studies'^ Editors: Naumlin VV, Romanova NG, Smilyanskaya IM), 
The Russian Academy of Sciences. Oriental studies institute. 2004. 

Article 2: 

Tamazshvilli, A.O. Posleslovie (Afterword). Iranistika v Rossii i iranisty (Iranology in 
Russia and Iranologists). Moscow, 2001 Russian Citation: TaMa3HinBHjiH A. O. 
IIocjiecjiOBHe [k ny6jiHKaijHH AOKjia^a B. H. 3axo^epa «E. 3. BepTejibc»]. — 

HpaHHCTHKa B POCCHH H HpaHHCTbl. M., 2001. 



However the articles of Tamazshvilli speak for themselves. They clearly show that the 
USSR scholarship was concerned about nation building. Indeed scholars such as E.E. 
Bertels were affected by political decisions. 



41 



Article 1 of Tamazashvilli: From the History of Study of Nezami-ye Ganjavi in 
the USSR: Around the Anniversary - E.E. Bertels, J.V. Stalin, and others" 



One of the most glaring and remarkable cultural and socio-political events of the 
USSR in the autumn of 1940 was supposed to have been the 800 th anniversary of the 
poet and thinker, Nezami-ye Ganjavi. The war pushed the festivities six years back until 
the autumn of 1947. 

This long (from 1937 to 1947) anniversary campaign, in which many scholars - 
Orientalists, literary people, and politicians - took part, gave good results. In the 
boundary of 1930s and 1940s, its active participant, E.E. Bertels said, "real scholarly 
study of Nezami can only be done in our time." 1 He himself concluded that "Only 
twenty years ago all the literature on Nezami in Russian language was based on few 
articles mostly of bibliographic character. The 800 th anniversary of the Great Azerbaijani 
thinker and poet in all the corners of our Homeland has basically changed this 
situation." 2 Main, revolutionary result of this campaign for our native scholarship 
became attributing Nezami as an Azerbaijani poet, and his works as achievements of the 



1 Bertels, E.E. Some Tasks of the Study of Nezami' s Works. - Nezami. First Collection. Baku, 1940. p. 3. 

2 Bertels, E.E. The Great Work of Nezami. Literaturnaya Gazeta (Literary Gazette). 15.12.1953. N2148. 

42 



Azerbaijani literature, while in the realm of the world Oriental Studies (and prior to this 
in the Soviet as well), the viewpoint of him as a representative of Persian literature. 



Political content of the Soviet Nezami-studies was left out of the view of the 
historians of the native scholarship, including the biographers of E.E. Bertels. Moreover, 
the question of nationality of Nezami and his works, other than scholarly aspects, had 
clear political aspects; and a scholarly based answer to this question is an important 
political meaning which was based on the creation of the Azerbaijani SSR. 3 Therefore, 
from beginning to the end of Nezami's 800 th anniversary campaign, scholarship and 
politics went hand-in-hand, supporting and directing each other; but it seems that 
politics still had a more important role. This was stipulated by a number of objective 
and subjective reasons. 

Nezami deserved an anniversary in any case, which seemed to have an evident 
benefit to scholarship. There was a precedent as well - in 1934, the 1000 th birth 
anniversary of the classic of Persian literature, Ferdowsi, was held in the USSR. 
However, having the anniversary of Nezami, while presenting him with the same 
qualities, would not have been objectively expedient. 



3 The scholars of the Azerbaijani SSR gave and propagated very high appraisals of Nezami. "The role of 
Nezami in the development of human civilization can only be compared with the missions of Aristotle, 
Avicenna, Shakespeare, and Pushkin." (Aliev, R.M., Nizami Gyandzhevi (Nezami Ganjavi). Nizami 
Gyandzhevi. Kratkiy Spravochnik (Short Handbook). Baku, 1979, p.9). "The works of Nezami played an 
incomparable role in the formation and the further development of philosophic and artistic thought, the 
socio-ethic view of not only our people, but all the people of Near and Middle East - Turks, Iranians, 
Kurds, Indians, Afghans, Arabs, and others"(Aliev, Rustam. Nizami. Kratkiy Bibliograficheskiy 
Spravochnik (Nezami. Short Bibliographic Handbook). Baku, 1982, p. 123). Naturally, it is honorable and 
flattering for a new sovereign state to have a person of such scale in its history. 

43 



The second half of the 1930s became a period of national literary anniversaries.: 
In 1937, 750 th anniversary of Shota Rustaveli's poem, "The Knight in the Panther's Skin"; 
in 1938, 750 th anniversary of 'The Tale of Igor's Campaign"; in 1939, 1000 th anniversary 
of the Armenian epic, "David of Sasun." These anniversaries were held in the 
Azerbaijani SSR as well. If Azerbaijan would not propose a similar anniversary, both 
from chronological as well as cultural perspective, it could have been an argument for 
beliefs (and not only from a narrow-minded level) about historically formed 
backwardness of the Azerbaijanis and their national culture in comparison to the 
Persians, Georgians, and Armenians. This is supported by a reference to Nezami and his 
works during the anniversary campaign and the controversy on the development level 
of Azerbaijan in the 12 th century; but later on this. 

"Celebrating the 800 th anniversary of the birth of Nezami is a huge achievement 
of our people in the area of cultural buildup," was said in Azerbaijan. 4 

The loud anniversary of an Azerbaijani poet of the middle ages was, for the 
current situation, vital in the interests of the policy of harmonizing international 
relations in the South Caucasus, which was being held by the Soviet government and the 
ACP(b) (Ail-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks)). 

The First Secretary of the CC CP(b) (Central Committee of the Communist Party 
(bolsheviks)) of the Azerbaijani SSR of those years, M.D. Baqerov, had very strong anti- 
Iranian feelings, and undoubtedly was a patriot of Azerbaijan, although a one who could 



4 To Comrade Stalin. - Bakinskiy Rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 28.09.1947, JN2191. 

44 



get carried away. 5 It is enough to say that in the Resolution of the 14 th Convention of 
the CP(b) of the Azerbaijani SSR, which was accepted due to Baqerov' s speech, 
demanded "foundational improvements in the teaching of the Azeri language, while 
clearing it out of Arabisms, Farsisms, Ottomanisms, etc." 6 Baqerov tried to attentively 
follow the study of history and culture of the peoples of Caucasus and South Caucasus, 
and actively struggled against situations that seemed wrong and ideologically fallacious 
to him. One such situation surely was the statement that Nezami is a Persian poet. 
Mostly, due to M.D. Baqerov, the anniversary was very successful. 

It must be admitted that Baqerov was left in a difficult situation, when the 
problem of a literary anniversary appeared for Azerbaijan. The question of Nezami, as it 
was put in the Republic, in the 1930s, was a question that did not only concern, or was 
in the level, of the Republic. His decision was outside of the competency of the 
leadership of the Azerbaijani SSR. The attempt to reconsider the nationality of Nezami 
and his works in the interests of Azerbaijan, could have been viewed by the official 
Moscow as demonstration of nationalist tendencies - an attempt to "better" the past of 
the Azerbaijani people, strengthen the authority of the Republic in the determent of the 
historical truth. 

How definitely and harshly the political leadership of the USSR struggled with the 
displays of nationalism, as well as nationalists, was perfectly known. Objections from 
scholars could be expected as well, primarily from the Leningrad specialists, who 



5 His name is written either as Mir Ja'far Baqerov or Mir Ja'far Abbasovich Baqerov in different sources. 
His has left a visible mark in the history of Soviet oriental studies, which is practically unknown in the 
scholarly literature. 

6 Bakinskiy Rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 17.06.1938, JN«137. 

45 



created the trend for the Soviet literary Orientalism. However, it worked; and the 
"transfer" of Nezami as an Azerbaijani poet was done in a very well thought manner, 
fast, persistently, but properly, and overall, even elegantly. But everything started with 
a scandal. 

It was planned that in 1938, there would be a decade of the Azerbaijani art in 
Moscow, for which the Republic had decided to prepare an "Anthology of Azerbaijani 
Poetry" in Russian. The first version of the anthology, which was supposed to present 
"the greatest masters - the creators of the Azerbaijani poetry," the inclusion of 
Nezami's poetry was not considered. This was the case in May, 1937. 7 But already on 
August 1, the press reported that the two-year work on translating poetry for the 
Anthology is over, and the Russian reader can become acquainted with the monumental 
poetry of Nezami. "At some point, the dirty hand of the enemies of the people was 
placed on the Anthology [...] they did everything so that the Anthology looked perhaps 
more skinny and decrepit," reported the newspaper. 8 But there are not enough bases 
to argue that the decision to include the poetry of Nezami was based purely on the 
political basis. Argument for this decision could have been the view of the Soviet 
Orientalist, Yu.N. Marr on Nezami. In one of his works, he had stated that as soon as he 
started researching Rustaveli, Khaqani, and Nezami, and their epochs, he right away was 
convinced that "the epoch and authors are in a disgracefully neglected situation." 9 Back 



7 Shamilov, S., Lugovskiy V., Vurgun, Samed. Poety Azerbaydzhana na russkom yazyke (Poets of 
Azerbaijan in Russian Language). - Bakinskiy Rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 16.05.1937, JV2I 12. All the 
three of it's authors were editors of the first version of the "Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry." 

8 Antologiya Azerbaydzhanskoy poezii na russkom yazyke (The Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry in 
Russian Language). Bakinskiy Rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 01.08.1937, N2177. 

9 Marr, Yu.N. Predislovie (Foreword). - Khakani, Nizami, Rustaveli. M. - L., 1935, p. 5 

46 



in 1929, Yu.N. Marr asserted that "Nezami is its own for Caucasus, especially for the 
ethnic group that has kept the Persian tradition in its literature until recently, i.e. for 
Azerbaijan, where the Ganjian poet is more respected than in Persia." 10 Of course, "its 
own for Azerbaijan" is not the same as "Azerbaijani," but in the middle of 1937, Marr 
who had died in 1935, was the only Soviet Orientalist on whose research could the 
proponents of the view of Nezami as an Azerbaijani poet lean. It must be noted that 
luck was on their side as a whole, and especially because it was Yuriy Marr in Particular 
who spoke of Nezami. His scholarly reputation in the eyes of the political leadership of 
the country must have been somehow connected with the reputation of his father - 
Academician N.Ya. Marr, whose name was very authoritative in those years in the Soviet 
scholarship, as well as in the Party circles. The rays of father's popularity fell on the son 
too. 

They did not fail to tie the name of N.Ya. Marr with the Nezami-studies in 
Azerbaijan: "Special merit in the revision of the scholarly understanding of Nezami is 
owed to the Azerbaijani scholars, Academician N.Ya. Marr, Professor Yu.N. Marr, and 
others. They hold the merit of revising the Bourgeoisie Oriental scholarship, which has 
distorted the image of the Azerbaijani poet..." 11 This reference to Marr appeared more 
for political reasons, because there were no direct statements of the scholar that 
Nezami is an Azerbaijani poet. 



10 Cited by Arasly, G., Arif, M., Rafili M. Antologiya Azerbaydzhanskogo Naroda (Anthology of the 
Azerbaijani People) -Antologiya Azerbaydzhanskoy Poezii (Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry). 
Moscow, 1939, p. XIX. 

11 Rafili, M., Nizami Gyandzhevi i ego tvorchestvo (Nezami Ganjavi and his works). Baku, 1947, p. 7-8. 

47 



The Institute of History, Language and Literature of the Azerbaijani Branch of the 
Academy of Sciences of the USSR started working on the study and the preparation of 
publication of the works of Nezami Ganjavi, who from 1937 was confidently referred to 
as the great classic of the Azerbaijani literature. 12 In the published materials in 
Azerbaijan in the second half of 1937, where Nezami is mentioned, his name and works 
are often closely tied to the name and works of Shota Rustaveli. Showing the speech by 
an Azerbaijani literary in a ceremonial plenum of the Baku Municipal Soviet of Deputies 
of the Workers for the 750 th anniversary of the poem, 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin" 
of is a good example. "Comrade Merza Ebrahimov names the classics of the Azerbaijani 
literature - Nezami and Khaqani - that lived and created in the epoch of Rustaveli, who 
were struggling for the same high ideals and aspirations, which were geniusly sang by 
the great Shota, and which were realized only in our Stalin epoch." 13 The name of 
Rustaveli here helps give the basic idea about the consonance of the works and ideas of 
Nezami with the ideas of the Stalin epoch more tacitly, and consequently some ideas of 
Stalin himself. The support of Moscow is extremely important in the Azerbaijani 
decision of the Nezami question. 

Next year of 1938 became the year when the USSR once and for all ended the 
"negligence" of Nezami. The Decade of Azerbaijani Arts was passing with great success 
in Moscow from 5 th to the 15 th of April of 1938. In Baku, the "Azerneshr" publishing 
published 700 remembrance copies of the "Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry," where 



12 Yagubov, A. A. Nauchnaya Rabota v Azerbaijane (The Scholarly Work in Azerbaijan). Bakinskiy 
Rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 28.02.1938.^48. 

13 750-letie genial'nogo tv or eniy a Shota Rustaveli "Vepkhis Tkaosani" (750 th anniversary of the genius 
work of Shota Rustaveli "Vepkhis Tkaosani"). Na Torzhestevvnom Plenume Bakinskogo Soveta (In the 
Ceremonial Plenum of the Baku Soviet). Baknskiy Rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 31.12.1937. N2304. 

48 



there were Nezami Ganjavi's poems translated by Konstantin Simonov. The editor of 
the anthology was only one - V. Lugovskiy. It is logical to conclude that the other two - 
Samed Vurgun and S. Shamilov - were removed in 1937 as those who were not able to 
work, but it is presumed that the reason was not only this. According to some sources 
the anthology had a second editor as well - Merza Ebrahimov (Esmail Merza Azhdar- 
Zadeh), who was already the Head of the Department for Arts Affairs under the Soviet 
People's Committee [Ministry ] of the Azerbaijani SSR, but his name was not in the book 
either. 14 The reason that the name of high ranking officials disappeared from the list of 
editors of the anthology was probably because the work was supposed to look as a 
result of the initiative and work of only creative intelligentsia of Azerbaijan and Russia. 
Moreover, the work done only by (only on the surface) non-Azerbaijani poets is harder 
to consider a nationalist view of Nezami. The anonymous foreword to the Anthology 
says, "Among the Azerbaijani poets of the 12 th century, Nezami is highly regarded," but 
this assertion is not backed by anything. 15 

The publication of this anthology was a crafty tactical move to make a decision 
about Nezami's situation. Undoubtedly, this book was being given to the members of 
the government of the USSR and the leadership of the ACP(b), who showed lively 
interest in the Decade of the Azerbaijani Art, among whom was Stalin. If anything in the 
contents of the "Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry" (for example, assertion on the 



14 Antologiya Azerbaydzhanskoy Poezii (Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry). Literaturniy Azerbaydzhan 
(Literary Azerbaijan). 1938, N°3. p. 8; Antologiya Azerbaydzhanskoy Poezii (Anthology of the Azerbaijani 
Poetry). Literaturnaya Gazeta (Literary Gazette). 05.04.1938, N2I9. 

15 Poeziya azerbaydzhanskogo naroda. Istoricheskiy obzor. (The Poetry of the Azerbaijani People. An 
Historical Overview). Antologiya azerbaydzhanskoy poezii (The Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry). 
Baku, 1938, p.3. 

49 



national belongingness of Nezami) would bring about objection and politicized criticism 
"from above/' the fault for the publishing of a flawed book would remain on the 
leadership of the Azerbaijani SSR; however, there were no proofs that their views on 
Nezami were reflected in the book. 

However, exposing these views with full manifest, as with the authors of the 
foreword in the Anthology, would not be too hard. But, evidently, there were no 
questions or objections to the contents of the Anthology. In any way, the first edition of 
the "Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry" had a strange fate. It is unlikely that the 
Anthology remained practically unknown to the literary people and scholars; however, 
for some reason people did not talk much about it. The short essay, "Nezami Ganjavi," 
which was part of the foreword in the book, is not mentioned in the work of Rostam 
Aliev, "Nezami: A Short Bibliographic Reference" (Baku, 1982) either. 

On the day of the opening of the Decade, Pravda ["The Truth" - official 
Communist Party of the USSR Publication] had an editorial, "The Art of the Azerbaijani 
People." It stated, "Back in the age of the feudal lawlessness, the Azerbaijani people 
gave birth to the greatest artists. The names of Nezami, Khaqani, Fuzuli of Baghdad are 
on par with the Persian poets Saadi and Hafez. Nezami, Khaqani, and Fuzuli were 
flaming patriots of their people who were serving the foreign newcomers, only under 
pressure." 16 The meaning of the article is hard to overstate for the "repatriation" of 
Nezami to Azerbaijan. This was a proof that the official Moscow agreed with the 
decision made in the Azerbaijani SSR on Nezami. 



16 Iskusstvo azerbaydzhanskogo naroda. (The Art of the Azerbaijani People). Pravda. 05.04.1938, N°94. 

50 



On the next day, April 6, 1938, 'The Baku Worker" republished the article from 
Pravda (which strengthened its meaning for the Republic). From this moment on, the 
official Baku every time would demonstrate that gave up the initiative to Moscow, and 
the course of the 800 th Anniversary of Nezami is coming from Moscow. 

On April 18, 1938, Provdo came out with "The Triumph of the Azerbaijani Art." 
"But despite all the prohibitions and persecutions, in defiance of victimizations, the 
heroic Azerbaijani people would bring out those who expressed their rebellious, 
courageous, and angry spirits. Back in the age of the feudal lawlessness, the Azerbaijani 
people gave birth to such greatest artists as Nezami, Khaqani, Fuzuli. They were flaming 
patriots of their people, the champions of freedom and independence of their country." 
This was a better reference of Nezami by Provdo. 11 It seems that the poet no longer 
served the foreign newcomers. 

In the preparations of this material, it should be assumed, the Azerbaijani side 
took part with the leadership of Baqerov and Ebrahimov, who were part of the 
delegation to Moscow of Azerbaijan to the Decade of the Azerbaijani Art. Only Baqerov 
could coordinate the publication of these articles in different instances. 

But whoever has written them, they reflected the official viewpoint of the CC 
ACP(b); this was the meaning of the writings of Provdo. Only a select few Orientalists 
could contend the viewpoints, but they did not do it, maybe because the question of 
Nezami was quite contesting even before Provdo' s publication. Here we can refer to the 



17 Torzhestvo azerbaydzhanskogo iskusstva (The Triumph of the Azerbaijani Art). "Pravda''' 18.04.1938, 
JN2107; Bakinskiy Rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 20.04.1938, JN«90. 

51 



interpretations of Yu.N. Marr and A.N. Boldyrev. 18 In the end of the 1940s, Bertels 
asserted that "Back in 1938, it was evident to me that groundlessly ascribing the whole 
of great, colossal Persian literature to Iran is not only wrong, but the largest mistake. 
The Persian language was used by many people, which was the mother tongue of a 
completely different system." 19 It is quite possible that the reason for Bertels' review of 
his former views on Nezami, whom he considered a Persian poet only in 1935-1936, was 
the publication in Pravda. 

A viewpoint was said in our scholarly literature that "E.E. Bertels publicly called 
Nezami an Azerbaijani poet earlier than anyone." 20 However, as the deeper research of 
the question showed, the conclusion that Nezami is an Azerbaijani poet, was done by 
the scholars, literary people, and politicians of Azerbaijan without much concern for the 
view of their Russian colleagues, and before E.E. Bertels. 

On May 9, 1938, another "Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry," which was 
under the edition of the same V. Lugovskiy and Samed Vurgun, was given to print to the 
Moscow State Publishing House of the Artistic Literature. It also had the foreword, "The 
Poetry of the Azerbaijani People", which showed the authors - Azerbaijani literary 
people and scholars, G. Arasly, M. Aref, and M. Rafili. Evidently, it was mentioned 



18 Look up Boldyrev, A.N., Dva shirvankskikh poeta Nizami i Khakani (Two Shervani Poets: Nezami and 
Khaqani). - Pamyetniki epokhi Rustaveli (The Statues of the Rustaveli, Epoch), Leningrad, 1938. 

19 Quote from Tamazshvili, A.O. Posleslovie (Afterword). Iranistika v Rossii i iranisty (Iranology in 
Russia and Iranologists). Moscow, 2001, p. 185-186. 

20 Same place, p. 191. 

52 



before the Decade of the Azerbaijani Art in Moscow - "A mass publication of the 
Anthology is being published in Moscow." 21 

The initiators of the review of national belongingness of Nezami were ready for 
good and bad luck. 

The textual closeness of the two texts, one of which was published in Baku and 
the other in Moscow, of the "Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry/' shows that the 
group of writers was the same or almost the same. The Moscow version of the 
Anthology was signed only two days left to a year later - May 7, 1937 - and the reason 
is not known. 

The initiators of the campaign for the 800 th Anniversary of Nezami waited a long 
time for the scholarly circles of Leningrad and Moscow to make a clear statement on the 
poet. 

On May 8, 1938, the Council of the People's Commissars [The Council of 
Ministers ] of the USSR, which was looking over the working plan of the Academy of 
Sciences of the USSR, decided not to approve the plan and return it for further 
deliberation to the Academy of Sciences. 22 

On May 17, 1938, there was a state banquet for the workers of the Highest 
School. Stalin made a small speech, rather a toast at the banquet, where he said, "For 
the flourishing of sciences, those sciences, the people of which, while understanding the 
power and meaning of the scientific traditions and using them for the interests of 



21 Antologiya azerbaydzhanskoy poezii (Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry). Bakinskiy rabochiy (The 
Baku Worker). 23.03.1938, JNs>67. An interesting fact - in 1937, M. Rafili was kicked out of the Union of 
Writers of Azerbaijan, including for "showing the Crimean writer (Karaim) as an Azerbaijani." 
12 V Sovete Narodnykh Komissarov Soyuza SSR (In the Council of the People's Commissars of the Union of 
SSR. VAN, 1938,JN25,p. 72. 

53 



sciences, still do not want to be slaves of these traditions; which has courage, resolution 
to break the old traditions, norms and arrangements when they become old, when they 
become breaks for movement forward; and the one that can create new traditions, new 
norms, new arrangements." 23 All of this could be used for the study of Nezami. 

On July 25, 1938, the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR once again 
gave a negative vote to the working plan of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. 24 The 
Presidium, while reviewing already the third version of the plan, on September 11, 1938, 
mentioned that "The scholarly councils of the institutes did not mobilize the whole 
collective of the workers for the struggle to fulfill the sayings of Comrade Stalin to 
develop and strengthen progressive sciences." They proposed that the Institute of 
Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR enter the preparation of a 
scientific monograph on the "life and works of the great Azerbaijani poet, Nezami." 25 
This meant the official recognition of Nezami Ganjavi as an Azerbaijani poet, as well as 
the Academy of Sciences as whole, and the Institute of the Oriental Studies. The 
question of national belongingness of Nezami seemed decided completely. Pravda 
"canonized" the view of Nezami as a poet - a patriot of Azerbaijan, who was not 
spiritually broken with the most difficult situations. In the XIV Convention of the CP(b) 
of the Azerbaijani SSR, M.D. Baqerov referred to the 12 th century as the "golden age of 
the Azerbaijani literature," because "the great epic poet Nezami Ganjavi and no less 



23 The same place, p.l. 



24 V Prezidiume Akademii nauk SSSR (In the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR). VAN, 
1938.JNo7-8,p.ll9. 



25 The same place, p.l 19, 126. 



54 



gifted, beloved people's poet of Azerbaijan, Khaqani, lived" at this age. This 
assessment was received in the Republic as a canonizing assessment, and in that very 
year one could read about the "epoch of Nezami, which has come into history as the 
"Golden Age of the Azerbaijani culture." 27 "This is how the Secretary of the CC of the 
Communist Party of Azerbaijan, Comrade M.D. Baqerov defined it," was reported to the 
so-called "wide reader" of the USSR. 28 And for him, it was certainly authoritative. 

Both the political circles, as well as the scholars of Azerbaijan were fully aware 
that the best results in the works on the legacy of Nezami - a work that by its nature 
related to the classical Oriental philology - could be achieved only through cooperation 
with the specialists from the Oriental centers of Russia, primarily Leningrad. The 
Republic acknowledged that the "Institute of History, Language, and Literature is still 
the most weak part of the AzBAS [Azerbaijani Branch of the Academy of Sciences ]." 29 
At the same time, in Russian Orientalism there already appeared a good tradition, even 
school of helping the peoples of the USSR in their national and cultural building. The 
press had a report: "The leaders of the organization of Azerbaijan are attracting to the 
preparation of the Anniversary (Nezami - AT.) the Institute of Oriental Studies of the AS 
of the USSR, scholars, artists, and poets." 30 



26 From the ending speech by Comrade M.D. Baqerov in the XIV Convention of CP(b) of Azerbaijan. - 
Bakinskiy rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 16.06.1938, Xsl36. 

27 Yaqobov, A. A. Pered yubileem velikogo Nizami (Before the Anniversary of Great Nezami) - Bakinskiy 
rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 11.11.1938X2136. 

28 Rafili, Mikael. Nizami Gyandzhevi. Epokha, zhizn', tvorchestvo (Nezami Ganjavi: Epoch, Life, and 
Works). Moscow, 1941, p. 6. 

29 Za dal'neyshiy rastvet sotsialisticheskoy kuVtury i nauki v Azerbaydzhanskoy SSR (For the Future 
Flourishing of the Socialist Culture and Science in the Azerbaijani SSR) - hvestiya Azerbaydzhanskogo 
Filiala AN SSSR (News of the Azerbaijani Branch of the AS of the USSR). Baku, 1938, JN«4-5, p.26. 

3 800-letie so dnya rozhdeniya poeta Nizami (800 Years of Poet Nezami' s Birth). Literaturnaya gazeta 
(Literary Gazette). 29.09.1938, Jfe52. 

55 



E.E. Bertels took the most active part in this process, and it is an interesting, 
mostly a model fragment of the history of the Soviet Orientalism. The political 
situations played an important role in the biography of E.E. Bertels. Maybe the most 
difficult ones and the most unique were connected to his works on Nezami. 

There were achievements in 1938, but the Anniversary Campaign for the 800 th 
Anniversary of Nezami as a whole was not going as dynamically, as its initiators wanted, 
and required constant control and stimulation. This is not strange either. With all due 
respect and interest towards Nezami, the problem of his anniversary in the period of 
1938-1941 objectively could not be considered as a primary problem. Moreover, on 
February 3, 1939, Provdo published an article by E.E. Bertels, "Genius Azerbaijani Poet, 
Nezami." 31 Getting published by own initiative in Provdo, especially not long before the 
XVIII Convention of the ACP(b) was obviously very difficult. Therefore, it can be 
assumed that the article was ordered. This was E.E. Bertels 7 first public statement to the 
whole country, where he called Nezami an Azerbaijani poet. Almost ten years later, 
Bertels stated: 'To ascertain ethnic belongingness of every author worthy of attention, 
and then reclassify them by different literatures; well such a task, firstly, would be 
impossible to implement, because we do not have the data on the ethnic belongingness 
of old writers, and will likely never have them. Secondly, methodologically it would 
have been faulty to the most extreme. Consequently, we would be building literature 
based on blood, based on race. We do not need to mention that we cannot and will not 
build literature in such a fashion; I in any case will not; if somebody else wants to, 



31 Pravda. 03.02.1939, Jfa33; Bakinskiy rabochiy. 04.05.1939, JfelOO. 

56 



please, it is his personal business." 32 However, in his 1939 article, Bertels did not bring 
any proof that Nezami is an Azerbaijani poet, other than the fact that the Poet was born 
and lived in Ganja (future Kirovabad). This is one of the riddles of the Scholar: he, for 
some reasons, decided to recede from his original scholarly views in the 1930s, or they 
changed at the end of the 1940s? 

E.E. Bertels' article in Pravda surely was an important stage in the formation of 
the Soviet Nezami studies. Academician and literalist, I.K. Luppov said: "If half a year 
ago, a "cellar" on Nezami was found in Pravda, if in the Soviet Union, an organ of the 
Party put a "cellar" on Nezami, it means that every conscious inhabitant of the Soviet 
Union must know who Nezami is. It is an indication to all the directorate organizations, 
to all the instances of the Republican, County, District scale, and here the Academy of 
Sciences must say its word in this work, while not violating its high scholarly dignity." 33 

However, the view on Nezami in the publications of Pravda, could be reviewed, 
and accepted as wrong. Many people who were declared "enemies of the people" were 
published in different times in Pravda and many wrong viewpoints had appeared in its 
pages. A good chance interfered into the situation, possibly a very well organized one. 

On April 3, 1939, Pravda published the material "On the Results of the XVIII 
Convention of the ACP(b). The speech by Comrade M. Bazhan in the meeting of the 
intelligentsia of Kiev on April 2, 1939." The Ukrainian poet, Mikol Bazhan informed 
about the meeting between J.V. Stalin with writers, Alexander Fadeev and Peter 
Pavlenko. "Comrade Stalin especially attentively asked, was interested, and even 



32 Quoted in Tamazshvili A.O. Ukaz. soch., p. 184 

33 Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences, (j).456, on. 1, #. 18, ji. 70-71. 

57 



checked the knowledge of these Comrades about the phenomena and names of the 
Tajik, Kyrgyz, Kalmyk, Lak people's literature, whose literature unfortunately, even today 
is not fully known to the Soviet reader. Comrade Stalin spoke of the Azerbaijani poet, 
Nezami, quoted his works to destroy the viewpoint by his own words that this great 
poet of our brotherly Azerbaijani people, should be given to the Iranian literature, just 
because he has written most of his works in the Iranian language. Nezami, in his poems 
himself asserts that he was compelled to resort to the Iranian language, because he is 
not allowed to address his own people in his native tongue. This very place did 
Comrade Stalin quote with the genius swing of his thought and erudition, while 
including everything remarkable that has been created by the history of mankind." 34 

Although Stalin's viewpoint was promulgated literally through the third person, 
certainly it was told correctly, and the conversation with Stalin in fact did take place. 
Nobody would even think of coming up with something from Stalin's mouth. After M. 
Bazhan's speech was published, E.E. Bertels' article on Nezami became of secondary 
importance. A logical question arises: why did Stalin remember of Nezami, especially 
during the political situation of 1939? It must be taken into account that Stalin loved 
poetry and understood it, and he loved Baku. However, even without these factors, he 
perfectly understood the political meaning of the anniversary of Nezami - the 
Azerbaijani poet. 

Bazhan's report was met with enthusiasm in Baku. On April 10, 1939, the 
Meeting of the Intelligentsia of the city adopted the poem for J.V. Stalin. The authors of 



34 Pravda. 03.04.1939, Jfa92. 



58 



the poem were Samed Vurgun, Rasul Reza, and Soleiman Rostam, while the translators 
to Russian were P. Panchenko, I. Oratovskiy, and V. Gurvich. On April 16, 1939, this 
message was published in Pravda. It has the following lines: 

Vladeli nashym Nizami, pevtsa pokhitiv chuzhaki, 

No gnezda, svitye pevtsom v serdtsokh preznatsel'nykh krepky 

Ty nam vernul ego stikhi, ego velich'e vozvratil 

Bessmertnym slovom ty o nem stronitsy miro ozoril 35 

| [They] Possessed our Nezami, the singer | stolen | [the] aliens | 

| But | [the] the words sung by [the] singer | in hearts | grateful | are strong | 

| You | to us | returned his poems, his greatness [you] returned 

| With immortal word | you about him | the pages of the world | [you] brightened 

On the next day, "The Baku Worker" republished the Russian version referring to 

Pravda. But interestingly the Azerbaijani original was not published until April 17, 

1939. 36 

The official Baku underlined that all the events on Nezami's anniversary which 
have a political aspect are done through the initiative of Moscow, and by Moscow's 
approval. 

The new interest, which was shown by Stalin on Nezami, gave a new impulse for 
the further development of the anniversary campaign. In Azerbaijan, Committee for 



35 Pis 'mo bakinskoy intellegentsii tovarishu Stalinu (The Letter of the Baku Intelligentsia to Comrade 
Stalin). -Pravda. 16.04.1939. JV«105 

36 Communist (in Azerbaijani language). 17.04.1939, N288. 

59 



Preparation and Carrying-out of the 800 th Birth Anniversary of Nezami Ganjavi under the 
Council of the People's Commissars (CPS) of the AzSSR, which started its work in May of 
1939. Its membership included all three authors of the Address to Stalin, as well as E.E. 
Bertels, LA. Orbeli, Merza Ebrahimov, M.D. Baqerov, who was formally an ordinary 
member of the Anniversary Committee and others. 37 However, the activities of the 
Committee were naturally under the control of Baqerov. 

After the viewpoint of Stalin on the issue of Nezami was published, the affair of 
publishing the "Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry" in Moscow made a progress, and 
hardly is it an accident. In the autumn of 1939, it came out in 15,000 copies. Poetess A. 
Adalis, wrote a very benevolent review, which has nonetheless strange and difficult to 
explain positions. The review say that such an anthology is coming out for the "first 
time in the history of world literature/' and "a clear word is said about the 
belongingness to the Azerbaijani people of a number of world classics in this book." 38 
The full impression that Adalis did not know anything about the Anthology, published in 
1938 in Baku, in which, by the way, a fragment from "Kor-oglu" epoch, translated by her 
took place. 

In the foreword of the Moscow Anthology, and the assertion that Nezami 
Ganjavi is the great Azerbaijani poet-romantic, leans on a selection of arguments. There 
is a reference on Yu.N. Marr's saying, who is referred to as the best Soviet Iranologist, 
an excellent expert on Nezami and Khaqani, and a reference to Institute of Oriental 



37 V SNK Azerbaydzhanskoy SSR (In the CCP of the Azerbaijani SSR) -Bakinskiy rabochiy (The Baku 
Woker). 04.05.1939 JN2IOO. 

38 Adalis, A. Antologiya azerbaidzhanskoy poezii (Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry). Literaturnaya 
gazeta (Literary Gazette). 26.09.1939 Jfa53. 

60 



Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR "in its special decision on the 
anniversary of Nezami firmly and decisively accepted in Nezami a great Azerbaijani 
poet." 39 Here the Azerbaijani authors pretended that everything that is happening 
around Nezami has been started by the initiative and scholarly viewpoints from Russia. 
However, local proofs of belongingness of Nezami's works to the Azerbaijani literature 
were promoted. "Lively pages of history appear in the works of Nezami. Fantasy, 
fabulous imagination interweave with the true pictures of life of the Azerbaijani people. 
The attack of the Rus' to Barda, a fable story about a Russian Tsarevna (Princess), beauty 
Shirin and Tsaritsa (Queen) Shamira, the Amazons, battles described in different poems 
of Nezami - all of this is historically and geographically connected with Azerbaijan and 
the Caucasian middle age world. 

"Is it necessary after this to proof after this the right of the Azerbaijani people to 
consider the works of Nezami as its own ! Inability and reactionary works of traditional 
attachment of Nezami to the Iranian literature by the Bourgeoisie Orientalists is evident. 
Artificial, forced distortion of the history of world poetry, not understanding the role of 
the Farsi language and the Iranian tradition in the history of the Azerbaijani culture, 
denial of centuries-long history, of high and rich culture and the literature of the 
Azerbaijani people by the Bourgeoisie Orientalism; all of this brings to the denial of the 
large historical truth, and strong creative powers of the people." 40 The supporters of 



39 Arasly G., Arif M., Rafili, M. Poeziya azerbaydzhanskogo naroda (Poetry of the Azerbaijani People). 
Antologiya azerbaydzhanskoy poezii (Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry). Moscow, 1939, page XVI, 
XIX. 

40 Same place, p. XVII-XIX. 

61 



the new viewpoint on Nezami saw political enemies in their opponents, and were not 
going to be sentimental with them. 

Baku also declared that the Azerbaijani people "honors the memory of its great 
poet for 800 years/' 41 and the clear insufficient level of knowledge of Nezami's works 
was explained in the following manner: "Base agents of fascism, Bourgeoisie 
nationalists, super power chauvinists did everything possible to hide from the 
Azerbaijani people the heritage of its great son - Poet Nezami." Such formulations 
also clearly did not allow the wish to discuss - whose poet is Nezami. 

M.D. Baqerov in every possible way propagated the version that the return of 
Nezami and his works to Azerbaijan is namely due to Stalin. In December of 1939, in the 
meeting of the Party activists of the city of Baku, dedicated to the 60 th birthday of J.V. 
Stalin, Baqerov made a speech, where he quoted Mikola Bazhan, and added: "This 
saying of Stalin, which is full of wisdom, teaches us how our relation should be to our 
past cultural heritage." 43 

In 1939, a volume of BSE came out where E.E. Bertels in his article on Nezami 
refers to him as a great Azerbaijani poet. 44 This in a way formalized the review process 
by our Orientalists of the national belongingness of Nezami Ganjavi. 



800-letniy yubiley Nizami (800 th Anniversary of Nezami) - Literaturniy Azerbaydzhan (Literary 
Azerbaijan), 1938. JfalO-ll, p.100. 

42 Nauchno-issledovatel'skaya liter atura o zhizni i tv or chestve Nizami (Scholarly Research Literature on 
the Life and Works of Nezami) - Literaturniy Azerbaydzhan (Literary Azerbaijan), 1939, N23, p. 73-74. 

43 Baqerov, M.D. Iz istorii bol'shevistskoy organizatsii Baku i Azerbaydzhana (From the History of the 
Bolshevik Organization of Baku and Azerbaijan) Doklad na obshebakinskom sobranii partiynogo aktiva 
posveshennogo shestidesyatiletiyu so dnya rozhdeniya tovarisha I.V. Stalina. 19-20 dekabrya 1939g 
(Speech in the Meeting of the Party Activists of the city of Baku, dedicated to the 60 th birthday of Comrade 
J.V. Stalin). Baku, 1944. p. 170. 

44 Bertels, E.E. Nizami (Nezami) BSE. First edition, volume 42. Moscow, 1939, p.93. 

62 



Undoubtedly, Bertels was well aware of Mikol Bazhan's speech and the details of 
the future scholarly-political campaign, and at the time he did not see a principal fault in 
some politicization of some works on eastern literature. 

We will bring, out of necessity, a quote from currently forgotten article by E.E. 
Bertels, which talks about the hero of Nezami's "Eskandarnameh": 

The wise man travelled for a long time. He was in the south, in the west, and the 
east, but could not find happiness anywhere. Finally, his travels brought him to 
the north. If we tried to draw his travels on a map, then this place would be 
approximately in Siberia. And there Eskandar finally found what he was looking 
for. He met people who did not know rich or poor; who did not know depression 
or oppression; who did not know kings or tyrants. In this open society where 
powers are not spent on struggle, everything is directed towards improvement 
and fixing of life. 

There people were able to get rid of illnesses, and prolong the happy life of 
people. Everything flowers there; everything makes the eye happy; this is the 
reign of everlasting peace and everlasting happiness. After he fond this amazing 
country, Eskandar exclaims that if he knew about its existence earlier, he would 
not waste time on his travels, and would make its lifestyle a law. 
Perhaps to the bourgeoisie researchers this country seemed a "scholastic 
imagination." We, Soviet readers of Nezami, look at this from a completely 
different viewpoint. We know this country; we are lucky to live in this country 
and know which way one should go in order to achieve such happiness. 

63 



It also excites the Soviet reader that the greater Azerbaijani thinker of the 12 th 
century, put this country in the geographic location, where his great dream was 
in fact realized. Let us note that all of Nezami's works end here; that all of his 
works were to get to this culminating period ... And now, in the country where 
socialism became victorious, a country that does not know the fear of historical 
truth, Soviet scholars take onto themselves an honorable task to give to the 
peoples of their country the treasures that were denied to them for centuries. 45 

What would a word of thanks to Stalin for his help to scholarship mean as 
oppose to the abovementioned words of political loyalty?! Bertels, according to a 
number of his publications, was very respectful of J.V. Stalin, however, in any of his 
Russian-language works of this era on Nezami, does he mention that the poet has been 
returned to Azerbaijan by Stalin, and hence there are no words of thanks to Stalin. It is 
possible that this has been mentioned in any of Bertels' small newspaper notes, 
probably in the Azeri language, however the possibility is very slim. 

Actually, in Moscow and in Leningrad - the largest cultural and scholarly centers 
- as of 1939, there is a widely accepted practice: not to mention the role of Stalin in the 
decision of national belongingness of Nezami Ganjavi in the press. It is not evident 
whose initiative this was - the government or the scholars and the literary circles. This, 
as a rule, was extended to the Azerbaijani authors in the Russian publications. 



45 Bertels, E.E. "Preparation for the Anniversary of Nezami." Literaturnaya gazeta (Literary Gazette) 
10.12.1939. JN268 

64 



The story that Stalin returned Nezami to Azerbaijan is not mentioned in the 
Moscow edition of the "Anthology of the Azerbaijani Poetry/' although the Decade of 
the Azerbaijani Arts of April of 1938 is mentioned. In 1939, for occasion of the 60 th birth 
anniversary of Stalin, Samed Vurgun published an article in the Literaturnaya Gazeta 
(Lietrary Gazette), named "Pride of People." He has written there that "Comrade Stalin 
loves the Azerbaijani popular proverbs and uses them in an appropriate situation. 
Comrade Stalin lived in Azerbaijan back in his young age. More than thirty years have 
passed since, but he has not forgotten the Azerbaijani proverbs" 46 ; but not a word about 
Stalin returning the poetry and greatness of Nezami to Azerbaijan. 

In 1940, there was the 20 th anniversary of the Soviet rule in Azerbaijan. In all the 
festivities a single message to J.V. Stalin was accepted. In it Nezami was quoted; there 
were words about the everyday patriotic Stalinist care, which has warmed the 
Azerbaijani people; that Stalin is well aware of the history of this people; but there was 
not a word about Stalin returning Nezami to it. 47 

15-20 May, 1940, Moscow held the Decade of Azerbaijani Literature. One of its 
participants has written about the trip to Moscow: "We are headed by the greatest 
representative of the world literature, a genius poet of Azerbaijan, the ever living 
Nezami ... He threw the heavy chains of tyrants and oppressors, from himself, who were 
forcing him to write in a strange language, and came back to his beloved land. Nezami is 
going to Moscow, he is going to thank Stalin, who returned him to his native 



46 Vurgun Samed. Gordost' naroda (Pride of People) - Literaturnaya Gazeta (Literary Gazette). 
21.12.1939, Jf°70. 

47 Velikomu Stalinu (To the Great Stalin). Liter aturniy Azerb ay dzhan (Literary Azerbaijan). 1940, N°4~5, 
p.15-17. 

65 



Azeerbaijani people." 48 During the Decade, Samed Vurgun, made a speech in the Lenin 
Military-Political Academy, and gave a new accent to the theme of "repatriation" of 
Nezami. "Foul enemies of the people, nationalists-Musavatists, Pan-Turks, and other 
traitors wanted to take away Nezami from their own people, just because he wrote 
most of his works in the Iranian language. But the great genius of the workers, our 
father and leader, Comrade Stalin, returned to the Azerbaijani people their greatest 
poet." 49 Well, Stalin really did fight Pan-Turkism very strongly. 

In 1940, in Baku, the book of E.E. Bertels, "The Great Azerbaijani Poet, Nezami: 
Epoch, Life, Works," where Stalin was not mentioned. Although the version of Stalin's 
great role in returning Nezami to Azerbaijani people, started to dominate in Azerbaijan, 
none of Bertels' works published there, Stalin was not mentioned by editors; although 
they could, especially if Baqerov would demand. 

In 1941, the book of Mikael Rafili came out in Moscow, which practically had the 
same name, "Nizami Ganjavi: Epoch, Life, and Works." Its author, at the end referred to 
Stalin's saying about the poet as "the greatest stage in the development of scholarship 
on Nezami." 50 Hence it seems logical that the book opened with the corresponding 
quote from M. Bazhan's speech. 

Was it an exchange of experiences or correction of someone's (E.E. Bertels'?) 
political mistake? The idea of opening the book with reference to Stalin's words might 
not have been Rafili's. He was Responsible Secretary of the Anniversary Committee of 



48 Sadykh, A. Moskva! Stalin! (Moscow! Stalin!). -Dekada azerbaydzhanskoy literatury v Moskve. (The 
Decade of the Azerbaijani Literature in Moscow). Baku, 1940, p. 121. 

49 Vurgun Samed. Speech at the Reception of the Lenin Military-Political Academy. Same place, p. 222. 

50 Rafili M. Nizami Gyandzhevi i ego tvorchestvo (Nezami Ganjavi and His Works). Baku, 1947, p. 8. 

66 



Nezami under the CPC (Council of People's Commissars) of the Azerbaijani SSR, but in 
his publications on Nezami, (primarily before the war) often did not mention Stalin at 
all. 

Under the accompaniment of the politicized anniversary ballyhoo, the 
translating scholarly-research and publishing work became more active, which was 
important both politically and culturally. According to E.E. Bertels, already by 1948, by 
the hard work of Soviet scholars, a new field in scholarship was started - Nezamiology - 
whose works, written in the past decades "are much better than what Western Europe 
could write in one and a half centuries." 51 

The war did not stop the process of creating the Soviet Nezamiology. In autumn 
of 1941, the 800 th anniversary of Nezami was even celebrated in Leningrad. "On 
October 17," retells Piotrovskiy, "there was a meeting dedicated to Nezami in 
Hermitage, to which many of its participants, including two of its speakers came straight 
from the front. The bomb shelters of the Hermitage were prepared in such a way that, 
in case of necessity, the meeting could be continued there." 52 The first speaker was the 
director of the Hermitage, Academician J. A. Orbeli, "he delivered a fiery speech, which 
warmed hearts." 53 Then the gathered ones listened to the speeches by A.N. Boldyrev, 



51 Bertels, E.E. Nizami i egopoema "Khosrov i Shirin" (Nezami Ganjavi and His Poem "Khosrow and 

Shirin). Nizami Gyandzhevi. Khosrov i Shirin (Nezami Ganjavi. Khosrow and Shirin). Moscow, 1948, 

p.20. 

32 Yuzbashyan, K.N. Akademik Iosif Abgarovich Orbeli (Academician Joseph Abgarovich Orbeli) 1887- 

1961. 2 nd ed. Moscow, 1986, p.85. 

53 Word of the writer. The speech of Nikolay Tikhonov in the meeting of Presidium of the Union of Soviet 

Writers of the USSR and the Plenum of the Board of the Union of the Soviet Writers of Azerbaijan on 

September 23, 1947. Bakinskiy rabochiy (The Baku Worker). 26.09.1947, JN2189. 

67 



G.V. Ptitsyn, M.M. D'yakonov, and Poet V.A. Rozhdenstvenskiy read out his translations 
of Nezami. 54 

In this way, Nezami's anniversary was held according to plan, and with most 
possible dignity. It was possible not to continue the 800 th anniversary campaign for the 
Poet after this. However, Baku disagreed. 

In 1944, the abovementioned book of M.D. Baqerov was published. Victory in 
the war already near; and one could build definite plans for the peaceful post-war life, 
and remember the Nezami celebrations that were cut off by war. 

In May of 1945, Baku built the Nezami Museum. "Just starting the peaceful 
built-up, the workers of Azerbaijan honored the memory of their immortal 
countryman/' 55 The visitors of the Museum in the Hall "Nezami and Our Epoch" could 
see "The words of Comrade Stalin about Nezami as a great Azerbaijani poet, who was 
compelled to resort to the Iranian language, because he was not allowed to address his 
people in the native language, with golden letters were placed on the wall" 56 Izvestiya 
reported on it, but the Baku Worker for some reason did not pay attention to this. In 
1946, Baku published Baqerov's book in the second edition. Whatever the reasons, this 
was another reminder about the Nezami problem; about the uncelebrated anniversary 
of the Poet in the Republic. The question about why this anniversary was not held in 
1945, 1946, but only in 1947, is still not answered. Nevertheless, E.E. Bertels, most 
likely because of the circumstances, said that the date of birth of Nezami "cannot be 



54 Yuzbashyan, K.N. abovementioned, p. 85. 



55 Raeva, R. "Po zalam museya Nizami" ("Through the Halls of the Nezami Museum"). - Bakinskiy 
rabochiy(The Baku Worker). 27.09.1947 JN2190. 

56 Gik, Ya. Muzey velikogo poeta (Museum of the Great Poet). Izvestiya. 21.09.1947. N2I9O. 

68 



considered firmly fixed" and "there are basis to believe that he was born a few years 
later, or in 1147." 57 

Victory in the Great Patriotic War strengthened the feeling of national identity 
and national pride of the peoples of the USSR. In such a atmosphere, in summer- 
autumn of 1947, a limited discussion on the circumstances of Nezami's life and works, 
and the level of cultural development during the Shirvan-Shahs. Without getting to the 
details of the discussion, that such an argument appeared: 'The Azerbaijani people - 
according to Comrade Skosyrev - were almost all illiterate, destitute, and without rights. 
They were under the foreign domination of Shirvan-Shahs, and their national culture 
was trampled upon. The question arises that on what basis were the works of Nezami 
born then? Is it possible that a people almost fully illiterate and destitute, according to 
Comrade Skosyrev, could create Nezami? Why did Skosyrev need these black colors 
towards the Azerbaijani literature of the 12 th century?" 58 And this underlined that the 
Nezami anniversary was needed for Azerbaijan as a political measure as well. 



57 Bertels, E.E. Nizami i ego tvorchestvo (Nezami and His Works). Bakinskiy rabochiy (The Baku 
Worker). 27.09.1947. Xal07. 

Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, A.O. Makovel'skiy thought the same. Look at his 
article, "Azebaydzhanskoe obshestvo XII veka po proizvedeniyam Nizami" ("The Azerbaijani Society of the 
12 th Century According to the Works of Nezami. Znamya (Banner) (Journal). 1947. N2IO, p. 177. 

58 [The Speech of S. Vurgun in the XI Plenum of the Board of the Union of the Soviet Writers of the 
USSR]. Literaturnaya gazeta (Literary Gazette). 08.07.1947, N°28. Samed Vurgun argues against the 
article of the Soviet writer and literary critic, P.G. Skosyrev, "Vopros daleko ne akademicheskiy. Protiv 
Putanitsy i izrasheniya v otsenke liter atury proshlogo" (The Question is not Quite Academic: Against the 
Confusion and Perversion in evaluating the Literary Past." Literaturnaya gazeta (Literary Gazette). 
14.06.1947, JN224. 

69 



Article 2 of Tamazshvilli: Afterword: (Iranology in Russia and Iranologists) 

The life and the work of Evgeni Eduardovich Bertels have not been studied, as yet, as 
fully as they deserve, both by virtue of their own outstanding character, and as a 
reflection of the peculiarities of the formation and the development of oriental studies 
in the USSR. Therefore it is objectively necessary to enter any materials that tell us 
something new about E. E. Bertels into scholarly circulation. This applies to the text of B. 
N. Zakhoder's speech, published now, which is dominated by the motif of the immense 
significance of Bertels's work in the development of research in the area of oriental 
philology, and the scholar's contribution to the cause of acquainting broad masses of 
readers with the literary heritage of the East. But among those, probably not numerous, 
readers who are well acquainted with the biography and the creative output of E. E. 
Bertels, the first impression might be that they are facing a text of rather ordinary 
anniversary celebration speech, for all its vividness and elegance, a speech not violating 
the canons of its genre and, moreover, containing little that is new. There would be 
grounds to be satisfied with such an estimate. But feeling the atmosphere in which the 
speech was made, getting a notion of the reasons why it became what it was, realizing 
what it says about the relations between E. E. Bertels and B. N. Zakhoder, and what is its 
significance for the characterization of them both - in short, understanding this speech 
in full, is only possible by implementing the recommendation - or the demand - of 
another well-known orientalist, E. M. Zhukov: "We are obligated to translate everything, 
through to the end, into the language of politics". That was said precisely in connection 
with the discussion of the works of E. E. Bertels, in the process of the academic-political 
campaign of struggle against bourgeois cosmopolitanism in Soviet oriental studies that 
developed in the late forties. That campaign was conducted mainly "in the language of 
politics", as also was (though to a lesser degree) another campaign that took place 
simultaneously: for a Marxist treatment of the history of literatures of Central Asia and 
the Caucasus. Both campaigns have remained in the history of the nation's oriental 
studies as very ambiguous phenomena. In their course, E. E. Bertels was subjected to 
harsh, politicized criticism. 

It is logical that the events of both academic-political campaigns are only 
mentioned by B. N. Zakhoder in passing, as intensive and fruitful discussions; 
nevertheless, they have largely determined the content and the goals of his speech. 
Even though Zakhoder is evidently well-informed, yet in many details he is imprecise, 
sometimes deliberately so. He could not fail to know that the most criticized work of E. 
E. Bertels was his recent, 1949, article, "Persian-language literature in the Central Asia" 
2 . The author said in it: "By the Persian literature we shall, from now on, understand all 
the literary works written in the so-called 'neo-Persian' language, irrespective of their 
authors' ethnic identity and of the geographical point where these works emerged." 3 It 
was around this statement that the passions mainly flared. 

It all began with the appearance of A. A. Fadeev, the General Secretary of the 
Union of Soviet Writers, on the podium of the XII Plenum of the SSW (December 15-20, 
1948). 4 The problems discussed at the plenum became the topic of an article in 
"Culture and Life" ["Kultura i zhizn"] , the newspaper of the Department of Agitation 

70 



and Propaganda of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Its author, the 
writer K. M. Simonov, asserted, following Fadeev: 'Theories still have circulation among 
our orientalists, according to which the history of the literature of the peoples of Central 
Asia, beginning almost as far off as the middle of the past century, should be considered 
as some unified history. These scholars, under the guise of "historical objectivity", turn 
over to Persians, to Persian literature, a whole series of outstanding writers and major 
literary phenomena, undoubtedly belonging to the history of the literatures of the 
peoples of the Soviet Central Asian republics. This question was raised especially sharply 
... in connection with the history of the Tajik literature. These and a whole series of 
other errors, present in works of historians of literature in the republics and of 
orientalists in Moscow and Leningrad require analysis and severe criticism and 
correction." 5 Both Fadeev and Simonov were speaking about, among others, E. E. 
Bertels. 

In the Moscow group of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of 
Sciences (IOS AS), where Bertels was working in the late 40s, a discussion took place, at 
an open Party meeting, over a report by the Institute's deputy director A. K. Borovkov 
"For a Marxist-Leninist history of the literatures of Central Asia and the Caucasus" (the 
discussion was held on February 7, 10, and 24, 1949). On April 4-6, an extended 
combined meeting was held of the academic council of the Pacific Institute of the USSR 
Academy of Sciences, and the Bureau of the Moscow Group of IOS AS, discussing the 
report of the Pacific Institute director E. M. Zhukov: "On the struggle against bourgeois 
cosmopolitanism in oriental studies." During both meetings, colleagues blamed E. E. 
Bertels for deviating from Marxism, for reflecting in his works the objectivist errors and 
the cosmopolitan views characteristic of bourgeois oriental studies. It would be a 
stretch to assert that the criticism pursued the goal of "extirpating" Bertels from 
oriental studies. But he, too, was the target of calls to expose to the bottom and discard 
the "regional cosmopolitan theories of 'classical Persian literature'" and to "smash to 
the end the miserable bunch of rootless cosmopolitans, poisoning with their toxic 
breath the atmosphere of creative surge in our country." 

In the discussion over Borovkov's report, Bertels admitted: "I must say candidly 
that those papers which I wrote on the issues of Persian literature, in no way I want to 
claim that this was remotely similar, not only to Marxism, but even to anything 
approaching it." 6 But at the same time he was in no hurry (and that, too, was well 
known to B. N. Zakhoder) to agree unreservedly with the criticism of his views. "To find 
out the ethnic identity of every author worth notice, and then classify them over the 
various literatures - but such a task would be, first of all, impossible to perform, 
because we have no data on the ethnic identity of old writers, and, probably, we will 
never have them; and, secondly, that would be methodologically vicious to the extreme. 
We would, then, be constructing literature by blood, by race. It hardly needs saying that 
we cannot and shall not be constructing literature in such a way, I won't, at least - if 
someone else wants to do it, let him, that is his private affair" Bertels said in the same 
statement, and he added: "How to draw the dividing line between the Persian and the 
Tajik literatures, I, frankly, do not know. If we take the position that a writer must 



71 



necessarily be assigned to the place where he was born and where he acted for the 
greatest part of his life, then that principle will lead us nowhere." 

A. K. Borovkov called E. E. Bertels's statement unsatisfactory and non-self- 
critical, because the latter "did not say that the criticism of his views is just" and 
"repeated those usual assertions that he had made even before." 8 

In the same discussion, B. N. Zakhoder, first making the reservation that he was 
not a specialist in literary history, agreed with A. A. Fadeev that "cosmopolitanism has, 
undoubtedly, influenced many theses of the Academy of Sciences corresponding 
member E. E. Bertels" "as a result of the uncritical acceptance by him of the erroneous 
theories of the pre-revolutionary literary historian A. N. Veselovski." 9 Besides that, 
Zakhoder did not criticize Bertels, but also did not defend him, though in 1949 it would 
have been been both timely and appropriate to give the characteristic of Bertels 
expressed by him later, at the anniversary celebration: as a Soviet scholar "who has not 
stopped in his development, did not ossify in the traditions imbibed before, but kept 
growing and developing together with the growth and development of our science." 
Such behavior of B. N. Zakhoder is explainable, of course, not by his cowardice etc. (in 
the same discussion he unreservedly defended the Academician I. Yu. Krachkovski) but 
by his views concerning the issue, by his social-political position. They predetermined 
the evaluation by B. N. Zakhoder of the discussion and the criticism that was expressed 
in it. 

With the further development of the campaign of struggle against bourgeois 
cosmopolitanism in oriental studies (and not only in them), E. M. Zhukov accused E. E. 
Bertels in his report: "By spreading the legend about a unity of different peoples' 
literatures on the sole ground that the writers and the poets of these peoples wrote in 
the same literary language - though they expressed different thoughts, different views, 
different feelings and traditions - by contributing to that legend, Evgeni Eduardovich is 
obviously aiding the spread of the newest bourgeois-nationalist conceptions about an 
imaginary superiority of Iran's culture to the cultures of other countries adjacent to Iran, 
in particular when speaking about the Soviet socialist republics of Central Asia and 
Transcaucasia." 10 The conversation in the language of politics about the scholarly work 
of E. E. Bertels was heating up. 

Bertels answered: "I must say that I love the peoples of Central Asia dearly, and 
will never let anyone abuse them. In Central Asia, they know that very well." At the 
same time, he admitted, and made an attempt to explain, his mistake. "This criticism is, 
for the most part, fair. The article gave an occasion, and had to give an occasion, for 
seeing the relation between literatures of Near and Middle East as different from what 
it really is. [...] But it was already clear to me in 1938 that a wholesale assigning to Iran 
of all the immense, colossal, Persian literature - that this is not only wrong, but is a 
major mistake. So, one had to either look for a solution to this problem, or to discard 
this term altogether. And the whole issue is that I did not discard that old term, but tried 
to fill it with new content. And that is where this collision occurred. I was departing from 
an assumption that has been accepted in Tajikistan by public opinion through all these 
years - namely the assumption of commonality of the Tajik heritage with the Iranian - 
for the centuries X through XV." n 

72 



But these explanations were not, apparently, accepted by many. Criticism 
directed at Bertels sounded also from the side of Avdiev, the Egyptologist: "His main 
theoretical and even, partially, political mistake is that he covered with one traditional 
and conventional term 'Persian literature' the literary output of different peoples of 
Western Asia, including the great literary heritage of the Azerbaijan people and the 
peoples of Central Asia, which have created through a number of centuries grandiose 
monuments of their fully original cultural creativity. 

Repeating in this way the statements of bourgeois scholars, and by this 
artificially impoverishing the great cultural heritage of the peoples of Soviet East, E. E. 
Bertels, anti-historically, artificially and quite incorrectly, constructed an ethnically 
abstract Oriental cosmos, devoid of substantial internal unity, in which Persians, 
Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Tajiks and other peoples of Western Asia somehow merge. Such a 
point of view and its promotion in academic literature undoubtedly contribute to 
reactionary pan-lranism, and do significant damage to, on one hand, development of 
Soviet Oriental studies and, on the other hand, development of national cultures of the 
peoples of the Soviet East." 12 

Such a criticism required adoption of radical measures, and the topic "History of 
the Persian literature", developed by E. E. Bertels, was excluded from the research plan 
of IOS AS. He was instructed to concentrate, temporarily, on dictionary work. 

In 1950, critical campaigns in Soviet oriental studies continued. In the article by I. 
S. Braginsky "On the wayside from urgent issues: on the collections 'Soviet Oriental 
Studies' [Sovetskoe Vostokovedenie] V (1948) and VI (1949) " the same work of E. E. 
Bertels was qualified as fundamentally erroneous due to the author's underestimation 
of the creative potential of the Tajik people. Braginsky drew a general conclusion that 
was categorical and severe: "The editorial board cultivates a backward, apolitical, and 
essentially unscientific, direction in oriental studies." 13 

On November 2, 1950, I. S. Braginsky's article was discussed in the Moscow 
group of IOS AS. The main speaker, V. I. Avdiev, repeated, in fact, word for word what 
he had said almost a year earlier about E. E. Bertels and his works, including his aid to 
the reactionary pan-lranism. 

And again, B. N. Zakhoder did not contradict Avdiev's point of view. 

The editorial board of "Soviet Oriental Studies" reacted to the criticism. The 
seventh issue of the collection, scheduled to appear in 1950, was to open with the 
article of A. K. Borovkov, "The current tasks of Soviet oriental studies". It asserted that 
such an understanding of the history of literatures' development as Bertels's "inevitably 
leads to national nihilism, to denial of the richness of the literary heritage of the peoples 
of Central Asia and the Caucasus, to denial of the originality of their artistic creativity." 14 
The collection was already set up, but 1950 was pregnant with new shocks and changes 
in Soviet oriental studies. The discussion in "Pravda" on the linguistic issues erupted, 
triggering the campaign against "Marrism" - and the leadership of IOS AS (its director 
was Academician V. V. Struve) correctly realized that the beginning of the new 
academic-political campaign, objectively more limited in scale, was in essence also the 
beginning of the folding down of the preceding campaign. It was decided not to publish 
Borovkov's article, replacing it with I. V. Stalin's works on the issues of linguistics. In the 

73 



end, the seventh issue of "Soviet Oriental Studies" did not appear at all; but all the same 
the criticism of Bertels and others in print did not cease with that. After the transfer of 
IOS AS from Leningrad to Moscow (in August 1950) its new director S. P. Tolstov 
published an article, "For progressive Soviet oriental studies", now quite forgotten even 
by historians of science, but at the time, of course, well-known to all who worked at the 
Institute. This was the third criticism of Bertels on the pages of "Culture and Life" in less 
than two years (quite an "achievement" in its way), where an image was being formed 
of him as a scholar who is not transforming his erroneous, and politically harmful, views. 
And the estimates given in this paper's issues, irrespective of the person of their author, 
were perceived by many as a reflection of the opinion of the Party's leading organs. 

Bertels anniversary celebrations were held in a situation when the topic of his 
(true or imaginary) mistakes that had been discussed for about two years, was not yet 
closed. In preparing his speech Zakhoder had to take into account the consideration 
that, even though new acute issues, which were also being discussed "in the language of 
politics", have significantly displaced the previous ones, there was no occasion to 
completely discount the latter. Therefore Zakhoder did touch on the issue of Bertels's 
mistakes, but, as was quite natural, softened and smoothed it to the maximum. The 
mention of the anniversary hero's passion for butterflies was an elegant and effective 
ploy: the butterfly wings might help freshen a tense or too-official atmosphere, should it 
congeal at the meeting. 

Zakhoder, naturally, remained a non-specialist in the history of literature; and his 
speech was, in essence, counteracting the residual influence of the critical campaigns, 
which had subsided, but not died out. Whether Zakhoder expected his speech to have a 
wider resonance, is unknown. It is also unknown whether he was following in full the 
criticism of Bertels that was also sounding in the republics. But, counter to many of the 
critics' assertions, Zakhoder says the direct opposite about Bertels. The example with 
the evaluation of Bertels's work by Academician Bartold may be a coincidence, but this 
coincidence is significant. 

At the time when, in Uzbekistan, the estimates of Alisher Navoi in the works of E. 
E. Bertels are being criticized, Zakhoder is speaking of Bertels 's struggle for clearing the 
image of Navoi, etc. 

In 1949, an accusation was voiced against E. E. Bertels that some of his 
theoretical constructs and conclusions lead "first of all, to the tearing away the peoples 
of the East from Russia, to introducing hostility between the Russian people and oriental 
peoples." 16 And Zakhoder emphasizes that the activity of Bertels as a translator has 
"enriched our culture, contributed in every way to mutual cultural understanding 
between the Russian people and the peoples of the East." E. E. Bertels is reproached for 
underestimating the originality of the Tajik literature - and Zakhoder declares that "with 
great hope and interest, our public is awaiting the appearance of the fundamental work, 
by the anniversary's hero, on the history of the Tajik literature." 

Bertels is directly listed among those who "give away" writers representative of 
the peoples of the Soviet East, to Persia, to Iran; Zakhoder specifically underscores the 
anniversary hero's merit in "repatriating" to Azerbaijan the poet Nizami Ganjavi. One 
could probably find other, more striking, examples of the anniversary hero's powers of 

74 



observation - but Zakhoder preferred to recall the participation of Bertels in the 800 
years celebration of Nizami. It is easy to notice that the question of Bertels's 
contribution to the study of Nizami is especially important for Zakhoder. This is 
understandable: in this area, Bertels has the most indisputable, under any 
circumstances, academic and political merits. The article in "Pravda" where Nizami was 
called an Azerbaijani poet, and not a Persian one, as he had been considered before, is 
among them. 17 Nizami is an Azerbaijani poet; this treatment of him will be now 
unchangeable in Soviet oriental studies, independently of Bertels's will, but thanks to 
him, whatever his subsequent mistakes. However, even here not everything was 
smooth and unruffled. The Nizami studies, while one of the most successful and fruitful 
directions of E. E. Bertels's research, were also the most politicized. 

On April 3, 1939, "Pravda" published the material: "On the results of the XVIII 
Congress of the VKP(b). Report of Comrade M. Bazhan to the meeting of intelligentsia of 
the city of Kiev, April 2 1939." There, the Ukrainian poet Mikola Bazhan told about the 
meeting of I. V. Stalin with the writers Konstantin Fedin and Pyotr Pavlenko. "Comrade 
Stalin spoke of the Azerbaijani poet Nizami, quoted his work, to demolish, with the 
words of the poet, the unfounded claim that this poet must, allegedly, be given to the 
Iranian literature just because most of his poems he wrote in the Iranian language. 
Nizami asserted himself in his poems that he is forced to have recourse to the Iranian 
language because he is not permitted to address his people in his native language. 
Comrade Stalin quoted just this piece, embracing with a sweep of his genius all the 
outstanding achievements created by the history of humanity" 

On April 10, 1939, a meeting of Baku intelligentsia voted a verse address to I. V. 
Stalin 18 . It was published by "Pravda" on April 16, 1939. It included the words: "The 
aliens had held our Nizami, having appropriated the singer, /But the nests that the 
singer has built in grateful hearts, are strong;/ You gave back his verse to us, you have 
returned his greatness./ With an immortal word about him you have lighted up the 
world's pages. By 1947, the point of view that it was Stalin who first "returned" Nizami 
to Azerbaijan was dominant, at any rate, among Azerbaijani scholars. The participants of 
the celebratory meeting in Baku honoring Nizami's anniversary, adopted with great 
enthusiasm, as Bertels wrote, the text of greetings to Stalin containing the same lines 
about Nizami. Thus, the priority of Stalin in ascribing Nizami to the literature of 
Azerbaijan seemed to be recognized by Bertels himself. And the criticism by himself of 
his own mistakes, as it was d one in 1949 after the speech of E. M. Zhukov, gave a 
formal ground to reproach Bertels (as V. I. Avdiev in fact did) for an attempt to revise an 
already established view of Nizami Ganjavi as an Azerbaijani poet, a view shared by I. V. 
Stalin. 

V.I. Avdiev also said this about Bertels: "Having admitted that his theoretical 
mistakes are due to the heavy burden of bourgeois science's old traditions, Bertels, 
undoubtedly, has made a significant step forward which gives him an opportunity to 
start on the way towards rectifying these mistakes, which is possible only by effectively 
mastering the basics of dialectic and historical materialism." 20 In conditions when any 
pronouncement by Stalin was declared by many to be a contribution of genius, both 
into dialectical and historical materialism, it would have been obviously profitable for E. 

75 



E. Bertels's reputation to play in this respect on the coincidence of his and Stalin's views 
on Nizami. But neither Bertels, nor Zakhoder do this... As we see there are no mentions 
of Stalin in Zakhoder's speech - on the contrary, he, quite rightly, emphasizes that 
Bertels called Nizami an Azerbaijani poet before anyone else. 

The speech of B. N. Zakhoder became the basis of the first, in two years, positive 
publications about E. E. Bertels, though in one of them it was said anyway that he, 
"having once ascribed Nizami to the number of Persian poets, succeeded in overcoming 
this mistake, which had been uncritically borrowed from bourgeois orientalism/' 21 
Obviously, in publications, too, it would have been very profitable for Bertels to refer to 
I. V. Stalin's point of view, but here, too, it was not done. 

This is an additional proof that those who did not want, to refer necessarily to 
Stalin, in or out of context, in academic statements or publications, - did not do it. 

The knowledge of all the above allows to conjecture the reason why it was 
Zakhoder who became the main speaker at E. E. Bertels's anniversary in December 
1950. 22 After all, something of the same kind could have been said by some of the 
anniversary hero's colleagues - literary historians. Many could have found sincere, kind 
words about him, could have recalled E. E. Bertels's services to knowledge. But to 
Zakhoder it was also an opportunity to cancel, in some measure, his moral debt, to say 
about Bertels what he had not said before, in conditions that were, of course, more 
difficult. Such a version is not at all excluded - but if so, has Zakhoder succeeded in 
compensating for what was omitted before? 



Notes 

1. The archive fund of the Moscow group of IOS AS 

2. Soviet oriental studies, volume V, Moscow-Leningrad, p. 199-228. 

3. Ibid. p. 200 

4. For a new advance of the Soviet literature. (Debate over the reports of A. Siras, I. 
Muijniek, and S. Mukanov, and co-reports of K. Simonov, A. Surkov, and B. 
Gorbatov) // Literaturnaya Gazeta, Dec 12, 1948, #102 

5. K. Simonov, Some issues of the development of the literatures of peoples of the 
USSR, (On the results of the Plenum of the Union of Soviet Writers). Kultura I 
Zhizn, Jan. 11 1949, #1. 

6. The archive fund of the Moscow group of IOS AS 

7. Ibid. 

8. Ibid. 

9. Ibid. 

10. Ibid. 

11. Ibid. 

12. Ibid. 

13. Kultura I Zhizn, Jan. 11 1950, #1. 

14. The archive fund of IOS AS 

15. Kultura I Zhizn, Aug. 11 1950, #22. 

76 



16. The archive fund of the Moscow group of IOS AS 

17. E. Bertels. The genius poet of Azerbaijan, Nizami// Pravda, Feb. 3,1939, #33. 

18. Samed Vurgun, Rasul Rza, Suleiman Rustam, A letter of Baku intelligentsia to 
Comrade Stalin.// Literaturnyi Azerbaijan, Baku, 1939, #4, p. 3-12 

19. See: E. E. Bertels, The Nizami anniversary in Azerbaijan // Vestnik AN SSSR, 1947, 
#12, p. 96. 

20. The archive fund of the Moscow group of IOS AS 

21. Celebration of the Corresponding Member of AS of the USSR Professor E. E. 
Bertels: in connection with sixty years' birthday and thirty years of scholarly work 
in oriental studies// Brief notices of IOS AS USSR, Issue 1, Moscow, 1951, p. 63. 

22. On November 17, 1950, by the order # 95 at IOS AS, an anniversary commission 
has been formed in the Institute, to celebrate sixty years of E. E. Bertels. The 
commission's chairman was the institute's director S. P. Tolstov, among its 
members were I. S. Braginsky, B. N. Zakhoder and others. 

The introductory remarks at "the celebration meeting in honor of E.E. 
Bertels were made by S. P. Tolstov, the address of greetings from IOS AS USSR 
was read by V. I. Avdiev, and today it may seem somewhat strange in the eyes of 
some people. E. E. Bertels himself, to judge by some of his remarks, perceived 
objective criticism, even if very harsh, as a necessary element of scholarly work. 
All the same, it would be rash to assert anything about the influence of the 
criticism on his relations with his colleagues in the period under consideration. 



Recent Politicization of the Figure of Nizami Ganjavi 

Thus we saw that during the USSR era, the heritage of Nezami Ganjavi became 
politicized. He was attributed to a non-existent identity (Azerbaijani-Turkic) during his 
own time and it was falsely he claimed that he was forced to write in Persian. Even 
Stalin got involved and E.E. Bertels himself who said that it is impossible to discuss the 
ethnicity of 12 th centuries figure was politically pressured and recognized Stalin's 
decision. Indeed, later on when he wanted to express a differing opinion about the 
integrity of Persian literature but again was forced to take back his opinion due to 
political pressure. Overall, we can see that attribution of Nezami Ganjavi as an 
"Azerbaijani" (which was defined by the USSR as Medes, Caucasian Albanians or etc.) 
was political in nature. However in order to justify this political maneuver, some false 
arguments (like Nezami was forced to write in an Iranian language) were coined. These 
false arguments are dealt with in another section of this article. 

After the breakup of the USSR, independent Muslim republics emerged and one of them 
was the Republic of Azerbaijan. Small minority of the opposition and elite in that country 
(including the People's Front) strongly identified with pan-Turkism at one hand and also 
continued upon the policy of weakening cultural ties with Iran by not mentioning or 
minimizing their fraternal relationship with the wider Iranian world. 

77 



The USSR historiography legacy has been continued by some of the elite elements in the 
Republic of Azerbaijan after the fall of the USSR. According to Professor Bert G. 
Fragner: 

"In the case of Azerbaijan, there is another irrational assault on sober treatment of history 
to be witnessed: its denomination. The borders of historical Azerbaijan crossed the 
Araxes to the north only in the case of the territory of Nakhichevan . Prior to 1918, even 
Lenkoran and Astara were perceived as belonging not to Azerbaijan proper but to Talysh, 
an area closely linked to the Caspian territory of Gilan. Since antiquity, Azerbaijan has 
been considered as the region centered around Tabriz, Ardabil, Maragheh, Orumiyeh and 
Zanjan in today's (and also in historical) Iran. The homonym republic consists of a 
number of political areas traditionally called Arran, Shirvan, Sheki, Ganjeh and so on. 
They never belonged to historical Azerbaijan, which dates back to post-Achaemenid, 
Alexandrian 'Media Atropatene'. Azerbaijan gained extreme importance under (and 
after) the Mongol Ilkhanids of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when it was 
regarded as the heartland of Iran. 



Under Soviet auspices and in accordance with Soviet nationalism, historical Azerbaijan 
proper was reinterpreted as 'Southern Azerbaijan', with demands for liberation and, 
eventually, for 're '-unification with Northern (Soviet) Azerbaijan a breathtaking 
manipulation. No need to point to concrete Soviet political activities in this direction, as 
in 1945-46 etc. The really interesting point is that in the independent former Soviet 
republics this typically Soviet ideological pattern has long outlasted the Soviet Union. 



(Bert G. Fragner, 'Soviet Nationalism: An Ideological Legacy to the Independent 
Republics of Central Asia' in Van Schendel, Willem(Editor) . Identity Politics in Central 
Asia and the Muslim World: Nationalism, Ethnicity and Labour in the Twentieth 
Century. London , GBR: I. B. Tauris & Company, Limited, 2001.) 

According to Professor Douglass Blum: 

"Finally, Azerbaijan presents a somewhat more ambiguous picture. It boasts a well- 
established official national identity associated with claims of a unique heritage based on 
an improbable blend of Turkism, Zoroastrianism, moderate Islam, and its historical 
function as 'bridge 'between Asia and Europe along the Silk Road. At the same time there 
remain strong local allegiances and ethnic distinctions, including submerged tensions 
between Azeris, Russians, and also Lezgins and Talysh (besides Armenians), as well as 
stubborn religious cleavages (roughly two thirds of the Islamic population is Shi'ite one 
third Sunni). This persistence of parochialism is hardly surprising inasmuch as there 
has been little historical basis for national identity formation among Azeri elites, 
who were significantly affected by Russification and are still generally lukewarm in 
their expressions of pan-Turkism. Perhaps the most powerful source of social cohesion 
and stale legitimacy is the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has at least generated some 
degree of collective identity as victim of Armenian aggression perhaps a slender reed on 

78 



which to construct a national identity conducive to developmental state building in the 

future". 

(Douglass Blum, "Contested National Identities and Weak State Structures In Eurasia"(in 

Sean Kay, S. Victor Papacosma, James Sperling, Limiting Institutions: The Challenge of 

Eurasian Security Governance, Manchester University Press, 2003.) 

Here are examples of some news reports from a Republic of Azerbaijan news site on 
Nizami Ganjavi. (All accessed in Dec, 2007 and the URL given on the bottom of each 
picture) 



Today.Az » Society » Iran again calls Nizami "Iranian 
poet" 

02 J uty 2006 [17:49] - Tpday.flz 



Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi s iove stories of "Leyii ve 
Majnun" and "Khosrovve Shirin"were translated into the Uzbek 
language. 



According to the Mehr News 
Agency, Abbas-Ali Vafaii, Iran's 
cultural attache in Uzbekistan 
said Sunday that the books of the 
"Iranian poet" were translated by 
the Uzbek poet Alim Jan Buriev, 
edited by Muhammad Khan 
Muminov, and published by 




Al-Hoda Publications. 



It's not the first time when Iran's officials try to pose Nizami as 
Iranian poet. 

Nizami Ganjavi (1141-1209) lived and died in Ganja, an ancient 
city in Azerbaijan, where his mausoleum stands. 

U RL: htt p://www.t od ay. az/n ews/s o<: i ety/2 778 1.html 



79 



Editors of "Tolishi sedo" newspaper took stand of betrayal of country 

Azerbaijani well-known poet Nizami Ganjavi and historical hero Babek were shown as Talish in these materials published in the 
newspaper. 

Court consideration on the cases of Novruzeli Mammadov, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Linguistics department chief. 

editor-in-chief of Tolishi sedo" newspaper and Elman Guliyev, official of Linguistics Institute was started in the Court of Grave Crimes today. 

Shakir Alasgarov presided at the trial. Court consideration was held behind closed doors. 

Answering the questions of Ramiz Mammadov, lawyer of defendant Mammadov, Guliyev admitted that Iranian Talish Study scientist AN 

Abdeyin rendered amount of financial assistance to "Tolishi sedo' newspaper. 

Azerbaijani well-known poet Nizami Ganjavi and historical hero Babek were shown as Talish in these materials published in the newspaper. 

It was shown in the newspaper that Turkish came to Azerbaijani regions afterwards where Talish people live and these lands were Talish 

lands historically. Guliyev admitted that they received $1000 a month from Talish organizations in Iran. Trial will continue in the second half 

of the day. 

Novruzali Mammadov was detained on February 3 andYasamal Court passed decision to arrest Novruzeli Bayramov for 15 days. Novruzeli 

Mammadov faced charge under Article 274 (State betray) of Criminal Code on February 17. Elman Guliyev is also accused of the same article 

© 2097 AM rights reserved. Citing to ANS PRESS is necessary upon using news. 

Story from anspress.com: http:tfwww.anspress.CDm 
Published: 19.12.2007 17:37 
© anspress.com 



Today. Az » Society » Unidentified persons insulted 
bas-relief of Nizami Ganjavi in Georgia 



17 April 2M& [09:45] - Today .Az 



The great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi's bas-relief in the 
center ofMarneuii region in Georgia suffered of insulting 
behaworAprii 13 to 14. 




APA reports that the bas-relief for 
Nizami Ganjavi stands next to the 
bas-relief of Georgian poet Shota 
Rustaveli. Unidentified persons 
wrote the word "Father" under the 
memorial of Rustaveli with color 
and insulting words under the 
memorial of Ganjavi. 



Besides, the unidentified persons throw mud on Nizami's face. 
The analogous behavior was redone next day. The 
correspondent of APA appealed to the governor of Mamueli 
Amiran Subitidze regarding the incident. The governor said the 
police had partially identified the hooligans. He also said that 
after necessary investigations they would be detained and 
punished. 

U RL: htt p://www.t o d ay. az/n e ws/s o c i ety/2 521Q.html 



80 



Toclay.Az. » Society * Afshar Su I ey man i considers Nizami and 
Shahriyaras Persian poets 

13 Mardl 2006 [10:06] - TMwAr 

"Former tranian President Mahammad Khatamis writing thai Nizami Ganjavi is 
a Persian poet is tnse. Nizami wrote and seated nis worts in Persian, ne didn't 
have ev-^en one work in Azerbaijani, " tranian Ambassador *o Azerbaijan, Afshar 
Suieymani, ioid 



As A PA rEps-rts, Suieymani also said there 
is no EvidEncE to prove that Mizami wrote 
in Azerbaijani. 

"Mizami didn't write in Azerbaijani. 
Mizami wrote in Persian but these poems 
were translated into Azerbaijani later". 

The Iranian Ambassador also claimed 
that Shahriyar is not Azerbaijani poet as 




well. 



Chairman of parliament standing com mission an culture affairs, Professor 
Mizami J afarov doesn't agree with Iranian Ambassador. 

"It is a fact that Mizami Ganjavi praised Macedonian Alexander, who raised 
Iran, while other Persian poets showed Alexander as a bloodthirsty killer. If 
Mizami Ganjavi had been a Persian pnet, he would alsn- have show Alexander 
as a bloodthirsty killer instead of praising him. It proves that Mizami is a genius 
Azerbaijani poet. Mizami's creative works are in the spirit of Azerbaijan-Turk". 

As for great Turkish-Azerbaijani poet Shahriyar, professor said that his 
nationality was reflected in his documents and works. 

"Iran was a Turkish state till XX century and it was personalized after that. If am 
not wrong, Afshar Suleymani is Azerbaijan i as well, hie should investigate and 
learn history, he, as a diplomat, may need this knowledge". 

Jafarov also said that 3b million Azerbaijan is live in Iran and their rights are 
violated there. Professor thinks that it would be better for Afshar Suleymani to 
answer the ban imposed in Iran on speaking its own language and getting 
education. 

URL: http:/,'\vww.today.az/news/society/242B2. html 



Another news article claims: 



81 




Day.Az » OSuicctbo » flircaTejib 3/ibMHH TacaHOB: 
«HaM hv?kho pa6oTaTb Hafl tem, MTo6bi bo bcem 
Mwpe noBepwjiH b to, mto Hn3aMH 11 <Dn3y/in — 
a3 ep6a iSflMa h 14b 1 » 

22 Maprs 2006 ;02:33] - Day.Az PacneuaTaTb 

3KCW?K?3MBH0e MHTepBhtO D&y,AZ C W7BHQM CGK?33 f7MC3Ta/ie£f 

Ajep&aifcpftaHa, HSBSCTHbtM ny&j?MijtfcrGM S/jbVMHOM racauoBbtMs 

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*cnfli_i4MM apMAHMH* 3to - HM0- Ho B Hero ycne.no nosepnTb OMeHb 
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MT06bl BO BC6M MMpe nOBepM^M BTO r LfJO HH3BHM M OM3y^M - 

a3ep6afiA>KaHi4bi. 



82 



Which translates to(roughly done with google translator): 

http://www.day.az/news/society/44452.html (March 22, 2006) 

Day.Az exclusive interview with a member of the Writers' Union of Azerbaijan, a 
famous writer Elchin Hasanov. 

- Elchin Mualla how would you comment the statements of the Islamic Republic of 
Iran to Azerbaijan by ambassador Afshar Suleimaniyeh that he objected to calling 
Shahriyar and Nizami and states they are Iranian poet. They say that they did not 
write their poems in Azeri language and that they were later translated to Persian? 

- For starters, on Shahriyar. He is of course, Azeri poet. He was an Iranian Azeri and 
wrote in the Azeri language. But with aNizami several problems. For example, he is 
claimed by different groups and Tajiks claim that he wrote in the Tajik language. The 
same about Iranians and Arabs. Monuments of Nizami are not only in Azerbaijan but 
also in Iran, Tajikistan and the Arab world. Yes, the great poet lived in Ganja. But is this 
to the whole world recognized Nizami Azerbaijanis? In my opinion, no. 

- Who, in your opinion, can be called truly Azerbaijani writers and poets? 

- It - Khagani, Vazeh, Shirazi, Sabir. With the recognition of Azerbaijanis, we do not 
have problems. But at the same time, we also believe in Fizuli. But it is also difficult to 
prove. After all, he lived in Syria, has never been in Azerbaijan, and also wrote Arabic. 

Understand, I am not saying that Nizami, Fizuli are not tAzerbaijanis, but it remains to 
be proved to the world. And for that we need to do this, first of all, to build a proper line 
of propaganda. While it is very low. 

In this sense, we should not hesitate to learn from the Armenians. See how well they 
dissolved the information that Ramil Safarov killed Armenian sleep. In fact, «sleeping 
Armenian» that - a myth. But he managed to believe so many people in the world. Also, 
we need to work to make the world believe that Nizami and Fizuli - Azeris. 



83 



And finally here is a report from an Azeri Ambassador in Europe: 

Today. Az » Society » Conference devoted to Nizami 
Ganjavi held in Strasbourg 



Z : . ?-_sry 2™07 [■: :lz' - Todg-y.Az 




Scientific conference devoted to famous Azerbaijani poet 
thinker and philosopher Nizami Ganjavi's life and literary activity 
was held in Mark Bloch University in Strasbourg, France. 

Members of the Azerbaijani 
delegation to the Parliamentary 
Assembly of the Council of Europe 
(PACE), head of the permanent 
Azerbaijani delegation to PACE 
Arif Mammadov, students 
teachers, professors and literary 
critics participated in the 
conference organized by 

"Azerbaijani House" organization and Association of Students 

Studying in France. 

MP Rafael Huseynov made a broad speech about Nizami 
Ganjavi's life and literary activity. Hi" touched upon the question 
that being an Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi wrote in Persian. 
Most in Europe consider Nizami a Persian poet. After his 
speech Rafael Huseynov was asked a lot questions. Rafael 
Huseynov and other parliamentarians called upon the 
Azerbaijani students to be active in the protection of interests of 
our country, APA correspondent in Strasbourg reports. 

URL: http://www.today.az/news/society/35499.html 



Thus the above news reports from the Republic of Azerbaijan takes an issue with calling 
Nizami Ganjavi an Iranian. Indeed an ethnic Iranian Talysh editor who believes that 
Nizami Ganjavi and Babak Khorramdin were Talysh (perhaps the merit of the argument 
being that the old Azari language and Kurdish and Talysh are all of the same root and at 
that time mutually intelligible NW Iranian languages and the Pahlavi idioms as shown in 
Nozhat al-Majales are closely related to Talysh language as well) is accused of a grave 
crime for disagreeing about the background of Nizami Ganjavi (although the article does 
not make it clear this was the reason or something else that the Talyshi editor was jailed, 
nevertheless why should an arrest of a person have to do with Nizami Ganjavi who lived 
850+ years ago?). The whole situation is easily solvable if some elites in the country also 
attest to their shared heritage with the wider Iranian world. 

Yet all scholars agree that Nizami was at least half Iranic ethnically and he wrote all his 
work in Persian. He also praised his rulers as rulers of Persia/Iran which means that to 
him, the land he was living in was the Persia/Iran. Furthermore, as will be shown, there 



84 



are clear arguments for 100% Iranian ethnicity and of course explicit testaments to his 
Persian heritage. 

Nizami Ganjavi is known by his Persian epic poetry. The Iranian world and Persian 
speaking world has many great poets and the current government of Iran is a pan-Islamic 
government and in terms of nation building, it does not put a serious endeavor like former 
USSR countries, many of whom have been besieged by ethnic war and thus have a high 
nationalist fervor both amongst their government elite and some of their people. 

Thus some elite sectors refuse to recognize that Nizami Ganjavi, who is part of the 
Iranian civilization, is also part of the Azerbaijani's heritage due to the fact that they also 
have Iranian heritage. Instead, some still believe Nizami Ganjavi was a Turkl who was 
forced to write in Persian or he used Persian since it was a common tool. We will show 
both ideas are false and actually not only Nizami wrote in Persian, but he expanded upon 
Iranian folklore and mythology while nothing is said in his work about Turkic folklore 
and mythology. His stories were Persian/Iranian and not just the language he used. Thus 
besides ethnic reasons, the use of the cultural language, Nizami Ganjavi was culturally 
Iranian as well due to the stories he versified (and the ones he optionally chose like Haft 
Paykar and Khusraw o Shirin is a testament to this). 

A more prudent approach which will not cause contradiction would be to simply accept 
the obvious fact that Nizami is part of the Persian culture and historic Iranian civilization, 
and the Republic of Azerbaijan is also one of the inheritors (alongside with Tajikistan, 
Afghanistan, Iran) of this Persian culture. However, nationalistic scholars in the republic 
of Azerbaijan do their best to disassociate Nezami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization and 
to attribute it to newly forged identity (Azerbaijani-Turkic) which did not exist at that 
time and is mainly a product of USSR and pan-Turkist theories. The current Iranian 
government of course does not care too much about this issue since Iran has many 
historical poets and of course it is a pan-Islamists government rather than a nationalist 
one. There are pan-Turkist publications in Iran (like the Turkish-Persian journal Varliq) 
who also claim Avicenna and Biruni as Turkic scholars. They also obviously claim 
Nizami Ganjavi (and we will respond to their arguments in the section 
"Misinterpretations of verses by the USSR"). In our opinion, 1000 year from now, if 
civilization survives, Nizami Ganjavi will still be known by his Persian poetry and 
Iranian cultural heritage since that reflects the character and content of his work. 

Going back to such nationalistic writers who disregard scholarly convention, the word of 
Dr. Jafarov (in the above news reports) shows ultra-nationalistic fever is very high with 
regards to Nizami Ganjavi. Note Dr. Jafarov' s unsound assertion: 
"It is a fact Nizami Ganjavi praised Macedonian Alexander, who raised [sic. he meant 
razed] Iran, while other Persian poets showed Alexander as a bloodthirsty killer. If 
Nizami Ganjavi had been a Persian poet, he would also have shown Alexander as a 
bloodthirsty killer instead of praising him. It proves that Nizami is a genius Azerbaijani 
poet. Nizami 's creative works are in the spirit of Azerbaijan-Turk" 



85 



What Dr. Jafarov fails to mention is that Nizami Ganjavi says that Alexander followed all 
of the traditions and customs of the Kiyani kings (Achaemenid kings) with the exception 
of Zoroastrianism. Without the understanding Persian language and its classical literature 
(Ferdowsi, Sanai, Qatran, ...) the understanding of the works of Nizami Ganjavi is also 
impossible. Alexander the Great was also identified with Dhul-Qarnain of the Qur'an and 
many Persian poets have praised him. He is after all an Islamic figure and Nizami was 
also a devout Muslim. 

For example, Sa'adi the Persian poet also praises Alexander: 
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These sorts of statements about Alexander are typical of many Persian poets. This does 
not make Sa'adi a Turk just for saying something positive about Alexander. Neither 
Sa'adi praising the local Turkic ruler of the area makes him a Turk. 

And according to the Encyclopedia of Islam (Iskandar-Nama): 
In the Shahnama, Firdawsi already makes Iskandar an exemplary figure, whom the 
companionship of Aristotle helps to rise still higher, by the path of wisdom and 
moderation, in the direction of abstinence and contempt for this world. And Firdwasi laid 
stress on the defeat of Dara (the Darius of the Greeks) as something desired by "the 
rotation of the Heavens". 

At the time of Nizami, however, Islam is from then onwards well established in Iran, and 
it is the prophetic and ecumenical aspect of his destiny that the poet makes evident in his 
hero. As a learned Iranian poet, Nizami, who demonstrates his eclecticism in the 
information he gives (he says, "I have taken from everything just what suited me and I 
have borrowed from recent histories, Christian, Pahlavi and Jewish ... and of them I have 
made a whole"), locates the story of his hero principally in Iran. He makes him the 
image of the Iranian "knight", peace-loving and moderate, courteous and always ready 
for any noble action. Like all Nizami's heroes, he conquers the passions of the flesh, and 
devotes his attention to his undertakings and his friendships. These features appear in the 
account, which follows ancient tradition, of his conduct towards the women of the family 
of Darius, in his brotherly attitude on the death of that ruler, in his behaviour towards 
queen Nushaba (the Kaydaf of Firdawsi, the Kandake of the pseudo-Callisthenes) whom 
he defends against the Russians. (Abel, A.; Ed(s). "Iskandar Nama." Encyclopaedia of 
Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. 
Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. (2nd edition online version)) 



86 



The Encyclopedia Iranica also discusses the difference between Perso-Islamic and Perso- 
Zoroastrian view on Alexander. Persian historians and poets (including Ferdowsi) 
according to this Professor Hanaway present Alexander as a just king: 

"Two aspects of the story are important in differentiating the versions of the Alexander 
romance that descend from the Greek through the Syriac from those influenced by 
Persian oral tradition. The first is the genealogy of Alexander. In the Pseudo-Callisthenes 
tale, and the Syriac version, Alexander is the son (by an illicit union) of the Egyptian 
Pharaoh Nectanebos and Philip of Macedon's wife Olympias. 

In many of the Persian versions, including that of Ferdowsi, Alexander is the son of 
Darab (Darius II?) and the daughter of Philip of Macedon. The second aspect is the way 
in which Alexander himself is viewed in the text. In the Persian versions of the story, 
Alexander is usually identified with Dhu'l-Qarnayn, a prophet mentioned in the Koran 
16:84 (see Watt). In the early New Persian commentary on the Koran entitled Tarjoma-ye 
Tafsir-e Tabari Dul-Qarnayn is mentioned twice in connection with the wall of Gog and 
Magog (I, p. 196; IV, p. 918). Stories of Alexander/D'u'l-Qarnayn appear in popular 
lives of the saints, such as Abu Eshaaq Neyshaburi'Qesas al-Anbiyya (pp. 321-33 and in 
a chapbook version, Kabul, n. d., pp. 94-101). 

Among the historians, Tabari (I, pp. 692-704; tr., IV, pp. 87-95) gives the fullest 
summary of the tale of Alexander, including the birth story in which Alexander and Dara 
are half-brothers, the details of which appear in various Persian versions. Neither the 
historians (Tabari, Masudi, Dinavari, and Hamza Esafahani) nor Ferdowsi develop the 
prophetic role of Alexander which the connection with Du'1-Qarnayn suggests, 
presenting Alexander as a conquering hero and a just king. Nezami Ganjavi develops the 
prophetic side fully in what is the most extensive surviving version in New Persian". 
(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Eskandar Nama", William L. Hanaway) 

We note that in the Shahnameh, Alexander the Great even visits Mecca and in the 
Shahnameh, he is actually half Iranian. Nizami Ganjavi praises Ferdowsi (who definitely 
was not a Turk and according to many sources his Shahnameh had a certain anti-Turkish 
bias) and the Shahnameh had an important role in the Eskandarnama (as well as Haft 
Paykar and Khusraw o Shirin). Neither Sa'adi nor Ferdowsi were of Azerbaijan-Turk 
background but they both have praised Alexander who was identified with the Muslim 
Dhul-Qarnain. We also note that Nizami' s romantic poetry is based on Persian folklore 
(Haft Paykar, Khusraw o Shirin) and have absolutely nothing to do with Turkic folklore 
like Dede Qorqod. Finally in the Eskandarnama, Alexander attacks Azarabadegaan 
(traditional Iranian Azerbaijan) and puts out the fire temples. Yet some of the same elite 
who deny any Iranian also claim Zoroastrianism is a Turkic religion and Zoroaster was a 
Turk. 

As per the nationalist writer Elchin Hassanov. He is incorrect about Nezami and Shirazi. 
By Shirazi, he could possibly mean Sa'adi of Shiraz (who is popular in the country 
Azerbaijan) but he is not Azerbaijani nor does anyone know him as Azerbaijani nor has 
he written anything in Azerbaijani. Similarly Shahriyar is an Iranian Azeri poet. He was 
born of Iranian nationality and spoke Azerbaijani as his native language. However, it 

87 



should be mention that the pan-Turkic claim on Nezami Ganjavi is a falsified allegation 
that his father was Turkic. While the arguments of pan-Turkists arguments are analyzed 
in this article and are shown to lack any proof (and are misinterpreted verses seen through 
highly ethno-nationalistic narrow prisms), we should not that Shahriyar' s full name was 
Seyyed Muhammad Shahriyar. Thus if one goes by purely father line, rather than 
cultural contribution, someone like Shahriyar would be an Arab since his father line (a 
Seyyed) goes back to Prophet of Islam (PBUH). Thus if a poet is to be classified by their 
father line (we will discuss Nezami' s later), then Shahriyar is an Arab poet. If they are 
supposed to be by their output, then obviously Shahriyar who wrote 90% of his work in 
Persian, will be a Persian poet. However, Shahriyar is classified as an Iranian Azeri poet 
(which we believe is correct) because of his culture milieu. He hailed from an Iranian 
Azeri cultural background. However at the time of Nezami Ganjavi, the cultural milieu 
of Arran and Sherwan was Persian as will be shown by works such as Nozhat al-Majales 
and others. For example at least 24 Persian poets have been mentioned in the Nozhat al- 
Majales which is from Nezami' s era and all being from Ganja. 

Also there was no Azerbaijani-Turkic language, culture, identity at that time of Nezami. 
Also the comments about "manipulation" and using methods of "Armenians" in order to 
prove to the world that Nezami was "Azeri" shows that the world does not at this time 
buy such a claim. The Azerbaijani republic ambassador also confirms this claim as he 
clearly states: "Most of Europe considers Nezami a Persian poet". In actuality, it is all 
European scholars outside of USSR, since they recognize that one cannot misplace time 
and history and assign non-existent identities during the time of Nezami to Nezami. 

Of course if Iran's government does not do anything, and ordinary Iranians remain aloof, 
and some scholars are paid (we bring such an example later), then obviously falsehood 
will creep into mainstream Western scholarship. 

Indeed there was no ethnicity by the name Azerbaijani-Turkic at that time neither was 
there an Azerbaijani-Turkic culture or language (it came about through proto-Oghuz 
mixed with Persian and Arabic vocabulary at least a century after Nezami. All of the 
work of Nezami is in Persian, his cultural contribution is to the Persian language and his 
stories are from Persian folklore and culture. As per his ethnicity, it is agreed that he was 
at least half Kurdish (an Iranic people/group), and we shall show that the ethnicity of his 
father was Iranian(which is somewhat irrelevant in the case of Nezami since he was 
raised by his maternal uncle and he was orphaned early from his father), although this 
issue by itself does not make difference on his cultural characterization as a Persian poet. 

Just like Shahriyar or Nasimi's father line (both Arabic Seyyed) does not change their 
cultural characterization as "Iranian Azeri poet" and "Turkic poet" respectively. 
Although with regards to Nasimi, he also has written in Arabic and Persian and thus one 
should classify him as a "Turkish, Arabic and Persian poet" and we do not know his 
cultural milieu and native language clearly. Similarly, the founder of Safavid dynasty, 
Ismail I is hailed as an "Azerbaijani poet" because he has written in Azerbaijani-Turkic 
(less of his Persian works has survived). However if one goes by father line, all major 
modern Safavid scholars classify his ancestor as Shaykh Safi al-Din Ardabili who was of 



88 



Kurdish Shafi'i background. All Safavid chronicles both before 1501 and after 1501 
trace the Safavids lineage to Firuz Shah Zarin Kolah and in the oldest extant genealogy, 
he is called Firuz Shah Zarin Kolah Kurd of Sanjan and he is called Kurdish directly. 
The same issue holds with Pushkin who had Ethiopian father line, but no one challenges 
his place in Russian literature. With regards to Nezami, he contributed to the Persian 
language and used Persian cultural stories and thus is rightfully a Persian poet. A poet 
cannot be translated and thus the masterpiece he has created makes it also belong to the 
particular language he has used. However irrelevant the issue of his father line may be, 
we shall also show that all indicators show Nezami' s father line just like his mother line 
was Iranian. Thus the above news reports show that politicization of Nezami Ganjavi 
and robbing him of his Persian cultural heritage is actively being pursued for pan- 
Turanist/ethno-nationalistic reasons and nation building. 



A more recent statement from the ministers of foreign affairs of Azerbaijan has a more 
scientific tone: 

a country which embraced Islam in its very early days and which remarkably contributed 
to enriching the Islamic civilization through its illustrious sons of eminent philosophers, 
scholars, thinkers, historians and poets like Nizami and Khaquani, Bakhmanyar, Masud 
Ibn Namdar and many others. 

http://www.oic-oci.org/press/English/2007/04/sg-speech-baku.htm 
(Accessed September 2007) 

We note that Abul Hasan Bahmanyar the son of Marzaban was a Persian Zoroastrian and 
a student of Avicenna. The name of his uncle, which he devoted one of his works too is: 
Abu Mansur the son of Bahram the son Khurshid the son of Yazdyar who was also a 
Zoroastrian. Masud ibn Namdar, as Vladimir Minorsky has clearly stated, was a Kurd. 
Indeed Masud ibn Namdar himself affirms he was a Kurd. The Persian poet Khaqani has 
a Christian Iranian or Georgian or Greek mother and an Iranic father. His title was the 
"Persian Hassan". Finally, Nizami is the case we study in detail and it is shown that all 
evidences point to non-Turkic, Iranian father as well as Kurdish mother. Culturally, all 
that is left from Nizami are his work and he considers himself an inheritor/successor of 
Ferdowsi. Again it is this author's opinion that just like ancient Egyptians are connected 
to modern Egyptians, some of the writers from the Republic of Azerbaijan do not need 
Turkify Avesta, Zoroastrianism, Bahmanyar and Iranian cultural relics in order to feel a 
connection with their past. The Iranian ambassador mentioned in the news should also 
explain that Turkic speaking Azerbaijanis of Caucasus have Iranian heritage (despite 
massive efforts by both USSR and pan-Turkists to deny and erase this heritage) and while 
the language of the area has changed, Nezami is part of the Iranian culture heritage of the 
region and they should also see this heritage as their own as well and not try to 
retroactively and anachronistically Turkify it. 



89 



Nizami's Mother 



Professors Vladimir Minorsky, Jan Rypka, Julia Meysami, Vahid Dastgerdi and other 
Nezami scholars are unanimous that Nizami's mother was of a Kurdish (an Iranic 
speaking group) background. 

Vladimir Minorsky writes (V. Minorsky, Studies in Caucasian History, Cambridge 
University Press, 1957. pg 34): 

"The author of the collection of documents relating to Arran Mas'ud b. Namdar (c. 1 100) 
claims Kurdish nationality. The mother of the poet Nizami of Ganja was Kurdish (see 
autobiographical digression in the introduction of Layli wa Majnun). In the 16 th century 
there was a group of 24 septs of Kurds in Qarabagh, see Sharaf-nama, I, 323. Even now 
the Kurds of the USSR are chiefly grouped south of Ganja. Many place-names composed 
with Kurd are found on both banks of the Kur" 

Also Vladimir Minorsky writes (G. H. Darab, Makhzan al-Asrar, 1945 (reviewed by 
Minorsky, BSOAS., 1948, xii/2, 441-5)): 

Whether Nizami was born in Qom or in Ganja is not quite clear. The verse (quoted on p. 
14): "I am lost as a pearl in the sea of Ganja, yet I am from the Qohestan of the city of 
Qom ", does not expressly mean that he was born in Qom. On the other hand, Nizami's 
mother was of Kurdish origin, and this might point to Ganja where the Kurdish 
dynasty of Shaddad ruled down to AH. 468; even now Kurds are found to the south 
of Ganja. 



Professor Julia Scott Meysami also states the same: 

"His father, who had migrated to Ganja from Qom in north central Iran, may have been a 

civil servant; his mother was a daughter of a Kurdish chieftain; having lost both 

parents early in his life, Nizami was brought up by an uncle. He was married three times, 

and in his poems laments the death of each of his wives, as well as proffering advice to 

his son Muhammad." 

(Nizami Ganjavi, The Haft Paykar: A Medieval Persian Romance. Translated with 

introduction and notes by Julia Scott Meysami. Oxford and New York: Oxford 

University Press, 1995.) 

We will discuss the Qom theory and his forefather in a later section. For now, this section 
is concerned with Nizami's mother. 

Jan Rypka (Rypka, Jan. 'Poets and Prose Writers of the Late Saljuq and Mongol Periods', 
in The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 5, The Saljuq and Mongol Periods, ed., 
Published January 1968. pg 578): 

"As the scene of the greatest flowering of the panegyrical qasida, southern Caucasia 
occupies a prominent place in New Persian literary history. Hakim Jamal al-din Abu 
Muhammad Ilyas b. Yusuf b. Zaki b. Mu'ayyad Nizami a native of Ganja in Azarbaijan, 
is an unrivalled master of thoughts and words, a poet whose freshness and vigour all the 



90 



succeeding centuries have been unable to dull. Little is known of his life, the only source 
being his own works, which in many cases provided no reliable information. We can only 
deduce that he was born between 535 and 540 (1 140-46) and that his background was 
urban. Modern Azarbaijan is exceedingly proud of its world famous son and insists that 
he was not just a native of the region, but that he came from its own Turkic stock. At all 
events his mother was of Iranian origin, the poet himself calling her Ra'isa and 
describing her as Kurdish." 

The late Professor Rypka does not get himself involved in the petty argument about the 
ethnicity of Nizami. He just mentions what is a well known fact that the poet's mother 
was of Kurdish background and of Iranian origin. Professor Rypka also uses the term 
"Modern Azerbaijan" which is a reference to the surge of popularity of Nizami in the 
Azerbaijan SSR during the Nezami celebration of the USSR. Another point made by Jan 
Rypka is about the forefathers of Nizami. These are: Nizami the son of Yusuf son of Zaki 
son of Mua'yyad. 

From the above data, we clearly state that the mother of Nizami was a Kurd. This is 
shown in the following verses of his famous Layli o Majnoon where he alludes to the 
deceased past ones of his family. He mentions his father Yusuf the son of Zaki the son of 
Mua'yyad (some have read it as Yusuf the son of Zakkiyeh Mua'yyad), he mentions his 
Kurdish mother and finally he mentions his maternal uncle Khwaja Umar. 



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CjljulH ±J^> jjjuLS jl jjljuUUJ /XC 
■^P jjjl \JJj\S CjljulH jJljuUUJ Olj 

^j9> 0I9J p± jlj^ ^J \jj\5 
OjLo^jvj .yp 9 /xc <jjI u 

Oj\S> CjljuUL^juUUoIjS lS9jI^ 

CjljulH [Jj^Jj P^jS jU ^5^ ^JvSLjuU 

CjljulH {JjJui-f. J^P^J Qj *& 0^ ^JVJO 

^jI^-juu j± j9-^J S^r. c&^s^ ul 
^j\jj >juu j\jib <-Sy jl 



Furthermore, scholars know his name as Ilyas due to this verse which is also connected 
with his mother: 



91 



^Oj/j jif tJUuLJuU <={S j±Lo 

^ou <-£/ 5 jlj*& ->-LC lS^^ 

IjjUUOUj l-SjJ uUu fju/LJ/ g 

fjjuuob CjljujI QJ 9 J>$J t«L» /xn> 
/>jl± QjJLjuJ lib i pS -L& L 

The first couplet clearly shows Nizami identifies with Iranian legends and cultural 
themes. We will delve fully into this later in this article. But, for example, the first two 
verses we translate as follows: 

My Mother who aided/protected me with Spand, 
Gave birth to me with the armor of Spandyar 

He means that his mother, who used to burn the incense Spand for him, gave him birth 
with protected armor of the warrior Spandyar due to this Spand and blessing,. 

We note that one reason it is impossible to translate and explain Nizami from Persian to 
any other language is the way he has interwoven words and symbols of Iranian culture. It 
is very hard to translate the words Spand and Spandyar. Also the translation will not 
have the rhythmic nature of the verse. Finally words such as Spand and Spandyar are 
unfamiliar to those who are not familiar with Iranian civilization. They can be translated 
to for example Western cultural languages by transforming Spandyar to Achilles the 
Greek warrior. 

It is worth explaining what Esfand and Esfandyar are just to demonstrate this subtle but 
very important point. 

Esfand is Persian word and it goes back to old Iranian languages like Avesta. In Avesta, 
the word according to linguists means Pure and Holy. In Iranic cultures, Esfand is a seed 
that was burned as incense in order to keep the evil eye away. Usually mothers and 
grandmothers burn this seed in order to cast away the evil eye which according to 
traditions occurs due to envy and jealousy of others. This writer himself recalls many 
times that his Grandmother has burned this incense for this purpose. Esfand according to 
Professor Omidsalar was well known among the ancient Indo-Iranians. Dioscorides 
provides in the 1st century C.E. the earliest description of the plant; he further state: 

"The practice of burning esfand seeds to avert the evil eye is widely attested in early 
classical Persian literature (e.g., Lazard, Premiers poetes II, p. 12; Shahnama, ed. 
Khaleghi, I, p. 337; Farrokhi, p. 106). This practice may have been influenced by the 
association of esfand with haoma (q.v.), the sacred beverage of Zoroastrian lore (for 
argument in favor of such identification see Flattery and Schwartz). The continuity of 
Persian tradition has brought the ancient sacred plant into Islamic sources." 



92 



(Omidsalar, Mahmoud. "Esfand"in Encyclopedia Iranica 
http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v8f6/v8f615.html) 

Esfandyar is a popular hero in Iranian literature and especially in the nationalistic 
Iranian/Persian epic of Shahnameh. Nizami Ganjavi was well familiar with Ferdowsi and 
Shahnameh (including the 1000 verses of Daqiqi included by Ferdowsi) and has praised 
Ferdowsi and has used the Shahnameh as one of his major sources. We shall write more 
about Ferdowsi/Shahnameh and Nizami' s connection to it in a later section. 

["Esfandyar" in Encyclopedia Iranica by Professor Ehsan Yarshater 
http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v8f6/v8f6 1 6.html! 

In the Shahnameh, we read about Esfandyar and his battle against Turks (in the 
Shahnameh, the ancient Iranian tribes of Tur/Turanians were taken in different places to 
be the same as Turks due to similar geographical designations). Esfandyar fights on the 
behalf of Iran against the Turanian (also identified as Turks during the time of the 
Shahnameh) Arjasp. 

Here is one comment from Esfandyar from the story of the Shahnameh: 

jUJulQ_juuI iJ^iJ-kjJSj JuJul^J 

jlSjLuub ySy kS\S CjJS 9Cy 

jjljuJOjJ U CO \^jS 9J ^JVJU-U 

Again we read from Esfandyar: 



Again about Esfandyar after his battle with Turks: 






JuLoJ ulsljS <^50lh> ulS^j j 

Esfandyar is a major hero in the Shahnameh who saves Iran from the invader Turks 
(although again it should be stressed that the Turanians mentioned in the Avesta were not 
Turks but were identified as Turks in the Shahnameh period due to similar geographical 
location and this is discussed in Appendix C). Throughout the Panj-Ganj of Nizami, we 
do not see one instance of heroes from Turkic (whether Oghuz or Qipchaq or Uyghur) 
mythology. From the evidence so far, Nizami Ganjavi 's praise of Esfandyar who has 
made some comments against Turks in the Shahnameh is an indication that he was not 
Turkic or at least he was totally immersed in Iranian culture such that he did not really 
recognize himself as a Turk. No one that knows the Shahnameh well and considers 
himself a Turkic nationalist would be relating himself to Esfandyar. We shall get back to 
this issue when we discuss Nizami' s father and culture. 



93 



Nizami and his maternal uncle Khwaja 
Umar 

Nizami writes about the passing away of his maternal uncle (khaal in Persian means 
maternal uncle and is used in Kurdish and this is another hint at Nezami's background 
since he uses this family term with regards to his maternal uncle) Khwaja Umar: 

_*£J QjO UU9 <joJUJljuU <_5JL> 

/>lqj|£j lSjI^ £\Jb jl 

j-OtJj ^£-0 qjI jl /XjuUjJ^JVjO 

jj£$1£ ^9-juj 9I pjS uls*9lS 

CjljuUUljulJlS [Jjjd%J JgLpfcD ^ ^JVJO Ol 
CjljuUUljuUL^J Oj.-i._juJ 0j.*-*.U.O..Q> 

It is well known fact that Nizami was orphaned at an early age. According to Jerome 

Clinton and Kamran Talatoff : 

"His father, Yusuf and mother, Rai'sa, died while he was still relatively young, but 

maternal uncle, Umar, assumed responsibility for him". 

(Talatoff K., Clinton J.W. "The Poetry of Nizami Ganjavi: Knowledge, Love, and 

Rhetorics", NY, 2001.) 

Thus if the above assertion of the authors are correct (Jan Rypka and Julia Meysami also 
states he was orphaned as an early age and so do other biographers of Nizami), then 
Nizami Ganjavi was raised by his Kurdish maternal uncle. The verse about his father 
also points to the fact that he was orphaned early. Thus, even assuming the argument that 
his father was not Kurdish, he did not know his father well and was raised by a Kurdish 
maternal uncle. We shall show later that it was the case that Iranians usually married 
Iranians (like most people at that time), Shafi'ites usually married Shafi'ites (like most 
people at that time) and thus it is hard to imagine that unless Nezami's mother was a 
servant (which she was not given the fact that the maternal uncle takes care of Nezami 
and some have stated that Nezami's mother was of an important Kurdish clan due to the 
name Ra'isa being a title of a high women), his father would also be Iranian. We will 
delve into the issue of Nezami's father later since Nezami does not explicitly pronounce 
the background of his father as he does with his mother. 

Nizami's Father 

According to Jan Rypka, the background of Nizami Ganjavi was Urban. This would 
make sense given the fact that Nizami Ganjavi 's writing is a product of sedentary culture 



94 



rather than one of nomadic culture. We have little information on Nizami Ganjavi's 
father and all that is left is given in the following verses: 

J^> Cju^juUU Qj />J±> JljuJ jS 

As Jan Rypka pointed out and most scholars concur with him, the father of Nizami 
Ganjavi was named Yusuf. His grandfather is named Zaki and finally his great 
grandfather is named Mu'ayyad. 

This is all the information that Nizami Ganjavi has left for us on his father. Although it is 
not a whole lot of information, it can still provide us with a few clues. 

First all the names are Arabic. This suggests that Nizami Ganjavi's father line was 
Muslim for at least three generations before Nizami Ganjavi. The second pointer is that 
there is no tribal designation in the name. That is when we consider the 
names/designations of Seljuqs, Ghaznavids, Ghezelbash Safavid tribes or even Turkic 
poets like Fizuli (reputedly from the Bayyat tribe for example which was an Oghuz tribe 
although some authors have mentioned Kurdish (see Kurds in Encyclopedia of Islam 2 nd 
edition)), we see tribal names from the father-side. This corroborates with the evidence 
that Nizami Ganjavi was urban. Finally, since Nizami Ganjavi was orphaned early and 
lost his father, we can perhaps surmise that his father was at least 40 years old when 
Nizami Ganjavi was born. Thus we may assume that 1140 A.D. (approximately when 
Nizami Ganjavi was born), 1100 A.D. (when Yusuf was born), 1075 A.D. (when Zaki 
was born) and finally 1050 A.D. (when Mu'ayyad) was born. Noting the fact that there is 
an absence of tribal designation with regards to Nizami, we can perhaps assume that 
Nizami Ganjavi's father's family went back to Ganja (assuming it was originally from 
Ganja which again there is nothing to confirm this) to at least 1050 A.D. On the other 
hand, some manuscripts of Iqbal Nama (although not all of them) claim that Nizami 
Ganjavi's family goes back to the village of Ta, near Tafresh in Qom in Central Iran 
today. And other authors have made such a claim based on other verses outside of that 
one. We will look at this point later. For now, we can see that there is no evidence from 
the above verse that Nizami Ganjavi was Turkic. Indeed the Urban setting, the Muslim 
names, the lack of tribal designation points to non-nomadic cultures of Iranians before the 
Seljuq domination of Ganja in 1075 A.D. Before the Seljuq domination of Ganja, the 
area of Ganja was controlled by the Shaddadid Kurdish dynasty and it was their capital. 
We will briefly go over this point later in the article. 

Either way, Nizami Ganjavi has not left us explicit statement about the ethnicity of his 
father as he has done with his mother. The point also is not important with regards to 
Nezami's culture as he was raised by his Kurdish mother's family and all of his works are 
in Persian. But the evidence points overwhelmingly to Iranic ethnicity and a clear Iranic 
culture as we will show later. Less likely, but possible is another local Muslim group 
(possibly Christian converts generations ago or even Arab migrants) origin who were 
Iranicized. Thus we will have to look at other indirect evidence to see if we can find 
anything conclusive about Nizami Ganjavi's father's background. This is the area where 

95 



many misinterpretations have taken place during the USSR era. The worst interpretation 
which is often repeated is that Nizami wanted to write the Layli o Majnoon in Turkish but 
was forced to write in Persian. This invalid claim will be discussed in its own section. 

We note that some have even gone further and (as mentioned already) recently falsified 
the verse in 1980 about his father: 

The above verse, like much false information on Nizami Ganjavi, can be easily found in 
different nationalist websites although it was falsified in 1980. Its basic rhyme of 
Gurg/Gorg (Wolf) and Turk/Tork show its invalidity and the lack of knowledge of the 
nationalist person who forged it. Some nationalist groups have used this falsified verse in 
their article to claim that Nizami Ganjavi was of Turkic stock. Supposedly the Grey Wolf 
or Wolf is seen as wise creature in Turkic mythology. If that is the case, then one should 
look at actual and authentic verses of Nizami Ganjavi about Wolves which gives a totally 
opposite picture. 

Here are some verses about Wolves by Nizami Ganjavi which depict wolves as stupid, 
vile character and bloodsucking creature! There is nothing about the wisdom (Farzanegi) 
of the Wolf in his poems. The wolf is considered a vile, savage and stupid creature 
whose stupidity makes him inferior to a fox. The wolf is also compared with evil people. 
For example: 

:L? 

/xJL> j<p*Jj ^jv^Juj CjlSs Qj 

:L? 

±jj olj Oj^j <Sj5> ) 0U9J 

Oj^J CjuOU 9 CjljuoSjJJ CjuoLu 



96 



^jS JuU JJl^> 0U9J jj^Sj 



OL-Juub ^j OL^> AJ^JO />9_juU 
^jvjL^juU Jul j <\15 v-Sv^jS lj ^ 

jliu ^J 9I U OLuU ^9! .p 
Jjl^J U 9_ajU v_S^J jl <*->>-> -^JU^S 

JuLoijIg b uLjJu 9_juu pu^ j 
lSjLuu Ojb> _p ±$j U9jSl OjS ^> 



Thus it is extremely unfortunate that someone in 1980 falsified such a verse. 
Unfortunately the above false verse as well as Turkish poems not belonging to Nizami 
Ganjavi are attributed to Nizami on the Internet and many susceptible readers will get 
false information if they use "Google" or other tools. 

Dynasties before and during the era of 
Nizami 

Pre-lslamic Iranic dynasties ofArran, Sherwan and Azerbaijan 

Northern Iranian peoples such as the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans began to appear in 
the northern Caucasus in the 1st millennium, B.C.E. The Persians and Medes who settled 
in Iran could have come in large numbers through the Caucasus. But the first complete 
control of the Caucasus by an Iranic dynasty was that of the Achaemenids (although it is 
possible that the Medes expanded towards some portions of Caucasus but the evidence on 
the Median Empire is usually slim). Caucasia was under the control of the Achaemenid 
dynasty until the conquest of Alexander the Great. Afterwards, it came under the control 
of the Iranian Parthian dynasty. The Parthian influence in Caucasus can be ascertained 

97 



by the large number of Iranic loan-words in classical Armenian (Grabar). Also the 
Parthian language is considered by some linguists as a predecessor (or to have greatly 
influenced) Baluchi, Kurdish, Zazaki and some other Iranic languages. 

Perhaps the greatest pre-Islamic dynasty that had tremendous influence in the area was 
the Sassanids. Indeed Nizami Ganjavi wrote three of his five jewels about ancient Persia 
(the Eskandar-nama being Persianized/Islamicized version of the story of Alexandar). 
But the two Sassanid works of Nizami Ganjavi, the Haft Paykar and Khusraw o Shirin 
are considered his most important masterpieces. Both of these works have to do with 
Sassanid Kings. We shall see in the section on Qatran Tabrizi, that the Sassanids were 
praised widely by local poets. Also as will be noted, the Shirwanshah dynasty claimed 
descent from the Sassanids as did later Turkic dynasties that conquered Persia and 
became Persianate in culture and kingship. 

Major cities and areas with Iranic names like Darband, Ganja, Sharwan, Beylekan 
(Paydaaregaan), Piruzpad (Armenian Partaw probably Islamicized to Barda') testify to 
the Iranian influence of the area. During the Sassanid era, large number of Iranians also 
settled in Caucasia and the Sassanids built walls and forts to protect the Caucasus from 
northern invaders. 

We will here quote several scholars with regards to the Sassanid era. 

According to Encyclopedia Iranica (Albania): 

All along the Caspian coast the Sasanians built powerful defense works, enclosing the 

space between the mountain and the sea and designed essentially to bar the way to 

invaders from the north. Firstly, north of the Apsheron peninsula, the two parallel walls 

of Barmak rise up, 220 meters apart; these are known from the Armenian Geography of 

Pseudo-Moses (ed. Patkanian, St. Petersburg, 1877, pp. 30-31) by the name of Xorsbem 

(cf. Trever, Ocherki, pp. 274ff.). Next are the walls of Servan (or Sabran), remarkable for 

their 30 km length 

(cf. Pakhomov, "Krupneishie pamyatniki sasanidskogo stroitel'stva v 

Zakavkaz'e/TroWemy istorii material' noi kuVtury , 1933/9-10, pp. 41-43 and fig.; 

Trever, Ocherki, pp. 269-71). 

To the north of Samur a third line of defense works could be the wall referred to as 
Afzut-Kavad in the Armenian Geography (p. 31) and thus have been built by Kavad (cf. 
Trever, Ocherki, pp. 271-72). The most celebrated of these fortifications are those of 
Darband, which shut off the pass of Cor (2-3 km between the mountain and the sea). 

The contribution of the Sassanians to the defense of this pass (mentioned in classical 
sources from the 1st century A.D.) covered a considerable area. Movses Kalankatuaci 
(History 2.1 1, tr. p. 83) speaks of "magnificent walls built at great expense by the kings 
of Persia. "Yazdegerd II undertook the construction of a mighty wall of unbaked brick 
mixed with straw which extended from the sea to the slopes of Darband 
(cf. A. A. Kudryavtsev, "O datirovke pervykh sasanidskikh ukreplenii v 
Derbente," Sovetskaya Arkheologiya, 1979/2, pp. 243ff.). 

98 



Kosrow II Anosiravan — and perhaps his father Kavad I before him — set himself to 
reinforce the existing works with a solid wall of stone provided with iron gates (on 
Darband, cf. Geiger and Kuhn, Grundr. Ir. Phil. II, pp. 535-36; Barthold, EI 1 1, pp. 940- 
45; Trever, Ocherki, pp. 274ff.). Twenty inscriptions dated 700, are found on the northern 
wall (cf . Pakhomov in hvestiya obshchestva obsledovaniya i izucheniya Azerbaidzhana 
8/5, 1929, pp. 3-22; H. S. Nyberg, ibid., pp. 23ff.; Trever, OcherkU pp. 346-53). If this 
date is related to the Seleucid era, it should correspond to A.D. 386 (G. Gropp, "Die 
Derbent-Inschriften und das Adur Gusnasp "Monumentum H. S. Nyberg I, Acta Iranica 4, 
Tehran and Liege, 1975, pp. 317ff.); but there are other, later datings (Trever, Ocherki, 
pp. 350ff.; Gropp, "Derbent-Inschriften,"p. 317, n. 4; V. G. Lukonin in Kudryavtsev, "O 
datirovke,"pp. 256-57)." 
(Albania in Encyclopedia Iranica, M.L. Chaumont) 

A more detailed article on the influence of Parthians and Sassanids is beyond the scope of 
this article. The reader is referred to Lang, David M. (1983), "Iran, Armenia and 
Georgia", in Yarshater, Ehsan, Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 3.1, London: Cambridge 
UP, pp. 505-537 for a short survey. 

Also available here: 

Iran, Armenia and Georgia 

Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 3, David M. Lang 

Not only were Iranian settlements established during the Achaemenid, Parthian and 
Sassanid era (and most of the Armenian dynasties had Iranian ancestry), but in the words 
of Professor Lang, cultural influences of Iran were also profound: 

In other cultural spheres also, there was much mutual enrichment arising from contacts 
between Iran and the Caucasian nations during the Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian eras. 
One has only to think of the perpetuation of the ancient Iranian gosdn or minstrel in the 
Armenian gusans (Georgian, mgosani), who have continued to delight popular audiences 
right up to modern times, composing both music and poetic text as they went along. As 
early as the 5 th century, the Armenian Catholicos St John (Hovhannes) Mandakuni 
composed a treatise, "On the Theatre and the Gusans", a copy of which may be seen in 
the Matenadaran or National Manuscript Library in Erevan. Political relations between 
Iran and her Caucasian neighbours may not always have been cordial, but there is no 
doubt of the depth and extent of reciprocal influences in many spheres of art, literature 
and religion, as well as in social and political organization." 

It should be noted that occasional Iranic and Altaic nomads including the Khazars 
penetrated the Caucasus, but this does not equate to settlement in the area by the nomads. 
Much like for example the Bulgars had penetrated Thrace,Greece or etc. For example the 
Viking Rus penetrated in Barda'and Shirwan around 1000 years ago, but they did not 
have permanent settlements. 



99 



Post-Islamic period, the Iranian Intermezzo before the Seljuqids 

In this section we list some of the Iranian dynasties of the era when Nizami's great 
grandfather Mua'yyad lived. We also mention the dynasties who patronized Khurasani 
(Dari-Persian) poetry including Shaddadids, Rawwadids and Shirwanshahs. Iranian 
dynasties predominated in what is known as the "Iranian Intermezzo", a period after the 
Arab conquest which ended with Seljuq conquest. The study of these Iranian and 
Iranicized dynasties is important since they promoted Khurasani Persian (Dari-Persian) 
poets and were patrons of Iranian culture. 

Vladimir Minorsky in one of his seminal works "Studies of Caucasian History" writes: 

THE IRANIAN INTERMEZZO 

It is still insufficiently realised that the so-called Persian Renaissance in Khorasan had a 
momentous sequel in Central and Western Persia and in Armenia. By the beginning of 
the 10th century a great Iranian movement came from the Caspian provinces. At the head 
of the hosts of Gilan and Daylam, a new set of rulers ousted the Arabs from their last 
positions held in Iran, and round this new power a fringe of other small principalities was 
created in the farther west of the Iranian territories. 

Even when the Arabs adopted the system of indirect control of Armenia through the 
agency of the Bagratid princes (A.D. 806-1045) to the east of this autonomous area they 
retained the system of direct rule in Azarbayjan and Arran. To some extent this policy 
was dictated by the great rebellion of Babak (201-23/816-37) in the eastern part of 
Azarbayjan. Babak was captured and executed but there remained a number of important 
problems, political, social and national, as between the Arab conquerors and the local 
populations, such as the Armenians. 

The grip of the Abbasids was gradually weakening as shown by the centrifugal 
developments in the family of the last energetic rulers appointed from Baghdad, the 
Sajids.l Muhammad b. Devdad (276-88/889-91) and especially Yusuf b. Devdad 
(appointed in 296/908) were powerful rulers and a formidable check on Armenia. 
However, soon after 299/91 1 Yusuf showed signs of disobedience. He revolted openly in 
305/917. In June 919 he was captured by the Caliphs troops and for three years remained 
in disgrace. He was re-instated in 310/923 but this time (down to 313/925) his attention 
was absorbed by affairs in Central Persia (Rayy, Hamadan). In 314/926-7 he received an 
assignment against the Qarmatians and on 7 December 927 lost his life fighting these 
dissenters. Practically the beginning of a new era in Azarbayjan can be dated from 
Yusuf s disgrace. The stage vacated by the Arabs was occupied by local Iranian 
elements, the Daylamites and the Kurds. 

The rise of the DAYLAMITE Highlanders, inhabitants of the small and poor area above 
Gilan, reminds one of the expansion of the Northmen in Europe. In point of fact the 
Daylamites had an old dynasty of kings ("the family of JUSTAN") who ruled on the 
Shahrud, i.e., on the river which flows from the East and joins the Safid-rud near Manjil. 
The MUSAFIRIDS, or Kangarids, whose centre was Tarom were linked by marriage ties 
with the Justanids but were a family apart. It must not be forgotten that the more 

100 



important Daylamite princes, the BUYIDS were upstarts who, with a crowd of other 
adventurers from Gilan and Daylam, appeared on the stage towards 308/ 920.2 By 
323/935 the sons of the Daylamite Buya were masters of Isfahan and Rayy. On 17 
January 946 Baghdad was theirs, and for a century the orthodox caliphs became puppets 
in the hands of these heterodox usurpers. 

The rise of the Buyids did not directly affect the northwestern corner of Iran. Apart from 
a few expeditions into eastern Azarbayjan, the Buyids did not interfere with the affairs of 
this region. But the impulse given by them resulted in the rise of a number of local 
Iranian dynasties, partly Daylamite and partly Kurdish, both in Azarbayjan and in the 
adjoining regions of Transcaucasia and Armenia. 

Thanks to the publication of Miskawayh's excellent Tajarib al-Umam we now know 
much better the events in the lands between the Buyids'territories and Armenia, i.e., in 
the area under our consideration. 

The original sedentary population of Azarbayjan consisted of a mass of peasants and at 
the time of the Arab conquest was comprised under the semi-contemptuous term of uluj 
("non-Arabs") — somewhat similar to the raya (*ri'aya) of the Ottoman Empire. The only 
arms of this peaceful rustic population were slings, see Tabari, III, 1379-89. They spoke a 
number of dialects (Adhari, Talishi) of which even now there remain some islets 
surviving amidst the Turkish speaking population. 

It was this basic population on which Babak leaned in his revolt against the caliphate. 
After the collapse of the Arabs and their Turkish generals, the same population came 
under the sway of the warlike Iranian clans and families. Despite their languages 
belonging to the common Iranian stock, the new masters, DAYLAMITES and KURDS, 
differed among themselves to a considerable extent. The Daylamites belonged to a 
particular blend of Caspian tribes, spoke a Caspian dialect, were attached to the Shia, 
were recognisable by their hirsute appearance and fought on foot, their arms being 
javelins (zhupiri) and huge shields. The basic haunts of the Kurds lay to the south of 
Armenia. They spoke a more isolated Iranian language, they professed the Sunna (or the 
Kharijite doctrine) and they were horsemen. At a very early date the Kurds penetrated 
into Western Azarbayjan and even crossed the Araxes (see below, p. 123). There seems 
to have been a feeling that the Kurds, more permanently established in Azarbayjan, 
protected it against the later invaders from the Caspian provinces. 

After the fall of the Sajids their former general DAYS AM ibn IBRAHIM struggled for 
supremacy in Azarbayjan during some eighteen years (327-45/938-56) with interruptions. 
He was a Kharijite born of an Arab father and a Kurdish mother, and his fighting force 
consisted chiefly of Kurds. 

Daysam's first opponent was LASHKARI b. MARDI, a native of Gilan supported by his 
countryman and former master, the Ziyarid Vushmagir ("the Quail-catcher"). His 
conquest of Azarbayjan in 326/937 was a short-lived episode (LA., VIII, 261). Much 
more important was the expansion of the MUSAFIRIDS. As already mentioned, this 
Daylamite house, whose home was in Tarom, south of Ardabil, was independent both of 
the Justanids and of the Buyids; its main operational axis was in the northerly and 
westerly directions, Under Marzuban b. Muhammad b. Musafir, surnamed Sallar (330- 
46/941-57) the Musafirids expanded not only over the whole of Azarbayjan and up the 

101 



Araxes valley, but even into the eastern part of Transcaucasia (Arran, Sharvan) and up to 
the Caucasian range. Both the Armenian royal houses, the Bagratids and the Artsruni 
were their tributaries. 

When after Marzuban's death (346/957) quarrels arose among his successors, the 
dominions of the Musafirids shrunk to the area near their original home in Tarom, while 
new masters appeared in Western Azarbayjan, namely the family of R A WW AD. Its 
eponym, Raw wad, was an Arab of the Azd tribe first mentioned towards 200/815 as a 
semi-independent ruler of Tabriz. After nearly two centuries of new occupations and 
invasions, we hear again of the masters of Tabriz and Maragha bearing Iranian names 
(Vahsudan, Mamlan, Ahmadil) but considered as descendants of a Rawwad. I have little 
doubt that these new rulers were scions of the same old family although this time their 
family name, al-Rawwadi, is sometimes followed by a further qualification al-Kurdi. 
Kasravi thought it preferable to distinguish between the old Arab Rawwadi and the later 
Iranian Rawwadi, and occasionally I make use of this suggestion. It would be only too 
natural for the Arabs stranded in Azarbayjan to have intermarried with local elements so 
that the term al-Rawwadi al-Azdi lost all practical meaning and had to be replaced by al- 
Rawwddi al-Kurdi. 

There are numerous examples of similar denationalisation among the chiefs of Kurdish 
tribes. Between the two spells of Rawwadi domination in Tabriz lies a period (struggles 
with Babak, Sajid rule) when we hear nothing of the family's presence in that fief. Then 
suddenly in the list of Marzuban's tributaries (A.D. 955) we find an Abul-Hayja b. 
Rawwad as lord of Ahar and Varzuqan. In this case "Rawwad"is not necessarily the 
father's name, but more probably only the designation of the family. The two points 
mentioned by I. Hauqal lie north-east of Tabriz. The identity of the earlier and later 
Rawwadis appears also from the fact that, according to Ya'qubi's History, p. 446-7, 
Yazid al-Muhallabi, the governor of Azarbayjan on behalf of Abu-Jaafar (754-75) 
allotted to Rawwad b. al-Muthanna al-Azdi a fief stretching from Tabriz down to al- 
Badhdh (later Babak' s stronghold). The possessions of the later Rawwadis (Tabriz- Ahar) 
lay precisely along this line. 

Very unfortunately, the History of Azarbayjan, written by one of the family, Abul-Hayja 
al-Rawwadi is now lost. It would have been useful to fill the gap between 369/979, the 
year in which Miskawayh ends, and 420/1029, when Ibn al-Athir takes up the thread of 
events in Azarbayjan. 

While the Rawwadis were controlling Azarbayjan, another Kurdish dynasty issued from a 
SHADDAD sprang up in the part of Marzuban's dominions which lay to the north of the 
Araxes. We have spoken of the Shaddadids in great detail and at this place we need only 
stress for memory the fact of their domination in Dvin and their close association with the 
Ayyubids. We shall have further occasion to explain how the roots of Saladin's family go 
back to the Iranian intermezzo. 

Similarly in another seminal work titled "A History of Sharvan and Darband in the 10th- 
11th Centuries", Minorsky provides a description of the Iranian dynasties that controlled 
the area of the Ganja before the Seljuqids. Furthermore, Minorsky describes various 
Iranian tribes including Kurds and Daylamites who controlled the region after the Arab 
conquest of the region. 

102 



The Albanians 

Our oldest information on Eastern Transcaucasia is based on the reports of the writers 
who accompanied Pompey on his expedition in 66 B.C. In Greek and Latin, the alluvial 
plain of the lower Kur and Araxes extending between Iveria (Georgia) and the Caspian 
sea was called Albania. The Armenian equivalent of this name is Alvank* or Ran, in 
Syriac Arran (pseudo-Zacharia Rhetor, XII, ch. 7) — from which the Islamic sources 
derived their al-Ran, or Arran. 

According to Strabo, XI, 4, 1-8, the soil of Albania was fertile and produced every kind of 
fruit, but the Albanians were inclined to the shepherd's life and hunting. The inhabitants 
were unusually handsome and tall, frank in their dealings and not mercenary. They could 
equip 60,000 infantrymen and 22,000 horsemen. The Albanians had twenty-six languages 
and formed several federations under their kings but "now one king rules all the tribes". 
The western neighbours of the Albanians were the Iberians (Iberia being the ancient 
name of Georgia) and the Armenians. Caspia (probably the region near Baylaqan) also 
belonged to Albania. 

According to Ptolemy, V, 1 1, Albania comprised not only the above-mentioned territories 
of Transcaucasia but extended north-east to comprise the whole of the region now called 
Daghestan along the Caspian coast. 

One must bear in mind the distinction between the areas occupied by the tribes of 
Albanian origin and the territories actually controlled by the Albanian kings. The 
Armenians considerably curtailed the Albanian territories to the south of the Kur and 
Armenicised them. Only after the division of Armenia between Greece and Persia in 387 
did the provinces of Uti and Artsakh (lying south of the Kur) fall again to the lot of the 
Albanian ruler. The earlier capital of Albania seems to have lain north of this river, 
whereas the later capital Perozapat (Partav, Barda'a) was built by the Albanian Vach'e 
only under the Sasanian king Peroz (457-84). 

In the words of Marquart, Eranshahr, 117, Albania was essentially a non- Aryan country 
("eminent unarisches Land"). In the fifth century A.D. one of the languages of Albania 
(that of the Gargars near Partav) was reduced to writing by the Armenian clergy who had 
converted the Albanians to Christianity in its Armenian form. According to Moses of 
Khoren, III, ch. 54, this Albanian language was "guttural, rude, barbaric and generally 
uncouth". The forgotten alphabet, the table of which was found by the Georgian Prof. 
Shanidze in 1938, consisted of fifty-two characters reflecting the wealth of Albanian 
phonetics. The Arab geographers of the tenth century still refer to the "Raman"language 
as spoken in Barda'a. At present, the language of the Udi, surviving in two villages of 
Shakki, is considered as the last offshoot of Albanian. Living as they did on open plains, 
the Albanians were accessible to the penetration of their neighbors and, at an early date, 
lived in a state of dependence on the Persian Empire and the Armenians. In 359 the 
Albanian king Urnayr took part in the siege of Amid by the Sasanian Shapur II. In 461 
the rebel king Vach'e lost his throne and the country was apparently taken over by the 
direct Persian administration. Even under the Sasanians Sharvan, Layzan and other 

103 



principalities of the northern bank of the Kur were completely separated from Arran. 
Towards the end of the sixth century a new dynasty, issued from a Mihran sprang up in 
Arran and was soon converted to Christianity. 

Though the names of the kings are recorded in the local history of Moses Kalankatvats'i, 
III, ch. 19 and 22, the facts about them are fragmentary and confused. We must await the 
publication of the new translation by C. Dowsett. Albania suffered particularly from the 
invasions from Northern Caucasus, first of the "Huns"and then of the Khazars (see below 
p. 105). 

Arran surrendered by capitulation to Salman b. Rabra al-Bahili in the days of 'Othman, 
see Baladhuri, 203, but the presence of the Arab amirs did not do away with the feudal 
rights of the local princes. The fact that the Mihranid Varaz-Trdat, who died in A.D. 705, 
paid yearly tribute simultaneously to the Khazars, the Arabs and the Greeks (Moses Kal., 
Ill, ch. 12), shows how uncertain the situation remained on the eve of the eighth century. 
The authority of the "kings"of Arran was restricted to local affairs and was mainly 
reduced to the southern bank of the Kur. We know, for example, that when Sa'id b. Salim 
(*Salm) was appointed to Armenia by Harun al-Rashid (ci Ya'qubi, II, 518), the town of 
Shamakhiya was founded by Shamakh b. Shuja whom Baladhuri, 210, calls "king (malik) 
of Sharvan". Consequently Sharvan on the northern bank remained outside the 
administrative purview of Arran. 

The revolt of Babak (210-22/816-37) greatly disorganised the Arab administration, and, 
under the cover thereof, a significant change took place in Arran. The last Mihranid 
Varaz-Trdat II was murdered in A.D. 822. His title Eranshahik was picked up by the 
prince of Shakki Sahl b. Sunbat. In 853 many Armenian and Albanian princes were 
deported to Mesopotamia and this secured a firmer basis for the domination of the new 
Islamic dynasties. After the liquidation of the Sajids (circa 317/929) the system of direct, 
appointments by the caliph collapsed and gave way to the hereditary domination of 
Muslim houses: the (Hashimids of Darband, Musafirids of Azarbayjan, Yazidids of 
Sharvan and Shaddadids of Ganja). 

b. Iranian penetration 

As we have seen, the original population of Arran belonged to a special group unrelated 
to any of its great neighbours. However, the Persians penetrated into this region at a very 
early date in connection with the need to defend the northern frontier of the Iranian 
empire. Possibly already under the Achaemenids some measures were taken to protect 
the Caucasian passes against the invaders, but the memory of the fortification of the most 
important of them, Darband (in Armenian Ch'or, in Arabic al-Sul, but usually al-Bab) 
and of a series of "gates'* (i.e. fortified passes), is traditionally connected with the names 
of the Sasanian kings Kavat (in Arabic: Qubadh b. Firuz, A.D. 488-531) and his famous 
son Khusrau (Chosroes, Kisra) Anushirvan (A.D. 531-79). A brief account of these works 
will be found on p. 86. Apart from such feats of military engineering, the Sasanians 
strove to reinforce their northern frontier by organising vassal principalities of local tribes 
and by settling in its neighbourhood large numbers of their subjects, chiefly from the 

104 



Caspian provinces. The titles Tabarsaran-shah, Khursan-shah, Vardan-shah, "the Lord of 
the Throne"(sarir), etc., found in Muslim historians (cf. Baladhuri, 207), refer to the first 
class of indigenous vassals, though even in this case some tribal names may have in view 
not the aboriginal inhabitants but the aristocracy of outsiders superimposed upon them. It 
is curious that the grandfather of Mardavij (the founder of the Ziyarid dynasty and a 
native of Gilan) bore the name (title?) of Vardan-shah, which points to the existence of a 
Vardan tribe or family. 

The presence of Iranian settlers in Transcaucasia, and especially in the proximity of the 
passes, must have played an important role in absorbing and pushing back the aboriginal 
inhabitants. Such names as Sharvan, Layzan, Baylaqan, etc., suggest that the Iranian 
immigration proceeded chiefly from Gilan and other regions on the southern coast of the 
Caspian. In fact even in Roman times the presence of Daylamite mercenaries is attested 
as far as Pegamum in Asia Minor, and in the tenth century A.D. Daylam (i.e. the hilly 
part of Gilan, lacking fertility) became the prodigious reservoir of man-power from 
which the greater part of Persia and a considerable part of Mesopotamia, including 
Baghdad, were conquered. 

The most obvious of the Gilanian names in the region interesting us is Layzan, now 
Lahlj, which is definitely connected with the homonymous Lahijan in Gilan, see Hudud 
al'Alam, p. 407.1 Similarly Baylaqan (probably *Bel-akan) is to be linked up with 
Baylaman in Gilan (Bel-man "home of the Bel-s"), see Muqaddasi, 372-3, etc. Sharvan 
itself ("place of the Shar-s", Gurji-van, Kurdi-van in the same neighbourhood) must 
belong to the same series. Ibn Khurdadhbih, 118, and Ibn al-Faqih, 303, refer to a town in 
the district of Ruyan (between Gilan and Tabaristan, see E.I) called al-Shirriz, which may 
have been the metropolis of the contingent transplanted to Sharvan. According to Tabari 
III, 1014, Lariz and Shirriz, which his grandfather conquered, belonged to Daylam. 

c. Christian elements and influences 

Of great importance in the life of the area under our consideration were the Armenians 
who after 190 B.C. incorporated the territory of Siunik'(also called Sisakan) 5 and other 
districts in the highlands near Lake Sevan, and played a conspicuous part in the affairs of 
the region lying between the Kur and the Araxes, and even north of the Kur (in Shakki). 
After A.D. 387 these provinces were lost by the Armenians, but we have seen that the 
conversion of the Albanians to Christianity and the endowing of the Albanians with an 
alphabet were the work of the Armenians. Armenian settlers and cultural elements 
contributed to the further absorption of the Albanian nation. The Albanian and Armenian 
nobility freely intermarried, with the result that there appeared a mixed class of Albano- 
Armenian aristocracy. The later Armenian kingdoms of Ani and Vaspurakan had little 
influence in Eastern Transcaucasial but the petty Armenian rulers of Siunik* and Artsakh 
(south of Barda'a) played a considerable role in the affairs of Albania. 

The other Christian neighbours of Albania, the Georgians, had to a large extent 
succeeded in preserving their statehood, but their attempts at expansion were noticeable 
chiefly along the northerly line Kakhetia-Shakki. This latter territory (Shakki), situated to 

105 



the north of the Kur, had a dynasty of its own, which in the ninth century played some 
role in the affairs of Arran, see below, p. 83. 

The Georgians professed Byzantine Christianity and consequently were opposed to the 
Armeno-Albanian Monophysitism. Attempts to introduce the Greek (Chalcedonian) 
creed in Albania met with opposition. When the wife of Varaz-Trdat (d. in 715), with the 
help of the bishop of Gardaman, took steps in that direction, the Monophysite clergy rose 
against them and even invoked the help of the caliph * Abd al-Malik (d. in 86/705). 2 On 
the other hand, politically the Greek Empire had much to attract the Albanians, hard 
pressed as they were by their non-Christian neighbours. Though at the time of the arrival 
of Emperor Heraclios in 624 the Albanian prince did not join him, for fear of the Persians 
(cf. Moses Kalan., II, ch. 11), local historians on several occasions record - the close 
relations of the Albanians with the Byzantine empire to which they even paid tribute. 

d. Northern invaders 

The question of the ancient invasions into Eastern Transcaucasia from the North cannot 
be adequately treated in this place. We know that the Alans and other Caucasian 
highlanders were an essential part of the forces at the disposal of the Armenian Arshakid 
Sanesan who carved out for himself a kingdom north of the Kur in the neighbourhood of 
the Caspian (in the region later called Masqat) and opposed his brother (or relative) King 
Khosrov II of Armenia (316-25). 

The most important invaders from the northern Caucasus were the Khazars, a people 
probably belonging to a particular group of Turks, and at all events including a 
considerable number of other Turkish tribes. During Heraclius's struggle with Khusrau 
Parviz of Persia the Khazars acted as the allies of the Byzantine emperor, and in 626 
Heraclius met Ziebel (Silzibul?), the nephew of the Khaqan, under the walls of the 
besieged Tiflis. The Byzantines did not expand their dominions in Transcaucasia which 
remained at the mercy of the Khazars till the arrival of the Arabs. Baladhuri, 194, who 
confirms this situation, speaks particularly of Qabala (east of Shakki) as belonging, or 
being occupied, by the Khazars (wa hiya Khazar). Some peaceful Khazars were brought 
to Shamkur in 240/854, see Baladhuri, 203. A party of Khazars was settled by Marwan b. 
Muhammad between the Samur and Shabaran. The devastating Khazar inroads under the 
caliphs Hisham {circa 112/730) and Harun al-Rashid in 183/799, see Tabari, II/3, 1530 
and III, 648, must have also increased the number of Khazars in Transcaucasia. 

[We are far from having exhausted the list of northern invasions in Transcaucasia which 
must have left settlements in various parts of the country. In their rush towards Armenia 
and Asia Minor the Cimmerians may have left traces of their infiltrations. About the 
middle of the seventh century B.C. they were followed by the Scythians (Saka), one of 
whose centres must have been the province EaKaorpty) (Strabo, XI.8.4-5), irregularly 
called in Arranian Shaka-shen (the first sh may have been influenced by the following - 
shen, or by the aberrant Armenian pronunciation (Adonts). The most curious perhaps was 
the arrival in the middle of the seventh century A.D. of a group of Hungarians who 



106 



became settled west of Ganja near Shamkhor (Shamkur), see below p. 164, n. 6.] [Note 
Minorsky is talking about the Sabartians or Armenian Sawardiya]. 

e. The Arabs 

The facts concerning the Muslim occupation of Transcaucasia will be dealt with in the 
commentary on our text and here we can add only a few general remarks. 

Islamic geographers use the term al-Ran (*Arran) somewhat conventionally. A detailed 
definition of its territory is found in Muqaddasi, 374, who describes it as an 
"island"between the Caspian Sea and the rivers Araxes and Kur, but among its towns 
mentions both Tiflis and al-Bab, as well as the towns of Sharvan. Ibn-Hauqal, 251, uses 
the term "the two Arrans"apparently for the northern and the southern banks of the Kur. 
In practice, during the period which specially interests us (circa A.D. 950-1050), three 
main territories were clearly distinguished: Arran to the south of the Kur, Sharvan to the 
north of this river, and al-Bab, i.e. the town of Darband and its dependencies. On the 
lesser and intermediate areas see below PP. 77. 83. 

Partav (of which Arabic Bardhaca, later Barda'a and Barda* is only a popular etymology, 
"a pack-saddle of an ass") was occupied in the days of Othman by capitulation. Although 
the local princes retained their lands, Bardafa, the capital of Arran, became the spearhead 
and the centre of the Arab administration. Arab geographers praise its site, its extensive 
gardens and its abundance of various fruits. 

Among the titles which the Sasanian Ardashir conferred on local rulers Ibn Khurdadhbih, 
17, quotes Shiriyan-shah or Shiran-shah, which is probably a magnified honorific of the 
Sharvan-shah. The ruler bearing this title submitted to Salman b. Rabi'a in the caliphate 
of Othman, Baladhuri, 209. The building of the important centre Shamakhiya (Shamakhi) 
is attributed by the same author to al-Shamakh b. Shuja* (see above p. 13). 

The earliest Muslim reference to a native of al-Bab is found under the year 15/636: a 
certain dihqan of al-Bab called Shahriyar, whose corpulence ("like a camel") struck the 
imagination of the Arabs, commanded a detachment of the Sasanian army and was killed 
in single combat with an Arab at Kutha, near al-Mada'in, see Tabari I, 2421-2. When the 
Arabs reached al-Bab (in the year. 22/643) its governor on behalf of Yazdajird III was 
Shahr-Baraz - a relative of his famous namesake who conquered Jerusalem in 614 and for 
a few months ascended the throne of the Chosroes. This governor submitted to Suraqa b. 
'Amr. 

After the conquest, al-Bab became the base of Arab operations against their great north- 
eastern enemy, the Khazars, who thwarted their plans of expansion into Eastern Europe.2 
Many famous Umayyad generals, such as Maslama b. Abd al-Malik and the future caliph 
Marwan b. Muhammad, won their laurels on the Khazar front, and a considerable number 
of Arab warriors and settlers were introduced into Eastern Transcaucasia and especially 
into Darband, just as Khazar prisoners and settlers appeared in Transcaucasia (see above 
p. 17). 

107 



With the advent of the Abbasids, the grip of the caliphs on the Caucasian frontier 
gradually weakened and our source dates the decay from the time of al-Mutawakkil (232- 
47/847-61). In 238/852 the expedition of Bugha al-Kabir sent by the caliph liquidated the 
amir of Tiflis, Ishaq b. Isma'il (of Umayyad parentage), who entertained close relations 
with his non-Muslim neighbours and whose wife was a daughter of the ruler of al-Sarir.2 
After Ishaq' s death, Bugha attacked Ishaq' s allies (the Sanar mountaineers) who inflicted 
a heavy defeat upon him. However, in the following years (852-5) Bugha dealt severely 
with the Armenian and Albanian princes, many of whom, with their families, were 
deported to Mesopotamia. Though, on the whole, his campaigns were tactically 
successful, the local life was thoroughly disorganised, and when the caliph's attention 
was absorbed by the war with the Byzantines, the central government's hold on 
Transcaucasia loosened. The foundation (or restoration) of Ganja by the Yazidid 
Muhammad, in 245/859, was the first symptom of the self-determination of a local 
governor. A parallel development in al-Bab was the advent to power of the Hashimids in 
255/869. Under the Sajids, and especially under Yusuf ibn Abil-Saj (288-315/901-28), an 
attempt was made to resume the tradition of energetic policy in Armenia and 
Transcaucasia, but with Yusuf s death the Yazidids and the Hashimids restored their de 
facto independence. 

In the beginning of the tenth century the great movement of Iranian tribes (Daylamites 
and Kurds) withdrew from the caliph's control the whole of the western half of Iran. The 
Daylamite Musafirids who seized Azarbayjan successfully extended their rule into 
Transcaucasia up to al-Bab but only for a short time. In 360/970 the Kurdish Shaddadids 
ousted the Musafirids from Arran, and thus Eastern Transcaucasia became divided into 
three autonomous Muslim principalities: 

The Arab Hashimids (of the Sulaym tribe) of al-Bab, who became strongly mixed with 
local Daghestanian influences and interests; 

The Arab Yazidids (of the Shayban tribe) of Sharvan, who gradually became integrated 
in the local Iranian tradition; 

The Kurdish Shaddadids of Arran. 

For this period of local awakening, which forms a kind of interlude between the Arab 
dominion and the Turkish conquest, our History of al-Bab is a source of outstanding 
importance. 

The three dynasties of Shaddadids, Rawwadids and Shirwanshahs deserve a closer 
examination. All three dynasties where either Iranian or Iranicized and controlled the 
areas of Azerbaijan, Ganja in Arran and Shirwan before the Seljuq incursion and 
subsequent gradual Turkification of the region. The Shirwanshah maintained control of 
Shirwan even after the Seljuq invasion. Sometimes, they were vassal kingdoms and other 
times they ruled virtually as independent ruler. The duration of this dynasty was the 
longest or one of the longest in the Islamic World. Also assuming Nizami Ganjavi's 



108 



ancestors were from the region of Ganja, then his ancestry through his great grandfather 
Mu'ayyad goes back to this pre-Seljuqid era. 

The Rawwadids who patronized Persian poets such as Qatran Tabrizi were in the 10 th 
century accounted as Kurdish. But in reality, according to many experts (Minorsky, 
Bosworth), the family was probably of Arabic origin, from the Yemeni tribe of Yazd, but 
became Iranicized with such Kurdish names "Mamlan" and "Ahmadil" being 
characteristic Kurdish versions of the familiar Arabic names "Muhammad" and 
"Ahmad". The Rawwadids rulers between a period of early fourth century to 
approximately 951-1071 A.D. when the Seljuqs gained control of Azerbaijan. Their 
center was Tabriz and a good deal of information about them is actually derived from the 
Diwan of the Persian poet Qatran Tabrizi. Prior to their submission in 1054 to Seljuq 
rule, and the subsequent Seljuq control of Azerbaijan in 1071, an important Oghuz 
Turkmen incursion from the Ghaznavid realm occurred around 1020-1030. The details of 
this incursion are given in Ibn Athir, the Diwan of Qatran Tabrizi and Ahmad Kasravi's 
"Shahryaran Gomnam ". Later in this article,, we shall look at how Qatran Tabrizi 
viewed this event. But Wahsudan b. Mamlan with the help of Kurdish neighbors and 
allies was successful in coping with this incursion and were able to get rid of the chiefs of 
the Ghuzz tribes and driving off the invaders from Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. So in 
short the Rawwadids lost control of Azerbaijan until Alp Arsalan returned from his 
Anatolian campaigns and deposed Mamlan II. B. Wahsudan. But one later member of the 
family is known as Ahmadil of Maragha, and his name was perpetuated in the twelfth by 
a line of his Turkish Ghulams (servants), called after him the Ahmadilis (historians have 
called this dynasty the Atabekan-e-Maragha (feudal-lords of Maragha)). 

The Shaddadids were another Kurdish dynasty who ruled Arran and eastern Armenia. In 
particular, they ruled Ganja up to the year 1075 A.D. when the Seljuq commander 
Sawtigin took control of the area. Qatran Tabrizi was also a court poet of the Shaddadids 
and in particular has praised the ruler Ali Lashkari among others. The Shaddadids 
submitted to the Seljuq Toghril Beg when he first appeared in the Transcaucasia region, 
but in 1075 A.D., Alp Arsalan' s general Sawtigin invaded Arran and forced Fadlun to 
yield his ancestral territory (including Ganja). Ganja was the main capital of Shaddadids 
and the Kurdish ancestry of Nizami Ganjavi might possibly be due to the Kurdish 
settlements in and around Ganja. A line of Shaddadis did survive in Ani, capital of the 
Armenian Bagratids and ruled from 1072 to 1174. 

The Shirwanshahs were a dynasty of mixed Arab and Iranian origin that were thoroughly 
Persian in culture and language at the time of Nizami Ganjavi. They claimed Sassanid 
descendant and are also called Kisranids (meaning related to Kisra=Sassanids). 
According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, the title of Shirwanshah might well go back to 
Sassanid times. The father line of these Shahs goes all the way back to Yazid b. Mazyad 
al-Shayabani, governor of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Arran, Sharwan and Darband under the 
Abbasids. Well before the 10 th century, these Shahs were profoundly Iranicized and in 
fact claimed descent from Bahram Gur. They are praised for their Sassanid ancestry by 
Nizami Ganjavi and Khaqani Shirwani. Nizami Ganjavi devoted his Layli o Majnoon to 
the Shirwanshah Akhsitan the son of Manuchehr (whose name according to Minorsky 

109 



could possibly be Ossetic). The Shirwanshahs not only survived the Seljuq invasion, but 
they also survived the subsequent Khwarazmian, Mongol, and Turkmen invasions and 
their rule ended around 1607 A.D. during the Safavid era. They are well known for their 
patronization of Persian culture and language. The introduction of Layli o Majnoon was 
misinterpreted during the USSR era in order to claim Turkic descent for Nizami Ganjavi. 
We shall address this issue in a later section. As will be touched upon later, Nizami 
Ganjavi entrusted his son to the son of Akhsitan. 

Overall, the Iranian nomadic incursions (Scythians, Cimmerians...) and the subsequent 
Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians, Sassanids and the subsequent Musafarids, Shaddadid 
and Shirwanshahs brought strong Iranicization to the region of Arran(and Shirwan) and 
many Iranian toponyms for the major cities of the region, as well as fire temples, also 
attest to this fact. 

Also many local Iranian dynasties like the Mihranid and various Armenian dynasties 
were of Iranian(Parthian/Middle Persian speaking) origin. The name Ganja, which could 
date back to the Sassanid era (See "Ganja" in Encyclopedia Iranica by C.E. Bosworth) 
and other Iranian names (Darband, Piruzpat, Sharwan...) are testament to these 
settlements. A testament to the Sassanid influence is given by the fact that Nizami 
Ganjavi chose the two most important work of his (Haft Paykar and Khusraw o Shirin) 
based on his own free will. Besides Nizami Ganjavi, Khaqani Shirwani and Qatran 
Tabrizi, as well many other poets from the region have praised the Sassanid dynasty, 
which shows its lasting influence on the region's culture, despite its demise 500 year 
prior to Khaqani and Nezami. We shall mention this briefly when we discuss Qatran 
Tabrizi. 

Seljuq id Empire and subsequent local Atabak dynasties 

The rise of the Seljuq Empire had a significant social and political effect in the Islamic 
world and beyond. We will briefly touch upon the most salient aspects of this empire. For 
more detailed information, the reader is referred to Encyclopedia of Islam (Saldjukids) 
and Cambridge history of Iran. 

According to Professor Ehsan Yarshater ( "Iran " in Encyclopedia Iranica): 

A Turkic nomadic people called Oghuz (Ghozz in Arabic and Persian sources) began to 
penetrate into the regions south of Oxus during the early Ghaznavid period. Their 
settlement in Khorasan led to confrontation with the Ghaznavid Masud, who could not 
stop their advance. They were led by the brothers Togrel, Caghri, and Yinal, the 
grandsons of Saljuq, whose clan had assumed the leadership of the incomers. 

Togrel, an able general, who proclaimed himself Sultan in 1038, began a systematic 
conquest of the various provinces of Persia and Transoxiana, wrenching Chorasmia from 
its Ghaznavid governor and securing the submission of the Ziyrids in Gorgan. The 
Saljuqids, who had championed the cause of Sunnite Islam, thereby ingratiating 
themselves with the orthodox Muslims, were able to defeat the Deylamite Kakuyids, 

110 



capturing Ray, Qazvin, and Hamadan, and bringing down the Kurdish rulers of the Jebal 
and advancing as far west as Holwan and Kanaqayn. A series of back and forth battles 
with the Buyids and rulers of Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia ensued; and, although 
the Saljuqids occasionally suffered reverses, in the end their ambition, tenacity, and 
ruthlessness secured for them all of Persia and Caucasus. By the time Togrel 
triumphantly entered Baghdad on 18 December 1055, he was the master of nearly all of 
the lands of Sasanian Iran. He had his title of Sultan confirmed by the caliph, and he now 
became the caliph's protector, freeing the caliphate from the bond of Shiite Buyids. 

After nearly 200 years since the rise of the Saffarids in 861, this was the first time that all 
of Persia and its dependencies came under a single and powerful rule which did not 
dissipate and disband after a single generation. Togrel (1040-63) was followed by his 
nephew Alp Arslan (q.v.; 1063-73). He was a warrior king. In his lifetime the realm of 
the Saljuqids was extended from the Jaxartes in the east to the shores of the Black Sea in 
the west. He captured Kottalan in the upper Oxus valley, conquered Abkhazia, and made 
Georgia a tributary, and he secured Tokharestan and Caghanian in the east. In 1069 he 
crowned his triumphs with his defeat of the eastern Roman emperor, Romanos Diogenes, 
by sheer bravery and skillful planning; after extracting a huge tribute of 1,500,000 dinars 
he signed a peace treaty with the emperor for 50 years. This victory ended the influence 
of Byzantine emperors in Armenia and the rest of Caucasus and Azerbaijan, and spread 
the fame of the Saljuqid king in the Muslim world. 

Alp Arslan was succeeded by his son Maleksah (1073-92). Both were capable rulers who 
were served by the illustrious vizier Nezam-al-molk (d. 1092). Their rule brought peace 
and prosperity to a country torn for more than two centuries by the ravages of military 
claimants of different stripes. Military commands remained in the hands of the Turkish 
generals, while administration was carried out by Persians, a pattern that continued for 
many centuries. Under Maleksah the Saljuqid power was honored, through a number of 
successful campaigns, as far north as Kashgar and Khotan in eastern Central Asia, and as 
far west as Syria, Anatolia, and even the Yemen, with the caliph in Baghdad subservient 
to the wishes of the great Saljuqid sultans. 

The ascent of the Saljuqids also put an end to a period which Minorsky has called "the 
Persian intermezzo"(see Minorsky, 1932, p. 21), when Iranian dynasties, consisting 
mainly of the Saffarids, the Samanids, the Ziyarids, the Buyids, the Kakuyids, and the 
Bavandids of Tabarestan and Gilan, ruled most of Iran. By all accounts, weary of the 
miseries and devastations of never-ending conflicts and wars, Persians seemed to have 
sighed with relief and to have welcomed the stability of the Saljuqid rule, all the more so 
since the Saljuqids mitigated the effect of their foreignness, quickly adopting the Persian 
culture and court customs and procedures and leaving the civil administration in the hand 
of Persian personnel, headed by such capable and learned viziers as 4 Amid-al-Molk 
Kondori and Nezam-al-Molk. 

After Maleksah' s death, however, internal strife began to set in, and the Turkish tribal 
chiefs'tendencies to claim a share of the power, and the practice of the Saljuqid sultans to 
appoint the tutors (atabaks) of their children as provincial governors, who often became 

111 



enamored of their power and independence, tended to create multiple power centers. 
Several Saljuqid lines gradually developed, including the Saljuqids of Kerman (1048- 
1188) and the Saljuqids of Rum in Anatolia (1081-1307); the latter survived the great 
Saljuqs by more than a century and were instrumental in spreading the Persian culture 
and language in Anatolia prior to the Ottoman conquest of the region. 

The establishment of the Turkish Seljuq Empire in Persia and Iraq reversed the political 
march of Shi 'ism and the removal of the Buyyid dynasty reinvigorated the Sunnite 
World. The Seljuqs were Sunnis of Hanafi rite who replaced the existing powers in Persia 
including the Ghaznawids and Shi'i Daylamite dynasties of northern and western Persia. 
C.E. Bosworth brings an interesting praise of the Seljuqs by their Persian historian, 
Rawandi: 

"Saljuqs achieved some prestige in the eyes of the Orthodox by overthrowing Shi'i Buyid 
rule in Western Iran. Sunni writers even came to give an ideological justification for the 
Turks 'political and military domination of the Middle East. The Iranian historian of the 
Saljuqs, Rawandi, dedicated his Rahat al-Sudur to one of the Saljuq Sultans of Rum, 
Ghiyath al-Din Kay Khusraw, and speaks of a hatif, a hidden, supernatural voice, which 
spoke from the Ka'ba in Mecca to the Imam Abu Hanifa and promised him that as long 
as the sword remained in the hands of the Turks, his faith (that of the Hanafi law school, 
which was followed par excellence by Turks) would not perish. Rawandi himself adds 
the pious doxology, "Praise be to God, He is exalted, that the defenders of Islam are 
mighty and that the followers of the Hanafi rite are happy and In the lands of the Arabs, 
Persians, Byzantines and Russians, the sword is in the hand of the Turks, and fear of their 
sword is firmly implanted in all hearts!" 
(C.E. Bosworth, "The rise of Saljuqs", Cambridge History of Iran). 

Indeed religious loyalties were for the most part much stronger than ethnic affinities 
during these centuries and the Seljuqs were welcomed by many Iranian Sunnis. 

According to the Encyclopedia of Islam: 

"The Seljuqs were soon able to overrun Khorasan and then to sweep into the remainder 
of Persia. We need not assume that the actual numbers of the Turkmens were very large; 
for the ways of life possible in the steppes meant that there were natural and 
environmental limitations on the numbers of the nomads. Yuri Bregel has implied, 
working from the 16,000 Oghuz mentioned by the Ghaznawid historian Bayhaki as 
present on the battle field of Dandankan (Tarikh-i Masudi , ed. Ghani and Fayyad, 
Tehran 1324/1945, 619), that we should probably assume, in this instance, a ratio of one 
fighting man to four other members of the family, yielding some 64,000 Turkmens 
moving into Khorasan at this time (Turko-Mongol influences in Central Asia, in R.L. 
Canfield (ed.), Turko-Persia in historical perspective, Cambridge 1991, 58 and n. 10). 

The sultans never conceived of themselves as despotic rulers over a monolithic empire, 
rulers in the Perso-Islamic tradition of the power state as it had developed, for instance, 
under the early Ghaznawids [q.v.]. They had risen to power as the successful military 
leaders of bands of their fellow-Oghuz tribesmen, and at the outset depended solely on 
these tribal elements. The position of the Saldjuk sultans was thus fundamentally 



112 



different from their predecessors in the East, both from the Samanids, with their 
aristocratic Iranian background but a military dependence on professional, largely slave 
Turkish, troops, and from the Ghaznawids, themselves of slave origin and dependent on a 
purely professional, salaried standing army; likewise, their opponents in the West, the 
Buyids and Fatimids, had come to depend upon professional, multi-ethnic armies. The 
sultans did not prove to be wholly exempt from the pressures arising out of the ethos of 
power in the Middle East at this time; they endeavoured to increase their own authority 
and to some extent to marginalise the Turkmen tribal elements, yet these last remained 
strong within the empire, and on occasions, powerful enough to aspire, through their 
favoured candidates for the supreme office of sultan, to a controlling influence in the 
state. 

The threat of economic dislocation to the agricultural prosperity of Persia was alleviated 
by the deflection of the Turkmens and their herds westwards, against the Christian 
princes of the Caucasus and Anatolia and against the Fatimites and their allies in Syria, 
and Alp Arsalan attached such importance to these projects that he fought in Georgia and 
Armenia personally. 



Whilst many of the Turkmen elements percolating into northern Persia all through the 
Seljuq period passed on towards Anatolia, others became part of the increasing nomadic 
and transhumant population of Persia and central Arab lands, and this process became 
accelerated in the time of succeeding invaders, the Khwarizmshahs and Mongols, through 
the movement of the Turco-Mongol people. 
("Saljuqids"in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2007). 

According to the Encyclopedia of Islam: 

"Culturally, the constituting of the Seljuq Empire marked a further step in the 
dethronement of Arabic from being the sole lingua franca of educated and polite society 
in the Middle East. Coming as they did through a Transoxania which was still 
substantially Iranian and into Persia proper, the Seljuqs with no high-level Turkish 
cultural or literary heritage of their own - took over that of Persia, so that the Persian 
language became the administration and culture in their land of Persia and Anatolia. The 
Persian culture of the Rum Seljuqs was particularly splendid, and it was only gradually 
that Turkish emerged there as a parallel language in the field of government and adab; the 
Persian imprint in Ottoman civilization was to remain strong until the 19 th century." 
("Saljuqids"in the Encyclopedia of Islam). 



Rene Grousset states: "It is to be noted that the Seljuks, those Turkomans who became 
sultans of Persia, did not Turkify Persia-no doubt because they did not wish to do so. On 
the contrary, it was they who voluntarily became Persians and who, in the manner of the 
great old Sassanid kings, strove to protect the Iranian populations from the plundering of 
Ghuzz bands and save Iranian culture from the Turkoman menace" 
(Grousset, Rene, The Empire of the Steppes, (Rutgers University Press, 1991), 161,164) 



113 



It is noteworthy that the Persian culture of the Seljuqid era was not that of the culture of 
their Turcoman troops but rather the culture of native population of the lands they 
conquered as well as the high culture of the court. The Seljuqs relied upon Iranian Viziers 
including the famous Nizam al-Mulk to run the everyday affairs. They also lacked a high 
culture of their own and in reality had no alternative except to adopt Persian culture as 
part of their own culture. The Seljuq were also major patrons of Persian culture. Many of 
their ministers and viziers were Persian. The most famous of these viziers was Nizam al- 
Mulk, whose influence was so pervasive that a later historian like Ibn al-Athir calls his 
thirty years of office as the government of Nizamiyya. 

Mehmad Fuad Koprulu also speaks about the pre-Islamic and post-Islamic Iranian 
influence on Turks and the Seljuqs of Rum: 

"On Pre-Islamic influence, one must mention Soghdians who influenced Eastern Turks 
greatly. Because of their geographical location, the Turks were in continuous contact with 
China and Iran from very ancient times. The early Chinese chronicles, which are reliable 
and comprehensive, show the relationship of the Turks with China fairly clearly. The 
early relationship of the Turks with Iran, however, only enters the light of history - 
leaving aside the legends in the Shahname — at the time of the last Sasanid rulers. After 
the Turks had lived under the influence of these two civilizations for centuries, Iran, 
which had accepted Islam, gradually brought them into its sphere of influence. Even 
during the development of the Uighur civilization, which was the {Turkish civilization} 
most strongly influenced by China, the attraction of the Turks to Iranian civilization, 
which had proven its worth in art, language, and thought, was virtually unavoidable, 
especially after it was invigorated with a new religion. 

Even before it drew the Turks into its sphere of influence, Iranian civilization had had, in 
fact, a major effect on Islam. With respect to the concept of government and the 
organization of the state, the Abbasids were attached not to the traditions of the Khulafa 
al-Rashidun {the first four caliphs} but to the mentality of the Sasanid rulers. After 
Khurasan and Transoxiana passed into the hands of native Iranian — and subsequently 
highly Iranized Turkish — dynasties with only nominal allegiance to the Abbasids, the 
former Iranian spirit, which the Islamic onslaught was not able to destroy despite its 
ruthlessness, again revealed itself. In the fourth/tenth century, Persian language and 
literature began to grow and develop in an Islamic form. This Perso-Islamic literature was 
influenced, to a large extent, by the literature of the conquerors. Not only were a great 
many words brought into the language via the new religion, but new verse forms, a new 
metrical system, and new stylistic norms were also adopted in great measure from the 
Arabs. 

Indeed, almost nothing remained of the old Iranian syllabic metrical system, the old verse 
forms, or the old ideas about literature. Still, the Iranians, as heirs of an ancient 
civilization, were able to express their own personality in their literature despite this 
enormous Arab influence. They adopted from the 4 arud meters only those that suited their 
taste. They created or, perhaps, revived the ruba'i form {of verse}. They also introduced 
novelties in the qasida form {of verse}, which can be considered an old and well known 
product of Arabic literature, and in the ghazal {lyric "love song"}. Above all, by 



114 



reanimating {their own} ancient mythology, they launched an "epic cycle"that was 
completely foreign to Arabic literature. 

These developments were on such a scale that the fifth/eleventh century witnessed the 
formation of a new Persian literature in all its glory. 



The Turks adopted a great many elements of Islam not directly from the Arabs, but via 
the Iranians. Islamic civilization came to the Turks by way of Transoxiana from 
Khurasan, the cultural center of Iran. Indeed, some of the great cities of Transoxiana were 
spiritually far more Iranian than Turkish. Also, the Iranians were no strangers to the 
Turks, for they had known each other well before the appearance of Islam. 

For all these reasons, it was the Iranians who guided the Turks into the sphere of Islamic 
civilization. This fact, naturally, was to have a profound influence on the development of 
Turkish literature over the centuries. Thus, we can assert that by the fifth/eleventh 
century at least, Turko-Islamic works had begun to be written in Turkistan and that they 
were subject to Perso-Islamic influence. If Iranian influence had made an impact so 
quickly and vigorously in an eastern region like Kashghar, which was a center of the old 
Uighur civilization and had been under continuous and strong Chinese influence, then 
naturally this influence must have been felt on a much wider scale in regions further to 
the west and closer to the cities of Khurasan. 

But unfortunately, ruinous invasions, wars, and a thousand other things over the centuries 
have destroyed the products of those early periods and virtually nothing remains in our 
possession. Let me state clearly here, however, that such Turkish works that imitated 
Persian forms and were written under the influence of Persian literature in Muslim 
centers were not widespread among the masses. They were only circulated among the 
learned who received a Muslim education in the madrasas {these colleges of Islamic law 
began to spread in the fifth/eleventh century}. 



{As they emigrated to the west,} the Oghuz Turks who settled in Anatolia came into 
contact with Arab and Muslim Persian civilization and then, in the new region to which 
they had come, encountered remnants of ancient and non-Muslim civilizations. In the 
large and old cities of Anatolia, which were gradually Turkified, the Turks not only 
encountered earlier Byzantine and Armenian works of art and architecture, but also, as a 
result of living side by side with Christians, naturally participated in a cultural exchange 
with them. The nomadic Turks {i.e. Turkmen}, who maintained a tribal existence and 
clung to the way of life they had led for centuries, remained impervious to all such 
influences. Those who settled in the large cities, however, unavoidably fell under these 
alien influences. 

At the same time, among the city people, those whose lives and livelihoods were refined 
and elevated usually had extensive madrasa educations and harbored a profound and 
genuine infatuation with Arab and Persian learning and literature. Thus, they cultivated a 
somewhat contemptuous indifference to this Christian civilization, which they regarded 
as materially and morally inferior to Islamic civilization. As a result, the influence of this 
non-Muslim civilization on the Turks was chiefly visible, and then only partially, in those 

115 



arts, such as architecture, in which the external and material elements are more obvious. 
The main result of this influence was that life in general assumed a more worldly quality. 

If we wish to sketch, in broad outline, the civilization created by the Seljuks of Anatolia, 
we must recognize that the local, i.e. non-Muslim, element was fairly insignificant 
compared to the Turkish and Arab-Persian elements, and that the Persian element was 
paramount/The Seljuk rulers, to be sure, who were in contact with not only Muslim 
Persian civilization, but also with the Arab civilizations in al-Jazira and Syria - indeed, 
with all Muslim peoples as far as India — also had connections with {various} Byzantine 
courts. Some of these rulers, like the great 'Ala' al-Din Kai-Qubad I himself, who married 
Byzantine princesses and thus strengthened relations with their neighbors to the west, 
lived for many years in Byzantium and became very familiar with the customs and 
ceremonial at the Byzantine court. Still, this close contact with the ancient Greco-Roman 
and Christian traditions only resulted in their adoption of a policy of tolerance toward art, 
aesthetic life, painting, music, independent thought - in short, toward those things that 
were frowned upon by the narrow and piously ascetic views {of their subjects} . The 
contact of the common people with the Greeks and Armenians had basically the same 
result. 

{Before coming to Anatolia,} the Turks had been in contact with many nations and had 
long shown their ability to synthesize the artistic elements that they had adopted from 
these nations. When they settled in Anatolia, they encountered peoples with whom they 
had not yet been in contact and immediately established relations with them as well. Ala 
al-Din Kai-Qubad I established ties with the Genoese and, especially, the Venetians at the 
ports of Sinop and Antalya, which belonged to him, and granted them commercial and 
legal concessions. "Meanwhile, the Mongol invasion, which caused a great number of 
scholars and artisans to flee from Turkistan, Iran, and Khwarazm and settle within the 
Empire of the Seljuks of Anatolia, resulted in a reinforcing of Persian influence on the 
Anatolian Turks. Indeed, despite all claims to the contrary, there is no question that 
Persian influence was paramount among the Seljuks of Anatolia. This is clearly revealed 
by the fact that the sultans who ascended the throne after Ghiyath al-Din Kai-Khusraw I 
assumed titles taken from ancient Persian mythology, like Kai-Khusraw, Kai-Ka us, and 
Kai-Qubad; and that. Ala' al-Din Kai-Qubad I had some passages from the Shahname 
inscribed on the walls of Konya and Sivas. When we take into consideration domestic life 
in the Konya courts and the sincerity of the favor and attachment of the rulers to Persian 
poets and Persian literature, then this fact {i.e. the importance of Persian influence} is 
undeniable. With regard to the private lives of the rulers, their amusements, and palace 
ceremonial, the most definite influence was also that of Iran, mixed with the early 
Turkish traditions, and not that of Byzantium. (Mehmed Fuad Koprulu , Early Mystics in 
Turkish Literature, Translated by Gary Leiser and Robert Dankoff , Routledge, 2006, pg 
149) 



According to Hodgson: 

"The rise of Persian (the language) had more than purely literary consequence: it served 
to carry a new overall cultural orientation within Islamdom. Henceforth while Arabic 

116 



held its own as the primary language of the religious disciplines and even, largely, of 
natural science and philosophy, Persian became, in an increasingly part of Islamdom, the 
language of polite culture; it even invaded the realm of scholarship with increasing 
effects. It was to form the chief model of the rise of still other languages. Gradually a 
third "classical' 'tongue emerged, Turkish, whose literature was based on Persian 
tradition." 

(Marshall G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, Volume 2: The Expansion of Islam in 
the Middle Periods (Venture of Islam, Chicago, 1974) page 293.) 

E. J. W. Gibb, author of the standard A Literary History of Ottoman Poetry in six 
volumes, whose name has lived on in an important series of publications of Arabic, 
Persian, and Turkish texts, the Gibb Memorial Series. Gibb classifies Ottoman poetry 
between the Old School, from the fourteenth century to about the middle of the 
nineteenth, during which time Persian influence was dominant; and the Modern School, 
which came into being as a result of the Western impact. According to him in the 
introduction (Volume I): 

The Turks very early appropriated the entire Persian literary system down to its minute 
detail, and that in the same unquestioning and wholehearted fashion in which they had 
already accepted Islam. 

The Seljuqs had, in the words of the same author: 

Attained a very considerable degree of culture, thanks entirely to Persian tutorage. About 
the middle of the eleventh century they [that is, the Saljuqs] had overrun Persia, when, as 
so often happened, the Barbarian conquerors adopted the culture of their civilized 
subjects. Rapidly the Seljuq Turks pushed their conquest westward, ever carrying with 
them Persian culture ... 

So, when some hundred and fifty years later Sulayman's son [the leader of the Ottomans] 
. . . penetrated into Asia Minor, they [the Ottomans] found that although Seljuq Turkish 
was the everyday speech of the people, Persian was the language of the court, while 
Persian literature and Persian culture reigned supreme. It is to the Seljuqs, with whom 
they were thus fused, that the Ottomans, strictly so called, owe their literary education; 
this therefore was of necessity Persian as the Seljuqs knew no other. 

The Turks were not content with learning from the Persians how to express thought; they 
went to them to learn what to think and in what way to think. In practical matters, in the 
affairs of everyday life and in the business of government, they preferred their own ideas; 
but in the sphere of science and literature they went to school with the Persian, intent not 
merely on acquiring his method, but on entering into his spirit, thinking his thought and 
feeling his feelings. And in this school they continued so long as there was a master to 
teach them; for the step thus taken at the outset developed into a practice; it became the 
rule with the Turkish poets to look ever Persia-ward for guidance and to follow whatever 
fashion might prevail there. Thus it comes about that for centuries Ottoman poetry 
continued to reflect as in a glass the several phases through which that of Persia passed.... 



117 



So the first Ottoman poets, and their successors through many a generation, strove with 
all their strength to write what is little else than Persian poetry in Turkish words. But such 
was not consciously their aim; of national feeling in poetry they dreamed not; poetry was 
to them one and indivisible, the language in which it was written merely an unimportant 
accident." 

C.E. Bosworth mentions: 

While the Arabic language retained its primacy in such spheres as law, theology and 
science, the culture of the Seljuk court and secular literature within the sultanate became 
largely Persianized; this is seen in the early adoption of Persian epic names by the Seljuq 
Rulers (Qubad, Kay Khusraw and so on) and in the use of Persian as a literary language 
(Turkish must have been essentially a vehicle for every days speech at this time). The 
process of Persianization accelerated in the thirteenth century with the presence in Konya 
of two of the most distinguished refugees fleeing before the Mongols, Baha al-din Walad 
and his son Mawlana Jalal al-din Rumi, whose Mathnawi, composed in Konya, 
constitutes one of the crowning glories of classical Persian literature. 
("Turkish expansion towards the west", in UNESCO History Of Humanity, Volume IV: 
From the Seventh to the Sixteenth Century, UNESCO Publishing / Routledge, 2000.). 



The overall political and cultural climate of the Seljuqs is succinctly summarized. 
"The entry of the Seljuqs and their nomadic followers began a long process of profound 
social, economic and ethnic changes to the 'northern tier' of the Middle East, namely the 
zone of lands extending from Afghanistan in the east through Persia and Kurdistan to 
Anatolia in the west; these changes included certain increase in pastoralisation and a 
definitely increased degree of Turkicisation. Within the Seljuq lands there remained 
significant number of Turkish nomads, largely unassimilated t settle life and resentful of 
central control, and especially, of taxation. The problem of integrating such elements into 
the fabric of state was never solved by the Seljuq sultans; where Sanjar's reign ended 
disastrously in an uprising of Oghuz tribesmen whose interest had, they felt, been 
neglected by the central administration, the Oghuz captured the Sultan, and, on his death 
soon afterwards, Khorasan slipped definitely from Seljuq control. The last Seljuq sultan 
in the west, Toghril III, struggled to free himself from control by the Eldiguzid Atabegs, 
but unwisely provoked a war with the powerful and ambitious Khwarazm Shah Tekish 
and was killed in 1 194. Only in central Anatolia did a Seljuq line, that of the sultans of 
rum with the capital at Konya, survive for a further century or so." 
(C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties). 

Thus the Seljuqs were one of the reasons of the gradual Turkification that was brought 
upon in the region. Although the Seljuq elites and Sultan had Persian culture, the 
Turkomen nomads who were the backbone of their army was not Persianized at that time. 

The number of these nomads as shown by the Encyclopedia of Islam was not large and 
many of the Turkmen followers found new pasture land through the conquest of the 
former Christian lands of Armenia, Georgia and Anatolia. Much larger number of 
nomads appeared during the Mongol era. 

118 



Thus the actual number of nomadic Turks that came to the region with the Seljuqs were 
small and this is clearly seen in the book of Nozhat al-Majales were the everyday Muslim 
urban culture was Persian/Iranian and there is absolutely no hint of any Turkish culture in 
the region. The Turkish dynasties themselves like Seljuqs, Eldiguzids, Ahmadilis 
became Persianized and we do not see trace of any Turkish culture from their courts as 
well. However, after the Khwarzmian empire and the Mongol conquest (the majority of 
whose elements were Turkic and also their movement pushed opposing Turkic tribes 
westwards), larger number of Turkic elements were also pushed from Central Asia 
towards Anatolia, Persia and the Caucasus. When it comes to the plans, there could have 
been a significant Turkic element by the end of the Seljuqid era, however these had to 
compete with the already established Iranian tribal elements. 

Still the major urban centers were not affected since the cultural of the Turkmen nomads 
was not compatible with the urban culture whose major elements were Iranian in Persia 
and cities like Ganja, Darband and Tabriz. Thus we see for example during the Ilkhanid 
era, Tabriz which was a major city had its own Iranian language as recorded in the 
Safmaye Tabrizi and it is called "Zaban-e-Tabrizi". The cultural language was also 
Persian which was related to the Tabrizi dialect. In Maragha, we saw that Hamdullah 
Mustawafi clearly shows that the language was Fahlavi. In the Caucasus, the Nozhat al- 
Majales which is from 1250 or so again shows that Iranic culture was prevalent. 

The migratory Turkmen tribes should not be confused with more advanced urban Turkic 
cultures like those of Kashghar or Uighyurs who were influenced by Soghdians. We 
already brought the example of Tabriz, where historical sources use the term "Zaban-e- 
Tabrizi" for the Persian dialect that was predominant there, even during the Ilkhanid era. 
Also according to Diakonov (1994) as mentioned: 

"There were slight problems with Nizami -first of all he was notAzeri but Persian 
(Iranian) poet, and though he lived in presently Azerbaijani city of Ganja, which, like 
many cities in the region, had Iranian population in Middle Ages". 

Thus Nizami 's urban background in this author's opinion clearly again establishes a non- 
Turkic father line. For example Nizami Ganjavi explicitly mentions the nomadic lifestyle 
of Turks: 

gL-^jO g^ LSg-JuU QJLjJjS 0\5jJ 9^> 
(jI^juU^H UJJ^jo) 

Additionally we note there is no tribal designation (Seljuq, Bayat, Oghuz, Bayandur...) in 
the names of his forefathers. While Persian culture was not the culture of the nomadic 
Turkmen supporters of the Seljuqs, but it was the main culture of the courts, viziers, 
sedentary towns of the empire. Linguistically this makes sense, since the major ethnic 

119 



component of Greater Persia including Central Asia and the Caucasia (Nezami 
addressing his different patrons as Kings of Persia) were Iranian and Iranian ministers 
had a large say in the Seljuq government. Later in this article, we shall delve into these 
points in more detail. 

During the era when Nizami was born, Seljuq power was actually declining and new 
local dynasties called Atabegs were former who effectively held major power and were 
under nominal Seljuq control. Atabegs were originally commanders who were trusted as 
tutors for young Seljuk princes. But later on, they grew powerful enough to become 
virtually independent of the Seljuq Sultan and were sometimes the driving force in Seljuq 
politics. Two of these dynasties who actually commissioned Nizami Ganjavi to write two 
of his most important epics were the rival dynasties of Eldiguzids and Ahmadilis. Later 
on historians would also refer to them as Atabakan-e- Azerbaijan and Atabakan-e- 
Maragheh. Interestingly enough, they allowed Nezami Ganjavi to choose the topic 
(unlike the quest by Shirwanshahs which wanted the story of Leyli o Majnoon) and 
Nezami voluntarily chose the Sassanid stories of Khusraw o Shirin and Haft Paykar. 

The Eldiguzid were an Atabeg (feudal-lord) dynasty of Qipchaq Turkic origin who 
controlled most Azerbaijan, Arran and the northern Jibal during the second half of the 
12 th century. At this time, the Seljuq sultanate of Persia and Iraq was in full decay and 
unable to prevent the expansion of the virtually independent dynasties. Eldiguz was in 
control of Ganja, which the contemporary Kurdish Muslim historian Ibn Athir (1 160- 
1233) has called "The mother city of Arran". During the reign of the Seljuqid ruler 
Arsalan, the Eldiguizds were the power behind the throne and controlled the great 
Seljuqid Empire. Their territories stretched from the south as far as Isfahan, in the west to 
Akhlat and in the north to Sharwan (controlled by the Sharwan) and Georgian dynasties. 
In their last phase of the Eldiguzids, their power decayed and they were once more local 
rulers in Azerbaijan and east Transcaucasia, and by 1225, they were incorporated into the 
Khwarazm Shah Empire. 

"The historical significance of these Atabegs thus lies in their firm control over most of 
north-west Persia during the later Seljuq period and also in their role in Transcaucasia 
as champions of Islam against the resurgent Bagratid Georgian kings ". 
(C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties). 



The Encyclopedia Iranica has an overview of the Eldiguzids under the entry "Atabakan-i 
Azerbaijan"(a name used by historians to distinguish different Atabek kingdoms based on 
regions) states: 

ATABAKAN-E AZARB AY JAN, an influential family of military slave origin, also called 
Ildegozids, ruled parts of Arran and Azerbaijan from about 530/1135-36 to 622/1225; as 
"Great Atabaks " (atabakan-e azam) of the Saljuq sultans of Persian Iraq (western Iran), 
they effectively controlled the sultans from 555/1160 to 587/1181; in their third phase 
they were again local rulers in Arran and Azerbaijan until the territories which had not 
already been lost to the Georgians, were seized by Jalal-al-din Kharazmsah in 622/1225. 



120 



Literature, learning, and architecture. All of the Ildegozids were patrons of literature and 
learning, even though the later ones were apparently more drunken than devout. They 
were patrons of many of the well-known poets of the period and were closely associated 
with some of them. Mojir-al-din Baylaqani seems to have been closer to Ildegoz and 
Mohammad whereas Athir-al-din Akhsikati was nearer to Qezel Arslan (Divan-e Athir, 
introd. Homayun Farrokh, pp. 75-77; Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., p. 208). Zahir-al-din 
Faryabi is especially associated with Abu Bakr (Divan, introd. Bines, pp. 86-92). Saraf- 
al-din Safarva Esfahani may have belonged to Mohammad's entourage (Awfi, Lobab, p. 
615). Other poets connected with the family are: Emadi Sahriari (Awfi, p. 724; Shafa, 
Adabiyat II, p. 745); Jamal-al-din Mohammad Abd-al-Razzaq Esfahani (Shafa, II, p. 
732); Rokn-al-din Davidar (Shafa, III/l, p. 347); Athir-al-din Awmani (Shafa, III/l, p. 
395); Qewami Moarrezi, Yusof Fozuli (Dawlatsah, ed. Browne, p. 1 17); Jamal Ashari 
(Awfi, p. 406); Jamal ofandi (Ebn Esfandiar, II, p. 152). Khaqani wrote poems in praise 
of Qezel Arslan (Divan, introd. Abbasi, p. 26) and also wrote a long letter to that atabak 
(Monsaat, pp. 148-63). Nezami Ganjavi certainly dedicated his Khosrow o Sinn to 
members of the family, first to Mohammad, then to Qezel Arslan, along with Sultan 
Toghrel, according to Shafa (II, p. 803). As far as Nezami' s Eqbal-nama is concerned, 
there is a difference of opinion (Nafisi, Nezami, pp. 115-16; Minor sky, "Caucasica 
II, "pp. 872-74; Shafa, II, pp. 704-06) as to whether or not it was dedicated to an 
Ildegozid. It does seem to be true that the only meeting Nezami had with any ruler was 
with Qezel Arslan (Nafisi, Nezami, pp. 86-93). Uzbek's vizier, Abu'l-Qasem Harun (q.v.) 
was a well-known patron of learning in Tabriz. 
(Luther, K. "Atabkan-e-Adarbayjan: Saljuq rulers of Azerbaijan", Encyclopedia Iranica). 

We should note that the court culture of the Eldiguzids was also Persian and culturally, 
they were not different than the Persianized Seljuqid elite. The urban centers and culture 
was Iranian at the time as shown clearly by books such as Nozhat al-Majales. 

We should also note that Nezami Ganjavi was not a court poet and was not attached to 
any particular dynasty. Thus Nezami was more like Ferdowsi, who was not a court poet 
and unlike Khaqani or Onsori who were court poets. For example, he devotes works to 
rival dynasties of Ildiguzids including the Shirwanshahs and Ahmadilis. He also sent his 
son to the court of the Sherwanshahs and entrusts his son to them. 

Another dynasty which commissioned one of Nizami Ganjavi 's works (the Haft Paykar) 
was the Ahmadilis. The Ahmadilis which historians have also called "Atabakan- 
Maragheh" were rulers of Maragheh and Ru'in Diz (Ruin Duzh=Persian for Brass Fort 
compare with Esfandyar's title "Ruyin Tan"(invulnerable body)) in Iranian Azerbaijan. 
The dynasty ruled early in Maragheh in the 12 l century and maintained themselves 
against the much more powerful neighbors like Eldiguzid Atabegs. Aq Sunqur Ahmadili, 
the founder of this dynasty, was presumably a freeman of Ahmadil, a Kurdish noble 
possibly related to the Rawwadids. Ala'al-din Korp Arsalan, who the Haft Paykar was 
commissioned by (the story itself being chosen by Nizami Ganjavi) is said to have ruled 
between 1175-1188. 



121 



The fact that Nizami Ganjavi was commissioned by at least three rival dynasties 
(Shirwanshah, Eldiguzid and Ahmadilis) is a testament to his fame. We should note the 
court culture of all these dynasties (whatever their ethnic origin) was Persian and one 
cannot claim these dynasties had a non-Iranian identity. Since the court itself brought 
Iranianization of these dynasties as the administrators, officials and poets who gathered 
there were natives of the region whose urban cultural language was Persian. Also the 
Viziers of majority of the Persianized Turkic dynasties who ruled Iran, Caucasus and 
even sometimes India were of Iranian origin. At the same time, Nizami Ganjavi was 
aloof from politics and was not a court poet. This allowed him to remain on friendly 
terms with rival dynasties that actually attacked each other's territories. The 
Encyclopedia of Islam entry on him states: 

"Usually, there is more precise biographical information about the Persian court poets, 
but Nizami was not a court poet; he feared loss of integrity in this role and craved 
primarily for the freedom of artistic creation. His five masterpieces are known 
collectively as the Khamsa, Quintet, or the Pandj Gandj, the Five Treasures. The five epic 
poems represent a total of close to 30,000 couplets and they constitute a breakthrough in 
Persian literature. Nizami was a master in the genre of the romantic epic." 
(Nizami Ganjavi, "Encyclopedia of Islam"by Chelkowski, P). 



Regional Iranian culture in 
Arran/Sherwan and Azerbaijan 

Arran/Sherwan and Nezami's designation of Iran/Persia for his 
land 

Overall, a brief survey of all these dynasties (Rawwadids, Shaddadids, Shirwanshah, 
Seljuqids, Eldiguzids and Ahmadilis) is important. The Rawwadids, Shirwanshah and 
Shaddadids were some of the early patrons of Persian-Dari poetry in the area and the 
Shirwanshah ruled the area of Shirwan during the time of Nizami Ganjavi. Taking Tabriz 
as an example, and also the statement of Diakonov about Ganja, Ganja transitioned from 
Iranic rule to that of Persianate Turkic dynasties but it did not lose its Iranic character at 
once and overnight. The general Muslim culture of Arran and Sherwan during the era of 
Nezami Ganjavi is reflected perfectly in its totality in the book Nozhat al-Majales. This 
book provides the best evidence of the culture of the region today and unless a time- 
machine is created, it is the best resource available to scholar to assess the urban culture 
of the population. 

The Persianate Turkic dynasties although of nomadic origin were nevertheless soon 
establishing their thrones and ruled in what C.E. Bosworth has called Perso-Islamic 
manner. Their courtly life was in Persian and they upheld Persian culture and standards in 
governing their major cities. This was because the bulk of the Muslim population was 
Iranian and culturally Persian was the chief language. This might have alienated them 
from their Turkomen followers as it was the case for the Seljuqid Sultan Sanjar. Yet 

122 



many Iranian Sunnis supported the Seljuqids in order to weaken the rise of Shi 'ism under 
the Buyid dynasty. They also supported the Seljuqid rule, since it brought a sense of 
stability and unity which did not exist prior. 

Ganja, which was called the mother city of Arran, was the capital of the Shaddadids 
(assuming Nizami's great ancestor was from them). We already touched upon Nizami's 
Kurdish mother and his Kurdish uncle who raised him. Later on Ganja passed to the 
Seljuqs and Eldiguzids before the Khwarazmid and Mongol invasion. There is no 
evidence of the process of Turkification of Ganja at the time of Nizami (as the Oghuz 
nomads were not urban and the book Nozhat al-Majales shows the culture of everyday 
urban people was Persian). Also looking at Tabriz (a city under the Ildiguzids) as an 
example (which had an Iranic language after Mongol invasion as exemplified in the 
Safinayeh Tabriz), it is clear (as mentioned by Diakonov) that Ganja was an Iranic 
speaking city, at least before the Mongols and Ilkhanid era. Note cities, even when they 
accept migrants, usually have some capacity to absorb the migrants and mould them into 
the culture of the city. According to Professor Xavier De Planhol: 
"Thus Turkish nomads, in spite of their deep penetration throughout Iranian lands, only 
slightly influenced the local culture. Elements borrowed by the Iranians from their 
invaders were negligible." 
(X.D. Planhol, LANDS OF IRAN in Encyclopedia Iranica) 

Even during the Mongol era, Hamdullah Mostowfi in his Nozhat al-Qolub mentions that 
the city of Abhar (near modern Zanjan) has migrants from everywhere, "but their 
language is of not yet unified, but it will be most likely be a modified Persian". 

We note that travelers before the time of Nizami Ganjavi maintain Persian (not 
necessarily Khorasanian Persian) was the major binding language and was a common 
language of the area. The influx of Turkish nomads from the Seljuqs and the much larger 
influx during the Mongol/Khwarazmid movement were some of the phases of history in 
which Turkification of Arran was gradually started. Indeed on the eve of the Mongol 
invasion, large numbers of Turkomen tribes are mentioned in the Caucasia by Nasavi, the 
Khwarazmian historian. It is not known if these were pushed by the waves of Mongols 
attacking Central Asia or had come gradually during the Seljuq era. But they were recent 
nomads and their ancestry does not go back to the Shaddadid era. Their culture was also 
not urban and we do not have any cities with Turkic names at that time while Ganja, 
Darband, Barda', Baku and etc. are all Iranic names. 

Thus the subsequent Khwarazmian/Mongol push was instrumental for the gradual 
Turkicization of the region of Arran(which in many maps also includes Shirwan). 
However, just taking into account the Seljuq/Eldiguzid era before Khwarzmian empire, 
the Oghuz nomads only settled in grazing lands and not cities and even most nomads of 
Arran and Sherwan were probably Kurdish and other Iranian/Caucasian types. The 
culture of urban Muslim people and city dwellers was firmly Iranian as shown by the 
Nozhat al-Majales and its everyday idiom. 



123 



As noted, the Safinaye Tabriz shows a Persianate-Iranian culture in the city of Tabriz (a 
city which was also under the Ildiguzids like Ganja) during the Mongol era. This, despite 
the fact that the Mongol army itself was overwhelmingly composed of Turkic tribes. The 
urban life of the major cities of the area was not compatible with the nomadic culture of 
the Turkomen tribes and the Muslim cities had Perso-Islamic culture. In Iranian 
Azerbaijan for example, according to the Encyclopedia Iranica, the deciding factor for 
Turkification was the Safavid period: 

But the decisive period no doubt occurred in the Safavid period with the adoption of 
Shi 'ism as the state religion of Iran, while the Ottoman state remained faithful to 
Sunnism. Soon Shi 'ite propaganda among the tribes located outside of the urban centers 
of orthodoxy, prompted the Anatolian nomad tribes to return to Iran. This migration 
began in 1500 when Shah Esmail assembled the Qezelbash tribes in the region of 
Erzincan. The attraction made its elf felt as far as the region of Antalya, whence came the 
Tekelu, who were to play an important role in Iran, in mass along with 15,000 camels. 
Nomads undoubtedly constituted the majority of the movement, though it also affected 
semi-nomads and even peasants. At the end of the 11th/ 16th century, Shah Abbas Ts 
organization of the great confederation of the shahseven precipitated the massive entry of 
Turks into Azerbaijan, and the area became definitively Turkish in this period, with the 
exception of some isolated Tati-speaking communities. (Azerbaijan in Encyclopedia 
Iranica) 

This would also hold true for the Caucasus in our opinion. Specially the Sherwan regions 
which were under the Sherwanshah until the Safavid era. Also the Turkmen nomads for 
many generations lived a nomadic lifestyle. Even after disassociation from the nomadic 
lifestyle, the next step would be part migration and part settlement in villages. 

Afterwards, it would be full settlement in farming villages and finally migration from 
villages to major cities. All these steps come through many generations and not instantly. 
One reason for example the Atabeg dynasties of Fars, Yazd, Syria and etc. were not able 
to Turkify their respective area (although large number of nomadic Turkic Qashqai tribes 
live in Fars today, but this nomadic component in Fars was after the Seljuqid rule) is due 
to the fact these areas did not provide a widely available pasture land and thus they were 
absorbed into the local Iranian population. Let us bring some of the primary sources and 
review some of them again: 

Estakhri of 10 th century also states: 

"In Azerbeijan, Armenia and Arran they speak Persian and Arabic, except for the area 
around the city of Dabil: they speak Armenian around that city, and in the country of Barda 
people speak Arranian." 
Original Arabic: 

O^xxKju 1£jJI^> 9 Jjj^ Jj3>I ul ^ cbj^l 9 cl^ujjIqJI ul^l 9 cujujoJ 9 ube^jjil uLuuJ 9 

(Estakhari, Abu Eshaq Ebrahim. Masalek va Mamalek. Bonyad Moqufat Dr. Afshar, 
Tehran, 1371 (1992-1993)) 



124 



Al-Muqaddasi (d. late 4th/10th cent.) considers Azerbaijan and Arran as part of the 8th 
division of lands. He states: 

"The languages of the 8th division is Iranian (al-'ajamyya). It is partly Dari and partly 
convoluted (monqaleq) and all of them are named Persian" 

(Al-Moqaddasi, Shams ad-Din Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Ahsan al-Taqasi fi 
Ma'rifa al-Aqalim, Translated by Ali Naqi Vizieri, Volume One, First Edition, Mu'alifan 
and Mutarjiman Publishers, Iran, 1981, pg 377.) 

jjS± <\jyz>jj £/x-JL9\JI QSjSio v_sv3 /xj^ujUjJI ,>juuoI <Juoj>I <jj_)uoj*jo cUJljuX^jl <jjjJI<jjuucxjJj tv _souuJLiijoJI 

.377 yjo f 1361 tul^l gIoj^juo 9 oLaJ^o oI^LjuduI <J9l v^ '1 -^^ i ^j^.js ^s^j^i^- 

Al-Muqaddasi also writes on the general region of Armenia, Arran and Azerbaijan and 

states: 

"They have big beards, their speech is not attractive. In Arminya they speak Armenian, in 

al-Ran, Ranian (Aranian); Their Persian is understandable, and is close to Khurasanian 

(Dari Persian) in sound" 

(Al-Muqaddasi, 'The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions', a translation of his 

Ahsan al-Taqasimfi Ma 'rifat al-Aqalim by B.A. Collins, Centre for Muslim Contribution 

to Civilization, Garnet Publishing Limited, 1994. pg 334). 

Thus from Muqaddasi we can see that a regional Persian language was spoken in the area 
and cross referencing with Estakhri, we can conjecture that this was the main language of 
the muslim population, specially in the urban areas. 

According to C. E. Bosworth: 

"North of the Aras, the distinct, presumably Iranian, speech of Arran long survived, 

called by Ebn Hawqal al-Raniya" 

(Azerbaijan: Islamic History to 1941, Encyclopedia Iranica). 

Although we do not have any manuscripts of al-Raniya to really judge the nature of this 
dialect (Was it was a dialect of Parthian or Iranian languages, or was it a Caucasian 
language or non-standard dialect of Armenian?), nearby the Kur river, in the town of 
Barda' in Arran: 

"The fertile rural environs produced much fruit (with a particularly noted variety of figs), 
nuts, and also the dye stuff madder (runas), which was exported as far as India. In the 
Kor and other nearby rivers, the sturgeon (sormaki from Persian surmahi, salt fish) and 
other tasty fish were caught; and there was extensive production of textiles, including 
silks (see Ebn Hawqal, pp. 337-39, 347, 349, tr. Kramers, II, pp. 330-32, 340, 342; 
Maqdesi, [Moqaddasi] , p. 375; Hodud al-Aalam, tr. Minor sky, pp. 143-44, sees. 36.21, 
36.30; R. B. Serjeant, Islamic Textiles. Material for a History up to the Mongol Conquest, 
Beirut, 1972, p. 69)" 
(Barda, Encyclopedia Iranica, Bosworth). 

The word sormahi which Prof. Bosworth derives from Shurmahi in Persian could 
actually be red fish (sor/suhr being the Pahlavi for red which in modern Persian is Surkh). 

125 



Al-Muqaddasi translates the "Monday" to Yam al-Ithnayn which in Persian and Iranian 
dialects is Doshanbeh (the second day). An important point to mention is that Ganja like 
many other pre-Seljuq toponyms has an Iranian name, which naturally reflects the fact 
that it was founded by Iranian settlers (C.E. Bosworth, "Ganja", Encyclopedia Iranica). 
One should also mention the native Iranian (Parthian/Persian) dynasty which ruled over 
the area of Arran up to at least the 8 th century. 

Al-Mas'udi the Arab Historian States: 

"The Persians are a people whose borders are the Mahat Mountains and Azarbaijan up to 

Armenia and Arran, and Bayleqan and Darband, and Ray and Tabaristan and Masqat and 

Shabaran and Jorjan and Abarshahr, and that is Nishabur, and Herat and Marv and other 

places in land of Khorasan, and Sejistan and Kerman and Fars and Ahvaz...All these 

lands were once one kingdom with one sovereign and one language... although the 

language differed slightly. The language, however, is one, in that its letters are written the 

same way and used the same way in composition. There are, then, different languages 

such as Pahlavi, Dari, Azari, as well as other Persian languages." 

Source: 

Al Mas'udi, Kitab al-Tanbih wa-1-Ishraf, De Goeje, M.J. (ed.), Leiden, Brill, 1894, pp. 

77-8. 

Thus Masu'di testifies to the Iranian presence in the Caucasus and Azerbaijan during the 
10 th century and even names a local Iranian dialect called Azari and says Persian peoples 
in Arran, Armenia and Darband and Bayleqan spoke Persian languages. 

This Iranian culture was strong in the region and perhaps even grew during the Seljuqs 
and Ilkhanids. It is only with the Safavids that probably the traditional Sufi-Shafi'ite 
oriented Persian culture faded away. 

Probably the best example to show the extent of Iranian culture and population in 
Arran and Shirawn is through the book Nozhat al-Majalis. There are 1 14 poets in 
Persian just from this book in the area of Azerbaijan, Arran, and Shirwan. 

_7 tv.soujjls Jj^cxjujI _6 jlSJuujI _5 c Jl^joJI^jI v_s^l9 _4 j/xjujUJI^jI _3 ikSjjjjJ JuJoaJl^jl _2 <j9jLjj \Lc^jI _1 
iLS\<*jxjS u\sbjj _12 <v_s\jUJLj gjJu _11 <^9joj*jo ^jjjJIjJu _10 tv _souuuJLaJ jJu _9 i v_sO \$j->JJ jU*^ -8 <v_souolbl 

_18 <v_s\»b\lj> ^b _17 tSjjj^ v_s^l9 >juoj -16 i<\j*l& cdLuu >juoj _15 i<\j^S v-»..»-b.-> >juoj _14 i^j\^jujj slpj _13 
_24 ^^$2* JLoj> _23 tv _sJ\L> _22 iLSj\^> J\L> _21 h^^j^jj v^souuuJLftj _20 <£jJLd ^b _19 <v_solSjj ^b 
nS\<*sxjS JLoj> _28 ijjxc JLoj> _27 t is j9jL^lc JLoj> _26 i^j\^j^jj v.sorb* JLo^> -25 h^j\$jujj J-Jb> JLoj> 
jujoj> _34 ikSjjjjJ Jujoj> _3 3 «^jjojlj-5i ij+jujs* _32 <U_juj ij+jujs* ^jJj _31 <v_sOujo _30 i<UljjjS oLpj> _29 
jj^>^ -39 i<*s*jS v-.»-»-b.-> >i>^ _38 i$\S pu&> jjs>± _37 h^^jujj v_svjl9L> _36 iLS\<*s*jS Jujoj> _35 h^^juSj 
ckS\<^lS o+jloj> _44 ns\<^& j+jjjj -43 ty^j^j^jj i+jjjj -42 tv _*jUJLj Ju^io -41 <v_soljuj >i^ -40 t- >\ILuj 
^sSj _50 t (j9_jj\Jb) <J£I ^Sj _49 t ±&\j _48 c^.p> o$j -47 ^^A ^\£j &Sj -46 ^\<^lS <=u^>j _45 

126 



-56 i v_SvJ \jjlj^J J+JuJ -55 i v_SvJ \$J^JJ AaSjuJ _54 iLS\<^uS AS_juJ _53 ijUl^> JSLjuJ _52 tv _SOujbiLJuJ _51 tV-Sl clcI^jo 

t v.SVjJQJ^jJO jJJJuI^^j-juJ _60 tv.SV-Cl^jJO <3juuJ _59 tv_^LaJLj £ul^ iJJ^j-juJ _58 iO^jSLjuJ ^BjuuJ _57 tv_SOuUL«JLiJ ^SLjljuJ 

_65 jsSIcL^jlS jJJjLJI jJjUUCXjJj _64 tv _^jUJLj &Ll9l jJjUUCXjJj _63 iLS\<*2<uSjSLjuj\ QJJJIjJjUUCXjJj _62 tOLjijU^^jJj _61 

_68 i c \SSuS jJXC (JjUUCXjuJ _67 c(GjljujI ^B^jSIO LSjJjjJ (JjUUCXjuJ jl jjl£. Cb) ^SjJ^jjJ <jjUUCXjuJ _66 jlS^^I (JjUUCXjuJ 

v_sv-ft-^ _73 tv _soUJLj v_svjl^> _72 tv _solSjj j_l^> _71 tv.sv.cl^ qjX^ -70 <^sIcij%jlS ^Lp-*^ -69 <lS_lcIS ^Lp-*^ 
oLoJLc _78 <lsI3j%jlS jjj^JIjux _77 jlsIclcI^xj <jjjJI > g_b_76 £09^5-^ - >_^_b_75 <v_so*j9>- ^^-b-74 tv.sO^^jJj 
_84 ^v^sO^^h^j ^Lox _83 < JLxS >j>c _82 t^j^j^jj jjjs: _81 ^^^^h^^c _80 ^UlJI^jI >c _79 <lsI«i£|>o 
v^svils -89 tjjjisu j^b _88 .ssIclcI^o ^ _87 ^\<^>^ ^s _86 ^sS^I ^SL^I ^^^s _85 <sslci^ ^Lx 

ckS\<^^S y^o\$9 -94 <lSjJjjJ v_Sv-SLlJLC V-.-L.9 _93 t^^l V-.-L.9 _92 tU jaJLsU v_sv^>l9 _91 tv _Sv^l9 _90 ty^J^j^Jj 

tv _soUJLj >c*jo _99 tv _souuuJLftj i-o-J^J -98 tv _souuuJLaJ JLxS _97 ^sS^I ^ox^jI JLxS _96 <>j>2JI<jjI JLo^ -95 

QjjJIv-^o -104 tv _svj9SU ^jSlo _103 jlSjj^ij ^-6-b.o _102 nS\<3szlS jstiLizjo _101 <v_sJLj^>I v^-S^ Juoj^jo _100 

_109 ^ssIcl^JlS /xj%j _108 tj^jo+juj pszj _107 ^I>*jj ^9$* _106 <LSlqj%jiS v_soljuul0jo _105 ^s^^^jjjjjus 

114" .i^jJ^jjU v_SVJ^*J -113 i v_SVJ I3 - >-jJu jjjUUlQJ _112 <sS|c*J%jiS v_S\joLLu -111 jlSIcL^jlS ^jju^U _110 iLS\<*S*jS <^uu*J 

^jj \$JJLJUJ J-Jb> JLoj> 

We note none of these poets have a Turkish name. In the introduction, we read that the 
quatrains by these Persian poets were song in the Khanaqah (Sufi Houses), Bazars, 
Streets (Kucheh) and thus Persian was the common and everyday language of Muslims in 
Arran and Shirwan at the time. Some of these poets are women who did not usually 
receive education but their Persian poetry proves the expanse and spread of the Persian 
language during that time. The book was written between 1225 to 1290 and the only 
manuscript is from Istanbul dated to the early 14 th century. The book is a complete 
mirror of the culture of Arran and Shirwan at that time. 

(Jamal Khalil Shirvani, Nozhat al-Majles, Edited by Mohammad Amin Riyahi, Tehran, 

1987) 

Here we have also included the full article from Iranica which shows the common Persian 
language and heritage of the region before its linguistic Turkification. Some excerpts 
which we have bolded illustrate the full extent of Iranian culture at the time: 



127 



NOZHAT AL-MAJALES, an anthology of some 4,000 quatrains (roba /; a total of 4,139 
quatrains, 54 of which have been repeated in the text) by some 300 poets of the 5th to 
7th/l 1th- 13th centuries, compiled around the middle of the 7th/13th century by the 
Persian poet Jamal-al-Din Kalil Sarvani. The book is arranged by subject in 17 chapters 
(babs) divided into 96 different sections (namat). The anthology also includes 179 
quatrains and an ode (qasida) of 50 distiches written by the author himself, who is also 
credited with one lyric (gazal) in Mohammad Jajarmi's Mo nes al-ahrar. 

As stated in Jamal-al-Din's own ode at the end of the book, he compiled his anthology in 
the name of Ala-al-Din Sarvansah Fariborz III (r. 1225-51), son of Gostasb and 
dedicated it to him. It has reached us in a unique manuscript copied by Esmail b. 
Esfandiar b. Mohammad b. Esfandiar Abhari on 25 Sawwal 731/31 July 1331, and is 
presently bound together in one volume with the divan of Fakr-al-Din 'Eraqi at the 
Suleymaniye Library in Turkey (no. 1667) among Wali-al-Din Jar- Allah's collection. This 
manuscript embraces some 77 leaves (fols. 4 la- 118a), each page having 27 lines. The 
first few leaves of the book, which had probably embodied a preface in prose, have been 
lost. Fritz Meier (p. 117) and Christian Rempis (1935, p. 179) have erroneously taken 
Esmail b. Esfandiar, the copyist, to be the author of the book. 

The manuscript of Nozhat al-majales was first described by Hellmut Ritter (pp. 223-33). 
Three years later, in 1935, Rempis extracted and published the quatrains of Omar 
Khayyam (Kayyam) recorded in the anthology, and in 1963 Fritz Meier performed the 
same task for Mahasti's quatrains. The first Persian scholar to use this anthology was 
Mohammad- Ali Forugi, who obtained a copy of the manuscript and incorporated 31 
quatrains of Khayyam found there in his edition of the Roba iyat-e Kayyam (pp. 35-44). 
Said Nafisi (pp. 176-77) wrote on the Nozhat al-majales and extracted the names of the 
unknown poets of Arran and Sarvan who were mentioned in the anthology. Mohammad- 
Taqi Danespazuh, in his article describing this anthology, rearranged the list of names 
extracted by Nafisi according to the names of the poets' hometowns and also gave the list 
of the subject matter in each section of the book (pp. 573-81). 

Nozhat al-majales belongs to an era when quatrains were very popular and formed 
substantial sections in the divans of major poets of the time such as Anwari, Attar, 
Sanai, Kaqani, Rumi, and Kamal-al-Din Esmail. Sadid-al-Din Mohammad 'Awfi (d. ca. 
1232-33) remarked in his biographical anthology Lobab al-albab, that many poets wrote 
only quatrains. At about 1192, approximately a hundred years before the compilation of 
Nozhat al-majales, a similar anthology of quatrains entitled Majma al-roba iyat had 
been compiled in Ankara by Abu Hanifa c Abd-al-Karim b. Abi Bakr, an incomplete copy 
of which is now at the library of Halat Afandi (Ate§, pp. 94-133). Jajarmi also devoted 
the twenty-eighth chapter of his Mo nes al-ahrar (comp. 1340) to roba 7s, comprising 
470 quatrains. In another recently discovered anthology, entitled Safina-ye Tabriz, a 
major part called "Kolasat al-asar fi'1-robaiyat" contains 498 quatrains arranged in 50 
sections (bab). Most of them, however, are selected from Nozhat al-majales and in a 
number of cases offer a more reliable reading (Afsar, pp. 535-38). 



128 



Nozhat al-majales is a very valuable source for identifying the authors of many quatrains 
which had been wrongly attributed to major poets or whose authors had not been 
identified at all. For example, eighty quatrains published in Badi-al-Zaman Foruzanfar's 
edition of Rumi's Divan-e Sams are now proven to belong to other poets, due to their 
inclusion in this anthology. The same is true about nine quatrains attributed to Hafez in 
some old manuscripts of his divan. 

Another significant merit of Nozhat al-majales is that it contains the quatrains of a 
number of poets whose collected works are no longer extant. For instance, the thirty-three 
quatrains by Khayyam and the sixty quatrains by Mahasti found in this anthology are 
among the oldest and most reliable collections of their works. Nozhat al-majales also 
comprises many quatrains by such scholars and mystics as Avicenna, Ahmad Ghazali, 
Majd-al-Din Bagdadi, and Ahmad-e Jam, who had never been recognized as poets, and 
such poets and writers as Nezami Ganjavi, Asadi Tusi, Fakr-al-Din As ad Gorgani, and 
Onsor-al-Maali Kaykavus, who had been known only by their major works and hardly 
any poems had been ascribed to them; as well as quatrains by a number of rulers and 
statesmen, including the Saljuk sultan Togrol, Atsi'z K w arazmsah, Fariborz Sarvansah, 
Sams-al-Din Mohammad Jovayni, Malek Zawzan, Solaymansah of Iva, Amir Kamyar, 
and Ala-al-Din Kabud-jama. 

The most significant merit of Nozhat al-majales, as regards the history of Persian 
literature, is that it embraces the works of some 115 poets from the northwestern 
Iran (Arran, Sarvan, Azerbaijan; including 24 poets from Ganja alone), where, due 
to the change of language, the heritage of Persian literature in that region has 
almost entirely vanished. The fact that numerous quatrains of some poets (e.g. Amir 
Sams-al-Din Asad of Ganja, Aziz Sarvani, Sams Sojasi, Amir Najib-al-Din Omar 
of Ganja, Badr Teflisi, Kamal Maragi, Saraf Saleh Baylaqani, Borhan Ganja i, 
Ely as Ganja i, Baktiar Sarvani) are mentioned together like a series tends to suggest 
the author was in possession of their collected works. Nozhat al-majales is thus a 
mirror of the social conditions at the time, reflecting the full spread of Persian 
language and the culture of Iran throughout that region, clearly evidenced by the 
common use of spoken idioms in poems as well as the professions of the some of the 
poets (see below). The influence of the northwestern Pahlavi language, for example, 
which had been the spoken dialect of the region, is clearly observed in the poems 
contained in this anthology. 

It is noteworthy, however, that in the period under discussion, the Caucasus region was 
entertaining a unique mixture of ethnic cultures. Kaqani's mother was a Nestorian 
Christian, Mojir Baylqani's mother was an Armenian, and Nezami's mother was a Kurd. 
Their works reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of the region. Hobays b. Ebrahim 
Teflisi paraded his knowledge of different languages by mentioning the name of the 
drugs in his medical dictionary, Taqwim al-adwia in several languages, including Persian, 
Arabic, Syriac, and Byzantine Greek. This blending of cultures certainly left its mark on 
the works of the poets of the region, resulting in the creation of a large number of new 
concepts and terms, the examples of which can be noticed in the poems of Kaqani and 
Nezami, as well as in dictionaries. 



129 



In contrast to poets from other parts of Persia, who mostly belonged to higher 
echelons of society such as scholars, bureaucrats, and secretaries, a good number of 
poets in the northwestern areas rose from among the common people with working 
class backgrounds, and they frequently used colloquial expressions in their poetry. 
They are referred to as water carrier (saqqa ), sparrow dealer ( osfori), saddler 
(sarraj), bodyguard (jandar), oculist (kahhal), blanket maker (lehqfi), etc., which 
illustrates the overall use of Persian in that region. Chapter eleven of the anthology 
contains interesting details about the everyday life of the common people, their 
clothing, the cosmetics used by women, the games people played and their usual 
recreational practices such as pigeon fancying (kabutar-bazi; p. 444), even-or-odd 
game (taqyajoft bazi; p. 446), exercising with a sledgehammer (potk zadan; p. 443), 
and archery (tir-andazi; p. 444). There are also descriptions of the various kinds of 
musical instruments such as daf (tambourine; see DAF[F] and DAYERA), ney (reed 
pipe), and cang (harp), besides details of how these instruments were held by the 
performers (pp. 150-63). One even finds in this anthology details of people's 
everyday living practices such as using a pumice (sang-epa) to scrub the sole of 
their feet and gel-e sarsur to wash their hair (pp. 440-41). 

Nozhat al-majales suffers from certain structural shortcomings. The overriding concern 
of the author has been to arrange the quatrains strictly according to their contents, 
therefore paying little heed to the names of the poets of the verses. This has occasionally 
led to the attribution of a particular quatrain to two different persons. The scribe has not 
been very careful in doing his work either. He has apparently transcribed all of the 
available poetry first and then added the names of their poets so haphazardly that the 
name of a poet is sometimes mentioned either further down or further up than the place 
where his quatrains are located. Some of the errors and oversights have been identified in 
the edited version, and, following the publication of the text, Sayyed Ali Mir-Afzali 
pointed out a number of other errors missed by the editor (see bibliography). 

Bibliography: 

Iraj Afsar, "Noska bargardan-e safina-ye Tabriz," Nama-ye baharestan 6, 2002, pp. 535-38. 

A. Ate§, "Hicri VI-VIII (XIV) asirlarda anadolu'da fars9a eserler," Ttirkiyat mecmuasi 7-8, 
1945, pp. 13-94. 

Mohammad-Taqi Danespazuh, Fehrest-e microfilmha-ye ketab-kana-ye markazi-e 
Danesgah-e Tehran, 1969, p. 42. 

Idem, "Nozhat al-majales-^ Jamal-al-Din Kalil Sarvani," Rahnema-ye ketab 15/7-9, 1972, 
pp. 569-84. 

Jamal-al-Din Kalil Sarvani, Nozhat al-majales, ed. Mohammad Amin Riahi, Tehran, 2nd ed. 
Tehran, 1996. 



130 



Omar Kayyam (Omar Khayyam), Roba iyat-e Kayyarn, ed. Mohammad- Ali Forugi and 
Qasem Gani, Tehran, 1942, editors' Intr., p. 35. 

Jalal Matini, "Nozhat al-majales: talif-e Jamal-al-Din Kalil Sarvani," Iran- 
senasi/Iranshenasi 1/3, 1989, pp. 574-82. 

Fritz Meier, Die schon Mahsati: Ein beitrage zur geschichte des persischen vierzeilers I, 
Wiesbaden, 1963, pp. XII, 412. 

Sayyed Ali Mirafzali, "Barresi-e Nozhat-al-majales" Ma aref 14/1-2, 1977, pp. 90-147. 

Idem, "Moqayesa-ye roba c iyat-e do majmua-ye kohan," Nasr-e danes 8, no. 40, 2004, pp. 
36-42. 

Abu'1-Majd Mohammad b. Mahmud Tabrizi, Safina-ye Tabriz, facsimile ed., Tehran, 2002. 
Sa c id Nafisi, Nazm o natr, pp. 176-77. 

Christian Herrnhold Rempis, Omar Chajjam und seine Vierzeiler, Tubingen and New York, 
1935. 

Idem, Neue beitrage zur Chajjam-forschung, Sammlung orientalistischer Arbeiten 17 
Leipzig, 1943. 

Hellmut Ritter, "Nachdichtungen persischer poesie," in T. Menzel, ed., Festschrift Georg 
Jacob zum siebsiegsten Geburstag..., Leipzig, 1932. 

Ahmad Soheyli K v ansari, Roba iyat-e Hakima Mahasti dabir, Tehran, 1992. Parviz 
Varjavand, Iran wa Qafqaz, Arran wa Sarvan, Tehran, 1999, pp. 203-66. 

(Mohammad Amin Riahi) 

December 15, 2008 

(Mohammad Amin Riahi, "Nozhat al-Majales" in Encyclopedia Iranica) 

Thus books like Nozhat al-Majales show that the people in the Arran and Sherwan region 
spoke regional Iranian dialects and were fully part of the Persian cultural milieu. Such a 
book as Nozhat al-Majales does not exist from the area in Turkish because at that time. 
This is because the urban dwellers of major cities were Persian culturally and spoke 
Iranian dialects. Thus the book is a decisive proof about the culture of the area and ends 
any speculation by politicized authors. 

As shown by the Nozhat al-Majales, we note that not only court poets, but everyday 
people who have various trades and works, women, and etc. have left us a glimpse of the 
prevalent Iranian culture of the area at one time. Every day words like "Sang -pa" and 
"Gel-e-Sarshur" shows that Persian and Iranian languages were the native language of 

131 



Ganja (where 24 poets are mentioned in this book alone which by itself is sufficient since 
politicized authors cannot even demonstrate a single Turkish verse from any author from 
that era) and urban Islamic areas of Arran and Sherwan. As noted by the major scholar 
of this work (Shaadravan Mohammad Amin Riahi, a native of Khoy in Iran): "Nozhat al- 
majales is thus a mirror of the social conditions at the time, reflecting the full spread 
of Persian language and the culture of Iran throughout that region, clearly 
evidenced by the common use of spoken idioms in poems as well as the professions 
of the some of the poets (see below). The influence of the northwestern Pahlavi 
language, for example, which had been the spoken dialect of the region, is clearly 
observed in the poems contained in this anthology." 

It is obvious that if there was a sophisticated urban Turkic culture in the region at the 
time (beyond the nomadic Oghuz tribes who were arriving), then one would have an 
equivalent work as the Nozhat al-Majales in Turkish. Thus the important of Nozhat al- 
Majales for the study of the region's history as well as the study of some of the more 
uncommon symbols of poetry used from the areas of Sherwan and Arran cannot be 
underestimated. 

Even according to Russian sources("Caucasus in IV-XI centuries" in Rostislav 
Borisovich Rybakov (editor), History of the East. 6 volumes, v. 2. "East during the Middle 
Ages: Chapter V., 2002. -ISBN 5-02-017711-3. 
http://www.kulichki.com/-gumilev/HE2/he2 1 03 .htm) 

necTpoe b 3THHHecKOM njiaHe HacejieHne jieBo6epe)KHOH Aji6aHHH b 3to BpeM^ Bee 
6ojibine nepexo^HT Ha nepcH^CKHH 5I3bik. EjiaBHbiM o6pa30M 3to othochtc^ k ropo^aM 
ApaHa h LLtapBaHa, Kaic CTajin b IX-X bb. HMeHOBaTbCii ^sa rjiaBHbie o6jiacTH Ha 
TeppHTopHH A3ep6aii,z];>KaHa. Hto icacaeTCii cejibCKoro HacejieHH^, to oho, no-BH^HMOMy, 
b ochobhom coxpaH5Dio eme AOJiroe BpeMii cboh CTapbie 5i3biKH, poACTBeHHbie 
coBpeMeHHbiM ,a;arecTaHCKHM, npoK^e Bcero jie3rHHCKOMy. 
Translation: 

The multi-ethnic population of Albania left-bank at this time is increasingly moving to 
the Persian language. Mainly this applies to cities of Aran and Shirwan, as begin from 9- 
10 centuries named two main areas in the territory of Azerbaijan. With regard to the rural 
population, it would seem, mostly retained for a long time, their old languages, related to 
modern Daghestanian family, especially Lezgin. 
And we already mentioned Diakonov: 

[http://uni-persona.srcc.msu.su/site/authors/djakonov/posl_gl.htm ^b^KOHOB, Hropb 
MnxaftjiOBKH. KHHra BOcnoMHHaHHH. PfeAaTejibCTBO "EBponeiicKHH aom", CaHKT- 
neTep6ypr, 1995., 1995]. - ISBN 5-85733-042-4. CTp. 730-731 [[Igor Diakonov]]. The 
book of memoirs: ( Nizami) was not Azeri but Persian (Iranian) poet, and though he lived 
in presently Azerbaijani city of Ganja, which, like many cities in the region, had Iranian 
population in Middle Ages, (russian text: (HH3aMH) 6biji He a3ep6aH,n;)KaHCKHH, a 
nepCH^CKHH (HpaHCKHii) no3T, xora )khji oh b Hbme a3ep6aH,z];)KaHCKOM ropo^e E^H^e, 
KOTopaii, KaK h 6ojibiHHHCTBO 3ACHIHHX ropo^OB, HMejia b Cpe^HHe Beica HpaHCKoe 
HacejieHne).. 

Late 15 th century Persian poets like Badr Shirwan who has left 12500 Persian lines and 
60 Turkish and dozens or so of verses in the peculiar Persian Kenarab dialect show 

132 



examples of Iranian dialects in the region. For example Badr Sherwani has poetry in the 
Kenarab Persian dialect. 

We should also mention the many Iranic words collects in a medical dictionary by a 
person from Shirwan. The book Dastur al-Adwiyah written around 1400 A.D. also lists 
some of these native words for plants in Shirwan, Beylakan, Arran: Shang, Babuneh, 
Bahmanak, Shirgir, KurKhwarah, Handal, Harzeh, Kabudlah (Beylakani word , standard 
Persian: Kabudrang), Moshkzad, Kharime, Bistam, Kalal. 
(Sadeqi, Ali Ashraf, "New words from the Old Language of Arran, Shirvan and 
Azerbaijan"(in Persian), Iranian Journal of Linguistics, Vol. 17, No 1(33), pp 22-41, 
1381/2002). Usually words for native plants and fish (ShurMahi/SorMahi) would be a 
word from the native language of the region and this shows the wide usage of Iranic 
dialects in the region at the time. As shown by the Nozhat al-Majales, also words for 
food, games, music instruments and everyday cultural items, hobbies and jobs are also all 
in Persian. Thus making it clear that in Arran and Sherwan as mentioned by al- 
Muqaddesi and other travelers, Persian and Iranic languages were predominant. 

Mention should also be made of Kurds, since Nizami's maternal uncle was Kurdish as 
well as his mother and possibly his father. 

Vladimir Minorsky writes (V. Minorsky, Studies in Caucasian History, Cambridge 
University Press, 1957. pg 34): 

"The author of the collection of documents relating to Arran Mas'ud b. Namdar (c. 1 100) 
claims Kurdish nationality. The mother of the poet Nizami of Ganja was Kurdish (see 
autobiographical digression in the introduction of Layli wa Majnun). In the 16 th century 
there was a group of 24 septs of Kurds in Qarabagh, see Sharaf-nama, I, 323. Even now 
the Kurds of the USSR are chiefly grouped south of Ganja. Many place-names composed 
with Kurd are found on both banks of the Kur" 

Indeed the Kurdish presence goes back to at least Shaddadid times. According to Dr. 
Sadeqi: "Masudi points to the presence of Kurds in Armenia, Aran, Beylakan and 
Darband. Ibn Fiqiyeh, when describing the conquest of Arran and Balasagan (a region 
located for the most part south of the lower course of the rivers Kura and the Aras 
(Araxes), bordered on the south by Atropatene and on the east by the Caspian Sea.) 
mentions Salman ibn Rabi'a inviting the Kurds of Balasagan to islam. Baladhuri also 
mentions the Kurds of Balasagan, Sabalan and Satrudan. Istakhri and Ibn Hawqal also 
mention the Bab al-Ikrad near Barda'. Baladhuri also mentions the Nahr-e-Akrad 
(Kurdish river) in Armenia. Shaddadids which ruled over parts of Armenia and Arran 
were also Kurds"(Sadeqi Ali Ashraf, "The conflict between Persian and Turkish in Arran 
and Shirvan", Iranian Journal of Linguistics, Vol. 18, No. 1 (35), pp 1-12, 2003) 

The Encyclopedia of Islam also states: 

Mas'udi (about 332/943) and Istakhri (340/951) are the first to give systematic 
information about the Kurds. In the Murudj al-dhahab (iii, 253) Mas'udi enumerates the 
following tribes: at Dinawar and Hamadhan: Shuhdjan; at Kangawar: Maddjurdan; in 
Adharbaydjan (so the text should be emended): Hadhabani and Sarat (probably 



133 



Shurat=Khridjis [g.v.]; cf. the story of Daysam below); in Djibal: Shadandjan, Lazba 
(Lurri?), Madandjan, Mazdanakan, Barisan, Khali(Djalali), Djabarki, Djawani and 
Mustakan; in Syria: Dababila etc.; at Mawsil and Djudi the Christian Kurds: al- 
Yakubiyya ("Jacobites") and the Djurkan (Djurughan). To this list, the Tanbih of the 
same author (88-91) only adds Bazindjan (cf. Istakhri, 155), Nashawira, Budhikan and 
Kikan (at the present day found near Mar' ash), but he gives a list of the places where 
there were Kurds: the rumum (zumuml) of Fars, Kirman, Sidjistan, Khurasan, (Istakhri, 
282: a Kurd village in the canton of Asadabad), Isfahan (a section of the Bazandjan tribe 
and a flourishing town described as Kurd, Yakubi 275; Istakhri, 125), Djibal, notably 
Mah Kufa, Mah basra, Mah Sabadhan (Masabadhan) and the two Ighars (i.e. Karadj Abi 
Dulaf and Burdj),Hamadhan, Shahrizur, with its dependencies Darabad and Shamghan 
(Zimkan), Adharbaydjan, Armenia (at Dwin on the Araxes the Kurds lived in houses 
built of clay and of stone; Mukaddasi, 277), Arran (one of the gates of Bardha'a was 
called Bab al- Akrad and Ibn Miskaawayh says that at the invasion of the Rus in 
332/942 the local governor had Kurds under his command), Baylakan, Bab al- 
Abwab (Darband), al-Djazira, Syria and al-Thughur (i.e. the line of fortresses along the 
Cilician frontier). 

(Bois, Th.; Minorsky, V.; Bois, Th.; Bois, Th.; MacKenzie, D.N.; Bois, Th. "Kurds, 
Kurdistan." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. 
Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007.) 

Also Hamdullah Mostowfi mentions the province of Goshtasfi in the Caucasus in the 
Ilkhanid era. According to Mostowfi, this Caucasus region the adjoining Caspian Sea 
spoke Pahlavi close to Jilani (Gilaki) and were followers of Imam Shafi'i. Actual quote: 

<-S>£J 9 OJ>LuU \j Ol V^jljuuIj^J <JJ <*_jljuU UljuoS <*S CjljulH ^JvjLuU LljuoS Cju\Jg Uj^ <w>l jLS jl 

,<Us>\-uJ u\^\jB kSV$j± ul jj 9 QJLjuj\±jJ \jbiSp> ul jl 9 CjljuuIoJujJ <jjJjI 9 j$ v' jl ^ jj-! 

/>Lol k_JL^JuO jJ 9 JulOj^>JujLuU jjoJUO^^jO ^£J O^jlO 9 QulL} <^Jul tQJjJ tOl£> jjajJL^>L> 
jl [JjJuU v 3jLajU OLol jJ [JjJuJIQjS ij)QSL> .CjljuuIcLJljuiJU JU L 5vj\JlofcJ lS^JL^ OLuUUUj. ^Jn^SLuU 

-L^ub 9 j\)sb 0-\->-fl> 9 Ju^> u^J^I 9 CjljuuIo^^j uLoj <jul 0L09J Ju^ { Jjjlaj\jqS \J$S2x> cJg^ j££-b 

JljJuU ^3jJtiJQ Jul O^LuJ \jj\ <& jSLuULC oLcUoSl QS>S j± 9 CjljuuI jLp 

(Mostowfi, Hamdallah. "Nozhat al-Qolub ". Edit by Muhammad Dabir Sayyaqi. Tahuri 
publishers, 1957.) 

Indeed Nezami Ganjavi himself praises the Eldiguzids as the King of the Persian lands 
which obviously shows that the area was associated with Iranain people and culture: 



Ju^jS p\j JuOC*jO \j <^jl>Iz3 9^ 
<jaJuli> QJljujS OJjJ /3uL> ^JvSu 

0L0 Jul u Ij v>^ &J-! l3^ 
oLuu ubgbr \j pcz£. kSJjq ^jvSu 



In that day that they bestowed mercy upon all, 

134 



Two great ones were given the name Muhammad, 

One who 's pure essence was the seal of prophecy, 

The other who is the Kingdom 's Seal, in his own days 

One whose house/zodiac is moon of the Arabs 

The other who is the everlasting Shah of Realm of Persians 



In praising the rulers of Shirwan (who sometimes extended their rule beyond Shirwan), 
Nizami again mentions: 

This book is better to be written 

A young peacock is better to have a mate 

Specially for a king like the Shah of Shirwan 

Not only Shirwan, but the Shahriyar (Prince, Ruler) of all Iran 

Nizami Ganjavi calls upon the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH &HP): 

<j5 03I9I jl ^ lj ulpj> 9^>^ 

Do not stay in Arabia, come to Persia 
Here are the light steeds of night and day 



So the area at that time was considered part of the Persian ethnic and cultural region. He 
has used the term Molk-e-Ajam (Persian realm), ' Ajam (Persia) and Iran for his land. 



According to Bosworth: "But by the 3rd/9th century, the non-Arabs, and above all the 
Persians, were asserting their social and cultural equality (taswia) with the Arabs, if not 
their superiority (tafzil) over them (a process seen in the literary movement of the 
So ubiya). In any case, there was always in some minds a current of admiration for the 
'Ajam as heirs of an ancient, cultured tradition of life. Even the great proponent of the 
Arab cause, Jahez, wrote a Ketab al-taswia bayn al- Arab wa 7- Ajam. After these 
controversies had died down, and the Persians had achieved a position of power in the 
Islamic world comparable to their numbers and capabilities, " Ajam " became a simple 
ethnic and geographical designation"(Encyc\oQQ&m Iranica, "Ajam", Bosworth) 

And Khaqani, who was given the title Hessan al-Ajam also uses this term for his 
homeland and praises one of his patrons as the prid of the Persian land (Molk-e-Ajam): 

oL«-juu 9 kSJjq jlg^ oLuu j^jljuu^ 9 Qj>\p> 

135 



"the supporter of the Arab religion (Islam) 
The pride of the Persian realnrT 

and Sa'adi also praises the Atabek Sa'ad ibn Zani ibn Mauwdud as the ruler of Molk-e- 
Ajam: 

/xiagl v^ubl pcz£. kSJjq Cjj\$ 

^9^9jO ^JvSLij ASLjuU >Su£jl ASLjuU 

"The inheritor of the Persian Realm" 

The current Turkic Oghuz language spoken in Azerbaijan and Arran has its roots with the 
Turkoman/Oghuz nomads that arrived in the region during the Seljuq incursions. But 
this movement was small relative to the bulk of population. However, a large amount of 
nomads entered the area during the Mongol invasion. But in reality, the steadily 
replacement of the old Iranian dialects by Turkish takes a turning point around the 
beginning of the Safavid dynasty's rule in Persia. Although there are still Tati settlements 
in Iranian Azerbaijan and Iranian speakers in Arran, which is in the territory of the 
modern Republic of Azerbaijan. West Azerbaijan region of Iran also was predominantly 
Kurdish until the Safavid era and even today, Kurds make up between 50 to 70% of its 
population. 

Many Turkic speaking nomads had chosen the green pastures of Azerbaijan, Arran and 
Shirvan for their settlement during the advent of the Seljuq. However, they only filled in 
the pasturelands while the farmlands, villages and the cities remained Iranic in language. 
The linguistic conversion of Azerbaijan had much to do the conversion of the Azeris into 
Shi'ism, when large number of heterodox Shi'ite Ghezelbash tribes moved from 
Anatolia, Rum and Syria into the Safavid realm and supported the new dynasty. Even 
during the Safavid era, Awliya Chelebi of the 17 th century mentions "Pahlavi, Dari, Farsi 
and Dehqani" among the languages of Naxchivan(Sadeqi Ali Ashraf, "The conflict 
between Persian and Turkish in Arran and Shirvan", Iranian Journal of Linguistics, Vol. 
18, No. 1 (35), pp 1-12, 2003). 

Even up to the 20 th century, there was a large number of Iranic speakers Tats (Persian), 
Talysh and Kurds in Arran and Shirwan, but the Turkic linguistic elements by the 20 th 
were predominant and many of these Iranic elements were assimilated into the Azeri- 
Turkic identity, specially during the USSR era. For example on Tats: 
"In the nineteenth century the Tats were settled in large homogeneous groups. The 
intensive processes of assimilation by the Turkic- speaking Azerbaijanis cut back the 
territory and numbers of the Tats. In 1886 they numbered more than 120,000 in 
Azerbaijan and 3,600 in Daghestan. According to the census of 1926 the number of Tats 
in Azerbaijan (despite the effect of natural increase) had dropped to 28,500, although 
there were also 38,300 "Azerbaijanis"with Tat as their native language." 
(World Culture Encyclopedia: "Tats", 

http://www.everyculture.com/Russia-Eurasia-China/Tats-Orientation.html accessed Dec, 
2007) 



136 



(Natalia G. Volkova "Tats"in Encyclopedia of World Culture, Editor: David Publisher, 
New York: G.K. Hall, Prentice Hall International, 1991-1996). 

Abbas Qoli Agha Bakikhanov, a 19 th century literary figure from the Caucasia mentions 
in his Golestan Iram large number of Tats in the area around Baku: 

There are eight villages in Tabarsaran which are: Jalqan, Rukan, Maqatir, Kamakh, 
Ridiyan, Homeydi, Mata'i, and Bilhadi. They are in the environs of a city that 
Anushiravan built near the wall of Darband. Its remains are still there. They speak the Tat 
language, which is one of the languages of Old Persia. It is clear that they are from the 
people of Fars and after its destruction they settled in those villages. ..The districts 
situated between the two cities of Shamakhi and Qodyal, which is now the city of 
Qobbeh, include Howz, Lahej, and Qoshunlu in Shirvan and Barmak, Sheshpareh and the 
lower part of Boduq in Qobbeh, and all the country of Baku, except six villages of 
Turkmen, speak Tat. it becomes apparent from this that they originate from Fars. 
(Floor, Willem. and Javadi, Hasan. i(2009), "The Heavenly Rose-Garden: A History of Shirvan & 
Daghestan by Abbas Qoli Aqa Bakikhanov, Mage Publishers, 2009) 

Original Persian: 

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...JujL \j ^-»u uuj^jjjcx^ i c \j>S\jj <S ^jB (Jjuuuj <^Sl9_«jj 9SI1 LjlSJLojo />Ioj 9 Qu3 j$ ^99-Li <j~"-^ 9 ^JH U^-"-^ 
Jbto 9^ Oj^ 9 Qjj^jxjuj LS c ^j^>\j 9 ^jb OJl^iJLc v-sObj <*£ ^3JL^> ^S <\jjS sSl9_*jj QuS CaSJLojo v_sy>9 p*-ujS 
J^ax) lj uLj dl^jj v_sJl&l 9 JJjb ^^9-^l^jo uLj t ^jP-b.i.o O b>\Lka^ I <\j JuljJjIj v _svx> 9J_Loj>I 9 O^p <*S ul^juu^jj^b 

.JuuOUv_SvjO 

(Gulistan-i Iram, Baki Khanuf, "Gulistan-i Iram " 9 matn-i ilmi - intiqadi bi-sayy va 
ihtimam: Abd al-Karim Ali-zadah [va digaran],Bakku: Idarah-i intisharat-i Ilm, 1970.) 

On the Talysh, according to Hema Kotecha: 

According to a 1926 census, there were 77,039 Talysh in Azerbaijan SSR. From 1959 to 

1989, the Talysh were not included as a separate ethnic group in any census, but rather 

they were included as part of the Turkic-speaking Azerbaijani's, although the Talysh 

speak an Iranian language. In 1999, the Azerbaijani government claimed there were only 

76,800 Talysh in Azerbaijan, but this is believed to be an under-representation given the 

problems with registering as a Talysh. Some claim that the population of the Talysh 

inhabiting the southern regions of Azerbaijan is 500,000. 

(Hema Kotecha, Islamic and Ethnic Identities in Azerbaijan: Emerging trends and 

tensions, OSCE, Baku, July 2006. 

http://www.osce.org/documents/ob/2006/08/23087 en.pdf) 

We already mentioned Kurds and Minorsky's statement on Kurds in Ganja during 
Shaddadid times and even in the south of Ganja during modern times. 

Svante Cornell, a writer who researches into the modern Republic of Azerbaijan and is 
actually accused of pro- Azerbaijani bias also states: 

137 



In Azerbaijan, the Azeris presently make up over 90 per cent; Dagestani peoples form 
over 3 per cent and Russians 2.5 per cent. 6 These figures approximate the official 
position; however, in reality the size of the Dagestani Lezgin community in Azerbaijan is 
unknown, officially put at 200,000 but according to Lezgin sources substantially larger. 
The Kurdish population is also substantial, according to some sources over 10 per cent 
of the population; in the south there is a substantial community of the Iranian ethnic 
group, ofTalysh, possibly some 200,000 -400,000 people. 

(Cornell, Svante E. Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict 
in the Caucasus . Richmond, Surrey, , GBR: Curzon Press Limited, 2000.) 

It is this author's opinion, if the subsequent USSR assimilation policies of the last 80-100 
years were not upheld in the historical Arran and Shirvan, approximately 20% or more of 
the modern population of the Republic of Azerbaijan would be speaking an Iranic 
language. However this deserves it own study and the goal of this article is to examine 
historical facts without being involved in modern politics. 

Iranic languages and people of Azerbaijan 

The Turkification of Arran/Ganja has some similarities to that of historical Azerbaijan. 
Although both places were primarily used in the beginning as a pass to the wider pastures 
of Anatolia, but they were also Turkified through a long list of Turkic dynasties as well 
as the fact that they provided some pasture grounds for the Turkic nomads entering via 
Central Asia. Linguistic Turkification of Azerbaijan was a complex and multistage 
process. Diakonov has already stated that the population of urban centers like Ganja at 
the time of Nizami Ganjavi was Iranian. 

According to Vladimir Minorsky: 

(i The original sedentary population ofAzarbayjan consisted of a mass of peasants and at 

the time of the Arab conquest was compromised under the semi-contemptuous term of 

UlujC'non-Arab") -somewhat similar to the raya(*ri'aya) of the Ottomon empire. The 

only arms of this peaceful rustic population were slings; see Tabari, II, 1379-89. They 

spoke a number of dialects (Adhari (Azari), Talishi) of which even now there remains 

some islets surviving amidst the Turkish speaking population. It was this basic population 

on which Babak leaned in his revolt against the caliphate " 

(V. Minorsky, Studies in Caucasian History, Cambridge University Press, 1957, pg 112). 

The process of Turkification as mentioned was long and complex and there are still 
remnants of Tati and other Iranian languages in Caucasia and NW Iran. It is worthwhile 
to give an overview of the linguistic Turkification of Azerbaijan and some of the 
historical attestations. Also it is worthwhile to give samples of the ancient language of 
Azerbaijan. Since Azerbaijan is the closest region to Caucasia, one may assume that the 
Turkification of Arran took a similar path. Although in Arran, both Caucasian and Iranic 
elements were present, but the Caucasian elements around Ganja had a Christian culture 
and the Muslim high culture at the time in and around Ganja was that of Iranian culture 
and Muslim Iranian dynasties ruled the area before arrival of the Seljuqs. 

138 



Ebn al-Moqaffa'(cl. 142/759) is quoted by Ibn Al-Nadim in his famous Al-Fihrist that the 
language of Azerbaijan is Fahlavi and Azerbaijan is part of the region of Fahlah 
(alongside Esfahan, Rayy, Hamadan and Maah-Nahavand): 

!JUuULj9Jv_S\J0 CjljuJjj^JU I j^> ;OjJJ <Jj| 

JJ9I0J 0I09 uljucx^9 sS^J^ ulgjL^I v_sv^9 uIjJj cLjuuuoj> ^jJLc gsu /xjujI <\L^B ^jJI ^^jujuj^B cu^JLp-dJI L0I9 

vUl O^Job" ^jJI cu^juuuuo v_svj3>9 dULoJI vU^ CH / x ^^ ^ll> U-J9 u J l JuCX JI ^-^ ^^9 ^UjjJI L0I9 obtuji^ 

sloJLaJ^ OJul^xJI Ipj />JL£jl9 cUjujjIoJI L0I9 £jJlj Jjfcl <*sdi\ 9 c9>j^ijuoJl9 uLujI^-v Jj^I <=l£j qjo Ij^jJLc ^^9 

^_aS*1JI gJol^x^ O^iiJI v_sv9 ^I^huj^J^ vil^JLoJI /xliu ulS Lp-«3 cUj^idl L0I9 <jjJj19 Jj^I ^aJ v_s^9 PV&U-^^S 

^{jjuujJIi q^JLII o^ 6.9^ v_S^ ^-ulSuoJ^ -^I^jujJI Jjfcl Lpj /xliu uH9 cujL^huuJI I0I9 <=U^ujb*JI gj09 6JJUI3 

v_SOuJjl9 

olo 9 uljua£j 9 CSj 9 OlgJL^I !>g-JuJ £UU ^jJ CjljjjI OJljuJ O^lpj />U <^S cd^S Cb CjljujI ^S-iuJuJZ LS$1$£ Lol=) 

9 JuuLaSv_svx) o^*-*^ U ' J J u ' Ju ^L*Jj^L; v\jj\jj± 9 CjljujI o-*'-^ <-Sl&>p-«J <-*&! ^j^ 9 .uLajlrpI 9 ±)$\jj 

lol .CjljujI i^jJIc uLij ul jJ (SJj JO^jA Cjl£J 9 »J}>JulUO 9 uLujI^ J^l Cjl£J 9 jbj-> J°^J-° ^ CjljujI ^-»9^uUUuO 

.jljujLj ujjjIs J*&l />^>o oLj ol 9 Juu^S q^ljuj olju oLjLuI juuLo 9 LoJLc 9 gIju^xj ^S cjljjjI v_s\jo\1_J v.soujjIs 

£>$CjJ& _>9-> Cju^JjL> 9 uLosjJJ l» OjJ 9 <^jlsJ gjJol^jo 9 09JL> j_> ^I^jujI 9 ^9X0 ciS CjljjjI v_sObj sSj9>" Lol 

.(juulj (>->UuJ Olju _>I9_juJ />->>0 ClS CjljujI ul v_S\J L>juJ Lol .JJuS 

Source: 

(1346 <Lu*juj qj\ oljLujjul isjsxj Loj ls<*jx>jj j «cjljuj - >j^9» :c9b*-jujl o-i -^°^*j° i p^.-^ g-j' 

Ibn Nadeem, "Fihrist", Translated by Reza Tajaddod, Ibn Sina publishers, 1967. 

A very similar explanation is given by the medieval historian Hamzeh Isfahani when 
talking about Sassanid Iran. Hamzeh Isfahani writes in the book Al-Tanbih 'ala Hoduth 
al-Tashifthat five "tongues"or dialects, were common in Sassanian Iran: Fahlavi, Dari, 
Farsi (Persian), Khuzi and Soryani. Hamzeh (893-961 A.D.) explains these dialects in the 
following way: 

Fahlavi was a dialect which kings spoke in their assemblies and it is related to Fahleh. 
This name is used to designate five cities of Iran, Esfahan, Rey, Hamadan, Maah 
Nahavand, and Azerbaijan. Farsi (Persian) is a dialect which was spoken by the clergy 
(Zoroastrian) and those who associated with them and is the language of the cities of 
Fars. Dari is the dialect of the cities of Ctesiphon and was spoken in the 
kings Vdarbariy an/ 'courts'. The root of its name is related to its use; /darbar/ 'court* is 
implied in /dar/. The vocabulary of the natives of Balkh was dominant in this language, 
which includes the dialects of the eastern peoples. Khuzi is associated with the cities of 
Khuzistan where kings and dignitaries used it in private conversation and during leisure 
time, in the bath houses for instance. 

(Mehdi Marashi, Mohammad Ali Jazayery, Persian Studies in North America: Studies in 
Honor of Mohammad Ali Jazayery, Ibex Publishers, Inc, 1994. pg 255) 

Ibn Hawqal (d. ca 981) states: 



139 



"the language of the people of Azerbaijan and most of the people of Armenia is Iranian 
(al-faressya), which binds them together, while Arabic is also used among them; among 
those who speak al-faressya (here he seemingly means Persian, spoken by the elite of the 
urban population), there are few who do not understand Arabic; and some merchants and 
landowners are even adept in it". 
(E. Yarshater, "Azeri: Iranian language of Azerbaijan"in Encyclopedia Iranica) 

It should be noted that Ibn Hawqal mentions that some areas of Armenia are controlled 
by Muslims and others by Christians. So unlike what some scholars state, we believe he 
means Caucasus as those were areas controlled by Christian kingdoms at that time. 

Reference: Ibn Hawqal, Surat al-Ardh. Translation and comments by: J. Shoar, Amir 
Kabir Publishers, Iran. 1981. 

Estakhri of 10 th century also states in his 

"In Aderbeijan, Armenia and Arran they speak Persian and Arabic, except for the area 
around the city of Dabil: they speak Armenian around that city, and in the country of Barda 
people speak Arranian." 
Original Arabic: 

(Estakhari, Abu Eshaq Ebrahim. Masalek va Mamalek. Bonyad Moqufat Dr. Afshar, 
Tehran, 1371 (1992-1993)) 



Al-Muqaddasi (d. late 4th/10th cent.) considers Azerbaijan and Arran as part of the 8th 
division of lands. He states: 

"The languages of the 8th division is Iranian (al-'ajamyya). It is partly Dari and partly 
convoluted (monqaleq) and all of them are named Persian" 

(Al-Moqaddasi, Shams ad-Din Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Ahsan al-Taqasi fi 
Ma'rifa al-Aqalim, Translated by Ali Naqi Vizieri, Volume One, First Edition, Mu'alifan 
and Mutarjiman Publishers, Iran, 1981, pg 377.) 

jjS± Qjx>y </xJl9\JI <13jSLq v_svS /xj^jujUjJI ^>juuc>I <Juoj>I ,jj_)uoj*jo cUJljuX^jl qjjJIjjjuucxjJj £v _soujJiiijoJI 
.377 yjO f 1361 iO\jj\ uloj^jjuo 9 ulaJ^o oljLjuuLil ^9! v^ '1 Jl ^ 'SS>09 StS v -° Jl *J-C 

Al-Muqaddasi also writes on the general region of Armenia, Arran and Azerbaijan and 

states: 

"They have big beards, their speech is not attractive. In Arminya they speak Armenian, in 

al-Ran, Ranian (Aranian); Their Persian is understandable, and is close to Khurasanian 

(Dari Persian) in sound" 

(Al-Muqaddasi, 'The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions', a translation of his 

Ahsan al-Taqasimfi Ma 'rifat al-Aqalim by B.A. Collins, Centre for Muslim Contribution 

to Civilization, Garnet Publishing Limited, 1994. pg 334). 

140 



Thus from Muqaddasi we can see that a regional Persian language was spoken in the area 
and cross referencing with Estakhri, we can conjecture that this was the main language of 
the muslim population, specially in the urban areas. 

According to C. E. Bos worth: 

"North of the Aras, the distinct, presumably Iranian, speech of Arran long survived, 

called by Ebn Hawqal al-Raniya" 

(Azerbaijan: Islamic History to 1941, Encyclopedia Iranica). 

Although we do not have any manuscripts of al-Raniya to really judge the nature of this 
dialect (weather it was a dialect of Parthian or Iranian languages, or was it a Caucasian 
language or non-standard dialect of Armenian?), nearby the Kur river, in the town of 
Barda' in Arran: 

"The fertile rural environs produced much fruit (with a particularly noted variety of figs), 
nuts, and also the dye stuff madder (runas), which was exported as far as India. In the 
Kor and other nearby rivers, the sturgeon (sormahifrom Persian surmahi, salt fish) and 
other tasty fish were caught; and there was extensive production of textiles, including 
silks (see Ebn Hawqal, pp. 337-39, 347, 349, tr. Kramers, II, pp. 330-32, 340, 342; 
Maqdesi, [Moqaddasi] , p. 375; Hodud al-Aalam, tr. Minor sky, pp. 143-44, sees. 36.21, 
36.30; R. B. Serjeant, Islamic Textiles. Material for a History up to the Mongol Conquest, 
Beirut, 1972, p. 69)" 
(Barda, Encyclopedia Iranica, Bosworth). 

The word sormahi which Prof. Bosworth derives from Shurmahi in Persian could 
actually be red fish (sor/suhr being the Pahlavi for red which in modern Persian is Surkh). 
Al-Muqaddasi translates the "Monday"to Yam al-Ithnayn which in Persian and Iranian 
dialects is Doshanbeh (the second day). An important point to mention is that Ganja like 
many other pre-Seljuq topynoms has an Iranian name, which naturally reflects the fact 
that it was founded by Iranian settlers (C.E. Bosworth, "Ganja", Encyclopedia Iranica). 
One should also mention the native Iranian (Parthian/Persian) dynasty which ruled over 
the area of Arran up to at least the 8 th century. 

Al-Mas'udi the Arab Historian States: 

"The Persians are a people whose borders are the Mahat Mountains and Azarbaijan up to 

Armenia and Arran, and Bayleqan and Darband, and Ray and Tabaristan and Masqat and 

Shabaran and Jorjan and Abarshahr, and that is Nishabur, and Herat and Marv and other 

places in land of Khorasan, and Sejistan and Kerman and Fars and Ahvaz...All these 

lands were once one kingdom with one sovereign and one language... although the 

language differed slightly. The language, however, is one, in that its letters are written the 

same way and used the same way in composition. There are, then, different languages 

such as Pahlavi, Dari, Azari, as well as other Persian languages." 

Source: 

Al Mas'udi, Kitab al-Tanbih wa-1-Ishraf, De Goeje, M.J. (ed.), Leiden, Brill, 1894, pp. 

77-8. 



141 



Thus Masu'di testifies to the Iranian presence in the Caucasus and Azerbaijan during the 
10 th century and even names a local Iranian dialect called Azari. 

Original Arabic from www.alwaraq.net : 

^^Jl ulaJLJI 9 u\j\ 9 cuJujOjI ^\L v_sJj Lo ^jJI ubtujSl 9 1&>«X 9 ol&loJI ,jjo JLpJI l5^\L Jo <=Lol ^uu^d-lls 
9 ij^jLujuJ v_sv^ 9 t^p-jJu^l 9 ub^p* 9 ul^LjuJI 9 JoiLmJuoJ I 9 ^jJLjuj^^b 9 LSj)\ 9 v^^l9 vUJI 9-^ 9 -^j-^ 
u^l ,jjo dJJju Ju^iil Lo 9 t jl9^\ll 9 (jjJjlS 9 uLo^ 9 u Lljuuc*uuj 9 uLuul^ ^\L ,jjo dJJ-i ^ 9 9^x5 9 6l^ 

I^jIS /x^jI \JI £ joI9 L^jLuuJ 9 J0I9 dJULo L^JLo 0J0I9 qSJLouo CjuIS :>\LJI oju& J5 9 CaS^JI Iju& ^ pj>lc\)\ 

9 OJ0I9 ^julSu v_SVjJI V$2$y> U9SL1 uL OJ0I9 U^Su LojI C^sdUl ul dJU^ 9 olaJJI ,JjO >-»*JuUU Sv_SOiJj v_SvS U^juLuU 

I^^jX 9 cUji>\JI 9 ^UjjJI 9 cu^lpjUlS ^p^AJI ^Lj^^I >*Luj ^s3 «_^JUi> asj CjlqJLl>I ul 9 <J^l9 ulJU \^B^^> vjp-JU 

.ijjj^jjUl olaJ <jjO 

Ahmad ibn Yaqubi mentions that the 

People of Azerbaijan are a mixture of c Ajam-i Azari (Ajam is a term that developed to 

mean Iranian) of Azaris and old Javedanis (followers of Javidan the son of Shahrak who 

was the leader of Khurramites and succeeded by Babak Khorramdin). 

Source: 

Yaqubi, Ahmad ibn Abi, Tarikh-i Yaqubi tarjamah-i Muhammad Ibrahim Ayati, 

Intisharat Bungah-i Tarjomah o Nashr-i Kitab, 1969. 

"Zakarrya b. Mohammad Qazvini's report in Athar al-Bilad, composed in 674/1275, that 

"no town has escaped being taken over by the Turks except Tabriz"(Beirut ed., 1960, p. 

339) one may infer that at least Tabriz had remained aloof from the influence of Turkish 

until the time". 

("Azari: The Iranian Language of Azerbaijan"in Encyclopedia Iranica by E. Yarshater 

http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v3f3/v3f2a88b.htmll ) 



"From the time of the Mongol invasion, most of whose armies were composed of Turkic 

tribes, the influence of Turkish increased in the region. On the other hand, the old 

Iranian dialects remained prevalent in major cities. Hamdallah Mostowafi writing in the 

1340s calls the language ofMaraqa as "modified Pahlavi" (Pahlavi-ye Mughayyar). 

Mostowafi calls the language ofZanjan (Pahlavi-ye Raast). The language of Gushtaspi 

covering the Caspian border region between Gilan to Shirvan is called a Pahlavi 

language close to the language of Gilan ". 

Source: 

("Azari: The Iranian Language of Azerbaijan"in Encyclopedia Iranica by E. Yarshater 

http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v3f3/v3f2a88b.htmll ) 

Ahmad ibn Yaqubi mentions that the 

People of Azerbaijan are a mixture of c Ajam-i Azari (Ajam is a term that developed to 

mean Iranian) of Azaris and old Javedanis (followers of Javidan the son of Shahrak who 

was the leader of Khurramites and succeeded by Babak Khorramdin). 

(Yaqubi, Ahmad ibn Abi, Tarikh-i Yaqubi tarjamah-i Muhammad Ibrahim Ayati, 

Intisharat Bungah-i Tarjomah o Nashr-i Kitab, 1969.) 



142 



Probably the best proof of Iranian language, culture and heritage of the Muslims of that 
time are the books of Safinaye Tabriz and Nozhat al-Majales. Both of these will be 
discussed later and provide a complete mirror of the culture and language of the area. 



Language of Tabriz as a special case 

The language of Tabriz, being an Iranian language, was not the standard Khurasani Dari. 
Qatran Tabrizi has an interesting verse mentioning this in a couple: 

JS j\jB J-Xjj v>^° uLuu 3j JjJL 

Translation: 

The nightingale is on top of the flower like a minstrel who has lost it heart 

It bemoans sometimes in Parsi (Persian) and sometimes in Dari (Khurasani Persian) 

Source: 
^-jujLuuj CjLcMhl !«ubtj|jjil \j$S ubj lSOjUj^ v-SvjLbL>\Lo» <qjjoIjuoc*jo tv-SVfP* v-* *^-) 

181-182 lSOjLo^u clS^LusI- 

(Riyahi Khoi, Mohammad Amin. "Molehezati darbaareyeh Zabaan-i Kohan 
Azerbaijan"(Some comments on the ancient language of Azerbaijan), 'Itilia'at Siyasi 
Magazine, volume 181-182) 
Also available at: 
http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/26.pdf 



There are extant words, phrases and sentences attested in the old Iranic dialect of Tabriz 
in a variety of books and manuscripts. Here are some examples: 

Hamdullah Mostowafi mentions a sentence in the language of Tabriz: 

(JJjJj/ 0$-ajU jJ tj± OS* c-A/ <^s$L> j$5ul 

\j v-S^ljuuo ^jl>L^> jSI OjjLu " ! ^j3$LjuJdQ qJJljuoo <w><^JLqJ|cLq^jj j± u\jjjjjJ ubj jl ^JLol> <Sdi 
jCpul v-Sv^J \ jjJjJul 09_juU j± tj± Qs> v-Sy v-S^B^l^ j9-*-il -^9-> <-^u l>juuli jjjuLJ u 

Pg 98" OJUj^ AjljuJ p CjljuuI (u^JJO lS j^J I ) ^9^ 

Translation: 

"The Tabrizians if they see a fortunate man in an uncouth clothes say: He is like a fresh 

grape in a ripped fruit basket." 

Source: 

1336 



143 



Mostowafi, Hamdallah. Nozhat al-Qolub. Edit by Muhammad Dabir Sayyaqi. Tahuri 
Publishing, 1957. 

A mulama 'poem (meaning 'colourful', which is popular in Persian poetry where some 
verses are in one language and others in another language) from Homam Tabrizi where 
some verses are in Khorasani (Dari) Persian and others are in the dialect of Tabriz: 

CjljuU^ jl /XiSj CjuljuUUO /XjuUC> p -XjJu 

CjljuUUO v_SVJU U$J V-S^ J^ 9 fi*SH 
lSJ9j OS /Xjbv-SVJO 9 CjlSj ^>/>IJ^ 
Cjljuu^ jl /xiLS fJjJ^> v_S^juuu /^& Oj^jO Qj 

Cjljuuu uLS 9 Jj^ ojoc> ^g\J CjuI^J 
9_juu uuj^jo ^cp* l _9_juuLc jj v_svjo^ 
*^-v^ v_sO 9 CjljuulS lS jj9>£jo >-*ju sS jS 

Jul^J OL> jl />lodfc jS Ol^^jjo^ 3j 

CjLJuujIg Ojjou uI^j ulS jjijjl^jo 
v_svju9j /^-juoj sSjjl 9 L> ^o^p 

Source: 

1377 ijgj j.is oljLiLul <™ubtj|jjil ubj 9 jLu £yjb" iLoj/>\Lc tj^^L^Lil 

Gholam Reza Ensafpur, "Tarikh o Tabar Zaban-i Azarbaijan"(The history and roots of 
the language of Azarbaijan), Fekr-I Rooz Publishers, 1998 (1377). 

Another ghazal from Homam Tabrizi where all the couplets except the last couplet is in 
Persian, the last couplet reads: 

«uljl&9 <3jo <JL> J9 <3jo uljb LS9I // v-sy u^^> jb yo^ 9 J9 9 jl&9» 
Transliteration: 

Wahar o wol o Dim yaar khwash Bi 
Awi Yaaraan, mah wul Bi, Mah Wahaaraan 

Translation: 

The Spring and Flowers and the face of the friend are all pleaseant 

But without the friend, there are no flowers or any spring. 

Source: 

1333 <>o-«j <«ob*jlrpl oL-juuLj oUj jl c i<*igJ 9^ <v_sOj>ifc 9 S 5vjb»: v-sJ^JIa-lc <oLijlS 

Karang, Abdul Ali. "Tati, Harzani, two dialects from the ancient language of 
Azerbaijan", Tabriz, 1333. 1952. 



144 



Another recent discovery by the name of Safina-yi Tabriz has given sentences from 
native of Tabriz in their peculiar Iranic dialect. A sample expression of from the mystic 
Baba Faraj Tabrizi in the Safina: 

Standard Persian (translated by the author of Safina himself): 

Modern English: 

They brought Faraj in this world in such a way that his eye is neither towards pre-eternity 

nor upon createdness. 

Source: 

.1384 <jLijisl j£± oIs^s^jo ^Ljj <ob*jljji>l ojjj^ oUj ckS^u^o j^^^lo 

Mortazavi, Manuchehr. Zaban-e-Dirin Azerbaijan (On the Old language of Azerbaijan). 
Bonyad Moqufaat Dr. Afshar. 2005(1384). 

Indeed the Safina is a bible of the culture of Tabriz which was compiled in the Il-khanid 
era. It is a clear testament and proof that no trace of Turkic culture, folklore and language 
was present in Tabriz during the Ilkhanid era. 

A sample poem in which the author of the Safina writes "Zaban Tabrizi"(Language of 
Tabriz): 



^j& jj J jj^. j*> jj^ j^ b j^ jih lsJ* 
145 



Sadeqi, Ali Ashraf. "Chand She'r beh Zaban-e Karaji, Tabrizi wa Ghayreh"(Some poems 
in the language of Karaji and Tabrizi and others), Majalla-ye Zabanshenasi, 9, 
1379./2000,pp.l4-17. 
http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/zabankarajitabrizi.pdf 



A sentence in the dialect of Tabriz (the author calls Zaban-I Tabriz (dialect/language of 
Tabriz) recorded and also translated by Ibn Bazzaz Ardabili in the Safvat al-Safa: 

<p kSjjjjJ o\jjj [Jjj\j ^JoL> OlaS 9 CjlSjS j\jS j± \j q+juj jls ^Ljuo^ juol j± $z> oLuulJLc» 

OjLdO KjLiS jJ CjljuU^ tjJLaS jjjl j^ .CjljuuI OJuljuJj CjlQJjJ> ^Sj ^Bj^Lf QJSUuU <^5VJlS2J ^Ij jJUy> 

The sentence "Gu Harif(a/e)r Zhaatah"is mentioned in Tabrizi dialect. 

Source: 

Rezazadeh, Rahim Malak. "The Azari Dialect"(Guyesh-I Azari), Anjuman Farhang Iran 

Bastan publishers, 1352(1973). 



A sentence in the dialect of Tabriz by Pir Hassan Zehtab Tabrizi addressing the Qara- 
Qoyunlu ruler Eskandar: 

(31 <j^> '^s^sp* 

"Eskandar! Roodam Koshti, Roodat Koshaad" 
(Eskandar! You killed my son, may your son perish") 

Source: 
i^-jujL-juj CjLcMhl !«ubtj|jjil yj$$ ubj lSOjUj^ v_sOLb^>\Jjo» <qjjoIjuoc*jo lkS^S> St5^>^j 

181-182 lSOjLo^u iiS±Uu9l- 

Riyahi, Mohammad Amin. "Molahezati darbaareyeh Zabaan-I Kohan Azerbaijan"(Some 
comments on the ancient language of Azerbaijan), 'Itilia'at Siyasi Magazine, volume 
181-182. 

Also Available at: 
http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/26.pdf 

The word Rood for son is still used in some Iranian dialects, specially the Larestani 
dialect and other dialects around Fars. 

Four quatrains titled Fahlaviyat from Khwaja Muhammad Kojjani (d. 677/1278-79); born 
in Kojjan or Korjan, a village near Tabriz, recorded by Abd-al-Qader Maraghi 

146 



(Fahlaviyat in Encyclopedia Iranica by Dr. Ahmad Taffazoli, 
http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v9f2/v9f232.html) 

(Dr. A. A. Sadeqi, "Ash'ar-e mahalli-e Jame'al-Alhaann,"Majalla-ye zaban-shenasi 9, 
137171992, pp. 54-64/ 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/AshrafSadeqiasharmahalimaraqi.pdf 
). 

A sample of one of the four quatrains from Khwaja Muhammad Kojjani 

S- _ S- 

^SLfuJj>Lf ^JVJLJUUL^ JuLgj <S')jS QjbJb 

OjjU$ iS'jjS CjljuU^ <*5 <^> gl Lu 

s- 

03-J9 <S'jjS ^aJclzlo Jloc*jo 

Two qet'as (poems) quoted by Abd-al-Qader Maraghi in the dialect of Tabriz (d. 838 
A.H./1434-35 C.E.; II, p. 142) 

(Fahlaviyat in Encyclopedia Iranica by Ahmad Taffazoli, 

http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v9f2/v9f232.html) 

(A. A. Sadeqi, "Ash'ar-e mahalli-e Jame'al-Alhaann,"Majalla-ye zaban-shenasi 9, 

137171992, pp. 54-64. 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/AshrafSadeqiasharmahalimaraqi.pdf) 



- 2- S- 



.9 s- __ 
O^jIjS 99I Ijj^ 



A ghazal and fourteen quatrains under the title of Fahlaviyat by the poet Maghrebi 

Tabrizi (d. 809/1406-7) 

(Fahlaviyat in Encyclopedia Iranica by Dr. Ahmad Taffazoli, 

http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v9f2/v9f232.html) 

(M.-A. Adib Tusi "Fahlavyat-e Magrebi Tabrizi/'NDA Tabriz 8, 1335/1956 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/fahlaviyaatmaghrebitabrizi.pdf) 



147 



A text probably by Mama Esmat Tabrizi, a mystical woman-poet of Tabriz (d. 9th/15th 
cent.), which occurs in a manuscript, preserved in Turkey, concerning the shrines of 
saints in Tabriz. 

Adib Tusi, "Fahlawiyat-e- Mama Esmat wa Kashfi be-zaban Azari estelaah-e raayi yaa 
shahri", NDA, Tabriz 8/3, 1335/1957, pp 242-57. 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/fahlaviyaatmamaesmat.pdf 

An interesting phrase "Buri Buri"(which in Persian means "Biya Biya"or in English 
"Come! Come!") is mentioned by Rumi from the mouth of Shams Tabrizi in this poem: 

kSj$Ljuj± Qj j»> /xjLj j± a^-m &P?>J l3^9 >:> 

The word "Buri"is mentioned by Hussain Tabrizi Karbalai with regards to the Shaykh 
Khwajah Abdul-Rahim Azh-Abaadi: 

: 1 15 yjo tCjLJuuc^j ji3± tuL^JI oLdsj j^ 

kSjJjjJ lS9-..CjljuuI fJjSUQ 9 jj^L^UuUUO ^j\j>j^uJ j^...LS^bljl /Xj^^J I JuX Qj>\^>. . .jl JjO 9 A9^jO» 

9---v_svJLol vj^ v-sJI^ j^ >^>V .p CjljuuI v-SvJu^jo ^>9^ ^ (^bljl)^bb>l ^>9^ ^ v^^^ -^1 

lSj^sIaJuuo /XjJuu^jI v-Sv^-USb CjlS^Ju^) <3j Jjlgl j± <*^>\p> Cjj^l> <*5 O^Lsl ^LoJLjuuI o-*Jc> 9I jl 

« c U-juuI^ uLuuu9j^ ^ U ^>\L>I jLhuuu 9 0^9-u v_svj9jj 9 v-SvJ^sxx^r jl v_sJL> 9 Jul o^joJ v_s\jo 

<J*_Lz3 j^ v-S^-" ^9>ax) jj± Q$ QJ^>\JljJj CjLJijJL> ^ku Qj 9 OJu^ lj LS9 Jujjo bb O^L>- sSjgj 

jl Ob \j uI^Sj^ <^S <bj bj i^J&J. SS^^J *~>J$J puJ>j}\A+£. iPJLaS tCjLJuul v_S\»aJL^jO ,jlil c Ulh uU 

«.JLJuub v-SObj ololgJI jl 9J />\)& v-SV-fcS2J 3jL> jl Ij 9J 9 CjljuuI jljb 

1349-1344 t ^fbS jujjj 9 ^ux^jj ollju <«oL^JI oL^9j» ^^Sjj^u ^^^5 o-h^^> Jo3b> 

.1970-1965 

Karbalai Tabrizi, Hussein. "Rawdat al-Jinan va Jannat al-Janan", Bungah-I Tarjumah o 
Nashr-i Kitab, 1344-49 (1965-1970), 2 volumes. 

This word is also mentioned in the Fahlaviyat of Baba Taher. In the Harzandi Iranic 
dialect of Harzand in Azerbaijan as well as the Iranic Karingani dialect of Azerbaijan, 
both recorded in the 20 th century, the two words "Biri"and "Burah"means to "come"and 
are of the same root. 

Source: 



148 



1333 c^o-d) 

Karang, Abdul Ali. "Tati o Harzani, Do lahjeh az zabaan-i baastaan-i Azerbaijan " 9 
Shafaq publishers, 1333(1955) (pg 91 and pg 112) 



Maragheh 



5 th 



Hamdollah Mostowfi of the 13 century A.D. mentions the language of Maragheh: 

«CjljuuI >*^X) SS^JL^ OLuOJIjJ>>!JljuUU9J s 5VJO <^cI^jO /)^jjO uUj 

Interestingly enough, the 17th century A.D. Ottoman Turkish traveler Evliya Chelebi, 

who visited Safavid Iran, writes: "The majority of the women in Maragheh speak in 
Pahlavi". 

Source: 

^-jujLuuJ Cslc\lhl !«ubfciljjil \J$S ubj lSGjIjj^ v-SVjLbL>\Lo» <QjjoIjuOC*jO tv.svjfp* v-S^^^J 

181-182 lSOjLo^u clS^LusI- 

Riyahi, Mohammad Amin. "Molahezaati darbaareyeh Zabaan-I Kohan 
Azerbaijan"(Some comments on the ancient language of Azerbaijan), 'Itilia'at Siyasi 
Magazine, volume 181-182. 



Also available at: 
http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/26.pdf 

Maragheh was the Ilkhanid capital and yet the language is called Fahlavi. Similarly 
Tabriz was an an important city of the Ilkhanids yet we have references to "Zaban-i 
Tabrizi" in the Safmayeh Tabriz, in the collected songs of AbdulQadir Maraghi and in 
the Safwat as-Safa. Thus making it explicitly clear that major urban centers like Tabriz 
and Maragheh were far from being linguistically Turckizied even in the Ilkhanid era. We 
believe this to be the case in Arran during the Ilkhanid era. As per Sherwan, the area was 
under the Sherwanshahs and so it was less Turkicized than Arran and Azerbaijan in tha 
era. 



Another look at the linguistic Turkification of Azerbaijan, Arran 
and Sherwan 

There have been two theories with regards to the Turkicization of the Eastern Southern 
Caucasus (Arran/Sherwan now basically the same as territory of modern republic of 
Azerbaijan) and Azerbaijan proper (compromising North Western Iran). One theory 

149 



states that Turkicization was nearly complete at the end of the Seljuq or Mongol era. By 
nearly complete, I would presume it means that it was in an advanced stage. The other 
theory mentions that the advance stage occurred during the Safavid era. The Western 
sources we found about Seljuq/Mongol era (where supposedly Turkicization was in 
advanced stage) are usually one line and are not written by experts in the area (who 
would also need to know Persian and Arabic) and of that medieval period. 

A third theory which does not concern us (see also the appendix) is in the actual republic 
of Azerbaijan were ethno-genesis is a highly political and ideological issue. This theory 
dates the Turkicization back to the Khazar era or even claiming the Caucasian Albanians 
and Medes had Turkic components. 60+ years of USSR control and subsequent pan- 
Turkist nationalist writing had combined history and politics to such a degree that it will 
take time for the local historians to sort out the truth. However we have tried to examine 
this issue using Western sources. 

There seems to be a sort of contradiction or at least lack of clarity from some Western 
writers . That is they express uncertainty on when this issue occurred and even the same 
authors sometimes seem to make different statements in different publications and 
writings. 

Unfortunately, as far as we know, there has not been a recent detailed study on the 
Turkicization of Azerbaijan, Arran and Sherwan. That is no specialized book (or thesis) 
has been written on this area. The only substantial work would be that of Kasravi, but 
Kasravi had no access to Safinaye Tabriz, Nozhat al-Majales, the numerous Fahlaviyyats 
(Maghrebi, Mama 4 Esmat) and etc. Also he did not have access to many Armenian and 
Georgian sources that have to light. He had to work with what he had at that time. His 
main concentration was also on Azerbaijan proper and not Arran/Sherwan. 

With regards to some (not all) modern Western sources, there has been some weakness 
due to lack of detail. Authors have lumped Azerbaijan, Arran and Sherwan together 
although Turkicization occurred differently in these areas. For example, in terms of 
Sherwan, the area was never directly ruled by a Turkic dynasty until the demise of the 
Sherwanshahs during the Safavid era. Authors have not distinguished between nomadic 
plains (say the Mughan steppes or steppes in Arran and Azerbaijan) and urban city 
centers. It takes many generation to give up the nomadic lifestyle, for semi-nomadic 
lifestyle, to rural settlements and finally to urban settlement. Authors have not looked in 
detail at the differences of Islamic sects. For example in Western Iran (Azerbaijan) 
unlike Khorasan, the population was mainly Sunni Shafi'i where-as the Turks that 
entered the region were overwhelmingly Hanafi. 

We believe the following scholars are correct based on the primary evidences we have 
presented thus far. 

According to Xavier Planhol, a well known scholar of historical geography (a branch that 
studies both history and geography and their interaction) and specialist on cultural history 
of Islam as well nomadicization of Iran, Central Asia and Turkey: 



150 



"This unique aspect of Azerbaijan, the only area to have been almost entirely 
"Turkicized" within Iranian territory, is the result of a complex, progressive cultural and 
historical process, in which factors accumulated successively (Siimer; Planhol, 1995, pp. 
510 — 12) The process merits deeper analysis of the extent to which it illustrates the 
great resilience of the land of Iran. The first phase was the amassing of nomads, 
initially at the time of the Turkish invasions, following the route of penetration along the 
piedmont south of the Alborz, facing the Byzantine borders, then those of the Greek 
empire of Trebizond and Christian Georgia. The Mongol invasion in the 13th century led 
to an extensive renewal of tribal stock, and the Turkic groups of the region during this 
period had not yet become stable. In the 15th century, the assimilation of the indigenous 
Iranian population was far from being completed. The decisive episode, at the beginning 
of the 16th century, was the adoption of Shi c ite Islam as the religion of the state by the 
Iran of the Safavids, whereas the Ottoman empire remained faithful to Sunnite orthodoxy. 
Shi c ite propaganda spread among the nomadic Turkoman tribes of Anatolia, far from 
urban centers of orthodoxy. These Shi c ite nomads returned en masse along their 
migratory route back to Safavid Iran. This movement was to extend up to southwest 
Anatolia, from where the Tekelu, originally from the Lycian peninsula, returned to Iran 
with 15,000 camels. These nomads returning from Ottoman territory naturally settled en 
masse in regions near the border, and it was from this period that the definitive 
"Turkicization" of Azerbaijan dates, along with the establishment of the present-day 
Azeri-Persian linguistic border-not far from Qazvin, only some 150 kilometers from 
Tehran, (in the 15 st century assimilation was still far from complete, has been the 
adoption of a decisive Shiism in the 16 st Century)" 
http://www.iranica.eom/newsite/articles/unicode/v 1 3f2/v 1 3f2024i.html 



Professor Ehsan Yarshater who has also studed 

"The gradual weakening of Adarl began with the penetration of the Persian Azerbaijan by 
speakers of Turkish. The first of these entered the region in the time of Mahmud of 
Gazna (Ebn al-Atlr [repr.], IX, pp. 383ff.). But it was in the Saljuq period that Turkish 
tribes began to migrate to Azerbaijan in considerable numbers and settle there (A. 
KasravT, Sahrlaran-e gomnam, Tehran, 1335 S./1956, III, pp. 43ff., And idem, Adarl , pp. 
18-25). The Turkic population continued to grow under the Ildegozid atabegs of 
Azerbaijan (531-622/1 136-1225), but more particularly under the Mongol il-khans (654- 
750/1256-1349), the majority of whose soldiery was of Turkic stock and who made 
Azerbaijan their political center. The almost continuous warfare and turbulence which 
reigned in Azerbaijan for about 150 years, between the collapse of the Il-khanids and the 
rise of the Safavids, attracted yet more Turkic military elements to the area. In this 
period, under the Qara Qoyunlu and Aq Qoyunlu Turkmen (780-874/1378-1469 and 874- 
908/1469-1502 respectively), Adarl lost ground at a faster pace than before, so that even 
the Safavids, originally an Iranian -speaking clan (as evidenced by the quatrains of 
Shaikh Safi-al-dln, their eponymous ancestor, and by his biography), became Turkified 
and adopted Turkish as their vernacular. Safavid rule (905-1 135/1499-1722), which was 
initially based on the support of Turkish tribes and the continued backing and influence 



151 



of the Qezelbas even after the regime had achieved a broader base, helped further the 
spread of Turkish at the detriment of Adari, which receded and ceased to be used, at least 
in the major urban centers, and Turkish was gradually recognized as the language of 
Azerbaijan. Consequently the term Adari, or more commonly Azeri, came to be applied 
by some Turkish authors and, following them, some Western orientalists, to the Turkish 
of Azerbaijan (a large migration of Turks in 12 century, then age 13, Adar loses position 
in 16 th century during the Safavid)" 

http://wwwiranicaxom/newsite/indexisc?Article=http://wwwiranicaxom/newsite/articl 
es/v3f3/v3f2a88b.html 



According to Fridrik Thordarson: 

Iranian influence on Caucasian languages. There is general agreement that Iranian 
languages predominated in Azerbaijan from the 1st millennium b.c. until the advent of 
the Turks in a.d. the 11th century (see Menges, pp. 41-42; Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 226- 
28, and VI, pp. 950-52). The process of Turkicization was essentially complete by the 
beginning of the 16th century, and today Iranian languages are spoken in only a few 
scattered settlements in the area. 
(Fridrick Thordarson, "Caucasus and Iran" in Encyclopedia Iranica) 



John Perry: 

"We should distinguish two complementary ways in which the advent of the Turks 
affected the language map of Iran. First, since the Turkish-speaking rulers of most Iranian 
polities from the Ghaznavids and Seljuks onward were already iranized and patronized 
Persian literature in their domains, the expansion of Turk-ruled empires served to expand 
the territorial domain of written Persian into the conquered areas, notably Anatolia and 
Central and South Asia. Secondly, the influx of massive Turkish-speaking populations 
(culminating with the rank and file of the Mongol armies) and their settlement in large 
areas of Iran (particularly in Azerbaijan and the northwest), progressively turkicized local 
speakers of Persian, Kurdish and other Iranian languages. Although it is mainly the 
results of this latter process which will be illustrated here, it should be remembered that 
these developments were contemporaneous and complementary. 

2. General Effects of the Safavid Accession 

Both these processes peaked with the accession of the Safavid Shah Esma'il in 1501 CE 
He and his successors were Turkish-speakers, probably descended from turkicized 
Iranian inhabitants of the northwest marches. While they accepted and promoted written 
Persian as the established language of bureaucracy and literature, the fact that they and 
their tribal supporters habitually spoke Turkish in court and camp lent this vernacular an 
unprecedented prestige. "(John Perry. Iran & the Caucasus, Vol. 5, (2001), pp. 193-200. 
THE HISTORICAL ROLE OF TURKISH IN RELATION TO PERSIAN OF IRAN) 



152 



So it is ironic that the Safavids, themselves of Iranian fatherline but progressively 
Turkicized had the decisive role in the Turkcization of Azerbaijan. 

Professor Peter Golden states: 

"Turkic penetration probably began in the Hunnic era and its aftermath. Steady pressure 
from Turkic nomads was typical of the Khazar era, although there are no unambiguous 
references to permanent settlements. These most certainly occurred with the arrival of 
the Oguz in the 11th century. The Turkicization of much ofAzarbayjan, according to 
Soviet scholars, was completed largely during the Ilxanid period if not by late Seljuk 
times. Sumer, placing a slightly different emphasis on the data (more correct in my view), 
posts three periods which Turkicization took place: Seljuk, Mongol and Post-Mongol 
(Qara Qoyunlu, Aq Qoyunlu and Safavid). In the first two, Oguz Turkic tribes advanced 
or were driven to the western frontiers (Anatolia) and Northern Azarbaijan (Arran, the 
Mugan steppe). In the last period, the Turkic elements in Iran (derived from Oguz, with 
lesser admixture ofUygur, Qipchaq, Qaluq and other Turks brought to Iran during the 
Chinggisid era, as well as Turkicized Mongols) were joined now by Anatolian Turks 
migrating back to Iran . This marked the final stage of Turkicization. Although there is 
some evidence for the presence of Qipchaqs among the Turkic tribes coming to this 
region, there is little doubt that the critical mass which brought about this linguistic shift 
was provided by the same Oguz-Turkmen tribes that had come to Anatolia. The Azeris of 
today are an overwhelmingly sedentary, detribalized people. Anthropologically, they are 
little distinguished from the Iranian neighbors. "(According to the Soviet school 
turkizatsiya Azerbaijan was completed with Ilhanidah until the mid 14 century, the 
author takes the point view that it happened later in the Kara-Kuyunlu and Safavid in the 
16 st Century) (Peter Golden mentions both theories(An Introduction to the History of the 
Turkic Peoples (Peter B. Golden. Otto Harrasowitz, 1992. Pg 386) 

We note that Professor Golden states: "The Turkicization of much ofAzarbayjan, 
according to Soviet scholars, was completed largely during the Ilxanid period if not by 
late Seljuk times. Sumer, placing a slightly different emphasis on the data (more correct 
in my view), posts three periods which Turkicization took place " . We have not looked at 
his other writings with this regard, however his overview is based on Sumer or USSR 
sources, which both seem to be outdated. We have found the viewpoint of Xavier 
Planhol, a brilliant scholar of historical-geography and specialist on Muslim culture to be 
the most up to date. But even Professor. Planhol provides only a paragraph or two 
(which is understandable for an Encyclopedia). 

Professor Clifford Edmonds Bos worth, a giant in the field also states: 

During this later medieval period, the gradual Turkicization of Azerbaijan was favored by 
the Il-khanids' policy of allotting to their leading commanders land grants (eqta s, 
soyurgah) (cf. I. P. Petrushevsky, in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 518ff.); by the presence of 
the khans themselves and their entourages in these favored regions of upland pasture, and 
then of their Turkman epigoni, beginning with the Jalayerids; and finally, by the 
incoming of fresh waves of Central Asian nomads accompanying Tlmur on his 
campaigns to the west. 



153 



C.E. Bosworth, "Azerbaijan: History up to 1941", Encyclopedia Iranica. 



In a detailed (as possible) examination of the Turkicization of Arran, Sherwan and 
Azerbaijan we must look at primary sources as well secondary sources. It appears there 
were four stages to this process. 

First, the Seljuqs who brought with them influx of Oghuz tribes and settled them in 
grazing lands. However, these had little effect on the urban centers. The best proof of 
this is the Nozhat al-Majales, Safinayeh Tabrizi and the description provided by 
Hamdullah Mutsawafi on major cities such as Goshtasfi province, Tabriz, Abhar, 
Maragheh and etc. However the rulers themselves were Persianized and upheld Persian 
culture. Also one cannot expect the nomadic Oghuz tribes to settle down overnight in 
urban centers after many generations of nomadic lifestyle. Rather the first step from 
nomadism to semi-nomadism is to establish villages and then from semi-nomadism to 
rural villages takes many other generations and finally from rural villages to urban 
centers takes some time itself. Thus in terms of urban centers, as witnessed by Nozhat al- 
Majales and Safinaye Tabrizi, we can say these nomads had no effects. However on the 
grazing plains, they were assigned some lands. But bulks of these nomadic tribes were 
sent off to battle Christians in the Caucasus and Anatolia. Thus Azerbaijan proper was 
probably the least affected. Note in this period, we consider not only Seljuqs, but the 
whole area of Arran, Sherwan and Azerbaijan up to the Mongol invasion. 



Second, the Mongol invasion and subsequent Ilkhanid dynasty brought a large influx of 
Turks into Caucasus, Iran and Anatolia. Most of the Mongol army was of Turkic 
components. However, as noted, the two major cities of the Ilkhanids that is Tabriz and 
Maragheh held their Iranian culture. The Safinaye Tabrizi explicitly states "Zaban-i 
Tabrizi" and this Zaban-i Tabrizi is an Iranic dialect as studied by Dr. Ali Ashraf Sadeqi. 

A sample poem in which the author of the Safma writes "Zaban Tabrizi"(Language of 
Tabriz): 



^J^ OJJ JJi J^ UJ J J^ D J^ J^ L$ j* 

154 






Sadeqi, Ali Ashraf. "Chand She'r beh Zaban-e Karaji, Tabrizi wa Ghayreh"(Some poems 
in the language of Karaji and Tabrizi and others), Majalla-ye Zabanshenasi, 9, 
1379./2000,pp.l4-17. 
http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/zabankarajitabrizi.pdf 



We should also mention that an unfortunate error occurred in a recent overview of the 
book: A. A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn, The Treasury of Tabriz The Great Il-Khanid 
Compendium, Iranian Studies Series, Rozenberg Publishers, 2007. 
And it is understandable that the authors were not linguists. 

Here are the exchanges: 

From: Ali Doostzadeh 
To: Seyed, Gohrab A.A. 
Subject: Correction on your book 

Dear. Dr. Ghoraab, 

I have the book you edited Safina Tabrizi and also your book on Nizami Ganjavi: Love, 
Madness and Mystic longing. Both are excellent books. 

I just wanted to make a correction on your article on Safina. Pages 678-679 of the Safina 
are not about a Turkish dialect (Tabrizi and Gurji)(page 18 of your book), but they are 
both Iranian dialects that predate the Turkification of Tabriz. For more information, 
please check these two articles by Dr. Ashraf Saadeghi 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/zabankarajitabrizi.pdf 
http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/AshrafSadeqiasharmahalimaraqi.pdf 

There are Karaji and Tabrizi languages. Both are studied in detail by Dr. Sadeghi 

Tashakkor, 

Ali Doostzadeh, Ph.D. 

Here was the response with this regard. 

From: "Seyed, Gohrab A.A. 
To: Ali Doostzadeh 
Dear Dr. Doostzadeh 



155 



I would like to thank you very much for your kind email and your friendly words about 
my books. I deeply appreciate your constructive critical note and will surely correct this 
in a second edition of the book. 

With kind regards and best wishes, 
Asghar Seyed-Ghorab 

Dr. A.A. Seyed-Gohrab 

Chairman of the Department of Persian Studies 

Fellow of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences 

(KNAW) 

Leiden University 

Faculty of Arts 

A sentence in the dialect of Tabriz (the author calls Zaban-i Tabriz (dialect/language of 
Tabriz) recorded and also translated by Ibn Bazzaz Ardabili in the Safvat al-Safa (d. 
around 1350): 

9S kSjJjjJ OUjJ [Jjj\j j^>\s> kLjJS 9 CjlSjS j\jS j± \j Q+juJ j\$ ^LjuUL^ Juol j± $Z> oLuUlJLc» 
OjLdO vjLiS jJ CjljuU^ tjJLaS <Jjl j^ .CjljuuI OJuljuJj CjlSUj^ ^Sj ^Bj^Lf ,JJ*UuU ^JVJlSJ ^Ij jJUy> 

The sentence "Gu Harif(a/e)r Zhaatah"is mentioned in Tabrizi dialect. Zhaateh ajI j is 
etymologically equivalent to modern Kurdish Haateh 4jU which means "come". Thus is 
a direct statement about Tabriz not being Turkified yet. Also the quatrains of Shaykh 
Safi al-Din in the local Iranic dialect of Tabriz and that of his successors are from this 
era. 

In terms of Arran and Sherwan, Sherwan was under the Sherwanshahs and the inhabitants 
were primarily Tat. However, the plains of Arran had large number of nomadic Turkic 
and Kurdish tribes. The major urban centers however based on the Nozhat al-Majales 
were Persian/Iranic speaking. In Maragheh, the capital of the Ilkhanids, the language was 
Fahlavi as mentioned by Hamdollah Mustafawi. Thus we have direct and primary 
references with regards to Maragheh and Tabriz. And the Nozhat al-Majales covers a 
portion of the Mongol era. 

Third was the Turkmen era (Aq-Qoyunlu and Qara-Qoyunlu) going from 1378- 
1501/1502. It seems that Turkic languages progressed during this era. However, we 
have examples of Fahlaviyyat from Mama 'Esmat Tabrizi, Pir Zehtab Tabrizi and Abdul 
Qadir Maraghi. The most interesting is Abdul Qadir Maraghi who records again in the 
dialect of Tabriz: 

Two qet'as (poems) quoted by Abd-al-Qader Maraghi in the dialect of Tabriz (d. 838 
A.H./1434-35 C.E.; II, p. 142) 



156 



(Fahlaviyat in Encyclopedia Iranica by Ahmad Taffazoli, 

http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v9f2/v9f232.html) 

(A. A. Sadeqi, "Ash'ar-e mahalli-e Jame'al-Alhaann,"Majalla-ye zaban-shenasi 9, 

137171992, pp. 54-64. 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/AshrafSadeqiasharmahalimaraqi.pdf) 



- s. s. 



S- ^ ^ s- 

O^jIjS 99I \jjJb 



A ghazal and fourteen quatrains under the title of Fahlaviyat by the poet Maghrebi 

Tabriz! (d. 809/1406-7) 

(Fahlaviyat in Encyclopedia Iranica by Dr. Ahmad Taffazoli, 

http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v9f2/v9f232.html) 

(M.-A. Adib Tusi "Fahlavyat-e Magrebi Tabrizi/'NDA Tabriz 8, 1335/1956 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/fahlaviyaatmaghrebitabrizi.pdf) 

In this era, the author does not have much information on Arran proper (primary sources). 

Vladimir Minorsky writes (V. Minorsky, Studies in Caucasian History, Cambridge 
University Press, 1957. pg 34): 

"The author of the collection of documents relating to Arran Mas'ud b. Namdar (c. 1 100) 
claims Kurdish nationality. The mother of the poet Nizami of Ganja was Kurdish (see 
autobiographical digression in the introduction of Layli wa Majnun). In the 16 th century 
there was a group of 24 septs of Kurds in Qarabagh, see Sharaf-nama, I, 323. Even now 
the Kurds of the USSR are chiefly grouped south of Ganja. Many place-names composed 
with Kurd are found on both banks of the Kur" 

We should also mention the many Iranic words collects in a medical dictionary by a 
person from Shirwan. The book Dastur al-Adwiyah written around 1400 A.D. also lists 
some of these native words for plants in Shirwan, Beylakan, Arran: Shang, Babuneh, 
Bahmanak, Shirgir, KurKhwarah, Handal, Harzeh, Kabudlah (Beylakani word , standard 
Persian: Kabudrang), Moshkzad, Kharime, Bistam, Kalal. 
(Sadeqi, Ali Ashraf, "New words from the Old Language of Arran, Shirvan and 
Azerbaijan"^ Persian), Iranian Journal of Linguistics, Vol. 17, No 1(33), pp 22-41, 
1381/2002) 

However we propose our theory. First we need to distinguish urban centers from 
nomadic grazing lands. If there were significant cultural activities in the area according 
to primary sources in the urban centers, then we need to look at the language of the 



157 



cultural activities, the culture itself and also notice if there is any trace of 

Fahlavviy at/Kurdish or other dialects. The Dastur al-Adwiyah which we mentioned is a 

good start with this regard and it is from 1400 A.D. 

Our theory is that the urban centers of Arran (those that had survived the Mongol 
invasions and were not totally decimated) were like Tabriz. They had Sunni Shafi'i 
religion with primary Iranian population but they were ruled by Turkmens. Thus 
Turkicization had advanced possibly in these cities. However, it seems from what 
Maraghi has called the Tabrizi language and the Dastur al-Adwiyah, and also the 
Fahlaviyyat of Mama 'Esmat Tabrizi (a mystic Women who did not have education), the 
primary language of Arran which is very close to Tabriz was Iranic. It should be noted 
the daughter of Fazlollah Astarabadi who was born and lived in Tabriz has all her work in 
Persian as well where-as in Iraq, Nasimi, a Seyyed (descendant of the Prophet 
Muhammad) wrote in both Persian and Turkic. Thus our first theory is that just like 
Tabriz, major centers in Arran were not Turkified. However, the plains of Arran were 
definitely an area of grazing for Iranian (Kurdish) and Turkic nomads. Which group was 
more is not certain, but the Sharafnama as alluded to by Minorsky mentions 24 septs of 
Kurds in Qarabagh (roughly equivalent to Arran proper) alone. A contradiction to this 
theory would be brought if there are primary sources that mention the urban centers and 
their language and cultural around the 1400 A.D. period. For now, the author is only 
aware of Dastur al-Adwiyah. 

As per Sherwan, the area was under the Sherwanshah. Badr Sherwani has poetry in the 
Kenar-ab dialect. Also there is a mistake in the Iranica article on Badr Sherwani which 
was brought to the attention of Iranica authors by this editor. Unfortunately the 
Azerbaijani writer Rahimov has omitted many verses of Badr Sherwani for political 
reasons in his edition and he has claimed that Badr's mother tongue was Turkish. In 
reality this was not the case as noted in: 

Sadeqi, Al Asharf. "The conflict between Persian and Turkish in Arran and Shirvan "(in 
Persian), Iranian Journal of Linguistics, Vol 18, No (35). Pages 1-12. ISSN 0259-9082 

Badr Sherwani clearly states he is not a Turkomen but he knows some Turkish: 

He also has harsh words against the Turkomens as it seems at that time, there was major 
battles between the Sherwanshah and the Turkomens: 



158 



CUd^j j Cjj»1^ ^jj£^)^. Clia^)x^ j aIc j p jli 



Unfortunately Rahimov did not publish "._." parts of these verses but from the other 
words we can see Badr Sherwani had disdain for the Turkomans. 

After contacting the editor of Iranica and sending him the study by Dr. Sadeghi, this is 

what Dr. Yarshater stated: 

"Very many thanks for your email of November 19 and the attached article by Professor 

Sadeghi on the languages of Arran and Shervan. I truly appreciate your drawing my 

attention to the inexcusable error in Rahimov' s short entry. Obviously the author was a 

Turkish Azarbaijani intent on the glorification of Turkish. We shall remove 

the entry from our electronic version and we shall add in the Addenda and Corrigenda of 

the Volume XV the fact that the entry in the printed version is erroneous and one needs to 

look at the electronic version for the correct entry. 

I was wondering that since you have detected the error, whether you could give us the 

added assistance of putting together an entry on Badr-e Shirvani, to be published under 

your own signature, based on Prof. Sadeghi' s article and other articles that you may have 

come across on the poet? He deserves a longer and more substantial entry. I should 

greatly appreciate your help." 

Dr. Yarshater at first had the impression I was a scholar of Persian poetry since I 
introduced him to articles on Badr Sherwani. However as I explained to him, I was not 
and he is currently in the process of finding someone suitable to rewrite that entry. 

According to Dr. Ali Ashraf Sadeqi: "However it seems in Badr 's time, some Iranian 
dialects, other than Persian i.e. Tati, Talesh and Pahlavi, still prevailed in the area" 

What is interesting though about Badr Sherwani is that he knew Persian, a Kenar- Ab 
Iranic dialect and also Turkic which he had learned. He has less than 100 verses total in 
these two and the rest of his work (12500 verses or so) are in Persian. The Kenar- ab 
dialect is the rarest dialect among these and it is in our opinion the native dialect of Badr 
Sherwani himself. It seems that this period was a period of increasing bi-lingualism but 
at the same time, Badr points out "I am not one of those that do not know Turkish" which 
means that a large portion of the Muslim population of the area did not yet know Turkish. 
Thus when it comes to Sherwan, we can safely assume Iranic dialects were prevalent. 

Finally, the Safavid era is a key turning point. The Safavids not only transformed the 
religious landscape of Azerbaijan (except some Kurdish areas which kept their ShafiT 
faith), but they brought large number of nomads to settle in the Azerbaijan. Majority (if 
not all) of the Ghezelbash supporters of the Safavids were from Anatolia and Syria. The 
names of these tribes such as Rumlu (from Rum (Anatolia)), Qaramanlu (from Qaraman 
in Anatolia), Shamlu (from Syria) and etc. also show this. It should be noted that Tabriz 



159 



for example was mainly a Sunni Shafi'i city before the Safavids. Today in Azerbaijan 
proper (historical Iranian Azerbaijan), the Sunni Tats, Talysh and Kurds all follow the 
Shafi'i rite. Turks that entered the area as shall be explained later were mainly followers 
of Hanafi rite of Islam. Despite this, even in the Safavid era, the 17 th century Ottoman 
traveler 'Awliya Chelebi mentions that most of the Women in Maragheh speak Fahlavi. 
On Naxchivan he also mentions Iranian dialects as among the languages spoken 
including "Pahlavi, Dari, Farsi and Dehqani". He also mentions the high class in Tabriz 
spoke Persian (not just write) which probably means the lower class now started 
speaking Turkish. It should be noted that Turkicization of Azerbaijan continued in the 
Safavid and Qajar era, and large pockets of Talyshi/Tati dialects were Turkicized. In 
terms of Arran and Sherwan, it seems that Talyshi, Tati and Kurdish after the Safavid era 
increasingly lost space. Specially after the demise of the Sherwanshah in Sherwan. 

But even up to the 20 th century, there were a large number of Iranic speakers Tats 

(Persian), Talysh and Kurds in Arran and Shirwan, but the Turkic linguistic elements by 

the 20 th were predominant and many of these Iranic elements were assimilated into the 

Azeri-Turkic identity, especially during the USSR era. For example on Tats: 

"In the nineteenth century the Tats were settled in large homogeneous groups. The 

intensive processes of assimilation by the Turkic- speaking Azerbaijanis cut back the 

territory and numbers of the Tats. In 1886 they numbered more than 120,000 in 

Azerbaijan and 3,600 in Daghestan. According to the census of 1926 the number of Tats 

in Azerbaijan (despite the effect of natural increase) had dropped to 28,500, although 

there were also 38,300 "Azerbaijanis"with Tat as their native language." 

(World Culture Encyclopedia: "Tats", 

http://www.everyculture.com/Russia-Eurasia-China/Tats-Orientation.html accessed Dec, 

2007) 

(Natalia G. Volkova "Tats"in Encyclopedia of World Culture, Editor: David Publisher, 

New York: G.K. Hall, Prentice Hall International, 1991-1996). 

Abbas Qoli Agha Bakikhanov, a 19 th century literary figure from the Caucasia mentions 
in his Golestan Iram large number of Tats in the area around Baku: 

There are eight villages in Tabarsaran which are: Jalqan, Rukan, Maqatir, Kamakh, 
Ridiyan, Homeydi, Mata'i, and Bilhadi. They are in the environs of a city that 
Anushiravan built near the wall of Darband. Its remains are still there. They speak the Tat 
language, which is one of the languages of Old Persia. It is clear that they are from the 
people of Fars and after its destruction they settled in those villages. ..The districts 
situated between the two cities of Shamakhi and Qodyal, which is now the city of 
Qobbeh, include Howz, Lahej, and Qoshunlu in Shirvan and Barmak, Sheshpareh and the 
lower part of Boduq in Qobbeh, and all the country of Baku, except six villages of 
Turkmen, speak Tat. it becomes apparent from this that they originate from Fars. 
(Floor, Willem. and Javadi, Hasan. i(2009), "The Heavenly Rose-Garden: A History of Shirvan & 
Daghestan by Abbas Qoli Aqa Bakikhanov, Mage Publishers, 2009) 

Despite these, we believe that one can decisively state that Turkish became the main 
language of urban areas in Arran, Sherwan and Azerbaijan after the Safavid era and not 
before that era. When exactly this occurred in the Safavid era, it is unknown to us. 

160 



However taking Tabriz an example, the period of constant Ottoman and Safavid warfare 
which brought major decline to the fortunate of the city is a possibility. A period of 
bilingualism is possible in the Turkmen Aq-Qoyunlu and Qara-Qoyunlu era for some 
urban centers (outside of Sherwan but in Azerbaijan and Arran). However when it comes 
to the Seljuqs, Atabeks, Khwarizmshahids and Ilkhanids, the major urban centers were 
predominanetly Iranic as mentioned and the Turkish nomads at that time hand not settled 
down in the major urban centers in noticeable numbers. 

A complete book or a Ph.D. dissertation can be written on this subject because there are 
many primary materials. This article has probably provided one of the more details look 
at this process (Turkicization) in Azerbaijan, Sherwan and Arran. However, some 
authors who are not specialist in the area or authors with nationalistic concerns or authors 
who do not possess the necessary languages (Persian and Arabic, and also Armenian and 
Georgian can be helpful), have came up with variety of conclusions. Sometimes even 
notable scholars have contradicted themselves. And even more, sometimes even myths 
(see the appendix) have been used to comeup with a totally unrealistic scenario. 
However, without important sources such as Safinayeh Tabriz, Nozhat al-Majales, 
Hamdullah Mustawafi, ' Awliya Chelebi, Badr Sherwani, Rodhat al-Janan, the 
Fahlaviyyat of Mama 'Esmat, Maghrebi Tabrizi, Armenian and Georgian sources and 
etc., a complete study cannot be claimed. Virtually none of the authors we mentioned 
had available to them the rare manuscripts of Safinayeh Tabriz and Nozhat al-Majales. 



Qatran Tabrizi, rise of Persian-Dari 
poetry and what a few modern scholars 
have called "Azerbaijani schooP'of 
Persian poetry 



Qatran Tabrizi is generally regarded as one of the earliest Persian poets of Azerbaijan 
who composed in Khorasani Persian (Dari-Persian). Although earlier examples of Persian 
poetry (whether Fahlaviyat (vernacular Iranic dialects) or perhaps Khorasani-Persian) is 
attested by the historian Tabari. Tabari mentions a governor of Maragheh by the name of 
Muhammad ibn al-Ba'ith who composed poetry around 829 A.D in Persian. 

U <& ^jj^s^o />\j*CjusliJ\ <jj juoj^jo" />\j <\j v _s\j^>->->.u jl <£ 228 / Jj 235 cujuj gjl9s Jji> i^^> (Hjjb J^ S^^^b 

LgJ>Ljuj| ,JJO CLclo^ CJxI^jjoJU v_SVJ_LjuUuI COl v_SVjU JlT> IJljuUU^Jv.SVJO 9I '^jljujI CU^L^jJ V.5uO CO v_SOujLtC JjuJ^juO 

co ^Sjj^> t*3$S ^-oU^ j* .«Cju^L>I 9 TjLc^l cU 9 cixb*_AJj 9 cu^l 09^^ 9 <*+juJjI&}\j CjuSlJ\ ,jj\I TjLiaJjI 
.^jLcxj 1 Jj v _svjo v.soujjls (lS^jJ*^ >°9_juj Oj9 Jj^I j±) \j 0\s*j\jji\ p±y> ubj <^z>\j^> 



161 



(See: Ahmad Kasravi, Azari ya Zaban Bastan Azerbaijan). 

But the earliest extant example of Persian poetry from the area is that of Qatran Tabrizi. 
It is worth looking into the biography of Qatran Tabrizi, since he is what some authors 
have mentioned as the initiator of the "Azerbaijani" or "Trans-Caucasian" style of 
Persian poetry. Also recently, a statement from the Safarnama of Naser Khusraw has 
been misinterpreted and some sources have claimed that Qatran also wrote in Azeri 
Turkish. (See for example here: 

http://literature.aznet.org/literature/qtabrizi/qtabrizi en.htau accessed in Dec, 2007.) 
While the language native to Tabriz, as shown above and clearly stated in the Safinaye 
Tabrizi, was a peculiar Iranian dialect that was not exactly the Khorasani Persian dialect 
of Naser Khusraw. 

Qatran Tabrizi, who lived at the courts of the Shaddadid and Rawwadid dynasties, was 
according to Jan Rypka: "The most famous panegyric poet of his time from Azerbayjan. " 
Qatran was born in Shadiabad (Persian Shaadi+Abaad for Happy Dwelling/Prosperous 
place) and lived between 1009/1014 to 1072 and died in Ganja. His full name according 
to an old manuscript attributed to the famous poet Anvari Abivardi (529 Hijra about 60 
years after the passing away of Qatran) is Abu Mansur Qatran al-Jili al- Azerbaijani. 

The Al-Jili would identify his ancestry from Gilan while he himself was born in 
Shadiabad. The Dehqan class was the same class of Iranians that Ferdowsi was from and 
possibly even Nizami Ganjavi (we shall mention this later). Note the verse of 
Shahnameh: 

ubjb J9 ySy 9 u\jj\ j\ 

uLo jJul Jul JuJu. lS^Ijj 

±$j lSjU qj 9 kSjj <3J uUi)^ qj 

Here Dehqan is used for Iranian and at that time, the word Dehqan actually denoted an 
important class of Iranians. 

According to the Encyclopedia Iranica: 

The term dehqan was used in the late Sasanian period to designate a class of landed 
magnates (Mojmal, ed. Bahar, p. 420) considered inferior in rank to Azadan, Bozorgan 
(qq.v.; Zand i Wahman Yasn 4.7, 4.54), and kadag-xwadayan "householder s"(Arda 
Wiraz-namag 15.10, where dahigan should be read for dadagan). According to some 
early Islamic sources, the rank of the dehqan in the Sasanian period was also inferior to 



162 



that of the sahrigan "chief of the small cantons"(Yaqubi, Tarikh I, p. 203; Masudi, ed. 
Pellat, I, sec. 662; Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 140). 



The Arab conquest (q.v.) of the Sasanian Empire began with sporadic attacks on the lands 
of the dehqans of the Saw ad, the cultivated areas of southern Iraq. After the defeat of the 
Persian army and the gradual disappearance of the nobles who administered the country, 
the local gentry, that is, the dehqans, assumed a more important political and social role 
in their districts, towns, and villages. Some were able to protect their settlements from the 
conquering armies by surrendering and agreeing to pay the poll tax (jezya). 



The majority of dehqans favored Persian culture, however, and some were patrons of 
renowned Persian poets. Rudaki (p. 458) related that the dehqans gave him money and 
riding animals. Farrokhi in his youth served a dehqan in Sistan and received an annual 
pension from him. According to one tradition, Ferdowsi himself was a dehqan (Cahar 
Maqala, ed. Qazvini, text, pp. 58, 75). 



Most of the credit for preservation of the stories in the national epic, the Sah-nama\ pre- 
Islamic historical traditions; and the romances of ancient Iran belongs to the dehqans. 

(Tafazzoli, Ahmad. "Dehqan"in Encyclopedia Iranica) 

Qatran as Zabih Allah Safa in his famous Tarikh-e-Adabiyaat Iran has mention was also 
from the Dehqan class (as Qatran himself has mentioned): 



^jobb j >cLJu p±ujj V&Ljj />_>u uLft-o)^ ^j£j 



Translation: 

/ was a Dehgan(Noble Iranian class) myself, O King, and became a poet from ignorance 

From being a poet, you turned me back to be a Dehgan again 

According to Jan Rypka: 

"He sings the praise of some thirty patrons. His work has aroused the interest of 
historians, for in many cases Qatran has perpetuated the names of members of regional 
dynasties in Azerbayjan and the Caucasia region that would have otherwise fallen in 
oblivion. His best qasidas were written in his last period, where he expressed gratitude to 
the prince of Ganja, the Shaddadid Fadlun, for the numerous gifts that were still 
recollected by the famous Jami (d. 1492). Qatran' s poetry follows in the wake of the 
poets of Khurasan and makes an unforced use of the rhetorical embellishment. He is even 
one of the first after Farrukhi to try his hand at the Qasida-I Masnu'i, 'particular artificial 
qasida'. When Nasir Khusraw visited Azarbayjan in 1046, Qatran requested to him to 
explain some of the most difficult passages in the divan of Munjik and Daqiqi that were 
written in "farsi", i.e. according Chr. Shaffer, in the Persian of Khurasan, a language that 
he, as a Western Persian, might not be expected to understand, in contrast to the guest 
from Khurasan. Kasravi is the opinion that the text of the Safar-nama has here been 

163 



corrupted because Qatran, though he spoke Iranian Adhari (the old Iranic language of 

Azerbaijan before the advent of Oghuz Turkish) was fully acquainted with Parsi, as his 

Divan shows. Qatran' s qasida on the earthquake of Tabriz is regarded as a true 

masterpiece" 

(Jan Rypka, "History of Iranian Literature" . Reidel Publishing Company. 1968). 

An important epoch of the history of Iran and Azerbaijan is the Oghuz attack on Western 
Iran, specially the areas of Kurdistan and Azerbaijan and Caucasia. The terrifying 
massacres committed by these bands of Oghuz Turks against native Iranians have been 
documented by different historians. 

Bosworth gives an overview of the description of the Kurdish Rawwadid dynasty and the 
Oguz attack during their reign: 

The Rawwadids (latterly the form "Rawad"is commoner in the sources) were another 
product of the upsurge of the mountain peoples of northern Iran; their domain was 
Azarbaijan, and particularly Tabriz. Strictly speaking, the Rawwadid family was of Azdi 
Arab origin, but by the 4th/ 10th century they were accounted Kurdish. At the opening of 
the 'Abbasid period Rawwad b. Muthanna had held a fief which included Tabriz. Over 
the course of the next two centuries his descendants became thoroughly Kurdicized, and 
the "Rawwadi Kurds"emerged with Iranian names, although the local poet Qatran (d. c. 
465/1072) still praised them for their Arab ancestry. Early in the 4th/10th century the 
Sajid line of Arab governors in Azarbaijan collapsed, and the region became politically 
and socially disturbed. A branch of the Musafirids of Tarum first emerged there, but 
despite Buyid help the Musafirid Ibrahim b. Marzban was deposed in c. 370/ 980-1, 
probably by the Rawwadid Abul-Haija Husain b, Muhammad (344-78/955-88); certainly 
it was the Rawwadids who succeeded to all of the Musafirid heritage in Azarbaijan. 

The most prominent member of the dynasty in the 5th/nth century was Vahsudan b. 
Mamlan b. Abol-Haija (1019-54). It was in his reign that the Oghuz invaded Azarbaijan. 
These were some of the first Turkmen to come westwards, being the so-called 'Iraqis', or 
followers of Arslan Israeli, expelled from Khurasan by Mahmud of Ghazna (see pp. 58 
and 40-1). Vahsudan received them favourably in 419/1028, hoping to use them as 
auxiliaries against his many enemies, such as the Christian Armenians and Georgians and 
the rival Muslim dynasty of Shaddadids. He even married the daughter of an Oghuz 
chief, but it still proved impossible to use the anarchic nomads as a reliable military 
force. In 429/1037 they plundered Maragheh and massacred large numbers of 
Hadhbani Kurds. Vahsudan allied with his nephew, the chief of the Hadhbanis, Abul- 
Haija'b. Rahib al-Daula, against the Turkmen; many of them now migrated southwards 
towards Iraq, and in 432/1040-1. Vahsudan devised a stratagem by which several of the 
remaining leaders were killed. The rest of the Oghuz in Azarbaijan then fled to the 
territory of the Hakkari Kurds south-west of Lake Van. Vahsudan' s capital, Tabriz, was 
destroyed by an earthquake in 434/1042, and fearing that the Saljuqs would take 
advantage of his resulting weakness, he moved to one of his fortresses; but the city was 
soon rebuilt, and Nasir-i Khusrau found it populous and flourishing. 

(C.E. Bosworth, The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World (A.D. 1000- 
1200) in Camb. Hist. Iran V) 



164 



The Persian poet Qatran Tabrizi was alive at that time and has described the unruliness 
and savageness of the invading Oghuz nomads and the massacres committed by them in 
Azerbaijan. At the time of Qatran Tabrizi, the inhabitants spoke Persian/Iranian dialects 
slightly distinct from the Dari Persian dialect of Khorasan. Naser Khosrow, himself from 
Khorasan mentions the slight dialect differences between the two places. This difference 
is partially also examined in this article: 

.(418-405 qj>-6.^> <2 g * 1371) jLJosI :>£joc*jo ^jSs oI^s^jo :>Lju .oI^j 



Matini, Jalal. "Daqiqi, Zaban-i Dari o Lahjeyeh Azari" in Zaban-i Farsi dar Azerbaijan, 
Gerdavari: Iraj Afshar, Tehran, Bonyaad Moqoofaat Dr. Mahmud Afshar, (1371, volume 
2, pg 405-418. 

Available here: 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/daghighizabandariazari.pdf , accessed Dec, 
2007.) 

The Iranian dialect difference is mentioned by the following verse of Qatran where he 
contrasts Parsi (Persian) (meaning his own dialect) with Dari-Persian (Persian of 
Khorasan which through time became the main medium of communication after Islam): 

JS j\jS J-Juj y^-b.0 uLuj <\j JjJj 

Translation: 

The nightingale is on top of the flower like a minstrel who has lost her heart 

It bemoans sometimes in Parsi (Persian) and sometimes in Dari (Khurasani Persian) 

Qatran had a very unfavorable view of the Oghuz attack during the Ghaznavid era and 
has harshly criticized Turks and shows that Turks at the time were foreign in Azerbaijan. 

ijjUL&^Su I^C*-ajJ \j Uul 9 CJjljuUuL iJjJUjj-juJ CU-juUuLuJ \j ulS jJ ,jjUuI& Qjo\£s> j\ <3jLjuUU J^JJJ ^SjJjjJ v\j]o9 

!Jul ^jvjo JjS j± oLjI ul jl ^5vjL^ cU^joJ . CjljujI 0^S 

*s±$j o$jjj\ o\^jujj <\j oLjuul jji»jb ^joljoj 

jJ^jl ul Subpl 3 i uLJuuI 3 Loj> ^ iloj 

<jjojI ^cp* jjpr. jj ^^ouuo uLuuul [JjJjv jl ^>^J 
( \? ♦ \jO 1 1377 t/>\jj&S 0\j\jj^jjJ kS$j-ujS Juoj>I) j9>juJ ^^> JLo jj ^jouoS uLjijul cdLoj> jl ±$jJ 

0\SjJ jl pS. \j j$jjJj <^\s> V$Z> OJljJj 



165 






JuJu _p «^OL^ cu ulSjJ Cjl9I <~S^9-u £ 
(^HV^^j <ulcx£>) uLljujIj 0\$j-uJJ> 0$z* Qjxtb ^JvuS lSJuljuUU 

Jul ^S^J-I C ^Y 1 jjUuI - >-ajJ ubfcJUj.il uIjjjoI j\ iSjjJZl <jjUUU_jul> j^ CO jJj V— a-U j| l ^jljuJ9j CU />9_£_QjO ^jjl 9 

^1^9 vijj \S\lu \j u\jj\ :>b c^> j%\ 

(^HV^^ <uIoj3>) lSjIj _uS ijjuubjj U9^> ubU <jjuJjlc jl ^9_*jj 

->Lp!' 9 jl^J^ lj Ol^jj CjljujI O^^jjj OJlu^j) t^jjljj j± <& <jiuul& cLobj> jl >5u^ ^^Ou j^ ^jvjbijljjiil ^cLju ,jjI 

:cjljujI ojjI^ jlSuo 9 jIjlc 9 

^Sjliu OlSjJ C^Jj Cf—S j gj JJuLjuUU j oS 

^Sjl^pr cu J_xSu cLcx^ lSjI^^J^ cu 9>-Su Q, oJb 

ub^sijuuuo Jjj> -V.^a.9 qj <3^9S1juuuo uL^jJ ^^Ou 
kSj\^u^> cb O^b ub 9 lSjIS o^ ^J CH o^lfj 



,jiuub U >-SuO ^jj cjj> t cJ9^ U j-LX ^jj 

(WT^/) iUlod^LSjLio 9 iSjI-U-C CjljuUL& UlSjJ j\ <> <^-^jS\ 

pj\$ <jjO JJjL^juUU oLuJ LSlv.sv-dij 9 v_sJLj> \jJ 
0\5jJ jl jjjzS v-sJL*^" 9 u^^9 jl /xS ^sS \j v_S^j 

<jJLjuUO jJ ^IjU jJ O^^J GLuUuI >OjX CLajUUOJ^ 

uLuuuul uLjijJb* JljJjU CU9SJI uLjuuoj^: JljJjL 9^> 

As can be seen by the above verses, the poet Qatran complains intensely about the 
plundering and destruction brought by the first wave of the nomadic Oghuz Turks who 
ravaged and plundered Azerbaijan. He calls these nomads Khoonkhaar (blood suckers), 
bringers of Viran (ruin) to Iran, kin-kaar (workers of hatred), covenant breakers (Ghadar), 
Makar (Charlatan and deceiver). These Oghuz tribes were too unruly for the Ghaznavids 
and they were not manageable by the Kurdish rulers of Azerbaijan who initially wanted 
to use them against their neighboring and rival Christian kingdoms. 

At the same time following Khorasani poets, the Turks (Of course the Kazakh/Kyrghyz 
types of today which were the original Turks) were also seen as the ideal type of beauty 
by Qatran as in other Persian poets: 



lA , 9j9- > ^y "^l 9 S^H ^>* j9- > ^ 

y^Z> j$JJ pJb 9 ^^OLjJuLpJ CjuUJ /x^ 

l 



166 



(Qatran Tabrizi, "Divan Hakim Qatran Tabrizi", corrected and edited by Mohammad 
Nakhjavani with articles from Badi ol Zaman Foruzanfar, Zabillah Safa, and Hasan 
Taqizadeh, Qoqnus Publishers, 1983) 

Qatran Tabrizi also praises the Sassanids in many of his poems, and uses Persian 
mythology and symbolism throughout his work. Qatran is an example of the Iranian 
culture of the region and in praising the Amir Lashkari, we can observe this: 

uLjLujLuJ CaSlJjO /XjL CjljuJ^J ulgj> ,Jjl 

JuS OLujLuJ CjlSlJjO j± \jJ> <j1t)\ILjJ CjljujI^ 

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Qatran was steeped in his ancient Iranian culture and his use of Shahnameh symbolism is 

significant and ranks him with Nizami. Dr. Sajad Ayadlu has done a comprehensive 

study with this regard: 

(Ayadlu, Sajad. "Nokhostin Sanad Adabi Ertebaat-i Azerbaijan o Shahnameh, 

Iranshenasi Magazine, al Year 17, also available here: 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Persian/shahnamehqatran.pdf , 

accessed Dec, 2007.) 

And Qatran being himself of the Dehqan class was well of the Iranian folklore, much like 
his compatriot Ferdowsi who was of the same class. 

The importance of Qatran in terms Persian-Dari poetry is the fact that the oldest extant 
verses of Persian-Dari from the region are from him. Some have also gone further and 
have said that Qatran started the Persian-Dari poetry in Azerbaijan (at the court of the 
Rawwadids) and Caucasia (at the court of the Shaddadids). Some scholars have used the 
term "Azerbaijani school of poetry" or "Azerbaijani style of poetry" or "Trans-Cacausian 
style of Poetry" or "Arrani style of poetry" to describe the poetry of the region of 
Azerbaijan and Arran. This term in reality was created by USSR scholars and may 
possibly even be politically motivated inorder to support local nationalism and nation 
building. Some scholars have pointed to the great Christian symbols in the poetry of the 
region, but from this author's own analysis, the stories and flows of Nizami Ganjavi has a 
great resemblance with that of Vis o Ramin. Professor. Dick Davis also mentions this 
point: 



167 



The poem (Vis o Ramin) had an immense influence on Nezami, who takes the bases for 
most of his plots from Ferdowsi but the basis for his rhetoric from Gorgani. This is 
especially noticeable in his Khusraw o Shirin, which imitates a major scene (that of the 
lovers arguing in the snow) from Vis o Ramin, as well as being in the same meter (hazaj) 
as Gorgani's poem. Nezami's concern with astrology also has a precedent in an elaborate 
astrological description of the night sky in Vis o Ramin. Given Nezami's own paramount 
influence on the romance tradition, Gorgani can be said to have initiated much of the 
distinctive rhetoric and poetic atmosphere of this tradition, with the exception of its Sufi 
preoccupations, which are quite absent from his poem. 
(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Vis o Ramin") 

It should be noted that unlike the other styles of Persian poetry: Sabk-e- Araqi (this is the 
Persian central area or Araq-i Ajam), Sabk-i Esfahani or Hindi (Indian style) and Sabk-i- 
Khurasani (Khurasanian school) which are historical names used by Persian poets, this is 
a modern nomenclature. Dr. Mohammad Amin Riyahi uses the term Sabk-e- Arrani 
(Arranian style) since the two greatest poets (Nizami and Khaqani) from the Caucasia 
were actually from historical Arran (which at times included Sherwan). 

We note the term the term "Azerbaijan"is actually an Iranian term, and the ethnic term 
"Azerbaijani"used for Turkic speakers goes back to the 19 th /20th century. So when these 
scholars speak about a style, they do not have any ethnic designation in mind. This notion 
has been misinterpreted by some people in order to assign a Turkic nationality to the 
Persian literature of the region. The best proof of this misinterpretation is the fact that 
Qatran Tabrizi was not of Turkic background and the Oghuz nomads who attacked 
Azerbaijan were foreigners to him. He had a completely Iranian culture and heritage and 
alludes to himself as part of the Dehqan (which is a class of Iranians at the time). 
And Jan Rypka notes about the "Azerbaijan school of Persian poetry": 
The school, which begins with Qatran (d. 1072), formed a well defined group of teachers 
and pupils of whom two, Khaqani and Nizami, were to exert a lasting development of 
their respective genre: Khaqani being the greatest exponent of the qasida and Nizami the 
most brilliant writer of romantic epics". 

The importance of Qatran Tabrizi is also illustrated in the manuscript of Safinayeh 
Tabrizi where he takes a predominant place among the poets of the region. 



What did Nezami call his own style? 

There is no doubt that Nezami like Sa'adi, Ferdowsi, Hafez, Naser Khusraw and other 
great Persian poets had his own lively style. But in general, Persian poetry has been 
subcategorized by various forms. One of these forms is the Araqi(Iraqi) form where 
Araq/Iraq/Arak here denotes the Arak-e-Ajam or Persian Iraq consisting of areas of 
Shiraz, Hamadan, Esfahan. Nezami states: 

As Hafez states: 

168 



Thus both Nezami and Hafez considered themselves as part of the Iraqi school rather than 
the Khorasani school. Indeed, the Saqi Nameh of Hafez has been greatly influenced by 
that of Nezami in his Eskandarnama. So the "Arranian", "Azerbaijani", "Trans- 
Cacausian" style of Nezami is a subset of the same Iraqi style, although these terms were 
invented in the 20 th century and were not used prior to that. As mentioned, one of the 
first people to use "Azerbaijani school of poetry" was the policitized author Bertels (see 
the articles about him in this article) who before 1935 was clear that Nezami was a 
Persian poet. So it is very possible that name "Azerbaijani school of poetry" is politically 
motivated although Khaqani, Qatran and Nezami like most poets of the world, were from 
a particular area and had local influences. So it could just be an unintentional term to 
denote regional style. Still, we believe "Arranian" or "Khaqani style" is a better term for 
poets such as Nezami and Khaqani due to the fact that Nezami lived in Arran. We state 
"Khaqani" style because he was the first to use such symbolic and metaphorical language 
and had a tremendous effect on Nezami. The high usage of metaphors and symbols is 
what distinguishes Khaqani/Nezami and thus a "Khaqani" style is also appropriate. But 
from what Nezami himself states, his style is simply the Iraqi style and the Iraqi style is a 
historical term used in Persian poetry unlike "Arranian", "Azerbaijani school of poetry", 
"Trans-caucasian school of poetry" and etc. So "Arranian" or "Khaqani style" would 
indeed be a regional variation of Sabk-e-Iraqi. 



Persian poetry images and symbols: Turk, 
Hindu, Rum, Zang/Habash 

The words "Turks"(Turks), "Hindus"(Hindus),"Rums"(Greeks, Romans), 
"Zang/Habash" (Blacks, Ethiopians) are favorite symbols of the earliest Persian poets in 
forming poetic images. As we shall show, in the context of compare and contrast, as well 
as in other contexts, these words did not have an ethnic meaning but rather were used to 
contrast various moods, colors and feelings. It is very important to cross-reference the 
verses of various poets using such symbolic imagery for a better understanding of their 
usage in Persian poetry. In other words, just like one cannot study Nizami in depth 
without studying Sanai, Gorgani, Nozhat al-Majales, Asadi Tusi and of course Ferdowsi, 
one cannot understand Persian poetry without proper understanding of its symbols and 
imagery. 



169 



It is this imagery, metaphors and symbolic devices of poetry that were misinterpreted by 
the political atmosphere of the USSR in order to claim that Nizami Ganjavi had nothing 
to do with his Iranian/Persian heritage and was actually a Turk who was forced to write 
Persian. Before we study the misinterpretation of Persian poetry in the next chapter by 
such publications as Varliq and other ethnic-minded scholars, we briefly touch upon this 
subject. We also study its usage in Persian literature among Attar, Hafez, Khaqani, 
Nizami, Rumi, Amir Khusraw and Sanai. Poetic symbols in Persian poetry have been 
studied by various scholars who had a deep understanding of the Persian language and 
were free in the West to pursue their academic interest. One of these scholars is the later 
Professor Annemarie Schimmel. We will quote two of her articles here before giving 
more examples from Persian poetry as well as various Persian poets. 

We quote her paper here: 

Schimmel, Annemarie. "A Two-Colored Brocade: The Imagery of Persian Poetry", the 
imagery of Persian poetry. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, (pg 137-144). 

Turk and Hindu 

u O Venus, from your Hindu-eyes notch the arrow on the bow like a Turk!" 

Over the preceding chapters we have observed that Persian poetry is imbued to a certain 
extent with images that evoke the external interplay of Beauty and Love, or the tension 
between legalism and love, between intellect and inspired madness. As with Mahmud and 
Ayaz, we may also discern this tendency in another favorite combination that arose in 
historical and social reality but served mostly as a poetical image whose original context 
was soon forgotten: the contrast between Turk and Hindu. 'Turks enjoyed an important 
role as soldiers in the Abbasid Empire beginning in the mid-ninth century, and former 
military slaves soon rose to become rulers (sultans) in their own right, especially on the 
eastern fringes of Iran and in their homeland, Transoxania. 

Indeed the idea of the Turk as the beloved first emerged, it seems, in the days of Mahmud 
of Ghazna, whose love for Ayaz of the Oymaq tribe was a model for the delight one 
could take in one's love for a Turk. The Turk was considered as beautiful as the 
moon, even though he might be cruel. Soon the Turkish type of beauty became 
prominent both in pictures and in poetical descriptions: a round face with narrow 
eyes and a minute mouth. The most famous expression of an Indo-Persian writer's 
infatuation with a "Turk"is Amir Khusrau's verse: 

His tongue is Turkish, and I don 't know Turkish — how nice it would be if his tongue were 
in my mouth! 

Turkish cities in Central Asia, such as Chigil and Taraz, became ciphers for the dwelling 
place of the beloved, where the lover directs his thoughts. Thus Hafiz asks, using a fitting 
tajnis: 

That Turk with a fairy 's countenance went away from me yesterday — what mistake 
(khata) did he see, that he took the road to Khata [Cathay] ? 

As for the Hindu, he is the perfect contrast to the Turk. Like the Greeks, the peoples of 
Western and Central Asia regarded the Indians as black, and the Arabs were in contact 

170 



with the dark-skinned inhabitants of southern India well before the advent of Islam. Thus 
the black Hindus came to be compared to devils, both in travelogues and in mystical 
visions — where the angles of course resembled Turks. Moreover, India was for the 
Muslims a country benighted in blackest heathendom: 

Light up the candle of monotheism, 

Set forth into infidel Hindustan: 

says Sana'i. The term Hindu, then, meant in the first place "black,"but also "lowly 
slave"-- a slave who had to serve and obey the ruling Turkish princes, as the first Muslim 
dynasties in northern India were indeed Turks. 

The beloved's beauty mark, the black mole, the tresses, the eyes, could all be called 
"Hindu"because of their blackness, but the term also implied treacherous and faithless 
behavior. The "infidel tresses of Hindu origin"lurk like highway robbers, or else they 
stretch across the pale ear like a naked Hindu on a white bed. The Hindu tresses may 
even open a shop: "Give a life for every hair! "And the small mole may be a Hindu child 
that plucks roses from the cheek. 

Images of this kind show that the apparently negative connotation of the "black"Hindu 
could be transformed into something quite lovable, and in somewhat later times Katibi 
Isfahani would give a delightful description of the beloved's face, ridiculing the narrow- 
minded theologian who would rather not admit that a Hindu infidel can reach Paradise: 

ascetic, if you deny that a Hindu finds the way toward Kauthar 

And an infidel comes to the eternal garden, 

Then look how those tresses and the mole came on his face and his 

Ruby mouth: an infidel in the garden of Paradise, a Hindu at the well of 

Kauthar! 

Hindustan is, then, logically, the country of blackness (and for some poets it was even the 
veritable Hell, as Khushhal Khan, the Pathan warrior, states). 

A late poet, longing for his home in Iran, sighed during his stay in India: 

Like a black hair that finally turns white 

Draw myself from India to Iran. 

And Hazin, in a comparable situation, saw his stay in Hindustan as proof of sad fact that 
the day of his life had ended in black night. 

More famous, however, is Talib-i Amuli's remark, on his emigration from Iran to India, 
that now perhaps his bad luck (called in both Persian and Turkish "black fortune") would 
finally leave him alone: 

Nobody has ever brought a Hindu as gift to Hindustan — therefore leave your "black 
fortune "in Iran! 

The darkness could, however, also gain a positive meaning — was not the Water of Life 
hidden in darkness? Therefore Molla Shakibi praised the Mughal Khankhanan ' Abdur 
Rahim, the greatest benefactor of poets around 1600, with the verse: 

171 



Come, cupbearer, give the Water of Life! 

Draw it from the Khankhanan 's fountain! 

Alexander sought it but found it not, 

For it was in India and he hastened into the darkness. 

In astrology, Saturn, connected with black, is called "the Hindu of the sky"or else the 
Hindu doorkeeper, as it was the last planet known to medieval observers. Hence the 
chapter in Nizami's Haft Paykar about Saturday, which is ruled, as its name says, by 
Saturn, takes its comparisons, images, and stories entirely from this sphere of blackness. 
The Indian princess whom Bahram Gor visits is a gazelle with Turkish — that is, 
dangerous — eyes, eyes of the kind that are often called "drunken Turks,"and the black 
tresses on her rosy cheeks resemble fire-worshiping Hindus. 

The Muslims had a certain knowledge of the rites of cremation as practiced by the 
Hindus, and Amir Khusrau in particular, who lived in India, sometimes alludes to the 
custom of satti, the burning of widows. 

Learn from the Hindu how to die of love — 

It is not easy to enter the fire while alive. 

He also describes sunrise with a related image: 

The Hindu Night has died, and the sun 

Has kindled the fire to burn that Hindu. 

The custom of satti formed on one occasion the topic of a Persian epic, Nau'i's Suz u 
gudaz (Burning and Melting), which was composed for Akbar's son Daniyal and was 
several times illustrated. 

Cross-relations with the fire worship of the Zoroastrians occur now and then (see also 
chapter 6 above). A typical example, from the late sixteenth century, is by Yolquli Anisi, 
who tells his beloved: 

My heart is a fire temple when I think of you, 

And on it is your brand, like a black Hindu who tends the fire. 

Such mixture of images is found as early as Nizami's Haft Paykar. 

The Hindu was the slave of the Turkish rulers, and for this reason poets liked the idea that 
they would lovingly become Hindu slaves if only their Turkish beloved would be kind to 
them — an idea paradoxically elaborated in Hafiz's often-quoted Ghazal about the "Turk 
of Shiraz"(see below). 

The word Turk came to designate, in India as in parts of Europe, the Muslim in general, 
and the positive picture of the moonlike Turkish beloved often also has a tinge of cruelty 
to it. Poets developed a large stock of metaphors about the pillaging, drunken "Turk"who 
gallops through the countryside, shooting arrows with his eyelashes to wound his 
admirers: perhaps he plays polo with the severed head of a victim who enjoys being 
treated like that, and he plunders (yaghma) every place. Such negative images — without 
the positive aspect — can be found, for instance, in satires by 4 Ubayd-i Zakani. But when 

172 



reading these descriptions one must always keep in mind that the beloved in traditional 
Persian poetry is indeed cruel and does not care for his lover, and that the lover, in turn, 
seems to relish all the wounds inflicted on him — for the beloved's cruelty is better than 
outright indifference. 

The mystics too made use of the Turk-Hindu contrast. Rumi saw the whole world as a 
dark Hindustan that must be destroyed "in Turkish style"so that the soul may finally be 
freed from material fetters. And Turk and Hindu appear in "the Hindustan of clay and 
water and the Turkestan that is the spiritual world". 

As Saturn is the "Hindu of the sky,"Mars, the martial planet, is rightly called the "Turk of 
the sky. "But in the service of the beloved both are lowly slaves, as Bayram Khan, a 
Turcoman general in Mughal service, sings: 

For your castle, old Saturn is the doorkeeper; 

For your Hindu curls the Turk of the sky is a Circassian slave! 

Much later another poet from India would complain: 

From grieving for you I have black fortune and wet eyes — 

I own [the whole area of] black [fertile) soil from India to the Oxus! 

The contrast of Turk and Hindu was certainly strengthened by the realities of Muslim 
history at the turn of the first millenium, but the many possible interpretations of both 
terms made them a favorite for poets throughout the centuries. With these possibilities in 
mind one gets closer to 

the secret of Hafiz's famous (and often misinterpreted) verse: 

If that Turk of Shiraz would take my heart in his hand, 

I would give for his Hindu mole Bukhara and Samarqand. 

The Shirazi Turk has a black — Hindu — mole, and for this mole, which is traditionally 
seen as a black slave, the poet is willing to sacrifice the most of beautiful cities of the 
Turkish empire. Besides this grand exaggeration in which all values seem to be reversed, 
the verse contains three names of cities (Shiraz, Bukhara, Samarqand), as well as three 
parts of the body (hand, mole, heart), and furthermore plays on the contrast of giving and 
taking, so that a whole chain of rhetorical figures is incorporated into these seemingly 
simple lines which express the poet's hope for some kindness from his beloved. But the 
whole beauty of the verse is inevitably lost in translation, especially in translations by 
those unaware of the delightful wordplay which the poet — effortlessly, as it seems — puts 
before his readers. 

The Turk also appears, though rarely, in other connections. On a few occasions the 
aggressive riders from the steppes are contrasted with the complacent, urban Tajiks, and 
sometimes a poet collects a veritable "league of nations"around his friend's face: 

"The Turk of your eye carries away the heart from the Arab and the 

Soul from the Persian; the Abyssinian mole on your face makes the Hindu a slave!" 



173 



In the eighteenth century Qani'the historian of Sind, considered that Byzantines, 
Europeans, and Indians were all variously destroyed by his beloved's face, his down, and 
his lip — each of which corresponds to a color: white, black, and red. 

Besides the Turk and the Hindu one finds the juxtaposition of Rum and Habash- 
Byzantium and Ethiopia — to allude to white and black, but in this connection the 
meaningful symbolism that lies behind Turk and Hindu is lacking. The Ethiopian or 
Negro, Zangi, is usually remembered for his curly hair, as Sa'di says in the Gulistan: 

The world is more confused than a Negro 's hair. 

A similar combination of the Daylamites — mountain-dwellers near the Caspian Sea — 
with curly, "broken"hair occurs in early Persian poetry. 

From the late sixteenth century onward the role of the Turk as dangerous beloved was 
taken over at least in part by the Firangs — the "Franks" — that is, the Europeans and in 
particular the Portuguese, who from 1498 had begun to settle on the southern and western 
coast of India and had plundered affluent ports, like Thatta in the Indus Delta, most 
cruelly. They thus could replace the pillaging Turk, and the "European prison"became a 
new image in Indo-Persian poetry. This prison sometimes seems rather colorful, and the 
Europeans are generally connected with colors and pictures, for European paintings were 
brought to Mughal India beginning in the days of emperor Akbar and were copied by 
indigenous artists with amazing skill: hence the new combinations in color imagery in 
later poetry. But the Turk and the Hindu still survive in folk poetry, even in lullabies. 



Another article by Professor Schimmel also gives remarkable examples of these symbolic 
images in Persian poetry in addition to supplying the original Persian alongside the 
English translation. 

Annemarie Schimme Turk And Hindu A Literary Symbol 

(Schimmel, Annemarie. "Turk and Hindu; a literary symbol". Acta Iranica, 1, III, 1974, 

pp.243-248) 

A field which is still to be elaborated is the study of Persian symbolic language. Though 
scholars like Ruckert and Hammer-Purgstall, like Ritter and Rypka and, recently, Bausani 
in his Storia della letteratura Persiana (Motivi e Forme della poesia Persiana, cf. also his 
Persia Religiosa) have dealt with several symbols and topoi which are preferably used in 
Persian poetry — and therefore later on also in Turkish and Urdu poetry — there is still a 
large field for further investigation into the development of certain symbolic expressions. 

We need not mention here the symbols taken from the Quran, starting with the ruz-i alast 
(cjljuJI jsj) which is alluded to in poetry so frequently with dush / Jjj$± «yesterday»; or 
the use of Quran personalities; or the old Iranian tradition which is interwoven in the 
fabric of lyrical poetry, the most famous example being the Jam-i Jam (ps* />L>). Others, 
like the Rose and the Nightingale, gul u bulbul (JJL 9 J^) can, in their elementary 



174 



meaning, be traced very far back in the history of religions, the complaining nightingale 
being only the poetical transformation of the primitive concept of the soul-bird. 

Of special interest are, however, those symbols which stem from a certain historical 
person or a specific act in history — the classical example is the figure of Mansur — al- 
Husain ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (d. 922), the martyr mystic who has become, at least since 
'Attar's time, a central symbol of mystical love, suffering, and, though by wrong 
interpretation of his cry ana'1-haqq (^JIUI), a representative of the essential unity of 
being not only in Persian poetry but as well in Turkish literature and even more in 
Muslim India where his name is well known to the Urdu, Sindhi and Punjabi poets, so 
that even the simple villagers of the Indus valley remember him in their songs. 

Persian poetry has always liked the use of pairs of contrasting symbols, and the literatures 
under its influence share this predilection. A famous example of this style is Hafiz's oft- 
quoted couplet: 

Ij Ijkzj $ JULSjjOlmj /^.LLl.jzj ujuugJuLd) uu> cit 

« If this Turk from Shiraz would take my heart in his hand, 

I would give for his Hindu-mole Samarqand and Bukhara " 

with the confrontation of Turk and Hindu. It is interesting to follow the development of 
this contrast-pair in early Persian poetry. 

Hammer-Purgstall has given, in the introduction of his Geschichte der schonen 
Redekunste Persiens (1818) some explanations of common Persian symbols; here we find 
f.i. that the eyelashes are the two battle arrays of the Indians; the eye, too, can be called a 
Hindu since it is black, whereas the beautiful white face is Turkistan; the down (khatt / 
Jcl>) and the mole (Khal / JL>) are likewise compared to India and Hindus — that means, 
Hindu has, in later time, become synonymous with black; Turk, Turkish is everything 
white and lovable, (cf. Steingass' dictionary s.v. $±k&) 

Turks are already mentioned in the poetry of the early Abbasid period — Abu Nuwas 
compares the bubbles of wine to Turks who shoot their arrows, and this connection of the 
word Turk with the young, dangerous but attractive hero is common in early Persian 
poetry too — thus, when Farrukhi addresses his friend 

...oLl> s^jobr 9 q5s 9_juj <^Su Qj <Sy \S\ [J^jj 

«Throw the quiver aside, oh Turk, and the dress of war...» The Hindus, on the other hand 
— mentioned in prophetic traditions as well as the Turks — have been mostly described 
in Arabic sources of old as blackish, and Hindustan was, at least from the time of 
Mahmud of Ghazna, the typical battlefield (cf. Asadi, in Shafaq, Tarikh 136 who, 
however, compares the night still to a negro, Zang, not to a Hindu) for the Muslims who 
were, in the Ghaznawid period, mostly of Turkish origin. Thus Sanai says in the Hadiqa: 

q£ jC^JuO \j -±±>$J &**-*** 

Make the candle oftauhid shining, 



175 



Turn toward infidel Hindustan. 

Sometimes the famous Indian swords are mentioned, and the Muslim knew about the 
strange customs of Hindu ascetics, who might even burn themselves (thus Naubakhti in 
the <*suljjjJ\ 3j9) — Biruni's book on India then enlarged the knowledge of his 
coreligionists about Indian customs. 

The slaves which were brought from India were considered ugly, mean, and blackish — 
in contrast to the Turkish slaves — , and in a poem by Mukhtar-i Gaznawi (quoted by 
Fritz Meier in Die schone Mahsati, p. 8) the poet says that he kept well an ugly Hindu 
slave until he became good so that one could kiss him. 

It may be that the famous love story of Sultan Mahmud and Ayaz which has become a 
symbol in itself may have contributed to the development of the symbol Turk' for the 
beloved which is very common, it seems, in the Seljukid period. In Mahsati' s poetry (i.e. 
first quarter of the 12th century) the Turk-i Tir andaz (j\jj\ ^j <Sjj) or the Turk who uses 
his club for beating people are common symbols for the friend (cf. Meier No. 5, No. 149, 
p. 362). At that time the theories of mystical love developed in Iran, theories which are 
reflected in the work of Ahmad Ghazzall and c Ain-ul-qudzat Hamadani. 

The fact that here the beloved is not only beautiful but also extremely cruel — so that the 
lover finds his highest happiness in being wounded or even killed through him — seems 
to have made the Turk, who was already connected with the qualities of both beauty and 
cruelty, a fitting symbol of the Divine Beloved — a fact that is expressed verbally by 
Ruzbihan Baqli (d. 1209) who told that he had seen his Divine Beloved in the shape of a 
Turk wearing his silken headgear awry (i.e. the kajkuldh / oMS $6 of later Persian poetry). 
Ritter has drawn the attention of the reader to the fact that Abu Hamid Ghazzall has 
mentioned in his Mishkat ul- Anwar that Turks at the end of the earth are fond of perfect 
beauty that they prostrate before things of overwhelming beauty. (Ritter, Meer der Seele 
454, Gairdner, mishkdt 92). 

By the end of the 12th century, the symbol Hindu for black is used commonly by Nizami: 
— The Indian princess — described with the famous contrast-pair as 

« Gazelle with Turkish (i.e. killing) eyes, from Hindu origin» 

is that of Saturday which is ruled by Saturn which is poetically called the o+! ^.j^i ^Ss-^^ 
or >£*juj lSsajl^ and has, according to astrological tradition, black colour. But Nizami has 
also compared the crow to the Indian: 

JljujLu <*_jljuUU LS9AJL& y> £\j 

JljJjLu *^jS*lC G^JuLlfc jl lS^P 

« The crow is surely of Hindu origin, 

and to steal is not astonishing in Hindus » (HP 112) 

And how beautifully has he, as Ritter has pointed out, used this symbolism in his 
description of the fire in winter: 



176 



«A magician from Hindustan, like Zardusht starting with murmuring the zand». 

(Khosrow o Shirin) or, 

« The fire lit from sandal and aloe-wood, 
the smoke around it is like Hindus in prostration. » 

« A Turk from Byzantine origin, 

whose surname is «the object of pleasure to the Hindus»», (cf. Ritter, Bildersprache 12 f.) 

In 'Attars work (d. 1220) we find again a number of allusions to Indian and Turkish 
subjects — the self-sacrifice of the Hindu ascetic is mentioned in the Ilahiname (6/9), the 
Hindu is several times shown as a seeker of religious truth (cf. Mantiq ut-tair 31/2, 
Musibatname 19/4 where he asks «What shall I do with the house without the Lord», i.e. 
the Kaeba, cf. Meer der Seele 262, 522, 533). Even Mahmud of Ghazna whose 
destruction of the temple of Somnath has become one of the famous symbols of the 
victory of faith over infidelity (MT 36/6) is said to have put a little Hindu boy besides 
him on the throne (A pious Hindu slave is also mentioned IN 176/13). The Hindu in the 
Ilahiname (79/9) is contrasted with the beautiful princess of China, not with a Turk. The 
Turk is depicted in 'Attar's epic in the usual way — cruel, but also an object of love 
(Mus. 32/1, 33/8, IN 10/7). The picture is, however, different when we turn to 'Attar's 
divan (ed. by Said Nafisi). Here the term Hindu is almost exclusively used for the meant 
and obedient slave: the poet often calls himself a Hindu, and tells his beloved that he 
would like to become «the Hindu of the Hindu of his curling locks (467). Though once he 
claims to be «not a Hindu-yi badkhu, of bad character, in the service of his beloved but 
an Abessinian who bears his mark» 

He mostly declares himself to be the Hindu slave of the Turkish beloved (465): 

J^ 9 oL> jj Lu ,jS lSjL^j 
<p <<S$AJJb />9_jJj J^ 9 oL> j b 
The classical locus is perhaps in 371: 

ubtj />JljJj 9I <^S$AJJb 

«Since my Turk gave me a kiss I became from the bottom of my heart his Hindu... » 

The cruelty of the Turkish beloved is alluded to in the lines: 

177 



9I l59AJl^ ubfcj ,JjO 9 *SjJ CjljuUL^ 
CjljuJJuoI j\5 j± gjJ U ^/O^pAJ 

«He is a Turk and I from the bottom of my heart his Hindu, necessarily he has come to 
work with his sword. » (129) 

Attar uses astrological symbolism in the words (466) 

9J iS$AJJb JuJj <£ b C>9.yp ^^ 
« Hindukhan became the surname of the Lord of the Heaven 
since the Turk of the Heaven (i.e. Mars) became your Hindu(slave)», 
A verse which has probably influenced Maulana Rumi's verse (Div.V2130) 

±$-Jj jSb> (JJJ9 <SjJ 

«The Turk of the Heaven (i.e. Mars) becomes the servant of Him, 

who became His (i.e. the beloved's) Hindu. » 

Though Rumi has sometimes compared black and white, good and bad to Rumis and 
Abessinians (Div. Y 2428), the contrast-pair Hindu-Turk is completely developed in his 
poetry — thus when the Prophet says in the Mathnawi (I 2370) 

CjLJUOjft <£ JUUJ Ol ,JJ0 J± $AJJb 9 *SjJ 

«I am the polished mirror, Turk and Hindu see in me that what exists. » 
The day is compared to the beautiful Turk with fair face (Div. II 524): 

Olgj <*_jljuJ jJul CjljulH lSj$J 

«The day is hidden in the night, a Turk in the midst of Hindus, " 
and just as the infidels shout when the Muslim Turks fight them 

Ouj bjsu <*_jljuJ 1S9JUL& 

«the Hindu night is uttering loud cries since the Turk entered the tent (Div. II 252)» 

Maulavi Rumi compares, as most profane poets, the curls of the beloved to Hindustan 
(Div. V 2363) but gives the whole symbolism of Turk and Hindu a more metaphysical 
sense, since for him this world is the Hindustan of polluted earthly life, and thus he can 
say in a description of spring that (Div. II 570): 

$j\jjj <j\^jj sqju Li^ ul uLjuulS^ j 
Juol }\jy^jjj yA co JS 9 vl uL_juJ9Judfc co 

«The baggage of the nice-looking Turks from the Turkistan of the other world 

178 



came to the Hindustan of clay and water by the order of that prince. » 

And the comparison of Sanai — the Hindustani Kafir — is carried on further when Rumi 
says (Div. IV 1876): 

«Like a Turk (or in the Turkish way) pillage the little Hindu of existence... » 

i.e. kill the natural worldly existence and reach the Turkistan-i 'adam. It may be 
interesting to throw a look at the symbolism of a Persian-writing poet who lived in Hindu 
environment, Amir Khosrau. In his Divan (ed. M. Darwesh, introduction Said Nafisi) the 
symbol of the turk-i tir andaz is used very often (1416, 1081, 1104, 350, 243), the 
intoxicated Turk appears likewise (347, 848), the rose-cheeked (308) and coquettish 
(289), or white faced (1096) Turk are frequently mentioned. The Hindus are mentioned 
comparatively rarely (cf. 449 the .contrast Turk-Hindu); perhaps the most interesting 
example of the use of this symbol is the last verse of a Ghazal (186) 

j9^uUUO 6^jJQ QjuS* <Jjl Jjj()_JuJ OJjj \j OI9AJL& 
CjuuUU LS3 \*ft> 3 jJ>\ GjljulH ^SjJ °lS \j 3 - )-juaJ> OJuu 

«They burn the Hindus alive; do not burn such a dead, (namely) the slave Khusrow who 
is a Turk, and yet your Hindu». 

These few notes which should be elaborated by careful exegesis and collection of 
material from early Persian poetry show that the couplet in Hafiz' famous ghazal stands in 
a long literary tradition which reflects also some political and social features of the 
Islamic Empire in its contact with its neighbours — and the contrast pair Turk-Hindu has 
always remained popular, be it in the poetry of Sir Muhammad Iqbal, or even in a lullaby 
from Shiraz, which Zhukovsky noted down in 1886: 

There came two Turks from Turkestan 

and carried me to Hindustan... 



Before summarizing the relevant information provided by Professor Schimmel, we will 
provide more examples of the usage of the term, Turk, Rum, Hindu, Habash/Zang. 
One of the earliest poets who considered Turks to be the ideal type of beauty is actually 
the Persian poet Ferdowsi: 

Jul Oj^jzjjj GJu> Qj v\5jj oS 
Jul Ojjj ^j v^U u^jJj\ *SjJ> <\j 

Thus Ferdowsi says that Turks in the view are as beautiful as fairies. 
Even before Ferdowsi, one of the first Persian poets (Rudaki) states: 



jJul ^SL^> ujOjj lSu Cu uljl^ ^j-> 

oLijjSjS CULQ-& 9-^ y. oL° ^> <Sj jib 



And we also noted Qatran Tabrizi, who is one if not the first Persian poet from 
Azerbaijan who composed in Eastern Khorasanian Persian: 

179 



lA , 9j9- > *^>* ^ 9 £-H *^>* j9- > ^ 
JJ3- j^jj pJb 9 ^jOLjJuLpj Cjuuj /x& 

b 



Instead of listing about thousands of uses of Hindu, Turk, Rum, Zang and Habash 
amongst in Persian poetry, we take examples from the recent excellent book of Professor 
Rahim Afifi. The author of each of these couplets is given. We note that many times 
these imageries come together in the sense that all four (Turk, Hindu, Rum, Zang) can be 
used in a single verse. 

Some examples of the symbolic meaning of Hindu as allusion and imagery: 
Hindu=From India, Slave, Overseer, Watcher, the blackness of the hair of the beloved. 

u\jyj>jj <^>C jl <^jv9Jul& ^ °l9>b 

(aul5l>) 

{ JjJJ0\S CjljuJ^J pSs> j^> jJ U 

jjjuuou 9J \S$X>Jb ^9_)ul^ JLJUJ 

CjljujI p\j CL> jjjJ9_)UL^ _9-*Jl& ,Jjl 
CjljujI JoVlC \j 9J ><t> ^JSU 

jb ^jjLjuj j 09^ Lo ^jo^-b* 

(^jvjoLbu) 

^olcy ^9_)ul^ CjLftS /xjl^J ^jS 

/>\$j iS$5 oLuj v5L> iS$±iJb 

9J ^l^^ftjo lj g,b b KS$AjJb 

9J jjl»9^ j^ lj OJuu ijZ <3Lp_aJL> 

Git*) 

^jj> 9J ^9_)ul^ viaJj ,jjo J^ jj Juuj 
>*J^ CaSj cJS jjj j± 9 <jlO£j >> 

(J^loouJ JlaS) 

We note Kamal Ismail uses the word Hinduyeh-Dozd or the Hindu Thief. Something 
used by other Persian poets including Nizami. 

180 



j-jujj> {jj^r. jj Q^jSi ^jj ^jS-juuu 



Hindu beh Azar Sookhtan (Burning the Hindu in the fire=symbolically getting rid of 
darkness and become day/light): 

Gld^ jAj\ CjSjS 0$±j5 uLJul9 jjiuul sCL^S 0^> 
CU_>9_uJ jiil co 9JUL& OIjLjuJ9Jul^jJ ->9xxJu 

(^jvjLqJLj >a<*jo) 
O^ jl <*j\jS=j\j$JJJb 

CjljuJ ^JV-C^jjO 9j ^O^p CL> jjjUUJuOJ (JjOJ cu ;oJl9 

(cSAS_uj) 

Hinduvash (Hinu-face=like a slave, servant): 

CjljuUL& CJj> ^S| Jjo| qjO />\Lc <JJ*-JuJ l&LuJ 

.y^Lj 9SL0 Cjucxa9 cvS ^joui^Juusb 

Hinduyeh Atash-neshin (The Hindu sitting in fire=A symbol for the hair of the beloved): 

^Lpj jj$5 9J Jsd t±\jj 9_)ul^ 9J ^aJj 

uLujJ ^Jjjl >J<p (J^JwU u-^jl t-S3-V-»-Q> 

Hinduyeh Aiinehdaar Cheshm (The Hindu holding the mirror for the eye=a symbol for 
the blackness of the eye): 

V-SuOuuUL"^ <SjZ$jJZ jl CbLS=/XjuUC> jIjl^JujjI <S$JuJb 
O'jJO jl CULuJ JuO OljuJ^j-uJ jl CLaJjLuJj 

(Jifilouuil Jloi) 

I_>9_ujJu LS9JJLd> 
C^^hujuo 9 jSlS jl cuLS tJ^XfP" C59JUL& 

Here the unbeneficial Hindu is compared to a trickster and an unbeliever: 

CjljuJ I ^JVJ I _>9_juJ Ju \S$X>Jb UCp* <SjJb 

CjljuJ I ^JVJ I9-JUJJ ^Vf^ ^JlLOjS^ j^j 

(LS9J9X)) 

Hinduyeh-Basar (The Hindu of the eye=the blackness of the eye): 

/xjujj> <Sjo$jjo jl cbuS — ju^u C59JJL& 

CjljujI gjj-> v^l ^jj >^ 9-* ^9j 

_>Juljuju cj5 ^wZJj CS9JJlj3j ^jtu j_> 

181 



^JUljuUU Q$ jj£U i*S$JuJb CjuOJ>J 

OUoc) 
Hinduyeh Bakr SalKhurdeh (The old pure Hindu=the black rock of Mecca): 

<^S_)Ul^ §aJ 9 - >-^juUUCXjuJ — §aJ ^9_)Ul^ 
V>£ *-SL^iSl U 3>jJj JO j Cjl2aJ ^9Jul5^ 

Olo^jS Cjl^J j± uISjLjuj cLaJj 09^ 

Hinduyeh Charkh (literally the Hindu Wheel=used as an image for Jupiter) 

oLJj gJlb j lj ^^ ^9_U^ 
( Jlj^ljuX JLoj>) 

jj <3 Lg-JuJ^p? <»_jljuJ L _$\J9jld> CU 

(^jvjoLbu) 

Hinduyeh Choobak zan - (The Hindu with the wooden weapon=symbolically means the 
head servant) 

uLjujU >*-0jo jl ^L^ — Oj <Sj$2* iS$JJJb 



CjljujI Oj *Sj$2r iS$JJJb CjjJS p\j j\jBjJ 
Jj>j jjliJuul^ c^ /xJLa^ cisds qjLjujb 

Hinduyeh Chahaar Paareh Zan-(A symbol of a dancing slave, dancer...) 

Oj 6j\jj\s> iS$JJl& 
oLljJulSuI j± u^J p&JJb oL^l9j <l5 CjljujI ^jSs>^ \SV$$uj 6j\j.j\j^>) u £>\Sj iu^ '-^>> jj 9 0-^j jl S^L^ 

JUJ9I _p Ijl^D co lj Ol 9 JJJlS) 

CjljuUO <JJOJ> ^jJojO 9J j OjLuJ 

CjljJulS Oj OjUjlgo ^59Jul5^ 

i-jQjOzjq vJuj ^jJbijLJuj jl cbuS 

0^ l ^d\J3' CjlqJj <39Jul5^ Juu j lj J^ 
^^ JLa.-> ^Su\Jjo ^jjjo £Juo ^Ij 0^> 

182 



U9^jl9 u^jlqJj <39_)ul& jl pj\$> 

09jj> j9j p+-»jj tJuuJ <»_jLJuj <jjo j9j 

(^jjLpj £u*-^) 

Hinduyeh-Shab (The Hindu of Night=symbol of the darkness of night) 

<»_JLJUJ L _$OU - )U jl ^ijS — «^JLJUJ LS3JUL& 

uLjujU co ^SjjS °o> ±j± g-^b ,Js_b <3l 
(^jOLqJLj >j^o) 

^lj 0L0 0^> k-jljJj <39_)ul& jl jb 
^U9 <-Sj9J 1^-09-) > JUJ .P 

CjljujI^ vJJ^U ^pt-JuJ Li ^jy^JuJ ;0^juUC> JO^JA 

uLjujU i^jljJj iS$JJJb CjljujLo GI9J jj Q£>y> 



Hindu-Guy (Literally one that talks Hindu) 



Ju^S \j2x-k±> \SXk&> cb oS> ul 

9I ^9^ 9_Lufc £j ,^09^ j 

9I \S$Xi& cu^JoS uLx^j cLaJj 

(^jvjoUoj) 

[Jjj$j. cLo ^9_)ul^ 
iJ oLjuj ^aJj jl cbLS 



JUuJ ^->u j$ Lcxjuj jjl»9J cLo ^9_Ll^ <S$j c ^> jl 



Hinduyeh-Noh-Chashm (The Hindu with nine eyes=a black reed music instrument with 
nine holes) 

CjljujI £Mj9_juJ CU <3ljl^ CO (oL-juJ ^jvj) ^SLjljuJ^O jl ^jvjJI. 

^9! j^ oLili cu \j p*jjjs> cU ^9Jul5^ 
Gjul9l>) 

Hinduyeh-Haft-Chashm (the Hindu with seven eyes=another black reed that has 7 holes) 

/xjuuc> v"»6fr> ^9_)ul^ 

.CjljujI ^I - )9_juJ v"»6fr> tSljl^ ClS (oLjuJ y^S) ^SLjljuJ^JO jl ^jvjJI 

p^/JJs> CjlQ^ ^9Jul5^ O9S ^lj uLcx^ 
p*jjjs> 9 ^jJuj ^b>9 ±js\y> 

(^jOuJ9_b <3_)ljujI) 

Hindu Haftom Pardeh=One of the stars or planets, Jupiter or Saturn 



183 



Hindi (a symbol of sword, dagger)/Hindish 



Hindi Dragon (symbol of sword, dagger) 



0\$jS U J^>j SOjLljuJ jl <*j}jS 

cU_*Jub Olj9^ jlcl jl /XjuJj <\j \S\ 

lh'U C>^ A*-^-^ ^9-Ju^ lj 9^ j-^S >ojLb 

(Jjfril) 



*>Sjjjj cJjJuo ^sOiSb b«*S °*-09 



^jj.juUUCXjuJ jl ^jLo~i5JUu3> 
i jjUUJul& t." 1 i ''Ljv aJl S yj £UD (i jjUUjj^JjO l > ni lfti jV » «i 

(^joLqJLj >«^o) 

JjJ OJjj >JUJ ^>J ;oJj LSJJujj $J> 

J-J /)J> j^ cjjob> uLJLj Juj 



/xJL> i^JaS) >P-*-*jj 9 /xi>- «3>jljiJuuo v^l 

L^^jl l5_XJl& 9 jlo l5j.^>.0 0^9! CjljuJ^ ^>jj 



Hindi Parand (Indian Silk=another symbol of sword, dagger) 



Hindu- Vash (used as in slave) 



[ JjjJjjJ m LSJuujj ul JuljuUU jJ^*-*^-^ j 
.Ju^S o^*-**' ^juj^U 9 °tlLJuuu 9 cU.juulSL.Jj <*S <3L&Juu 9 />\Lc jl cuL^ 

CjJULjujI V-S_mJ CUjI /)uuJU jl <JJO 

JuLoJ j$ o-*-*^ >°>^ <-SJul& j 



CjljuJL& Cl-> ^pl Juol ,JJO />\aX <JJ*UuJ l&LuJ 

^j9Lu 9SLJ Cjucxa9 ciS ^jo!Jj99JuL5i 



Hinduyeh Atash Neshin (used for the hair of beloved) 



^Igj jj^ 9J Jsd t^ljj 9_xJl& 9J ^aJj 

uLuuu G^' -HSP OtH 1 ^*-' u-^l ^9 -*-»■£> 

^jvjLo^ 9->L> 



184 



Some examples of the symbolic meaning of Turks as allusion and imagery: Tork (symbol 
of the beloved, loved one, and the Sun) 

^j\s^> Jljuj /xJu-i 9 JjlC 9 [JjjQJb 9 jju^> 9 OJu 9 jo\j 

JulSuuO jJJUUuJ ^^ <-J>J OLoJLuJ CO IjU <JJO O^jJ 

(l^^L^ oLoJLuj) 

j9>ol ^-^j ^Sj-! ^j^j^o O- lP^ ^_9-jujLc O^jJ 
^9j Jufcl^ 0I9J 0_LO jl cvS u^> jS± U 

(Jb9l>) 

JuJiJ 0>\S>y> j± kSjj ulS ulij 0^ <^jL_»Jj <39JuLdi 

Torkkaar/Torkaar (Turkish work-symbol of aggressiveness) 

jl^xx^U 9 jl^xx^ uLuuu ^jv-cIj 9 i^SjIS^jj 

(lS^) 

Tork-i-Aseman (The Turk of Sky=symbolically the Sun): 

Torkan-i Charkh (The Turk of the Wheel = symbol for the moon, sun and the 5 classical 
planets: mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) 

. Jj>j 9 £u>x> nSjjLjJixx> i^\j3\ i0lo iOjsbji±j\k£- jl JuJjLc oS cUliLQ-ft oIjLjuj jl cbUS 

jluS ^9^ £y>:. uo\>j ciS <^jl_*jj 

CjljujI j^>jj oLl> G^jIS 

9-|^ jULftS JuJLJUUU l^-JLJUjb^l $J> 

9j_)c> ulS^J olS jl Juol S$jB 
(^jvju9^) 

j^i 9 jljul o^*-*^ j' coL^'l^-*^ uISjj 
^^9 q^o^ qj _uS qjo^r: ulj 

^^jj^lj-pjL^ JuulS^jJ <jjI 
<jiu^L9 <^iJ jl ^j0l9L> 



Torkan-i-Falak (The Turks of heaven=reference to the classical seven rotating bodies) 

,jj| jl jjjUU Ij kSIs u\^jj cux£i 

185 



JJjjcxjuj uLuuul ^jorLoJu ,J^JL> 
(,jjl9l>) 

Tork Ahu Cheshm (The Turk with the eye like that of Gazzelle- symbol of the beloved) 

U^a>jO jl ^{jS-p-iuix^ £&l ^SjJ 

Juuj jb> /xjo^juuc> 9J <-S9j uJu^ <-SI>j jS 

(^sJ\U) 
Tork-e- Aflak (The Turk of Heaven=a symbol of Mars) 

p\j^j b £y>° cOjIjLjuj jl <^j\jS — <S\ls\ kSjj 

cjj^s cjuLj jl ulp_> _p 
(^j^^L^ oLoJLuj) 

CjljuUL^JLjJj^ JuuLo <*S Cj&XJjJ <SjJ ul) 
(CjljuUUljuJj-juU ^-juSjJ CJj^ j jJjUOU JS ^jU 

CjlSj Lo^ jl <jl»9^ ^ O^gJSKJ^jJ v^^ ul 

C^j Uo>- olj jl <*S _LO \]cd> cl> U 

(Jo9l>) 

Torktaaz (Attacker, someone that attacks like Turks) 

V»l 9 u^Jul >!^o^ <~Sb> vi cb 9J j\ <3_)uJu 

(lS>2o) 

9j jU _)Ul& <39_juJ 0LjuJ9j g-^b <3l 
ijS -)Ul> uS^-juJ jJLmJ juS>J ^juULC ^9 

(LS9J9X)) 

^ 0Ar:l9 <^yj\ ^JSs c**slc 

Cji-jujLjJ Ol 9J />X jl^>J 

(^jvjLqJLj >a<*jo) 

Torktaaz Kardan, Torktaazi Kardan (To attack in a Turkish manner=literally pillage and 
plunder) 

o^jS ^\jb jl cuLS 

O^jS jb 9 Cjl^U tOlSU co uijj >09^i5i 



_uS j\j p~>jjs> 9J ^^ jU 

_uS juS^ ^9^ ^^9^° 
(lSJL> 3 I) 

jli^jj o^l «-5^ '-'I >£J jl y> 
jLoJ /)jl CjljJuuj ulSjuu u^^r <*S> 

186 



(^jvjoLbu) 

CjuoJj ^JS^U^ c LjuJ9j 9 pjS kSjuSjJ 

pj\j ^>b Q$ 9J J9 ujjo <*S JU9S <*S U 

( Jlj^ljuX JLoj>) 

9_»Jj ,J^JL> ^9-^1 iSLpJL»julSL.Jj cJS ^^b 

<j^ jl^>J ^Lfc^j >» cui9 Glob 

OoJ-^) 

.olSU 9 vl^-*^ Ij ^^9! <^>b jl S^L^ — «-Sjli^jj 
9I ^jul^ jj> Tcjljuull^ ^jUS^j <j-J L? 0L0 

JuJu Juol 0\$jjS jl 0$5jjS v$z> 9S CL^L> 

(jUuJU jU jJJUUJ 9 OU9S ^^jjljujI ^JV-^joI^ tvA-l^jj) V— '^jl^jO jl ^LS — ^jjJC^aSJ^jJ O^jJ 

V9-P»^o jl S^L^ — 9^>Ju^ <^>J 
9>Juu \Sjj u\ JuuS qjS j^S 

CjljJjAS OI^^JLjujI jl <*S JuLuJj uLi3>r lJ^^ 

(^Is^UIj) 

/>loJu jl COU^ 9 ClJu^J /XjJ CjljuJ^S -fJjJ^sSjJ 

JljuJjjjO JOQjljuJ ^jS>jJ ^S^S -^1 U^S^ ^ >* O^l 
/XjuUC> ^^ ^>J_UjjO OL> 9J j <*S ^jvSlj OL> <^l 

>ol> ^/OjJ />$j£ £> J -^ v>*^-*i9^> <-j>J 
/>LoJ 9jljuuu ^^jj^ p^*^> jl 

(LS9J9X)) 



Tork-Chihreh (Turkish face=symbol of the beloved) 



^aJj 9 Luj jl coLS-O^gja^J 

Jul&^g-^r v^^jj CjJlg cu ,jjo &d> u\La_b 

/)j^Lo >o^9j ^jyJuOjl <*S ^ <*Sjk QJ9 

(^jvjLqJLj >a<*jo) 



(^jvjoLbu) 

Ju^JiJj^ jl qjbS-iSjLa.>- ^S^ 

^L^l jlS j <3jL£L> v^^ $>■ 

^L9l jL^l> _p oL^j> ^9^ 



187 



(^jvjoLbu) 

Tork Del Siyah (The Turk with the black heart=symbolically means the eye of the 
beloved) 

v3$ujixszo jy->jjs> jl ^liS 

(Ja9l») 

.pl^gj U (Hj>x> jl cbLS-U9.^p ^Ijl pjj kSjj 
JL*jo Jubjl ^^ 09^ <S\j\ pjj kSjj 

Tork-e-Zard-rooy (The Turk with the yellow face=Symbol for the Sun) 

JuCp j^JO Qj J0$ jJb 9J OUlC <SuljuJ p'j£> 
(^JV-hjUlJo jJjUUCXjuj) 

v»L^I jl c bL^ - >^- juJ ^^ 

cu9b u\p> cLjJj^S ^j j^ /j^ jl />jS> yj£>£ 

(vl^Sl jl S^) O^SLJj uUaJLuj v^^j 

O9S ^j ^ O9S [JjS> '-Sbj^ j 
(^jvjoLbu) 

(v9-P*^o jl ^1-^)0^1 j^-vJ *^jJ 

pS\jJ3 CO XUjJ ^jJLjuulS jl jjjUU <&j\ \j 

(^->9-c%jo jl cbuojjjj ^^SLjuj O^jJ 

PJJjjS^iuJ <SjJ Ol CUljuUU 9 Ju*£_juJ 

<-S^9J ^JLjuuucp* oL-juj JiLi (jjuuuuubejo JjLi co 

(^la9ljlj) 



Tork-e-Sobh (The morning Tork=the Sun) 






^3fi_»jJ (jjuJLbl JUO ^oLuJ V-jljuuI lSu j^> 



188 



Lu^ >«JlC Jl^J £Lu^ ^JJ ^jul> j^> 

OUoc) 

Tork-e-Sahraayeh Aval (The first Tork of the Sahara-a symbol of the moon) 

0L0 jl cuL^ - J9I kS\^^^> <Sjj 

j$j <3LpJL>\ij> U J9I <3l y>L^> ,jjI vS^j 

(^jJLljuj) 

Tork Tab' (Turkish natured=symbol of cruelty and harshness) 

ula^b v^^J Cjljuj^ 9J Jjl£ U 

(^jvjLqJLj >a<*jo) 

V9-P^o jl cbLS-jlLb <Sjj 

jLub v^^J p->JJS> £>jJj olS co 

jb y>3 ^9^ cUui9 ^ ^jvjcx^ 

jLub vS^j lj Lp-jJuLftJ ul JuJu 

jL>j| jj^> u <j-*j> oLuj Cjij^j j 
(^jJLj^I <JjIx) 

■ V9-P^O jl S^L^ ~9- JuUL *^ L-UrS^ ^>J 

cLl*»juj Jj%Jl^uuj 0L0 ul jl JljJj 0-^9-) ^L^ 
^9^uuuS JjL«jlc V^jJ Ol jl JUiJiJ jjiolS O^*^" 

(i3JL> S l) 

Tork-e-Falak (The Tork of heaven=symbolizing the planet Mars or the Sun) 

<SlS kSjJ 9J oLo^Juc> U cuaS 

CjljuJUXjuJ uS3-U-Q> jjjjcp* OJUU 

^Juu ^oxS 9I jjiuuj vil9 v^^J cu ^pl 

(^j^s^j oLoJLuj) 

\j+jp? jj jjjull> gji o^H^ Ij *-juL9 O^j 

G^-*^ .P CH^ ^ Li ,pu Ij uuJj 6^-b 

(^>l*>) 

Ij^j jjO ^iSJS V^jJ CjljujI />\I»C 

Cjljuuuu olj ^^ j^> 9J ol<p>-Ju <p?r 

CjJLdT vJU=) 
IdUj /x<*iju co Cj^I^sI pic o^> 

-bLuUU CjJLjuJ CO CjSj kSIS \SjJ 

189 



Tork-e-Kafar Kish (The Kaffar (unbeliever) Turk-symbol of the beloved) 



V9-P*jo jl ^L^'u^u^)^^ kSjj 

\j ijjjj^> OuS /xjIjujoJ ubloJLuuuo ^1 
(^>^j>9) 

u^>jo jl cuLS-o\lS £iS v^jj 
<-S^9J ^JLjiJiju£> ol^^SLu /xii*J ^ <-5^ ul jS 

CjljujI <jJljuUU9>' 0\15 £p O^jJ lSu ji - >-juJ 

(^1*9 bb) 

U^JO jl COuS — jjjoSuLcxS V^^jJ 

,^9 JuuulSL«jo \JjJzS ^ /xjuulS uLcxS v^^jj 

Ol^JuJOJ ^jJiS^p ^juULC ^l^^ V^^jJ 

(su») 

/jl^gj b £y>x> OjLljuj jl Qj\j&-0$±ji *Sjj 

CjljujI <JjO Ji-Q-vjU <^CjS> CU CjljuUUO 

/XJjU jjjuuI J$ \j GI9JUL& 
(^jvjoUqj) 

u\J9^ 9 Ojlx 9 ^IjU jl cuL^ — j\j 9 ^>» 
j9>C jl «^jJL^ £J>> jb 9 ^jJ jl /xJslc 

(^_jJLd) 

^jvjuljujI^ v_jljuj93 9 9 Luj jl cuLo 9 O^jj JuuLo-^jjjcp^jj 

^Sj^jjjS <^>Ld 9J bejlS ^^9^0^ ul Ljj9>- <3l 

(,^uj>9) 

.G^S ^jJ-xSjljuj-qJCSP Cju*_juj jl <1j\jS-0±j$\ ^JvS^j 

\)l lJSH^ 9 p^J^> CjuoX jLu ^pl 
/x&IS^p* 9^>r ciJLjuuu ^jjcxS - >ju^d 9 ,JJjuULC CO 

(LS9J9X)) 

^^ jl9>J uLc> O^^jo ^j\»b9_b 

^JVJlSLjuJJLPX 9 L _$Vjl99jJ jl ^l-" "^JVJLflj^ ^Jvj>J 

190 



CjljuuuJ Lo <3Ij_juj ( jj>uuj cKJySjj 

(^jvjoLbu) 

.U^S ^SjjS C *-S^ tO±j5 ^jJ^ Cjl^UuJ tO±j5 pJLjuj 9 j^> j\ <1j\jS-0±j5 i^SjJ 

(^jJLljuj) 

9^Juuo uljb <<jio ^jvS^ IJ&2LO Op> 

9J LS^-juJ <jjo Jjjo ^Sl l5 v ^>' G^-° 

9J <39_)ul& ciSJj ^ol^J v^^jj <*S 

(^jvjoLbu) 



Some examples of the symbolic usage of Rum(Greek) in Persian allusion and imagery: 
Rum o Zang (Greek and Black=Day and Night) 

t^jviujb 9 k _s^jjj$j ij^j 9 ^-j^jjj j\ cuLS-oLij 9 p$j 

^>j 9 />9j ^jb igl* 
(^9^JlS ^jvjoLbu) 

^juJ^JuO JljuJj ^JvjCX^ ^jvjLoj ^^ 

Ouj 9 ^09^ j <^jljuj 9 j9j c U_*jj 9^ 

Rumi (Greek=Sun, brightness) 

vbi9l 1 ^JVJ ULJUJ9J jl c UuS- l _5vj09j 

Cjljuuu puu j\ ^S^°Sj kS^^ -^boJ 

CjljJuuo co >^> ^jj ul 9 OijjjS 

(^jouJ9_b <3JljujI) 

JujuJj v jjull> uIj9^ cp>r Cjljuuo uLgJu ^s^°Sj 

(LS9J9X)) 

Rumiyaaneh Roo Daashtan (Having the face of a Greek=bright face, light face, beautiful 
face) 

O^ *S$j Luj <0>p-^ J^q_juj jl coLS-^jJLjJjb 9^ <*j\jlO$j. 

Jb> 9 ^aJj ctiLSjj t^jb <S$j ciiLx^j 
^juJlC jj ^>b ^9>jI uLj>L> uLcxS U9^> 

(<3AS_juj) 



191 



Rumi Bachegan (Greek Kids=tear drops of the eye) 



^^vjLuuu JujI^ 9J lS^jo 9 9J iS$j jl 



/xjJuc> iS$JuJb 9^ J9 /xj>S 09^ 



Rumiyeh Talkh (The bitter Greek=a bitter wine) 



.£uu ^j\juuj jl cUu^— £uu ^5vj09j 

(^x)b>) 

.^IjjoJI O9JL1UO 9 oLij 9^ jl <*j\jS-*Sp> ^svjo9j 

JljJj Cjl^ISjU ^9> jl 9 <3b v^L> U9^> \$& 
^jvJULjuuu ^Scp* ^_s^°Sj ^Sj lJ vj0 ^ jsb± jl ^l>> 

(^olsL>) 

.^9^, Luj jl cuLS -£j k_s^oSj 
±^> 9J <^aJj >j 9^ ^U 9 ^j^>j ^J^°Sj 

.JuS ^JVJCX^ 1*^^ Ji-JuJ O^LuJ iSLuUUO jl 

.u^9j Lft-^U 9 J-xSu 9 <Aj>Su 9 9^^ jl <*j}jS "^^ >°9j ^lJ^j 



I ub cUuJ^ b cJ^ ^Jjjo cLojfc 

T^jljujI uLSjj U Cji-b ^J-uO 1^ 
(jl^jl /XjujIs) 



<S$5 \j JuljuJj^> O^lj ^svjo9j oLuj 

jjjUUU^I uLajO jl g;«J ^joSjO^jJ 

±\j ^_s^°sj oIjjl>I b>£^> 

(^JV-hjUlJo jJjUUCXjuj) 

v»l^9l jl S^L^ — L^j ^j <^°9j 

JjpLi Ij v>^ 09jL> Juul ulj <ls>jS 

JJuuU UlCj Oj J.JVJ09J cUul jjJOJ j^ 

l _5vj09j cLob^ — v—JLuu J.JVJ09J 

^^jj^ ^jOJuu CjljujI ^jJ^ O^ljl 



192 



[JjJQJ CS^jJljuJUuJ CjljujI k _$JJl& i_$3<)j& 

P$j2*lo C\jJ CjljujI ^jyJLuJ ^S^Sj 

/XC U C\jJ CjljujI ^>JjJO ^_$Sjj 

(julsb.) 

. ^jvjib Ljuj 9 Aaa-juj j9j 9 <^jljuj tjlS^j jl ^XiS — ^_$Sjj 9 lJ vj0 9j 

OJlL uL^jOsjJ ,jjI ,JjO u ^puo 

oLij 9_> JlajjLu ^jSjj 9 ^svjo9j 9-> 
(^jvjoLbu) 

^_?jS jLuLcl p ^joLij 9 ^_s^°Sj 9^ O^-V 
JuLuulSj jLouj j-> u >09j j 

cijljuuu /)_> jU j_> uLlC ^jvS-ij 9 ^svjo9j u^ 9_> 
u\J9-> jl JuuU ^jvjoj^ c9jjl ^9 ^>*^ ^j 

CjljujI i^fSjj 9^ S JL -*- J U JSj V ** 
CjljujI ^JOUj olS iJ^Sj oIS CUloj 

(9 > uj> >a>l) 

.j9j 9 <^jljuj ^jo^jjj 9 l _5\Jljuj9 - ) jl <^Uo - uLp_> 0_>9joJ ^sSjj 9 lJ vj0 9 - ) 

^jvSjj 9_> j_> CSjlS Cjljujuj Ij uLp_> 

^jvSLij ^jv-^5 -JuLo^ lJ^j i^-P-^ 

(^jvjoUqj) 

.^>juj9 - ) 9 <J)L^ jl cOufJ 9 ^svjo9j JuuLo — fjjj^jjo^j 



A iJjJQjlQSj c\£ ^jvjo ul ^JvSLuJ Lu 
CjljujI <j-JJ> ^JOUJ U£-> /XSLsb <*!> 0_> ,JjO <\j 

(^jvjoLbu) 



Some examples of the symbolic usage of Zang/Habash (Blacks/Ethiopians) in Persian 
poetic allusions and imageries: Habashi (Abyssenian/Black=symbol of blackness, symbol 
of darkness of the beloved's hair) 

^JOuJ-C> 

<JUj oL^juj- >£-> oL^juj "Ouj dl^H^ jl Sj^ 

Ju^dI ^oLoj 9 0>£-> ^jou\jlc> ulSL/jlSu 
jjJb jjjj-»9I cLcx^ ^jOlao J\L cLo^ 

Jb^SLij ^j ^joLoj »^j^uj-c> 

JuJuu \jj^> ^s^°Sj c9^ u^J^j-i 9^ ^ 

Zangi (Black/ symbol of the darkness and darkness of night) 

L _5vSu - )U 9 ^jv-^Ljuj jl cOuS — tjOuj 



193 



3JL>U ^JvSjj ul Jul ^S^ 

(^jouu^-b <3_)uujI) 

/)9j 9 ^svSJj uloj ^ Cjuojj^ 9 CjuojJ^ j$ 
uLlC <3^>S «^Lhuj ul 9 v^j <-S^ ul^S o^J 

oLjuj jl <^j\jS — ulouj 9^kjcx^-cuLSjj 

JL> 9 ^aJj cuLSLij ^jb <39j cuLjo9j 

v-uJlCjj ^>b «-S9>jI ubj>b> ulcxS 9^> 

(^ASIjuj) 

<^aJj qj^JJjfc ul kS$JJl& CjljujI ^jOlsb* 
jjli^Juo oLjuj Jb> cuLSLij ul 9 



UL> jl <=ULO-ULiL^eJ tjOuj 

O^lj O^Lo j ulSL*j ^SvSjj 
(<3AS_juj) 



j9j_xS ^JJufc cu^ljul 
(^jvjoLbu) 

oLjuj j^SjI ^Lg-gjb jl coLS-jj uliscj ^jvSjj 

^jljuJ^-u j9^-«j0 jj uISl^kj ^J^-U V^^ 

(^JV-hjUlJo jJjUUCXjuj) 

Jj ^jvAjjU jl <^Uo -c u5uj ^jJ j^JvSJj 






^jojjU jl cuLo -^ f^S^j 

JJL)\ *>S\j$ jl /XJ=«jl { Jjj^jS 
(^jJLljuj) 



1 i^s^ob jl S^bo-^b tjouj 
jb ^jvSjj qj.\5 px-jj o\jjS ol jl 

j\j ^jv5u ^JJl^jjoJ ^9> lJ^-0 9^Z 



194 



\jJuS> t^S^J OJuu JUuJ L%5 jJJOJ 

jLuj Jljuj Oj OjUjL^r j^jvSJj 



£loi jj £w> :>j qS CLjuuJaC 9^ <Sj. ±\j jl 

j\j CjljuUUuUU OS jJ^S CU U c \JlSL> ^_$Sjj 

Zangi Del/Zangi Deli (Zangi heart, Zangi heartedness, =merciless, black hearted) 

CjljujI JJl^LjuJ 9 p^>J+J <*$ Ol jl <*J m \jS — JjuSjj 

.^jjjuu^uuj iCj$[suuj 9 <3j9JLpJu^ jl ^juS — ^jJjuSjj 

v>£ o\b ^jvSjj <~slx££ j 

/xjJuol O93? <*S ^jOljJ uljjp 

Juol J^ £jl9 oLSLij 9I 93? 
Juol Ju^>b> 9j ^jJ^ tjOuj ^jouuu 

^joujU jl ^jl-" — ^jujj j^JvSJj 

CjljuJJ j^JOUJ £Lu^ ^Lo^j-juJ j 0<p>r 

CjljuulSuI 9 jjjuuI jJul Jujo^ /)^ 
JjJ> ^j ^JVJCX^ 09^ >0_\J%Ju^> 

J-JJI^j ±$j ^jvjcx^ Ob> ^jyJLaS 

(^jJLljuj) 



\J9$uuixSlO 0L_mU kS$JO jl ^UO-ClJLJuUO^j-JuJ j^JOUj 

tSLpJL^iil ^^ ^ cLo j ciS ul «3l 

i^lgJLifcjjol J5 ojj 0I9J 9 juuj v 

Cjljuul^^j ciS olj cIJLjuuiS^j-juj ^SvSLij ul 

.<»_jljuJ ^JvAJjU jl ^jl-" ~S jlji ^ lJ^-^-O 

^_->l jlS j^ 9J 9 ^^>j OjlS v_-»l j9j ^jvjo9j 

jL> 9 £uu j^ 9J 9 ^^>j O^jjoX ^-^>j ^-j^juj ^s&Jj 

( Jlj^JljuX JLoj>) 

Ju^jj kS^Sj O^jS jj-^juuu v>^° lJ>-*-0 
<-j\±o ,J^ii-C oLij o^> co \j ,J^Q-juj ^b 

195 



Thus as we can see: 

"The Hindu in Persian poetry is used a symbol for ugliness, black, of evil omen, mean 
servant of Turkish emperors, the nafs, the base soul which on other occasions is to 
compared to an unclean black dog. Yet, even the nafs if successfully educated - can 
become useful, comparable to the little Hindu-slave whose perfect loyalty will be 
recognized by any Shah. Turk is from Ghaznavid times onwards equivalent with the 
beloved; the word conveys the idea of strength, radiance, victory, sometimes cruelty, but 
always beauty; ..These stories in which the Turkish warrior-not endowed with too much 
intelligence-is slightly ridiculed, are by far outweighed by those allusions (not stories) in 
which the Turk is contrasted to the Hindu as the representative of the luminous world of 
spirit and love, against the dark world of the body and matter" 
(Schimmel, Triumphal Sun). 

Also as Professor Annmarrie Schimmel alluded to: 

"Besides the Turk and the Hindu one finds the juxtaposition of Rum and Habash- 

Byzantium and Ethiopia — to allude to white and black". 

In the above examples we have shown how Turk, Hindu, Zangi/Habash, Rum is used for 
description and symbols of slavery, rulership, slave (Hindu), ruler (Turk), trees, birds, 
flowers, stars, climes, complexions, colors (yellow, white, black), animals (the eye, face), 
planets, day (Rum, Turk) and night (Hindu, Habash/Zang), languages, tears, hair, face, 
various moods and feelings without taking any ethnic meaning. Unfortunately during the 
USSR era, there was attempt to detach Nizami Ganjavi from his Iranian heritage and 
Turkify him to the extent possible. We shall look at such wrong interpretations in the next 
chapter. 

Thus the multitude of examples given from Persian literature from the above books and 
articles does not denote ethnicity, especially when comparing and contrasting. 

We note some examples that show multiple of contradiction if we are to take them 
literary. 

Attar: 

Attar is a well known Persian poet and philosopher and has had tremendous influence on 
Sufism and mysticism. So much so that Rumi considers himself to be in the niche of a 
street while he considered Attar to have travelled through the Seven Cities of Love. 

Attar says: 

196 



/A £J \S^ oLuJ <^L> i^Judfc 

If we are to take this literally, then Attar is actually an Indian (Hindu) and he was not 
Iranian. And here will quote again from Schimmel who quotes: 

The classical locus is perhaps in 371: 

ubtj />JljJj 9I KS$AJJb 
«Since my Turk gave me a kiss I became from the bottom of my heart his Hindu... » 

Thus if we are to take this literally, then Attar was a Turk or had a Turk who gave him a 
kiss and his heart became a Hindu. 

Here again: 

«not a Hindu-yi badkhu, of bad character, in the service of his beloved but an Abessinian 

who bears his mark» 

Thus now Attar is a Ethiopian (Abessinian). 

Jp_w jSb> <Sls fSjj 

«The Turk of the Heaven (i.e. Mars) becomes the servant of Him, 
who became His (i.e. the beloved's) Hindu. » 

Now heaven is a Turk, for who is a servant to those that became his Hindu. 

9I KS$XiJb ubfcj ,jjo 9 *Sjj Cjljuuu^ 
CjljuJJuoI jIS j± gjJ U ^o^pAJ 

9I l^Judfc ObtJ ,JJO 9 *SjJ CjljuUL^ 

CjljujAjoI jIS _p gjJ U .yo^pAJ 
« He is a Turk and I from the bottom of my heart his Hindu, necessarily he has come to 
work with his sword. » (129) 

Thus as we can see if we are to take Attar's imagery and symbolism literally, then there 
would be arguments between Ethiopians and Indian nationalists about the ethnicity of 
Attar. 

Abu Esmai'l Abdallah Al- Ansari Al-Heravi (Khwaja Abdullah Ansari of Herat): 

He was born in Herat and is considered one of the outstanding Persian writers and 
mystics. Khwaja Abdullah Ansari was a descendant of the companion of the Prophet of 
Islam, Abi Ayub Ansari. This companion of the Prophet or one of his early descendants 
migrated to Herat and eventually the family became Persianized. 



197 



The Pir of Herat, Khwajah Ansari writes: 

(Dastgerdi, Wahid. "Resa'il Jaami' 'Aref Qarn Chaharom Hejri: Khwaja Abdullah 
Ansari", Forooghi Publishers, 1 349/1 970, 2 nd edition, p 60) 

Translation: 

Oh Night, What are? A black Zangi, and I am of Khotanese descent (look like) a moon 

(beautiful). 

Oh Night, you are upon the dark ruins like an owl and I am on the throne of the age of 

Eskandar-e-Rumi (Alexander the Greek). 

Thus if we take this literally, then the well known Ansari, a descendant of the compantion 
of the Prophet of Islam, would be of Khotanese descent. Of course the contrast between 
Dark/African/Zang and Khotanese is a well known contrast used by many Persian poets. 

Amir Khusraw: 

Amir Khusraw, according to Annmarrie Schimmel, was born to a Turkish father and an 
Indian mother and is one of the most important Persian poets of India. Athough 
ethnically, he was not Iranian, but rather Indian/Turkic, nevertheless, culturally he was 
Iranian. 

Schimmel quotes this verse from Amir Khusraw and then further explains: 

"The tongue of my friend is Turkish 
And I know no Turkish - 

Amir Khusrau's own father was of Turkish extraction and the great mystic guru in Delhi 
Nizamuddin Auliya affectionately called the poet Turki Allah 'God's Turk'. However the 
word Turk was traditionally used to also mean a beautiful, fair-complexioned, lively, 
sometimes also cruel beloved, compared to which the miserable lover felt himself to be 
but a lowly, humble, swarthy Hindu slave. The literary counterpart turk-hindu, which can 
also mean 'black- white', was in use for centuries in Persian literature, and had has its 
counterpart in reality on the subcontinent since the days of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna. 
Mahmud was of Turkic lineage, and he invaded India no fewer than seventeen times 
between 999 and 1030. As a result the Turks were established as a military force, and 
they also formed the ruling class, under whose auspices the theologians and lawyers 
henceforth had to work" 

(Schimmel, Annemarie. "The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture; 
translated by Corinne Atwood ; edited by Burzine K. Waghmar; with a foreword by 
Francis Robinson. London: Reaktion Books, 2004. Excerpt from pg 233) 

Thus if one was to take this verse out of context, Amir Khusraw who knew Turkish (note 
his praise of India) did not know any Turkish, although he said: 



198 



"And there are the numerous languages of India which, when imported, develop more 
beautifully than it was possible in their native country - is not the Persian of India much 
superior to that of Khurasan and Sistan? Do not people learn the finest Turkish here?" 
(Annemarie Schimmel, Turk and Hindu: A Poetical Image and Its Application to 
Historical Fact in Speros Vryonis, Jr., ed., Islam and Cultural Change in the Middle Ages 
(Undena Publications, 1975), posthumously honoring G.E. von Grunebaum) 

We should note something here about the cultural identity of person like Amir Khusraw, 
Blban (one of his patrons) and the Turco-Mongols that settled in India. Schimmel points 
out:"In fact as much as early rulers felt themselves to be Turks, they conntected their 
Turkish origin not with Turkish tribal history but rather with the Turan of Shahnameh: in 
the second generation their children bear the name of Firdosi's heroes, and their Turkish 
lineage is i variably traced back to Afrasiyab — weather we read Barani in the fourteenth 
century or the Urdu master poet Ghalib in the nineteenth century. The poets, and through 
them probably most of the educated class, felt themselves to be the last outpost tied to the 
civilized world by the threat of Iranianism. The imagery of poetry remained exclusively 
Persian."( Annemarie Schimmel, Turk and Hindu: A Poetical Image and Its Application 
to Historical Fact) 

As Canfield also notes:"The Mughals, Persianized Turks who had invaded from Central 
Asiaand claimed descent from both Timur and Genghis strengthened the Persianate 
culture of Muslim India. "(Robert L. Canfield, Turko-Persia in historical perspective, 
Cambridge University Press, 1991) 

Khaqani: 

Afzal a-din Badil Ibrahim who received the penname from the Shirvanshah Khaqan 
' Azam AbuPMufazzar Khaqan-i Akbar Manuchehr b. Faridun and was also known as 
Hessan al-Ajam Khaqani (the Persian Hassan) may be regarded as the second most 
important literary figure of the Islamic Caucasia after Nezami Ganjavi. In actually, when 
it comes to certain forms like the Qasida, he would be the greatest poet of the area. He 
also had a great influence on Nezami as shown in the appendix. He was born to a 
Christian mother(possibly Iranian, Armenian, Georgian) and an Iranian (Iranic) father. 
He writes about his mother: 

"Nesturi o Mobedi Nejaadesh" (Of Nestorian and Zoroastrian(Mobed being the title of 
Zoroastrian priets). That is his mother's family might have been originally Zoroastrians 
who converted to Nesrotrian Christianity, like many Iranians did in the late Sassanid era. 

Here are some verses that Khaqani Shirvani literally claims to be a Hindu (that is if we 
read it literally): 



cb^u />9xxjuj J9-JUJ pJS y> 

199 



CjljjjI v_S\jl9L> 9I *S$JJJb iJJjjJbS 

pjS jjjuJLajuo jo\j ^jJ m X> j-> 
(jul5l») 

jjli^Juo oLjuj Jb> cuLSjj ul 9 

Thus at least twice Khaqani is claiming to be a Hindu here. But these verses are 
obviously not taken literally. Or for example, in his famous "Aivaan Mada'en", Khaqani 
remarks: 

uLljuulS^ cl*Jj 9_)ul^ 1 JjL viJLo />JLo 

This is that same kingly court, which had from its great Kings 

(relative to it) a Daylamite was a king of Babylon, A Hindu the King of Turkistan 

Rumi: 

According to Annemarrie Schimmel: "Rurni 's mother tongue was Persian, but he had 
learned, during his stay in Konya, enough Turkish and Greek to use it, now and then in 
his verses." 
Here are two contradicting verses from Rumi: 

9J <£uu^> qS SSjS Qo> tO^p^olo jSy \S\ 

\$jj J^S :<*S i^J.$$ 9 o^ J^^j^^ <\j v_svjI 

lJXkjjJuJ OjJ jS\ \JJ& 9 ^S^jJ _0U) 9J 

9_juj vl <CjljujI ^S^jJ °0 °^ jA9 ,jjI ,jjo pj\± 

jJljuj O^jjJ OJuu <jjI j\ jS 9J oLj> V.-M 

Translation: 

'To^ are a Turkish moon and I, although I am not a Turk, 
I know this little, that in Turkish the word for water is su " 

^jvSjj <*S 9 ^j^Sj ^ 9-3ul5^ <*S 9 />^>i ^ 
^jlSLil 9 .pjl^sl ub> \S\ CjljujI 9J jjia-aJ jl 



200 



Translation: 

"I am sometimes Turk, sometimes Hindu, sometimes Rumi and sometimes Negro, 

O Soul, from your image is my approval and denial " 

"Everyone in whose heart is the love for Tabriz, becomes - even though he be a Hindu - 
he becomes a rose cheeked inhabitant ofTaraz (i.e. Turk) " (Schimmel, Triumphal Sun) 

Note Taraz is a city in central Asia known for its beauties. All these contradictory verses 
have symbolic meaning and should not be taken out of their context. 

In the case of Rumi, he has also left compositions and his followers have written about 
him. Here is an interesting Sufic view on the role of Turks according to Rumi in history. 



Nizami: 

Finally we discuss some imagery from Nizami before discussing misinterpretation of his 
verses in the next chapter. It should be noted that the misinterpretation has gone as far as 
assigning Turkish ethnicity to Layli (in Layli o Majnoon) and to Shirin (in Khusraw o 
Shirin) despite the fact that their names are Arabic and Persian respectively; Shirin was a 
Christian originally of probably Aramean origin, but later on she became known by poets 
as an Armenian princess. But these shall be discussed in the next chapter. 

As Schimmel has already noted: 

By the end of the 12th century, the symbol Hindu for black is used commonly by Nizami: — The 
Indian princess — described with the famous contrast-pair as 

« gaze lie with Turkish (i.e. killing) eyes, 
from Hindu origin » 

±\j 9Jud3> /XjJuc> *Sjj l5£j3>I 

is that of Saturday which is ruled by Saturn which is poetically called 

the ij+j ^jj\j l59_Ll^ or >^juj ^jjofc and has, according to astrological tradition, black colour. 

But Nizami has also compared the crow to the Indian: 

JljujLu <*_jljuUU LS9AJL& y> £\j 

JljJjLu Sjl<*iC G^JuLlfc jl lS^P 

« The crow is surely of Hindu origin, 
and to steal is not astonishing in Hindus » (HP 112) 

<jjUL^juUU GLjO^ J^JuUU jl ^jSjJ 

« A Turk from Byzantine origin, 
whose surname is «the object of pleasure to the Hindus» 

Here are some other examples. 



201 



In praise of one of the rulers: 



jjliSJJufc Ju^U o-h> v\5jj QjzJb 



Translation: 

May all the Turks of China be his Hindu (slave), 
May no frown come upon his brows from the Chinese 



We note that Chin in Persian poetry (Shahnameh and Panj Ganj) is actually Western 
China and parts of Central Asia that were ruled by Khaqan. That is why the Khaqan of 
Gok Turks in the Shahnameh is called the Khaqan of Chin. 

Here is another example from Nizami: 

^S^fP^- v\5jj {JjJu^y uI&Lhuu 

Author's translation: 

Siyaahaan Habash (The blacks of Ethiopia), Torkaan Chini (the Turks of China), 
Cho Shab (like the night) baa maah (with the moon) kardeh hamneshi (have gathered 
together): The blacks of Ethiopia, the Turks of China, like the night with the moon have 
gathered together. 

Note here that the Siyaahaan Habash (blacks of Ehtiopia) are the color of the night while 
the Torkan Chini are the moon (and the stars). 

Another example: Here is one where the Kurd's daughter is of Hindu Mole, Indian 
nature/created and Turkish eye and face. 

Cjlj»JuL0J \j CUJj O^L GL_JuJ9Juiifc j 

The Kurd had a daughter with beautiful face 

A lovely beauty with Turkish eyes and Indian mole 

A bride of Hindu components and Turkish face 

From Hindustan has given the king a paradise 

When the King of India offers his daughter to Alexander the Great, Nezami Ganjavi 

writes this description of her in his Eskandarnama: 

CjljuUjjuU 9-VjLfi) OjLuUL^j O^J \^&~° 



202 



/>loJ 9_)Jl^ u^> J^ UJu^p Pj 

9 1 lS^S LSgJJufc £j l5^>9j j 
9I l59_JJl^ QJLjJjS uLj09j <^jJj 

A geat beauty of Hindu origin with Turkish face 

It has made Hindustan (India) a Paradise for the King 

Not a Hindu, but a Khatai Turk in name 

But when it comes to stealing hearts, as adept as a Hindu 

From her Roman face and Hindu (sweet) talks 

The King of Rome (Alexander) has became her Hindu (Slave) 



Another example: A verse from Shirin in Khusraw o Shirin: 



Author's translation: 

If my eye because ofTurkishness has narrowed, 

Came apologizing the chivalrous Hindu 

(Here in my opinion Nizami is describing the blackness of the eye beautifully) 

Here the whiteness of the eye is the Turk and the blackness of the eye is the Hindu, 
furthermore, Turks in Persian poetry are known for Tang-Cheshmi (narrow eyedness) due 
to the fact that the Turks described in Persian poetry are the original Asiatic Turks and 
not the linguistically Turkified people of later Azerbaijan, Caucasia and Anatolia. We 
shall discuss this in the next section. Unfortunately ethnic-biased misinterpretations by 
has used such symbolic imagery to claim that Shirin and also Layli in Layli o Majnoon to 
be Turkish. Despite the fact that the image of Shirin is known in Persian poetry and both 
Shirin and Mahin Banu are Persian names, and the historical Shirin was Aramean while 
the Shirin of Nizami Ganjavi is popularized as a Christian Armenian (note the many 
places where Shirin reveres the One God) princess and regarded as such by most 
scholars. And Layli was from Arabia and Nizami Ganjavi refers to the foreignness of the 
tale. 

We now quote some verses from the translation of Haft Paykar with regards to Persian 
imagery. Original Persian of some of these verses is brought here: 

u The Slav king's daughter, Nasrin-Nush 

A Chinese Turk in Grecian Dress " 
(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 51-52) 



203 



Thus we can see that if we take the verse literally, Slavic king had a daughter who was a 
Chinese Turk in Grecian Dress. But the verse makes perfect sense given the brief 
overview that was given on Persian poetic symbols, imagery and allusion. 

"A fair Turk from Greek stock it seemed 

The Joy of Hindus was its name " 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Pakyar, pg 99) 

Thus we can see the symbols Rum, Hindu and Turk all at play in a two verses. 

We note that when the Persian Sassanid King Bahram enters the black dome which is 
identified with the kingdom of India: 

"When Bahram please sought, he set 

His eyes on those seven portraits 

On Saturday from Shammasi temple went 

In Abbassid black to pitch his tent; 

Entered the musk-hued dome and gave 

His greetings to the Indian maid" 
(Julia Meysami, Haft Pakyar, pg 105) 



"See what a Turkish raid heaven made, 

What game with such a prince it played 

It banished me from Iram 's green 

Made my black lot a legend seem " 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 108) 



"A queen came forth from her palace dome 

Greek troops before Ethiops behind 

Her Greeks and Blacks, like two-hued dawn, 

Set Ethiops troops against those of Rum (in reality Greece=Rum)" 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 108) 

While still in the black dome (associated with the kingdom of India) he meets a lady by 
the name Turk-taz (Turkish attack, Turkish raid). This is reminiscent of this verse of 
Khwaja Abdullah Ansari of Herat: 

OjLc ^>Su J^ 9 Juol ,Jj_jtJuLC 
j^jvjI^ (^juulC Ca_jujI Sjl<*iC KS^y 

OjLc CjljuulJ v-jloe-c ^y j$ 

Here is another use of this in the Haft Paykar. 

"My love ", said I, "What will you? Fame 
204 



You surely have; what is your name? " 

She said: "A lissome Turk I am, 

Turktaz the beautiful my name 

In harmony and accord, I said 

Our names are to each other wed 

How strange that Turktaz your name 

For mine-Turktaazi-is the same 

Rise; let us make a Turkish raid 

Cast Hindus aloes on the flame; 

Take life from the Magian cup 

With it, on lovers sweetmeas sup " 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, 119-120) 

"Til favor you, at life 's own cost 

If You're a Turk, I am your black" 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 128) 

(Here Hindu or Ehtiop was probably translated as Black) 

'Without the light's radiance, like a shade, 

A Turk, far from that Turkish raid" 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 131) 



"The Chinese-adorned bride of Rum 

Said 'Lord of Rum, Taraz, Chin" 
(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 133) 

In the tale of the Greek's daughter in the Yellow dome we read: 

"Each newly purchased maid she 'd hail 

As ( Rumi 'queen and Turkish belle " 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 134) 

"Although her Turkish wiles enflamed, 

He kept his passion tightly reined" 
(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 137) 



In the Turquoise Dome 



"In Egypt dwelt a man, Maahaan 

More beautiful than the full moon, 

Like Egypt 's Joseph, fair of face; 

A thousand Turks his Hindu Slave " 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 1 75) 

"Till the nights Ethiop rushed day 's Turks, 
205 



The king ceased not his joyful Sport" 
(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 216) 

Chinese King apologizing to Bahram: 

"I'm still his humble slave; of Chin 

At home, but Ehtiop to him " 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 257) 



We note all these symbolic allusions and imagery are part of Persian poetry and have 
been used by many Persian poets including Hafez, Sa'adi, Sanai, Attar, Khaqani and 
Nizami Ganjavi. Nezami Ganjavi, Attar, Rumi, Hafez, Khaqani, Sanai and several other 
Persian poets used them extensively. Unfortunately due to lack of knowledge of Persian 
language and literature, and also due to political reasons, the USSR tried to misinterpret 
some of the verses with the word Turk in order to assign a Turkic ethnicity to Nizami. 
The ultimate goal was what Stalin tried to portray, that Nizami Ganjavi was forced to 
write in Persian and was a victim of Persian Chauvinism! We shall deal with this issue in 
the next chapter but this section has overall proved that the context of the verse and its 
meanings must be understood appropriately and Nizami Ganjavi who was not an ethno- 
cent eristic has used these symbols like many other Persian poets have. 



Which Turks are described in Persian Poetry? 

Today there are two groups of Turkic speakers in term of physical characteristics 
(phenotypes) although the genotypes show a greater variety. The Turcophones of 
Anatolia, Azerbaijan and the Caucasia as opposed to the Turks of Central Asia, China 
and Siberia are overwhelmingly Caucasian looking. It is easily shown that when Nizami 
Ganjavi and other Persian poets (Attar, Hafez, Sanai, Rumi, Khaqani, Salman Saveji...) 
use the term Turk, they are referring to the Mongloid types of Central Asia and not the 
Caucasoid type of the Caucasia and the Near East. This is important since the association 
of Turks in classical Persian poetry at least up to the time of Hafez has to do with the 
Central Asian types. Of course, the Caucasoid types (who are mainly linguistically 
Turkified due to the elite dominance of Turks) are not physically different than Persians, 
Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Arabs and etc where-as the Mongoloid types are radically 
different. It is clear that the primary heritage left by the Turkic nomads and invaders of 
the region was that of language (heavily influenced by Persian and Persianized Arabic) 
rather than culture. Thus it was their distinctive facial and physical features which made 
the Turks of Central Asia as the ideal type of beauty in Persian literature. 



We already quoted Professor Peter Golden who has written the most comprehensive book 
on Turkic people in English up to this time: 

"The original Turkish physical type, if we can really posit such, for it should be borne in 
mind that this mobile population was intermixing with its neighbors at a very stage, was 

206 



probably of the Mongloid type (in all likelihood in its South Siberian variant). With may 
deduce this from the fact that populations in previously Europoid areas of Iranian speech 
begin to show Mongloid influences coincidental with the appearances of Turkic people. " 

We have also quoted Prof. Schimmel who has said: 

"Soon the Turkish type of beauty became prominent both in pictures and in poetical 

descriptions: a round face with narrow eyes and a minute mouth. " 

Iraj Anvar, the translator of forty eight ghazals from Rumi also mentions this: 

"It indicates people from the North, with high cheek bones and almond shaped eyes, 

considered to be the most beautiful people ". 

(Anvar, Iraj. "Divan Shams Tabrizi, Fourthy Eight Ghazals, Translated by Iraj Anvar", 

Semar Publishers Sri, 2002. Pg 131) 

We now quote many Persian poets including Nizami Ganjavi, as well as Muslim 
historians account. One attribute of Turks identified in Persian poetry is Tang-Cheshm 
(literally: narrow-eyes) which is part of the Mongloid features. 

Nizami Ganjavi mentions this fact at least four times with respect to Turks: 

'I brought so much light into this world, that I cast away narrow -eyedness from Turks " 
Nizami Ganjavi describing the anger of Alexander at the Khaqan: 

St, ^ ^ St 

~ ~ St 

- St _ St 

Ol<p*jO 9^jl jJ~*S> jJXJ v_S\Ju^> j 

olSu p±y> ulouj jJjIjj 

St, St 

uLju^juULU JuuLflS CjljuuIj QJ^UuU 
uLjl^> j± CjljuuuJ L99 9 Jl0_C <& 

Jul 0Ju> uLua^ p^JJ^r. <*j \S&\j$ 

_- St 
$$J iJuS LxjuU j^JQ OS v-SO JJ±> 

^ St St ^ St St 

v_SvJljuuI^ L99 v_SVjuJ^ i-JjJ jS I 



And in another description: 






207 



An allusion to the beauty of the eyes: 

According to Ibn Athir, When the Mongols reached the Alans (Iranian tribe) and Qipchaq 

(Turkic Tribe) tribes, the Mongols told the Qipchaq: 

"We and you are of the same race, but the Alans are not from you, so that you should 

help us. Your religion is also not like theirs. "Thus the Qipchaq turned away from the 

Alans, but later on the Mongols attacked the Qipchaq). 

(Al-Kamil Ibn Athir). 

In Persian literature, when Turks are described, they are described with the physical 

feature of the Turks of Central Asia and Yakuts. For example this statue of an ancient 

Turkish King of the Gok-Turks Kul Tegin exemplifies this 

http://www.ulkuocaklari.orq.tr/kulturedebiyat/qrafik/kultiqin.ipq 




Here is a picture of Seljuq Prince found online: 



208 




OJU /XjuUC> U OjJ &OJuuIj*juU 



OLoj Ol c LljuUU CjljuoS jjoJUlJu /XjuUC> 

^joJu jl OJu 3^> Ij LLx> v^jJ /xjuuc> 9^ 
l5j9^ qjI jl uLp-> ^Lh^ ^jl^ jL^ c ^r 

lSjUU /XjuUC> OljU lSIS Cjl&S 
^lSjU^JVjO /XjuUC> 3j Ij IjO Juu^> 

/>Lpdl ^-jS^> ^j3 ^JoJI olj-^lS 

/>\LuuJl9 ^jvj^S CjljuuI uISjj JL> 



Jul O^jS ^JVJjJ ^5 ^JVJ Lg-ifi-uU Ol JuujJ^JU) 



209 



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210 



Unsound arguments made during the 
USSR era about the ethnicity of Nizami 



We now have provided the necessary images of Persian poetry and history background to 
review the merit of the unsound arguments made during the USSR era. We also 
demonstrated that Nezami Ganjavi became fully politicized in the USSR scholarship and 
even Stalin gave a direct verdict. Although it seems Bertels did not provide a detailed 
study of Nezami Ganjavi' s background (nor any significant USSR author did), false 
arguments were made by ethno-nationalists in Azerbaijan SSR and some other USSR 
scholars. In order to look at the arguments, we have chosen three sources: 

1) An article in the bi-lingual (Persian and Azeri) magazine Varliq written by Javad Heyat 
which has a well known Turkic nationalist bent in Iran. The article references sources 
from the Republic of Azerbaijan and the former USSR. 

2) An article by a scholar Mohammad Zadeh Sadiq who received his doctorate from Turkey 
and claims the Sumerians, Elamites, Avesta and etc. were Turks. 

3) An article by a Hossein Feyzollahi from Tabriz going as far as claiming Layli in the Layli 
o Majnoon in Nizami Ganjavi 's was from a Turkic tribe in Arabia. (Again because 
Persian imagery where central Asiatic Turks were seen as the ideal type of beauty). 

The arguments by these three authors as well the random sites have been taken straight 
from USSR historiography and repeat the same arguments first made in the USSR. We 
will also mention their reasoning, analyze them, and finally show that they lack any basis 
for assigning Nizami Ganjavi a Turkic father line. 



False argument: A false verse created in 1980 

Although we touched upon this false verse before, it is important to touch upon it again, 
since a good deal of nationalist websites are spreading it over the internet and print 
media. Indeed and unfortunately, there is no regulation for search engines such as google 
and many people will google out false information from the internet. 

As mentioned recently, a false verse in 1980 about Nizami' s father was forged: 

Translation of the false verse: 
"Father upon father of mine were all Turks, 
each one of them was wise as wolf! " 



211 



The above couplets, like much other false information on Nizami Ganjavi can be easily 
found in pan-Turkist websites/books/articles although it was falsified in 1980. Its basic 
rhyme of Gurg/Gorg (Wolf) and Turk/Tork show its invalidity and non-ingenuity of the 
author who falsified it. Yet the USSR scholar from Azerbaijan SSR, Arsali Nushabi 
writes: 

Ali Ganjali, a well known researcher from the Azerbaijan SSR in the introduction of his 
Layli o Majnoon Nizami, translated by the Turkish author M.K. Kurtuncan has written: "I 
do not know which manuscript of Layli o Majnoon I have seen this verse in the Ayasufia 
library, which Nizami explicitly mentions that he is a Turk and his fathers were Turks, 
the verse is this: 

±$J ^SjJ l>X> jJQ j-X^ jJ jXt 

See: 

.1371 ,4 JLuu t^^AjjIjLjJuul^l i« \kS$z*l& ^jvjoLbu G^j *Sjj j± jj u±$j jjJSlo <3Juljuj» t^jOuJuo J\L> 

Matini, J. "A solid proof on the Turkic roots of Nizami Ganjavi?!", Iranshenasi, Volume 
4, 1371(1992-1993). 



The above example, like the false statement of Stalin that: "Nizami wrote most of his 
poetry in Persian " (Trying to hint that he has Turkish poetry!), shows the unethical and 
unscholarly political writings that have attempted to demean the personality of Nizami 
Ganjavi. All of these futile efforts were to take Nizami Ganjavi out of Iranian civilization 
by any means possible. Indeed, if Nizami Ganjavi had any serious references to any sort 
of Turkish identity or culture, there would not be a need to create such a false verse. 

The nationalist groups have used this falsified and forged verse in their articles and books 
to claim that Nizami Ganjavi was of Turkic stock. Supposedly, the Grey Wolf or Wolf is 
seen as wise creature in Turkic mythology. If that is the case, then one should look at 
actual and authentic verses of Nizami Ganjavi about Wolves which would actually 
counter their argument (since Wolf is a holy symbol in Turkic mythology than Nizami 
Ganjavi 's derision of it means he was not from that culture). 

Here are some verses about Wolves by Nizami Ganjavi which depict wolves as stupid, 
vile character and bloodsucking creature and even prefers a fox to a wolf and calls the 
fox as the king of Wolf due to the Wolfs stupidity! There is nothing about the wisdom 
(Farzanegi) of the Wolf in his poems and indeed bad and unpleasant people are compared 
with Wolf: 

/XjJL> j^>Uj ^_$S^jj Ca99 <*J 

212 



Oj^j CjuOU 9 CjljuoSjjj CjuoLu 

^jj olj o^^j OjS j 0U9J 

OjjJ CjuOU 9 CjljuoSjJJ CjuoLu 



JJj^j^S Ju 9 JuJu v-SOLo^jjO 

JUjjU O-juU 9 OjS j v_sOLq_juU9J 

^ JuU JuU <^j^ Ij W^jS 

±j5 JuU JJc> 0U9J jj^Sj 

JuuyO j O^lj ^ v-SOU^L> 

JJuyO^I Oj9^> 3j ^^vjlS^ 

V^LljuuI^ ^j UUC> JuC^O />9-JuU 

^sOL^juU Jul j ^US v-Sv^jS lj ^ 

jl^itJ^ v-Sv^^P sSJJlQ-juu^S Jubj 

jliu 9I U OLuU ^9! J$ 
Jul^J U 9_juU v_SvSu jl <Sj5 JljuUO 

JuLojjIg b uLjuj 9_juu pu^ j 

LSjU <^j> JuU ^ \j OLjuJ 



Thus it is extremely unfortunate that someone in 1980 falsified such a verse in the former 
USSR. This was part of the USSR policy of nation building but there is no excuse for its 
abundance in Google and some non-internet publications. Unfortunately, lies coupled 
with ethnic nationalism propagate fast on the Internet and other media and the ethnic 
nationalists who spread these lies have little regards for truths. More unfortunately, the 
above false verse is coupled with Turkish poems of other authors and then attributed to 
Nizami Ganjavi. Thus many susceptible readers will get false information with regards 
to Nizami Ganjavi unless they were aware of ethnically natured manipulations with 
regards to his personality. Anyhow, if Nizami Ganjavi was not Iranian and did not have 
Iranian culture and had Turkic culture (which the book Nozhat al-Majales provides 
decisive proof that Iranic culture was dominant in the urban centers), there would be no 

213 



need to create such false verses to associate him with Turkic nationalist Gray Wolf 
myths. 



Incorrect argument: Nizami uses "Turkish words" so "he must 
be Turkish" 

One of the unsound claims used is that since Nizami Ganjavi uses a dozen or so Turkish 
words, then he could have been Turkic! Mohammad Amin Rasulzadeh (who was a pro- 
Iranian nationalist at first but later on became pro-Turkic nationalist and pan-Turkic) is 
known for his political activism, but he also admired Persian poetry and has written a 
book where he enumerates 30 or so "Turkish" words and titles. It should be mentioned 
that the etymology of some of these words that are claimed to be Turkish by him are not 
probably Turkish. For example Khatun, Saav, Ghirmiz, Miyanji, and Amaaj are not 
Turkic words. Before looking at the matter closely, we should mention that many Persian 
poets before and after Nizami use the same Turkish words. Indeed as Professor Xavier 
Planhol has stated: 

"The Turks, on the other hand, posed a formidable threat: their penetration into Iranian 
lands was considerable, to such an extent that vast regions adapted their language. This 
process was all the more remarkable since, in spite of their almost uninterrupted political 
domination for nearly 1,000 years, the cultural influence of these rough nomads on 
Iran 's refined civilization remained extremely tenuous. This is demonstrated by the 
mediocre linguistic contribution, for which exhaustive statistical studies have been made 
(Doerfer). The number of Turkish or Mongol words that entered Persian, though not 
negligible, remained limited to 2,135, i.e., 3 percent of the vocabulary at the most. These 
new words are confined on the one hand to the military and political sector (titles, 
administration, etc.) and, on the other hand, to technical pastoral terms. The contrast 
with Arab influence is striking. While cultural pressure of the Arabs on Iran had been 
intense, they in no way infringed upon the entire Iranian territory, whereas with the 
Turks, whose contributions to Iranian civilization were modest, vast regions of Iranian 
lands were assimilated, notwithstanding the fact that resistance by the latter was 
ultimately victorious. Several reasons may be offered. " 
(Land of Iran, Encyclopedia Iranica) 

Thus Persian has been influenced slightly by Turkish and Turkish has actually been 
influenced much more by Persian. The argument also has no importance. For example 
Ottoman Turkish has many Persian words but that does not make the users of the 
Ottoman language necessarily Persian. 

Now as per some of the words Khatun, Saav, Ghirmiz , Miyanji, Amaaj, their 
etymologies are not Turkish. 

For example Khatun: 

This is considered Soghdian by Frye (History of Bukhara, 1954), Clauson from Soghdian 

xwate:n ("lord'Vith fern. end.). 

214 



Modern Iranians use the term Khanum (which is Turkish) besides the Persian word Banu 
(which is Persian) and occasionally Khatun is seen. Nevertheless, the word Khatun had 
entered modern Persian from Soghdian already and is attested in Rudaki's Diwan, 
Ferdowsi's Shahnameh and Naser Khusraw' s Diwan. The Dehkhoda Dictionary provides 
sufficient testimony to this fact. 

:>lj *Sli J± jIjuj CjljuuuIju 
^b j u9jL> 9 olsL> ajj^ <£ 

OqjS\ AjU y^SjS 9j 0$j\s> ciS 

(9 - )-juUL> JJ&UJ 

The word Saav (sLuj) is a Persian word and its Middle Persian/Pahlavi form is saag or 
saav and it is also used already by Ferdowsi (again quote from the Dehkhoda Dictionary): 

The word Miyanji is also Persian and is related to 'Mian'or middle. Its Middle 
Persian/Pahlavi form is Mianjig and has been used numerous times in the Shahnameh and 
has been also used by Nasir Khusraw: 

(cS^9^0 

It is the same with the word Ghirmiz (red) and Amaaj which have been used by Persian 
poets before Nizami. One may refer to the RIRA online Persian poetry 
(http://rira.ir/rira/php/?page=view&mod=classicpoems&obj=home&id=Q accessed Dec 
2007) or the Dehkhoda Dictionary. 

For example, Nasir Khusraw, the Khorasani poet says: 

uLoj CjljJulS^ Aifcl9^J pj\± QjJi^jOdfc 

kSjjQjS Cjj$j> kS$j 9 lS^jJlC OAs*>- 

\$j-ujJ> >*^>u) 

And the word Amaaj has already been used by Khorasani poets including Sanai 
Ghaznawi and Farrokhi Sistani: 

ulcxS jj L 3v-^J jjJ olSL>lol <\j 9J 0§z> 
\y uLlC 9 CjljuJ^ £9j 9 J-Q-C AjS OA^uuJ 

( l 5\jLljuj) 

215 



The word Bilak (<^Lj) is probably a Persian word although some sources have said it 
could be Indian. Anyhow, regardless of its etymology, it has been used by many poets, 
even prior to Nizami. For example Sanai, Suzani, Anvari Abivardi. 






(lS^I) 

So not all words claimed to be Turkish are indeed of Turkic origin. We now take a look 
at ten of the words which we believe have clear or probable Turkish etymology and that 
are used by Nizami Ganjavi. The Dehkhoda Dictionary brings sufficient examples that 
these words were used by Persian poets before Nizami Ganjavi. Also a false claim has 
risen by authors who are not familiar with the Turkish law of vowel harmony nor Perso- 
Arabic script that Nezami used Turkish spelling of these words. Actually as shown he 
uses Persian spelling which were used by previous poets. We should also note that 
Doerfer has listed virtually all Turkish words in Persian and all the Turkish words used 
by Nezami have been used by other Persian poets and they follow Persian spelling and 
form of these words. 

1) 

Yotaaq/Yataaq (<JLu) which in Persian means "Paas Daashtan, Sarvari, Hefz, 
Mohafezaf'has been used by the Seljuqid Vizier Nizam Al-Molk. We will quote the 
Dehkhoda dictionary here: 

/>lbu i^JLoJI jjljuj) *S^$J jIajLi L _5^9 - p l _s\j3>ISjL> 9 ^SAJJSj J)Lu Qj ^jJQ JuL> <1$ Ju^j 6±j5 /)$1slo 

(^JLoJI 
The word is also used by Sa'adi who is definitely not considered to be Turk: 

\j Lo 9 jU ^jljuuJ CjljuUUO £J 
CjlSUU j± CjljuoS lSjI_XjJ 

We note that Turkish spelling of this word is J?bU which neither Nezami nor Sa'adi nor 
Nezam al-Moolk use. 

2) 

Another word is Totoq (^u). Note Nezami uses the form ^u but in Turkish spelling it 
would be spelled as JJ9J9J. The Dehkhoda Dictionary believes its etymology is possibly 
Persian. The meaning of this word is a big tent or curtain. Anyhow the word has been 
already used by famous poets like Asadi Tusi and Anvari Abivardi before Nizami. We 
will quote examples from the Dehkhoda Dictionary: 

9j /xSjJ 9 /Aj fJ^J^jS <\j\s> J^ 

Jul j^jvjoJ jJu ,JjJu j jjJ^ 

(i_S j9 jl) 

(_S3_jJuo gJu^> JjiJ _p Cj_iili <& 1J3I j 

216 



tf$> \j eU^ul 9 



(lS^I) 



The word is also used by the Persian poet Attar: 



j9^ ^jvJlS O^gj^ ^-j\js\ j\ ,J^u Ocp* 

6u*o 



3) 

Another word is Manjuq/Monjuq (Jj^^juo). Although the Dehkhoda Dictionary is not sure 
about etymology of this word, that could possibly be Iranian (it might even be Greek), 
there are numerous examples of this word in Persian poetry by Attar, Farrokhi, Asadi 
Tusi, Sanai and other Khorasani Persian poets. 

>*r^ OJJJ 9 ^9< ti - >0-° Li^ 

( L _S^uJ9-b lSJuujI) 
/xic 9 J^cptJuo 9 ^^h-o j\ L 3JL> j^jvJl^U 



S>±\ t^ib cS^-^9^ P 
GUoc) 



^JLJLJJ 9 J9j ^)J^ j^JNJL^LuJ ,JJ^ O^JuZlJ *-Sl>J jl 

,jj^jo 9 ^cp* 9 Oj-J O^I^C 9 ^cptJuo 9 J-«-b 

( l _5\jLljuj) 



As well as Nezami: 



v3^jlC ^ 0±y> ^jvjcxL^ 9_juj ^ CU 

^9^tJuo A2>- Ocp* «US QJLjJjJb<)j9 

(i^olbu) 



Again the etymology of Majnuq was claimed to be Turkish by a Turkish author, but we 
are not sure. Be that it may, the word has been used by many other Persian poets. 



4) 

Another word is Bayraq (3m or flag) which we believe is Turkish since the Persian word 
for it is Akhtar/Darafsh. The word has been used by Khorasani poets already and the 
Dehkhoda Dictionary gives the example of Anvari Abivardi: 

o\j JuLi 9jAjI JJL> <*5 ^jvJuexS^ <\j 
k3}jJ oLjo ulj Ju^LjoS olo 9 ^gjo j 

(ySj9i\) 

217 



The word is also used by Khaqani, Khaju and other Persian poets. 

5) 

Toghra (\^io). This word has been used by Attar, Borhani (an early Persian poet of the 
Seljuq era who served in the Seljuq courts), Hafez, Khaqani and etc. The Dehkhoda 
Dictionary gives some example of the usage of this word. Here is couplet from Borhani: 

Cite) 

^jLilkxs> JuIjujoj L3VJ9? Lo O^^ <^>lz> 
CjljuuuJ <Jj cLljuuo uLJuu l^jiUo ,Jjl jJulS 

(Ja9l») 

6) 

Yazak 0-S>»). The Dehkhoda Dictionary believes the word is actually Persian. Whatever 

the origin, it has been used by such poets as Anvari Abivardi, Rumi, Sa'adi, Nizami, 

Khaqani and the Samanid era Tarikh-i Bal'ami (a Persian translation of the Tarikh-i 

Tabari). 

0_juJ <\j \S&\$ O^^SljuUU <j^>>C 9 J9J0 jJ QjlSU. ^JVJ 

(lSV^I <3j£jI) 

^jvSu CJLJUJ9I l _5vSjISj j± <£ jSZJ ul 

L _SvSJ^ Jc*Jljuuu jJzj u\ j\ 6j^S *Su> 

l59 p AJS\ /die Jjjfc OJc*jfc j% 

L _5vSjj JuLi 09^ 9I jl <*S Iqj> 

GUoc) 

7) 

Totmaj (gloJu). This word has already been used in the Persian medical dictionary 
(Dhakhireyeh Khwarizmshahi) and the Khorasani poet Suzani and the Shirwani poet 
Khaqani. It is a certain type of soup and there are many Persian food names in Turkish 
and there are Turkish food names in Persian. Just like the word Macaroni is in many 
languages of the world. Here is what Dhakhioreyeh Khwarimzshahi (written in Khorasan 
which shows the familiarity of Persians with this type of meal) says: 

CjL_fciKp Ocp* AjS JJ9J -buJLc LSlpjolsLb jl <*$ gjJ kS\^Jj^>j 9 Cjljuj\LuoI ^Jljuj jJ^j ^juljuj <*1xxj> j± 

(^^Nj^LJuuojjIcp* zOjjJ>±).. 9 Qjj£ 9 cU-jJjj 9 gloJu-.^lS 

218 



The fact the word is used by a famous medical tome written in Khorasan shows that it 
was a popular dish throughout the Persian Islamic world. 

(l5^j9-"0 

,jjI j\ ,jjuy \j *SJs ulS^ QjzJb 

AJjX^-iuj OLuuul l _5nJ>Louu ^3JL> 

Gjul§b>) 

We should note that Turkish spelling (following vowel harmony) would be %y&y which 
is not used by Nezami. 

8) 

Chavush (j±j$ b>) is another military term that has been claimed to be Turkish (it is 
possible too since a good portion of Turkish loanwords in Persian had to do with military, 
nomadic lifestyles and aristocratic titles). It has been used by such Persian poets as 
Anvari Abivardi and Amir Mo'ezi (early Seljuqid era poet): 

6jj \j jISjj JljuJc^ 9J <*_j^>b> y> 
(lSj^X) >jjoI) 

(lS j9 jI) 

9) 

Voshaq (3 1^9) has also been used by such Khorasani poets as Manuchehri and Attar. 

oL_juj j± lSJuj CjljujI^ JJI9J ^jS 
l _5\jOJ^icI «JLJj9 Jul olj Pj jS 

^JVJO^P^ jl 9I ^JNj^LjLJUaS CjLJUULlfr 

G.;loll ^JaJuo - jlloc) 

9_d>l ulju J^ ^p^^^juj 9^b> ul 3j ^jJulC pJ3y> 
,jJul9LJj9I ±j5 9^L> 9 CjljJulS l _sv9LJj9 9_ftl OqjS 

(lS>£^Lo) 



10) 

Khailtash (j^LJL>). The word Tash in this word is Turkish. The word has already been 

used by the Ghaznavid era historian, Beyhaqi in his famous Tarikh. 

(^jJL^jlj £yju) .^ULjuj^ jjjJj-C ^Kj «J)J>lo jl j-J \j ^^j-juuuo { Jlj\jJuJ> cLjuj 9 

219 



(Ijc*j3>:> jl <uSjZjj) 

Where-as the dozen or so Turkish words Nizami uses have been used by Persian poets 
and can be found in Persian texts before and after Nizami, he has used peculiar Kurdish 
words that no other Persian poet has used as far as we know, like 'golalakan'in the 
following couplet: 

(u^jcfcjo 9 usJLJ) 

Dr. Servatian considers this as Kurdish meaning the eyes. (Ayandeh, 15/657) 

As clearly demonstrated, a number of Turkish words which became part of the Persian 
lexicon have been used by poets and authors before and after Nizami Ganjavi. Indeed we 
only used two sources, the Dehkhoda Dictionary and a poetry database with 25 poets, 
most of them after Nizami Ganjavi. There are thousands of manuscripts before, during 
and after the time of Nizami Ganjavi. Indeed it is surprising to see that out of an 
estimated 300,000 (unique and non-unique) words (in 30,000 couplets and assuming 10 
words per couplet) only 30 or so words are of possible Turkish origin (assuming the 
etymology is certain). This is extremely of a low frequency and percentage. Dr. Behruz 
Therwatiyan and Barat Zanjani are also clear that the frequency of Turkish words used by 
Nezami is characteristic of Persian poets of that era. Thus we can see many of the same 
words are also used by Khaqani who is another Persian poet. 

Had one browsed through every book before, around and after Nizami Ganjavi, one could 
easily find Turkish words also and Doerfer has done a complete listing (although it 
should be mentioned that not all of his etymologies are agreed upon). This is expected, 
since at least from Samanid era, Turkish soldiers were used in the army. Consequently 
Turkish terms (many of them military) slowly entered the Persian-Dari language. The 
argument can also be brought for Greek words that are part of Persian like f^fcP , ^, ^, 
jj^, j^j ? .iiK, ^ j^i^ ? jjte jl, j^-jSI, (all used by Nezami and many also by 
Ferdowsi)..and more. As well the many Greek names and titles used by Nizami(overall 
Greek words come third after Persian and Arabic). Yet none of this implies that Nizami 's 
father was Greek or he knew Greek! 

The politically minded scholars who want to use such an unsound argument in order to 
cut off Nizami Ganjavi from his Iranian and Persian heritage are actually showing their 
lack of knowledge in the Persian language. These politically minded scholars do not 
understand that Nizami Ganjavi is part of the greater genre of Persian poetry and it is 
imperative to study important works of Persian poetry in order to understand him. Thus 
as we can see, this was another unsound argument created during the USSR era in order 
to disassociate Nizami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization. It is like claiming that Fizuli or 
Ottoman writers were all Persians because they used many Persian words (with extremely 
higher frequency than Persian poets use Turkish or Greek words). 



220 



Interestingly enough, we would like to point out that Nizami Ganjavi pronounces 
Azerbaijan as in the New Persian Shahnameh: ul^Upl and Vis o Ramin: ul^jUpl . 
This is the older Persian pronunciation where-" Azerbaijan" is a somewhat Arabicized 
form of the Middle Persian word Aturpatakan. 



Incorrect argument: Nizami Praises Seljuq Turks (or Turks) so 
he was half Turkic 

One of the arguments used to ascribe Turkic ethnicity to Nizami Ganjavi is that he 
supposedly praises Turkic rulers and thus he has Turkic background. The argument has 
several flaws on the onset. 

The first flaw is that praising qualities of one group does not mean the author is from that 
group. For example Xenophon the Greek writer and host of other Greeks (including 
Plato) have praised Cyrus the Great of Persia. But these do not make Plato to be an 
author of Persian background. Indeed good qualities of Persians are praised by many 
Greek historians including even Herodotus. Or for example, Western European writers 
have praised ancient Greeks, ancient Chinese or etc. Shakespeare has plays about 
Romans and praises of their good qualities. It does not make Shakespeare a Roman. 
Goethe has praised Persians, Persian poetry and etc., it does not make him a Persian. 
Thus the argument is flawed from the onset(Note see our comments under the fifth flaw 
of the argument where Nezami also has some chastising comments about Turks as well). 

The second flaw is that we have already shown how Turk, Hindu, Zangi/Habash, Rum is 
used for description and symbols of slavery, rulership, slave (Hindu), ruler (Turk), trees, 
birds, flowers, stars, climes, complexions, colors (yellow, white, black), animals (the eye, 
face), planets, day (Rum, Turk) and night (Hindu, Habash/Zang), languages, tears, hair, 
face, various moods and feelings without taking any ethnic. 

The third flaw is that many other Persian poets besides Nizami including Hafez, Sa'adi, 
Attar and etc. have used the term Turk for a beautiful beloved, ruler, light and spiritual 
and etc. This was part of the Persian poetic imagery used by many Persian poets 
throughout centuries. Later on European types took this place in Persian poetry. In the 
20 th century for example, the ideal type of beauty in many non-European countries was 
the blond hair and blue eye Nordic type Women. These do not make any of these people 
as Nordic. 

The fourth flaw is that many Persians, especially Persian Sunnis have praised the 
Seljuqids including the historian Ravandi and their Vizier Nizam al-Molk. Indeed the 
courts of such dynasties as Ghaznavids and Seljuqids were full of Iranians and they 
patronized many Persian poets. Or they commissioned many Persian poets who indeed 
bestowed praise upon them. 



221 



Rene Grousset states: "..renewed the Seljuk attempt to found a great Turko-Persian 
empire in eastern Iran..", "It is to be noted that the Seljuks, those Turkomans who became 
sultans of Persia, did not Turkify Persia-no doubt because they did not wish to do so. On 
the contrary, it was they who voluntarily became Persians and who, in the manner of the 
great old Sassanid kings, strove to protect the Iranian populations from the plundering of 
Ghuzz bands and save Iranian culture from the Turkoman menace" 
(Grousset, Rene, The Empire of the Steppes, (Rutgers University Press, 1991), 161,164) 

So praising by itself does not prove that Nizami's father who he was orphaned from at an 
early age was of Turkic ancestry! The Seljuqids initial rise indeed was welcomed by 
many Iranian Sunnis. We already have quoted the Persian historians such as Ravandi and 
Nizam al-Molk and mentioned how the Seljuqids brought stability to places where many 
local kingdoms used to feud. One episode that has lead for misinterpretation is when the 
old lady talks about the lack of justice to Sultan Sanjar of the Seljuqs: 



Translation: 



CjlS^p lSjjJL o<^> oISjj cJs^ 



"The rise of the empire of Turks (Seljuqs) was due to their justice 

Since thou fosters injustice, thou are not Turk, thou art a plundering slave (Hindu)." 

If one reads the whole story, as shall be brought here, one can see that this is an old lady 
crying for justice and indeed she has criticized the Seljuq rulers. The empire of Turks 
here is a reference to the Seljuqs. The second couplet is simply a comparison between 
ruler (Turk) and Hindu (slave) and is a common Persian imagery. The old lady has called 
rulers (Turks) that do injustice, as Hindus (slaves/thieves). This was obviously due to the 
position of these two groups in the Islamic world and we have already discussed this 
symbolism in the last chapter. Also the fact that Turk was a symbol of light/beauty and 
Hindu that of ugliness/darkness. As we already mentioned, the dislodging of the Shi'ite 
Buyids from Baghdad was welcome by Iranian Sunnis and the rise of the empire of Turks 
(Seljuqs) was praised. C.E. Bosworth brings an interesting praise of the Seljuqs by their 
Persian historian, Rawandi. 

"Saljuqs achieved some prestige in the eyes of the Orthodox by overthrowing Shi'i Buyid 
rule in Western Iran. Sunni writes even came to give an ideological justification for the 
Turks 'political and military domination of the Middle East. The Persian historian of the 
Saljuqs, Rawandi, dedicated his Rahat al-Sudur to one of the Saljuq Sultans of Rum, 
Ghiyath al-Din Kay Khusraw, and speaks of a hatif, a hidden, supernatural voice, which 
spoke from the Ka'ba in Mecca to the Imam Abu Hanifa and promised him that as long 
as the sword remained in the hands of the Turks, his faith (sc. that of the Hanafi 
madhhab) would not perish. Rawandi himself adds the pious doxology, "Praise be to 
God, He is exalted, that the defenders of Islam are mighty and that the followers of the 
Hanafi rite are happy and In the lands of the Arabs, Persians, Byzantines and Russians, 
the sword is in the hand of the Turks, and fear of their sword is firmly implanted in all 
hearts!" 
(C.E. Bosworth, "The rise of Saljuqs", Cambridge History of Iran) 

222 



We also noted that in general, the rise of the Seljuqs brought an era of stability. As noted 
by Ehsan Yarshater: 

The ascent of the Saljuqids also put an end to a period which Minorsky has called "the 
Persian intermezzo"(see Minorsky, 1932, p. 21), when Iranian dynasties, consisting 
mainly of the Saffarids, the Samanids, the Ziyarids, the Buyids, the Kakuyids, and the 
Bavandids of Tabarestan and Gilan, ruled most of Iran. By all accounts, weary of the 
miseries and devastations of never-ending conflicts and wars, Persians seemed to have 
sighed with relief and to have welcomed the stability of the Saljuqid rule, all the more so 
since the Saljuqids mitigated the effect of their foreignness, quickly adopting the Persian 
culture and court customs and procedures and leaving the civil administration in the hand 
of Persian personnel, headed by such capable and learned viziers as Amid-al-Molk 
Kondori and Nezam-al-Molk. 
(Ehsan Yarshater, "Iran"in Encyclopedia of Iranica) 

Nizam al-Molk, a very important minister whose influence was so pervasive that a later 
historian like Ibn al-Athir calls his thirty years of office as the government of Nizamiyya. 
He was a major factor in the rise and stability of the empire of Turks (Seljuqs). The 
Seljuqs in turn patronized Persian culture and writing and this was discussed in the 
preceding Chapters. What is indeed interesting is that through the story, Nizami Ganjavi 
has criticized the rulers of his time and even the Turkish Sultan Sanjar. Given that the 
ruler lived very close to his time, this was indeed a political criticism by Nizami Ganjavi. 

Sultan Sanjar on the other hand has been described positively by other Persian poets 
including the famous Anvari. This story criticizes later Seljuq ruler and the tragic story of 
Sultan Sanjar and his capture by Ghuzz tribes is perhaps interpreted by Nizami due to his 
laxness on Justice. Due to the fact that unlike the earlier Seljuq rulers (who have also 
been praised by Persian poets and they in turn had Persian Viziers and their court culture 
was Persia), he has forsaken justice. The poem is interesting because we have someone 
like Nizami Ganjavi criticizing a major ruler of the Seljuq Empire (Sultan Sanjar) 
through this story where-as criticism of rulers was a taboo in Sunni Islam and many 
Persian poets throughout the centuries have been praising Kings. Especially criticism of a 
ruler of a dynasty that was still ruler in name (and the Seljuq Sultan was regarded highly) 
seems somewhat out of the ordinary for its time. 

Here we bring the whole story through the translation of Gholam Hossein Darab: 

An old woman suffered injustice ; 
she laid hold on the skirt of Sanjar, 

Saying: "Oh king, I have seen little of thy justice, 
and all the year long I have suffered thy tyranny. 

A drunken watchman came down my street 
and kicked me sorely. 



223 



/ was innocent, but he forced me from my house 
and dragged me to the end of the street by my hair. 

He abused me shamefully and placed the seal 
of oppression on the door of my house. 

He said: 'Oh hunchback, who killed 
such a one at midnight in thy street?? 

He searched my house, saying: Where is the murderer? ' 
'Oh king, what humiliation could exceed this? 

When the watchman is intoxicated a-murder is committed. 
Why should he violently accuse an old woman? 

The drunkards consume the revenue of the country; 
they carry off old women on false accusation 

He who has condoned this tyranny, 

has destroyed my honour and thy justice, 

"My wounded breast was smitten; 
there nothing left of me, body or soul. " 

"Oh king, if thou dost not do me justice, 

will be counted against thee on the Day of Judgment. 

"Thou art a judge, I see in thee no justice 
I cannot acquit thee of tyranny. " 

"Strength and help come from kings, 
See what misery comes to us from thee. 

"It is not right to seize the goods of orphans 
Cease from it; this is not the usage of nobility, " 

"Do not rob an old woman of her trifles; 

be shamed by the grey hairs of an old woman, " 

"Thou art a slave, and thou claims sovereignty. 
Thou art not a king, when thou workest destruction. " 

"The king who attends to the affairs -of his kingdom, 
passes just judgment on his subjects, " 



224 



"So that they may all obey his commands 
and love him in their hearts and souls, " 

"Thou hast turned the world upside down. 

all thy life what good deeds hast thou really done? " 

"The rise 'of the Empire of the Turks was due to their love of justice. 

"Since thou foster est injustice, thou art not Turk, thou art a plundering slave, " 

"The houses of the town-dwellers have been ruined by thee. 
The harvest of the villagers has been ravaged by thee. " 

"Reckon with the coming of death. 
Protect thyself whilst thou canst. " 

"Thy justice is the lamp illuminating thy night. 
The companion of thy to-morrow is to-day. " 

"Give the old woman joy by thy words, 
and remember this word of an old woman. " 

"Withdraw thy hand from the wretched, 

that the arrows of the sorrowful may not wound thee. " 

"How long wilt thou shoot arrows in every direction? 
Thou know est not the spiritual power of the poor. " 

"Thou art a key to the conquest of the world, 
Thou wast not created for injustice. " 

"Thou art a king to lessen tyranny, 

and if others wound, thou shouldst heal. " 

"The relation of the poor to thee is that of the beloved to the lover. 
Thy relation to them should be to foster them. " 

"Beg at the door of the saints and protect the poor " 

Sanjar who had won the empire of Khorasan, 
suffered loss when he disregarded these words. 

Justice has vanished in our time; 

she has taken up her abode on the wings of the Phoenix. 

There is no respect under this blue dome; no honour remains on this suspended earth. 



225 



Arise Nezami, thou exceedest all limits. 
Thou woundest the bleeding heart. 



On the other hand, Nizami Ganjavi has another story in the Makhzan al-Asrar praising 
the Persian Sassanid king Anushiravan who was a model of justice. Here we bring the 
translation from Gholam Hossein Darab: 



The story ofNushiwan and his vizier 

Whilst hunting, the horse of Nushirvan carried 
him far away from the royal retinue. 

The only companion of the king was his minister; 
the king and the minister were alone together. 

In that hunting ground the king saw a village ? 
ruined like the heart of an enemy. 

Two birds were sitting close together; 

their discussion was closer than the heart of the king. 

He said to the minister: "What is their argument? What is the meaning of their cries to 
one another? " 

The minister said: "Oh, the king of the world, I will explain it, if the king would take a 
lesson. " 

"These two voices are not mere singing; they are the proclamation of a marriage 
ceremony. 

"This bird has given a daughter in marriage to that other bird and demands from him 
that the price of mother 's milk be settled in the morning, 

"Saying: 'Leave this ruined village to us together, with a few more like it' 

' The other one answers, saying: 'Do not worry about this. See the tyranny of the king 
and do not grieve. 

" Tfwe have this same king and this destiny, in a short time I will give thee a hundred 
thousand ruined villages like this ' " 

These words had such an effect on the king, 
that he heaved a sigh and began to lament. 



226 



He tore his hair and wept grievously, What can 
be the result of injustice but tears? 

He gnawed his finger at this oppression. He said: ' 'Look at the oppression which is 
known even to the birds. ' ' 

"See my tyranny which leaves owls for the farmers instead of hens. 

"Oh, how negligent and worldly I have been! 
For this tyranny I shall have to suffer much regret, 

"How long shall I take the property of the people by force? 
I am unmindful of death and the grave of tomorrow. 

' 'How long shall I usurp? See how I am playing with my life, 

' 'God gave me the empire, that I may not do that which is unworthy. 

' 'My base metal is covered with gold; yet I do what is prohibited, 

' 'Why should I spoil my good name by oppression? I oppress 
others, alas! I oppress myself. 

"May there be a truer justice in my heart. Let me be ashamed either before God or before 
myself, 

"Today I am the embodiment of oppression. Alas for the exposure of my tomorrow! 

"My unproductive body is fuel. For this grief my heart burns for my heart, 

' 'How long shall I raise the dust of injustice, spill my own glory and the blood of others ? 

"On the day of resurrection, they will call me in question for this spoliation. 

"I am shameless, if I am not humbled, now-My heart is of stone, if I do not grieve now. 

' 'See how long I will suffer reproach, that I may bear this shame till the day of 
resurrection, 

"That which bears me is, in truth, my burden-That which is my remedy is, indeed, my 
poison 



"Of these countless jewels and treasures, what did Sam take, and what did Feridun carry 
away? 

"And of this power and empire which is mine what in the end shall I possess? " 

227 



The king, became so heated over this matter, that the shoe of his horse melted from his 
haste. 

When he reached his camp and royal standard, the hope of kindness spread over the 
country, 

Immediately, he remitted the taxes on the overtaxed land. He abolished bad customs and 
the ways of injustice. 

He spread justice and destroyed tyranny, and to his last breath he remained faithful to 
this. 

He has gone, and after many turns of the wheel of fortune, the fame of his justice 
remains. 

In the empire of the spiritually -minded, the die of his name bore the impress of justice. 

He found a fortunate ending. He who knocked at the door of justice found this name, 

Pass thy life in making hearts happy, that God may be pleased with thee. 

Seek the protection of angels. Seek thine own toil and the comfort of thy friends. 

Take away pain and give remedies, that thou may est reach kingship. 

Be warm in love and cold in revenge. Be generous like the moon and the sun 

The good that he did returned to him who began a good work 

As an analogy, the revolving dome knows what is due to good and to evil. 

Devote thyself to prayer; turn thy face from sin, that thou may est not make excuses like 
sinner. 

Since life in this world is but an hour, spend that hour in devotion, because devotion is 
better than all. 

Do not make excuses; they do not ask for wiles. These are only words; they demand 
action from thee. 

If matters could be simplified by words, the affairs ofNizami would reach heaven. 

So the story of Nushirawan the Sassanid king is opposite to the story of Sultan Sanjar and 
the old lady. In the story of Nushirawan, we see that after hearting complaints about 
injustice, Nushirawan takes bold action and brings justice to his empire. Indeed Nizami 
states: "He has gone, and after many turns of the wheel of fortune, the fame of his justice 
remains. " On the other hand, on the lack of action of Sultan Sanjar, Nizami Ganjavi 



228 



states: "Sanjar who had won the empire ofKhorasan, suffered loss when he disregarded 
these words. Justice has vanished in our time; she has taken up her abode on the wings of 
the Phoenix. " 

As noted though, the line coming from the old lady is nothing more than contrast of Turk 
(Ruler/light) and Hindu (Slavery/Thief/Darkness) and has no relationship to any ethnic 
affiliation. 

Nizami also praises Zoroastrian sense of justice and virtue and abhors the lack of 
justice/virtue in his own time: 

lSjLuu ^L^ul ol 9 JjlC ol \j>£ 

l5jU CjlSj uLuuuul jl Jjjj U ^ 

JOjS UU^ JljuU ^JsjljuJj^ [Jjjj\ j OLp-> 

>0>JuU ijJ ^jOLoJLuUUO QJJ I^U <*S 

CjljuuI p\j jjS 9I lo puJ loJLuUUO 

CjljuuI JO\jS ^JsJ LoJLuUUO <-S>p jjjl jS 

ju9_juu ^LkjjSijuuj jj ^jvjoUcu 

JI9I Juol £jJb \j JJU £jjO <& 

(oo*-^ 9 9>^>) 

He writes 

"Look at the politics/governance of the past, 
And the justice that did not even escape the beloved son of King. 
Nowadays, if they spill the blood of hundred poor people, 
no justice will be met. 

What happened to the justice and virtue of those Sassanid Kings? 
The World became so warm (full of justice/prosperous) from the fire -worshippers 
that thou should be ashamed of this Islam. 
We are Muslims and they Zoroastrians. 
But if they are Zoroastrians, then what is a Muslim?" 

Here Nizami, who is of a devout Muslim background, criticizes Muslims and their 
understanding of Islam and praises Zoroastrians. 

So overall, none of these poems tell anything about Nizami' s father whom he was 
orphaned from early and consequently was raised by his Kurdish uncle. 

The fifth flaw in this argument is that Nizami Ganjavi and many of the same Persian 
poets also have negative comments about Turks when the term Turk was not used as 
imagery. It should be remembered that Nizami Ganjavi or other Persian poets were not 
thinking of positives or negatives when using Rumi, Zang, Turk, and Hindu as part of 

229 



poetic imagery. They were simply using the imagery of Persian poetry used by many 
Persian poets and were common. 

For example, Nizami's usage of the term "Turk" for Layli and her tribe here in Arabia: 

As explained, this was the imagery used by many Persian poets to describe a beautiful 
person and here Layli is used as a Turk. 



For example in describing Eskandar, Nizami uses the imagery of a Turk as a 
ruler/conqueror: 

±y olj 9_Ju ^jvjfcl^ ^b ^ 

9I OLou^ ±$J ^JVJLjuuIj qjAj 
9I uLo^S Qj jS-^jS CjJl& JljJu <lS 

^LJul^ /xJLc jIS ^s^\ j\$ j 

oH5 %s*&9j ^jJ \S&. °j£s 

olSjU <*5^j ^jv^ o^-? °W 9 -^^ ^ 

09jS jjoJUuU jl ^jJL^ {JjJj^ <S±QjJ 

That is, Alexander is called a Turk with a Roman hat. Turk here describes 
ruler/conqueror/king and not a Turkic person. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is 
called the "Turk" (Ruler) of the Seven Armies in another poem. The reason that "Turk" 
became equivalent with rulers/conquer is obvious, since Turkic dynasties were ruling 
almost all of the Middle East, parts of Africa, Caucasia, Central Asia, India and Persia. 

Perhaps, the highest mention of Turks I have founded in Iranian literature is from the 
Iranian ethnic Daylamite Roozbehan Baqli (d. 1209 and a contemporary of Nezami' s 
time) who states:"Last night it was though I saw myself in the desert of China, and God 
arose in the form of clothing with divinity, in the forms of Turks" (Ernest, Carl E. , 
"Ruzbihan Baqli", Curzon Sufi Series, 1996, pg 83). 

Note while Alexandar was a roman, in another verse of Nezami he takes the symbolic 
qualities of a Hindu. When the King of India offers his daughter to Alexander the Great, 
Nezami Ganjavi writes this description of her in his Eskandarnama: 

CjljuUjjuU 3JUL& OjLuUL^j O^J \^&~° 

/>loJ 9_)Jl^ O^z* J^ OJu^p Qj 
230 



3I i5£JU& cUjJjS uLo^j cuiJ 

A gre^tf beauty of Hindu origin with Turkish face 

It has made Hindustan (India) a Paradise for the King 

Not a Hindu, but a Khatai Turk in name 

But when it comes to stealing hearts, as adept as a Hindu 

From her Roman face and Hindu (sweet) talks 

The King of Rome (Alexander) has became her Hindu (Slave) 



Thus when describing Alexandar as a conqueror, he is likened to a Turk (conqueror) and 
when he falls involve with the daughter of the ruler of India, he becomes the Hindu 
(slave) of that Indian. 

On the other hand, Alexander's thought and words during an encounter with Turks and 
their Khaqani is also versified in another portion: 

OlcptO 9^jl \J-tS> jSXJ ^JsjlaJ> j 

OQu >o^jjo uLou^ JjjIjJ 

OLJu^juULU JuuLaS CjljulHj (JJ*UuU 
OLjuJ^ j± CjljuUUJ \S$ 9 Jl^-C <& 

JurOJuJLJuuy ^jvjo^juuc^ OJu QjoJb 

^JVJLjuuI^jJ c l^> ^jS LuCXjuUL> Oj 

*& ° C * J9I u-*- JuUL ^' Li^-^9^ ul .P 

^9_juu Qs> y>\ O^jS ^j^jucxjuu^ o^J9 

^jvSu uLou^ 9 ^ ^jvSu J^ IjjO 

^£J O^S LcXjuU j^jO ^5 ^JVJ jjJ> 



Opened his tongue in execration of the Turks, Saying: — 

"Without (hidden) Fitnah (calamity, discord, rebellion) no Turk is born of his mother. 

"Seek not from the Chini aught save the frown on the eye-brow (the vexation of the 

heart): 

"They observe not the treaty of men. 



231 



"True speech uttered the ancients; 

"Treaty -faith exists not among the men of Chin. 

"No one seeks manliness from the Chini; 

"For, save his form, that pertaining to man is not theirs. 

"They have all chosen narrow-eyedness (shamelessness); 

"They have beheld (experienced) openness of the eyes (shamefacedness) in other 
persons. 

"Otherwise, after such amity, 

"Why tookest thou up the path of hatred? 

"First, in that friendship-seeking, — what was there? 
"At last, in this hostility-displaying, — what advantage? 

"Mine, — the heart was one, and covenant one; 
"Truthfulness great; treachery little (none). 

"Not (mine), — the intelligence that your love was hate; 
"That the heart of the Turk of Chin was full of twist and turn. 

"If the Turk of Chin had kept faith, 

"He would (like the faith-keeping Sikandar) have kept the world beneath the fold (the 

skirt) of his garment. 

Note in the above verses Chini means Turk also and not Chinese. Since in the 
Shahnameh, the Khaqan of GokTurks was called Khaqan of Chin and Chin in ancient 
Persian literature references NW China and parts of Central Asia. The above verses are 
certainly not positive and unlike Alexander who is symbolically called a Turk (ruler, 
conquerer), here we have direct reference to Turks as an ethnic group. 

Here is another instance of Alexander describing Turks as one poison to be used against 
another poison (Russians): 

[Jjjlaj \jjJ$j u c *-sP uLuuuo^ j\ pJb 

oAj>jjq ,jjI ulijJ ulSLu Qj 

qJLI ijjj$j lS^J jJ Cjl^jj 0I9J 

CjljuoSLjuJ ±j\ jJJ j± (p jlbj LuUU 



jjU Ov$J CjljulT) GISLjuJ OlJU <\j 

jjjLjJj\5 ijj£ pcxj ulcpr *Sy> 9^ 



232 



jLuu 6j\s> Qj$j ±j oLiU l jvSu 
jb SjS u11_juj uli3^ jl AJu ^ 

CjljuJ±j$± jl JuolS GISLuJ oLibj 

jIS Ca59 ubjlS lSOAjJISLuj 

jLuu 9 O^ yjjJsy b l>x> c l^>: >SI 

jLj JuLj (JJoS j^JNJLJuUy /x^ cjj 



Translation: 

"Although the Turks were not allied (in friendship) with the men of Rum, 
"With the men of Russia their rage even greater than with the men of Rum: 
"By the sharp darts of the Turks of this halting-place (Sikandar 's camp) 
"One can scatter the blisters (of flight) on the feet of the Russians. 
"Often, the poison which brings distress to the body, — 
"By another poison it is proper to obstruct. 
"I have heard that from the wolf, the fox-seizer, 
"The old fox escaped through the noise of dogs: — 
"Two young wolves sowed the seed of malice; 
"They took up the pursuit of the old fox. 
"A village there was; in it large dogs, — 
"All thirsty for the blood of the fox and the wolf 
"The fox, remedy-deviser, expressed a cry 
"Which opened the fastening from the mouth of the dogs. 
"The village-dogs took up the cry; 
"For they thought the fox a wolf. 
"From the noise of the dogs, which came from afar, 
"The wolves were terrified and the fox escaped. 
"The meditator, work-knowing, at the time of action, 
"Becomes free from the enemy (the Russians) by the enemy (the Turks). 
"Although — with these arms and weapons, — mine 
"Is no need of anyone 's aid, 

"Not closed is the door of remedy to the remedy-deviser; 
"Every matter is not connected with the sword. " 



Here is another verse from Nizami Ganjavi with negative connotations: 

.j9^ />I0^jS ^JSjCXjuUC^OJu 0\5jJ j 

Translation: 



/ have brought so much light into the eyes 

233 



/ distanced narrow-eyedness from Turks 

Here Nezami calls the Qifchaq, a major Turkish tribe, as savages and Alexander builds a 
walled gate in order to protect people (Sharafnama) who are plundered by them: 

CjljuUjjuU ^J^juUC^ JjL^iaS /XjJ jl ^ 
CjljuoS /XJjLj L _5\jOJJfcJ JjjO fJJj^ 

Due to the savage nature of the Qifchaq 
We cannot cultivate the seeds we sow 



When the Khaqan of Turks attacks Iran during the reign of Bahram in Haft Paykar or 
Bahram Narna, Nizami Ganjavi writes in praise of the Sassanid King: 

±$j uLuuul jl jjj 9 uLuuuul jl g-J 
±$j uLujI^ 9jl p,^x> jl JuLJj 

9I <£\j j\^y o^' j' ^y 

9I 6j jj Cjl^uuj pd>j uL^jl9 
jjj \jqSj 9 CjljuoS Juo 



•'LjJj cu Ij £ii9 jb^xxj Q^JJ 
"Ijulj^svjO ^jjJ 9 JuIjj^svjO gjj 

g-*jo uLjuyl 9 ^£j ^U 9I L 3vJLftS 

jjj CIJLJUJ^ j Ij »^J>J ^pLJUUU 

And if with stroke oblique he terrified, 

he cleft the man asunder at the waist. 

Of this kind was (his) sword, of that, (his) shaft — 

'tis likely that the foe would be dismayed. 
The Turks from this his sudden Turk-like raid, 

and wounds so deadly on the path he took 

Inclined to flight; the swords of all of them became (all) blunted, and their racing keen. 
When the king 's sword was brandished on all sides, 
the Turkish troops relaxed in (their) attempts. 

The king discerning signs of victory, drove (at the foe his) sword, and shot (his) shafts. 
By the shock of (his) sword he broke their ranks: he was the wind, you 'd say, and they 
were clouds. 

Through the sharp dagger 's (work) the dust of flight 
reached the Turks army to the Oxus stream 



234 



Another usage of the word in Nizami's literature is "Turki" as an act/verb: 

Translation: 

Do not Turki (as a verb) Oh Turkic beauty with Chinese decorations 

Display not frown on thy eye-brow ', come for a moment to gather 

Turki as a verb here means rough, acting in Turkic manner and etc. Here is another 
instance of negative usage where Nezami composes (these verses will also be described 
in detail but Nezami versified these and calls each character of the letter of Sherwanshah 
as blessed): 

CjljuUUJ Lo LSL99 kUJL^ {J^J-J 

CjljuUUJ Lo lSIj-juU jJJSUuU Qj\SjJ 

Julj JJiL ^.JLJUUU j 0$ Ol 

Jul JJiL o^uuu \j 9I 

Our faithfulness it not like Turks 

Turkish-way of speech (or speeches meant for Turks) does not suit us 

That who comes from a high ancestry 

High and eloquence is befitting for him 

(Note the above four verses are from Nezami who takes a poetic interpretation of the 
letter of Shirvanshah and praises every word of the letter as a blossoming garden, which 
shows his agreement with the letter). 



Or common words like Turktazi (Turkish Plunder) and association of plundering with 
Turks. 

JuLLjuu ^JvSjJ jl OjLc ^JvSjj Qj 

He was looking for a horse to follow towards Shirin 

In a Turkish manner (Turk being used as plunder,), sought Plunder from a Turk (being 

used as a beautiful) 

fjjjS Cjljuu^-u ^SjJ jl <^5vJjlc 

jjjoS CjljuU^j^-juUU 3JUL& Qj Cjl>j 



235 



No one has plundered Turks 

No one has given up his belongings to a Hindu 

(using common imagery about Turks taking plunder and Hindus as thief/beggars) 



Thus the wide array of usage (from positive to negative) was used as a tool in Persian 
poetry and does not say anything about Nizami' s ancestry. It was used by previous 
Persian poets before Nezami and had become a poetic tool. One cannot call Hafez a Turk 
just because of the verse: 

"If that Turk from Shiraz were to capture my heart. 
I would give away Samarkand and Bokhara for her Hindu mole" 

And simple logic dictates just because Greeks like Plato, Xenophon, Herodotus have both 
praises Persians and also used negative feeling as well, it does not mean they were 
Persian! 



The sixth flaw why the argument also falls apart because Nizami Ganjavi has also praised 
Romans, Persians (while having nothing negative from any positive character), Zangis 
and Hindus. He has also praised Zoroastrianism's sense of Justice in Khusraw o Shirin 
(and says Muslims should learn as we shall see), calls himself the successor and inheritor 
of Ferdowsi, praises the eloquence of the Persian Dehqan (An important class from the 
Sassanid era), and etc. For example on the Persian Dehqan (which some authorities like 
Behruz Servatiyan claim is Nizami Ganjavi himself), Nizami says: 
In Leili o Majnoon: 

:(u^Jl^jo 9 ^jJLJ) .CjljuuI uIjs^ urulilo-Q^" 9 uL-juuLj o\jj\ kS\$& 9 JL> j± 

In Khosrow o Shirin: 

\( { JJjjLJuJ 9 9j*juUL>) \J$S Oljjl QjjCX^ jl jjjJUULajU jb 
^U yJ$S lSI&OLLjuuL <jl^9J ^ 

JJiiaS OjjSIi. o^uuu uIjISq^ 

. CjljuU IqJlC jlSul CjljuuI jj Jlj jSg 

In Sharafnameh: 

.jJJSUuU pj\juuJ 0[Qft)± gLJjU j 
jjjuj^ 9I Cjl&S JljuU 9 CjLttS Q~*JS> 



236 



Or on the Zangi (black) says: 

CjljuUUuU9 l_$VJ09j CO^JU) Ol ^JvSLuU Lj 
OJUy ub*jo ^JVJ jjjl QjO U j5u0 

Ouj 9^ JljuuLu ^sSjj 9 ^s^j09j 9^> 

Translation 

Bring Saqi that wine that is Rumi Faced (White) 

Give me some of that wine, since my nature is cheerful that of the Zangi (Black, 

Ethiopian). 

One can imagine if Nizami used Turk instead of Zangi in the above, then ethno- 
nationalist groups would use it to claim that Nizami was Turkish. Where-as we can see 
again, these comparisons are part of Persian literature (and World literature in general) 
and are not tied to ethnicity. We should also note that Nizami Ganjavi was a strict 
Muslim and did not drink wine. For example during his one visit to the court, the Sultan 
ordered all wine out of the court. Wine was used as a symbol in much of Sufic Persian 
poetry and to deal with this symbol here is outside the scope of this article. 

Or in praise of the land of Iran, Nizami Ganjavi proclaims: 

J^ 0\jj\ 9 CjljuuI fJJ /xJLc ^JCX^ 

{ JS^> jjjuLS QJJ OJUU9S CjljuUUJ 

JljJuU CH^J ^ uljjl <£ U9^> 

JljuUU Q+SU t±$J Qj <JJ j J^ 

Jjjb ulj^jo <£ Cju\Jg ulj 

The world's a body, Iran its heart, 
No shame to him who says such a word 
Iran, the world's most precious heart, 
excels the body, there is no doubt. 
Among the realms that kings posses, 
the best domain goes to the best. 

Thus Nizami Ganjavi considers Iran the best land, and the most precious heart of the 
world and he has no shame in making such a proclamation. Alexander, Shirin or Layli 
and the usage of "Turk" for them or the term "Hindu" for one of Khusraw Parviz's 
messenger are all imageries used by Nizami. 

So what did really Nezami preach? 

In one of his famous Ghazals, Nezami considers himself the dust of the feet of Believers, 
Armenians, Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews. 

jjuIjJj ol j± OljuuI o\slo oll^ Qjl 

^9^-juU 9 lSU 9 jS^-kjJ 9 K-jljuuJ 9 &XXjuU 9 Jl&LuU 

237 



39^aibo ^jvjLj ^ b 9_juu ^Lcx^ lS^ v^L> 

Translation: 

77*/s w £/*£ ruin tavern of the Magians, and in it are rebels for God 

Witnesses, Candles, Wine, Sugar, Reed and Beautiful Music 

Whatever that exists in the horizon is present there 

Muslims, Armenians, Zoroastrians, Christrians and Jews 

If you want to be allowed in the ruin of the Magian (divine wisdom) 

Become a dust upon the feet of all of these people, so that you may reach the goal. 

(Zanjani, Barat. "Ahwal o Athar o SharH Makhzan olAsraar Nezami Ganjavi", Tehran 
University Publications, 2005, pg 18) 

In our opinion, this Ghazal (which are usually much more personal than the pentaologue) 
brings out the true Nezami. 

Back to the current argument though, as described, Turk, Hindu, Zangi/Habash, Rum are 
used for descriptions and symbols of slavery, rulership, slave (Hindu), ruler (Turk), trees, 
birds, flowers, stars, climes, complexions, colors (yellow, white, black), animals (the eye, 
face), planets, day(Rum, Turk) and night(Hindu, Habash/Zang), languages, tears, hair, 
face, various moods and feelings without taking any ethnic. Nizami like many Persian 
poets before him has used these symbols (with their vast range of positive and negative 
meanings) to decorate his poetry and make his allusions more appealing. There are 
negative/positive usages of these terms but Nizami was employing symbols of Persian 
poetry. 

So in conclusion, Nizami' s usage of these symbols and images are just in the steps of 
other Persian poets before him and are not his own innovations to Persian literature. They 
encompass both positive and negative meanings and again not related to ethnicity per se, 
but have to do with the employment of these symbolic and imagery tools in Persian 
poetry. Finally Nizami' s praise of Rum, Zang, and Arabs, becoming a dust upon the feet 
of Armenians(It should be noted that no modern pan-Turkist nationalist (widely present 
ideology in Turkey, Republic of Azerbaijan and some other regions) is ready to become a 
dust upon the feet of an Armenian.), Jews, Zoroastrians are also not necessarily any sort 
of ethnic or religious identification either. 



Invalid Argument: Nizami wanted to write Turkish but he was 
forced to write in Persian! 

The false statement from Stalin 

This argument, which is based on false interpretation of Persian verses of Nizami, was 
forged in the Soviet era and is the most common misinterpreted and invalid opinion. 

238 



Recall that Stalin (and this was part of the USSR biography on Nizami) said explicitly in 
an interview: "Stalin even quoted to Bazhan a passage from Nizami where the poet said 
that he was forced to use the Persian language because he was not allowed to talk to the 
people in their native tongue". 

From the onset, the argument lacks basis, since even if we assume (as we shall show the 
argument is a product of false nation building and has no basis except a lack of 
understanding of Persian literature) Nizami wanted to write Turkish that does not make 
him Turkish. Also as we shall show, Nizami Ganjavi was of Iranian ancestry and 
Turkish would not be his native tongue. 

Just like for example, Rumi's son, Sultan Walad (who admits that he does not have very 
good knowledge of Greek and Turkish) has left us some scattered Cappadocian Greek 
verses (actually the oldest extant (possibly first) Greek poems by anyone in the 
Cappadocian dialect and one of the earliest if not the earliest Muslims to write in a Greek 
dialect). 

Or the Iranian author Mirza Habib Esfahani has written in Persian and Ottoman Turkish 
("Habib Esfahani Mirza", Tahsin Yazici, "Encyclopedia 
Iranica" http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/vllf4/vl lf4056.html) . 

We shall touch upon Nizami 's significant contribution to the Persian cultural heritage in 
the next Chapter. But the false argument and incorrect interpretation that Nezami wanted 
to write in Turkish by itself does not prove any sort of ethnicity. Else more 30,000+ 
verses of Nizami Ganjavi in Persian which has enriched Persian thought, language, 
heritage, culture and civilization versus zero verses in Turkish can be used to say that 
Nizami' s was Persian ethnically. Besides all the Quatrains, Ghazals and etc. of Nezami 
are in Persian (not a single verse of Turkish has been recorded from the Caucasus during 
Nezami 's era since the language was limited to the Turkic nomads and not urban centers 
like Ganja) which shows he voluntarily wrote in the language. And of course this is 
strong enough argument, since culture is the most important aspect of a poet and not 
blood! But this point shall be discussed in the next Chapter. 

Before we examine the false allegation by Stalin/ USSR (continued by some ethno- 
nationalists) that Nizami Ganjavi wanted to write Turkish but was forced to write in 
Persian (as if one can create masterpieces under force!), we should note the following 
important facts, which by itself invalidates any claims on Nizami Ganjavi writing 
Turkish. 



No evidence of Turkic literature in the Caucasus and historical invalidity of 
the argument due to Shirvanshah not being Persian and not Turkic rulers 

Some pan-Turkist nationalist authors claim that the Oghuz book Dede Korkut was written 
down in the 7 th century. Where-as this is false given Dede Korkud's use of hundreds of 
Persian and Arabic word, and given its reference to names such as Istanbul (with the 
name transformation occurring after the fall of Constantinople) . Also Nizami Ganjavi 
considers himself a successor and inheritor of Ferdowsi and has used Shahnameh folk 

239 



and epic, rather than any Turkic epic, again defining his background. But let us first quote 

from some academic books on the age of Dede Korkut: 

It was not earlier than the fifteenth century. Based on the fact that the author is buttering 

up both the Akkoyunlu and Ottoman rulers, it has been suggested that the composition 

belongs to someone living in the undefined border region lands between the two states 

during the reign of Uzun Hassan (1466-78). G. Lewis on the hand dates the composition 

"fairly early in the 15th century at least". 

(Cemal Kafadar, "in Between Two Worlds: Construction of the Ottoman states", 

University of California Press, 1995) 

The greatest folk product of the fourteenth century was the prose collection of Dede 
Korkut, the oldest surviving examples of Oghuz Turkmen epic. Dede Korkut relates the 
struggles of Turkmens with the Georgians and Abkhaza Circassians in the Caucasia as 
well as with the Byzantines of Trabazon, adding stories of relationships and conflicts 
within Turkomen tribes. 

(Stanford Jay Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Cambridge 
University, 1977, pg 141) 

The Dede Korkut stories have their origins among the thirteenth to fourteenth century 
Oguz people of North Eastern Anatolia. 

(Michael E. Meeker, "A Nation of Empire: The Ottoman Legacy of Turkish Modernity", 
University of California, Press, 2002.) 

Professor Michael E. Meeker notes: 

The Book of Dede Korkut is an early record of oral Turkic folktales in Anatolia, and as 
such, one of the mythic charters of Turkish nationalist ideology. The oldest versions of 
the Book of Dede Korkut consist of two manuscripts copied sometime during the 16th 
century. The twelve stories that are recorded in these manuscripts are believed to be 
derived from a cycle of stories and songs circulating among Turkic peoples living in 
northeastern Anatolia and northwestern Azerbaijan. According to Lewis (1974), an older 
substratum of these oral traditions dates to conflicts between the ancient Oghuz and their 
Turkish rivals in Central Asia (the Pecheneks and the Kipchaks), but this substratum has 
been clothed in references to the 14th-century campaigns of the Akkoyunlu 
Confederation of Turkic tribes against the Georgians, the Abkhaz, and the Greeks in 
Trebizond. Such stories and songs would have emerged no earlier than the beginning of 
the 13th century, and the written versions that have reached us would have been 
composed no later than the beginning of the 15th century. By this time, the Turkic 
peoples in question had been in touch with Islamic civilization for several centuries, had 
come to call themselves "Turcoman" rather than "Oghuz," had close associations with 
sedentary and urbanized societies, and were participating in Islamized regimes that in- 
cluded nomads, farmers, and townsmen. Some had abandoned their nomadic way of life 
altogether. 

Composed by an individual who was reworking Oghuz tales in a specific time and place, 
the Book of Dede Korkut itself bears the marks of social and political history in southwest 
Asia. The presentation of Oghuz heroes and heroines in the Dede Korkut stories is 



240 



designed to highlight an Oghuz ethical outlook rather than to celebrate the variety and 
richness of Oghuz narrative tradition. In this respect, the stories reveal that the Oghuz 
heritage was, at the time of the Book ofDede Korkut, associated with a question about the 
proper form of personal identity and social relations. This feature of the Dede Korkut 
stories may itself be a literary reflection of projects of institutional redesign and remaking 
that had been pursued by Turkic dynasts in Anatolia for several centuries. In any event, 
the Dede Korkut ethic became part of Anatolian society and culture by virtue of these 
dynastic projects. Consequently, the modern Turkish reader who is likely to have an 
Albanian, Circassian, Kurdish, or Arab among his or her forebears is nonetheless able to 
see a piece of himself or herself in the Dede Korkut stories. 

(Michael E. Meeker, "The Dede Korkut Ethic", International Journal of Middle East 
Studies, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Aug., 1992), 395-417) 

Despite these facts, one can find articles on the internet by some nationalist circles 
claiming Shahnameh, the works of Nizami Ganjavi and even Homer's Iliad and Odyssey 
where influenced by Dede Korkut and have their roots in them! The fact of the matter is 
while Nizami Ganjavi refers to approximately one hundred Shahnameh characters or so, 
he does not refer to one character that has to do with ancient Turkic folklore. The verse 
forged around 1980 about his father's being brave as a wolf is a testament to political 
attempts that try to connect Nezami Ganjavi to some sorts of Oghuz folklore. 

Now we overview the development of Turkish literature of Azerbaijan and Caucasia. We 
should note that we are not talking about Eastern Turkic languages which had a much 
earlier literature due to interactions with Soghdians. The oldest person to have written in 
what is now known as "Azeri-Turkish" was Shaykh 'Izz al-Din Asfarayini, a 13 l century 
poet from Khorasan. He has left a Persian and Turkish Diwan and two Azeri-Turkish 
Ghazals of his (heavily Persianized) were recorded by later biographers. The two Ghazals 
contain more Persian words than Azeri-Turkish and show that the poet tried to adapt 
forms from Persian poetry into Azeri-Turkish. We note that Shaykh 4 Izz al-Din 
Asfarayini was not born in the Caucasia and Azerbaijan and actually hailed from 
Khorasan. 

According to Gerhard Doerfer: 

Azeri belongs to the Oghuz branch of the Turkic language family. In the eleventh century 
the "Turan defeated Iran" and a broad wave of Oghuz Turks flooded first Khorasan, then 
all the rest of Iran, and finally Anatolia, which they made a base for vast conquests. The 
Oghuz have always been the most important and numerous group of the Turks; in Iran 
they have assimilated many Turks of other origins and even Iranians. 



The early Azeri texts are a part of the Old Osmanli literature (the difference between 
Azeri and Turkish was then extremely small). The oldest poet of the Azeri literature 
known so far (and indubitably of Azeri, not of East Anatolian of Khorasani, origin) is 
Emad-al-din Nasimi (about 1369-1404, q.v.). Other important Azeri authors were Shah 
Esmail Safawi "Khatai"( 1487- 1524), and Fozulu (about 1494-1556, q.v.), an outstanding 
Azeri poet". 



241 



(Encyclopedia Irani, "Azeri Turkish" G. Doerfer). 

We note that Fizuli was from Baghdad. As per Nasimi, despite what Professor Doerfer 
mentions, different birthplaces are given, the most common being in the modern country 
of Iraq (Dehkhoda dictionary based on older biographies mentions Shiraz). 

According to the Encyclopedia of Islam on Nasimi: 

"An early Ottoman poet and mystic, believed to have come from Nesim near Baghdad, 

whence his name. As a place of this name no longer exists, it is not certain whether the 

laqab (Pen-Name) should not be derived simply from nasim zephyr, breath of wind. That 

Nesimi was of Turkoman origin seems to be fairly certain, although the Seyyid before his 

name also points to Arab blood. Turkish was as familiar to him as Persian, for he wrote in 

both languages. Arabic poems are also ascribed to him." 

(Babinger, Franz (2008). Nesimi, Seyyid 'Imad al-Din Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill 

Online. Retrieved on 01-09, 2008.) * 

The birth-place of Nasimi is not known exactly (Baghdad being the most common one, 
some have said Syria, others have Shiraz, others Shirvan), so we cannot definitely ascribe 
his birth place to any particular place. 

The next two writers, who were from the area that have written in Turkish are Moin al- 
Din Ali Shah Qasim Anwar (born in 1356) and Abdul Qadir Maraghi. It should be noted 
that both men spent time in the courts of Ottomans or Timurids. To distinguish early 
Turkish Ottoman and Azeri is not clear cut, since for example Fizuli, Nasimi and Dede 
Korkut are all considered both Azeri and Ottoman Turkish literature by various sources. 

Now going back to Shah Qasim Anwar. Shah Qasim Anwar has also some poems in the 
Gilaki Iranian dialect which would be extremely rare for Turkic speaker. 

According to Encyclopedia Iranica: 

"The Dialect poems of Qasem Anwar (d. 1433-34) may belong to the Fahlavi genere 
(Kolliyat, pp. 342-344, 347; Brown, Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp 473-87; Dawlatabadi, pp. 
553-556"(Fahlaviyyat in Encyclopedia Iranica) 

While others have called the Iranian dialect used by Shah Qasim Anwar as an early form 
of Gilaki. 

But, he also spent time in Herat and Khorasan, and this may be the possible place that he 
wrote his Turkish work (Around 10 Ghazals of Turkish are ascribed to him). Thus it is 
our belief that he since he also wrote in Gilaki, he was not of Turkish background and his 
few Turkish poems were written in Khorasan under the Timurid renaissance (recall the 
first poet in "Azeri-Turkish" is actually from Khorasan). 



242 



Abd al-Qadir Maraghi (d. 1435) who wrote his four important music treaties in the 
Persian language, not only recorded songs in the Persian language, but also in Arabic, 
Mongolian, Turkish, Chagatay as well as various Iranic dialects (Fahlavviyat). 

For the Fahlaviyat, one can check: 

Dr. A. A. Sadeqi, "Ash 'ar-e mahalli-e Jame 'al-alHaann, " Majalla-ye zaban-shenasi 9, 
1371./1992, pp. 54-64. 

Also available here: 

http://www.azargoshnasp.net/languages/Azari/AshrafSadeqiasharmahalimaraqi.pdf 

We note that under the dialect of Tabriz, Abdul Qadir Maraghi records songs in an 
Iranic language and not Turkish one. He records two Qet'as (poems) which he calls 
"dialect of Tabriz". For example the four quatrains titled Fahlaviyyat (regional Iranic 
dialect) from Khwaja Muhammad Kojjani (d. 677/1278-79); born in Kojjan or Korjan, a 
village near Tabriz, recorded by Abd-al-Qader Maraghi. 

("Fahlaviyaf'in Encyclopedia Iranica by Dr. Ahmad Taffazoli 
http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v9f2/v9f232.html) 

A sample of one of the four quatrains from Khwaja Muhammad Kojjani 

S- _ S. 

^JSJLJUJJ>Lf ^JSJLJUJU> JJjpj ^S'jjS C LCX^ 

Oj-Js iS'jjS CjljuU^ <& $Z> gl Liu 

s. 

We already mentioned that Hamdallah Mostowfi mentions the language of Maragheh as 
modified Pahlavi and even the 16 l century Ottoman traveler, Evliya Chelebi mentions 
the majority of the Women of Maragheh speak Fahlavi. So there is no proof Abdul Qadir 
Maraghi who spent time in the courts of various Turkic dynasties was of Turkic 
background. Thus, probably the beginning of Azeri-Turkish literature in Azerbaijan and 
Caucasia goes back to the Qara Qoyunlu era. Even then, there are recorded Fahlaviyyat 
poems from Mama Esmat Tabrizi, Maghrebi Tabrizi and Pir Zehtab Tabrizi. 

("Fahlaviyaf'in Encyclopedia Iranica by Dr. Ahmad Taffazoli 
http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v9f2/v9f232.html) 



Anyhow, taking Nasimi (1369-1417), Shah Qasim Anwar (b. 1359) and Abdul Qadir 
Maraghi (b. mid 14 th century d. 1435), we can see that the first Turkish poems availab 
from the Caucasia and Azerbaijan proper were written at least (taking a minimum 

243 



number, assuming Nasimi was not from Iraq or Aleppo, assuming the Turkish poems of 
Shah Qasim Anwar were not written in Khorasan a) approximately 200 years after 
Nizami Ganjavi(born around 1140) and Qasim Anwar born around 1359. 

It should be noted that a pan-Turkist nationalist scholar named Javad Heyat has claimed: 
1) Scythians were Turks and Herodotus has mentioned Turks 2) Qatran Tabrizi was a 
Turk 3) two Million Turks were settled in Azerbaijan by the Mongols 4) Sultan 
Mahmoud Ghaznavi sent 45000 teachers to Iran to teach Persian and other 
unsubstantiated claims. None of these claims have had any source. We mention his 
name here, because he also has mentioned a poet by the name of "Nasir Bakui" who is 
claimed to have written a single Turkic panengyric poem in the honor of Oljaitu the 
Ilkhanid King (1304-1316). Unfortunately no source to any ancient documents were 
given by Javad Heyat and thus we do not know when such a poet existed and in what 
book this poem is recorded, or if he wrote the poem at that time (recorded when?) or 
much later period in praise of Oljaitu. However, if we take Javad Heyat' s word to be 
accurate, as we can see, even this poet lived 100+ years after Nezami and thus there is not 
a single evidence for any Turkish poetry from the Caucasus during the time of Nezami. 

Indeed the book of Nozhat al-Majales shows 100+ Persian poets from Ganja, Arran, 
Sherwan, Azerbaijan as opposed to zero verses of Turkish from the time of Nezami 
Ganjavi. If there was an urban Turkish culture at that time, it would obviously have had 
produced its own poetry and be present in an anthology like Nozhat al-Majales. Nozhat 
al-Majales as clearly shown, records Persian poetry from ordinary everyday people from 
the Caucasus who were not affiliated to the court. 24 of these Persian poets including 
Nezami and even some woman from Ganja are recorded in this anthology. Most of these 
were everyday common people not affiliated with the courts. The only explanation for 
this would be that Persian was a widespread spoken regional language and regional 
Persian dialectical features occur in Nozhat al-Majales. 

So the question comes up that if according to Stalin (and then later on USSR 
historiographers and finally ethnic nationalists from the Republic of Azerbaijan) Nizami 
was: "the great poet of our brotherly Azerbaidzhani people who must not be surrendered 

to Iranian literature, despite having written most of his poems in Persian" 

(Stalin), why is there not a single historian, biographer and etc. who has recorded a single 
Turkish verse not only from Nizami, but from no one else during the time of Nizami from 
this area! This opposed to hundreds of thousands of surviving Persian poetry (and more 
than 114 authors recorded in Nozhat al-Majales) yet not a single verse of Turkish poetry 
has remained from the same era. Obviously a Turkish literary tradition did not exist at 
that time. There is not a single verse in Turkish from Nizami' s time from that area, let 
alone a developed romantic epic! 

The misinterpretation of Nizami' s Persian verses goes further. The ethnic nationalists 
allege that Nizami wanted to write the Layli o Majnoon in Turkish but Shirvanshah 
forced him to write it in Persian! We shall show the invalidity of this argument by careful 
examination. However before that, we should mention some important facts with this 
false claim: 

244 



1) 

The Shirvanshah was one of the very few rulers that were not of Turkic origin and 
praised by Nezami. Although of remote Arabic father line, by the time of Nezami they 
were completely Persianized in culture, ethnicity and language and had mixed in with the 
local Iranian population. If Nizami knew Turkish (assuming possible) and wanted to 
write Turkish, he would have written Turkic poems for the Kipchak rulers like the 
Eldiguzids or Ahmadilis, or the Turkic Oghuz rulers such as the Seljuqs. Although again 
it should be emphasized that even Seljuqs, Eldiguzids and Ahmadilis were Persianized in 
the sense of culture and their court language was Persian and their Viziers were generally 
Iranians. This is because nomadic Turks that had just entered the area were not urban 
and the urban culture brought automatic Iranianization for Muslims. 

Rene Grousset states: "It is to be noted that the Seljuks, those Turkomans who became 
sultans of Persia, did not Turkify Persia-no doubt because they did not wish to do so. On 
the contrary, it was they who voluntarily became Persians and who, in the manner of the 
great old Sassanid kings, strove to protect the Iranian populations from the plundering of 
Ghuzz bands and save Iranian culture from the Turkoman menace" 
(Grousset, Rene, The Empire of the Steppes, (Rutgers University Press, 1991), 161,164) 

But these rulers probably at least knew Turkic unlike Shirvanahs who were proud of their 
claimed ancient Persian descent. The Shirvanshah who was not Turkic king, did not 
understand Turkish and was not Turkic and obviously would never ask for Turkic poetry 
for his court. In fact not a single author from that era has written a Turkish poem for any 
Turkic or non-Turkic ruler in that area, let alone a romantic epic in that language. No one 
has written Turkish from that era in the court of Shirwanshah since they were not Turks. 
So this fact within itself shows that the introduction of Layli o Majnoon is not about 
Turkish language or poetry or demand not to write Turkish and these are false 
interpretations in line with communist ideological thinking. Only false communist 
ideologies mixed with ultra ethno-nationalist would come up with arguments and 
thoughts like "Nezami wanted to write in his native language but the local aristocratic 
rulers forced him to write in Persian". This false communist ideological thinking 
designed for nation building has been taken as a fact by few nationalistic authors, but 
reasonable and sane interpretations of these verses based on detailed examination will be 
given. 

2) 

Nizami Ganjavi praises the Shirvanshah (as we shall show), sends his son to be tutored in 
the Shirvanshah' s court (as we shall show), encourages the reading of the Shahnameh by 
the son of Shirvanshah, praises the son of the Shirvanshah and finally praises 
Shirvanshah in his Eskandarnama and according to some sources, he originally wanted to 
dedicate the Eskandarnama to the Shirvanshah Axsatan, but Axsatan passed away and 
Nizami writes a praiseful eulogy for him in the Eskandarnama. So he had an excellent 
relationship with the Shirvanshah and if he was forced to do anything against his will by 
them that would not be the case! In reality, he did not live under the Shirvanshah 
domain(who would be rivals of the Eldiguzids just like Ahmadilis were rivals of 



245 



Eldigzuids) although he had an excellent relationship with them (and it seems from 
available all other kings). 

So, as we can see, the allegation that Nizami Ganjavi wanted to write Turkish is invalid 
historically. Nezami himself refers to his Panj Ganj and mentions all of them by name, 
but never does he talk about a single Turkish work. There was no "Turkish" or "Azeri- 
Turkish" literature/culture at the time of Nizami Ganjavi from Arran, Shirwan and 
Azerbaijan, and there is not a single verse of Turkish from the courts of the Seljuqs, 
Eldiguzids, Ahmadilis and Shirvanshahs at the time of Nizami Ganjavi. Shirwanshahs 
were not Turks. Indeed, the Seljuqids, Ahmadilis, Eldiguzids were of Turkic origin 
although one cannot say they were necessarily culturally Turkic since they were largely 
Persianized. There did not exist an urban Turkic culture at the time and these rulers 
obviously were assimilated to the Persian urban culture (which is illustrated well by the 
book of Nozhat al-Majales) of the area. For example Khusraw o Shirin and Haft Paykar, 
both stories chosen voluntarily by Nezami Ganjavi are of Persian Sassanid origin and 
have nothing to do with nomadic Oghuz culture or Turkic folklore. These two were 
patronized by Seljuqs/Eldiguzids and Ahmadilis and read by them in their courts. 

However, if Nezami Ganjavi allegedly (based on false nation building interpretation of 
the 20 th century) wanted to write Turkic for the Persian Shirwanshahs, it would make no 
sense to write Persian for Turkic rulers like Eldiguzids/Seljuqids/Ahmadilis who could 
probably at least understand Turkic. But there is not a single Turkic verse from him or 
anyone else in the Caucasus region during the lifetime of Nezami. In fact, not even a 
single verse, but to go from simple verses to poetic forms and poetic forms to highly 
refined romantic epic poetry takes generations. 

As noted by Turkish professor (Tourkhan Gandjei, "Turkish in Pre-Mongol Persian 
Poetry" BSOAS 49, 1986, pp. 67-76), also states: 

The Oghuz tribes which formed the basis of the Saljuq power, and to one which the 
Seljuqs belonged were culturally backward, and contrary to the opinion advanced by 
some scholar s{he mentions a Turkish scholar), did not posses a written language. Thus 
the Seljuqs did not, or rather could not take steps towards the propagating the Turkish 
language, in a written form, much less the patronage of Turkish letters. 



Example of politically minded writer today 

Yet we have politically minded scholars like Brenda Shaffer who make up theories. For 
those who do not know Brenda Shaffer, we recommend a look at this article: 

http://en. wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brenda_Shaffer&oldid= 1 9582066 1 

She is a military officer in the Israeli army who later worked as a post-doc in the 
University of Harvard. She wrote a book with false sources and information (see the link 



246 



above) alleging that Azerbaijanis in Iran want to separate from Iran. Anyhow, she was the 
head of Harvard's Caspian program which also turned into a big controversy. 

According to Ken Silverstein of the prestigious Harper Magazine: 
Harvard's program is led by Brenda Shaffer, who is so eager to back regimes in the 
region that she makes Starr look like a dissident. A 2001 brief she wrote, "U.S. Policy 
toward the Caspian Region: Recommendations for the Bush Administration," 
commended Bush for "intensified U.S. activity in the region, and the recognition of the 
importance of the area to the pursuit of U.S. national interests." Shaffer has also called on 
Congress to overturn Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which was passed in 1992 
and bars direct aid to the Azeri government. The law has not yet been repealed, but the 
Bush Administration has been waiving it since 2002, as a payoff for Azeri support in the 
"war on terrorism." 

Harvard's Caspian Studies Program receives a lot of money from both the oil companies 
and from some of the governments." I share Starr's concerns here, and since I briefly 
mentioned Harvard in my original story, and since several readers asked for more details, 
let me provide it here. As I had previously reported, the Caspian Studies Program (CSP) 
was launched in 1999 with a $1 million grant from the United States Azerbaijan Chamber 
of Commerce (US ACC) and a consortium of companies led by ExxonMobil and 
Chevron. The program's other founders include Amerada Hess Corporation, 
ConocoPhillips, Unocal, and Glencore International. 
(Academics for Hire - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/05/sb-followup-starr-2006-05-30-29929 
Accessed in 2007.) 

Her book has also been criticized by different scholars as show here: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brenda Shaffer&oldid= 195 820661 

For example Full Professor Evan Siegel mentions about her book: 

"Brethren and Borders is a highly political book on an emotional subject which needs 

careful, dispassionate analysis. Its chapters on the historical background are full of 

inaccuracies. Its chapters on current events and trends include a few interesting 

observations which don't appear in the literature, but most of it is readily available 

elsewhere." 

Full Professor Dr. Touraj Atabaki comments: 

"With Brenda Shaffer's Borders and Brethren one would expect a contribution to our 
understanding of future developments in Iran as well as in the neighboring countries. 
Within the first two chapters, however, the reader becomes disappointed with the 
unbalanced and sometimes even biased political appraisal that not only dominates the 
author's methodology but also shapes her selective amnesia in recalling historical data." 
Atabaki concludes his review by stating "Borders and Brethren is an excellent example of 
how a political agenda can dehistoricize and decontextualize history" 

The Full Professor American historian Ralph E. Luker echoes Silversteins article, saying: 



247 



"Silverstein's second article also implicates Harvard historian Brenda Shaffer, who is 
research director of the University's Caspian Studies Program, in similar apologias. 
These programs appear to be largely funded by regional regimes, American oil and 
industrial investors in the region, and right-wing foundations in the United States." 

Now let us see what this person whose Caspian Studies program was funded by several 
governments has to say about Nizami Ganjavi: 

If you will allow me to be a little sentimental at the end, I would like to quote Nizami. 
Why the poet Nizami? Well, first because both Azerbaijanis and Iranians claim him as 
their own, and thus he is a great symbol of the fluidity of culture in this region. Nizami 
was of Turkic- Azerbaijani origin from Ganja, but wrote mostly in Persian. And this is 
what this region is about, is actually about fluidity of cultures. Right? 
Well Nizami, in his famous Khamsa, which in the East is considered comparable to the 
works of Shakespeare, and many of the stories are very similar, wrote about great love. 
One of the most important parts of the Khamsa is about the love of Xosrow and Shiren. 
Some have interpreted Xosrow to be an ancestor of today's Turks in the Caucasus, and 
Shiren as a woman who is an ancestor of Armenians. Nizami ended his epic Khamsa 
relating to the great love between Xosrow and Shiren. 

(Brenda Shaffer, "Stability and Peace in the Caucasus: The Case of Nagorno-Karabagh: 
Keynote Address", Event Report, Caspian Studies Program, The Case of Nagorno- 
Karabakh, May 2-4, 2001, 

http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/12777/stability and peace in the caucas 
us. html 
Accessed 2006). 

Note the many alleged falsifications. Nizami was of "Azerbaijani-Turkic origin" from 
Ganja. Yet there was no "Azerbaijani-Turkish" culture or literature at the time of Nizami. 
Furthermore, Nizami was shown to be of Kurdish origin from his mother line and we 
shall show that there is no proof of Turkic origin from his father line and all evidences 
point to Iranian ancestry. Furthermore, we note the false statement: "wrote mostly in 
Persian". Again there is not a single verifiable verse in Turkish from the time of Nizami 
from any poet or court in the Caucasus and Azerbaijan. No biographer has mentioned any 
work except Persian works for Nizami Ganjavi alludes to the fact that he wrote in 
Persian as well. Such political authors like Brenda Shaffer still try to propagate USSR 
Stalinist nation building myths in order to detach Nizami Ganjavi from Iranian 
civilization and pursue their political agenda. These types of writers will forge any lie in 
order to achieve political agendas or nation building concepts. 

Nezami Ganjavi calls his work as Persian literature: 

.CjlQ_juu LSp lSIqVP <&j\ CjlSs Qj 



248 






W%£ft a// ^6>££ advices were accepted by me 

I started composing in the Persian Pearl (Dorr-i-Dari) 



OLJUU9I jlS kSj± p^u oS ^jvjoLbu 
U9I jlslj-juu v±j5 /xlbu kSj± 



Nizami whose endevour is producing Persian poetry (Nazm-e-Dari) 
Versification of Persian(Dari Nazm Kardan) poetry is what suits him 

(Note Nizami 's use of Dari is much like that of Qatran Tabrizi where Parsi is term that 
means Iranian and the local Iranic dialect and Dari means Khurasani Persian which was 
becoming spread at the time in the region). 

But nowhere does Nizami ever allude to writing in any other language (we shall examine 
the misinterpretations of the USSR era soon) or even using such a non-existent term at 
the time of "Azerbaijani Turkish literature"!. He mentions all of his Panj Ganjs by 
name in his poetry, but never does he mention any work in Turkish nor do any 
biographers mention anything Turkish from him (if ever a single verse of Turkish existed, 
then Alisher Navai would have mentioned it as we discuss below and other biographers 
too). But not a single verse of Turkish has come down from the Caucasus from the era 
of Nezami. 

Yet we have politically minded people continuing the lies of Stalin, USSR 
historiographers and ethnic nationalists. Indeed the situation gets more distressful when 
the Sassanid Khusraw Parviz (and hence the whole Sassanid dynasty) is exported to 
Turkic civilization. 

Of course the reason is simple. The two most notable and important of the five works of 
Nizami Ganjavi are about Sassanid kings and Sassanid Iran. And the tremendous 
influence of the Sassanids in the Caucasus and the many important Iranian place names 
left from them are well known to scholars. Therefore, there is no connection between 
Sassanid Iranian culture and Turkic culture and civilization. So what is the best way out 
of this for paid scholars to continue the Stalinist nation building process? Claim that 
Sassanids were the ancestors of today's "Turks in the Caucasus". We also note that she 
spelled Shirin as "Shiren", but that is not even worth considering relative to the grave 
falsification about Nizami which have their roots in USSR historiography. The interesting 
thing is that some writers in the Republic of Azerbaijan also try to disassociate Shirin 
(with her Persian name) and Mahin Banu (with her Persian name) from Armenians 
(although all poets after Nizami inspired by Nizami' s work considered Shireen an 
Armenian and she was a monotheist and historically well known Christian) and claim 
that she was Turkish despite the fact that she is known to be a historical Aramean 

249 



Christian in the Sassanid era and has Persian name and was a monotheist, but they abuse 
the symbolic term "Turk" for beauty when used for Shirin or Lili in the Lili o Majnoon 
which actually is a reference to Central Asiatic Turkic features and nothing to do with 
Anatolian/Caucasian Turcophones who were not formed yet at the time of Nezami. 
Anyhow, this author condemns the misusage of the high personality of Nizami for 
political and nationalist games. 

Here was another falsification we brought in the beginning of this article: 

http://www.apa.az/en/news.php?id=28178 

Nizami Ganjavi's divan in Turkish published in Iran 

[08 Jun 2007 13:17] 

Divan of Nizami Ganjavi in Turkish was found in Khedivial library of Egypt, poet and 
researcher Sadiyar Eloglu told the APA exclusively. 

Eloglu said that he is analyzing Nizami Ganjavi's divan in Turkish. He added that the divan was 
found by Iranian researcher of Azerbaijani origin Seid Nefisi 40 years ago in Khedivial library but 
for some reasons the scientist did not analyze the book. 

Poetess from Maraga Fekhri Vahizeden living in Egypt found the divan two years ago and sent a 
copy of it to Sadiyar Eloglu. The scientist has been analyzing the work for two years. He said that 
the claims denying the works' belonging to Nizami Ganjavi were not proved. 

"Historical points and personalities noted in the works were Nizami Ganjavi's contemporaries," he 
said. He noted that 213 couplets in the divan were proved to be written by Nizami Ganjavi. 

Eloglu has already published these poems in Iran. /APA/ 

We note all these falsifications (even going as far as making up verses about Nizami 
Ganjavi's father line) are to simply disconnect Nizami Ganjavi from the Irano-Islamic 
civilization and to assign him to Turkic culture and civilization, which was not developed 
in the Caucasus and Azerbaijan at his time. Thus when Stalin or Brenda Shaffer claim 
that Nezami Ganjavi wrote "most of his work in Persian" (while not a single poetic 
anthology has ever mentioned anything but Persian nor is there a single verse of Turkish 
from anyone at the time of Nezami Ganjavi from the Caucasus and Nezami clearly states 
his poetic work is in Persian), they give license to other nationalists to find obscure 
Turkish works of other authors and claim it as that of Nezami (in this case it is a Ottoman 
poet from Konya called Nezami Qunavi who is also a victim of political nationalists since 
his works are ascribed by these nationalists to Nezami Ganjavi in order for them to 
falsely verify the statement of Stalin and Brenda Shaffer). 

Criticial editions of the verses in question 

In order to examine these misinterpreted verses in the Layli o Majnoon and Haft Paykar, 
we rely on four editions of Nizami Ganjavi. 



250 



1) Kolliyaat Nezami Ganjavi, Wahid Dastgerdi (Tehran, 1315 /1936) 
One can find this on the internet: 
http://rira.ir/rira/php/?page=view&mod=classicpoems&obj=poet&id=30 

The Dastgerdi edition has valuable comments on many of the verses and thus his 
comments have been used by numerous researchers. 

According to one book (written from a nationalist Turkish point of view) by the R. Azada 
(R. Azada, Nezami, Elm Publishers, 1981. Translated in 1991.) (The book does not 
mention anything about Nizami's Kurdish mother and claims in the end that: 
"Nizami is studied and read by many fraternal Soviet people in their own language. His 
translation and publications in Ukrainian, Georgian, Armenian, Turkmen, Tartar, 

Tajik, Beylorussian, Kirghiz and other languages are evident of this. [The writer 
forgets that Tajik is the same as Persian and claims are made on Persian writers like 
Suhrawardi (whose Zoroastrian influence and symbology is well known and has only 
Persian and Arabic works) and ' Ayn al-Qudat Hamadani (who has writing in the local 
Iranic Fahlaviyyat vernacular and has only Persian, Fahlaviyyat and Arabic works)(both 
authors lived before the linguistic Turkification of Azerbaijan) on being Turks. 
Unfortunately the USSR even tried to say Ferdowsi was not a Persian but a Tajik poet!]: 
Remarkable are Vahid Dastgerdi' s studies on Nizami being a step forward in world 
orientalism. He prepares the most correct texts of Nizami's works by comparing various 
manuscripts of different scribes and times, commenting on difficult couplets, lines and 
allusions, and compiled a dictionary of words which were not easily understood, and not 
least of all, did an honourable job by researching into poet's life and creative 
activity"(Ibid) 

Although better editions of various jewels of Nizami have come forward since Vahid 
Dastgerdi, we should mention that the verses where misinterpretations have occurred are 
exactly or almost the same in both the Dastgerdi edition and newer editions. 

2) 

According to Francois de Blois: 

More recently, the Haft Peykar was re-edited by the Azerbayjani scholar T. A. 
Magerramov (Maharramov) (Moscow, 1987). This edition quotes variants from fourteen 
manuscripts, the Ritter/Rypka edition and the uncritical edition by Wahid Dastgerdi 
(Tehran, 1315/1936 and reprints), but Magerramov made no attempt to divide the 
manuscripts into families and in this regard his version is a step backwards from the 
Prague edition. 

Nevertheless, we found this edition useful, since it highlights the discrepancies on variant 
versions of Haft Paykar. 

"Haft Paykar" edited by Tahir Magerramov (Maherramov), Moscow: Idarah-i Intisharat- 
i Danish, Shu'bah-i adabiyat-i Khavar, 1987. 

3) 

251 



We also have consulted the USSR edition with its numerous mistakes: 

1386-1385 — (l^-J^ .J^) J^W — J^j^ Sr 5 ^ L^bd ^ l^-^liaj-^ ma^ 

4) 

For Layli o Majnoon we utilize the excellent edition by Dr. Barat Zanjani: 

Zanjani, Barat. Layla o Majnun-i Nizami Ganjavi: matn-i ilmi va intiqadi az ru-yi 

qadimtarin nuskhah ha-yi khatti-i qarn-i hashtum ba zikr-i ikhtilaf-i nusakh va ma'ni-i 

lughat va tarkabat va kashf al-bayat / bih tashih Barat Zanjani., [Tehran]: Mu'assasah-i 

Chap va Intisharat-i Danishgah-i Tehran, 1369 [1990]. 

Nezami - Khamsa- The Moscow-Baku edition, Hermes Publisher, 1385-1386 

We note that Professor Barat Zanjani has shown more than 20 wrong readings by USSR 
scholars just in the introduction (before the start of the work of Nizami) of his edition. 
Although some USSR scholars have done an excellent job at producing critical editions 
of ancient manuscripts, Iranian scholars have since the time of Bahar learned this method 
from Western scholars (although Hamdallah Mosowfi actually comes up with a critical 
edition of Shahnameh 700 years ago). Obviously people that have been trained in 
Persian, schooled in Persian or whose mother tongue is in Persian have greater advantage 
in understand the language, symbolism and imagery of Nizami Ganjavi and combined 
with newer methods of producing critical editions of texts, we can expect better editions 
of major Persian texts in the future. 

Here are some examples of mistakes pointed out by Professor Zanjani on the USSR 
edition: 

!lS9j9_juu 
OJuIj kS^kJjjuuj 9I 0$ qjgSulj 

i^jvjbfcjj Ol^J JjS^ OJljuU gUu^L^J v^ 

OJulj iSuJjj^uj 9I 0$ qjgSulj 

Ol l59j9_juU U^jl^jO 9 ^jJLJ gpgj^UO 9 <\±JuJ§J «CaS juuJ» ,JSLuU ^ lj «CjljuuI <S juuJ» ^jyjl^ 
jjjl lSIjJ 9 ^U-JuUub ULpj 9 6±j5 j$*£U «9J U» \j £lj-£bO 9^ jj3* jS>\ 9 OJuI^^OljuUL^ juuJ» \j 
QjJl^ \j CjuU 9 JjJuJ^UiJ^jJu^ Qj Qj \j"<Sj m yjJj» OJljJu jb>U Jl&JJ CjljuU^ jl \j c USlS jSLjJj <*5 

9J U ^JUjuuJ \jJQ CjljuoS juuJ 



252 



(^jObejj) />l_)jl w5jb 9 ^lgj O^j^b 

,1 



(l59j9_jJu) /)l_Jjl w5jb 9 ^lgj O^jjSb 

iOJul^ OJuJb lj OJlJIj Cjuj qjI j^ 9 

(^jOb^jj) /xJLJuULpj j^ 9J j^ uL> 

(l59j9_juu) /XJLJuULpj j^ 9J j^ <^L> 

!Cjuj 9^ <jjI j^ 9 

/XCljJ> OljU OLuUjJ Vj^ 

/xcb Ju^j^uj 9I {Jjj^j\ j£ 

<-Sj9>3 ulg_> jl />Jljuuc*j 3S 
(l59j9_aJu) <-Sj9j c^lj^ lJV^' <*->^j j-^ 

:o-*j qjI p 9 

(i^obejj) L jJ\J3' 09^ jj^ju^-juu 9>juu 0I9 

Lp-juUU^Jl^juU^ jl 9 O^SLi CjuLlC ^JvJlS^jO 3j <Jl&_XjjO uLiu Ij ^jJLJ UJljJu ul^jU 9 V-QaPJO ^ 

\QJ3jj\i \j jjj JijuU 
^jJ^JLq^ 0^> \JJJUf&0 jJu JljuJ 

(l59j9_juu) ^jJlp* Oy> fJjjuL^juj 9>juu 0I9 

:lj o-u qjI 9 

(^jObfcjj) JljuuU O^jJD ^j^l ^9_juu ^_9_juuLc 

JljJuU O^^juulS jSI ijlil&JJul^i* 
(l59j9_juu) Jljuuu O^jjoJ ^1 ^9_juu l _9_juuLc 

i-X^S uLLjuUU>I jjjoI £JuO j^ 

253 



<jjjuob oS uLiLjuul>I %S £ *lmJ oLmJ 

(^jvjbfcjj) <jJuLo\bc JljuU jjJjO oS CjljuUJjjJjO 

\QJjS 9 O^S uij^ OgLauuu j^ Ij 9I /xijj ^jOlg^jJu ^jOlsb* 9 

iJjJjJjJ Ju^ OJl9 j (JJ*UuU LauuU oLaJu 

oLuu Ij 9I pJb ^jvjoLbu 9 CjljuuI OJujou b*uuu oLuu Ij ^gJuOuo 9 qjsuuu oLuu Ij ^gj> ^jOlsl-V 
Jj^S Cjuu ^uSLi qjI 3j qj>£j OgJu l59j9_jJu U^Jlj^jO 9 ^jJLJ gpe^^bo <CjljuuI OJuyob ^JOIUuU 

:cjljuuI o±j5 Wjg o-*jc> Ij jSjJI 

(l59j9_juu) <jjulo\Lc JljuU jjJjO <lS CjljuUJjjJjO 

The above examples demonstrate the importance of understanding Khaqani, Ferdowsi, 
Sanai and Nezami in order to understand each poet better. 



Here are some more examples: 



JljJuIj j9>£ o^9> Qj ^jS b 
(^jvjbfcjj) JljuuIj j9^ OjjO Qj 9J jl OjJO 

:0^ JcLy2> Jjj> JSljlU 3J Ij Ol 

JljuuIj j9>£ 0^9> 3j ^5^ b 
(l59j9_jJu) JljJuIj ^9^ Ojjo 3j £J jl OjJ 

.CjljuuI &±j5j c L>9j COc^j ^cLuu jibu ^j9^o ^ ^^J^joJ ul J-^S \$1jq» OjIlC 3j 9 

: Jji> c-^j p 9 

cJ\Jj> ulgj-p^ 9J j ulgjjuu 
(^jvjbejj) cJIjlC 0\j)jJ> 9J j uljjj> 

Olgj-p^ l5L> 3j l59j9_juU V^ .P -CjljuuI OJljlU J^Juub ^JV-Lr^ £UuUU j^ UjJLiitJO J15l-uuI Qj <& 

QjzJS ^jv^jjbj^ Ij ^jOlsb* LSL^jLjJugj lg]o9 9 JuL^S^jJ^ 9 v^^l U ^U-H^ lJ^ ^ 
9I olS^lj <£ (ulg^jJu) J9I ^Sy> 9^ Pj ±p> jbl j^ ^jOlg^jJu ^jOlsb* .JuLqjJuJu (ulg^jJu) 

ICjljuuI <\±S& 9 0->b OLuijU CjlhuuLuUJ> 

^JVjlsb* 0$ O^lO OI9JJLU UllC 

(^jOlSl-V) CjljuuIjjuU jjjuIJuuIS >g-JuU ul jl CjljuUj3j 

>£-jlu ul /XjuuI ilijJb jl ^ Ij (>jlu) ^jOSiX) 9 JJl^ IJlU v^ ^>H^ ^jl ^l>^ ^ 6±j5 ^JVSLjuU 9 

!<^jiS ch^ 9 -^9^V ^9^^° l3^I-^ Lp^j^ j± 

CjljuuI juuJ ul ^ 9SL0 ulg^-uU w5L> 

CjljuuI jjJ-ljuUjO jjS> <\j (uI^S^jJu) ulS 

QiJ jjjUjCjouUjgJ (uI^Sjjuu) /X^j 

CjljuuI j^ Pj ubjO ul jl CjJlC <JT>J> 

^^9^ <^J ^5^ 1^ kSj^jJJ W_jlxC 

CjljuuI >juUJ jJ>I 9 £,>JuU J9IS 

254 



(^Ol9l>) 

CjljuuI OlSuO jjjl j^ <JjO ^JVjJ-JS U 
CjljuuI ulg^p* qJLuOgjCXifc ulg^JuU 

io^jsl ^9> sLuuJl j± 9 

jl 9 v3l>^l <3>JuU QJ k3\j£> >£-^ CjlQJjj jl 9 CjljuuI CjljuuI OJljlU 0\$jju> 9 ulo^JuU ^ulg^JuU 

uLl^JI oLogj ulgjjuu ^ Jj 9 tJuLoj^jj v J^ljuuJ Lu^tS uLuuol 9 J_)lC 3j uLuuI^p* >£-juu jL^-> 

(^jOlsL^ ^JVj^^uUJuo) ulo^Dj ObjL> 9I uLl^LuU 9 CjljuuI 

lS9>u ^jOlsli* jibu jl CjljuuI^ OjJl9 ^jv^LJLuu j^ ulgj^uu ^ uLljuuu>I £Juo j^ /xi5j ^jvjoLku 9 

:cjljuuI <^-aS 9 o±j5 

cJ\L> ulg^p* 9J j ulg^jLU 
(^jvjb^jj) cJI_JlC u\jjjd> 9J j uljjj> 

ICjljuuI OJljuU JojyiD JjljuU fJJ^-f <S$j$-iuJ V^ J^ ^°* 

cJ\l-> uljjjj> 9J j ulgjjuu 
(l59j9_juu) cJIjlC uIjjjj> 9J j ulj9-> 

wSjl> ^jv^jobl jl u9-> J^Sgj 9 JuoL^jLjo ^JL^> <*j jIS ^svJLJ ^jv^JLaS U J^Sgj J9I Ol*-> .p 9 

OjU jjjl j^ ^jVjoLfcu .JuljuUjS ^JVJO gJL^> lSIjJ ^^OtjLjO jJU *Sj ^9-> OLuUU9-> jl ^9_juU ^^VjO j*>lc 

! JljuUUQjulO 

jLcl i$c%jluo QJiMJ ±j£ u^5>r 

(^jvjbfcjj) jU jSJlIj j c L«-juU 9^ Ol CjljuUl^ 

IOJljuU )cuJ£> Qju£> Ig-g^SlJuuJ jl ^Js^SLf j± Lol 

(l59j9_jlu) jU >S_x5u j CLa-juU 9^ Ol CjljlU^ 

:cjuu qjI p 9 

JjLo jU /jouUL-> ^ ^ ^jjULO^julJL-> 

(^jvjL^jj) JuLo jLpjgj ^j 3J \jjJJ$j 
.JuIoj^S iiju.io^,jiju9J>> l59j9_jlu uIjlU^juuJL Lol Julg-LJLUO^<j2aj9j>> /xjJl9 lSL^j^ijulu <3jojjj Q$ 

■ CjljuuI O^QjU CjljuUj^ O LuJLuOjJ^IjuJU 
JjLo jU /jouUL-> ^ ^ ^jjUjOcjuUL-> 

(l59j9_juu) JuLo jLpjgj 3j qj yj±u$J 



^>L £lj3 9j5 CjLJuuub 
(^jobtJj) :>jh ^1^ ^^ j csy>^ 

iJulg-LJuugj v-qJLl-^jo Oj0^> <^j Lp-p-^iJuuJ <^ 

ijb &ljJ> ^ j ^5V9> (1 

ijb & 9j ^ ^^ LS9J >^> (2 



255 



:>jb ^ljj> ^ lS^j jj> (3 

^jb ^ljj> jIj^ l5L> o^> (4 

v>h £,l>^ >^j^ <S$j o$z> (5 

^jb ^ljj> j%± lSq-juu jj> (6 

V,b £l>* ^S>^ ^59 >> (7 

<>^9j 9 CjljuuI ^USjS JjLp £j>^ jl U ^SP* J<P L-S^^ ^ CjujuU ul jl ^Lu^ IjJJ CjljuuI CjujuUj^ 

:aj9$ C^)^! 

CjljuULQj CO uS^I^ >^ U^9j L^^j 
CjujuUJUjJ^ 9J &XXjuU l5^J9^J^ °W 

CjljuU^ j^ ul ^Jv^jLuUU 9 Julg-iSjS $J £,l>^ jl 9 5^ &^-^ jl lj ±&> fj£>$j ,P^ LSlgxl^ ^J^JuSJ 
.JuIqj^jS f^S^j^.J^ 0^9j l-^j ^juuI&JljuU V>^ uLuUUljuU^ 9 CjljuuI OJuLo Igjl 



iJugS ^JVjoLfcu CjljuuI lSjISjLuU jl QJSUuU ^ ^JVjLjV p 

CjljuuI lSjU JIAjlCI j <^-> jj5j j^ 
CjljuuI lSjISjLuU 3j ul ,^-OLJO U=^J I 

ico^S CjuJ \j+js> I j />9-^ <^^ <-S9j9_juu uL^i^j^bo 



Overall, we see that it is important to have proper knowledge of Persian and also a 
detailed understanding of other poets like Khaqani, Ferdowsi, Gorgani, Asadi Tusi, Sanai 
and others to fully understand the poetry of Nizami Ganjavi. That is the poetry of these 
poets help in their mutual understanding. For example, Khaqani was a poet that had 
tremendous influence upon Nezami and this is clearly shown in the high usage of 
metaphors by both poets (see also the appendix). The Nozhat al-Majales for example 
would be critical for understanding some of the more symbolic verses of Khaqani, Mojir 
al-Din Beylekani and Nezami. Yet as far as we know, such methodology has not been 
used by most scholars. It is imperative that scholars use modern technology and if there 
is confusion about the meaning of some of the very difficult verse, they check with other 
poets and anthologies like Nozhat al-Majales. Keeping this in mind, we shall bring the 
misinterpretation of the USSR and cross reference it with other poets as well as Nizami' s 
other verses. At the same time, there was no variance between the verses that were 
misinterpreted and all editions seem to agree on the words of these verses. 

256 



Translation and explanation of the introduction of Layli and Majnoon 

The first misinterpretation in order to allege Nizami was going to write Turkish is based 
on the beginning of Layli o Majnoon, in the section when Nizami describes the reasoning 
for writing the book: 

/XJ9j [JjJuJ CjL^tJ c UujI 

/xj^jo o^S cuLuu qj JLsl 

QJljulXJ c U-juU^ ^>JUU JS jl £Lu^> 
CIJljuUC*^ OJljuU jJJULQJ CU >0j9j 

0-«jOX) > jjU £lj 9 £U J-Jj ,>0 

OJlhu^ /xic Qj^uuu ggl ^j 

OJlhJul^ pSS jJl& gj^ j^ 

qjlq_juu J^J qj pAs jLqjuo 

CjljuuI jIS CjlS9 c lSjul /)j-bL> j^ 
CjljuuI j\j Cjl^J 9 ^^aSj JLSIS 

/xJujS ^jv-^j ujulqJ ^5^ b 

pJ+jJJJ ^jv^j uLp-> J^aJu jg 

^>^ l5^>^ .bLiju <^S ulj9^ 

^ CS^ ^l9j l5^ j 9^ 

d L> U^' J^ L-S^ JljuUjJ ^jOu 

Cjl^LuU OI9J Igj OLpj> jLuLTjJ 

Cjl^LuU OLp-> U ^ OLpj> CjljuuIj OlS 

JljJuU <*S \s>S jib QJj\ u^> 

JljuuI^J jJ £,9j^ ^J i^juJUC* 

Cjljuuu9^> ^\Jj> 9I <& ^b j^ 

OLJUUU9S <J*\L> gxS 0^ 09^ 

^Sjlcpjjj ^p cJg^ uld> 

lSjIS jJjuLouJI QjO j lS-^jS 

Jl9 ulic* ul 3j ubj clc^ qjo 

JL> ul jJul qJLaJu_xS Qj >^>l9 

guj ^jj uLc> ^jJ <^S J-«JJJ0 

£u^ Jlq^ uLc> Jlq^ ^ cJg^ 

Olj jl A^>\S AjljuJj Jb> j^ 

oLuu Q^cl> Jbuo ^jgl 

257 



/XjuUUJ j^j jJq_juU O^jJy 0^ 
jjJ^jJSUuU />^ ^jVjLJUjb^ jl 

jJjJj^ljuu qjI /xj^S 9 /xilcp* u 

^joIj J^juuiC jlj^ l5\JU 

3joL> w^gj Qj q^ ^U-juuljl 

^^p* qjI CjljuuI^S^P* 3jOd3i oLuu 

lSju^> o- 1 *-^ l3^ 9I .p ^ -^L^ 

lSjU 9 ^s^jU j9jj p 

^Sjl>Jo Ij uju9>^ Ojb qjI 

/XjuUUljuU QJSuuU ul qjO Co ^jvjI^ 

/XjuUUljuU O-pS jl 9J oLjIS 

CjljuUL& CjujIj^ ^J^Qi^ 0^ U 

CjljuU^ jl jjS l&j ^jOj £j-M ^ 

j.SLaj <^a^> j ^ jSjj 

(CjljuUUJ Lo kS\S$ vIjljL^) ^Ijl^jJ !^li*UuUu) CjljuUUjIjO kS\S$ *>LjJlȣ) ^JV^jJ 

CjljuUUJ Lo lSIjjuU QJSUuU Qj\S jJ 

julj jjJL v LjuULi >^ ul 

JuU JuJL fJ^LJUJ \j 9I 

/xjuu^S CjlSU oLuu ^qJL> U9^> 

/xjJug^ CjlSj £lo^ <3j J^ jl 

/xjLu ir> j j^uu ^ Ojj^j QJ 

/xjU £u^ 3j o^ q^ OJu^ 3J 

/XJ^S jlj ^ Qj /)>^J0 jJJO^ 

/XJ9S jb £>-^ ^ c l^iS 0J9 

^jvjoLbu JuOCfcjO AJj>3 

^jvjoI^S uL> ^> ,JJ0 J^ jJ ul 



258 



[JJJQJ O^ ^M J^ > JuJ -T ^^ 

jjju^ uLcxjuuI jJ <-S^j c liil uS^ 

<-S-^>J ^b 9^? U^>H l ^9> ju,jl: >' 
CjJS OJuLu U^ju^jO 9 lJ^J 

CjljuUjLuU OlSulj. 9 Q^ OuCXaJ 

CjLJuUjIgJ <jj*uuu 3 yJ j-LJUUj*JUU 

CjljuuI^j^ £J jl 3joU 3j ^joU jjjl 

CjljulHj <jS c LOU jljJo 9 Q^juUUU 

lSL> jJ CjljuUu& 9J QjauuU pJjS 

kS\j o-h^I l59j ^UjI kS\ 

CjljuoSuj 9^ lg^ /XJl^ Q^r fJ^uJ 
CjljuoSjU QJuljuJ 9 £N>9 ^juUUJuI 

OjJ UJuol JljJu jl O^uuu ^>S 
JuU ^IjS <JJ*-JUU uljujo 

JuLoJ ^jvjjlg-juu £^b b 

jC^juUUO CjljuUu& Qj^jSl CjuI <Jjl 

j9^ gjl CjljuUu& JoLuUU jjljuJlSU 

CjljuuI jb 9 JoLuUU <JJ*UuU jlj^l 

CjljuuI jLuU ^Lpj <JJ*UuU 9^>^ O^j 

J-Ofcj j 9 JuU 9 ^J^LJLa^iuJ jJ 

jjSJ± QJJbjJ QJZLjuJ JljuUU 

/xjIjJ Oj <lS l5|ciJL>jjo j^ 

/Xjlj JuC> ^USLi ^ CjljuuIJuJ. 
lSjItj^juU pjj QJ 9 £b 3J 

lSjISuoIS 3j ^jvjo 3J 9 ^gj 3j 

lSjLuU JoLuUU jl QJSUuU JUU 
lSjLj <\j£& Qj JuS CjuU b 

cJL> lsIjojI jS ^ qjI 

gJ\JLo jl iJIlLjujSj ^jS <jjoS 

JuLuoSl ^ 9I /xlbu j OJJJ9S 
JuLo ulj CjuaSLi OuLc qjI b 
jb _U^ qjO Qj uLp-> oLuu U9^> 
jbj-»j qjo /)b ^j ^Lob qjI^ 



259 



CjlSLLJ jl /XjLuUj ,jllb*jl 

oLuu OjJcl> ^j 9I ojjlcp* jS 

JljuuU O^-juoS jSI ,j2u I OJuU 1 9> 
JljuUU O^jjO <& jl ^9_juU l _9_juuLc 

o^lj qjaJb* ujJL> ol jU 

QjO j^uUUCX^ 9J <JJauuU lSI Cjl&S 

QjO J^ljJ [JjJujSU ^JVJ^J 

CjljuUC> OjJl^> L5l<^^iS QJJS j± 

CjljuUUuU jJ^JO Ij pJtu c LjuUUJuI 

CjLJuUUjIcp* ,J^juULC CjljuUJu <*S \^>}Jb 

CjljuuuJ LuulS <^SuoJ 9I jJ C L^S qjI 

^jb />L> vU^ Oj^_juu jj 
^^jS 9J jjIjjIjS ^j c ui*y 

^jvJqj qj^jj qjJu 0ISJI9 

CjljuuI OJuLilS 9I jA9 Qj QJ j^ {J jjS 

CjljuuI OJuLo l59 j QJJbjj ^59 j qjj 

J$$J OL> 3j jJJUlS ^> 9 CjljuUuL> 

JljuUC^J CjUjLc QJ^Ij-U 

*LuU OI9J OL> j OL> CtjljJL). 

Cjl>IJuuJ Ij JJ>£ OL> [jJjS 

CjljuUU /)^ OLjLp-> U^JlitJ oL> 

CjljuUU JOjJZlO JJ>C UL> <JJ9 

lSjU CjL^j j Lc^ OJJu jl 

/)^L-juUuI >^9S qJ-juUL> j± 
JD^LfJjS LjOuS 9 />JJl^ olS 

olj <^Sjlp jl Ju ^jOjuJuIS 

^JVJSjIj ±$jJ <jjI jl jJ^J^ 

^jvjfclS ^Ljo <jjI jl >iSul-> 

ojJj <^5JL o^^jo qj jjiju^Lo 

09\Jb> qjAj QJauuu jL^juuu 



260 



Translation: 



ogl^b qjI ^jIjJ 9 JJJ9S 

j± kS\QJljuJj <^> 9I jl ^jOuJ ^ 

^ jJufc jl 9 ^jv^j vuX jl 
>o>SLi £Lo qjI ch-^^ P 
/)j^J kSU ±$jJ lS^jo wiu 
^I^^jvjo vl$^ *J^ 9 /3ui-a^L-5 vj0 

>>^ £p Jiir: j <tf ^jJbo 
/>^£ £>> ^ 9 1 j^j P 

jjlSI CjuJ jlj^ jb> jjjl 
lS^^J />loJ ^jljuU Ojb> j^ 

^Ijl ujj9>c qjI °|9^ ^ 
:>U Ju9^ ^£j| jj^UI 

^<p* U OLjJub ^ uLc £yjlj 

lSjIS j^j ^ ,jaJUOuL>l^j^ 

lSjLcxC jJjJu jjjjuoul^IjuI 9 

oLuJ v^jLo jhJ ill 



The Reason for Composing the Book 

It was a felicitous and happy day /I was enjoying like King Kai-Qubdd 

My crescent eyebrows were undone /My Diwan ofNezami was open 

The Mirror of Fortune was in front of me /And Good Luck was combing my hair 

Morning was making bouquets of roses /And with its breath it was making my day 
auspicious 

My butterfly of heart was holding a candle / 1 was the Nightingale in the garden, and the 
garden intoxicated 

I was carrying my standard to the Apex of Words / In the Jewel-box of Art I had my pen 



261 



Beak of Pen was engaged in piercing ruby / My francolin of tongue was making fine 
tunes 

I was thinking: it is time to do some work / Good Luck is my comrade, Fortune is my 
friend 

How long should I choose to stay in empty cage? /And sit unengaged in the world affairs 

Time was giving the Rich good time /It was keeping it distance from the Empty-handed 

A dog with thin and empty flanks / Is not picked for watch and cannot earn any bread 

In accordance with the World you can make your fortune / Those compatible with the 
World can win it 

One can hold his head up / Who is compatible with all like the air 

Like a mirror wherever they are / They would erase the lies 

Any temperament which is seeking wrong / Is like a wrong note in dissonance 

Oh Fortune, if you are gracious / You would beg me to do something 

I was throwing my lot to this /And a lucky star was passing then 

When someone is accepted this is it /When Fortune is giving treasure, this is it 

Right away a courier came from the road/ And a letter from His Kingship he brought 

With his beautiful handwriting / His Majesty has written me ten, fifteen or more eloquent 
lines 

Each word of the letter like a blooming garden/ It was more glowing that a night lamp 

Saying: "O Privy to Our Circle of Service / O Magic-Word of the World! O Nezami! 

With the sauce of your early-rising breath /Raise another Magic with your words 

In the Arena of the Wondrous Words / Exhibit the eloquence that you possess 

I want you to recite a story like a pearl / In the memory ofMajnun 's love affair 

Like the Virgin Leyli if you can / Produce some virgin words in the literature 

So that I can read and say: behold this sugar /I can shake my head and say: behold this 



crown! 



262 



More than thousand books of love /Have been decorated so far 

This story is the king of all stories / It is worth if you spend you effort on it 

In Persian and Arabic ornaments / Beautify and dress this new bride fresh 

You know that I am that expert / Who recognizes the new couplets from the old 

While you can mint new pure gold coins of wondrous words / Leave out the business of 

fake coins 

Watch that from the jewel-box of thoughts / In whose necklace you are putting pearl 

Verses misinterpreted: 

Literal translation: 

Our fidelity does not have Turkic manner I 
Turkish-like(=vulgar/harsh) talk do not befit us 

Or: 

(since) Our fidelity is not like that of Turks - 

(thus) Speech for Turks (Turkish Kings) is not befitting for us 

One who is of a high birth /He deserves the high praises/words 

When my ears found the rings of King(when I became a servant of the King)/ From heart 
to mind I lost sense 

No courage to reject his request / No sight to find my way to this treasure 

I was perplexed in that embarrassment / Because of my old age and frail nature 

No privy to tell them my secret / And explain my story in detail 

My son, Mohammad Nezami / Who is dear to me like soul to my body 

He took this copy of the story in hand dear like his heart / Like a shadow he sat next 
down to me 

From his kindness he gave some kisses on my feet / Saying: u Oyou who beat drums in 
the sky 

When you retold the story ofKhosrow and Shirin / You brought happiness to so many 

hearts 

Now you must say the story ofLeyli and Majnun / So that the Priceless Pearls become 

twin 



263 



This eloquent book is better be told /The young peacock is better be a couple 

Especially a king like King ofSharvan / Why Sharvan? He is the King of Iran 

He gives blessing and he gives station/ He raises people and he encourages poets 

He has requested this book from you with his letter / Please sit and prepare your pen " 

I told him: "Your words are very true / O my Mirror-faced and Iron-resolved! 

But what can I do, the weather is double / Thought is wide but my chest is tight 

When corridors of tale are narrow / Words become limp in their traffic 

The field of words must be wide / So that talent can have a good ride 

This story, even though, well-known / No joyful rendering for it is possible 

The instruments of story are joy and luxury / But this story has excuse for both 

On the subject of infatuation and chain and bond / Bare words would be boring 

And if decorations beyond the limits are imposed on it /Would make the face of this 
story sore 

In a stage that I don 't know the ways / It is obvious how much I can show my talent 

There is no garden, no royal feast in this story /No songs, no wine, no pleasure 

On the dry dunes and hard hills in desert / How long can one talk about sorrow? 

The story must be about joy / So couplets can play and dance in the story 

This is the reason that from the beginning /No one has ventured around it for its 
boredom 

Any poet has dismissed its composition / Before they reached the end, they abandoned it 

Since King of the World has requested gently / "Compose this story in my name! " 

Now despite this narrow field of maneuver / 1 will take it so high in delicacy 

That when they recite it for His Majesty / He would cast un-pierced pearls on the road 

If its readers are depressed / They would fall in love otherwise they are dead 

264 



Then that worthy dear son of mine /Because of whom doors of this treasure are open 

The only child from my first marriage / The only tulip of my morning wine 

Told me, "O! who your words are my equals / That is they are like my brothers 

In composing this swift story /Do not have hesitation in your thoughts 

Wherever Love has set up a feast table / This story is like a salt-shaker 

Even though it has all the savors / It has raw kabab on its table 

When its pearl is pieced on your hand /The story would be cooked by you rendering 

It is a lovely beauty with nice appearance /But it lacks any make-up and decoration 

Nobody has cast pearl on it what it is worth / That is why it has been left bare-face 

It is soul, and if nobody works one 's soul on it / This will not wear a rented dress [of 
insufficient work] 

The soul could be decorated only by soul / Nobody has spent one 's dear soul on this story 

Your breath gives life to the whole World / This dear soul of mine is your privy 

You start the rendering of this story / Yours truly will pray and the Fortune will help " 

When I heard the heartening of my beloved son/ 1 gave my heart and conquered the 
battle 

I persisted in finding pearls /I dug mines and opened alchemy 

My talent was seeking a short path / Because it was worried about the road length 

There was no path shorter that this /Nothing more agile that this method 

This is a meter light but easy flowing / The fish in this sea are not dead but live 

There has been many stories with this sweetness / But none has the freshness of this 

No diver from this sea of mind/ Has ever brought up a pearl so special 

Each couplet of this book is like a line of pearls / Empty of any fault and filled with many 

arts 

In seeking this elegant product / There was no a hair to slip 

265 



/ would say something and my heart would reply /I was scratching and the spring was 
giving water 

Whatever I earned with my mind / 1 spent on decorating this story 

These more that four thousand couplets / Were composed in less than four months 

Had any other commitments were held up /It would had finished in a fortnight 

On the lovely appearance of this Free Bride /Prosperous be those who say 'Prosperous! ' 

It was decorated in the best possible way / In the last night ofRajab in Thi, Fa, Dal 

The explicit year this book carries on it /Would be Eight Four after Five Hundred 

I polished and decorated this bride with the best excellence /And I sat her on the camel- 
litter 

So that nobody could find their ways to her / Except for the eyes of His Majesty 

According to those who have tried to misinterpret the verses of Nizami Ganjavi (and this 
was the section quoted by Stalin who did not even have a proper understanding of 
Persian), the following couplets are meant to make the unfounded claim that Nizami 
wanted to write Turkish but was prohibited: 

CjumJUU LO fJSljtJUU yj^CJJj Oj\£jJ 

Julj JjJL <<-JljuJJ j5 Ol 
JuU JuJL <j3uuU Ij 9I 

Verses misinterpreted: 

Literal translation: 

Our fidelity does not have Turkic manner I 

Turkish-like (Turkish-mannered=Harsh/Vulgar) talk do not befit us 

One who is of a high birth/ He deserves the high praises/words 

Or: 

(since) Our fidelity is not like that of Turks - 

(thus) Speech for Turks (Turkish Kings) is not befitting for us 

One who is of a high birth/ He deserves the high praises/words 

266 



According to ethnic-minded misinterpreters who have not examined these lines carefully, 
the bolded portion: "Means that Shirvanshah wrote to Nizami that do not write in 
Turkish! And Nizami was upset" 

Unfortunately they have not looked at the whole section and have not understood the 
meaning of the verses above. First let us analyze this whole section from beginning. We 
note at the end of the section, Nizami Ganjavi mentions he finished the work in four 
months and if he did not have other duties, he would have done it in fourteen days. We do 
not doubt this claim of Nizami Ganjavi, since he was indeed cP*-^ l5s^L> "Jadooy- 
Sokhan" (having magical discourse). Thus Nizami Ganjavi wrote this section(the 
introduction after praise of God) after he had finished the book. That is this section is the 
last or one of the last sections to be written despite coming into the intro. The reason it is 
put in the introduction is because it is a section about composing the book. 

Next, in the beginning of this section, it starts with the fact that Nizami Ganjavi while in 
happy state (:>Li=shad) and in a Kay-Qobadi state (he refers to it as Neshaat-e- Kay- 
Qobaadi, Kay-Qobaad being an important king in the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi and 
Nizami Ganjavi comparing his state of happiness to that of Kay-Qobaad, which again 
shows the influence of Shahnameh), received a letter from the Shirvan Shah. 

He refers to the letter from Shirvanshah as a composition (satr=>kjuj) 
(composition/paragraphs and not poetry). Thus we do not have the original letter of 
Shirvanshah and all the verses/poetry were composed by Nezami and of course the 
style/quality of the verses which are in the meter of the poem(the meter Nezami chose) 
show this. How true is Nizami' s poetic verses to the letter of Shirvanshah and how much 
of it is poetic interpretation? We will never now. But, we do know that Nizami Ganjavi 
describes the letter as "naghz" (very pleasing, eloquent, excellent) and he states that each 
and every single word of it is like a blossomed garden whose light is brighter than the 
flames lit at night: 

So Nizami Ganjavi was very pleased with the words of the Shah and praises the letter. 
He considers this letter like night flames which light up the dark and he considers each 
word as a pleasant blossoming garden. So this by itself invalidates the false claim that 
Nizami Ganjavi was upset at the letter of the Shirvnanshah. 

As per the verses which Nizami Ganjavi composed (the Shirvanshah did not compose 
any verses, he wrote a letter in prose, just like Nizami Ganjavi's son did not compose any 
verses and Nizami talked through him) and was misinterpreted by the USSR: 

CJuuuuuLo i5l3£ kJJug \JsSjJ 

(lS^pjuM.O) OuuUUU Lo iSljuuJ \J3CMJ QJ\£jJ 

±j\j JuJU V-uuUU jS u\ 

267 



JuU JuJU iJDCMJ \j gl 



CJuuuuJ Lo i5ld$ Ca-jud 4jI5jJ 

(i^buj) CJuuuuJ Lo wSljuuj ijjifejuj ^j\Sjj 

X?\j JuJU v-a-ajuu j5 ul 

JuU JuJU jJJfcjuJ lj> gl 



Translation: 



Our fidelity does not have Turkic manner I 

Turkish-like (Turkish-mannered-Harsh/Yulgar) talk do not befit us 

One who is of a high birth/ He deserves the high praises/words 

Or: 

(since) Our fidelity is not like that of Turks - 

(thus) Speech for Turks (Turkish Kings) is not befitting for us 

One who is of a high birth/ He deserves the high praises/words 



The late Dr. Zaryab Khoi has responded to the misinterpretation by ethno-nationalist 
authors who tried to misinterpret these verses in order to falsify the theory that Nizami 
Ganjavi wanted to write Turkish. 

As observed in detail by Dr. Abbas Zarin Khoi and here we bring the original Persian of 
his article: 



Jl^I^> ^jo -Cjljuuuj Lo C5lj_uj ,jJauuJ <^j\^jj -Cjljuuuj Lo <s\s$ k'JjJlo ^3^>J '.jS-kjj j\ 0\szj\jji\ Qj0\jj$j OJJljuJU^J 
tob /)Isaj 9 CjljujI OJu_vp £LiLo oLujj^^juj 9 Ju^Su t_5vS>i jSLjSj CjljujI cULjuj|£> ^J>jo ^jvjoLbu Q$ JuS J\IjJljujI 

«^JI...juL» jjJLi o^*-*^ U 9^ 9 << 6JI--- CjLjua ^' ^° ^1^9 Cjl^ i^S^ <*S> CjljujI 

C5l99 v'LtSuc* Qj ^v-tuj i±$J ^j£>> OLj « L 5sfJ J J» jl $$*nSLO j±\ iQs> <CjljujI 0_v>S oLuljujI OJULJUUU9J ,^9 

ciSLL <«Cjljuuuj Lo ^199 CjSL4> ^SjJ^ --^9^j CjljujI cu_»Jj9J ^^vjoLbu cu Q$ CSl cLoU j^ U CjljujIjJ oLuju^^juj 

cUbLuj ^^oujjl^ oLu_>l j^> jjlkSj <jul 9 «u_>9j ^>* 9 *-S>S ^.P lJ^ 52 ^ <CjljujI kSjJu^lo ^_$Jszo «^_$Sjj» j\ 3c^a.6_o 

^jOlSX) CO CS^p v^^ 9 jCjljujJo ^^>jo 9 £>^ Cju^j lJ v -^ <<; Juuj />LoJ l _5vS - >j» \JJJjS ^jvjo ciS uL-> ._>jb <-S_>ljj 

\Jj\ojB ^jo ^jvjLljuj ciS uu-> .CjljujI OJuol Cju9jujj> 9 j^sv^l ^jy 9 C^LujS 9 <JSJOu>j ^JVJ 

Jul 0_>j!> ^SvS^ <£ ^^0 LgjjLuJ ul JuujJ ^_$\jO 
_>L» OJj uLuuul J9S iGISjj OJu p->JJS> 9^ejo^ 

J9I £,>-£bO ^JVjlSZjO <jjJU .CjljujI OJljuJ JLoSJljujI OJljuJ 9 ^JVJuJfcjOj ^JVjlSZjO CU «^Sj£j$J» /XjS& CIjuJuI^jS UUj j^ 9 

;C\j3> £UuJU ^.JnSLl j^ CO UUC> < CjljuJjJ Lo C5u99 \ZjlSL0 iJ5S?lS9 lJV 9 *-SjH ^^ l^* 52 ^ '^J v ^>' "^ CjljujI iJju^T. 

^jVjoLtu O^Jl-^jO 9 ^jJLJ \~j\jS j$ iS^j&LjuJS JuJ>9 ^^-V^jjO 9 CjljujI OJljuJ JqjuJO «CjljuJ-«J Lo CSIJ9 t ^JLftd^) t _5V_J - >J» 

9 OjLujI Ij ul 9 JlU_J ^jvjO Ij j^sOl^X) O-^^ ^ ^^ O^l >^j J-^ jCjljujI OJljuJ gJo uLjuUuI ^uJ%j^5j CU CO* j^svjoLtu 

CV_J OLl-> 9 .Juub ^J^O CjljujI 0-i^ ^^^9 l5V ^JN-*jJ9^>9 Cb CjuujujJ CV_J kS$Jj£. _>9jOJ^jO uUqJLajJ Ct.^9 CO ^jOfcjjoJj 

.Jul 0_>9j ^99^)^0 ^^OlSljuj Jl0_C 9 ^svjL99 ^jy co uLoj ul j_> ulS^ ^CjljujI />$1slo 

268 



iJu^S <-S-)UujI qS OLu> .CjljujI G^I^jS <SjjJ ^S\jSLjJJ j\sLjJj\ j± ^JvSZO ,Jjl jj^DJ 9 

JuJu j^j^i kSjJ j\ Juli I99 
JuJu (J jjS L93 JJ> uLjI^jI jl 

JjLo <=lS ^jOLuulS 9 -jbl99 ^Sjj ^9-u jSj£> 9 £J lJ^.H ~^l>^jl ■ ( P^jl jL ' P^^ O-?} 9-* J ^9^ ^° 'M9$ l5SjL' ljuJ 9 

0IS9J 9 v^^JI *Sjj\» Jjuo ^j tLv->-&^ *s\s\ /».Lhg-o Juuo^iub /xSL> 9 Jbuol v^ °^ ajl^jjU J.».^.pJ qj 

<jJ*UuJ \<& CjljulH ,jul <jjlH ^JSIO «CjljuUUJ Lo ^Ij_ajJ <JJ*-JuJ c LilS - >J» !CjuJ />9^ £>>£IX> 9 .JUulS CLS^^-I^jjO V^ul 

<3ASL» CjuJ <lc.il ,Jjl JU9JO 9 JJ^J ^99^)^0 ^^Ol&^Ju 3j OlS^jJ Jl£_C Ol j^ I^Uj .CjljuULU Lo <-Slj_*jJ <SuSj 9 CjljuUU 

j± \j (J^*-*^ ^^^ '/^H^ i^Q ^ OLu> «JuJj JuUU iJS*LjuJ \j 9I "Julj JJUU K-JLJUjJ jS> Ol» iJu^S ^^VJO <*S CjljujI 

qj jS^ (J-^-*^ ^jljjj^ >H^ 9 CjljujI V_SLaSj 9 CjljuUU <jJ*UuJ Ol ,^50^5^0 ClS CjljujI 0_>L jI^jS JJUU ,j3uuJ JjI-QjO 

(^J>J9>' V^jj 1 jjjLvCJ .JuuJU ^jvjoJ «<jJiiiS jjJ^uuJ ^^O^j^ ^JSLO 



As noted by Professor Zaryab Khoi, the word "Torki" is used as verb in Persian (Torki 
boodan and Torki Gari) and has nothing to do with language. Professor Zaryab Khoi 
who instructed at Tehran university(Iran's top university) is well known in Iranologist 
circles and he was also the head of the library of congress of Iran during the Shah's time. 
Originally born in Khoi in West Azerbaijan Province of Iran , he was invited to the 
university of Berkeley by Walter B. Henning as a visiting Professor and thought Persian 
language for two years in that prestigious university. But he was requested back to Iran 
for a prestigious position in Tehran university and he accepted this position due to his 
love for his homeland. For an online biography, the reader can look at here: 

http://fa.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B3 %D8 
%B2%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%A8 %D8%AE%D9%88%DB%8C%DB%8C 
&oldid=1451204 

Here we translate what Dr. Abbas Zaryab Khoi has stated: 

The writer of the newspaper Azerbaijan (Newspaper under the Pishevari regime which 
was setup by the USSR) has misinterpreted the lines: Torki Sefat Vafaayeh Maa Nist - 
Torkaaneh Sokhan Sezaayeh Maa nist and wants to argue that that Nizami wanted to 
write in Turkish and the Shirvanshah forbid him and instead told him: Torki Sefat-i 
Vafaayeh Maa Nist - Torkaaneh Sokhon Sezaayeh Maa nist - An koo Ze Nasab Boland 
Zaayad - Oo raa Sokhon Boland Baayad. 

But the writer is deeply mistaken, because if from the word "Torki" the meaning that is to 
be derived is language, then it has nothing to do with faithful characteristic (Sefat-e- 
Vafaaye) of Shirvanshah, so that he would write in his letter to Nizami: "Torki Sefat-e 
Vafaayeh Maa nist"(Our faithfulness is not of Turkish characteristics) . The meaning 
from "Torki" in this line is an infinitive (verb found from noun) like Torki-Gari (To do 
Turkish stuff) and Tork Boodan (to act/become Turkish), and this expression has an old 
tradition in Persian. For example "Torki Tamaam Shod"(Torki has finished means acting 
like Turkish has finished) which means that harj o marj (confusion, wildness and 
unruliness) has finished and Torki-Gari (To do Turkish stuff) is equivalent to cruelness, 
harshness and this meaning is used by Sanai (translator: from a poem which criticizes the 



269 



Turkish rulers. Sanai is a famous Persian poet who lived before Nizami and influenced 
him): 

Do you see those unwise who Torki(Translator: used as an infinitive/verb) 
May their grave be tight and dark like the eyes of Turks 

Thus the first part of this couplet means this: Torki is an infinitive(verb derived from 
noun), and Torki-Gari (To do Turkish) and unfaithfulness is not the characteristic of our 
faith. And in some of the manuscripts it has come down as "Torki Sefati, vafaayeh maa 
nist" and Vahid Dastgerdi, may God bless him, in his corrected edition of Lili o Majnoon, 
brings forth this interpretation and points to the story of Mahmud Ghazna who was 
unfaithful to Ferdowsi. And what is clear is that at that time, Turks were known for 
unfaithfulness and covenant-breaking. 

And such a phrase is found in the poetry of many great poets. For example Asadi 
Tusi(Translator: famous Persian poet who lived before Nizami) states: 

(vafaa naayad az tork hargez padid) 
Faithfulness will never appear amongst Turks 

(Az Iranian joz vafaa kas nadid) 

And from Iranians, there is nothing but faithfulness 

And Sanai(Translator: Another famous Persian poet who lived before Nizami) states: 

(Maa khod ze to in cheshm nadaarim aziraak), 

We ourselves do not expect anything from you because 

(Torki to o Hargez Nabovad Tork vafaadaar) 

You are a Turk and a Turk is never faithful 

And those that want to see more expressions like these can look at the book of "sayings 
and wise quotes" by the great scholar Dehkhoda under "Atrak al-Torook wa law Kaana 
Abuk"(Forget being Turkish even if your forefathers were Turkish). 

And the second part of the couplet: "Torkaaneh Sokhan sezaayeh maa nist" (Turkish-like 
talk is not befitting for us) means that ineloquence and vulgarity is not befitting for us, 
because at that time, Turks were known for vulgarity and unmannered words, and the 
proof of this is given the next: "An kaz nasab boland zaay ad" (That who is born from a 
high birth) "oo raa Sokhan boland baayad" (Elequent speech then are suited/befitting for 
him). 

Thus as we see, he has compared Torkaaneh-Sokhan(Turkish-like/Turkish-manner 
discourse/ speech/talk) to high/eloquence discourse/speech and thus Torkaaneh-Sokhan 
means ineloquence, unmannerly and vulgar speech, and the interpretation of "Torkaaneh 
Sokhan" never means "Torki Sokhan Goftan" (To speak/write in Turkish language). 



270 



(Abbas Zaryab Khoi,Ayandeh Magazine, Esfand Maah (February 21 -March 21), 1324 
(1946), pages 780-781.) 

Since Professor. Zaryab Khoi has mentioned Vahid Dastgerdi, it is interesting to see what 
this commentator states. We note that most of all modern interpretations of symbolic and 
difficult verses are based upon or have been influenced by Dastgerdi' s extensive 
commentary. His extensive commentary on the verses were the first of their kind with 
regards to Nezami. Dastgerdi mentions: 

<*5 CjljuUUJ kSjJ ^OCfcjO OlLaJLuU U<^> Lo Jl0_C 9 0\^jJ V$Z> Lo kS\S$ <& CjljuUUuI CjuJ ^J^SIO 
.CjljulH j^lj-JuUU Lo <S\jJ CjljuoSjJ Ol&LuU^y lSIjjuU OS QJSUuU CJJCpul <JJUy ^9_ajU c IJljuoSljuU 

Translation: 

The meaning of these verses is that our fidelity is not like the Turks and our faithfulness 
is not like that of Sultan Mahmud the Turk. Our fidelity and commitment will not be 
broken, so words that are befitting for Turkish kings is not befitting for us. 

Nezami also does mention the story of Mahmud and Ferdowsi elsewhere. The Iranian 
scholar Said Nafisi also hints that the "Nasab boland" (high birth) had to do with the fact 
that many Ganjaviyans including Nezami who were Iranians saw themselves as of high 
brith relative to Turkish nomads. 

Behruz Servatiyan, an Iranian Azerbaijani scholar who is very passionate about Nezami 

and makes many personal commentaries also has made an interesting comment on these 

verses. In his 1986 publication of Khusraw o Shirin, he mentions various theories, one 

that the verses might refer to the Turkish language based on the USSR theory. But at the 

same time, he mentions that the verse: 

"The eloquent Persian born Dehqan 

Describes the situation of Arabs as such" 

is a reference to Nezami. He also mentions that Nezami Ganjavi's mother was Kurdish. 

However, he states in this 1986 publication that all these things need further analysis. 

That is he states: "It is too soon to make a judgment and one needs to a deeper analysis 

which if God willing, and there is years left, I shall undertake" 

(Servatiyan, Behruz. "Khusraw o Shirin of Nezami Ganjavi", critical edition and 

commentary. Tus publishers, 1986. (pg 58)) 

However in his Leyli o Majnoon, published in 2008, after 20 years, he clearly states: 

9 V^uOsSl> j\ j$$ <& SjjSuJQ <*Jb-KjJ^j-JuJ jS^LkjJ ^yJOKJCU 9 UUljuUoI oLuJ ^JVjljuJ^^I jj j\ UuJ CLjuJ ^JjI _ ^jljujL^U 

j± ^^vS^^JLuj o\^jj Cjuo^Sl^ j^lc _p 9 o^L9l £y>:. «-S\J olio 9 oLoj 9 ^b* oL^gj _p <^ jjIjj ±^> 9 ^9! 
:_u5L«jo i^Sjbr pis o\jjjj \j ^^oLuauuj <j+j^ <uj*j£j\ k-ju&szj oLuuLuuol ^jjU cjc*j tul^l <^L> j-uj\j->uj 

Lo j^lj-JuJ ,jJLaS «~S>juJ>juJ 9 CUlS^jJ <JJ*-JUJ 9 /XjuljuUUU \S$jJ OlS jJ JJuLo^ Lo 9 CjljuUUU ^jS jJ Lo <s\s$ vl»-6-^) 



271 



L93 9 $$J °Ijljuuu ^j^juj^^jB u i3Jl0_C <& /xJLjuajJ v^^jJ iljJ jl ^^JJX ^^xjj^jo Juulcx^ GuLjuuc>I oLjj ,jjo ^JvjlSZj 
.^b pJb\p> jjlibb lj 9J Cjuoj>j 9 £lt) 9 ^^ /x^l£> L93 ^£> _Lp_C cu 9 /xJLjuULft ^^oI^jI ^IjJ jl o^ --^Li 

^J^-juJ^S U CjljujI ^JjSLC &Jlb 

(>SL«j v"»6ff>) 

^Jl^ CO \j O^jl^jO 9 ^jJ-J 9 l^S^Lj JulL CjljuJ^ jl ^J^X-JUJ \j 9I -Vjlj -XjI>J JulL J^juUU 9 <^jljuUU jl ^S ^JOuUL^ ul 
IJuLuO jJCD <\J (jdjLtjjLu 9 CtlLjU ,_S\-P-jijlJUJuI Ou «JuJu ^>\'jJ 9 W_jljuUU ^l^jJ JuJj V—jljulO jl <JJ>1juJ>>-^jljijjI.^U 

(Servatiyan, Behruz. "Lili o Majnoon", criticial edition and commentary. Amir Kabir 
publishers, 2008. pp 338-339) 



Translation: "These verses emanate from a feeling of excessive racial pride from Nezami 
and Akhsatan relative to Turks. Normally a wise sage like Nezami would not make such 
comments, but he did it knowingly probably under ethnic emotions while being fully 
aware that the Seljuqids were ruling Iran. 

They mean: 

Our manners and fidelity is not Turkish and we are not unfaithful like Turks and 
thus Turkish-type speech and thoughtless words are not befitting to us. 

Akhsatan is saying through the verses of Nezami: "I am shah Akhsatan and I am 
not a Turk like Mahmud the Gazna who broke his vow with Ferdowsi and did not 
fulfill his commitment. I am an Iranian and I fulfill my vow and will justly reward 
your effort and undertaking. The person who is of high birth deserves high speech 
and decorate Lili o Majnoon eloquently, with your poetic versatility. The offering 
high speech for someone of high birth and race seem in my opinion (Behruz Servatiyan) 
to be a low thought. 

Although this author does not necessarily agree with the personal comments of Dr. 
Servatiyan (rather we believe these were simply poetic conventions that were widely used 
and one will never know the emotional state of the poet), we have bolded the portion 
where the verse is explained. After 20 years, Dr. Behruz Servatiyan (himself a translator 
of many Persian poems into Azerbaijani Turkish and proud of both his Iranian and his 
Azerbaijani-Turkic heritage) has mentioned what is the natural explanation of these 
verses. 

In our opinion these verses have a simple explanation based on what Vahid Dastgerdi has 
said. We note that according to a very popular legend (which was known by Nezami and 
also mentioned by him in other verses (see our section on Nezami and Ferdowsi)), after 
Ferdowsi was not properly rewarded and Mahmud Ghaznavi broke his vow, and showed 
his infidelity and lack of faithfulness, Ferdowsi escapes Khorasan and goes in exile and 
writes a Hajw-Nama or a versified lampoon for Sultan Mahmud. The Hajw-Nama or 



272 



versified lampoon makes fun of Mahmud, criticizes him and belittles him by using harsh 
and near vulgar language. This Hajw-Nama is exactly what is meant by "Torkaaneh 
Sokhan" which can mean "Turkish-mannered speech" or "Speech befitting for Turks". It 
has absolutely no relation with Turkish language as explained previously since there was 
no concept of Turkish literature at the time nor were the Shirwanshahs whom Nezami 
praises Turks. 

Let us analyze these verses in even more detail. The word Vafa/Wafa 
(faithfulness/fidelity) is said to be lacking among Turks in these verses composed by 
Nizami. This is not only mentioned by Nizami Ganjavi, but many other Persian poets. 
For example Sanai Ghaznavi, who Nizami Ganjavi modeled his Makhzan al-Asrar after 
also mentions: 

<^l>Jjl AO^ / XjL * JC ? Or*} SP j ^9^ ^° 

(^JvJLljuu) 



Translation of Sanai: 

We ourselves do not expect anything from you because 
You are a Turk and a Turk is never faithful. 

We also have Asadi Tusi, who migrated from Tus to Azerbaijan and was a well known 
poet of the region who Nizami was familiar with. Asadi Tusi also says in one his poems 
where he is comparing Iranians to Turks: 

(i^juj^b iSjuujI) 

Asadi Tusi expresses the same opinion: 

Faithfulness will never appear amongst Turks 
And from Iranians, there is nothing but faithfulness 

The verse is in the poem where the Iranian warrior Garshasp addresses the Turks: 

jJ-ajO^J-H^M jl OjlsL*J CjljuJJ GjjO 

<jj£> 9 Ch^^° j ^ 9I >£- j ^ ^ ^ 
±$j ul^l oLJj ulpj> j± 9I oS 

oL^_jJj >juo5u jU ^9_*Jj ol^l <\j 

OlpJ> jl lSL> gujfc 9I jb JuJuu 

CjljujL^J jSjsb o^ljl y> ul^l jl 

L _50uoS OJuu CjljuulJ uLljuuuj Lo j 

273 



j^SOuuu \j Lo OJuu Lxxjuj j\ CjLjmJufr 9 

JuJ^i j^>^ <SjJ j\ Jul) 1^9 

JuJu ,jjoS 1^9 jJ> uLil^l J9 

Nizami Ganjavi was familiar with Asadi Tusi's work and has mentioned his name 
directly in the Haft Paykar. Thus Shirwanshahs who were Iranians are naturally faithful 
according to the poet and overall Iranians saw themselves as faithful relative to Turks. 

And there is also an old Eskandarnama (not to be confused with the one by Nizami 
Ganjavi) where this is mentioned: 

{«kSjj» Ojlg jjj IjjaiQ^ qjoLqpJ iJu^lju) 

Translation: And the King did not know that Turks lacked faithfulness. 

Without understand other Persian poets, including Sanai, Ferdowsi, Khaqani, Asadi Tusi, 
Gorgani and others, knowledge of Nizami Ganjavi and his verses will also be deficient. 
Thus by that time, it was accepted in Persian poetry that Turks lacked faith. This was 
used in two contexts. One in the context of Mahmud of Ghazna and the other in the 
context of symbols of beauty who lacked faith. 

Numerous other examples can be given, but the best example is Nizami Ganjavi himself 
who repeats the lack of faithfulness amongst Turks through the mouth of Alexander the 
Great. Nizami Ganjavi talks about the lack of faithfulness in Turks through the mouth of 
Alexander (who complains about the Khaqan of Turks/Chin): 

oISj p±y> uIcxjj JujIjJ 

O UUULJUUUU V i i , O S l" 1 nl I j . jV nl 

uLjuJ> j± CjljuUUJ 199 9 _)L0_C <*S 

JuI - OJuJljuuu ^jvjo^juul^t OJu CLaJb 
^jOLjujI^j cL^r kS$> Uuo^juul> Oj 

i£j <*£> J9I ,jJljuUC> ^JVJLjuJ9^ Ol j± 

^9_*jj <\j> jj>\ u±j5 ^jOucxjJj^ Chf.JS 

^9J iJjS IcXjuJ j^JO 05 ^jJ jjJ> 

^joljujI^ I99 i^j^z ^y >** 



274 



Opened his tongue in execration of the Turks, 

Saying: — "Without (hidden) Fitnah (calamity, discord, rebellion) no Turk is born of his 

mother. 

"Seek not from the Chini aught save the frown on the eye-brow (the vexation of the 
heart): "They observe not the treaty of men. 

"True speech uttered the ancients; 
"Treaty-faith exists not among the men of Chin. 

"No one seeks manliness from the Chini; 

"For, save his form, that pertaining to man is not theirs. 

"They have all chosen narrow -eyedness (shamelessness); 

"They have beheld (experienced) openness of the eyes (shamefacedness) in other 
persons. 

"Otherwise, after such amity, 

"Why tookest thou up the path of hatred? 

"First, in that friendship-seeking, — what was there? 
"At last, in this hostility-displaying, — what advantage? 

"Mine, — the heart was one, and covenant one; 
"Truthfulness great; treachery little (none). 

"Not (mine), — the intelligence that your love was hate; 
"That the heart of the Turk of Chin was full of twist and turn. 

"If the Turk of Chin had kept faith, 

"He would (like the faith-keeping Sikandar) have kept the world beneath the fold (the 

skirt) of his garment. 

So the first part of the couplet clearly shows that lack of faithfulness amongst Turks was 
common attribution amongst Persian poets and writers. Nizami Ganjavi also used the 
same words as other Persian poets who regarded Turks as lacking fidelity at the time. 
Vahid Dastgerdi believes that the lack of faithfulness of Turks in Persian literature is due 
to Mahmud's treatment of Ferdowsi. These verses were also of course composed by 
Nezami himself since the Shirwanshah did not compose the verses of poetry in the poetic 
rhythm of Lili o Majnoon. For example words such as: 

^UaJ (J^a. <j^> j^La, 

Are clearly words of Nezami as are the rest of the intro. If Sherwanshah could have 
composed the above four verses, he would not need any court poets. 

275 



As per Turki being used as an infinitive, we note here that Nizami Ganjavi and Sanai 
both use it: 



jLjo 9^1 j± ChPZ l^^-^L*^ l^ 
(i^olbu) 
Do no/ Twrfo' oh Turk of Chinese art 
Stay for a while, do not furrow your brow 
(Nezami) 

Jul 0±j£ Li^H °& uSvjL^j^-juj ul AJlwJ ^JU) 

( l 3\jLjuj) 

Do you see those idiots that have Turkied 

May their grave be narrow, like the eyes of Turks 

(Sanai) 

As per the second part of the first couple, it is significant to note the following verses 
from Khaqani Shirvani which connects the words "Torkaan"(Turks) and "Torkaneh": 

9^Juuo CLilSjJ uS lSLljJjI 

jcpsuo ^ISLo j± j\ uli 9 vl 

uI^^juj jj 9 j9^ix) ulS^ uli 

jcptx) culS^ 9 ^9^ uli <^ol u 

Do not be friendly to that stranger 

Do not drink the water and eat the bread of that stranger 

Do not eat the bread of the Turks (Torkaan) and at the food table 

Eat with manners and do not eat Torkaneh (in the Turkish-way) 



We note the in the above, Torkaaneh (Turkish-like/Turkish-mannered) is used as a 
synonym with vulgar and used as antonym of manners. So Turkaneh does not mean 
Turkish but Turkish-like/Turkish-mannered/Turkish-behaving. Just like Divaaneh in 
Persian does not mean "Daemon" but rather crazy. Or Shahaaneh does not mean King 
but it means grand and royal. In other words, "sit in a Kingly fashion" or in this case, 
"Eat with manners and not in a Turkish-type fashion". 

Or else to eat with manners and "not to eat Turkish" does not make any sense. That is 
Torkaaneh-Khordan (eating the Turkish-way) is used as an opposite to baa adab khordan 
(to eat with manners). This is the way Nizami Ganjavi uses Torkaaneh Sokhan (Turkish- 
manner/Turkish-like speech) as opposed to Sokhan-e-Boland (eloquent/high speech). 



276 



That is exactly how the verse by Nizami Ganjavi goes: 

OuuUUU Lo iSljuuJ \J3cmJ QjiSjJ 

X>\j JbJb v-jljuuu jS uT 
JuU JuJb ijjiejuj 1^ 3I 

"Torkaaneh Sokhon" (Turkish-like speech) does not mean "Zaban-e-Torki" (Turkish 
language) but rather vulgarity or harsh words as observed also by Professor Zaryab Khoi. 
"Nasab e Boland" (high birth) is contrasted to Turkish characteristics / unfaithfulness and 
high words is contrasted to Torkaneh (Turkish- way) (Vulgar/Non-Eloquent/harsh) words. 
Shirwanshahs who claimed descent from Sassanids most likely considered Turks of 
lower descent. Later on, Seljuqs, Ghaznavids and other dynasties of Turkic origin that 
were Persianized also claimed Sassanid descent. The verse by Khaqani explains the 
verse by Nizami and shows how the word "Torkaaneh" has been used by contemporary 
poets of Nizami. 



Here is another verse again by Khaqani using Torkaaneh which connects with the verb 
Torki kardan: 

CjljujI l _$nJLjuJ9^ j\ qj\5 QjiSjJ ^Sj^> Oy> 
9_j»Juuo uljb t \jSj* %S^jJ < J9^° ucp* 

9^Juuo ubU < jj^ulSuo Lib cixx^ ,jjI 

You drink blood Torkaaneh (Turkish-manner/Turkish-like) and say this is from 

friendship, 

Do not drink blood, do not do Turki (used as verb here), do not be violent 

You killed me and then claim you did not know 

Do not kill so many knowledgeable people, do not be stupid 

We note Nizami Ganjavi says nothing about "Zaban-e-Torki" (Turkish language) or 
Sokhan-e-Torki (Turkish speech) here. But "Torkaaneh Sokhan" (Turkish-way of speech 
and not Turkish speech) means vulgar/low/harsh speech and the proof is brought by both 
the Khaqani verses(a contemporary of Nizami and they knew each other) and also the 
next verse by Nizami Ganjavi himself where it is contrasted to "Sokhan Boland" (high 
speech/words). As can be seen both of these negative meanings(in this context) were 
common in Persian poetry and Nizami Ganjavi used them. Of course if Nizami Ganjavi 
was Turkic(like Alisher Navai) or had any Turkic national consciousness or cared for any 
sort of ethno-nationalism, he would not have versified these couplets which were 
negative and would have dedicated Leyli o Majnoon to another king. 



277 



Indeed any king would have been proud to have such a work in his honor and would have 
compensated Nezami accordingly. 

It is this author's belief that the Shirvanshah letter really did not contain of these details 
and these verses were versified by Nizami. Obviously their high poetic style establishes 
this fact. Rather, the Shirvanshah' s letter asked for Lili o Majnoon to be versified and it 
would have obviously been in Persian without asking since they were Persianiazed Kings 
(who claimed descent from Sassanids), they knew about the stories Arabic origin and 
there is not a single verse of Turkic from the area let alone a romantic epic. Also Nezami 
Ganjavi had never done a romantic Arabic epic neither has there been a romantic Arabic 
epic been produced from Persian lands in such a fashion. 

That is Nizami had no imitative of his own to versify this story, but rather he was 
commissioned to do so and of course naturally the Shirvanshah' s who were not Turks 
would not even order someone not to write Turkish, since it was common knowledge 
they had a Persian identity and Nezami knew them well enough to send his son to their 
court. Nizami, who was aware of their claimed Sassanid origin (praises them as 
descendents of Bahram), was also aware that these Kings were not Turkish in terms of 
genealogy and background as he has called them bahram-nejad (descendants of Bahram) 
and incidentally Khaqani Shirvani also calls them Bahramian (from the family of Bahram 
and the Encyclopedia of Islam also claims they claimed descent from either Bahram Gur 
or Khusraw Anushirawan). 

Let us examine the verses before and after the misinterpreted verse to clearly demonstrate 
that the verses have a clear meaning and no conspiracy theories which were created by 
the USSR. 

<J*jj> qjI CjljuuI^S^p* <3jcxi3> oLjJu 
lSjU 9 ^j^uUjL/ j9^j j± 

/XjuUUljuU <JJ*UuU Ol QjO ^5 ^jOl^ 
/XjuUUljuU \J$S jl 9J oLjIS 

^SLaJ 3jl> j <*£ y^t 

CjljuUUJ Lo kS\S$ CjljL^ Qj\5jJ 
CjljuUUJ Lo lSIj-ajJ <JJ*UuU Qj\SjJ 

julj jjJL v LjuuLi j$ ol 

JuU JuJL <j3uuU Ij 9I 



This story is the king of all stories 

and it is suitable if you spend your speech on it. 



278 



In Persian and Arabic ornaments 
Beautify and dress this new bride fresh 

you know that I am a literary expert and I know new 
couplets from the old ones and imitations 

While you have pure gold( 10/10) as your wondrous (-rhymes/ couplets) 

dispose of the valueless metal (5/10) from your hand(= the inelegant and ineloquent 

speech ) 

look that from your jewel box of thought, in whose 
necklace you are linking pearls 

Our promises/faithfulness/fidelity are not of Turkish characteristics(Turkish-way) 

Torkaaneh (Turkish-way /Turkish-like -ineloquent/low /uncouth/unmannerly /vulgar) 

Sokhan( speech) are not befitting to us. 

Or: 

Speech meant for Turkish kings are not befitting for us 

The person who is born of high birth 
Elequent and high speech is what he deserves 

We note that Nizami wrote the story in Persian and not "Persian and Arabic". 

Persian and Arabic here are not languages as misinterpreted by USSR authors (and 
unfortunately this misinterpretation from USSR sources have crept into some articles by 
Turkish author). One could argue for a language if it was "Persian or Arabic". But 
here it is "Persian and Arabic". We note the fact that the stories origin is Arabic, its 
manuscripts were probably in Arabic and Nezami for the first time rendered it in Persian. 

This would make it unique in its own aspect, since no one before ever tried to write this 
poem in Persian. Nezami too also says that no one had touched this story due to its 
barrenness. So Nezami was breaking new grounds by writing this story of Arabic origin 
into Persian and decorating under Persian symbols and ornaments. That is he states: 

This is the reason that from the beginning 
No one has ventured around it for its boredom 
Any poet has dismissed its composition 
Before they reached the end, they abandoned it 



So what does Persian and Arabic ornaments mean? Since it is not language (if it was 
Persian or Arabic one could remotely argue for such a case), then we must look at the 
nature of the final masterpiece and its ornamentation. We know Nezami Ganjavi wrote 
the introduction on the reason for composing the poem after he had finished versifying 
the story. 



279 



Professor Gohrab states: 

In composing his romance, Nezami used many of the Arabic anecdotes and 

considered several key elements of theUdri genre. He refers explicitly to his sources 
seventeen times, at the beginning of each episode, but none of the sources can be 
identified with certainty: these references are probably a narrative device to emphasize 
the romance's outlandish origin to his Persian readers (Seyed-Gohrab, 2003, pp. 55-57). 
Nezami adds a strong Persian flavor to the legend. For example, the Nowfal episode is 
developed into a completely different event, hardly resembling the original Arabic 
account. The Arabic sources portray Nowfal as an official, but Nezami' s Nowfal is a 
chivalrous Persian chieftain (Javdnmard) ready to risk his life to bring the two lovers 
together. Nezami threads the scattered anecdotes about Majnun's love into a finely 
woven narrative with a dramatic climax. Persian verse romances are commonly about 
princes, and characters are usually related to courtly circles. Likewise, Nezami portrays 
the lovers as aristocrats. He also urbanizes the Bedouin legend: Majnun does not meet 
Leyli in the desert amongst the camels, but at school with other children. Other Persian 
motifs added to the story are the childless king, who desires an heir; nature poetry, 
especially about gardens in spring and autumn, and sunset and sunrise; the story of an 
ascetic living in a cave; the account of the king of Marv and his dogs; the Zeyd and 
Zeynab episode; Majnun's supplication to the heavenly bodies and God; his kingship 
over animals, and his didactic conversations with several characters. 
(A. Seyed-Gohrab, "Leyli O Majnun" in Encyclopedia Iranica) 

http://www.iranica.com/newsite/index. isc?Article=http://www. iranica.com/newsite/articl 
es/unicode/ot_grp 1 8/ot_leyli_o_mamun_200907 1 5 .html 
(accessed 2009) 



And in his book, he states: 

Although Majnun was to some extent a popular figure before Nizami 's time, his 
popularity increased dramatically after the appearance of Nizami 's romance. By 
collecting information from both secular and mystical sources about Majnun, Nizami 
portrayed such a vivid picture of this legendary lover that all subsequent poets were 
inspired by him, many of them imitated him and wrote their own versions of the romance. 
As we shall see in the following chapters, the poet uses various characteristics deriving 
from 'Udhrite love poetry and weaves them into his own Persian culture. In other words, 
Nizami Persianises the poem by adding several techniques borrowed from the Persian 
epic tradition, such as the portrayal of characters, the relationship between characters, 
description of time and setting, etc. 

(Translation taken from: Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Layli and Majnun: Madness and 
Mystic Longing, Dr. Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Brill Studies in Middle Eastern literature, 
Jun 2003, pg 76-77). 

This is also alluded to by the Encyclopedia of Islam:" He adapted the disconnected 
stories to fit the requirements of a Persian romance" 



280 



(Pellat, Ch.; Bruijn, J.T.P. de; Flemming, B.; Haywood, J.A. "Ma|nun Layla." 
Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. 
Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2009. Brill Online.) 

In reality the story was well known in Persian and Arabic literatures and sources. But 
Nizami Ganjavi consciously Persianized it and brought it to a Persian setting and was the 
first romantic epic poet to compose this story in Persian. At the same time the story has 
its Arabic motifs and Nezami used many Arabic anecdotes as mentioned by Dr. Gohrab. 
Thus the story became a mixture of Arabic and Persian symbols and imagery and the 
final ornamentation and decor came through by such a mixture. We should mention that 
when it comes to the actual Persian language which Nezami wrote the story in, he uses 
the term "Dari" rather than Persian. This is just like Qatran Tabrizi who calls his Iranian 
language as Parsi and that of the Khorasani-Persian as "Dari". 

Thus "Parsi o Tazi"(Persian and Arabic) should not be taken as a language as much 
cultural Iranianization of the story. Because Dari or more formally as Ferdowsi calls it 
"Parsiye-Dari" was the literary Persian while "Parsi" to Nezami was the local Persian 
dialect of the region. We should also note for example Nizami mentions his sources for 
Bahram-Nama (Arabic, Persian books, Bukhari, Tabari (books or possibly dialects)) and 
Haft Paykar(Pahlavi, Shahnameh, Hebrew, Nasrani(Christian) sources/dialects). 

Arab migrants to the area (including the Persianized and Persian speaking Shirvanshahs 
of Arab origin that had through intermarriage with Iranian royal families forgotten their 
Arab origin and claimed Sassanid origin) had brought the Lili o Majnoon folklore (which 
was from pre-Islamic Arabia) with them. It was even known in Khorasan. Already, two 
centuries before Nizami, one of the first great Persian poets Rudaki has mentioned it. 
Although the story was relatively known, it was still considered a foreign tale in some 
sense. Nizami Ganjavi brought it to its highest level by being the first Persian to 
compose it as a romantic epic. But before him, due to its popularity in local folklore, it is 
called as a king of stories. And that is why Nizami' s son actually brings him a 
manuscript which shows that Nizami had a copy of it (in Arabic most likely) and shows 
the story was known. Nezami was the first Persian poet to write an epic in the Persian 
style for this story. Thus these verses of Nezami and his poetic interpretation of the letter 
of the Shirvanshah are easily understood without any conspiracy theories. 

After praising this story as the king of stories, the verses of Nizami through the mouth of 
the Shirvanshahs asks Nizami to utilize these jewels(stories)/ornaments(Arab origin story 
and anecdotes and Persian symbols/imagery/romantic epic) and bring out a new version 
with his magical speech (Jadooyeh Sokhan) . At the same time, he was told, he should 
not copy or imitate couplets and old sources, since the King is praised as literary expert 
by Nizami and is expecting his magical discourse. Instead Nizami should show his 
magic discourse, spend effort on the story and dispose of valueless and ineloquent 
speech. And he will be rewarded for his eloquent and high speech unlike the legend of 
Ferdowsi who was not rewarded for the monumental Shahnameh and Ferdowsi thus 
bestowed Mahmud the versified lampoon which he deserved due to Mahmud's breaking 
his covenant. But since the King (Shirvanshah) is of high birth, an Iranian and is faithful, 



281 



he deserves eloquent speech and not harsh/vulgar words/speech (which is reference to the 
satirizing poem of Ferdowsi about Mahmud).. 



Yet the conspiracy theory that Nizami was forced to write Persian! But wanted to write in 
Turkish! seems to have spread in some Turkic speaking countries unintentionally based 
on uncritical examination of Nezami's legacy in the USSR. For example Professor 
Mehmet Kalpakli (first author) and Walter Andrews (second author) in the "Nizami 's 
Layla and Majnun "in the Turkish Manner" in Kamran Talattof and Jerome W. Clinton. 
The Poetry of Nizami Ganjavi: Knowledge, Love, and Rhetoric. Palgrave Macmillan, 
2001.) has translated: "Torkana Sokhan Sezaayeh maa nist " as " so writing in the 
Turkish manner does not suit us". There is no verb here about writing, but what is 
mentioned is Torkaaneh Sokhan (Turkish- way of speech=harsh words, vulgar speech) 
which is contrasted with high speech in the next line. Also in their translation, the four 
crucial translations of the lines before this line and the important line that contrasted 
Turkish-mannered speech to eloquent speech and high birth to Turkish 
characteristics/(acting in Turkish characteristics) were not brought. 

To their credit, Professor Kalpalki does mention Nezami as a Persian poet: 
"The story of Layla and Majnun by Ottoman times was a tale told often appearing in 
numerous poetic-narrative versions, including rendition by famous Persian poets Nizami 
(1140-1202) and Jami (1414-1492). "(Walter G. Andrews, Najaat Black, Mehmet 
Kalpakli, "Ottoman Lyric Poetry", Published by University of Washington, 2006. pp 70). 

As we mentioned in the introduction, according to the Russian philologist Ivan 
Mikhailovich Steblin-Kamensky, Professor and the Dean of the Oriental Department of 
Saint Petersburg University comments 

("Oriental Department is ready to cooperate with the West", Saint Petersburg University 
newspaper, No 24—25 (3648—49), 1 November 2003"). 

http://www.spbumag.nw.ru/2003/24/Lshtml ) (original Russian in the introduction of 
article) 

" We trained such specialists, but, as shown by our communication with them, there are a 
lot of nationalistic tendencies there and academic fraud. Apparently it's related to the first 
years of independence. Their works include nationalist beginnings. Objective perspective, 
scientific understanding of the problems and timeline of historical developments are 
lacking. Sometimes there is an outright falsification. For example, Nizami, the 
monument of whom was erected at Kamennoostrovsk boulevard, is proclaimed Great 
Azerbaijani poet although he did not even speak Azeri. They justify this by saying that 
he lived in the territory of current Azerbaijan, but Nizami wrote his poems in Persian 
language!" 

I did ask Dr. Kamran Talatoff also about this issue and he said: "Thank you very much 
for sharing your thoughts and concerns with me. It seems that many of these former 
soviet republics have been trying to make history and construct cultural background in 
the process of their attempt for nation building. The official websites of the Republic of 

282 



Azerbaijan featured Nezami as one their own many years ago. This happened at the time 
when our own officials did not care much about our cultural heritage.". Thus the editors 
invited article was printed as it was. It should be noted that based on my own e-mail with 
Dr. Kamran Talatoff has no doubt about the Iranian background and heritage of Nezami. 

There is no proof that Nezami even knew Turkish and had he known Turkish, he would 
have written it for a Turkish king. We should note that some have claimed Nezami knew 
Qipchaq Turkic because his first wife given to him as a gift was a Qipchaq and also 
illiterate , but this claim has no merit since many illiterate people know many languages. 
For example, literacy rate in Iran was about 3% in the Qajar era, but Persian was spoken 
by a variety of groups as a medium and common language. 

Also Nizami addresses his son in Persian and also sends his son to the court of the 
Shirwanshahs who were Shafi'ites and Persians culturally and ethnically (claiming 
descent from Bahram Gur while actually being of mixed Arab/Iranian origin). So there is 
no proof that Nizami knew any Turkic language and indeed he never mentions any 
Turkic sources in his works. Although again, many Iranian people could have learned 
Turkic, since it was the language of rulers. However as shown by the Safinayeh Tabrizi 
and Nozhat al-Majales, even after the demise of Seljuqs/Eldiguzids, Persian/Iranic 
languages were the main languages of urban center and it is our belief based on these 
works that Turkic in Azerbaijan and Caucasus was specific only to parts of the nomadic 
populations. And a best proof of this is the fact that it was these Turkic rulers (like 
Eldiguzids and Seljuqids) that learned Persian since their ministers were many time 
Persians and the fact that these rulers themselves patronized Persian culture and became 
absorbed in Persian culture shows that the regional Iranian people were able to impose 
their culture upon these rulers while these rulers imposed their rule upon them. Indeed 
these, rulers are praised as rulers of Persian lands which shows the ethnic characteristics 
of the land and culture. So there is no proof that Nezami Ganjavi even knew Turkish. 

Those who claim Nizami Ganjavi wanted to write in Turkish but was ordered not to do 
so!, not only misinterpret the above verses(sometimes the lie has penetrated Russian 
literature that they have took the verse without examining and unintentionally), but claim 
that Nizami Ganjavi was upset at the Shah(ignoring Nizami' s direct praise of the letter 
which each word is described as a blossoming garden) and quote this verse after which 
the king asked for high and eloquent speech: 

/xjuu<p CjlSU oLuu qjjJb> o<^> 

When my ears found the rings of King(when I became a servant of the King)/ From heart 
to mind I lost sense 



But they do not quote the continuation: 

283 



/XJ9S jb ^>juu Qj <**£& <jjg 

^JvjoLbu JuOC*jO Ajj^ 
^jvjoIjS uL> 9^> QjO L-b jJ ul 

CjljuUUuUUU °IjLajU <^> QjO lS^JL^ j± 

[JJJQJ O-O kSLi j^JQ juuJ jl ±\± 

[JJJ^Z OLcXjuuI jJ lS^J <&j\ ^jS 

CjJS OJuLu U^jl^jO 9 ^jJLJ 

v!jlQj> ^9_juu l _5\JucxaS >^9j U 

CjljuUjLuU OlSjy 9 0^ CjuCXS^J 

CjljuuI^ j^ 9J jl Qjq\j Qj Qjq\j fjj\ 

CjljulHj jjS c LOU jl>lo 9 Q^juUUU 
l5L> jJ CjLJuULlfr 9J jJJSUuU pjJ& 

CjljuoSuj 9^ lg^ pjS Q^r Q^uJ 
CjljuoSjJ QuuljuJ 9 £\jS ^juUUJuI 

OjJ UJuol JljJu jl O^uuu ^>S 
JuLoJ ^jvjjlg-juu ^b b 

jC^juUUO CjljuUL^ QS>jS\ CjuI Qjl 

j9^ gjl CjljuUL^ JoLuUU jjljuJlSU 

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284 






No courage to reject his request / No sight to find my way to this treasure 

I was perplexed in that embarrassment / Because of my old age and frail nature 

No privy to tell them my secret / And explain my story in detail 

My son, Mohammad Nezami / Who is dear to me like soul to my body 

He took this copy of the story in hand dear like his heart / Like a shadow he sat next 
down to me 

From his kindness he gave some kisses on my feet / Saying: u Oyou who beat drums in 
the sky 

When you retold the story ofKhosrow and Shirin / You brought happiness to so many 

hearts 

Now you must say the story ofLeyli and Majnun / So that the Priceless Pearls become 

twin 

This eloquent book is better be told /The young peacock is better be a couple 

Especially a king like King ofSharvan / Why Sharvan? He is the King of Iran 

He gives blessing and he gives station/ He raises people and he encourages poets 

He has requested this book from you with his letter / Please sit and prepare your pen " 

I told him: "Your words are very true / O my Mirror-faced and Iron-resolved! 

But what can I do, the weather is double I Thought is wide but my chest is tight 

When corridors of tale are narrow I Words become limp in their traffic 

The field of words must be wide I So that talent can have a good ride 

This story, even though, well-known I No joyful rendering for it is possible 

The instruments of story are joy and luxury / But this story has excuse for both 

On the subject of infatuation and chain and bond I Bare words would be boring 

285 



And if decorations beyond the limits are imposed on it I Would make the face of this 
story sore 

In a stage that I don 't know the ways /It is obvious how much I can show my talent 

There is no garden, no royal feast in this story /No songs, no wine, no pleasure 

On the dry dunes and hard hills in desert I How long can one talk about sorrow? 

The story must be about joy I So couplets can play and dance in the story 

This is the reason that from the beginning I No one has ventured around it for its 
boredom 

Any poet has dismissed its composition /Before they reached the end, they abandoned 

it ' 

We already noted that Nizami Ganjavi praised the composition of the Shirvanshah and 
praised every word of that letter as a blossoming garden. So he had nothing but praise for 
the Shirvanshah and his letter. Nizami Ganjavi 's complaint is about the nature of the 
story of Lay li o Majnoon, as shown in the above verses and he makes himself explicitly 
clear. It is not about the Shirvanshah. 

As noted by the Encyclopedia of Islam: 

In 584/1 188 Nizami of Gandja composed at the request of the Shirwan-Shah Akhsitan the 
mathnawi Layli u Madjnun in the metre hazadj-i musaddas-i akhrab-i makbud-i mahdhuf 
with about 5,000 bayt s. This was the third part of the set of poems known as the Khamsa 
[q.v.]. The theme was chosen for the first time as the subject of a Persian narrative poem, 
but the precedent of the treatment of a similar subject of Arabic origin existed in 
Ayyukfs Warka u Gulshah. Nizami states in the introduction to his poem that he 
accepted the assignment with some hesitation. At first, he doubted whether this tale 
of madness and wanderings through the wilderness would be suitable for a royal 
court (ed. Moscow 1965, 41 ff.). He adapted the disconnected stories to fit the 
requirements of a Persian romance. They were joined together into a coherent narrative 
which describes the development of a frantic love affair from the scene of the first 
meeting of the two lovers till the death of Ma^nun at the grave of Lay IT. In some 
respects, the Bedouin setting of the original has been changed under the influence of 
urban conditions more familiar to the poet and his audience: the young lovers become 
acquainted at school; the generous Nawfal is a prince in the Iranian style rather than an 
Arab official. Nizami added a second pair of lovers, Zayn and Zaynab, in whom the love 
between the main characters is reflected. It is Zayn who in a dream sees Madjnun and 
LaylT united in paradise at the end of the romance. 

Several other features mark this new adaptation of the romance. Specimens of nature 
poetry were used to emphasise, symbolically, important points in the development of the 



286 



plot: a description of a palm bush in spring where LaylT sits in the flower of her youth; of 
the night at the moment of Madjnun's deepest despair; of autumn at the time of LaylT's 
death. Much attention is given to Madjnun's role as a poet. In several places, ghazal s are 
quoted in the text, which in metre and rhyme are adjusted to the prosodic characteristics 
of the mathnawi . It is quite evident that, to Nizami, the subject matter was not least 
interesting because of its emblematic possibilities. His poem is, therefore, a didactic work 
as well as a narrative. The former quality is noticeable in the frequent asides containing 
reflections on such themes as ascetism, the vanity of this world, death and, of course, 
love in its various aspects, including its transformation into mystical love. Didacticism is 
also the main element of the introduction and the epilogue. (Pellat, Ch.; Bruijn, J.T.P. de; 
Flemming, B.; Haywood, J.A. "Ma^jnun Layla." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second 
Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. 
Heinrichs. Brill, 2009. Brill Online.) 

Colin Turner who also translated the poem states in his foreward: "The Persian poet 
Nizami was commissioned to write Layla and Majnun by the Caucasian ruler, 
Shirvanshah in AD 1 188. In his original preface to the poem, Nizami explains that the 
messenger from Shirvanshah arrived and gave him a letter written in the Kings own hand. 
Extolling Nizami as 'the universal magician of eloquence', Shirvanshah asked the poet to 
write a romantic epic based on a simple Arab folktale: the age old tale of Majun, the 
'love-mad' poet, and Layla, the celebrated desert beauty. Since the dawn of Islam some 
five hundred years before, the legend of Layla and Majnun had been a popular theme of 
love songs, sonnets and orders of the Bedouins in Arabia. Majnun was associated with a 
real-life character, Qays ibn al-Mulawwah, who probably lived in the second half of the 
seventh century AD in the desert of Najd in the Arabian peninsula. By Nizami 's time 
there were many variations on the Majnun theme circulating throughout the region, and 
no doubt Shirvanshah approached Nizami with a view to the creation of something 
'special'. 

Initially, Nizami was loate to accept the commission, as he felt the story offered 'neither 
gardens nor royal pageants nor festivities, neither streams nor wine nor happiness', all of 
which are staples of classical Persian poetry. But eventually, at his son's insistence, he 
relented. Less than four months later, Nizami' s Lay la and Majnun, which comprises in 
the original some 8000 lines of verse, was completed" Colin Turner (translator and 
scholar), Layla and Majnun: The Classic Love Story of Persian Literature 
[ILLUSTRATED] (Hardcover), "John Blake; illustrated edition edition (June 1, 1997)". 

This is also mentioned by Dr. Gohrab: 

"Nezami initially doubted that this simple story about the agony and pain of an Arab boy 
wandering in rough mountains and burning deserts would be a suitable subject for his 
cultured audience. It was his son who persuaded him to undertake the project, saying: 
"wherever tales of love are read, this will add spice to them."" 
(A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, "Leyli O Majnun" in Encyclopedia Iranica) 

http://www.iranica.com/newsite/index. isc?Article=http://www. iranica.com/newsite/articl 
es/unicode/ot_grp 1 8/ot_leyli_o_majnun_200907 1 5 .html 
(accessed 2009) 



287 



Thus scholars concur that Nizami' s complaint was about the nature of the story and not 
some nation-building interpretation of the 20 th century about wanting to write in Turkic! 
but being forced to write in Persian for a King that did not even know Turkic! Such 
nation-building and wrong interpretation of a 12 th century medieval author who has 
written Ghazals, Qasida, Quatrains and Mathnawis all in Persian are a product of USSR 
nation building. 

What Nizami complains about are his old age, and the barrenness of the story of Layli o 
Majnoon. He feels restricted because of the raw and barren landscape of the original 
Bedouin tale. He even complains about this: 

There is neither garden nor kingly banquet, 
no bow-string, nor wine nor blandishment. 
How long can one fare on dry sands 
and rugged mountains, talking about sorrow? 

Despite this complaint, the poet places his initial scene in the Arabian Desert but adorns 
the grounds tastefully, giving additional meaning to the desert, cave and mountain, and 
including several fantastic sceneries which are purely the product of his imagination and 
his poetic eloquence. 

(Translation taken from: Dr. Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Layla and Majnun: Madness and 
Mystic Longing, Dr. Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Brill Studies in Middle Eastern literature, 
Jun 2003, pg 313-314). 

As Dr. Seyed-Gohrab also mentions: 

As in the ( Udhrite love poetry, the entire plot of the romance revolves around the lover, 
on an unremitting quest for his unattainable love. Nizami is aware of the legend and 
doubts whether this modest Bedouin tale would be suitable for the Iranian court. In 
chapter five of the introduction to the romance, the author refers to the legend as an ay a 
whose tafsir is sorrowful The word ay a means both a 'Koran verse, ' and a 'sign ' or 
'wonder, ' as well as 'paragon ' and 'masterpiece. ' Nizami says that legend needs a tafsir, 
'Koran exegesis, ' 'explanation, ' or 'commentary \ Such commentaries include details of 
the events that led to the revelation of the verse in question, an elaboration of the 'story ' 
of the Koran, but may also extend to pious sentiments and esoteric interpretation. Thus 
Nizami is using a religious metaphor: as a verse of the Koran needs a commentary, the 
Arabic tale needs an elaboration. He is also warning his readers that such a sorrowful — 
and serious — theme does not entirely suit the highly conventional and polite style 
required of court literature: 



Although this tale (aya) enjoys celebrity, 

a cheerful interpretation (tafsir) is far from it. 

288 



The tools of discourse are joy and amorous delight, 

discourse thrives by these two means. 

The discourse on a naked person, 

who is enamoured, fettered and in bondage, is sorrowful. 

If one was to adorn the tale to excess, 

this would distort the face of the story; 

But when I know not the way at some stage, 

clearly I shall then add some conceits. 

(11. 53-7) 

When Shirwanshah Abu l-Muzaffar Akhsitan commissioned Nizami to versify Majnun 's 
tragic love story, the poet found himself in a quandary. The writer of love-stories about 
the pompous and powerful pre-Islamic Iranian kings such as Khusrau Parwiz II is 
suddenly ordered to write a romance about a distraught and naked Arab boy. Nizami 
skillfully uses the sad nature of the legend to whet the reader 's curiosity about how he 
will narrate this tragic but simple romance. Grief, as MJ. Toolan notes, is perhaps the 
most "powerful trigger, " and strangeness, an element which attracts the reader to know 
the unknown. The poet refers frequently to the Arab traditions and way of life to remind 
us of the story's foreign origin. Moreover, he promises the reader that despite the thin 
plot of the story, he will bring his poem to a dramatic perfection so that "unpierced 
pearls" will flow from the reader's eyes (5:64 — 5). With his profound knowledge of the 
human psyche, Nizami knows how to draw emotional effect by reshaping this strange and 
shallow story. 

Nizami was at first reluctant to versify this tale. It was his four-teen-years-old son 
Muhammad, who encouraged his father to undertake the task: 

When you composed Khusrau and Shirin, 

you cheered the hearts of the people. 

You have to compose Layli and Majnun 

so that the precious pearl has a pair. 

This book is better to be written, 

a young peacock is better to have a mate. (. . .) 

Wherever love-tales are to be read, 

this tale will serve as salt for them. (11. 43-5, 71) 

Although Majnun was to some extent a popular figure before Nizami' s time, his 
popularity increased dramatically after the appearance of Nizami 's romance. By 
collecting information from both secular and mystical sources about Majnun, Nizami 
portrayed such a vivid picture of this legendary lover that all subsequent poets were 
inspired by him, many of them imitated him and wrote their own versions of the romance. 
As we shall see in the following chapters, the poet uses various characteristics deriving 
from ( Udhrite love poetry and weaves them into his own Persian culture. In other words, 
Nizami Persianises the poem by adding several techniques borrowed from the Persian 
epic tradition, such as the portrayal of characters, the relationship between characters, 
description of time and setting, etc. 



289 



(Translation taken from: Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Layli and Majnun: Madness and 
Mystic Longing, Dr. Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Brill Studies in Middle Eastern literature, 
Jun 2003, pg 76-77). 

The conspiracy theory that Nizami Ganjavi wanted to write in Turkish, but was ordered 
to write in Persian, and then Nizami becomes upset is a hoax that was fabricated by the 
USSR. This hoax is a product of USSR misinterpretation in order to detach Nizami 
Ganjavi from Iranian civilization and attach him to Turkic civilization. Of course the 
fabricators forgot small details like the Shirwanshahs were not Turks and there was no 
Turkic urban culture or literature or even a verse from any other writer or poet in the 
Caucasus. They also forgot Nezami Ganjavi praises the letter of the Sherwanshah. 

Nezami Ganjavi's only complaint is about the nature of the story. 

The Iranian scholar Abdul- Ali Karang has also explained this: 

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290 



An English scholar of the 19* century also mentions this about the introduction: 
S. ROBINSON. "PERSIAN POETRY FOR ENGLISH READERS: BEING SPECIMENS OF 
SIX OF THE GREATEST CLASSICAL POETS OF PERSIA", 1883. Printed for private 
circulatiuon. Google books: (pages 140-145) 

The prince of the neighbouring Shirvan, Akhsitan, also named Manuchahar, with the 
surname of Jelal-ud-din Abul- Muzaffer, wishes him to elaborate the love-story of the 
celebrated pair Laila and Mejnun. This prince, with whom begins a new dynasty for 
Shirvan, had assembled around him a complete poetical city, to which he gave a king as 
supreme head. From his origin, which reached back to the old kingly dynasties of Persia, 
he regarded himself as the representative of the Persian nationality, and of the Persian 
spirit, and wished at least to animate his not very wide spread dominion by making it the 
protector of Persian literature. The charge of the prince to Nizami had probably no other 
ground than to draw also to his court from his quiet seclusion the poet who was already 
so renowned that he was able to say of himself: 

I have brought to such refinement my enchanting poesy, That my name is — " The mirror 
of the world to come ; " 

and so to complete his poetical circle. 

The task enjoined upon him by no means at first corresponded with Nizami's inclination. 
The subject proposed was indeed a worthy one; the exalted taskmaster thus expresses 
himself about it: 

Loove-tales there are more than a thousand, 

Which have been embellished by the tip of the pen ; 

But this is the King of all love-stories : 

See what thou canst make of it by the cunning of thine art ! 

But the subject appears to Nizami too dry to be manufactured into a great poem. The 
desolate Arabian wilderness for his theatre, two simple children of the desert as his 
heroes, nothing but an unhappy passion — this might well daunt the poet of Khosru and 
Shirin, which, in everything, place, persons, and treatment, presented the greatest variety 
and grandeur. He says : 

The entrance-court of the story is too contracted ; 

It would lame the poetry to be ever going backwards and forward ! 

The race-ground of poetry ought to be spacious, If it is to show off the ability of the rider. 

Although the verse of the Koran may deserve tobe well known, The commentary upon it 
may be far from delightful. The fascinations of poetry are its cheerfulness and 

291 



blandishments; From these two sources is derived its harmony. On a journey in which I 
know not the way, How can I know what pleasant spots I shall meet with ? There may be 
neither gardens, nor royal banquets, Nor music, nor wine, nor aught to wish for ; Only 
arid sands and rugged mountains, Till poetry at last becometh an aversion. 



But the persuasion of his son Mohammed, at that time fourteen years old, and regard to 
the princely sender concurred to overcome the reluctance of the poet, and he took to the 
labour. Here was evinced how Nizami, once roused, was able to exhibit an extraordinary 
activity. Within a short tirlie he completed this master-work of love-poetry, which, 
according to Von Hammer, " in the -comprehensive laying-out of the plan and the 
connected execution of the several parts, has remained unsurpassed, though even such 
poets as Hatifi and Jami have at a later period treated the same subject." As to the 
quickness of the composition, Nizami says : 

These five thousand couplets and more 

Were indited in less than four months : 

Had I not been restrained by other occupation, 

They might have been written in fourteen nights. 

With reference to his first epic he had boasted also that 

This beautiful image, the darling of the soul, 

Received its completion in a very brief period. 

In his outward circumstances, Nizami's new work led to no change. The decoying 

invitation from Shirvan could not move him to expose himself to the disagreeable air of 

the court. He avails himself rather of the opportunity to address to himself a warning : 

Refrain from seeking the society of Kings, 

As from exposing dry cotton to a hot fire ! 

The light from the fire may be pleasant enough, 

But he who would be safe must keep at a distance ; 

The moth which was allured by the flame of the taper 

Was burnt when it became its companion at the banquet. 



Kizil Arslan's present had enabled him to live a quiet country-life. On this account we 

find, amongst many personal intimations in the introduction to the Laila and Mejnun, no 

complaint of want, and even in the dedication appears no request alluding to it. 

Tranquillised by his quiet life, he says in the same passage: 

In thy village, on thine own private estate, 

Think not of eating from the portion of another. 

Fortune will turn round on that light-minded fellow 

Who extendeth his foot beyond his garment. 

The bird which flieth beyond its own sphere 

Measureth its flight with the measure of death ; 

The serpent which keepeth not its own path 

Twisteth itself in its twistings to its own destruction ; 

If the fox come to blows with the lion, 



292 



Thou knowest well whose is the hand that holdeth the sword. 

But what he declined for himself he was not unwilling to grant to his before-named son, 
who besought his father to permit him to go to the court of Shirvan, and reside there as 
the companion of the young prince : 

Me, a friendless boy, for counsel and protection 

Intrust to the asylum of that powerful master. 

Nizami consents to this, and, it would appear, sent the youth as the bearer of the poem ; 

for in his congratulation to the young prince, to whom he gave beforehand information of 

his son's request, he says : 

No doubt, thou wilt read the book of the Khosrus, 

No doubt, thou wilt study the sayings of the wise ; 

The treasures, too, hidden within this volume 

Look upon as tlie moon in the fulness of her circuit. 

If thou dost not behold the face of its father, 

Deign to bestow thy care on him who is its brother. 



Even out of this consent it is disclosed, that Nizami would have wished to give another 
direction to his son's career than he had struck into himself. He gives him practical 
counsels in the school of life. "Hast thou, too," he says to him, "a talent for poetry, do not 
devote thyself to it; for that which pleases thee soonest is the most untrue." 

This judgment certainly does not apply to poetry as Nizami understood it, for, according 

to him, Truth is the very theme of poetry; but he means to warn his youthful son against 

that counterfeit poetry which had spread itself through the courts of princes and inspired 

him with a genuine abhorrence, and to the ensnaring atmosphere of which he was about 

to be exposed. Then he goes on : 

Although poetry be of high dignity, 

Seek thou the knowledge of what is useful. 

The Prophet hath said : " The science of sciences 

Is the science of matter nml the science of faith." 

In the navel of each is a fragrant odour, 

In that of the law, and in that of medicine. 

But let the law instruct thee in the service of God, 

Let it not be to thee a teacher of sophistries. 

If thou become an adept in both, 

Thou wilt have reached the summit of excellence, 

And wilt be held in high estimation in the sight of all men. 

And at the same time he recommends to him before everything assiduous activity and 

solidity : 

Even in thy childhood thou hadst a name and lineage ; 

Thy race hath been one highly distinguished for poetry ; 

The place which, grown up, thou shouldst occupy is thine 

already ; 



293 



In that thou hast nothing to gain by being my son : 

Be, like a lion, invincible thyself; 

Show thyself to be the child of thine own good qualities. 



The Iranian scholar Said Nafisi also believes that the people of Ganja considered Turks 
who were newcomers and nomads as lowly and this verse of Nizami Ganjavi (Torki 
Sefat-..) reflects that. Indeed, these verses were composed by Nezami (we do not know 
what exactly was the composition of Shirwanshah whom Nezami praises every word of 
the composition and compares to a blossoming garden which is brighter than the flames 
lit at night) and normal Persian speakers would probably agree with Nafisi' s 
interpretation. 

Thus we can see that on one end of the spectrum, we have the false interpretation done in 
the USSR, but there are valid interpretations when one cross references with Nizami' s 
other verses and other Persian poets who have been named by Nezami as his source. In 
this article, we cross-referenced with Nizami' s other verses and also other Persian poet to 
elucidate the verses that were misinterpreted. We saw that not only Nizami described 
each word of the letter of Shirvanshah as a blossomed Garden, but in the next two 
sections he praises the Shirvanshah highly. He does complain about the dryness of the 
story, his age, the fact that no one else has touched this story due to its dryness and 
everyone has avoided it, its barrenness, yet his son urges him on and says for a great king 
like Shirvanshah, he should accomplish this. Specifically as he puts: 
"What is Shirvan, he is the Shahryar (prince) of Iran". 

For example not only in the section on preparation of the book (which we discussed), but 
in the next section, he has written about 45 couplets in praise of the Shirvanshah. We will 
bring just some of these couplets: 

uLljuUP-I 0LuULlld>JuJ £JUD j± 

0\j\AJ>\j dU_JuJ JjJ> >*JJ 

/xJftgjo <^SJLo ulpj> olsL> 
/die ^^JLoJI kSAjq ,j)lhn 

^.Q-b-oJI^jl ulSJLo gb 

^9_juUlS V "»6ft> V-SJjQ OJulaJJ 

jjjUUOU CO OLmJLJL>l ^pSZ-iuJ oLuJ 
QjjS yJ> *SjJ Qj OLLijuJ 

294 



J9I ^9^ Qj U c^fljLb ,jjj 

J^uUuLuUUO J^ J^JuUU CO <JjUUJ^IjuJ 
OLuJ ^J OLuJ v'» uH(^ ^0^1 U 

^ b ^b qS olp_> kSIo p 

jjljJJlO^jJj j\j± 9 /AS CG9S 
JjLij^JNJ OJjO <Jj*juUU OUJ9I 

JjLC U9^> ctZL«JiJ L _svj OJulo^ 

ob^x) Q-Q-tfr lsLc^ vl^P*^ 

«J)lsl jb >j>juj 9 jb>juj 
^jvjlsx) cu^jiJuc> cLbLf* 

j^JVJ UXjuJ I j^JOj tSbb 

jJjUUO^X) >£jO ClSjUC* CjljuUUO^ 
CjljuUlSuI jJJULjuJ OjI^S v"»6ft> ,Jjl 

CjLJuuy cU 9 Cjljuj^ y^>, OJLp *^J 

^j-juJ ^JjjjjJS> j JuuoSJ jJ b 

^juj «liiJb> 9^>r CjljujI OJubo 
^b />b vbi^ <-5b^ >H L ^ ^ 
^jb />l9 obj> vl 9j 

qjLjJjS vl.P*' 9I ^^ jl ^^ 

CLJljuoS lSI^j-juJ ( jjUUO - p jl ^ptj 
AJULjuJ OL^_> ( jjJ < >Q lo 9_juJ <jjj 
JuLjuiS Olpj> ^jiuuo^ 9_juj ulj 

cubjb cLl> co 
ijjjuJzj ^oLuuuo jl -XSj> >^9j 
JiuOiJ £lo:> jl A0_> £J9^ 

CjljuUuL^_> ^SJIjOjO Ju^tJjj^ 
CjljuUuI jl /)jj 9 ,/Ojj CLJljuUuLjuJ 

jd\j> b O^j 9 gjJ co £y>x> 

,/oljl C^i9^5 { JlJu^> 9 CjljujIj ^>j 

L5jb guJLuu _uS £y>x> 
^jjj> JjJ &$$ u^ulSjj jl 

^jjj Jsd 09S 9^ /)L> J9 
jl^^J^ JjJ 9^ ul lS^^Sju U9^> 
jb^P Jjd Cjljuuujjo 9 ^509^ 
l _Sv9Luj £9-y^> °lSj JJJulaJoI 
L _S\3b ^b ciSLiL^ iLujuuujlIcJ 

J9-0-QJO CjljuJ9^ <\J 9AC ^ jjidUOJ^j 
j9^ 9jl pd>j /XjuOJ> ClS CjljuUUjOJ>J 

^jb £uu^ -^b 9^>r v-6-h.l j± 
±j\$j £s> JuuJj «lS L>>^ 



295 



JLs CjljujI ^-Q-cLz> 9^> /^j .P 

jjuLiJixS uL> £uu^> >o^ jl v-Q-h.) 
^uLjLJuuub^ ><*!& ^jljuj jl /x^j 

JuJuuUU Ij 6j2c£> <JJ^\i(^ 

^j>jj tScpr Ch^J lSIc9_C 

CjljujI jJ^ J^JSj U-^^J^ J-* 

CjljujI jjj ^j\ 9 CjljujI jjj jJjUuIS 

\JjJjj\ - )l9^uUL^_JuJ OJljuJ 9I U 

(JJOjI jl vl -fc^-'^O CjljuJ-XSj 

lSjL cUjJl^t o^-)^ °^ >.^y»-9 
lSjIj CjljuuuS lSI_xS j9_q.<?_9 
L _S\J9 - )0^LjaS ulju Ju^Jj^cp* 
^3^95 CJLJUJ9I /)jj ^juaiiC ^Su 



^Jv-gJI CjuO^>j 9^ b 

L _5N^li^i + jZ> J$jJ CO JulS 

j^j uL^jl AJuj oS /x^Juc> jib 

^9^ ^9_*Jj 9jl ij$lj> Ju /xjiJuc> 

/XX)U jjjUL^IS I^jjO 9J Vjb 

/xx>loJ lSJuoj*jo ^jJulC j^ 
CjljuuJIjo^> lSAxx^jo <*5 <\jJj ulj 
CjljuuJLj> _p ct^iil o^ A09-) 



and then Nizami Ganjavi, in the section after praising Shirvanshah, has yet another 
section praising the Shirvanshah and paying homage: 



u*W Ch-oj vUst^ 



/die ubr 9 ub> /die lSI 

/>^l 9 l >jo^I q$ JJj^]^ 

Aj^Jjj^ gb l5Ij9 9J gb 

Ju^Juucx^r Cjl^J j O9 }S 9J Cjl^J 

CajjoIoJ jl /die lS^IjI 

Cajjo\Lc jl />±y> tS^jl 9 

<^SJlouo «lJLoj> OJuJj \J9j0 

(<^SJi> £lz>) co |^j g_*39j 

/>j5jq 9J cu ul^> ^SJLo /xifc 

/xJLuuuo 9J co ul^> /x!j> /Xifc 

/)\Luul jl>b 9J Qu^x> pJb 

.yol^l cLftJL> 9J cvijjj ^cxifc 

<^L> jj Juuo^ 9J <\j^L> £ 



296 



Translation of a portion of these praises are given here: 



<*5LJjL> lSL> Qj 9I jl ±jjS> jj 

CjJj\$5jJJ jl OJljuJ j^JW^Ij 

CjUjL Ojjj <J)Lu cu cJ9^ 

jLil j± JuJoS uljl 9^> 9 olS 
CjljuuuLjuu 9I olS 9 cpr jl cl^jI 
CjLJuuuLjai^ olS 9 cLaJj9>- 9^>r 

j^JVJ^J JJULC LuZ> ^U J9 

CjljuUuLj> <\X^jJixS> <*5 9J (jA*^ 
CjljuUuL^joI JuZ>I 0^ <-Sj9j 

^-^-h-o jl 9J />A9 iS\s> 

<J*\J Juj^^vjO 9J j^svSjuu jl 

L _So»JuLitj oLS l_L> JuJq9 09^: 

Ca_jujL_juJ j^ ^SJjO CO CjljuULaSu 
CjljuJU v'» ul(^ OJjO (JJOJ 9 (JJULaJ 

j^jv^L^i oL^> j^j^-juju ( jjo t i ^9 

lSjL 9J uLJuu JjcxC O^^ 
lSjL 9J olpj> JjcxC /xi> 



77*£ 6>w?z£r of Royal Crown /Darius of the Light and the Darkness 

Chief Commander of all crowned kings / The head of all the rulers 

Khaghan of the world, the Great King / The absolute King of Kings of the world 

The owner of glory and respect / That is, Jalal Dowlat and Jalaleddin 

Crown of kings, Abulmozajfar / Worthy of the kingdom of Seven Climes 

Sharvanshah whose shadow is on the Sun / Kay-Khosrow with the rank of Kay-Qubad 

The generous king, Akhsatan whose name / Is a seal whose slave is the Sun 

A sultan who has left the shade /Not apparent, but a hidden caliph 

Descendant of Mars and with love of Jupiter / Pearl in the shell of King Manuchehr 

From this House up to the early rounds / Kingship has been so continuous 

His seed has been on throne upon throne / Up to Adam they have been king upon king 

In the kingdom of the world, they may last long /He has a short pen and a long sword 

Throne -sitting of the non-transferable kingdom / A commander with no fault, like Reason 

Commander of the Seven Whirling Heavens / Sanctuary of prayers for the Seven Men 

The day he gives audience /It would be a prestigious Nowruz 

I have not seen it, but I can tell / From his ancestors and fortune how splendid he looks 

on the throne 



297 



Like a full Moon rising from the mountains / There are multitudes standing in lines in his 

presence 

Or like the Bright Spring of Sunlight / That becomes cheerful at the time of entertainment 

Or the Rays of Divine Bliss / That come down at morning time 

Any eyes that see such light /May the evil eyes of people would be away from them 



According to Dr. Gohrab, after paying homage, 

"the relationship between Shirwanshah and his son, Manuchihr, is mentioned in chapter 
eight. Nizami advises the king's son to read Firdausi's Shah-nama and to remember the 
pithy sayings of the wise. Nizami overtly refers to the didactic aspect of his poem. He 
promises the prince that in his poem there is a "treasure concealed in a casket." He 
considers the poem as his daughter, a beautiful maiden, whom he presents to the royal 
family. He adds that even if the prince does not have any regard for her father, he might 
look with kindness on her brother, that is, on Nizami' s son. In this subtle way, Nizami not 
only entrusts his son to prince Manuchihr, he also draws the prince's attention to the 
poem's didactic nature". 

(Seyed-Gohrab, Ali Asghar, Layli and Majnun: Madness and Mystic Longing , Brill 
Studies in Middle Eastern literature, Jun 2003, pg 276). 

Indeed, if Nizami was upset about the letter of the Shirvanshah (whose every word 
according to Nizami Ganjavi was a blossomed Garden and actually the verses which are 
insults to Turkic descent and way of speech are composed by Nezami himself), then he 
would not entrust his son to the courts of the Shirvanshah and ask the son of the 
Shirvanshah to always look out for his own son. Out of all the dynasties around him, it 
tells of Nizami Ganjavi' s culture that he entrusts his son to the Shirvanshah and advises 
the King's son to read the Shahnama of Ferdowsi. Despite the fact that Nizami Ganjavi 
was apolitical, he still had a very close relationship with the Shirvanshah and 
consequently entrusts his own son to their court. The Shahnameh is referred to a lot by 
Nizami Ganjavi where-as not a single Turkic folklore is referenced by him as a source. 
Anyhow, the fact that Nizami advises the King's son to read the Shahnameh also shows 
Nizami Ganjavi read the Shahnameh numerous times, since he would not advise 
something which he himself did not practice. The section where Nizami Ganjavi entrusts 
his son is given here: 

L _5\^li^ ! uZ> £>juj j^9^ u 9^ 
{ jjq O^LJoS ulS jsb$5 ul 

<JJ0 6^\j CjljuUU 9 <JJO CjljuUU 

Julj (j3uuJ cLaJj ulS jsb$5 j9 
JuC^jU 9 JlQ_C Qj \j [JjjSulJ [Jj\5 

Ju9Ijl> ul oLu. Qj { J1jSj^ 

J9>X)I <jjJJl0_C Qj \jJQ jLljuUU 
J9J0I9J ,JJO 9 CjljujI pJS $j 9S 

298 



±jj$ JlS Pj \jJ jjJul 
CjljuUuLuJ £9! ClS <Jj*juUU Cjl^J OlS 

CjljuuuIj o>jjj Li^s ^^-*^jI ^y> 

CjljujI OJjO GLcXjujI OjIa-juJ 
I <^SJLo OL> 9 CjljujI kSXo /XjuUL> 
Ji£jO CU 9 JDjJ v"»Q(fr ^Q_juJ9J Ol 
A^S*^ /Xifc 9 A£_C ^jJ^ /Xlfc 
}$JQ(p 9 JoLuUU 9J 9 <jdUUU2fcX>9J 

lSJuJL ^juj 3j uL^> 9^ ^^9 
lSAJuOjjJj^ 3j ulSJLo ji*x> 

AjljuJj$J> 9 OL) UULjuJ^I^jjjO 

JujoI 9 /Xjj lSLJulS co^jZUuo 

Oljlcp^jj >«^-/ j9-i 

uljlA^rb jLoJ vl^P*^ 

gU ^>-Q-Q 9 Cjl^J lS^uI^ 

gL^jo CJLJUJ9I iS$j 3j JL91S 

O^ljjfcLi 9J l^^hJj jl lSI 

62>LjuUlS OLajUUu>I OJLo /0^juUC?T 

^jvj^LJj Qj CjlSJLojO 9^ £9jj0j0 
L 3\^i5L'^iuZ) oLij 9^ sa^juj Ocp* 

OJuLJuu l59 - >-juUL> 3j yoJ*J ^Su 

OJulo ^LiL«S Qjzcxj jl 
jlS ^j qjLjuuuJuu 9J clLlqJ ^Su 

>>b oUj o^9> qj ^jjI 
^jb olSLi OJj >o^ic> j9 

lSj^JujoI Ijl> <V> ^b 
lSjLjJj^ 9 yjsbi CjuLc j5 

CjUUlC jl JuLulT) OU5fcjl 

CjuLft^ ^^ l59_*Jj O^lcx^ 
j^sOlcp^j O^j-ujJy 3job pJb 

£P <jJp b cUii^J £u^ O^l 
g^j ^ q y 6 fr 9^ qjo cp* j^jvJuj 

lSA^X gujfc 01^9 j Jub 

lSjIju jJjJj^I^jj jLcxjJ 
jjjuuoLoJ ( JjJjl9J 0\j jl 

JljJjLu jjjoS Juucxi^>b> b 

Juujbj jjJdy j - )JdJ 9 (JJiJLO >ju»J 

ob^ CjljJoS q..^9 9 /xiftS ,jjI 

oLi cJ9^ 9 ^b <p JL9l 

j$j ,jjI jl ^b O^LjoS p^JS> Ol 

j9^ o j0J: ? ^Ij' ^^-° 9-H^ u^9 



299 



c La-juUlS-iuJ OUuCXjuJ^ J^ 9 CjljuUU 

L _5vjb9b> oLJj 9J 3j OJuj 



When the Red Pearl of Dawn / Separated darkness from brightness 

That pear of mine out of pearl mine /My back and fruit of my back 

He told me "Put me in the care of that lord/ ' 1 have nobody (else to support me) 

Put me in his care and his promise /He is novice-pen and I am a novice 

So when his generosity has reached perfection / He would accept your advice 

That Throne-Sitter who is the Apex of Shadows / He is still little but has a great mind" 

O, Prince! From whose honour / The Great King Akhsitan is delighted 

You have seed from the kingship / Your lineage goes back to Great King Kay-Qubad 

May God keep you in His protection! /May He keep you from evil eyes! 

I do hope to God / That you reach a level of understanding 

May God take from His bliss / Where are ready for any quality 

So you can read the Epic of Kings /And you learn the words of learned men 

You know that such bride /Does not emerges in any age 

If you don 't look at his father / Then do take care of his brother 

By giving him full attention / Till his alive, take care of him 

So he will not need anyone /He will not have a low head or eye after others 

I said this and it is end of story / May you have fortune and May King have command 

So not only Nizami praises the Shirvanshah, praises the Shirvanshah's son, advises the 
Shirvanshah's son to read the Shahnameh, but he goes further by entrusting his own son 
to the son of Shirvanshah and asking the son of Shirvanshah to always look out for his 
own son, so that Nezami's son would never be in need of anyone else. Anyhow, the 
belittlement towards Turks (and we note that these were the original Asiatic Turks) in the 
introduction of Layli o Majnoon is just Nizami Ganjavi using common Persian poetic 
tools, but it is hard to imagine someone who is allegedly "Turkic"(USSR/Stalin) and is 
against Persian Chauvinism (USSR/Stalin (note such concepts did not exist back then)), 
would compose such an insulting verses and we believe the interpretation by Said Nafisi 
has the most merit here. As we said the word Turk has taken negative and positive 
meanings in Persian poetry. This has lead to the misinterpretation by ethno-minded 
scholars who misinterpreted these verses in their own way in order to say "Nizami 
wanted to write in Turkish but he was forced to write in Persian ". All of these are 
enough (the praise of the Shirvanshah and entrusting his son to the Shirvanshah) are 
enough to dispel false nation-building/identity-building myths created in the last century 
in order to detach Nizami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization/Persian literature and 
appropriate him for "Turkic" civilization. 

Also these ethnic theorists do not mention Nizami Ganjavi is great because of his works 
which are in Persian and one cannot be forced to create masterpieces under duress! If the 
above misinterpretations were not sufficient, the ethnic minded scholars who try to assign 

300 



a Turkic ethnicity to Nizami Ganjavi claim that Nizami belittled the Shirvanshah in the 
end. Let us examine the end and dispel this myth as well (Note the name of the section is 
"conclusion of the book in the name of the Shirvanshah"): 

0LuUuI3>juJ fib 4j ^j\jS J0ui> 

l&Uj olpj> ISJLo I&LJj 

IdjLjj j\jsb Jj ^ dLjj ^Su 
LS^Jh-i^jvj Qj p$± JiJLjtJjjCp* 

,>SijU ^LiLp CLjuUU^^j-juJ 

jjp.lh.oJ I 9j I jjli5 olsL> 
oLuuuL^_> Jj oLuuu^^juj ^^vJ 

L _5^Ljj^l r J ul^ pJJ> \S\ 

j^jv^LuJ ^LuO 9J /XJU^^JVJ 
JjljjyO^I J^JUUU jJ>JP.O lSI 

:>U 9J jl /JLc 9^ <^JLo lsI 
L^jo CjlOjjj 9 ^jOm 

^-V>Ljo gJlb cu qS ^3^ 

j^JvjLo^LuJ CU l59_juJ J^SLjuULO 

j^SvjIcptj \j js6 cLoli ,jj9 

lS^Is u^9>^ c^l >^ jl 

lS^Su oil? 9 lS^u £u^ <& 

l _5^_*Jj9S Juljuuu. j^ «0* ^U ul 

^^N^juj^ -*J>^ U^J-^9^*' CjuljuUL>I j 

j9>*3 CjJzj 9 *S[j Jj> °c>y> 

j^jol CjL3fcjy£LJ I j 9J JLiui m»^ 

^jv-pJI O^uZiJ ^yc\j jjjj 

L _SN^li^l + jZ> ^^ C^jjj 9^ C^jljuOJ 

CjLJujLd^AjLojIj ^^JLo Als> J9 

j\^jjo oL^> oL^> jlS jj 

j\j uL^> jl ^jOlocp <*5 Qj olS 

j^jvjI^jIS CU l _5\^_juj jI-XjJ 

v^Ol^J >£l £juJ \SjJj\Xu 

^jIaj ul^ CjljJul^^ 9 ^b 

^jljj Ouj J^JVJO (JJUUJ jS 

CjljuUU CjlHj lSIj-juJ CO j^JOJjO JU 

CjljuUU Cju\J9 ^O^^ j$ ^^> 

CjljuUU Cjl^ ^\Lz> c ^Jj\^ 

CjljuUUuU UUlC jJ^ ^1 O-^-"*^ J^ 

CjljujI Qjj Qj 9J 095ljuU °1->>^J jl 

CjljujI guS 9 OlS C l-> - pl jjjjl.^ 

301 



j^jvj^jb Ajljuul^jo i^jJqjq 
L _5\jLjj^l r ; jO iJ$J$j j^ 

jjjUUUj Juuj jJlC CU ClS QjCXjuJ^ 
( jjUuI - )J j^ J9 9_juUUO (J^' 

jJjju^jvjo ju^ 9 9_juJ j^lfj 

lSjIS Cjljuul^ c L^ - p 9J ^9jIj 

lSjU ol9> lSIa>- O^C jl 

jL ni'l^ v"* uH(^ Qsrj5\ 9J lSIj 

jIASuO CjljuJ^ j ul^U^ lSIj 

^jy> l59_*jj 9^Juuo J^ 9^ gujfc b 

^Jj^O jl ^jtP* <^juJj^ COljuJ u 
jjj^^ j^jouoS ul vl*^->-^) jl 

j-J c6* 9 /Tjj olS JuJjIj 9^ 
^jJlu\j3 ^^v^J >oA9 c^S L>>^ 
ijJuuJuuj />A9 GJuol jb 

JuLJj £>> cb i_s^£j 0^ ^p 

OU9S CjljujIj ubj Qj \JI 

lSjI^JLjujI ,jS oL^> J99 j± 

lSjL^Juj 9J jl 2>9_juJ jJJCXjIS 
0^9^JoS £j jl ^9> cu lj ( jjulS 

o^^jojLj o^ C^^ 

lSIoJuo ^loJLcl jjjoS Ji£_C ^>j 
lSL> ,jiuujLj ^9> J^ j± b 
^^ lj ±y> LS9AC jLo^Juuo 
^jj 0I9J iJjJs* ±£> Oj jl jL> 
jlj Ol jjiftjJO ^^ouuO \JjJ$£ j± 
jU jjjUUuLftS j l59_juj O^jjlS 

O^ -^ 6^ j i^j ^ Ijj' 

jjiftjJO j^JOuoS^jJ 9J CO 1^19 

j9j 9 <*_jljJj j^jvJlS ^jJLb ci^r^ jl 

CjljuUlJ^JJ U ClSLil jJJljuoS ^ 

p jl v>Ip ,jijl9J JbilS 
/XJ9S ciS L^jLuul9 cJLoJ2tJulj 
/xj9^> culpj qs^ljuj Qj 9J b 
Ju9Ijl> ulpj> 9J J^ cti^S 

Ju^j jjjl jJjUUC^ cb JuuUU gU^JO 

^^vJlj vlf^ j^ 9^ j -^L* 

ub^ *SuJ l5Lc^ ^b ,jjuu 
l _S\joIS^LJj Ca99 co ^J j^j> 



302 



jjJjjlSjLuu 9J Juj ^ _p jJb 
lA'jLj (jiulj 9J ^9^ °lS b>>^ 

j^Jijo Cjljuul^ c^5uL^> jj^jIacI 9 
:>U l59 jljuoU qS cu)li ,jj| 

^ Liy c i^juo^> LS9 cJ9^ ^ 



We note that the section starts with the praise of the Shah: 



O King, O Ruler, O protector of the World 

One king not, but equivalent to hundred thousand Kings 

The second Jamshid when it comes to capturing the throne 

The number one Khorshid (Sun) who has no likeness 

The Shirvanshah, the Kay-Qobaad Peykar (body) 

Khaqan Kabir Abul Mufazzar (The great ruler Abul Muzaffar) 

Not only Shirvanshah, but Jahanshah (ruler of the World) 

Kay-Khusraw Thaani (The second Kay-Khusraw), Akhsatan Shah (King Akhsatan) 

Oh pride of the sons of Adam 

O who both Worlds (earth and heaven) are prosperous from thee 

Thus the section begins with this. Then Nizami Ganjavi gives some advice to the king. 
One of these advices has been misinterpreted by ethnic nationalists in order to claim that 
Nizami Ganjavi was upset due to the introduction of the Layli o MajnoonU: 



j^JV-^JI CJjj^U Qj&U <JJJ 

CjljujI&JuIojIj ^^JLo Jl^> J9 
j\^jju 0[$S> ulpj> j\S jj 

^jljj OUj ^_?jS [JJJUL) jS 



Listen from these adviser, God's Helper 
Listen two three words, in the morning 
Look at the world, and see what it has left 
And how many Kings have left it 
Thus be aware of the world, and cautious of it 



303 



Since it is best that you are well kept in this world 
You are [already] an awakened King in running affair 
Become a little more aware if you can 

Your justice and giving gifts has no end 
If you give more, it will not lessen 

Here the ethnic-ideologists have made a big mistake in reading and understanding the 
line in bold face. The Persian word causing this misreading is ^^Ijuj 'bidartarak' which 
consists of bidartar', the comparative adjective of 'bidar' (awake/aware), plus c ak', a 
suffix denoting gentle or kind or diminutive address like 'delbarak' meaning little or 
lovely sweetheart; but they have read it as 'bidar tork' (awakened Turk!)!. Bidar-tork 
does not make much sense here and this reading will cause a disconnect from the first 
part of the line: You are [already] an awake/aware king in running affairs, become an 
awakened Turk if you can. What is the relation between being an aware king and 
becoming an aware Turk? 

Moreover, this reading will produce an unacceptable pause or 'sakteh' in the meter of the 

poem which would be a major fault in the meter, far from a grand master of Nezami 's 

caliber. 

The meter of the epic Layli o Majnoon is 

(maful o mafaaelon faulon) but the wrong reading would make it o-J^ Jxliuo Jb?Juo 
(mefal o mafaaelo faulon). 

The reason for this mistake by the ethno-ideologists (assuming it was unintentional) is 
that in Persian script, like in Arabic, the short vowels are not written and diacritic signs 
are used to clarify when required. So ^Sy ('TRK') could be read differently including Sy 
(tork=Turk), vS^ (tark=leave) or vS^ (tarak=crack). The correct reading requires 
education and familiarity with the language, the meter of the poem and the context. It is 
unfortunate that even the meter of the poem has been disregarded in order to arrive at 
such false misinterpretations. 

Even the Moscow-Baku edition(unlike the even more politically editor of Varliq) uses 
the term Bidaratarak which obviously is the correct reading and does not create the major 
fault in the meter. See: 

1386-1385 — (l^-J^ ,J^) J^W — J^^ia Cjl^ ^)jjLuj! ^)J \ a\ laJ-4 uia^ 

Nezami - Khamsa- The Moscow-Baku edition, Hermes Publisher, 1385-1386 

And Nezami used such terms as Khoshtarak, Bidartarak and Pishtarak, Delak and etc: 






■ L^ 



UdJ 



304 



/XJLjuuI^ ^J^juUU J9>3l ^-J^Juif &XXjuU 

This is common in classical Persian poetry and perhaps one the best example of this is a 
poem by Khaqani who lived in the same region and was acquainted with Nezami: 

\Sj£. \~Sj§£. i-SLS-vju <jjI \.SjxjujS> cb^p <jjI 

\SjB\S CjljuJj 9 kSuuSZlO O^LuuS-juJ 
GjljujI \SsZjJO 0u9j 9 OjLuJ OljJu <JjO U 

v^^^S cUuo_> ^1S_juj vii^p v_$9>- ,jjI 
<jjO Cjd*j CO O^jlSI 9 OJuuOj O^juJ 0±$j 

(note this is badtarak and not bad turk!) ^ju 9^ ^ jl 9 ^^ 9 c^J oj^Jj ^>^j 

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For the sake of argument(even though it goes again the meter and meaning and flow of 
them poem and even the USSR edition uses the correct meter and of course not a 
mediocre poet, let alone Nizami would never make such a simple meter mistake) with 
regards to the nationalist Varliq editor Javad Heyat, even the usage of "Awakened Turk" 
simply means a ruler who is spiritually awakened (and gives charity to the people as the 
next line says) and has no ethnic connotation. For example, Alexander the Great is also 
called a "Turk"(Ruler, conqueror)(and in another place a "Hindu" of the daughter of the 
King of India) and the fact is in another poem, the old lady complains that the Seljuq 
ruler is not a "Turk"(Ruler) but is acting like a Hindu (Beggar, slave). 

305 



Turks at the time of Nizami Ganjavi were ruling from Africa to India to Central Asia. 
Thus the term Turk (Ruler) and Hindu (slave) were prominent and their usage in Persian 
poetry have already been discussed. However in this case, there is no argument as even 
the USSR knows such a invalid and false play with words goes again the basic meter of 
the poem and has no meaning. Only people looking for the most absurd and ridiculous 
ethno-centric arguments would misread the poem and go against its basic meter. 

So the usage of the term bidartarak here was nothing insulting towards Shirvanshah as 
ethnic-minded scholars of Nizami misinterpret it and read it mistakenly as bidar 
tork! (awakened Turk!), and indeed Nizami Ganjavi mentions that Shirvansah is not in 
need of his advise (possibly Nizami Ganjavi was aware of giving these advises for future 
Kings or to other rulers who were not awakened). Nizami Ganjavi highly praises the 
Shirvanshah in every section the King is mentioned. 

But after giving many advices on kingship, he says that he is looking for an excuse 
(Bahaaneh) to have a conversation (in order to show his admiration) with the King in his 
presence and a King like the Shirvanshah is already Great and does not need his advise 
and then ends the book with the praise of the Shirvanshah. 

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These tales (advises he just gave) that I just told you 
I wanted to seek an excuse to speak to you 
Although the heart of yours, O lord of the World 
Does not require any of such advises 



306 



Because you are already well guided 

Nothing comes from you, except Good commands 

O God, from the face of this World-holder (Shirvanshah) 

Cast away all harm and disorder 

Whatever door he knocks, you be his helper 

Wherever he goes, you be his helper 

Be a helper to all his elders 

And give him victory over all his enemies 



Thus we can see Nizami has had nothing but praise for the Shirvanshah. From the start, 
he praises every word of the Shirvanshah' s composition till the last line of the poem, he 
praises the Shirvanshah. 

Finally, we note that in the Eskandarnama: 

"Moreover, in Sharafnama, Chap. 41, vv. 3-23, the author laments the death of the 
Sharvanshah Akhsatan (the dedicatee of Leyli o Majnoon) and addresses words of advice 
to his (unnamed) successor. This suggests that Nezami originally planned to dedicate the 
Eskandar-nama, like Leyli o Majnoon, to one of the kings of Sharvan. But that dynasty 
evidently lost power over Ganja by the time the poems were completed, and in their final 
form they are dedicated to the malek of Ahar, Nosrat al-Din Bishkin b. Mohammad. This 
ruler is mentioned in the introduction to Sharafnama, Chap. 10, vv. 11-12, where the poet 
makes a pun on his name Bishkin ("whose hatred is more"(in Persian)), though some of 
the manuscripts have a superscription claiming (wrongly) that the verses evoke Bishkin' s 
overlord, the atabeg Nosrat al-Din Abu Bakr." 
(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Eskandar Nama", Francois de Blois, 
http://www.iranica.com/articles/v8f6/v8f645.html ). 

Whatever the historical and political situation was, what is undeniable is the lament over 
the death of the Shirvanshah Akhsatan and again shows the great bond between him and 
Nizami Ganjavi. Obviously a poet like Nezami, if he was not a friend of Akhsatan would 
not lament over his death but would rejoice. Neither of course would he constantly praise 
him in his Leyli o Majnoon, praise his letters and dedicate an epic to him. 

In the Eskandarnama also, Nezami shows that Persian language is his own language and 
he wrote it in it naturally: 

jJ-J^uS $$j Jul J^ jS <j3uuu 



307 



When the consolation of (the prophet) Khizr came to my ear, 

Sense made my brain more fresh. 

The word (of counsel) was accepted; it became place- seizing; 

The speech which comes from the heart is heart-pleasing. 

When this counselling took hold on (affected) me, 

I opened my tongue with a pearl of the Dari language. 



So when he opened his tongue after being divinely inspired, Nezami opened it in the 
pearl of Dari (the refined form of Persian). Had he any desire to write Turkish or it was 
his natural tongue, then after being inspired, he would have written in Turkish. Or for 
example his speech to his son and his son's speech to him are all in Persian. No where 
does Nezami mention that he knows even Turkish. 

So let us conclude this part of the section: 

1) During the time of Nizami Ganjavi, there is not a single extant Turkish verse from the 
area. Azeri Turkish literature was not present in the Caucasus or Azerbaijan and the first 
sample of Turkish comes around 200 years after Nizami Ganjavi. Not only Nizami 
Ganjavi, but not a single extant Turkish verse exists from that area during that era. On 
the other hand, a book such as Nozhat al-Majales shows everyday people used Persian in 
the Khanaqahs (Sufi prayer house) and non-court poets, even normal folks composed 
Persian poetry. The Safinayeh Tabrizi shows that Tabriz (the major capital of Ilkhanids) 
had its own Iranic language called "Zaban-i Tabrizi" and Khorasani-Dari Persian was its 
cultural language. Thus Nezami Ganjavi besides being Iranian, lived in a completely 
Persianate cultural environment as exemplified by Nozhat al-Majales. 

2) Shirwanshahs were not Turkic origin and did not know Turkic. Had there existed even 
a Turkic literary tradition (which not a single verse exists from that time in the Caucasus 
and would have to go many stages to eventually lead to a romantic epic), Nezami would 
have written something Turkic for a Turkic-language ruler. As mentioned the Seljuqs, 
Eldiguzids, Ahmadilis and etc. were Persianized in culture and manner. But at least these 
rulers had Turkic ancestry unlike the Shirwanshahs who were not of Turkic ancestry. 
The Shirwanshah were proud of their claimed Sassanid descent (nasab-i boland (high 
birth) as opposed to Turkaaneh-Sefat (Turkic- way-characteristics)). So naturally, writing 
in Turkic for a non-Turkic ruler who does not understand such a language makes no 
logical sense. So besides not being able to differentiate between the words "Torkaaneh" 
and "Torki", the nationalist-ideological authors have no context for their wild conspiracy 
theories. 

3) The Shirvanshah's letter to Nizami was in composition and Nizami Ganjavi versified it 
and the verses about the unfaithfulness of Turks and Turkish-way talk (Vulgar as 
opposed to Sokhan e Boland) have been mentioned by other Persian poets as well as 
Nizami Ganjavi. These were versified by Nizami and were his thoughts(even assuming 
the Shirvanshah wrote the verses, Nizami praises every word in the letter as a blossoming 
garden and brighter than flames lit at night and thus has the same opinions), as were the 



308 



words of his son, which were again versified by Nizami Ganjavi. In the Khusraw and 
Shirin also, when the King speaks, it is all Nezami's versification and interpretation of 
their words. Neither the Sherwanshah nor the Ildiguzids versified a single verse in any of 
Nezami's work. 

Nizami Ganjavi praises the Shirvanshah both in Layli o Majnoon and in the 
Eskandarnama. He praises the Shirvanshah' s son, advises the Shirvanshah' s son to read 
the Shahnameh and most significantly, he entrusts the well being of his own son to the 
son of Shirvanshah. That is amongst all the kings and rulers of his area, he chose to 
entrust his son to the Persianized Shirvanshah who considered themselves descendants of 
Sassanids and were not Turks. Although this does not mean Nizami Ganjavi preferred 
any ruler over another (since he was a recluse), but the fact that he entrusts his son to the 
Shirvanshah' s court (despite not being a court poet) fundamentally rejects any sort of 
conspiracy theory that Nizami was forced (!!!) to write in Persian for the Shirvanshah! 
Similarly his lament about Axsatan. The two verses are clear. Since the Shirwanshahs 
were not Turks and were of high birth and did not break their vow, they deserved high 
words and praises. Not the versified lampoon that was written for Sultan Mahmud 
Ghaznavi after he broke his vow. Sherwanshah would not break their vow do deserve 
such lampoon (Torkaaneh Sokhan). 

4) The only complaint from Nezami is not about anything in the letter of the Shirwanshah 
which he calls a blossoming garden more brighter than a night flame, but about 
confidence in his ability to write an epic for the theme and the nature of the story itself. 
Due to his old age and also due to the fact that the story according to Nezami is dry, 
barren, lacks joy and hence is not suited for court poetry 

/ was perplexed in that embarrassment 
Because of my old age and frail nature 

There is neither garden nor kingly banquet, 
no bow-string, nor wine nor blandishment. 
How long can one fare on dry sands 
and rugged mountains, talking about sorrow? 



Although this tale (aya) enjoys celebrity, 

a cheerful interpretation (tafsir) is far from it. 

The tools of discourse are joy and amorous delight, 

discourse thrives by these two means. 

The discourse on a naked person, 

who is enamoured, fettered and in bondage, is sorrowful. 

If one was to adorn the tale to excess, 

this would distort the face of the story; 

But when I know not the way at some stage, 

clearly I shall then add some conceits. 



309 



The idea that the Shirvanshah forced Nizami to write in Persian is false and was created 
by the USSR (Stalin's quote already mentioned). The Nozhat al-Majales mentioned 
earlier which has 114 poets from the area and does not have a single Turkish quatrain and 
all of its authors work are in Persian (many of them from normal Sufis and every day 
people). 24 of these authors are from Ganja (including Nezami). Interestingly enough, 
not one USSR source has mentioned such a grand book. 

Obviously it would shatter all the false nation-building theories as 114 Persian poets from 
the area, many of them ordinary folks would not serve the USSR type nation-building. 
The Shirvanshahs did not know Turkish to begin with. Had Nizami Ganjavi known 
Turkish (not proven even though it was the language of some of the rulers and it may be 
desirable to learn the language of the ruling class as many non-Turcophone Iranians 
learned Turkish during the rule of the Turcophone Safavid dynasty) and desired to write 
Turkic, he would have written for a king that actually knew Turkish and not the 
Shirvanshahs. He would have been the first Turkish poet of the area, had he written even 
a single verse in Turkish, but not a single biography mentions even a verse of Turkish 
from that era or from Nizami Ganjavi. Finally, we denote the great Shahnameh imagery 
(e.g. Halat Kayqobadi in this section) used all over by Nizami Ganjavi while not a single 
Turkic folklore image is used by him. The clear Iranian character of Nezami Ganjavi is 
more than obvious and had there not been such a massive political attempt by the USSR, 
there would be no need for the present article. 



Misinterpretation of a verse in Haft Paykar 

Another misinterpretation of a verse by those claiming of Turkish origin occurs in the 
Haft Paykar. This misinterpretation is again brought to allege that Nizami wanted to 
write Turkish but no one would appreciate it. This misinterpretation fits with Stalin's idea 
that Nizami was forced to write in Persian and so this misinterpretation was continued. 
The misinterpretation has to do with the section: "In praise of discourse, and a Few 
Words of Wisdom " of the Haft Paykar. We will bring the original Persian and then a 
translation by Dr. Julia Meysami. We shall also discuss the translation of Wilson of the 
disputed verse. By bringing the whole section, we demonstrate that the section has 
nothing to do with Nizami Ganjavi wanting to write in Turkish as misinterpreted by 
scholars who were following Stalin's opinion. 



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jjllbdO ^I^JO^JVJ uljUjjO jl 
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/xi3^ U9jj 9 0^ lSIjl^q^^ 

^jOLxgjO Olj j -XjIj^ jS 
^5019^ Jl^J ObjO j^ 9^ CjljuULaS 



315 



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316 



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317 



JJ^jS JjCXC UjL> Ij /xi^ 



English Translation by Professor Julia Meysami: 

In Praise of Discourse, and a Few Words of Wisdom 

That which at once is new and old 
is discourse; let its tale be told. 
The mother 'Be! ' hath never born, 
than discourse, any better son; 
Say not the eloquent are dead; 
'neath waves of speech they 've disappeared. 
But should you mention one by name, 
fish-like, he '11 raise his head again. 
Discourse — like to a flawless soul — 
the keys to unseen treasure holds. 
It knows the story yet unheard, 
and reads the yet unwritten word. 
Look round: of all that God has made, 
what else, save discourse, does not fade? 
The sole memorial of mankind 
is discourse; all the rest is wind. 
Strive, from the worlds of mineral, 
plant, animal, and rational, 
To learn what in creation lives 
that to eternity survives? 
He who his own self truly knows, 
triumphant over this life goes. 
Who knows not his design must die; 
but who can read it, lives for aye. 
When once you know yourself aright, 
though gone, you shall not pass from sight. 
Those who life 's mysteries ignore 
come in through this, go out that door. 
Doors cleaned of smoke, windows of grime: 
yet none can see — what use the sun? 
Each with himself is well content; 
no one will his own garden tend. 
All offer clever pretexts; nor 



318 



will any say, 'My milk is sour. ' 
Wise men, who have great knowledge gained 
don 't bend their minds to empty sums; 
The man of substance plans ahead; 
when substance lacks, 'tis as I've said. 
But such a man, though sharp, no doubt, 
requires a guard; there 's thieves about! 
The Chinese merchant, loading musk, 
guards it with gum* against the thief. 
The hoopoe, 'neath the eagle 's wing, 
inflight leaves other birds behind. 
The famed are not immune to sin; 
only the base are free from stain. 
In search of grain, the clever bird 
falls in the trap with both feet snared. 
He who 's a glutton like the earth 
takes from it but a stomach 's worth; 
Though all its stores be well devoured 
and plundered, not a grain falls short; 
For all you gather, grain by grain, 
you one by one give back again. 
If, candle-like, you'd seek a crown 
of gold, tears will your laughter drown. 
That draught of pearls and rubies made 
brings little joy, but tears unstayed. 
Each person has a hidden friend, 
a confidant, that help will lend: 
'Tis wisdom, from which succour comes; 
he has all things who wisdom owns. 
Who gives not wisdom its just due, 
though man inform, his nature true 
Is demon-like; angelic men 
are those with wisdom — wondrous thing! 
All was decreed when Time began; 
men strive today, but reap no gain. 
Strive to improve your nature; sloth 
leads but to Hell; to Heaven, work. 
He who 's imprisoned by his deeds, 
if he 's not good, he will be bad. 
To think the worst of others; that 's 
the habit of the bad man; but 
Who thinks the best of others, wins: 
goodness is from good conduct born. 
Live such that, if a thorn appears, 
you will not reap your foes ' sharp jeers; 
Lest this one say, His faults have shown, ' 

319 



or that, 'His just reward has come. ' 
If no one takes your hand, at least 
at your death he won 't stamp his feet 
In joy. Who treats you well is best; 
not he who 's by your sorrow pleased. 
Don 't eat in front of those who fast, 
or else, make sure they join your feast. 
Don 't weigh your gold before the poor, 
lest they twist, snake-like, with desire. 
Though New Year 's breeze may gently waft, 
best not light lamps before its draft. 
Man does not live to eat his fill, 
but that he may seek sense and skill 
A dog is nobler than the man 
whose eyes, ass-like, for fodder scan, 
Then strive to serve mankind; 'tis so 
your nature will adorn the world. 
One who 's good-tempered, like the rose, 
smells sweetly everywhere he goes. 
Have you not heard the wise man tell, 
'He dreameth best who sleepeth well'? 
He who 's bad-tempered at his birth 
will be that way until his death; 
But he who 's with good temper born 
will meet a good and happy end. 
Don 't take things hard; for many a one 
like you, the coarse earth 'sfed and slain. 
What use to deck out earth, when ye 
who bear earth 'sform, half ashes be. 
If someone says, Ture reason must 
rise from man, and man's from dust 
Say, 'From the thorny rose there comes 
rose-water; life from the snake-stone. ' 
Strive with the world; its wiles abhor; 
don 't pitch your tent in dragon 's maw. 
Seek not the dragon 's friendship; for 
the dragon does all men devour. 
A dog may wear a patched cloak; but 
its currish nature 's not forgot. 
When friends fall out and quarrel, see 
how speedily their foes agree. 
Like flies o 'er black and white they flock, 
make black seem white and white look black. 
'Tis better to avoid such thieves, 
and cut this fourfold purse away. 
In times when pious men are base, 



320 



the Josephs wolves, the ascetics dazed 
With drink, one only 'scapes from peril 
by doing, or approving, evil. 
May God forbid His servants place 

such bonds as these upon their legs. 
They kindle fires for Hell 's sake, 
seek naphtha, and pour talc away. 
Rise; let us stamp out all sedition; 
observe obedience 's condition. 
How long seek gold to answer dearth? 
How long be bound by sky and earth? 
The harsh wind rends the tulip 's robes 

in search of bits of bloody dross; 
Since wormwood bears no golden coin, 
the wind does not assail its form. 
Don % like the cloud, bear treasure on 
your head; rise o 'er it, like the sun, 
That, when earth 's moistened by the cloud, 

your sun-like kiss turn it to gold. 
Scatter your gold upon the sun; 
break sun-like rubies with a stone. 

Tis wrong gold makes your eyes shine bright, 
for wisdom 's the world's true delight. 

'Gold' is two letters, unconnected; 
how should you boast of something scattered? 
Don 't fill your heart with gold, like earth, 
lest, like 'gold', you be scattered forth. 
Those beauties that have golden forms 

are by blue mourning robes adorned. 
Each scale which deals with gold is stoned 

before a thousand doors. Assume 
That, with great effort, you 've obtained 

of wealth, lawful or not, some grains: 
Some reckless rogue steals them away 

and lives, while their collector dies. 
To spend gold brings rejoicing; but 

'tis pain and fear to lay it up. 

Tis loving gold, not its expense, 
that kills the self with pain immense. 
See how the fool who seeks a stone 

sets friends at war, one against one. 

Tis best to quit this earthly ruin, 
which brings you nought but fear and pain. 
How long be porter for the world, 
hiding gold's burden in the earth? 
Though you may own three porters loads, 

321 



you y ll gain but the four porters 'abode. 
'Tis earth and air that are your foes: 
unfriendly earth, air full of woes. 
The thorn torn from the date-palm 's crown 
will serve the cooking fire to turn. 
Thick noodle soup will better fill 
the stomach, than rose-petals will. 
Pull out your teeth; don 't eat your fill; 
then you y ll be worthy as the pearl. 
See, with its thousand teeth, the comb 
can dress the beard of anyone. 
Before you taste time 's remedy, 
a thousand poisoned draughts you 7/ see. 
From this world's butcher-shop you '11 gain 
no portion without causing pain. 
A hundred hearts are rent in twain 
before a fat haunch is obtained. 
A thousand necks are cast aside 
in favour of a fattened thigh. 
One sets his foot upon a treasure, 
another toils for trifling measure. 
Since none achieves his goal, 'tis best 
to have none, than for many quest. 
The man who late his goal achieves 
finds joy in his long-travelled life. 
Long life is best, for one will find 
his goal perfected through long time. 
The slow-born ruby long endures; 
the swift-come tulip swiftly goes. 
How long, like candles, brightly glow? 
Consume yourself, your self to show. 
Cast off these hoofs of beast-like greed; 
from this clay vat pull out your head. 
Cut off this seven-rooted branch; 
these four-nailed horseshoes, * too, renounce. 
Don 't pass o 'er this straw-covered pit 
like stones and straw that cover it. 
Like lightning, die while flashing bright; 
rude health 's eclipsed by virtuous life. 
Do as your masters teach, if you 
are a disciple; follow true 
The path that leads to wisdom; put, 
with perfect faith, your trust in God. 
I, who untie a hundred knots, 
possess a village, dwell without. 
If from the road a guest should come, 

322 



who then will lay the feast for him? 
Reason knows well of what I speak; 

by this allusion, what I seek. 
I don 't despair, despite my want; 
I blame but those who earn complaint. 
The Ethiop scorns my Turkish wares, 
rejects the fine foods I prepare. 
When I was raw as unripe grapes 
in this, old nature 's cooking-place, 
Time pressed me like a grape unripe, 
to make colly rium for the sight. * 
Since I grew ripe, I've suffered 
from the stings of bees, just as the wine 
That's poured upon the earth is lost. 
Is not the grape 's worth more than that? 
I tread the path on which I'm driven, 

the name of frozen water 'given; 
They say that water, frozen cold, 
is not water, but a spring of gold; 
They err: still water silver forms, 

as silvery ice of this informs. 
Whene 'er did silver like gold seem? 

they 're different as the moon and sun. 
Sim without y a is miss (that's brass), 
especially when they 're reversed. 
Observe my iron, inlaid with gold, 
its silvery work in speech unfold. 
Ironmongers would wear golden robes 
who iron at silver 's prices sold. 
Woe to the goldsmith when, assayed, 
his gold is less than silver weighed. 
The world's harsh treason chafes me: luck's 
the source of fortune, wisdom 's not. 
That keen assessor who knows coin 
owns not a half-grain, while the man 
Who can 't tell cotton plants from flax, 
nor ships and shoes from sealing-wax, 
With finest stuffs fills up his hoard: 
with loads of silks, and chests of gold. 
If this is gold and silver 's case, 
why should one then fear idleness? 
How long should we this ruin grieve, 
and draw up water in a sieve? 
All from the antechamber call; 
one day our turn will come withal. 
Others, like me, this tale have told, 



323 



and, at the end, have found repose. 

It was my task to grasp it firm, 

lest sleep should seize me in my turn. 

The traveller must have supplies, 

and flee the perilous places. I 

Walk on; my donkey does not follow; I 

can 't believe that on some morrow 
I too will leave; I'll only know 
when I have passed beyond that door. 
How long, in ignorance, shall I 
go on; string pearls with closed eyes? 
Forget your eyes, and silence keep; 

be confidant of secrets deep. 
All that you know — know this, and heed — 
you take in error, or misread. 
The flood has swept the road away; 
discard your spade; see how the sky 
Digs pits for men within the earth; 
the earth recks not such spades as yours. 
Consider: when you first were born, 
what did you have of what you own? 
From day and night you 7/ bear away 

what you brought with you that first day. 
Your neck weighed down with borrowed gems 
from earth and sea: how can you then 
Dance with the sphere? repay your loan; 
let but you arid an empty mount 
Remain. Without a grain of this 
world's burden, go where 'eryou wish. 
Before your crown 's pulled from the throne, 
you must cast off what wealth you own. 
One day a hundred blossoms must fall 

to the ground 'neath envy 's dust. 
I, like the rose, of weapons shorn, 
have also fled from envy's thorn; 
Donned a patched cloak, in hope this might 

scatter pure talc on flames of spite; 
For even so is the road travelled 
that passes through this place of peril. 
When I've bid this old inn farewell, 
say to the sphere, 'Do what you will' 
How long, Nizami, dwell in bonds? 

Arise! send forth your voice in song; 
Devote your soul to Unity, 
and gain, for e'er, Felicity. 



324 



Let us first recall (far more extensive examples are brought in the introduction) some 
examples from Nizami Ganjavi and other Persian poets with regards to imagery in 
Persian poetry: 

Nizami: 

oLij ^j\Lb \j^> jJ ^jj b 

OJJ OIJujO ±j£j lS^LuU j <\-uJ 

"Till the nights Ethiop rushed day 's Turks, 
The king ceased not his joyful Sport" 
(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 216) 

^jvJu^ u\Sjj [JjJuj^y uLq^L^jju 

Author's translation: Siyaahaan Habash (The blacks of Ethiopia), Torkaan Chini (the 
Turks of China), Cho Shab (like the night) baa maah (with the moon) kardeh hamneshini 
(have gathered together). Note that the Siyaahaan Habash (blacks of Ehtiopia) are the 
color of the night while the Torkan Chini are the moon (and the stars). 

u-*- JuUC: ?' jb Ojb> j ^9_juub 

Was not relieved from seeking other solution 
An Ehtiopian will not be Khotanese (a place in classical Turkistan) by washing 

±L±£ gS^j j 9j £j jl 5^ p* 

When the morning cast away the cover from day's face 
Khotan (light) upon Habash (darkness) imposed a painful cost 

p^jjjS qiiJL> u^^S qjJljuj ulodfc ,jjo 
/xjuull> jl 9J U 9 \jjpr. jl ±^> b 

Vm still his humble slave; of China 
at home, but Ethiop with you. 

/XjuulSu $$j uL> Qj jS 9J jb 
/xjuull> jl qjo ^jotli* jl 9J jS 

Your wile, if it costs life, I shall bear 
If you are from Khallukh (a city in Turkestan) (light), I am from Ethiop (dark) 

(signifying opposites here) 

325 



"In Egypt dwelt a man, Maahaan 

More beautiful than the full moon, 

like Egypt 's Joseph, fair of face; 

A thousand Turks his Hindu Slave " 

(Julia Meysami, Haft Paykar, pg 1 75) 



Thus as we can see the contrast between light, pleasing (Turk) and Habash (Dark) is a 
common affair in Nizami's poetry. But this is not limited to Nizami and many other 
Persian poets have used such a symbolism and we provide some more examples: 

UJJO QjCXjuU jJ OLljuJ JjJljuU 

±j \JJ^> JJ [JjJu£> 0U-juU QjO OjJ U<^> 
±j UjjljuUU jJ QJljuJJljuJ 0^9_juU O-julJUO jl 

(y>l9>) 

(Khaju Kermani: Since my Turk brings upon Khotan (Turkestan) the army of 

Habash(Ethiop)): 

^jS <^JLoO />9j jJ ^jljuU {JJJu^ j^uujJ 0$2* 

U^jll> £L b lSLoJu ol-^ljliprb kS$j 

JljuUL^ ^JVjIjCXSJ OlSjJ &J$S> jJ OLcXjuuI 

(lSASLjuu) 

jISu jjaJLp* 0L0 9 j9j^ />9j JuLJuUjCp* 

^jU [JjJuO> J^IUjJ JJ <£ KSjJ y\^> 0$Z> 

pj^JJJb u<^> 0Jjj9_JuU CjU lSIS ^Sj 9J <J^JLU 

(s>^> >o>l) 



The Pir of Herat, Khwajah Ansari writes: 

■L-5^°9j J-JulSLjuuI jlSj9j CjL^tJ jJ QjO 9 ^JVJO^J U<^> wAjjb L5Lp-pjljJ> jJ 9J <*_jljuU l5I 

(Dastgerdi, Wahid. "Resa'il Jaami' 4 Aref Qarn Chaharom Hejri: Khwaja Abdullah 
Ansari", Forooghi Publishers, 1349/1970, 2 nd edition, p 60) 

Translation: 

Oh Night, What are? A black Zangi, and I am of Khotanese descent (look like) a moon 

(beautiful). 



326 



Oh Night, you are upon the dark ruins like an owl and I am on the throne of the age, like 
Eskandar-e-Rumi (Alexander the Greek). 

Thus if we take this literally, then the well known Ansari, a descendant of the companion 
of the Prophet of Islam, would be of Khotanese descent. Of course the contrast between 
Dark/African/Zang and Khotanese is a well known contrast used by many Persian poets. 



The alleged claim by the three articles we mention (who claim Nizami Ganjavi was an 
Oghuz Turk) is that the line (not in a 15 th century edition t 
and most editions) in the praise of discourse and wisdom: 



Oghuz Turk) is that the line (not in a 15 th century edition but it is in the Dastgerdi edition 



is meant to say that Nizami wanted to write Turkish but it was not appreciated and hence 
he had to write in Persian! Anyone that has read all of the above section and knows the 
contrast between Turk (light) and Ethiopia (Dark) in Persian poetry and can easily see the 
invalidity of ethno-nationalistic interpretation. 

Let us bring two professional English translations: 

The Ethiop scorns my Turkish wares, 
rejects the fine foods I prepare. 
(Julia Meysami, 1995) 

Commentary by Dr. Julia Meysami: 

'The Ethiop scorns my Turkish wares: literally, 'The Ethiops (of this region) reject my 
Turkish delicacies, ' that is, in this dark and savage region my fine words go 
unappreciated. " (Julia Meysami) 

Wilson: 

This Ethiopia likes not Turkish wares 

hence it will have not palatable curds 

(1925 translation of Haft Paykar, C.E. Wilson) 

The section is about discourse and word of wisdom. Referring to people who claim 
wisdom, Nizami says in this section: 

All offer clever pretexts; nor 
will any say, 'My milk is sour. ' 

Indeed food as a spiritual metaphor (and we note Dooghbaa is bright and white like the 
imagery of Turks in Persian poetry) has been used through Persian literature. Sufficient is 
to refer to the comparison between homemade Paludeh and Bazar Paludeh in Persian 
poetry. As Annemarie Schimmel has noted: 

327 



"Paludeh, a dish of milk, fine flour, and some spices, was popular enough in the 
thirteenth century to be mentioned several times as the symbol of spiritual 
sweetness "(Triumphal Sun, pg 143. A two colored Brocade, pg 435). 

Let us look at English translation by these two knowledgeable translators. The key words 
they have used are Nakharand (Doesn't buy), Lajaram (consequently), Dooghbaay (This 
is a Persian word which is a soup made of yogurt milk, whose color is white and probably 
made best by Turkish nomads). So they have taken a meaningful translation of the all the 
words. Furthermore, if one goes with a literal translation, Torkiyam as the authors have 
translated more naturally takes the meaning of wares literally, since Nizami uses the other 
word Nakharand (buy), and lajaram (consequently) they do not taste fresh Dooghbaa (a 
soup made of milk best prepared by Nomads). 

Nizami here is stating that his beautiful milk/food (the advices and discourses of this 
section) he gives are not paid attention to. The context of the section which is on 
discourses, advices and ethics makes it clear. It has no political/ethnic content. 

Furthermore the contrast of Habash and Turk is something that we have discussed 
already. As already demonstrated, Persian poets often make contrasts. Since the 
opposition of */sepid /*(Tork) (light, North) and */zangi/Habashi/* 
(Abyssinian/Ethiopian) (south) has a figurative meaning, it simply signifies the range of 
tastes and climes, cultures and complexions, specifically with the Turks representing fair 
skin as opposed to the dark-skinned Habashis. 

If we look at that section, it is about spiritual advices Nizami provides and there is 
nothing about the Turkish language! So if Nizami wanted to write Turkish, the statement 
"Torkiyam raa dar in Habash Nakharand" as some writers claim is not in the context of 
the section. If literal (and assuming Nizami meant Turkish language by Torkiyyam! and 
not Turkish wares or something that "kharidani" (some that can be bought or obtained)), 
we would also need to take the /Habash/ part literally and the Dooghbaa part literally, and 
unless Nezami made a trip to Ethiopia (which he never did) or was in Ethiopia, or 
composed poems in honor of a dark-skinned African prince (which he never did), then 
/Habash/ does not have a literal meaning here. And of course Nezami 's trade was poetry 
and not selling (offering) Dooghbaa. So the verse is clear from the section, which 
simply means my bright/shining advice are not taken in this dark place. 

As well known already, Nizami not only wrote all of the five jewels in Persian but also he 
has written ghazals in Persian. Yet in all his work, he only refers to his Persian writing. 
There was no Turkish literature at the time of Nizami in Ganja and not a single verse of 
Turkish exists from the area during Nizami 's time from any poet or writer. Unfortunately, 
misinterpretation of basic Persian poetic imagery was the major tool used by Stalin and 
USSR to claim that "Nizami was a victim of Persian Chauvinism and he wanted to write 
in Turkish, but he was forced to write in Persian". 

Lack of knowledge or misuse of basic Persian imagery and symbols (note the previous 
Chapter where we discuss this extensively) was used to politicize Nizami Ganjavi for 



328 



ethno-nationalistic nation building and propagate the false idea that Nizami (who is great 
because of his actual words which are all in Persian) wanted to write in Turkish (which 
had no tradition in the Caucasus and Azerbaijan and the language of Turkish nomads was 
not the urban language) but was forced to write in Persian! As if one can create such 
masterpieces (five them!) under duress which is illogical! This misinterpretation 
alongside the misinterpretation of the verses in the beginning of the Layli o Majnoon was 
the major basis for this false political claim made during the USSR era and unfortunately 
continuing in some circles. 



Incorrect argument: Nizami and his research into Dari-Persian 
and Arabic literature means that he was a Turk 

The argument from a discussion was: Since Nezami mentions his research into Arabic, 
Persian, Jewish, Christian and Pahlavi sources and books, then he is a Turk or else if he 
was of Iranian Origin, he would not boast of knowledge and ability to research into these 
languages! 

The argument lacks basis since it does not correspond to Nizami' s verses, but is a invalid 
interpretation and an ethno-nationalistic extrapolation. Nor being proud of the capability 
of research into Arabic/Dari-Persian literature (as many Iranians are) has any ethnic 
bearing. First let us see what Nizami Ganjavi states in the Haft Paykar and 
Eskandarnama. 



In Eskandarnama he sates: 



±£ Jlsl oLjj ul lSUjJI 

^jgj kSji j± OJujlSLi />JuJJ 
Lp-^jLo /XJljuuI^J QjzljujJ jib j 

l^jljjj pJCU jl /XJljuUU 9jJ 

LSgj LSlg-^jjb j O^Uj 
9I jsu lSI^joU jib j P-^.'p 

/xi>b^ qjS obj j^ ubj 

/xi>Luu LSlgJLcx^r juuj olo^r ul jl 

^ <*5\ <£ jib ubj <Sj jjb j 

^£J ^gS OjKSUJ j iJjjJuj 
/XiSU ^J^^juuIj jS OV^ ul j± 

CjljuuIj LSlgJi^UuU L _5V^l9i>' CjljuuIj jSg 
CjljuuI9^>' pJCU {JjJ^\j\ J± JuLuUU 

pjS pS 9I jl /xlbu <J^U -H 



329 






The traces (deeds) of that monarch, world-wandering, 

I saw not written in one book. 

Speeches (subtleties) that were like stuffed treasure 

Were scattered in every work. 

I took up materials from every book; 

I bound on them the ornaments of verse. 

More than (besides) new histories, — 

— Hebrew/Jewish, Nestorian/Christian, and Pahlavi — 

/ chose from every book its charm (excellence); 

Took out from every husk (book) its brain (pith): 

Gathered treasure (the Sikandar-Ndma) — speech within speech (boundless); 

And prepared from that total (of varied tongues) the sum total (the Sikandar-Ndma). 

Whosoever is acquainted with every language (in which the tale ofSikandar is related), 

His tongue is short of criticism (on this work). 

In that screen of history from which I found truth, 

I twisted (arranged) the tip of the curl of (lustrous) speech. 

And, if thou desirest truth; — true words, 

It is not fit to seek in the ornament of verse. 

If of it (speech) I diminish the decoration of verse, 

I may put it together in couplets of little value (few and void of lustre). 

Everything done by the king (Sikandar) world proudly traversing, 

I may bring together complete in this single page of paper. 

And in the Haft Paykaer: 

Again I sought, from books concealed, 

And scattered throughout the world's 

I searched through books both fine and rare 

for what would free sore hearts from care. 

All chronicles of kings of yore 

were gathered in one book of lore; 

Already one of keenest mind 

had ordered it in verse refined. 

From that, some ruby dust remained, 

shared from which others something feigned. 

I, from those fragments, jeweller-wise, 

this precious treasure cut to size, 

So that the experts who assay 

all efforts, this most worthy weigh. 

That which was left by him half-said 

say; the half-pierced pearl thread; 

330 



While that which I found right and true, 
just as before I've left to view. 
I strove that this fair jointure, too, 
should be adorned in foreign hue. 
Again I sought, from books concealed 
and scattered through the world's broad field; 
Those words/works in Dari (Khorasani Persian) andAraby's; 

Bukharis pen, and Tabari 's; (a minority have viewed/translated it as Bukhari (Soghdian) 
and Tabari (Iranian dialect) both of them which have attested literature but majority 
consider it as Hadeeth of Bukhari and Tarikh of Tabari) 
From other texts, all scattered wide: 
each pearl, in hiding, cast aside. 
The pages coming to my hand 
I wrapped in leather, tied with band. 
When all was chosen, ordered well, 
when 'neath my pen 's black ink all fell, 
A poem I wrote that would win praise, 
and not the scholars ' laughter raise. 
This written temple I've adorned, 
with seven brides, like Magian Zand, 
(Julia Meysami: Haft Paykar a Medieval Persian Romance) 

So Nezami Ganjavi is simply stating his sources which were in different languages. For 
example if a random author states: "I used sources that were scattered, whether in 
French, American English and Russian', no one can obtain information about their father 
through this and then claim the person must have been a Turk(like it is falsely claimed for 
Nezami) just because they did not mention Turkish! So such weak (indeed none) 
arguments to derive the ethnic background of Mu'ayyad (Nezami's great ancestor) from 
such a simple non-ethnicity related statement. Or for example if modern books by 
Iranian authors mention the usage of Persian, Arabic and English sources for the book, it 
is precisely because such sources contain valuable information. They are not necessarily 
boasting about their knowledge of these languages! By the time of Haft Paykar, 
everyone already knew that Nezami was a master poet and he did not need to remind 
anyone that he knows Persian. 

Nizami references the Shahnameh and other Dari books and Arabic books, precisely 
because his stories (Eskandarnama, Bahram Nama or Haft Paykar, Khusraw o Shirin) 
were based on Persian folklore and Layli o Majnoon being of Arabic origin. That is 
written sources on Alexander were in these books. For example in the Haft Paykar, he 
starts with referencing the story in the Shahnameh and then searches in other books of 
Dari (in the strict sense Khorasani Persian and as noted Qatran Tabrizi distinguishes 
between Persian and Dari and Nezami too by using Dari and Parsi in different places, 
most likely knew Dari was a subset of the larger Parsi/Persian group) and Arabic. Dari 
which is a subset of Persian language group, is the refined spoken and written Persian as 
opposed to rustic dialects which were scattered in the Iranian world. 



331 



Had Nizami wrote anything about Turkish folklore or had any connection with Turkish 
culture/civilization or knew Turkish or had access to Turkish literature, then he would 
have mentioned books or at least oral traditions that are in Turkish. So the ethno- 
ideological arguments lacks basis for many reason: 

1) 

Nizami does not "boast" about his knowledge of Persian language! He mentions that for 
his work {Haft Paykar), he researched out at many scattered works of Dari- Persian and 
Arabic literature. According to Julia Meysami: "In the prologue to the Haft Paykar, 
Nizami describes his search for sources and gives pride to one: the Shahnama"(Haft 
Paykar by Julia Meysami pg XXIII). So he is describing his search for sources. 
However, researching the Qur'an and Shahnameh are a source of pride for many speakers 
of Arabic and Dari-Persian. And people who recite the Qur'an or Shahnameh are 
generally admired by the public and this level of knowledge is much more than the 
average speakers of these languages. 

2) 

No Iranian, whether those that speak Dari-Persian [(Nizami mentioning Dari) or Iranian 
dialects (other versions of Persian and other Iranian dialects) in their family or Parsi 
distinguished from Dari-Persian as mentioned by Qatran, Masudi and Ibn Nadeem)] is 
born with the knowledge of Persian literature. This knowledge is obtained through many 
years of study and hard work. Assuming Nizami says he is "proud" of his knowledge of 
the language (which neither the original Persian or the Professional English translation 
support such an interpretation), many Iranians (both Dari Persian speakers and other 
Iranians) are proud of their research into Persian literature (Adabiyyat-e-Farsi). Indeed it 
is a great honor to get a degree in Persian literature and research into Persian manuscripts 
from the Balkans to India. Many people who speak English as first language boast of 
their knowledge of English vocabulary, their research into the English literature or the 
their knowledge of spelling. Indeed the native speaker who wins the spelling-bee is proud 
of his/her knowledge of the English language and vocabulary. Many Arabs are proud of 
memorizing the Qur'an or part of it. Many Iranians memorize lines from Nizami, Hafez, 
Ferdowsi and are proud of their Persian language/literature knowledge. Nizami does not 
say anything about the knowledge of the Persian language (which is obvious by his 
work), but he is praising important works of Persian and Arabic literature by mentioning 
his sources. 

3) 

Hafez, Naser Khusraw and many other Iranians poets acknowledge their knowledge of 
Persian and the masterpieces they have created in Persian and are proud of their Persian 
poetry. They are proud of their work and mention its language. Indeed Nizami does boast 
elsewhere about his masterpiece in Persian, but so do Hafez, Ferdowsi and Naser 
Khusraw and other Persian poets mention their work explicitly in the Persian language. 
(Obvious for the reader, their work is in the Persian language but nevertheless by 
explicitly mentioning the Persian language by name, they acknowledge their knowledge 
of the language and the masterpieces they have created). 



332 



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(Jo9l>) 

^JOuJ JLuU (JJj^ >0^^>J £XJj L _$OuUU 
^jOuJjU <JJ-)U />±j£ OJjj /X<fc£ 

Jul& uL-b^-b Ju9_*Jj o^-*^ >^-«J 
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( 9> ^j> ^li) 
4) 

Indeed a more logical consequence of the verses of Nizami is the fact that he points to 
many scattered (hence a wide geographical area) sources that were examined for his story 
(including the Shahname) in different languages but not once does he mention anything 
about Turkic/Turkish sources or materials of Turkic civilization. That is Nizami does not 
mention anything about Turkish sources or books in Turkish or oral sources or etc. 
Many times he mentions Ferdowsi and other Persian sources as his sources but not once 
does he mention any Turkic source. This once again shows there was no high Turkish 
culture or civilization in Azerbaijan or the Caucasus at his time and books did not exist in 
that language at the time. Also if there was any Turkish work available say from 
Uighyurs or etc., it shows Nezami did not know about it or did not read Turkish or did 
not have any influence on him. 

It also shows he did not know Turkish or else he could have mentioned Turkic folklore if 
it had any effect upon his culture or upbringing. But he never mentions anything about 
Turkic sources nor do any of his stories (like Khusraw o Shirin, Eskandarnama, Bahrain 
Nama or Haft Paykar, Layli o Majnoon, and Makhzan al-Asrar) have anything to do with 
Turkish folklore/myths. As shown later, he considers the Persian story of Khusraw and 
Shirin as the sweetest story of all time. Had he any knowledge or affection for any 
Turkic folklore, he could have mentioned such a work once in his more than 30,000 
Persian verses. Indeed, in the Eskandarnama, he mentions again the Shahnameh and 
books in Pahlavi (probably Zoroastrian books), Nasrani (Christian) and Ebri 
(Hebrew/Judaism). Whether this is meant as religion (whose books were translated into 
Persian or Arabic) or languages (Pahlavi is a language rather than Magian/Zoroastrian 
and it is a very hard language to learn unless one knows modern Persian which is its 
descendant), once again shows that he does not mention anything about Turkic sources 
when writing his stories. 



333 



Incorrect argument: Nizami praises Alexander, so "he must have 
been a Turk" 

The argument was already refuted in the introduction. But it is worth quoting more 
sources (like Prof. Chelkowski below) who has analyzed the similarities between 
Eskandar Nama and Shahnameh. Also we must add that the argument is easily countered 
because Nizami Ganjavi has praised many Sassanid Kings who were major enemies of 
Turkish empires (Gok-Turks and Khazars), then he must not have been a Turk. On the 
other hand, praise of Alexander was part of the Iranian-Islamic culture and Sa'adi and 
Ferdowsi, for example, have also praised Alexander. 

The word of Dr. Jafarov (in news report brought from beginning) shows ultra- 
nationalistic fever is very high with regards to Nizami Ganjavi. Note Dr. Jafarov' s 
unsound assertion: 

"It is a fact Nizami Ganjavi praised Macedonian Alexander, who raised [sic. he meant 
razed] Iran, while other Persian poets showed Alexander as a bloodthirsty killer. If 
Nizami Ganjavi had been a Persian poet, he would also have shown Alexander as a 
bloodthirsty killer instead of praising him. It proves that Nizami is a genius Azerbaijani 
poet. Nizami 's creative works are in the spirit of Azerbaijan-Turk" 

What Dr. Jafarov fails to mention is that Nizami Ganjavi states that Alexander followed 
all of the traditions and customs of the Kiyani kings (Achaemenid kings) with the 
exception of Zoroastrianism. 

We now quote Professor Peter Chelkowsi, who is an authority on the Eskandarnama of 

Nizami: 

Robert Hartle opens his article entitled "The image of Alexander the Great in 

Seventeenth Century France" with a statement: 'When Alexander the Great had 

conquered Persia he began to adopt Persian ways; it should be no surprise that when he 

conquered seventeenth century France he began to act like a Frenchman' 



Alexander was glorified by the Muslims as a divine agent, a prophet-king and the blessed 
conquerer of the lands that were to become the stronghold of Islam. To some Muslims, 
Islam was a realization of Alexander's "koine" — a commonwealth where people could 
live in harmony and in peace of heart and mind. In this atmosphere attempts were made 
to make out Alexander not only a Muslim but a Persian as well. 



334 



The great Muslim historian Tabari (9 th /10 th century A.D.) (we note: also of Iranian origin) 
gives several accounts of Alexander based on various sources. In his presentation of the 
Persian origin of Alexander, he describes Darius the Third as an oppressive ruler (we 
note: Alexander actually praises Darius before Darius dies and asks for advice from 
Darius). Tabari' s description of Alexander's refusal to pay tribute to Darius, the war of 
Alexander with Darius and the death of Darius, reappear in Nizami's account. 
Similarities between Tabari and Nizami are also to be found in the description of 
Alexander's treatment of knowledge, science, philosophy, and Alexander's journeys to 
India, China, Tibet and the "Land of Darkness". 

However, it was not Tabari directly, but Ferdowsi who was Nizami's source of 
inspiration and material in composing Iskandarnameh. Nizami constantly alludes to the 
Shahnameh in his writing, especially in the prologue to the Iskandarnameh. It seems that 
he was always fascinated by the work of Firdawsi and made it a goal of his life to write 
an heroic epic of the same stature. And so, for his last masnavi Nizami chose as a theme 
the story of Alexander, which is recounted in Firdawsi' s Shahnameh. Even without the 
Psuedo-Callisthenes model, Firdawsi had been able to look for the continuity of Iranian 
spirit from prehistoric times and was able to consider Alexander as a great hero in the 
history of Persian civilization. Persia was the only country which had preserved not only 
her language after the Arab-Muslim invasion but also many aspects of her national 
identity and character. 

In fact, although Alexander conquered Iran, he was soon conquered by Persian customs 
and ways of life. In many aspects he was so overwhelmed by Persian civilization that he 
became more Persian than the Persians. He tried to make a blend of the Greek and 
Persian civilizations - even genetically, when he sponsored mass marriages between his 
troops and Persian women. He himself married Roxane (Rowshanak) the daughter of 
Sogdian (we note: Sogdians are another Iranian people) prince — not the daughter of 
Darius the Third, as both Firdawsi and Nizami believed. 

Like Alexander, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and other people who overran the Iranian plateau 
also came under the spell of Persian culture. Foreign invaders remained to become 
contributors and patrons of Persian art and culture. To give one example, some of 
Nizami's benefactors were of Turkic stock. 

As previously mentioned, it seems that Nizami's favorite pastime was reading Firdawsi' s 
monumental epic Shahnameh (The book of Kings). Firdawsi' s treatment of Alexander in 
this great heroic poem was by no means negligible, but in Nizami's opinion it was not 
complete and he wanted to write a poetic supplement to it. After several years of research 
he gave up this idea and decided that the subject called for a new and independent work. 
He still, however, acknowledged his indebtedness to his great master, Firdawsi, and 
considered himself a respectful follower of that literary pioneer. He, therefore, chose for 
the book of Alexander one heroic epic verse known as Mutaqarib, which Firdawsi 
employed in his Shahnameh. 

(Chelkowski, P. "Nizami's Iskandarnameh: "in Colloquio sul poeta persiano Nizami e 
la leggenda Iranica di Alessandro magno, Roma, 1977). 



335 



Without the understanding of Persian language and its classical literature (Ferdowsi, 
Sanai, Qatran, Khaqani...) the understanding of the work of Nizami Ganjavi will also be 
deficient. Alexander the Great was also identified with Dhul-Qarnain of the Qur'an and 
many Persian poets have praised him. He is after all an Islamic figure and Nizami was 
also a devout Muslim. 

For example besides the positive outlook of Ferdowsi, Sa'adi also praises Alexander: 

\qS QJj& Cjl>I^ 3j ^<py uLLjuulK <-j\jS jl J9I ^j\j jl y>\ Ouli> j± uLiul 

^JljuUU jJlJLO sS^joI fJuu^LJj] ±$J Qjl jl [JJJuU Oj_X9 9 CjulSuO o£ \j 

ul ulSjjj />b 9 />^jjLj ul Ol^Cj /)Jljuu ^jlg <& v-Svjujojjjuu j^ j^ J^>9j^ sSIjl> uc^j IjLaS 

n .p±£j ±\j v_SvSLj <3j j»> 

The Encyclopedia Iranica also discusses the difference between Perso-Islamic and Perso- 
Zoroastrian view on Alexander. Persian historians and poets (including Ferdowsi) 
according to Prof. Hanaway present Alexander as a just king: 

"Two aspects of the story are important in differentiating the versions of the Alexander 
romance that descend from the Greek through the Syriac from those influenced by 
Persian oral tradition. The first is the genealogy of Alexander. In the Pseudo-Callisthenes 
tale, and the Syriac version, Alexander is the son (by an illicit union) of the Egyptian 
Pharaoh Nectanebos and Philip of Macedon's wife Olympias. In many of the Persian 
versions, including that of Ferdowsi, Alexander is the son of Darab (Darius II?) and the 
daughter of Philip of Macedon. The second aspect is the way in which Alexander himself 
is viewed in the text. In the Persian versions of the story, Alexander is usually identified 
with Dhu'l-Qarnayn, a prophet mentioned in the Koran 16:84 (see Watt). In the early 
New Persian commentary on the Koran entitled Tarjoma-ye tafsir-e Tabari Dhul- 
Qarnayn is mentioned twice in connection with the wall of Gog and Magog (I, p. 196; IV, 
p. 918). Stories of Alexander/Dhul-Qarnayn appear in popular lives of the saints, such as 
Abu Eshaaq Neyshaburi's Qesas al-Anbiyya (pp. 321-33 and in a chapbook version, 
Kabul, n. d., pp. 94-101). Among the historians, Tabari (I, pp. 692-704; tr., IV, pp. 87-95) 
gives the fullest summary of the tale of Alexander, including the birth story in which 
Alexander and Dara are half-brothers, the details of which appear in various Persian 
versions. Neither the historians (Tabari, Masudi, Dinavari, and Hamza Esafahani) nor 
Ferdowsi develop the prophetic role of Alexander which the connection with Du'l- 
Qarnayn suggests, presenting Alexander as a conquering hero and a just king. Nezami 
Ganjavi develops the prophetic side fully in what is the most extensive surviving version 
in New Persian". 
(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Eskandar Nama", William L. Hanaway) 



And according to the Encyclopedia of Islam (Iskandar-Nama): 
In the Shahnama, Firdawsi already makes Iskandar an exemplary figure, whom the 
companionship of Aristotle helps to rise still higher, by the path of wisdom and 
moderation, in the direction of abstinence and contempt for this world. And Firdwasi laid 

336 



stress on the defeat of Dara (the Darius of the Greeks) as something desired by "the 
rotation of the Heavens". 

At the time of Nizami, however, Islam is from then onwards well established in Iran, and 
it is the prophetic and ecumenical aspect of his destiny that the poet makes evident in his 
hero. As a learned Iranian poet, Nizami, who demonstrates his eclecticism in the 
information he gives (he says, "I have taken from everything just what suited me and I 
have borrowed from recent histories, Christian, Pahlavi and Jewish ... and of them I have 
made a whole"), locates the story of his hero principally in Iran. He makes him the 
image of the Iranian "knight", peace-loving and moderate, courteous and always ready 
for any noble action. Like all Nizami's heroes, he conquers the passions of the flesh, and 
devotes his attention to his undertakings and his friendships. These features appear in the 
account, which follows ancient tradition, of his conduct towards the women of the family 
of Darius, in his brotherly attitude on the death of that ruler, in his behaviour towards 
queen Nushaba (the Kaydaf of Firdawsi, the Kandake of the pseudo-Callisthenes) whom 
he defends against the Russians. (Abel, A.; Ed(s). "Iskandar Nama." Encyclopaedia of 
Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. 
Heinrichs. Brill, 2007.) 



We note that in the Shahnameh, Alexander the Great even visits Mecca and in the 
Shahnameh, he is actually half Iranian. Nizami Ganjavi praises Ferdowsi (who definitely 
was not a Turk and according to many sources his Shahnameh had a certain anti-Turkish 
bias) and the Shahnameh had an important role in the Eskandar-nama (as well as Haft 
Paykar and Khursaw o Shirin). Neither Tabari nor Sa'adi nor Ferdowsi and nor many 
other Iranians (many whom have written Quranic exegesis relating Alexander to Dhul 
Qarnain) were of "Turk" background, but they have praised Alexander who was 
identified with the Muslim Dhul-Qarnain. Indeed, he was popularly identified with the 
Quranic Dhul-Qarnain by many Muslim history books and Quranic commentaries. This 
popular identification (some modern Muslim scholars have now disclaimed this) was a 
sufficient enough reason to embrace him for any believing Muslim regardless of 
background. 

Also the argument of the likes of Dr. Jafarov can be turned on its head. Can he claim 
Ferdowsi was a Turk because he also had a positive view of Alexander!? Or as we 
already noted that the Shahnameh is considered as a foreign tale by some nationalists: 
"The original opera had been based on "Kaveh, the Blacksmith''. However, such a plot 
would absolutely have jeopardized their lives. First of all, it was based on a foreign tale: 
Kaveh was a mythical figure of ancient Persia, memorialized by 10th century Ferdowsi in 
Persian verse in the "Shahnameh " (Book of the Kings) " 

(Betty Blair, Why Hajibeyov wrote the Opera Koroghlu, Azerbaijan Internationa, 
Summer 2006) 

Bahram Gur who is praised by Nezami also fought and defeated the Turks in the Haft 
Paykar. So using the argument of Dr. Jafarov, we can say Nezami was not a Turk. 



337 



We also note as per some authors that although Ferdowsi was a pious Muslim, "the 
Shahnameh nevertheless has a certain anti-Arab and anti-Turk bias ". Yet Nizami 
Ganjavi praises Ferdowsi, considers himself as a successor of Ferdowsi, reads the 
Shahnameh as his favorite pastime, has chosen his stories from the Shahnameh and 
finally advises the son of the Shirvanshah to read the Shahnameh. 

Finally in the Eskandarnama, Alexander attacks Azarabadegaan (traditional Iranian 
Azerbaijan) and puts out the fire temples. Yet some ethnic nationalists claim that even 
Zoroastrianism is an Altaic religion and Zoroaster was of an Altaic background and 
Iranians rewrote the Avesta which was originally in Turkish! So this way of 
argumentation would conflict with their other non- scientific theories. 



Invalid arguments about Idioms, Dedicatees, Eldiguzids, Sunni 
and Shi'i and other invalid arguments. 

Alleged Claim of Turkish Idioms 

We should also note that some nationalists like Javad Heyat claim that Nezami Ganjavi 
uses Turkish phrases and expressions and then translated them into Persian! (Note pan- 
Turks have recently claimed that the Avesta Zoroastrian holy book was originally 
Turkish but it was translated to Iranian languages and its original was lost!) 

For example they claim the following expressions are originally Azerbaijani Turkish (a 
language and ethnicity that was not formed yet) and were translated by Nezami. Yet they 
cannot show any Turkish books or writings that has them before Nezami (nor is there 
such a book from the area during the time of Nezami). There is a large overlap between 
phrases in Arabic, Persian and other Islamic languages and had they sift through the work 
of Persian expressions or even Khorasani poets, they would have easily found such or 
similar expressions. We should note also that using phrases of many languages (if their 
origin can be proven) has no bearing on ethnicity but at the time of Nezami there was no 
Azerbaijani-Turkish identity, ethnicity or language. However there were 
Turkmen(Oghuz) nomads and even if they had Turkic folkloric expression, there is no 
proof they did not borrow it or Nezami used such expression or etc. But by itself, this has 
no bearing on ethnicity. 

We will just give few examples. 

Javad Heyat claims that the first verse of the following couplet by Nezami: 

/XJ<H CjljulHj pJuLJuJj QS U Lj 



Is taken from the Turkish expression: 



JjLiuL js^ v3lj9J9l <SjZJ J^ 



338 



Where-as if he looked under the Dehkhoda dictionary: 

He would have found this from Anvari, a Khorasani poet who lived before Nezami has 
used it already: 

;OJ<p CjljujIj pJuLJuJj £p Li Lj 

(jjjil) 

(i5 j9 jI) 

We note the first verse is an exact replica used by Nezami and was already in use by 
Persian Khorasani poets before him. Sometimes Nezami Ganjavi even gives his source 
for the phrase and yet Javad Heyat has deleted the first verse: 

Translation: 

How sweet said the man from Nahavand to the one in Tus 

That the death of the donkey is the wedding of the dog. 

Javad Heyat for example deleted the first line about Nahavand and Tus (two Iranian 
speaking regions then and now) for his reader and then claims the phrase is taken from 
the Turkish: 

Or another one is: 

SjS [ Jjj^o\jB \j ijJLjuuucp* vAJ 

He claims it is taken from the Turkish: 

339 



Whereas there is an exact and famous Persian expression: 

And this uses exactly the name of the same birds. 
Another one is: 

Translationf'No one calls their Doogh (Persian Yogurt drink which in Turkish is called 
Ayran) tart (Torsh) is from the Turkish expression: 

Where-as the words Hich Kas and Torsh in this Turkish expression are Persian and 
furthermore, Dehkhoda has the following Persian expression in his book on phrases and 
wisdom which matches exact words of Nezami: 

.JugSLooJ [Jjjjj $&> £9^ <\j [jjjS gu^ 

Another claim is that terms like Del-Dookhtan (to sow heart) is unique to Turkish and 
was translated exactly. We note that Attar uses the exact same term: 

CjljuUJuoI j\S ^JVjJ^jU 9J fJjjSjJ 

GUoc) 

To claim that phrases used by Nezami are from Turkish, one has to show that similar 
phrases do not exist in any other language in the region and never existed in any language 
and that the Turkish phrases came before Nezami. One can show many phrases used by 
previous Persian poets and almost exactly copied by Nezami. For example one can easily 
demonstrate the following verses were taken from Ferdowsi by Nezami (as we also 
mentioned Anvari before) or Gorgani: 



;OJ<p CjljujIj pJuLJuJj £p U Lj 
j9_ajJ l _$vJLjujI - ) $j\ ;OjLo ,^500 CO 

(lSj»jI) 

340 






kSjj^jujSj\ j^> GjljujI <J-OU 9^ $J> 



: l jouj9^ - >s 

^jvj^J l _$vJljuul& cL> ^ «~Sl ^so>r /xjIjJ 
^jvj^j ^jOljuuu 9 LSJJlL OUu 

\^j\^j^ <SASLjuj\ iJJAHj^xS 

09S ul jl pj\x>uj \j ±p> >09_»Jj 
09-uU o^jo ^9-«jJlj 1 Juc> 0$z* <l5 

Jul^ ,JJ> lj 09-uU O^X) <*S 



Also many examples from Persian books like Kashf al-Mahjub, Mersad al'Ibad, Balami's 
history, Jawama' Al-Hekaayaat, as well as the Muslim holy books of Quran and Hadeeth 
have been collected and compared to the works of Nezami: 

Three or four example of the many suffices here: 



:0_Lol K^^^LoJi iJijJjS K~>\jS j± 

«^9j \$jb 0^9^ ^S\jj jl ^9> b vl»-»->-^ 9 i±$j \jj> ^S\jj jl O^ ^jX 
«^uJj\j ±p> ^^j-^u j± <^j\ jl cu ^joJuL^j^p k3jj^u j± JulgJLftS b*jl jl (HjLjuuo 9» 

^joJjU jj^jJj ^9> U <*S ^iLgj ul jl 



Two examples from the Quran: 






341 



^jvj^J /JLc Jj> J9I JuJu 

^JVJ^J /X£jO OJjj 9 ^jOI^jjjO 9J 

Going beyond the region, this author had seen an article where 100 phrases from English 
and Persian were put side to side and they were very similar. For example: 

oLljuU <^5uuO Ou^ Qj Ou^ 



The pot is calling the kettle black. 



Action speaks louder than words 



To be all ears 



Be it so 



Black will take no hue 



CjljuuuJ jbjS /xjJ <^> c ULaS Ju^> 9^ 



U-^J {JjJ^ LlljuuJ 



bU ^U ^jjfc 



CjljuuuJ <ta 5vSuj ^jv^L.juu jl >iVu 



This too shall pass. 



^jJAj jjj qjI 



They are fishing in muddy waters 



fjJSj^ ^jv^Lo ±$}M% vl jl 



Given the similarities above between English and Persian phrases, it is obvious that 
phrases in Iranian languages (Persian, Middle Persian, Kurdish, Luri, Mazandarani, and 
other Iranic languages/dialects) and other neighboring languages including Arabic, 
Turkish, Urdu, Armenian and etc, will have similarities. Also many of the verses of 
Nezami have been identified as being translations of the Qur'an and Hadeeth which 
permeates many different Islamic cultures. Also in the Caucasus, Kurdish, Talyshi, Tati 
Persian, and other non-Iranian languages like Armenian, Georgian, Turkic and etc. will 
exchange phrases, much like music, food and dances have similarities in that region as 
well. Or just like similarities in music instruments (many of them the same), food and 
musical mode has risen due to geographic proximity. So nationalists like Javad Heyat 

342 



have made an argument that is not valid. They did not look close enough at Persian 
phraseology and other Iranian languages, besides phrases used by other Persian poets and 
also phrases that are common to the region. 

Eldiguzids-Feudal lords (Atabekan) of Azerbaijan 

Another argument used to claim Nezami as a Turk was that he lived under the Eldiguzids 
or ( "Atabeks (feudal lords) of Azerbaijan " used by later historians) for almost all of his 
life. The argument despite being very poor is sometimes repeated. It is as silly as to 
claim Homer was a Turk because he lived in modern Turkey or Ferdowsi was a Turk 
because the Ghaznavids controlled Tus or Fakhr al-Din Asad Gorgani (the writer of Vis o 
Ramin) was a Turk because the Seljuqs ruled Iran or that a certain Parsi scholar from 
India is British because the British ruled India. Despite this, some further clarifications 
are made. 

First the name Azerbaijan in the 12* century denoted mainly the area below the Aras 
River. The etymology of the name is Iranian, and the forms Nezami uses for this name in 
the Eskandamama((u^M j^Vu^Wj^ are in the exact form of Shahnameh and another 
form he uses is in the exact form of the Persian love story Vis o Ramin (jjfJLjll). So 
this name is not related in any way or form to Turkic cultures in the 12 l century. The 
ethnonym Azerbaijani was only chosen in the late 19 th /early 20 th century and became 
accepted in 1930s for Turkic speaking people who speak the regional (Azerbaijani) 
version of the Oghuz language. So the term Azerbaijan in its 12 th century form is 
independent of the ethnic term Azerbaijani which was chosen much later. The ethnic 
term Azerbaijani for example was not even chosen when the formation of the Azerbaijani 
Turkic speaking group took place in the 14 th -16 th century. 

A source very close to Nezami Ganjavi's is the history ofJalal al-Din Mangubirti 
(reigned in 1220-1231) written by a high official of his court Shihab al-Din al-Nasawi (d. 
1249). He fled with his king, the Khwarzmshah Jalal al-Din Mangubiri before the 
Mongols to Tabriz and from there to Mughan. He was able to escape in the last battle of 
the Khwarzmshah with the Mongols in 1231 and passed away in Aleppo in 1249. 



We note the many times this book whose author spend time and lived in the area 
differentiates between Arran and Azerbaijan. 



Nasawi, Shahab al-Din, "The adventures of Jalal al-Din Mangubirti", Bongah 
Publishers, 1344 (1964). 



(22 qjfcJL^)"jLjyJ ^SbttJUyUUD ij}\j£> iSULo 

Translation: 



343 



Atabek Sa'ad ibn Zangi, the Sultan of Pars (modern Fars Province and surrounding 
areas) and Atabek Uzbek ibn Muhammad, the Sahib (ruler) of Arran and Azerbaijan 
strengthened their desire to capture "Arak 

(24 <*2tSL*e>y<J3j£j \j \J\j\ $ uLSLu^l ^jJI JiJbr uLbJLuj U^pr 9" 

Translation: 

And since the Sultan Jalal al-Din took Azerbaygan and Arran" 



(26 A^iua) ff ll£ 

After when Atabek fled the area of Hamadan and kept his life, he ordered that the Khutba (Friday 
Prayer) and the coins in Arran and Azerbaijan be in the name of the Sultan. 



(82 u*)"..^ 

"And this account is also valid in Khorasan and Mazandaan and Arran and Azerbaijan and Ghur 
and Ghazni and Bamiyan and Sistan till India" 



The term Arran has always been overwhelmingly distinguished from Armenia and 
Azerbaijan in the course of its long history. Although some authors have contradictorily 
confused Armenia, Arran and Azerbaijan but this has not been the case for most medieval 
authors. Indeed the current author has examined 20+ maps and has not found a single 
map that claims the territory of Azerbaijan as above the Aras prior to the 20 th century. 
Several historians also attest to the fact that the name Azerbaijan was chosen for political 
reasons in the 20 th century. 

Vasily Barthold states: "Shirvan is not used that way, to encompass the territory of the 
now day Azerbaijan Republic. Shirvan is "not that big" with the main city of Shemakha, 
cities like Ganja and others were never part of Shirvan, and whenever it is necessary to 
choose a name that will encompass all regions of the republic of Azerbaijan, the name 
Aran can be chosen. But the term Azerbaijan was chosen because when the Azerbaijan 
republic was created, it was assumed that this and the Persian Azerbaijan will be one 
entity, because the population of both has a big similarity. On this basis, the word 
Azerbaijan was chosen. Of course right now when the word Azerbaijan is used it has two 
meanings as Persian Azerbaijan and as a republic, its confusing and a questions rises as 
to which Azerbaijan is being talked about. " 

Vladimir Minorsky states: 

The territory of the present-day Soviet republic of Azarbayjan roughly corresponds to the 

ancient Caucasian Albania (in Armenian Alovan-k', or Alvan-k', in Arabic Arran > al- 

Ran) 

Vladimir Minorsky states: 



344 



Historically the territory of the republic corresponds to the Albania of the classical 
authors (Strabo, xi, 4; Ptolemy, v, 11), or in Armenian Alvan-k, and in Arabic Arran. The 
part of the republic lying north of the Kur (Kura) formed the kingdom ofSharwan (later 
Shirwan). After the collapse of the Imperial Russian army Baku was protectively 
occupied by the Allies (General Dunsterville, 17 August- 14 September 1918) on behalf of 
Russia . The Turkish troops under Nuri Pasha occupied Baku on 15 September 1918 and 
reorganized the former province under the name of Azarbaydjan — as it was explained, in 
view of the similarity of its Turkish-speaking population with the Turkish-speaking 
population of the Persian province ofAdharbaydjan. 

Professor Bert Fragner also mentions: 

In the case of Azerbaijan , there is another irrational assault on sober treatment of 
history to be witnessed: its denomination. The borders of historical Azerbaijan crossed 
the Araxcs to the north only in the case of the territory of Nakhichevan . Prior to 1918, 
even Lenkoran andAstara were perceived as belonging not to Azerbaijan proper but to 
Talysh, an area closely linked to the Caspian territory ofGilan . Since antiquity, 
Azerbaijan has been considered as the region centered around Tabriz , Ardabil, 
Maraghch, Orumiych andZanjan in today's (and also in historical) Iran . The homonym 
republic consists of a number of political areas traditionally called Arran,. Shirvan, 
Sheki, Ganjeh and so on. They never belonged to historical Azerbaijan , which dates 
back to post-Achaemcnid, Alexandrian 'Media Atropatene'. Azerbaijan gained extreme 
importance under (and after) the Mongol Ilkhanids of the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries, when it was regarded as the heartland of Iran. 



Under Soviet auspices and in accordance with Soviet nationalism, historical Azerbaijan 
proper was reinterpreted as 'Southern Azerbaijan', with demands for liberation and, 
eventually, for 'reunification with Northern (Soviet) Azerbaijan a breathtaking 
manipulation. No need to point to concrete Soviet political activities in this direction, as 
in 1945-46 etc. The really interesting point is that in the independent former Soviet 
republics this typically Soviet ideological pattern has long outlasted the Soviet Union. 

(Bert G. Fragner, 'Soviet Nationalism': An Ideological Legacy to the Independent Republics of 
Central Asia ' in" in Van Schendel, Willem(Editor) . Identity Politics in Central Asia and the 
Muslim World: Nationalism, Ethnicity and Labour in the Twentieth Century. London , GBR: I. 
B. Tauris & Company, Limited, 2001) 

"Azarbaydjan compromises the northwestern corner of the Iranian plateau, from the Qizil 
Uzan and Tarum Highlighands in the south of the Aras (Araxes) in the north. Arran, i.e. 
the territory further to the north, between the Aras and the Kur River and largely identical 
with the former Soviet Republic of Azarbaydjan, was usually considered a separate 
region, even though it was sometimes administered together with Azarbaydjan proper." 
(Peter Christensen, The Decline of Iranshahr: Irrigation and Environments in the History 



345 



of the Middle East, 500 B.C. to A.D. 1500 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 
1993) 



"Although Azerbaijan was a geographical entity in the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries, the term was only used to identify the province in northwest Persia. The 
Safavids, at one time, for revenue purposes, included some of the lands north of the Arax 
river as part of the province of Azerbaijan. This practice gradually fell out of use after the 
fall of Safavids. To Mirza Jamal and Mirza Adigozal Beg (comment: two Caucasian 
Turcophone writers), as well as other eighteen century and nineteenth-century authors, 
Azerbaijan referred to the region located south of the Arax river"(George Bournoutian, 
"History of Qarabagh: An Annotated Translation of Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi's 
Tarikh-e Qarabagh." Mazda Publishers, 1994) 

Be that it may (as this is not the main point of the article), what is seen is that Nasawi, 
who travelled to the area, distinguishes Arran from Azerbaijan. Also Nezami Ganjavi 
mentions Arran, Sherwan, Armenia and Azarabadegan, thus the name Arran and Sherwan 
were in use at that time and the area of Sherwan under Shirwanshahs and the area of 
Arran, was not denoted as Azerbaijan. 

We already mentioned that Nezami Ganjavi also praises his patrons as Kings of Iran and 
Kings of Molk-e-Ajam (Persia). Thus this by itself shows that Nezami saw his region as 
part of the Iranian cultural region. 

Second flaw with the argument is that "Atabekan-e- Azerbaijan" or in English Atabeks of 
Azerbaijan or more precisely "Feudal-Lords of Azerbaijan" was simply a title. The term 
Azerbaijan is no more than a geographical designation used by later historians to 
distinguish between various minor rulers who are under nominal Seljuq ruler but ruled 
autonomously and sometimes even controlled the dynasty. Also there were other Atabek 
(feudal lord) dynasties in Mosul, Shaam (Syria), Luristan, Fars, Maragheh and etc. 

Indeed, Sa'adi of Shiraz does not become a Turk because he lived and was patronized by 
Atabek Sa'ad ibn Zangi. Ferdowsi does not become a Turk because he lived under the 
Ghaznavids and Nizam al-Molk or Ghazali do not become Turks because they lived 
under the Seljuqs. None of these regions were ethnically Turkic at the time, especially in 
their urban centers. The reason later historian called the ruling family "Atabekan-e- 
Azerbaijan" rather than Arran is that Azerbaijan is the more important and wider land and 
these two and more were under the control of these rulers (although acknowledging 
Seljuq supremacy but effectively ruling as the main power). And the reason they don't 
use "Atabekan-e- Azerbaijan, Jebal, Arran" because it is too long. But there is no coin or 
map or text from the era of Ildiguzids which calls them "Atabekan-e- Azerbaijan". The 
term Eldiguzids is more popular as it is in Encyclopedia of Islam, but Iranica which uses 
Persian terms and started with "A" (trying to be comprehensive as possible), has opted 
for "Atabekan-e- Azerbaijan". It should also be noted that the Eldiguzids origin is 
Kypchak Turk which is different than the Oghuz Turks whose Turkish dialect is now 
prevalent in Azerbaijan, Anatolia and Arran/Sherwan. 



346 



And we point out Azerbaijan is an Iranian name, there was an old Iranian languages 
(denoted by Azari/Fahlavi in the area) and the ethnonym Azerbaijani for Turkic speakers 
is a much later phenomenon and the general ethnonym for Turkic speakers was only 
accepted in the 1930s in the USSR. The ethnic minded theorists who try to detach 
Nezami from Iranian civilization, should recognize that the concept of nation-state did 
not exist back then. While the greatest territory of the Eldiguzids was most Azerbaijan 
(hence the name given to them later as "Atabekan-e- Azerbaijan but excluding the areas 
of Maragha), the population of Urban areas was Iranian and Christian Armenians and 
other groups. A best proof of this is the city of Tabriz and the book Safina Tabriz from 
the Ilkhanid era which we alluded to earlier. It was shown in this book that not a single 
manuscript is in Turkish and the local language (called Zaban-e-Tabrizi or the Tabrizi 
tongue) was an Iranic/Persian dialect. Another proof is the Nozhat al-Majales by Jamal 
Khalil Shirvani and mentioning 24+ Persian poets from Ganja alone. 
This even after 100 years after the demise of Eldiguzids, places like Tabriz were not 
Turkified in speech. 

Third flaw with this argument is that just like the Saljuqs (whom sometimes had tight 
control and sometimes were controlled by the regional lords specially the Eldiguzids), the 
Eldiguzids were Persianate in culture and language. The best proof of this is that not a 
single verse or line in Turkish has existed from their court where-as one can discern 
hundreds of thousands of Persian poetry from their court. Even the name of famous 
architects like Ajami Naxchavani (the Persian Naxchvani) shows that the Eldiguzids were 
much like the Seljuqids and Ghaznavids, and did not patronize or do anything for Turkic 
culture. So they cannot be really considered "Turkic" in the cultural sense and their 
ethnicity like the Seljuqs would have become diluted due to intermarriages with high 
class dynasties (some possibly Christian). Ethnically, many of their viziers were Persian 
as well as the urban Muslim centers which were Iranian and Iranian speaking and the 
flood of Turkomen nomads were not yet settled at that time (which takes many 
generations where-as the Turkomen nomads came after the Seljuq invasion and in reality 
Nizami's ancestry is recorded before the Seljuq invasion). 

Nezami Ganjavi himself praises the Eldiguzids as the King of the Persian lands which 
obviously shows that the area was associated with Iranian people and culture: 



<jajuli> c IjljuulS Ojjj p^> kS^>. 
oLo Jul u Ij v>^ £>J <S^-> 

oLuu ubsbr \j pc*£. kSJjq ^jSji 



In that day that they bestowed mercy upon all, 
Two great ones were given the name Muhammad, 
One who 's pure essence was the seal of prophecy, 
The other who is the Kingdom 's Seal, in his own days 
One whose house/zodiac is moon of the Arabs 



347 



The other who is the everlasting Shah of Realm of Persians 



In praising the rulers of Shirwan (who sometimes extended their rule beyond Shirwan), 
Nizami again mentions: 

This book is better to be written 

A young peacock is better to have a mate 

Specially for a king like the Shah of Shirwan 

Not only Shirwan, but the Shahriyar (Prince, Ruler) of all Iran 

Nizami Ganjavi calls upon the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH &HP): 

<*_jljuU jjAjljuJ 9 OJul J9j O^jj 

Do not stay in Arabia, come to Persia 
Here are the light steeds of night and day 



So the area at that time was considered part of the Persian ethnic and cultural region. He 
has used the term Molk-e-Ajam (Persia) and Iran for his land and both Azerbaijan and the 
urban cities of Trans-Caucasia were ethnically Iranic at the time. 

The Persian poet Khaqani(l 126-1 198) has used "Iran" thirty times in his Diwan. 

fj\ oJj£ J^O tlflj^ 

From India he has gone to ( Ajam (Persia), 
has made Iran a blessed Garden like Iram 



So in summary, there was no nation-state in the 12 th century, the bulk of the population 
living under feudal dynasties who are called by historians as Atabekan-e- Azerbaijan, 
Atabekan-e-Mosul, Atabekan-e-Shaam, Atabekan-e-Fars, Atabekan-eMaragheh, 
Atabekan-e-Luristan, Atabekan-e- Yazd and etc. were ethnically non-Turkic and the bulk 
in Iranian plateu and Muslim urban cities in Trans-Cauacasia were Iranian. The urban 
population of Azerbaijan was not Turkic at the time, as can be seen clearly by the books 
Safina of Tabriz and Nozhat al-Majales. The name Azerbaijan itself is Iranian and has 
been part of Iranian history, the Turkification of it came much later although the 



348 



Turcophone population there today have also become connected to Iran due to many 
reasons. One needs to define the term(culturally, geographically, ethnically) as it was in 
the 12 th century and not redefine it based on definitions of 19 th /20 th century centuries. 
Culturally, the Muslim culture of the area was part of the greater Iranian world as 
mentioned by both Khaqani and Nezami for the designation of their land. Thus this 
argument is flawed as claiming an Armenian author who lived in Ganja during the 
Shaddadid era was a Kurd because Shaddadids were Kurds or that Sa'adi was a Turk 
because he lived under Atabek Sa'ad ibn Zangi. 



Invalid arguments: Dedicatees of Nezami were Turks so Nezami was a Turk! 

Another argument that this author has encountered was this: "Nezami dedicated four of 
his five works to Turkic kings and only one to the Iranian Shirwanshah, so he was 
Turkic!". 

First, the argument is of course baseless since the dedicatees have nothing to do with the 
ethnic background of Nizami's father. For example Teimurids, Seljuqids, Ghaznavids 
had many Persian poets in the courts who dedicated their works solely to these rulers. 
None of these become Turks! Where-as Nezami himself was not even attached to any 
particular court and was not a court poet. 

Second all of Iran and Persia except for minor dynasties like Shirwanshahs were under 
the rule of Turkic rulers. At the same time, these Turkic rulers would be as foreign to 
modern Turkic nationalists as Persians are. Since these Turkic rulers adopted Persian 
custom, language and promoted Persian culture and there is not absolutely a single verse 
of Turkish from the courts of Seljuqs, Eldiguzids, Ahmadilis and etc. at this time. 

"It is to be noted that the Seljuks, those Turkomans who became sultans of Persia, did not 
Turkify Persia-no doubt because they did not wish to do so. On the contrary, it was they 
who voluntarily became Persians and who, in the manner of the great old Sassanid kings, 
strove to protect the Iranian populations from the plundering of Ghuzz bands and save 
Iranian culture from the Turkoman menace"(Grousset, Rene, The Empire of the Steppes, 
(Rutgers University Press, 1991) 

The dedicatee for Eskandarnama is not known, but many sources state it was a Georgian 
ruler of Ahar in Azerbaijan who had had the Persian name Bishkin: 

"Moreover, in Sharaf-nama, chap. 41, vv. 3-23, the author laments the death of the 
Sharvanshah Akhsatan (the dedicatee of Leyli o Majnun) and addresses words of advice 
to his (unnamed) successor. This suggests that Nezami originally planned to dedicate the 
Eskandar-nama, like Leyli o Majnun, to one of the kings of Sharvan. But that dynasty 
evidently lost power over Ganja by the time the poems were completed, and in their final 
form they are dedicated to the malek of Ahar, Nosrat-al-Dln Bishkin b. Mohammad. This 
ruler is mentioned in the introduction to sharaf-nama, chap. 10, vv. 11-12, where the poet 
makes a pun on his name Bishkin ("whose hatred is more"), though some of the 



349 



manuscripts have a superscription claiming (wrongly) that the verses evoke Bishkin's 
overlord, the atabeg Nosrat-al-Dln Abu Bakr."" 
(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Eskandar Nama" by Francois De Blois) 



And with regards to the Eqbal-Nama: 

"A third group of manuscripts has the (genuine) dedication to Nosrat-al-Dln in the 

prologue, but the (spurious) dedication to Ezz-al-Dln in the epilogue, evidently 

combining material from two different master copies" 

(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Eskandar Nama" by Francois De Blois) 



Third, the Shirwanshahs, Eldiguzids, Ahmadilis, Seljuqs, Rulers of Ahar Menjukadis 
(Fakhr ad-din Bahramshah) were Persianized and Iranianized in culture and language. 
That was the common unifying culture. There is not a single verse of Turkish from the 
courts of any of these rulers. So none of these can be considered Turkic culturally. That 
is why they patronized Persian poetry. Be that it may, one can see what kind of poor 
arguments are made by ethno-nationalists to detach Nezami Ganjavi from Iranian 
civilization. If anything, we should note that the two works of Persian origin, 
Bahramnama (Haft Paykar) and Khusraw o Shirin were chosen by Nezami himself and 
are grounded firmly in Iranian culture and have nothing to with Turkic culture (like all 
the other works of Nezami) are patronized by Turkic kings. 

Finally, the diversity of dedications shows that Nezami did not necessarily prefer any 
ruler although he does entrust his son to the son of Shirwanshah. At the same time, many 
of these rulers for example Eldiguzids, Ahmadilis and Shirwanshahs were rivals. 
Specially, the Eldiguzids were rivals of Ahmadilis and Shirwanshahs. Nezami dedicated 
his later works to these rulers as it was common practice to do so. That is dedication of a 
work to a ruler brought not only the poet fame, but also perhaps ensured the preservation 
of his work. Nezami despite not being a court poet (much like Ferdowsi and unlike 
Khaqani who was a court poet) was following the common practice set by many other 
Persian poets in dedicating his work to the rulers of his own time. The only difference is 
that Nezami dedicated his work to rival rulers who fought bitterly and in our opinion, this 
shows that he really was not devoted to any ruler of his time. 



Invalid Argument: Court poetry and official language was in Persian and that 
is why Nezami wrote in Persian to get paid 

A person has written: 

"Azerbaijani Turkic kings of Azerbaijan in 12th century used Persian language as lingua 
franca, just like Russian aristocracy at the end of 18th century used French, and 
encouraged court poet Nizami to compose poetry in it" 

The argument and sentence is invalid because of many reasons, but the author is trying to 
imply that Nezami wrote in Persian because of the court. First the Eldiguzids were not 
"Azerbaijani"(not used as an ethnic name then) in the ethnic sense. They were Qipchaq 

350 



Turks and they ruled areas such as part of Arran, parts of Azerbaijan (the historical one) 
and even extended far as Jabal and Ray. So they did not speak Oghuz Turkish. They 
were obviously of Turkic lineage but culturally they were Persianized. 

However, the most important reason for the argument to be invalid is that Nezami 
Ganjavi was not a court poet. He did not serve in any of the courts. Indeed, it was the 
Eldiguzids, and Ahmadilis who commissioned him and he was free to choose whatever 
story and language he wished. Obviously he chose his stories based on Persian Sassanid 
stories (Khusraw and Shirin, Haft Paykar) for these two rulers and he wrote in Persian, 
which was the common language of the area. The comparison with Russian aristocracy 
is also invalid as there are many Russian texts from the end of 18 th century, but there is 
not a single verse of Turkish from Nezami Ganjavi or any other writer or poet from that 
era. Also the Russian aristocracy ruled a Russian speaking country, where as the newly 
Persianate Turkic dynasties ruled a predominantly Christian and Iranian Muslim region. 
They are given the title rulers of Persia/Iran by Nezami. 

Also a major rebuttal to the argument above is the book Nozhat al-Majales. We will 
again mention some important points from this book: 

NOZHAT AL-MAJALES, an anthology of some 4,000 quatrains (roba /; a total of 4,139 
quatrains, 54 of which have been repeated in the text) by some 300 poets of the 5th to 
7th/l 1th- 13th centuries, compiled around the middle of the 7th/13th century by the 
Persian poet Jamal-al-Din Kalil Sarvani. The book is arranged by subject in 17 chapters 
(babs) divided into 96 different sections (namat). The anthology also includes 179 
quatrains and an ode (qasida) of 50 distiches written by the author himself, who is also 
credited with one lyric (gazal) in Mohammad Jajarmi's Mo nes al-ahrar. 

As stated in Jamal-al-Din's own ode at the end of the book, he compiled his anthology in 
the name of Ala-al-Din Sarvansah Fariborz III (r. 1225-51), son of Gostasb and 
dedicated it to him. It has reached us in a unique manuscript copied by Esmail b. 
Esfandiar b. Mohammad b. Esfandiar Abhari on 25 Sawwal 731/31 July 1331, and is 
presently bound together in one volume with the divan of Fakr-al-Din 'Eraqi at the 
Suleymaniye Library in Turkey (no. 1667) among Wali-al-Din Jar- Allah's collection. This 
manuscript embraces some 77 leaves (fols. 4 la- 118a), each page having 27 lines. The 
first few leaves of the book, which had probably embodied a preface in prose, have been 
lost. Fritz Meier (p. 117) and Christian Rempis (1935, p. 179) have erroneously taken 
Esmail b. Esfandiar, the copyist, to be the author of the book. 



The most significant merit of Nozhat al-majales, as regards the history of Persian 
literature, is that it embraces the works of some 115 poets from the northwestern 
Iran (Arran, Sarvan, Azerbaijan; including 24 poets from Ganja alone), where, due 
to the change of language, the heritage of Persian literature in that region has 
almost entirely vanished. The fact that numerous quatrains of some poets (e.g. Amir 
Sams-al-Din As ad of Ganja, Aziz Sarvani, Sams Sojasi, Amir Najib-al-Din Omar 

351 



of Ganja, Badr Teflisi, Kama I Maragi, Saraf Saleh Baylaqani, Borhan Ganjai, 
Ely as Ganja i, Baktiar Sarvani) are mentioned together like a series tends to suggest 
the author was in possession of their collected works. Nozhat al-majales is thus a 
mirror of the social conditions at the time, reflecting the full spread of Persian 
language and the culture of Iran throughout that region, clearly evidenced by the 
common use of spoken idioms in poems as well as the professions of the some of the 
poets (see below). The influence of the northwestern Pahlavi language, for example, 
which had been the spoken dialect of the region, is clearly observed in the poems 
contained in this anthology. 



In contrast to poets from other parts of Persia, who mostly belonged to higher 
echelons of society such as scholars, bureaucrats, and secretaries, a good number of 
poets in the northwestern areas rose from among the common people with working 
class backgrounds, and they frequently used colloquial expressions in their poetry. 
They are referred to as water carrier (saqqa ), sparrow dealer ( osfori), saddler 
(sarraj), bodyguard (jandar), oculist (kahhal), blanket maker {lehafi), etc., which 
illustrates the overall use of Persian in that region. Chapter eleven of the anthology 
contains interesting details about the everyday life of the common people, their 
clothing, the cosmetics used by women, the games people played and their usual 
recreational practices such as pigeon fancying (kabutar-bazi; p. 444), even-or-odd 
game (taqyajoft bazi; p. 446), exercising with a sledgehammer (potk zadan; p. 443), 
and archery (tir-andazi; p. 444). There are also descriptions of the various kinds of 
musical instruments such as da/ (tambourine; see DAF[F] and DAYERA), ney (reed 
pipe), and cang (harp), besides details of how these instruments were held by the 
performers (pp. 150-63). One even finds in this anthology details of people's 
everyday living practices such as using a pumice (sang-epa) to scrub the sole of 
their feet and gel-e sarsur to wash their hair (pp. 440-41). 

Nozhat al-majales suffers from certain structural shortcomings. The overriding concern 
of the author has been to arrange the quatrains strictly according to their contents, 
therefore paying little heed to the names of the poets of the verses. This has occasionally 
led to the attribution of a particular quatrain to two different persons. The scribe has not 
been very careful in doing his work either. He has apparently transcribed all of the 
available poetry first and then added the names of their poets so haphazardly that the 
name of a poet is sometimes mentioned either further down or further up than the place 
where his quatrains are located. Some of the errors and oversights have been identified in 
the edited version, and, following the publication of the text, Sayyed Ali Mir-Afzali 
pointed out a number of other errors missed by the editor (see bibliography). 

(Mohammad Amin Riyahi, "Nozhat al-Majales" in Encyclopedia Iranica). 

Thus many everyday people from Ganja have used Persian during the era of Nezami 
Ganjavi, but not a single Turkish verse has been found. It is obvious that blanket makers, 



352 



water carriers, sparrow dealers, saddlers, occultists and etc. were not affiliated with the 
court. Neither were the women poets mentioned in this anthology. As mentioned by 
different sources, the urban areas of Arran and Sherwan at that time were not Turkish 
speaking. Example of everyday usage of Persian in the area is given in the Nozhat al- 
Majales with its own peculiar dialect and Fahlavi features. In other words, as mentioned 
by one author; Stephen P. Blake, "Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India, 1639- 
1739". Cambridge University Press, 1991. pg 123: "For the Seljuks and Il-Khanids in Iran it was 
the rulers rather than the conquered who were "Persianized and Islamicized". 

Also the Quatrains, Ghazals and etc. of Nezami were not for the court and not a single 
quatrain, ghazal or etc. exists in Turkic from the region by any writer or poet at the time 
of Nezami Ganjavi. Obviously these did not have any monetary value. 

Furthermore, Nezami did not write for money as he had another job (which we believe 
since he was from the Dehqan class, he was caretaker of some villages). However, to 
disprove the argument about money, we note that Nezami Ganjavi writes in the 
Sharafnama (one of the last epics to be composed by Nezami in his life): 

CjljuuI^ jL^juUU ,J^juULC UUjJoS <JjO U<^> 



If I hold told this story for Gold 

How could have pierced shells and brought pearls then? 

It was love that brought this magnificent work 

Love had a lot of people who did not seek Gold and Silver. 

Also we can see this with Layli o Majnoon were the author says "if it was not for other 
works, this would have finished in two weeks". Thus Nezami Ganjavi had other sources 
of income. Also he did not get paid for his ghazals, qasida, quatrains which are all in 
Persian. Thus such arguments are just ideological-nationalistic arguments in order to 
disconnect Nezami Ganjavi from his Iranian heritage and use him for local nation 
building consumption. 

Sunni and Shi'i! 

The author found the following quote from Bertels whom was mentioned earlier and 
(unfortunate since USSR ideology pervaded over scholarship): 

"the fact that, unlike the Shia Iranians, "Nizami was righteous Sunni" [Bertels E.E. 
Selected Works. Nizami and Fizuli. M. ? ""Oriental literature, 1962, p. 109]; 

This means by the same criterion Sa'adi, Hafez, Sanai and etc. were not Iranians! ! Such 
absurd arguments/sentences show the degree of compliancy that USSR scholars were 
forced to undergo in order to achieve the desired political outcomes. Also Kurds who are 
an Iranic group are overwhelmingly Sunni as are Tajiks, Baluchis and etc. Indeed Iran 

353 



was predominantly Sunni before the rise of the Safavids in 1501. But all these were 
ignored due to politicization of Nezami, political pressure and Stalinist nation building. 

This means by the same criterion Sa'adi, Hafez, Sanai, Jami and etc. were not 
Persians/Iranians! ! Such absurd arguments/sentences show the degree of compliancy that 
USSR scholars were forced to undergo in order to achieve the desired political outcomes. 
Also Kurds who are mainly Shafi'ite Sunnis are an Iranian people. Thus one sees 
nonsensical comments in the USSR literature for the purpose of nation building and 
robbing Nezami Ganjavi of his heritage, literature, language and culture. 



Conclusion of invalid arguments 

In Conclusion, many poor arguments, misinterpretation of verses and even forging of 
verses were made in order to detach Nizami Ganjavi from the Iranian civilization. Lies 
were made that Nizami Ganjavi was forced to write in Persian. Lies were made-up that 
Nizami Ganjavi considered his father upon father to be Turks and as wise as a wolf. 
More than 30,000+ verses of Persian poetry (against zero verses of Turkish poetry) were 
ignored when examining Nizami Ganjavi 's cultural heritage and the background of his 
work, for the purpose of nation building. Nizami' s connection to other Persian poets was 
ignored and the study of other Persian poets for understanding of Nizami Ganjavi was 
ignored. As we showed, there is absolutely no proof that Nizami' s father was of a Turkic 
background, but the fact is that Nizami 's father's background, whom he was orphaned 
from early has no bearing on the fact that Nizami contributed to the Persian culture and 
civilization and was raised by his Kurdish maternal uncle. In the next chapter, we show 
that there is enough proof to show that Nizami' s background was fully Iranian and his 
culture was also Iranian. 

A Tajik friend from the Internet, who was educated in the USSR era but was in the eighth 
grade when the USSR started breaking up, told me: 

When I was in school, up until the seventh grade, all the teachers that I had for Persian 
Literature taught us that Nezamee Ganjavee was anAzeri Turk, who had just happened 
to write in Persian. We were taught that he is the national poet of Azerbaijan. This was 
even written in our textbooks, which were published during Soviet Era. However, from 
the very beginning I was told by my mother that he is not a Turk, and that it is a lie. This 
is widely known in the academic circles in Tajikistan, but, especially during Soviet times 
it was politically incorrect to say that he is not a Turk. When I came to eighth grade to 
another school, I had a different literature teacher, who always told us that Nezamee is 
not a Turk. 

Indeed currently, Nizami Ganjavi is not detached from Iranian civilization in Tajikistan 
anymore, although the USSR had planned otherwise. 



354 



Nizami's Iranian Background, Culture 
and Contribution to the Persian 
Language, Culture and Civilization 

As shown the last chapter, the only thing that the proponents of connecting Nizami 
Ganjavi to Turkic civilization utilize is misinterpretation of some verses, as well as 
creation of false verses, in order to push the invalid claim that Nizami Ganjavi' s father 
might have been a Turk. Whereas Nizami 's culture, the fact that he was raised by his 
Kurdish maternal uncle, his dependence on Ferdowsi, his vision of himself as the 
successor of Ferdowsi, all his works being in Persian and the basis of his stories which is 
Persian/Iranian folklore has all been ignored. These are all more critical factors when 
connecting a person to a particular civilization. A poet belongs to the language he creates 
his art in and the poetry is completely dependent upon the language. All the cultural 
relics left by Nezami are in Persian. In this chapter, we discuss Nizami' s Iranian 
background, his culture and his contribution to the Persian language, culture and 
civilization. 

Although there is no doubt about the Kurdish background of Nizami 's mother and his 
maternal uncle who raised him, much less is known about Nizami' s father. We have 
already discussed Nizami' s mother's background and his uncle in the introduction. 
Indeed, on Nizami' s personal life, not much can be known and later biographers have 
even confused him with other poets. But it should be noted, that prior to the 20 th century 
and the USSR politicization of Nizami, he was assigned universally to Iranian civilization 
and culture. Indeed what we show in this chapter is that even if Nizami's father was a 
Zangi (and Nizami says his nature is cheerful like that of a Zangi!), he would still be part 
of Iranian civilization by the fact that he contributed more than 30000+ Persian verses 
based on Persian folklore to the Iranian civilization where-as he did not contribute a 
single verse in Turkish/Zangi. Nizami due to his culture, his revival of Sassanian 
folklore/stories and his fundamental and direct contribution to Persian literature, will 
always be considered part of Iranian civilization and speculation about his father's origin 
cannot change this simple fact. Without the study of Ferdowsi, Sanai, Asadi Tusi one 
cannot understand Nizami as well. Nizami by expressing and enriching Persian literature 
is a Persian poet and not a Turkic poet. Indeed, Nizami Ganjavi lives through the Persian 
language and the Persian language lives through him. Without the Persian language there 
is no Nizami Ganjavi and without Nizami Ganjavi, the Persian language is not as rich. 
Just like the Persian language would not be as rich without Hafez or Sa'adi. We do not 
mention Ferdowsi with this regard, since Ferdowsi' s Kaakh-e-Boland was the 
fundamental groundwork which latter poets thrived in, decorated and built upon and one 
can argue without Ferdowsi' s work, the Persian language would have lost its place 
among the world's great literary languages. Nizami Ganjavi also considered himself a 
successor of Ferdowsi and directly mentions his Persian poetry, thus making him a 
Persian poet regardless of his background. 



355 



But before delving into Nizami's culture, we bring strong proofs that his father was also 
of Iranian and at least non-Turkic background. Although we are discussing the paternal 
line of someone from the 12* century, and due to lack of a time machine, there might 
have been other ancestries in his line (Semitic, Greek, Georgian...). Thus, what is most 
important with regards to Nizami's ethnic/cultural background is Nizami's culture, which 
is Iranian and his claim of being a successor of Ferdowsi. 

Iranian background and some statements from scholars 

As mentioned, we already discussed the Kurdish background of Nizami's mother as well 
his maternal uncle Khwaja Umar. We now discuss some sources by different scholars on 
Nizami's ethnic background. We do not mention hundreds of scholars who have called 
Nizami Ganjavi as a "Persian poet" since it can be argued that they are describing 
Nizami's culture and contribution to Persian civilization (which we believe is the most 
important ethnic/cultural identifier of a poet) rather than specific ethnicity. On the other 
hand, we already showed that "Azerbaijan poet" does not mean a "Turkic poet" since we 
already know Nizami was at least half Kurdish, he did not write in Turkic nor can he be 
considered part of the Oghuz Turkic civilization, nor was there an Azerbaijani Turkic 
ethnicity or language existent at the time of Nezami. Rather, "Azeri or Azerbaijani 
Azerbaijan" simply denotes geographical region of today's country of Azerbaijan and can 
even encompass Iranian speakers like Kurds, Talysh and Tats. Also we are not looking to 
randomly quote scholars (where many more quotes can be brought); rather we mention 
quotes that give a clear verdict on Nezami' s background. 



His mother was an Iranian Kurd and it is possible that his father had the same ethnic 

origin, though he is claimed also by Turkish Azerbaijanis as being of their stock. 

(Ian Philip McGreal , "Great Literature of the Eastern World", Published 1996, p. 505). 

We note that the above claims seem valid for different reasons. But we shall expand upon 
each point in different sections. Let us also recall the quote by the eminent scholar 
Vladimir Minorsky: 

"The author of the collection of documents relating to Arran Mas'ud b. Namdar (c. 1 100) 
claims Kurdish nationality. The mother of the poet Nizami of Ganja was Kurdish (see 
autobiographical digression in the introduction of Layli wa Majnun). In the 16 th century 
there was a group of 24 septs of Kurds in Qarabagh, see Sharaf-nama, I, 323. Even now 
the Kurds of the USSR are chiefly grouped south of Ganja. Many place-names composed 
with Kurd are found on both banks of the Kur" 

Nizami's mother, named Raisa, was of a high birth. She might have been a daughter of 
important Kurdish figure as some scholars have indicated. Usually, by probability, if a 
women was not given as a slave (like Nizami's first wife who was slave sent as a gift and 
was later married to Nizami), then they would most likely marry the person of the same 
ethnicity. That is, an average Kurd is married to an average Kurd and an average 
German is married to an average German. 



356 



As noted, Gary a was the capital of the Shaddadids who controlled Arran. Nizami 's 
father's background predates the Seljuqid capture of Ganja. 

Sunni Kurds (as well as western other Persianate/Iranian people like Sunni Tats, Sunni 
Talysh, Sunni Persian speakers in Fars province) overwhelmingly in history have been 
followers of Shafi'ite rite of Sunnism. As we show, Nizami Ganjavi was also most 
likely follower of Shafi'ite rite. Turks on the other hand, have overwhelmingly been 
followers of Hanafism. This is especially true with regards to Oghuz Turks. We shall 
discuss this in a separate section. 

We now recall another scholar, I.M. Diakonoff who is world famous for his study of 
human history. He had a great knowledge of the history of the Caucasus and Iran and 
thus his word has weight on the topic of Nizami Ganjavi. As already quoted (with the 
original Russian): 

I.M. Dyakonoff. (1915- 1999) 

Publisher: (European House), Sank Petersburg, Russia, 1995, pg 730-731 

And it was planned an anniversary of the great poet Nizami celebration in Azerbaijan. 
There were slight problems with Nizami -first of all he was not Azeri but Persian 
(Iranian) poet, and though he lived in presently Azerbaijani city of Ganja, 
which, like many cities in the region, had Iranian population in Middle 
Ages. 

Thus Diakonov does not consider Nizami Ganjavi ethnically as Turk and does not 
consider him as part of Turkic civilization. In terms of Diakonof states about the cities 
in the region, the Nozhat al-Majales and Safinaye Tabriz provide the most elegant proof. 
Diakonov criticizes the USSR national building policy ("there was a slight problem") 
but at that time, he was not free enough to counter Stalin's verdict (as mentioned and 
published in the USSR newspaper: 

In a talk with the Ukrainian writer, Mikola Bazhan, Stalin referred to Nizami as 'the great 
poet of our brotherly Azerbaidzhani people 'who must not be surrendered to Iranian 
literature, despite having written most of his poems in Persian. 

The important observation about Diakonov' s point is that the cities had Iranian 
population. That is the Turkic nomads who slowly arrived with the Seljuqs and then came 
in much larger numbers during the Khwarazmid/Mongol era were not city dwellers but 
rather lived a nomadic lifestyle. Nizami Ganjavi, as we have shown already and we will 
illustrate again, refers to the nomadic lifestyle of Turks. Nizami Ganjavi was a product of 
a long sedentary civilization and his ancestry pre-dates the nomadic arrival of Seljuqs and 
Oghuz tribes. His cultural background and sources were Ferdowsi, Asadi Tusi, Sanai, and 
Fakhr al-Din Gorgani amongst other Persian poets. 



357 



For example as noted by Francois de Blois: 

"Nizami Ganja'i, whose personal name was Ilyas, is the most celebrated native poet of 
the Persians after Firdausi. His nisbah designates him as a native of Ganja (Elizavetpol, 
Kirovabad) in Azerbaijan, then still a country with an Iranian population, and he 
spent the whole of his life in Transcaucasia; the verse in some of his poetic works which 
makes him a native of the hinterland of Qom is a spurious interpolation." 
C. A. (Charles Ambrose) Storey and Frango de Blois (2004), "Persian Literature - A 
Biobibliographical Survey: Volume V Poetry of the Pre-Mongol Period.", 
RoutledgeCurzon; 2nd revised edition (June 21, 2004). ISBN-10: 0947593470. (Pg 363) 
Another important indicator is also the fact that in the lineage of Nizami Ganjavi, one 
does not see any Turkic names, but in the lineage of the Seljuqs, Eldiguzids and the 
Atabekan-e-Maragheh (also called Ahmadilis), one can see Turkish names. These 
Turkish names of these rulers were in the time of Nizami and also in the lineage of these 
Turkish rulers. For example Togrul, Arsalan, Aq-Sonqor, Ildegoz, Karpa/Korpa Arsalan, 
Qizil Arsalan, Ozbek and so on were the names of Seljuq, Eldiguzid and Ahmadili rulers 
of Nizami 's lifetime. We shall discuss this issue further. 

Finally, there are some sources about Nizami Ganjavi 's father line being from the city of 
Qom. Although the issue is not hundred percent provable due to the fact that the verses in 
relation with Qom is not mentioned in all manuscripts. 

Vladimir Minorsky writes 

Whether Nizami was born in Qom or in Ganja is not quite clear. The verse (quoted on p. 

14): "I am lost as a pearl in the sea of Ganja, yet I am from the Qohestan of the city of 

Qom" does not expressly mean that he was born in Qom. On the other hand, Nizami' s 

mother was of Kurdish origin, and this might point to Ganja where the Kurdish 

dynasty of Shaddad ruled down to AH. 468; even now Kurds are found to the south 

of Ganja. 

(C. H. Darab, Makhzan al-Asrar, 1945, pp. 55-61 (reviewed by Minorsky, BSOAS., 

1948, xii/2, 441-5)) 

Professor Julia Scott Meysami also states the same: 

"His father, who had migrated to Ganja from Qom in north central Iran, may have been a 

civil servant; his mother was a daughter of a Kurdish chieftain; having lost both 

parents early in his life, Nizami was brought up by an uncle. He was married three times, 

and in his poems laments the death of each of his wives, as well as proffering advice to 

his son Muhammad." 

(Nizami Ganjavi, A. The Haft Paykar: A Medieval Persian Romance. Translated with 

introduction and notes by Julia Scott Meysami. Oxford and New York: Oxford 

University Press, 1995.) 

We make some quick remarks about this and will discuss it later. One interesting fact 
about Nizami Ganjavi is that he was entrusted with his Kurdish maternal uncle after the 
passing away of his parents. Usually, in the traditional Islamic and patriarchal societies, 
rather than the maternal side, it is the paternal side that takes custodianship of a son. Also 



358 



Nizami Ganjavi as we shall show when discussing the possible origin from Qom section 
refers to himself as a prisoner in Ganja. According to Gholam Hussein Darab Khan: 

"I believe that he was compelled to remain in Ganjeh for some reason unknown at 
present, and I doubt if it ever will be known. He continually refers to his being im- 
prisoned in Ganjeh and forbidden to go out; he never mentions the cause. His great 
sanctity would have prevented his being imprisoned in Ganjeh. In the conclusion of 
Makhzanol Asrar he says, he lowered his head and from his lips he scattered pearls, and 
brought the Treasury of Mysteries to completion. He gives thanks to God that he has 
finished the Makhzanol Asrar, and further, he tells us the important fact that most of his 
life has come to an end." 
(G.H. Darab, "The Treasury of Mysteries"(Makhzan al-Asrar of Nizami Ganjavi)). 

On the other hand, the Qom paternal line is not in every manuscript of the Sharafnama. 
Whether genuine or not, it can never be known 100% since there is a village by the name 
"Ta" near Qom and there are local people who claim to be related to Nizami' s family. 

Thus we have assumed "possible origin from Qom" noting the fact that not Nizami 
himself necessarily, but his ancestry may possibly be from Qom. We believe the fact that 
Nezami is entrusted to his maternal uncle rather than father-side shows that his father's 
family might not have been from Ganja. If his ancestry from the paternal line was from 
Ganja, it would go back to the Shaddadid times (before the Seljuqs). Anyhow, the Arabic 
names Yusuf, Zaki, Mua'yyad has pointed some scholars to claim an Arabic or even 
Jewish or possibly other Semitic (like Assyrian Christian) for Nizami' s ancestry. Even 
due to the large Armenian population of the area (which used Semitic names), such 
theories are brought up. We believe that this simply shows Nizami Ganjavi's family was 
Muslim for many generations and furthermore, his view of Layli o Majnoon as a foreign 
story whereas his favorite story is Khusraw o Shirin (by his own admission) discounts 
any Semitic origin for his paternal line. However, Semitic names have been used by 
Iranians, Armenians and of course Semites, as well later on Turks who entered the area 
and shed away their tribal names for Islamic names. 



Nezami's reference to himself as the Persian Dehqan 

The Dehqan as already mentioned were a noble class of Iranians who were the main 
proponents and repository of Iranian and Persian culture during the Islamic era. 

The term dehqan was used in the late Sasanian period to designate a class of landed 
magnates (Mojmal, ed. Bahar, p. 420) considered inferior in rank to azadan, bozorgan 
(qq.v.; Zandi Wahman Yasn 4.7, 4.54), and kadag-xwadayan "householders" (Arda 
Wiraz-namag 15.10, where dahigan should be read for dadagan) 

The origin of the dehqan class is usually attributed in both Zoroastrian Pahlavi books of 
the 9th century and early Islamic sources to Wekard/t, brother ofHosang, the legendary 
Iranian king (Denkard, ed. Madan, pp. 438, 594, 688; BTrunT, Atar, pp. 220-21; Mas udi, 
ed. Pellat, I, sec. 662; Christensen, pp. 68, 134, 151, 156). In some sources the 

359 



innovation is credited to Manucehr (Ta alebi, p. 6; Tabari, I, p. 434; Bal anil, ed. Bahar, 
p. 345; Ebn al-Balki, p. 37). Nevertheless, as the term dehgan is not attested in early 
Sasanian documents but is sometimes mentioned in the Pahlavi books and frequently 
occurs in descriptions of late Sasanian administration in early Islamic sources, it is 
admissible to suppose that dehqans emerged as a social class as a result of land reforms 
in the time ofKosrow I (531-79). He is reported to have admonished future kings that 
they should protect the dehqans, just as they would protect kingship, because they were 
like brothers (Ta alebi, Gorar, p. 6). 

After the defeat of the Persian army and the gradual disappearance of the nobles who 
administered the country, the local gentry, that is, the dehqans, assumed a more 
important political and social role in their districts, towns, and villages. 



Aside from their political and social significance, the dehqans played an important 
cultural role. Many participated in the courts of caliphs or governors, and after the 
establishment of the Persian dynasties in the east they served kings, princes, and amirs as 
learned men who were well informed on the history and culture of ancient Iran. Bayhaqi 
(p. 299) reported that Zlad b. Abihi (d. 56/675), while still governor of Basra, had in his 
service three dehqans, who told him stories of Sasanian grandeur and pomp, causing him 
to think Arab rule much inferior. In the Tarik-e Sistan (p. 106) a number of wise sayings, 
similar to the Pahlavi andarz (q.v.), are attributed to a certain Zoroastrian dehqan 
named Rostam b. Hormazd, who reportedly uttered them at the request of Abd-al- 'Aziz 
b. Abd- Allah, an Omayyad governor of Sistan (cf Sah-nama, ed. Moscow, IX, p. 211 vv. 
3380-83). The 9th-century author J ahez (1385/1965, I, p. 115, II, p. 125) also quoted 
some pieces of folklore from dehqans. In both Arabic and Persian sources the names of 
many learned persons and men of letters, including theologians, who were dehqans or 
decendants of dehqan families are mentioned (Ebn Fondoq, pp. 116, 149). Some were 
patrons of Islamic religious scholars; for example, Ebn Fondoq (p. 185) mentioned a 
wealthy dehqan from Sabzavar who, in 418/1027, founded a religious school for a Koran 
commentator named Ebn Tayyeb. The majority of dehqans favored Persian culture, 
however, and some were patrons of renowned Persian poets. Rudaki (p. 458) related that 
the dehqans gave him money and riding animals. Farroki in his youth served a dehqan in 
Sistan and received an annual pension from him. According to one tradition, Ferdowsi 
himself was a dehqan (Cahar Maqala, ed. Qazvini, text, pp. 58, 75). 

Most of the credit for preservation of the stories in the national epic, the Sah-nama; pre- 
Islamic historical traditions; and the romances of ancient Iran belongs to the dehqans. 
Abu Mansur Ma man (q.v.), who compiled the prose Sah-nama-ye abu-mansuri 
(346/957), now lost, wrote in his preface, which does survive, that in gathering his 
material he summoned a number of dehqans from various cities of Khorasan (pp. 34-35). 
Ferdowsi often cited dehqans as sources, apparently oral ones, for his narratives (e.g., 
Sah-nama, ed. Moscow, I, p. 28 v. 1, II, p. 170 v. 15, III, pp. 6-7 vv. 8, 19, IV, p. 302 vv. 
19-20, VI, p. 167 v. 25). Other poets, too, referred to traditions from the dehqans (e.g., 
Asadi, p. 21 v. 1; Iransah, p. 17; Nezami, pp. 436, 508). The term dehqan thus also came 
to be defined as u historian, versed in history" (Borhan-e qate \ ed. Mo in, II, p. 905). The 

360 



profound attachment of the dehqans to the culture of ancient Iran also lent to the word 
dehqan the sense of "Persian, " especially "Persian of noble blood, " in contrast to 
Arabs, Turks, and Romans in particular. 

(Tafazzoli, Ahmad. "Dehqan"in Encyclopedia Iranica) 

In the story of Leyli o Majnoon, Nezami Ganjavi as some scholars have mentioned has 
called himself the Dehqan (Iranian) and Parsi-Zad (Persian). 



In the verses which start in the section: 



The visit of Majnoon' s dad to visit his son: 






The Fasih (eloquent) Persian Dehqan 
Recounts the situation of Arabs as such: 
That Old man who lost his son to the wind 
That Jacob who was separated from Joseph 



There are some points to note here. The word Fasih from Arabic z^ak and another form it 
c^L^k (eloquence) is used to describe Nezami. For example in the letter of Sherwanshah 
versified by Nezami and in reality his poetic interpretation of the letter: 

In the Arena of the Wondrous Words 

Exhibit the eloquence( ^ ^L^ J that you possess 

Thus in the same story, Nezami is called a possessor of eloquence. He also calles himself 
Fasih elsewhere in the Lili o Majnoon as in the famous verse when he complains those 
that are jealous of him and want bad for him: 

/XjoLoJ OLl^ <j3uuU j^LjuJ j± 

/XjOU CjljujS ^-JUlC- C lJ^jlj 

1_$sJ%jl^S j\ yOJuj jjljuJlO^juJ 



361 



Note both "Sehr" (magic) was also mentioned in the part about reason for writing this 
book where he is called Jadooyeh Sokhan (magical words). Here in the above verses, 
again Nezami mentions himself as Fasih. 

We note that the story of Leyli o Majnoon would not be a Persian story known by the 
Dehqans who were repositories of ancient Iranian lores. Furthermore, as Nezami pointed 
out, before him other poets did not touch the story and the story lacked the elements to 
make it eloquent. Indeed according to these scholars, Nizami was part of the land 
owning Dehqan class and he refers to himself as the Persian Dehqan. 

For example Dr. Behruz Servatiyan also provides commentary on the above verse where 
Nezami Ganjavi calls himself the Persian Dehqan: 

kSV^lS ^jvjolbu !^lj ^jv-juujI^ guu^S uLq.q^ 

9I jJcJ 9 UC^iCfcjOiv j£. 

jS^IjuJ 9 CjljuuI <3J_juuIjI i^SvLS ^jOilyiO^J ^ c L0d3* U^JCfcjO 9 ^jJLJ lSIqjJuU jlcl^-JuU -OljuuI^U 

OJuol ^3VJ>C uUj <\J 9 ^jJL^I uLljuuL j± \j CJLJUU9I ^cp* jl [Jjjszj qjI <& AJiSLajO OjLuul ^jLSJU 

■ GjljuuI 

j\$j^>jj ^^vjoLtu jbl 9 ^jSajj j± ^jJbti Q-Jj^J j^j jl ^jvjIj-juu Qj CjuloJ^I jl 36 Juu J9I CjuU 

9 CjljuuI 0^£J «uIq_Qj^» <& \j ±£> ^JvX^ljOui-vl Cju^C^O 9 J^-JuU >cLuU c ^uj\ Ol 9 CjljuuI 

Qj$£s>uJb 9 <3J_jJuL uLj Qj.jj&j ^ tJuoLujo «0^lj L >juujl r ;» \j ±p> <& 9I ^IjJ yjjJszLoJb 

j± /XjuUUuU OjS uL)Lq.Ij^ ^JNJjjjItP < JfciiL:*J U 9 CjljuUUJ V-jJLkbO 9 CjuU ^Ll^) ju kSJUujJ 
t$± jjb \j 9 « L >_JuUjl r J» OUj U CjljuuI «^_5\jl - >jl» 9I j-bu Ul <& "^JV-juUjL/' ^JV-juUj^J 9 ubfcjUjil 

.^^^SjjO jISljJuI ^cLuU ^^V^LoO^I CjuS&$A 9 ol*J> jl LSlg-fcJLKp 



(Servatiyan, Behruz. "Lili o Majnoon", criticial edition and commentary. Amir Kabir 
publishers, 2008. Pg 424) 

Dr. Servatiyan mentions that in each section of Lili o Majnoon, Nezami hints at Nezami' s 
source. Here there is no doubt that he is mentioning himself and the word Parsi-Zaadeh 
and Dehqan is a reference to his lineage. 

We also note that he uses Parsi-Zadegaan for Persian in another verse in Haft Paykar: 

qjS 9 Cju\Jg Jlqj^ \j ubjb 

(j^uU CjuQJjj) 

Furthermore, Nezami was awarded a village by the name Hamdooniyan (an Iranian 
name) for the Khusraw and Shirin. This leads further credence that he was already a 
minor land owner from the Dehqan class and indeed it were the Dehqans like Ferdowsi 
and Nezami who kept the Iranian traditions alive. This could also explain why he as 
constantly referred to himself as "Shahrband" (someone that cannot leave the area) as he 
had personal responsibilities. 



362 



We have already overviewed the Iranian land-owning class of Dehqans in the section on 
Qatran Tabrizi. All three poets, Qatran Tabrizi, Nizami Ganjavi and Ferdowsi Tusi were 
also inheritors of ancient Persian history, culture and myths, and it was the Dehqan class 
who preserved much of this history. It is natural for Nezami to for example consider the 
story of Khusraw and Shirin the sweetest story in existence and naturally choose such a 
story. Or his voluntary choosing of the story of Haft Paykar or his attachment to 
Ferdowsi and the Shahnameh. All of this in our opinion is due to the fact that he 
belonged to the noble Iranian Dehqan class and of course he already had few lands 
around Ganja and came from a well off family which means he was not just a descendant 
of this class but rather this class was still present at that time. 



Nizami 's reference to his wife and another proof of non-Turkic 
background for Nizami 

It is well known that Nizami Ganjavi was greatly influenced by the Shahnameh and he 
has alluded to the greatness of Ferdowsi and Shahnameh in the Haft Paykar, 
Eskandarnama, Khusraw o Shirin and in Layli o Majnoon, where he also advised the son 
of the Shirwanshah to read the Shahnameh. In the Shahnameh, the term "Tork-zaad" 
(born of a Turk) is used with reference to a person who is born of Iranian father line and 
Turkish mother. Specifically, it is used with reference of Hormozd-e-Torkzaad, the son of 
Anushirawan the Just. Anushirawan the Just has been mentioned several times by Nizami 
and we have already brought a story from Makhzan al-Asrar. In the Shahnameh 
specifically we noted the designation of Hormozd: 

CjljuUUJ jlglj^uU O^ljSjJ <Jjl ^5 

CjljuuuJ j\X)y> \j 9I fjjjS ^jvj^Luu Qj 

CjljuUj^IjO V$Z> jI-XJ^ 9 \JU Qj 
CjljuuIjJ> <Jjl \jJ jJQ \juuJ <JJJ O9J0 

Bahram Azar-Mahan complains to Sima Borzin in front of Hormozd: 

This prince who was born of a Turk(Torkzaadeh) is not worthy of the throne 

No one is supportive of his kingship, 

He of the blood of the Khaqan and of evil nature, 

His form and stature is like that of his mother, 

You said that Hormozd is fitting for this kingship, 

Well this is the reward you 've received from that worthy man, 

That is why I have spoken against you and cursed you. 



363 



Bahram Azar-Mahan told Hormoz: 



±Lsu£ j\ qj lS^Ijj olsL> 9J 



7^w are born of a Turkish woman, 

And you can never be sated with bloodshed 

Your ancestry is from the Khaqan not Kay-Qobaad 

Even through Khusraw (Anushirawan) bestowed upon you this crown 



±\}j ul ^Lo qjloj jJul ^ 

Yalan-Sineh (a commander of Bahram Chubin) states to Gordiyeh, the sister of Bahram 
Chubin, who advises Bahram Chubin not to go against Hormoz: 

Enough talk of the Turkish-born (Torkzaad) Hormoz 
May such a lineage/race never exist 

This is also mentioned with regards to other characters who were half Turk in the 
Shahnameh: 

CjljuUC*J jl IjjO 0\jjlI ^b 9_)u 
CjljuUC*J Uj ^JVJCX^ U\SjJ j Qj jS$ 

j_x^ jl 9 j^Lo jl 9J ^IjJ 

j^joU /X^ 9 jl-)L>b QjoJb 

^jjjgJo OjISuOuLjuu £uuuy ^1^ 0^-^ 

u^9^ 9 <3^ 9 j^uJ o^l fij\* u-° ^ 

jl qjo ^jJu \j 9I pJlsS \jJ 

/5uS QjO ^JJUy CjljuUjUj^-juU 9I jS 
puS> j^J j JJ^S O9S QJjJ 

oLh^ &lj 9^? O^lj^^J <_SvSu 

0U-juU Olj Cjl9jSj ^95 jJJjJ 

ubjj^S ^jol^^i* j /xJu-u 
ubj \j oUjuu ^jb wiul puo 



364 



jLuuu5><p jJ ±$J uuj >H^ °^ 

Similarly, in the story of Forud, who was half Iranian, Jarireh tells his son that his father 
would not have married a Turk had Piran not offered her to him. Tus, who was 
responsible for the ultimate perishing of Forud, calls him a Tork-Zaad (Born of Turkish 
Women). Note the word "Tork-Zad" needs to be understood in the context of Persian 
literature. 

Nizami Ganjavi was married three times in his life. He was not polygamous, but per the 
saying of Islam: "Marriage is half of the religion", he fulfilled his Islamic duty by 
marrying every time a wife of his passed away. On this matter, Nizami provides a 
chronology of his wives in The Book of Alexander. 

pjS oLiJjSIj^uJj ulS _U£ ul j± 
/xJL>Luu ^jvjcxi^ fjjjjLJuJ <S$1j> <^> 

juuJU ^JsuuJ^jS^ JljuU U<^> JjJ UQjS 

^jjjg^C o^ JJl ^' £)* ^ °^ /xjIjJ 
jjjulu QJuljujuj OgJul />jU jl Qj 

Here Nizami Ganjavi alludes to the fact that he lost one wife when writing the story of 
Khusraw o Shirin, another wife when he enclosed the treasure of Layli o Majnoon and 
gave up another jewel. Finally before the story of Eskandarnama, he gives away another 
wife. 

At the end of the story of Khusraw o Shirin, Nizami Ganjavi mentions his first wife, who 
was sent as a gift to him from the ruler of Darband. 

uJulj wijuul CjLJuULbj^uu qjLuoSl fJJj± 
^jvjlSjJj pS ul <£ ul pSs> Pj 

365 



^L^jo j£$^ i5^uj v-juuoS ul5>i ^5>r 

v^sJb ^j I,) /a :>!>£>/ UIjl^ 

Nizami Ganjavi was married three times in his life. His first wife was a Turkish slave 
sent by the ruler of Darband (Nizami calls him the Daaraa (Darius) of Darband). She 
passed away during the time when Nizami was writing Khusraw o Shirin. According to 
some scholars, Nizami wrote the Khusraw o Shirin as a memorial for his first wife. Some 
scholars, (starting probably with Vahid Dastgerdi) have called her name Afaq due to the 
above verse. But much more correct, as pointed out by Said Nafisi, is that Afaq is to be 
taken here as horizon and not a personal name. This author agrees with Said Nafisi, the 
word Afaq appears many times in Nizami' s poetry and it simply means horizon. For 
example when praising a ruler of his, Nizami Ganjavi mentions: 

Calling the king, King of Kings of Afaq. Indeed one would feel that it would be rare for 
Nizami to call Alexander or the Ildeguzids, the king or ruler of the personal name of his 
wife. Thus we do not know the names of any of the wives of Nizami Ganjavi. Of course 
in terms of scholarship, it is more romantic for Afaq to have been a personal name, 
however from a scientific point of view, there is no proof of this. Thus Nizami is 
alluding to the fact that she was her horizon (what he saw all around). 

Nevertheless, some USSR scholars have even gone further and without zero proof, made- 
up the wrong argument that since Arabic does not have any "p" ? her original name was 
Apaq (snow white or very white!) and later manuscripts changed c p' to T! They forget 
that Nizami wrote in Persian and Persian has 4 p' and Nizami uses many words with 4 p\ 
Also Nizami Ganjavi, mentions his wife as an "Idol of Qipchaq", so it is very possible 
that she was a Qipchaq. In general, idols of Qipchaq, Taraz, and Khotan were referred to 
as the beloved in Persian poetry. 

By marrying Nizami, she also was obliged to convert to the religion of Islam. Since she 
was also given to him as a present and was originally taken as a captive, she was 
originally of a non-Muslim background. 



366 



After describing the beauty of his first wife, Nizami Ganjavi writes: 

£ti2u0 £$£ \S$Mf V-juuUlS <j\SjJ $& 

Translation: 

Since like the Turks, it became necessity that she migrates 

In Turkish manner, she plundered my belongings 

If my Turk disappears from the tent 

O God, about my Turkish-born, you know (best) 

The first two verses indicate some observable facts. That Turks were associated with 
nomadic lifestyles and we examine this more in the next section. We note that in the 
second line, that Nizami Ganjavi uses the word plunder with respect to Turkish 
actions/manners. This has been used by countless Persian poets. Just two examples from 
Khwaja Abdullah Ansaari and Jaami are sufficient to demonstrate this point: 






Translation: 

Love came and plundered the heart 

Oh heart, give this good news to life 

Love is a strange Turk, do you know? 

Because plundering is not strange of a Turk 



v_Svjl^ ,J^juULC CjljuuI K-xJZlC> <S^jJ 



LoJ CjljuoSuI 9 Oj^-juU iSj5)j\jJ$ 9 kSjS)J>\j\j Qj OL^> J-y^>l ul^jJ <& vIjlqS ul^J v_SVJO QjljjLu 

.^9_juU v_svjO ^UiiS ^sSjb viljj» lSjSjjLc 9 /5C>L^J 3j v-SV-juUjIS ubj j^ ^ S?j9-^> 

j\uJ-iSjJ Q^b\LuU OLoj j± 9 CjljuuI 0^£J OjJJ uI^cIjJu jl ^J^Su ^ l5^°L> uLoJ>jJI_LlC ^^i^ 

ICjljuuI 0^9jjuU Ij j^LjuU jjjl < c UljuUUJ ^JsJQ 



U9^> CjUL^> L^jZ59 K^fSjJ °0 V_SV^-JUUJUJLJUU LSI 

9 CjljuUUJ gljb 9 OjLc bfcjl <£ .ticlg U Cjl&S 

CjLJuULgj ul £J9^ j JljuUU >JAj LLqS i v_sO Cjl&S 

CjljuU^ gljb 9 OjLc jl ^£J Qj£ 9jAjlS 



Translation: 

//av£ yow heard the story when a Turk heard about Heaven 

He told the religious preacher if there is plunder and pillage in there 

367 



The preacher said: No, and the Turk responded this is worst than Hell 
Because the hand is cut off from pillage and plunder in Heaven 

(Note Jaami was using common simile here, since he was very close friends with Navai 
and is praised by him.) 

And also by Nizami the words Gharat, Taraaj which mean plunder are used with the word 
Turk in order to create similes: 



CjljuuI puJ 9^ /xJlc 9I p\j kS-kjJj j 
CjljuuI /XJ/> 9^ \j 9I ^JvSu \j /JLC Q$ 



(in praise of the Eldiguzid ruler called Mohammad) 

From jealousy of him, 'Alam is in two (in reference to the spelling of ^) 

The word 'Alam has only one Mim, but his name has two Mims 

The pen like (an army) of Turks, writes his name without revoking the permission to 

plunder 

His first Mim bestows sash/waistband, the second bestows the crown 

Jjl9^ QJjjljuJ jJ CjLJuul<ptJjO {JJJjS 

JJuLjuu ^SvS^j jl OjLc ^JvS^j Qj 

He was looking for a horse to follow towards Shirin 

In a Turkish manner (Turk being used as plunder,), sought Plunder from a Turk (being 

used as a beautiful) 

jjjoS CjljuU^ j^-juUU 9_)ul& Qj Cjl^j 

No one has plundered Turks 

No one has given up his belongings to a Hindu 

(using common imagery about Turks taking plunder and Hindus as thief/beggars) 

QjO [JjJui-t \j <-S9 j <Sj-f. ul CjLflSj 

QjOCfc-il l5V SLLjuJjB -XjLu 

j\jSjj ul gljb <£ /xJu-u 

jb CjljuuI^ u^> pie. juuj jl \j 9J 

(In the story of Archimedes with the Chini (Turkish) servant): 

Bring forth that fairy face near me 

And to the group too 

It is time to see how the plunder of that Turkish-attacker 

Kept you away from knowledge. 



368 



Thus the nomadic lifestyle, which in many ways leads to the plunder of sedentary 
civilization, was a common theme in Persian literature. Here Nizami Ganjavi is 
comparing the plundering of his belongings (and metaphorically his heart) by his wife in 
the Turkish manner, with the way his Turkish wife "migrated" (passed away). 

The third line again like the first line, points to the nomadic lifestyle of Turks. Tents or 
Khargah (o\Zy> in Persian), is associated with Turks in the third line. Finally in the fourth 
line, Nizami Ganjavi, like the Shahnameh before him, refers to his son not as a Turk, but 
as a Turkzaad. That is a person born of a Turkish woman and Iranian father. Had Nizami 
Ganjavi been Turkish, then there would be no reason for him to constantly and explicitly 
distinguish his wife ethnically as a Turk and his son as Tork-zaad (meaning born of a 
Turkish mother and Iranian father as followed in the Shahnameh and other classical 
texts). Thus, in our opinion, the above is sufficient to show that Nizami Ganjavi himself 
was not a Turk. 



Other Indicators of Nizami Ganjavi 's Father line 

Lack of Turkish names unlike Turkish dynasties and groups 

Besides the above, we mention several other facts about Nizami Ganjavi which makes a 
Turkic father line for him extremely unlikely. The first issue is that of the name of his 
ancestors. The Seljuqs, Eldiguzids and Ahmadilis all had names with Turkish ancestry. 
On the other hand, Nizami' s ancestry goes back prior to the Seljuq takeover of Ganja. In 
the father lineage of Nizami Ganjavi, one does not see any Turkish names, but in the 
lineage of the Seljuqs, Eldiguzids and the Atabekan-e-Maragheh (also called Ahmadilis), 
one can see Turkish names (in the time of Nizami) and also in the lineage of these 
Turkish rulers. For example Togrul, Arsalan, Aq-Sonqor, Ildegoz, Karpa/Korpa Arsalan, 
Qizil Arsalan, Ozbek and so on were the names of Seljuq, Eldiguzid and Ahmadili rulers 
of Nizami's lifetime. Nizami's ancestry is Yusuf , Zakki and Mu'ayyad. All of these are 
Semitic names. The fact that these dynasties were Turkic makes it natural that they had 
Turkic names. Thus the fact that none of the dynasties lack Turkic names also indicates 
that their ancestry was Turkic. One can surmise that the Turkic nomads who arrived with 
the Saljuqs and the greater bulk who arrived with the Mongols (either as a push of the 
Mongols or they were part of the Mongol army), had Turkic names. Slowly after 
merging into the local culture, Semitic and less so, but often Iranian names would 
become prominent. Based on these Semitic names (Yusuf, Zakki, Mu'ayyad), some 
authors have mentioned possible Jewish or Christian ancestry. Although there was a 
large number of Armenian Christians in the area, it is our belief that the Iranic culture of 
Nezami makes this less likely. 

Urban background 

The second indicator is the fact that Nizami's background was urban, where-as the Turkic 
nomads with their tribal affiliation were migratory tribes. Nizami and other poets have 



369 



alluded to this fact. For example Nizami Ganjavi explicitly mentions the nomadic 
lifestyle of the migratory Turks: 

gL-^jO g^S LSg-JuU QJLjujS OlSjJ <^> 



As mentioned by Diakonov, the region of Arran, "like many cities in the region, 
had Iranian population in Middle Ages". Indeed the name Ganja pre-dates the 
Saljuq invasion and is a clear Iranian name. We can get a glimpse of the everyday 
Muslim culture through the book Nozhat al-Majales. The fact is like almost any city, the 
original founders of it would have named it from their own language. The Oghuz Turkish 
nomads, who migrated to the region during the Saljuq of era, were not city dwellers. 
After many generations of nomadic lifestyle, they would still not be city dwellers, but 
would settle down in villages and live of farming. Thus the process of going from a 
nomadic lifestyle to city dwelling is a process that takes many centuries, unless nomads 
are forcefully settled like the modern era. Further evidence of Nizami 's sedentary 
background is that Nizami advises his son to become either a religious doctor of law 
(faqih) or a physician (tabib) or to undertake both professions. However, he advises his 
son: 

Be a lawyer who concentrates on the worship of God and not a lawyer who teaches 

deception. 

Be a physician as capable as Jesus, not a physician who ends man 's life. 

Again, there are professions that are part of the sedentary and city dwelling civilizations. 
Thus Nizami 's lack of any Turkic name and his urban background (born probably in the 
city of Ganja with an Iranian name), is an indicator of his non-Turkic background. 



Shafiite Madhab 

Another indicator is Nizami Ganjavi's Madhab. He was very likely a Shafi'i Muslim 
where-as the Turkic nomads who adopted Islam were overwhelmingly Hanafi Muslims. 
Indeed today, all the Turkic people of Central Asia are Hanafis. In Turkey, the major 
difference between Kurds and Turkic speakers is also the fact that Kurds are followers of 
Shafi'ite rite. The Sunni Talysh, Tat, Persian (Larestani) and Kurdish speakers of 
Western Iran are all Shafi'ites and major cities in Azerbaijan before their Turkification 
and Shi'ification were Shafi'ite. 



370 



That Turkic groups association with Hanafism is well known in Islamic history. For 
example, we already quoted Bosworth who quotes the Iranian historian Rawandi: 
"Saljuqs achieved some prestige in the eyes of the Orthodox by overthrowing Shi'i Buyid 
rule in Western Iran. Sunni writes even came to give an ideological justification for the 
Turks' political and military domination of the Middle East. The Iranian historian of the 
Saljuqs, Rawandi, dedicated his Rahat al-sudur to one of the Saljuq Sultans of Rum, 
Ghiyath al-Din Kay Khusraw, and speaks of a hatif, a hidden, supernatural voice, which 
spoke from the Ka'ba in Mecca to the Imam Abu Hanifa and promised him that as long 
as the sword remained in the hands of the Turks, his faith (that of the Hanafi law school, 
which was followed par excellence by Turks) would not perish. Rawandi himself adds 
the pious doxology, "Praise be to God, He is exalted, that the defenders of Islam are 
mighty and that the followers of the Hanafi rite are happy and In the lands of the 
Arabs, Persians, Byzantines and Russians, the sword is in the hand of the Turks, and 
fear of their sword is firmly implanted in all hearts T" 

Rawandi lived during the time of Nizami Ganjavi. 

Another testament to this is from traveler Ibn Batuttah who lived in the 14 th century. On 
Turks, he provides some description of their religion: 

"..After eating their food, they drink the yogurt/milk of mare called Qumiz. The Turks 
are followers of Hanafism and consider eating Nabidh (Alcoholic beverage) as Halal 
(lawful in Islam)." 
(Ibn Batuttah, translated by Dr. Ali Muvahid, Tehran, Bongaah Publishers, 1969). 

Qumiz or Kumis is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented mare's milk. It is still 
drunk by some Central Asian Turkic people like Kirgiz and Kazakhs. Nabidh (a Persian 
or possibly Semitic word) is a mild fermented beverage originally made from raisins or 
barley or dates. By the time of Ibn Battutah, it generally meant different types of 
alcoholic liquor. 

It should not be surprising that many Hanafis, especially Turks, actually drank Kumis and 
Nabidh. They did not consider it as unlawful in the sense of Islamic law. Hanafite and 
Shafi'ite schools of law had a conflicting viewpoint on alcoholic beverages. Accordingly: 
"Thus if a Shaf ite sees a Hanafi drinking such liquor, he has no business forbidding him, 
whereas if a Hanafi sees a Shaf ite doing so, he should indeed forbid him. 
(M.A. Cook, "Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought", 
Cambridge University Press, 2000. pg 214) 

(Also according to the same book: "For conflicting attitudes of Shafi'ites and Hanafis to 
this of liquor, see: Marghinani (d. 593/1197) , Hidaya, Beirut, 1990, 3-4:450") 

Besides these classical sources, like Rawandi and Ibn Battutah, the history of Hanafism 
with Turks is well known. 

"The Turkmens who entered Anatolia no doubt brought with them vestiges of the pre- 
Islamic inner Asian shamanistic past but eventually became in considerable measure firm 
adherents of the near-universal Islamic madhab for the Turks, the Hanafi one" 



371 



(Mohamed Taher, "Encyclopedic Survey of Islamic Culture", Anmol Publication PVT, 
1998. Turkey: Pg 983). 

"There have sometimes been forcible and wholesale removals from one "rite" to another, 
generally for political reasons; as when the Ottoman Turks, having gained power in Iraq 
and the Hijaz in the sixteenth century, compelled the Shafi'ite Qadis either to change to 
the Hanafi "rite" to which they (the Turks) belonged, or to relinquish office." 
(Reuben Levy, "Social Structure of Islam", Taylor and Francis, 2000. Pg 183). 

"Unlike the Sunni Turks, who follow the Hanafi school of Islamic law, the Sunni Kurds 

follow the Shafi'i school" 

(Federal Research Div Staff, Turkey: A Country Study, Kessinger Publishers, 2004. pg 

141). 

"Hanafism was founded by a Persian, Imam Abu Hanifa, who was a student of Imam 
Ja'far Al-Sadeq, ... His school held great attraction from the beginning for Turks as well 
as Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. Today the Hanafi school has the largest number 
of follows in the Sunni world, including most Sunni Turks, the Turkic people of 
Caucasus, and Central Asia, European Muslims, and the Muslims of Indian subcontinent 

WW 

(Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. "The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity". 
HarperColins, 2004. Pg 68). 

"On the other hand, because the Turkish rulers were so devoted to Islamic beliefs, they 
had accepted Hanafism with a great vigor and conviction" 

(Mehmed Fuad Koprulu's , Early Mystics in Turkish Literature, Translated by Gary 
Leiser and Robert Dankoff , Routledge, 2006, pg 8). 

As mentioned, the Sunni Talysh, Tat, Persian (Larestani) and Kurdish speakers of 
Western Iran are all Shafi'ites and major cities in Azerbaijan before their Turkification 
and Shi'ification were Shafi'ite. For example the Safmayeh Tabriz shows that Shafi'ism 
was the main faith in Tabriz in the 13 th century. Or Hamdullah Mostowfi mentions the 
province of Goshtasfi in the Caucasus in the Ilkhanid era. According to Mostowfi, this 
Caucasus region lying between the rivers Aras and Kur and the adjoining Caspian Sea 
spoke Pahlavi close to Jilani (Gilaki) and were followers of Imam Shafi'i. Actual quote: 

<-S>£J 9 OJ>LuU Ij Ol V^jljuuIj^J <JJ <*_jljuU LljuoS <& CjljulH ^JViLuU LljuoS CjU^ Uj^ V^ J^ jl 

.<^->LuU ulgl^ lSI^j^ ul jJ 9 QJLjJj\±jJ I&lS^t ul jl 9 CjljuuIoJu^j jjjUjI 9 j£ vl jl ^yy. 
p\sA <^jl&Juo jj 9 JJ I Oj-^r JuJLuu jjojuo^jo ^£j O^ojo 9 c KjlLi *Saj\ iQJjJ tOls- ( jojJL^>b> 

jl [JjJuU v 3jLuU Olol jJ [JjJuJIQjS ij)QSL> .CjljuuIcLJljuiJU JU L 5vj\JlofcJ lS^JL^ OLuUUUj. ^Jn^SLuU 

Ju^ulj 9 j\j& 0Jc*jfc 9 _L^> uc^l 9 CjljuuIo^^j uloj qjI 0L09J _L^> JJjuuloS J^slo cJg^ j^p-b 

(Mostowfi, Hamdallah. "Nozhat al-Qolub ". Edit by Muhammad Dabir Sayyaqi. Tahuri 
publishers, 1957.) 



372 



Besides its strictness against alcoholic/fermented drinks relative to Hanafism, there is 
another distinguishing marker of Shafi'ism. Shafi'ites accept Abu Bakr, Umar and 
Uthman as rightly guided caliphs and the companion of the Prophet, but many of them 
put the first Shi'ite Imam, Ali ibn Abi-Talib (AS) above these three. 

Imam Shafi'i has a famous poem: 

The Family of the Prophet are my intermediary to him! (wasilati) 

Through them I hope to be given my record with the right hand. 

and: 

O Family of Allah 's Messenger! To love you is an obligation 

Which Allah ordained and revealed in the Qur 'an. 

It is enough proof of your immense glory that 

Whoever invokes not blessings upon you, his prayer is invalid. 

Now there are important indications on why Nizami Ganjavi was a Shafi'ite: 

A) 

Nizami's Kurdish background has already been discussed. Shafi'ites and Hanafites rarely 

married at that time. Unless there was a compelling reason to marry (for example if two 

dynasties wanted to strengthen their relation), marriage between these two sects rarely 

took place. Indeed, theological arguments between these two rites have led to bloodshed 

in Islamic history. Here are some examples. 

Imam Shaafi in "Tabaqat al Kubra" writes: 

"I have read Abu Hanifa Numan 's books andNuman and his followers proclaim that 
we believe in the Qur' an and Allah (swt) but they are opposed to it". 

In "Jazeel al Muwahib fi Ikhtilaab al Madhaib" by Suyuti page 184: 

Suyuti said: 

"The most praised Madhab is Shaafi due to its precautions. Due to this whoever reads 
Shafi'i Salaat will feel confident. Whoever reads Hanafi Salaat will be confused 
because it is questionable, on account of the following: 



1. He considers it permissible to perform ablution with alcohol fermented by dates. 

2. You can wear dog leather in Salaat 

B) 

373 



Nizami brings the name of Ali first before the three other Caliphs and praises him first 
and considers his love for him more than Omar although admits that he is not empty of 
adoration for the second caliph (This position is consistent with Shafi'ism, specially in 
and around the Mongol era): 

puJ p£s>LO c l^> - p ^jJLc j^JQ <\J 
puJ K _sJ\j> j-J jJO^C ^juULC j 

fjj^ uLouLc 9 CjLJuJLgjpLJuj ^Su^jI 



C) 

"Nizami lived a secluded life and even his royal patrons respected the poet's lifestyle. 
When Qizil Arslan invited Nizami to his banquet, he ordered the servants to remove the 
wine, to cancel the music and to stop the dancers out of respect for the poet". (Ali Asghar 
Seyed-Gohrab, Madness and Mystic Longing, Dr. Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Brill 
Studies in Middle Eastern literature, Jun 2003, pg 28). 

In the Khusraw o Shirin, this episode is mention in detail: 



CjljuuIJl^Su QjO jJ QjO Jl&J O^SljuU 

CjLJuub OJS j± Jl&Ij <& ^jvjO^juuy ulj QJ 

qJlS^S jJ ^JVJO OLjO jl S^OjSU 

qJlS^S jJ ^jy IjjO L5ljlju0 

JJu j^ CjLjJub Ij uLsLuu OuoJd* Qj 

JQK-kjJ U j9j wAj (JjlS ±jS OjLuuI 

/)b> jl 9 ^9j jl /xj9_juu \j ^jvjoLbu 
v - JLJuU ' ^9 J J j^-^S^> 9 1 yoJ^u LSlgj 

CjljuuI ^9j-juU 9 1 LSLpJ^S juuJXjuuJ 

/XjJLU juuJ O^U j Juol y^C> <^> 

/XjjU y^C> \j ^J^Jjj vl Q& 

It is not surprising that Qizil Arsalan drank wine at his court. After all, the Hanafi 
Madhab was lax on this issue, especially with regards to Turkic Hanafism. On the other 
hand, Nizami 's shunning away from Nabidh and other alcoholic beverage is indeed part 
of his Shafi'ite rite. 

In the Eskandarnama, Nizami Ganjavi desires the wine (the spiritual wine) that is lawful 
in the four Sunni Madhabs: 

lj vlfp* c ^-f > juU jl lJ^L^ Uj 

A OJuol J\Jj vl 9S ^J^° 



374 



Which Vahid Dastgerdi correctly interprets as: 

\j QJS*LI vl>^ JljJjU l3 vJ ^Jl> V^-^ Tj^Uo <^S jlg-^ Ol jl ^JvSu CjJljuU Jj^I ^jU^JuO jlg^> j^ 

.CjljuuI J\L> ^jl^juo jlg^> ^ j^ <-S^>jI 0JLC9 o^U ^9 jjb ^jvjo J\L> 

Thus, these proofs are strong indicators that Nizami Ganjavi was a Shafi'ite like the bulk 
of Iranian speakers [Kurds (his mother, his guardian maternal uncle), Persian/Persian 
dialect speakers, Talysh, Tats] of western Iran while the bulk of the nomadic Turkic 
speakers who had arrived in the area (during the Seljuq era) followed Hanafism. 
Shafi'ites and Hanafis would rarely marry since they followed different rites. Much like 
Shi'ite and Sunnis would not generally marry at that time. This is another strong 
indicator of the Iranian father line of Nizami Ganjavi. 



Qom theory 

There are some sources about Nizami Ganjavi 's father line being from the city of Qom. 
Although the issue is not hundred percent provable due to the fact that the verses in 
relation with Qom is not mentioned in all manuscripts. But there are also two other verses 
that compare Araq (central Iran) with Ganja. If Nizami 's ancestry from the paternal line 
was from Ganja, it would go back to the Shaddadid times. Anyhow, the Arabic names 
Yusuf, Zaki, Mua'yyad has pointed some scholars to claim an Arabic or even Jewish or 
possibly other Semitic (like Assyrian Christian) for Nizami' s ancestry. We believe that 
this simply shows Nizami Ganjavi 's family was Muslim for many generation and 
furthermore, his view of Layli o Majnoon as a foreign story whereas his favorite story is 
Khusraw o Shirin (by his own admission), lends credence to this. 

Vladimir Minorsky writes: 

Whether Nizami was born in Qom or in Ganja is not quite clear. The verse (quoted on p. 
14): "I am lost as a pearl in the sea of Ganja, yet I am from the Qohestan of the city of 
Qom", does not expressly mean that he was born in Qom. On the other hand, Nizami' s 
mother was of Kurdish origin, and this might point to Ganja where the Kurdish 
dynasty of Shaddad ruled down to AH. 468 ; even now Kurds are found to the south 
of Ganja. (C. H. Darab, Makhzan al-Asrar, 1945, pp. 55-61 (reviewed by Minorsky, 
BSOAS., 1948, xii/2, 441-5)) 

Professor Julia Scott Meysami also states the same: 

"His father, who had migrated to Ganja from Qom in north central Iran, may have been a 
civil servant; his mother was a daughter of a Kurdish chieftain; having lost both 
parents early in his life, Nizami was brought up by an uncle. He was married three times, 
and in his poems laments the death of each of his wives, as well as proffering advice to 
his son Muhammad."(Nizami Ganjavi, A. The Haft Paykar: A Medieval Persian 
Romance. Translated with introduction and notes by Julia Scott Meysami. Oxford and 
New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.) 

375 



As mentioned, one interesting fact about Nizami Ganjavi is that he was entrusted with his 
Kurdish maternal uncle after the passing away of his parents. Usually, in the traditional 
Islamic and patriarchal societies, rather than the maternal side, it is the paternal side that 
takes custodianship of a son, rather than the maternal side. 

On the other hand, the line about Qom, Tafresh and Taa is not in every manuscript of the 
Sharafnama. It is in more recent manuscripts. But some medieval biographers have also 
mentioned the Qom origin. Whether genuine or not, it can never be known 100%. Unlike 
what some authors originally thought (Said Nafisi for example), there is a local district by 
the name "Ta" near Qom and there are local people who claim to be related to Nizami' s 
family (the author read this in an Iranian journal). Noting the fact that not Nizami himself 
necessarily, but his ancestry may possibly be from Qom, the idea is worth investigating. 
Certainly, we do not know what city Nizami Ganjavi 's father was born. 

Yet his Islamic name and Nizami Ganjavi 's urban background can only point to the fact 
that his father line were from Ganja prior to the Saljuq era or they migrated from Western 
Iran, whose Sunni population was overwhelmingly Shafiite. It seems that deeply rooted 
scholarly and sedentary lineage is indicated. Might the rule of the Buyids, with their 
strong adherence to Shi'ism, forced some of the Sunnis (as mentioned by C.E. Wilson) to 
move to other regions? Specially a region that was under Shafi'i control like the 
Shaddadid Arran? All these are plausible. The fact that Nizami is entrusted to his 
maternal uncle rather than fathers-side shows that his father might not have been from 
Ganja and perhaps his father's family was not present in that city. 

According to G.H. Darab: 

I believe that he was compelled to remain in Ganjeh for some reason unknown at present, 
and I doubt if it ever will be known. He continually refers to his being imprisoned in 
Ganjeh and forbidden to go out; he never mentions the cause. His great sanctity would 
have prevented his being imprisoned in Ganjeh. In the conclusion of Makhzanol Asrar he 
says, he lowered his head and from his lips he scattered pearls, and brought the Treasury 
of Mysteries to completion. He gives thanks to God that he has finished the Makhzanol 
Asrar, and further, he tells us the important fact that most of his life has come to an end." 
(G.H. Darab, "The Treasury of Mysteries" (Makhzan al-Asrar of Nizami Ganjavi)). 

Nizami does refer to being stuck in Ganja and besides the reference to Tafresh, Ta and 
Qom found in some manuscripts, he refers to Persian Iraq (which Qom/Tafresh/Ta are 
part of) twice when comparing his situation in Ganja: 

<jjo uLrp 0^j5 OjS QszlS 
qjo Cm <J?I>£ QjS ^jvjSyp ,^jsj 

376 



lSLuoSu <U%Jif> JuU^jJ-juU jl v^j 

lSLuoSu ci^eJui lSjL >h^ uIjlC 



On the verse which occurs at the end of the Makhzan al-Asrar where he: 






Vahid Dastgerdi mentions: 



<J)luuuj| jlfl-bl JUujU >OCfc£. <J)I>£ ^5 yjJJJ^ [JJj\jJ\ JflLJbuUUP g ^JL^I u-^3 °M v -*-* J v>?' .P 
<\^LfS jJ^MJ V-jljuUUUD uT ^1 vJsjC^juU 9 0>^ gu£> OgJU v3'>^ ^JpttA^ ^5 Ol U v>A| JLa5 v^O 

■ V-juujI 0^j£ 0^ 3 JJLil vJJD 0\jUj£ CU \j $&> 

Translation (per Dastgerdi): 

In this verse, Nizami is referring to his original homeland and place of origin, and shows 
his great love for the place. He says although the treasures ofAraq without any 
knots/twists and hardship is in my hands, the city ofGanja, has taken me by the neck and 
tied a knot upon me. 



On the verse: 



CjljuU^ <J& j^ ^JvSl^ JlQJ [J-uS> 

lSLuoSu <*s*lL>. lSjL jjljJj uIjlC 



Vahid Dastgerdi mentions: 



9^ <\J CjljuuI ^JvSl^ ^JVjoLbu /XaSl> U£-> 9 0^£J J-iuoJI V>-^ V$$J <SU 9 Oj^uJ j$ ^jvSl^ AiLi 

.JuoLujo ^jvSl^ JlqJ \j ±p> o^uuu y^uuLuo 
Overall, Vahid Dastgerdi writes: 

<Jjl>C j± <&j\ b CjljuuI QszlS j&jJj uIoiSj ^jvjoLtu p§j 9 :>lj bl <^ v-jJLLbo qjI oLul l5I > j» 

/xJLuuuo LS9 C09J Ju^>\JI ^jvSl^ Lol tCjLJuul OJljuu jJc^Lo q^*Jif> _p <& AJjISJujo uLuuugj O^Sjj 
O^sLuuuo 9 Jjl>£ jlju^ <3j OjI^xxiSj 9 <j2ujIljuu Ij Jjl>£ L> Qjxfb j± <^ JJ^ G^-^ -Q^jujI 

:(179 ^ jI^juuYH UJJ*jo) CjljuuI cdLoJ> ul jl 9 CjljuuI 6±j5 k3^jJJ jlgJol V9-^ U^-^ 

,jjo ol <Jjl>c guf> ^jvjjypLu 
377 



S/>l_xS ^jvjoLbu tCjLJuul ;ol_xS CL^iS 

:(361 ^ c^.j*-^ 9 s> j ^ > ) 

CjljuuI^j OuU qjI <Jjl>£ OJii5il Qj 

(53 l ^>)cijoLs > jJu 

JJuoc>jI :>U js^Sl J^ Jjl>£ 

JjJL JljJu 9I jl JjoS ^jvjfcjlgl ciS 

i(29) ,j^) <3joULsI jl Cjljuuuj 9^ qjI uLuuugj O^SjJ ^jJ ^jvjoLtu C09J ^j^-jJu^iu 9 ^jvjcxS J-J^ 

/XjCXS >£-JuU OLljuUL^S jl ^jJs 
9I />U U CjljuUL& ^JVJ^ jjlljJiJ cu 

<pr/>b OJljJu b*jl jl ^jvjoLbu 

j± Lol tCjLJuul Obj OLcX^ Obj J9 ^jb /)U Cjl^L^juU AJS>jJb ^JVjoLbu oLjl 3j CjuJ 9^ <Jjl 

v-jJLkbo U ^jv-bLujI <*5 CjljuuI OJljuu gslg ^jvjbr j± 6$\[sl> <CjljuuuJ 9^ qjI Lo JLuU \J$$ £j-juuu 

uSl&_ulsl l5-u^> ^1 jl o^jj 
:(29<j^ cloULsI) ^sUju^I ^30^ j$\ q5 ^bj 

ciS JuI-Xjjo /xJLuu Jjg:> ul>Ld 9 Ajjb pJb \j \j ^jv-tiaJ 9 iS^JSLO -blujl JLcx^ Cjujg^ <jjI 
^jvjoLbu O^^j ^jvSl^ ciSLilu jjjuy «CjljuuuJ Cjuj 9^ qjI uLjo j± pS 9 jjoj^-aJ Cjuj 9^ l5L> 

^jVjuU^Jij 9 ^JVJCXS^J ^JvJjCXjuUUO JJ^ Jjl&^J /X<4lC <Jjl>£ J^l ,jaJulSLj 9 j_J^ 9 CjljuuI /xJLuUUO 

u-£^ £uuuu j^ 0^9-u 9 ulSuo ^jljuuLu /)JlC JJ^ cb Cjuu 9^ qjI 9 Cjljuuuj CjljuuI j2> ^Sg CO£J 

«JljJuIj ^bdl JuLJu JLuU 



(Zanjani, Barat. "Ahwal o Athar o SharH Makhzan olAsraar Nezami Ganjavi", Tehran 

U niversity Publications, 2005.) 



Thus Nizami's feeling of imprisonment in Ganja, and his praise and feeling of belonging 
to Persian Araq in the same verse where he feels imprisoned in Ganja, lends some 
credence to the Qom theory. The fact will remain that we will not even know for 100% 
what Islamic city Nizami's father line came from. We should mention though that both 
Ganja and Arak were considered part of Persia and Persian lands by Nezami as he states 
himself. Indeed Nezami Ganjavi himself praises the Eldiguzids as the King of the 
Persian lands which obviously shows that the area was associated with Persian people 
and culture: 



<joJuli> CLljuoS OJjJ p^> kS^->. 



378 



0L0 Jul u Ij v>^ &J-! l5^ 

oLuu ubgb* Ij pc%£. kSJjq ^jvSu 



/n £/^ day that they bestowed mercy upon all, 

Two great ones were given the name Muhammad, 

One who 's pure essence was the seal of prophecy, 

The other who is the Kingdom 's Seal, in his own days 

One whose house/zodiac is moon of the Arabs 

The other who is the everlasting Shah of Realm of Persians 



In praising the rulers of Shirwan (who sometimes extended their rule beyond Shirwan), 
Nizami again mentions: 

This book is better to be written 

A young peacock is better to have a mate 

Specially for a king like the Shah of Shirwan 

Not only Shirwan, but the Shahriyar (Prince, Ruler) of all Iran 

Nizami Ganjavi calls upon the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH &HP): 

<*_jljuU jjAjljuJ 9 OJul J9j O^jj 

Do not stay in Arabia, come to Persia 
Here are the light steeds of night and day 

So the area at that time was considered part of the Iranian/Persian ethnic and cultural 
region. 



Intermarriage was rare between Western Iranians and Turks due to both 
religious and ethnic factors 

We have already mentioned that Shafi'ism of Western Iranians contrasted with Hanafism 
which was the religion of Turks. 

We also noted that the physical features of Turks which were seen as beautiful by Persian 
poets since at least Rudaki, Ferdowsi and Qatran distinguished them from the 



379 



Mediterranean Iranian look. It should be noted the bulk population was not Turkified just 
like Safina Tabriz shows in the case of Tabriz or Anatolia was mainly Greek/ Armenian at 
the time. 

An average person at that time with a high probability would have had both parents from 
the same ethnic background and religion. There was rare exceptions of course, for 
example royal dynasties, even those of both Muslims and Christians of the area had 
intermarriages among the royal class. Also if a slave was given as a gift (like Nezami's 
first wife), then marriages were consummated. We already pointed out that due to this 
rare situation, Nezami explicitly mentions his wife as a Turk and his son as a Turk-Zad. 
As a rule, the average class of Iranians and Turks did not intermarry due to different 
physical features, religious sect (Shafiite vs Hanafism) and also culture. 

There was indeed some hostility between Iranians and Turks (like many neighboring 
groups in the world) although the common Islamic religion helped to heal these divisions. 

"Intermarriage between Turk and Tajik were unusual during the Qaraqoynlu and 
Aqqoyunlu periods" (Andrew J. Newman, "Safavid Iran", Published by I.B.Tauris, 
2006. Pg 167) 

"Bartold, Schineye, pg 460, describes tensions between them during the period of 
the Khorezmshahs. At the time when there were both Turkish and Iranian 
commanders, in reply to a proposal from the Turkish commander that they can 
cooperate, the Gurid command is said to have replied: "We are Gurids and you are 
Turks. We cannot live together". Likewise, when the (Turkic) Khorezmshahs 
proposed an alliance with Mazandaran, his advisors warned: "The paths are dark 
between Turk and Tajik" and "The Tajik will never trust a Turk" 
(Paul Bergne, "The Birth of Tajikistan", Published by I.B.Tauris, 2007. Pg 136.) 

The Artukids, Atabaks of Diyarbakir, several times came into conflict with the Kurds 
(Abu 1-Fida 5 , iii, 583; Usama, i, 321). The Abbasid caliphs, freeing themselves from the 
tutelage of their protectors, negotiated with the Kurds (cf. the case of 4 Isa Khumaydi in 
528/1 134, and Kamil , xi, 7, 188) and sought to weaken the Turks. In 581/1185 under 
the caliph al-Nasir, a minor incident resulted in a war between the Kurds and the 
Turkomans ( Kamil , iii, 342) which extended over a vast area (Syria, Diyarbakir, 
Djazira, Mawsil, Shahrizur, Khilat and Adharbaydjan). Two years later the rivals 
stopped fighting in order to join against the Christians of Armenia, Assyria, 
Mesopotamia, Syria and Cappadocia, but new feuds soon broke out between the Kurds 
and Turkomans. After many fierce battles, the Kurds fought their way back into Cilicia. 
The Turks practically exterminated the Kurds of Cilicia and Syria. As the Kurds on 
leaving their old homes had entrusted their goods to their Christian neighbours, and as the 
Christians concealed some Kurds, the Turks finally fell upon the Christians at 
Thelmuzen(?) and Arabthil (= Arabgir?) (Michael the Syrian, in Recueil, doc. armen., 
395)(Encyclopedia of Islam, "Kurds"( Bois, Th.; Minorsky, V.; Bois, Th.; Bois, Th.; 
MacKenzie, D.N.; Bois, Th. "Kurds, Kurdistan." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. 



380 



Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2008. 
Brill Online.) 

"It was a great merit of Saladin's policy to keep his Muslim warriors in proper balance, 
for we never hear of considerable clashesh between his Turkish and Kurdish 
supporters. (Footnote 3: What danger was thereby conjured up is clear from Ibn Athir's 
record (XI, 342) of the events of 581/1 185. A trivial incident started a terrible carnage 
between the Turkmans and the Kurds which lasted several years in a vast areas from 
Azarbayjan to Upper Mesopotamia, see in great detail Michel le Syrien, Recueil, 
Documents armenians pg 395. End of footnopte.) The fact that there was a possibility of 
tension among them is supported by the letter which was addressed to Saladin in July 
1 192 by the governor of Jerusalem Abul-Hayja al-Hadhabani (a Kurd). He wrote that 
after the disastrous fall of 4 Akka the garrison of Jerusalem was hesitant about the defence 
of the Holy City: "so send us someone of your family round whom we shall rally 
otherwise the Kurds will not believe in the Turks nor the Turks in the Kurds.'" 
(Minorsky, Vladimir. "Studies in Caucasusn history", Cambridge University Press, 
1957. Pg 138.) 

All these indicators (plus Nozhat al-Majales and what will follow in the next chapter) 
are sufficient proofs in our view that Nizami Ganjavi did not have a Turkic father line. 
Furthermore, the falsification of the verse relating Wolves to Nizami 's father shows that 
there is no valid proof for any Turkic father line for Nizami Ganjavi. Else there would be 
no need to create such a false verse. Also the verses we brought: 1) where he references 
himself as Persian Dehqan, 2) distinguishes clearly the race of his first wife (given to 
him as a gift by the ruler of Darband) and calls his son as born of Turkish women, 3) the 
fact that the urban population of the area were Iranians, 4) the fact that his ancestry 
predates the Seljuq takeover of the area, 5) the fact that unlike all the Turkish dynasties of 
the area he has no Turkish name in his genealogy, 6) the fact that as a Western Iranian he 
followed Shafi'ism where-as Turks overwhelmingly have been Hanafites, 7) and the fact 
of racial and cultural differences between Iranians (Persians/Kurds) and Turkic groups at 
the time are all in our opinion sufficient indicators for Nezami's fathers background. 

We have not yet looked at the most important part of Nezami when analyzing his 
background. That is Nezami's culture since Nezami's culture by itself proves his own 
identity and background. Let us now concentrate on Nezami's culture, since scientist 
today are of increasing belief that all humans come from the same origin (much like the 
holy books mention Adam and Eve or in Zoroastrian text Mashi and Mashyoi) and race is 
more a social construct and culture is the ultimate indicator of the a person's identity and 
background. 



Nizami Ganjavi's Culture 

381 



ijjju qJljuuijSP* JL^^> -^JJ^ 



One way of distinguishing which civilization Nizami Ganjavi belongs to (Turkic or 
Iranian) is to simply review his culture background, folklore, myths and his cultural 
orientation and contribution. Culture after all is the ultimate indicator of modern 
ethnicities. We note that unlike a scientist who writes in Latin or English, a poet is 
closely tied to the culture he grew up in, learns from and contributes to. Specially, if the 
poet's material is based upon the culture he contributes to. With this regard, none of the 
five jewels of Nizami Ganjavi have anything to do with Turkic/Oghuz civilization. These 
jewels are based on Iranian cultural materials. Ultimately, Nizami's legacy is based upon 
his work, as he himself has claimed so many times. It has nothing to do with his father 
(who we showed was most certainly Iranian) who he lost early in his life and was raised 
by his Kurdish maternal uncle. Poetry unlike scientific works or many novels is tied 
eternally to the language it is composed in and language is the major difference between 
various cultures. 

If the only thing that justifies calling Nezami Ganjavi a "Turkic poet" rather than Iranian 
poet of Iranian civilization is the wrongfully alleged (and as we showed in this article 
without any basis) ethnicity of his father whom he lost very early in his life, then that 
reasoning does not hold at all with regards to Nizami Ganjavi' s culture. We should note 
for example that three Azerbaijani-Turkic poets were not of Oghuz father line ancestry. 
That is Nasimi, Ismail I of Safavids and Shahriyar are not Azerbaijani-Turkic poets 
because of their lineage but rather because of their culture. 

Else both Nasimi and Shahriyar are Seyyeds which means their father line goes back to 
the Prophet Muhammad, but no one would classify them as "Arab poets". The same is 
true of Esmail I, the founder of Safavids, whose lineage is traced back to Shaykh Safi al- 
Din Ardabili and from there to Piruz Shah Zarin Kolah the Kurd of Sanjan. Oldest 
preserved manuscript about Shaykh Safi al-Din Ardabili dating prior to the Safavid 
control of Iran clearly states his ancestry as Kurdish. But by no means this makes Ismail 
I a "Kurdish poet". The same is true of the Russian poet Pushkin, whose father line was 
Ethiopian, but no one has called him an "Ethiopian poet". However these cases are 
different than Nezami since Nezami had Iranian ancestry on both sides. However, while 
it is certain that Nezami Ganjavi was Iranian from both sides, it is not the reason why he 
is an Iranian cultural icon and Persian poet. Nizami Ganjavi is Iranian Persian poet and 
part of Iranian civilization because of culture, his impact on Persian poetry and the 
untranslatable language of poetry he used. Cultural contribution is the major indicator of 
the poet's heritage and why he is known universally as a Persian poet in non-political 
academic writings. 



Viewpoints of Navai and a perspective upon culture 

In his very informative book "The Turkish State and History: Clio Meets the Grey 
Wolf "(1991), Professor Speros Vyrona takes issue with history writing of some 
nationalist Turkish authors who claim Iranian scientists such as Avicenna, Ghazali and 

382 



others as Turkic. We note that both Ghazali Tusi (same city as Ferdowsi) and Avicenna 
have also very important works in Persian. Besides the fact that Avicenna has mentioned 
that the only languages he knows are Persian and Arabic, and besides the fact that in one 
of his works, he says that Turks and Blacks of his time, due to living in far away and 
harsh climates, are far away from knowledge and logic and are meant to serve the people 
of the city of knowledge: 

j^ ^loiO <w>U J± Cjljul^I oLoJu^bO QJ^JuCXgjO ULjuJ jl ASLt CjuCxSl> j$ oS oljLuul ^JlS j± \LajO 

jl jjjul«-juu Ajjjjo ^3y>C jl Juuo olSul </)uj|jujo Lo oS ^jvjlgjuj j^» iJu^SLoo ljuul oS JujLo^-Qj 

uUj jSI 9 «CjljuUUJ V > &*j3* >:> ^ -^tH L-U-' lj °jU^ CH^ 9 ^j9Il3^° -J^LjJu ^J^juUjIS uUj 

.AJJ^uJQ <U^S> uUj ul j± \-jJlSudQ QJuJ\ CjljuUuIJujO pJb J5L)± 

(Llhuu ^^vlr^l Ia.-?*^ <^joLoaJ) 

Thus Ibn Sina states: "In the languages we know ... in Arabic it is La-shayy .. and in 
Persian it is Hich Nist". Thus if Ibn Sina knew any other languages, he would have 
mentioned it. 



qjuJuoJI Jj^I cloJu> v-sJ^ 0$jjuZj \Jg_& O9SU ul ^^jSzjS t[ jjj\jJ\ O^joAiej jjjuU qjo Ju\J Qj\ g» 

vlljjJI JjLi t^LJU A^C p^B <^JLyioLaJI v_sviiJb ^ T_Us^ <jjuUI qjo ulS qjo dJU_X^ 9 <qJL2>laJI 

L^sLiuu ul IgJI^I jJlSI v-S^JI cLaj^H^uJI /xJlsl >+£ v-SvB IgLiju qjJJI ciLocsJIj 9 tgjjJIg 

JlQ^I^v-SVJO UhuU <Jjl <*S CjljuuI v_sOaX) J-^>L> .«JgJisdl 9 gyl^iiJI <\2ejS*L^> <^>Jjo\JI CUjuUO 

j^ <*5 v-SOLuUL^ 9 JuulSjv_S\jO jLoouUU OJuU 9 Ju-l£ IsL^b ^S j^£k£. ul uLSLij 9 ulS^j ±).$%J 

j\ JuuOv-SVJO v_SOAJj «CjljuUUJ yOuJLuU JgJLC 9 gu.>..^> c l^tJ - )S 0JJj9^ CO jlSjLuUU LSLpJujOj^-JuU 

.JuljuuIjv_svjo clLdL9 ^JuO J^l CjuOJl> Qj j^jSza 9 1Jj$$ CjJLudfllS 



Avicenna in the book of "The Healing: (Ash-Shifa) in Chapter 5 {Concerning the caliph 
and Imam: the necessity of obeying them. Remarks on politics, transactions and morals) 
states: 

" ...As for the enemies of those who oppose his laws, the legislator must decree waging 
war against them and destroying them, after calling on them to accept the truth. Their 
property and women must be declared free for the spoil. For when such property and 
women are not administered according to the constitution of the virtuous city, they will 
not bring about the good for which the property and women are sought. Rather, these 
would contribute to corruption and evil. Since some men have to serve others, such 
people must be forced to serve the people of the just city. The same applies to people not 
very capable of acquiring virtue. For these are slaves by nature as, for example, the 
Turks and Zinjis and in general those who do not grow up in noble climes where the 
condition for the most part are such that nations of good temperament, innate 
intelligence and sound minds thrive "(Chris Brown, Terry Nardin, Nicholas J. Rengger, 



383 



"(International Relations in Political Thought: Texts from the Ancient Greeks to the First 
World War", Published by Cambridge University Press, 2002, pg 156-157). 



Despite these clear proofs, Professor Vyrona does not bother with racial argument and 
puts the emphasis on culture. 

Professor Vyrona states: 

Even if one were to assume that all three of these philosophers had been Turks by origin 
one still could not say either: (a) That their cultural heritage and proclivity were due to 
their alleged ethnic affiliation. They came to know Islamic philosophy, science, medicine 
within a Muslim and Arab o -Persian cultural milieu and in the Arabic language. Their 
ethnicity, whatever it might or might not have been, is irrelevant in this matter; or (b), 
one could not say that the particular careers of these three men within philosophy had 
any effect on the mass of Turks entering the Islamic world and Anatolia in the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, since they were by and large nomads, illiterate and without any 
widespread tradition of written culture in the Turkish language. 

Indeed without the Sassanid civilization, an Islamic milieu would have been impossible. 
Many works were translated from Pahlavi and many authors wrote scientific works in 
Persian and Arabic. Yet the culture of the Oghuz/Turkic nomads had absolutely no 
influence either on Nizami or the Islamic-Iranian Golden age of culture. Turkish 
dynasties like the Seljuqs and Ghaznavids were rapidly Iranified. 

For example: 

Here one might bear in mind that non-Persian dynasties such as the Ghaznavids, Saljuqs 
and Ilkhanids were rapidly to adopt the Persian language and have their origins traced 
back to the ancient kings of Persia rather than to Turkish heroes or Muslim saints 
(Amir-Moezzi, M.A "Shahrbanu", Encyclopaedia Iranica.). 

Not a single work in Turkish was produced in Iran or Caucasus under these two and 
similar Turkic dynasties up to at least the Mongol era. We have already brought examples 
from Seljuqs. On the Ghaznavids one does not have to look what these scholars say 
(David Christian, "A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia", Blackwell 
Publishing, 1998. pg 370: "Though Turkic in origin and, apparently in speech, Alp Tegin, 
Sebuk Tegin and Mahmud were all thoroughly Persianized"). With this regard, we can 
also point to one of the earliest "Turkish nationalists". That is Alisher Navai, who wrote 
an interesting (from the point of view of classical Turkish nationalism although he was 
not a linguist) book in order to try to prove that the "Turkish" language is superior to 
Persian. The book was the last work written by Navai. 

Robert Devereux (tr.), "Judgment of Two Languages; Muhakamat Al-Lughatain By Mir 
c Ali Shir Nawai"; Introduction, Translation and Notes: Leiden (E.J. Brill), 1966. 

"He (Nawai) found Chagatai an unrefined language of tribesmen and he left it a language 
recognized and accepted as a suitable medium for literature. This contribution was not by 



384 



happenstance. Nawa'i was a strong Turkish patriot and nationalist, which sentiments 
expressed themselves as linguistic chauvinism. As he grew older Nawa'i came to feel that 
real Turkish sovereignty would arrive only when Turkish (Chagatai) was used as the state 
language and when its literature was written in that idiom. His dream had perhaps not 
been fully realized by the time of his death, but a good start had been made and, in later 
years, thanks to his contribution, Chagatai did ascend to the heights he believed it 
deserved. 

In the first half, Nawa'i proclaims in extravagant terms that Turkish - he never uses the 
term Chagatai - is not only a proper literary language but is actually superior to Persian 
for that purpose. He then devotes the remainder of the essay to a glowing - modesty is not 
one of his virtues - account of his own literary works, designed to convince the reader 
that his view of the comparative merits of Turkish and Persian stemmed from a profound 
knowledge of both languages and not merely from prejudice inspired by his Turkish 
background. Any linguist of today who reads the essay will inevitably conclude that 
Nawa'i argued his case poorly, for his principal argument is that the Turkish lexicon 
contained many words for which the Persians had no exact equivalents and that Persian- 
speakers had therefore to use the Turkish words. This is a weak reed on which to lean, for 
it is the rare language indeed that contains no loan words. In any case, the beauty of a 
language and its merit as a literary medium depend less on size of vocabulary and purity 
of etymology than on the euphony, expressiveness and malleability of those words that its 
lexicon does include. Moreover, even if Nawa'i' s thesis were to be accepted as valid, he 
destroyed his own case by the lavish use, no doubt unknowingly, of non-Turkish words 
even while ridiculing the Persians for their need to borrow Turkish words. The present 
writer has not made a word count of Nawa'i' s text, but he would estimate conservatively 
that at least one-half of the words used by Nawa'i in the essay are Arabic or Persian in 
origin." 

(Robert Devereux (tr.), "Judgment of Two Languages; Muhakamat Al-Lughatain By Mir 
c Ali Shir Nawai"; Introduction, Translation and Notes: Leiden (E.J. Brill, 1966) 

Thus Nawai' s book is highly nationalistic for its own time, when modern nationalism 
based on the European model was not developed yet. It is really a classical form of 
'Assabbiyya which the Iranian Shu'abbiyah movement can be called an example of. But 
the Shu'abbiyah movement was widely popular and took many forms including 
important revolts, where-as the ideas of Nawai seemed not to have the same mass appeal 
during his own time. 

Navai mentions: 

He [Nuh] made Sam, whom they call the Father of the Persians, the ruler of the lands of 
Iran and Turan, and he sent Ham, who is called the Father of the Hindus, to Hindistan. 
The children of these three sons of the Prophet spread and multiplied in the places named. 
The son of Yafith was the progenitor of the Turks. 

Interestingly enough, Navai who was aware of Turkic folklore, differentiates between the 
origin of Turks and the lands of Turan. Only in the last 100 years, by studying Avesta and 



385 



Pahlavi, have scholars realized that the Turanians of Shahnameh have no relation to 
Turks. In words of Bosworth: 

"Hence as Kowalski has pointed out, a Turcologist seeking for information in the 
Shahnama on the primitive culture of the Turks would definitely be disappointed." 
(Bosworth, C. E. "Barbarian Incursions: The Coming of the Turks into the Islamic 
World." In Islamic Civilization . Edited by D. S. Richards. Oxford, 1973.) 

This issue is also discussed in the Appendix. Navai believed adamantly in the superiority 
of his language (just like many nationalists believe in the superiority of their language): 
"Turkish is much superior to Persian as regards the formation of words and expressions 
and contains nuances and eloquences which, God willing, shall be explained at the proper 
place. "(Robert Devereux (tr.), "Judgment of Two Languages; Muhakamat Al-Lughatain, 
Pg5) 

Thus Navai was truly a Turkish nationalist for his day and age. Nevertheless, what is 
interesting is that he considers Seljuqs of Persian ethnicity and of course he considers 
Nizami/Ferdowsi and many others as Persian poets (here in the ethnic sense since he 
mentions even the Seljuqs as Persian rulers). 

"Then Persian rulers won independence in some climes and territories, whereupon 
Persian poets appeared: Khaqani and Anwari and Kamal Isma'il and Zahir and Salman 
for qasidas; Firdawsi (Master of Knowledge), Nizami (the Incomparable) and Mir 
Khusraw (Sorcerer 

of India) for mathnawis; and Sa'di (Inventor of Time) and Hafiz (Non-pareil of the 
Century) for ghazals. All of them have already been discussed and their qualities noted, 
so there is no need to extend my words, which men of learning would not find seemly. 
Amongst Persian rulers also there have been great and worthy rulers and high- 
ranking commanders of vast armies, such as Sultan Tughrul and Shah Shuja', who 
wrote brilliant couplets and beautiful ghazals that were famous in their day and known 
throughout the world. Then the land passed from the Arab and Persian rulers to Turkish 
khans. From the time of Hulagu to the end of the reign of Timur and his son and 
successor, Shahrukh, many Turkish poets appeared, and from amongst the sons and 
grandsons of these rulers came sultans of gentle temperaments. The poets were al- 
Sakkaki and Haydar Khwarazmi and Atayi and Muqimi and Amir and Yaqini and 
Gadayi. But none of them was comparable to the Persian poets I have named." 
(Robert Devereux (tr.), "Judgment of Two Languages; Muhakamat Al-Lughatain, pg 40- 
41) 

Thus for Navai, culture was the differentiating factor than possible ethnicity which had 
became more convoluted as Muslims intermarried. The Seljuqs who considered 
themselves descendants of Sassanid kings and adopted Persian language and married 
within Iranian families were Persianized enough to be considered Persians by Navai. I 
believe that the way Navai saw ethnicity in his own era is similar or the same as that of 
the era of Nezami. That is ethnicity was defined by language and culture foremost. 

The question of which civilization, Turkic or Iranian does Nizami Ganjavi belong to, is 
really not a serious question. The answer is obvious, even if the biggest superpower like 



386 



the USSR tried to falsify history and attempted to detach Nizami Ganjavi from Iranian 
literature and civilization. All one has to do is actually read Nizami Ganjavi, in his 
original language, and read his masterpieces like Haft Paykar or Khusraw o Shirin. They 
have nothing to do with Turkic civilization and are parts of the culture of Sassanid Iran, 
originally expanded upon by Ferdowsi and then other later poets. Despite the obvious 
answer to this simple question, we shall provide a short review of these works. 



Nizami and the inheritance of Ferdowsi's throne 

As we mentioned already, Nizami Ganjavi advises the son of Shirwanshah to read the 
Shahnameh, has praised Ferdowsi, has used Shahnameh as his main source for different 
romantic epics, considered himself as successor to Ferdowsi and according to some 
scholars: "it seems that Nizami 's favorite pastime was reading Firdawsi's monumental 
epic Shahnameh (The book 6>/^mgs)"(Chelkowsi). 

Nezami Ganjavi has taken verses from the Shahnameh as well or has slightly modified 
them. For a famous example: 

lS^JljuoSJ I j^ CjljuuI {JjSJ 9^ 9^> 

L _$y9j ^jvJLjuULQi C U> jib lSI i^s^ yojljj 
^JVJ^J ^jVJLjuULQi ci^ejl JuuLjuuuJ CLcxi^ 



Nizami Ganjavi considered himself a successor and inheritor of Ferdowsi: 

387 



yj$$ olS 9^ jl jLcxjJu Cjj\$ 9^ 

QJSuuU j^ IjjO 9 bauuu j^ Ij 9J 
Cjljuul^j JljuuU O^bb ^ ^jvjolg <\j 

CjljuUj^ Jul vl»jl9 jl Cj}\$ ij&> 
Cjl&Su <jjoS OL^cJI OS p\<MS& Ol QJO 

vIjlQ-pJ ul£u j^J Ol ^ q5 ul 9J 

The meaning of these four verses is as follows. 

From the wine cup ofNizami, take a cup and drink in the manner of the Kayanid 
(Achaemenid) Kings. Listen to these eloquent words which refresh the memory of 
Ferdowsi. Seek the rights ofFerdowsifrom Mahmud, and give it to me (Nizami), since I 
am the inheritor of Ferdowsi and you are the inheritor of Mahmud. And what Mahmud 
has not given to Ferdowsi, his successor will give to the successor of Ferdowsi. 



A relatively Turkic nationalist view is mentioned here: 
http://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/ail42 folder/142 articles/142 koroghlu 

why.html 
(Betty Blair, Why Hajibeyov wrote the Opera Koroghlu, Azerbaijan International, 
Summer 2006) 

(i The original opera had been based on "Kaveh, the Blacksmith". However, such a plot 
would absolutely have jeopardized their lives. First of all, it was based on a foreign tale: 
Kaveh was a mythical figure of ancient Persia, memorialized by 10th century Ferdowsi in 
Persian verse in the u Shahnameh " (Book of the Kings) " 

Thus the Shahnameh in reality has nothing to do with Turkic civilization and it is 
considered a foreign tale for Turkic-minded nationalists. Turkish folklore, like Oghuz- 
Nama, Dede Qorqod and etc., has no relationship with the Shahnameh. The Shahnameh 
is a statement of Iranian patriotism, a product of the Shu'ubbiya movement and a 
testament of Iranian civilization. It glorifies Iran and it is centered on Iran. The epics of 
Shahnameh are grounded in the Iranian civilization and are obviously not part of Turkic- 
Oghuz culture. Indeed after the era of modern Turkic nationalism, many Turkish 
nationalists looked towards the Shahnameh with enmity. Among them, one can mention 
the Varliq magazine which has many times criticized Ferdowsi while attempting to 
detach Nizami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization and attach him into Turkic civilization. 
Or one can simply check recent pictures where some Persian books were burned by some 
pro-Turkist nationalists in Iran. This author believes that any sort of ethnic nationalism is 
very dangerous, where-as feeling of patriotism on the style of George Washington is 
defensive. Ferdowsi' s Shahnameh was also defensive and patriotic in the sense that for 
him, Iran was being overrun by non-Iranian invaders. 

Nizami Ganjavi also is completely influenced and absorbed by the Shahnameh. There is 
absolutely no mention of any Turkic folklore or tales by Nizami Ganjavi. He has 
mentioned Ferdowsi and his Shahnameh in four of his five books/stories. 

\ijjjj^jj 9 9>-»aJ> JJx&Sjj j_Lil 

388 



CjljuJ^^P £jJO OLuUUjI ,J^juULC CjUJO 

^jOlSjJj (jloLi^l Cju£Lj>Jj j^ ^> 

^jOl^^- CjljuUUuJ jl jjjJ^U9l OuJl>- 

jJjJJuljuUU Juol CjljuUUuJ CO j^> ^JvJLjuULC CJj 

( jjjJuuo^9_juj JuoLj <jJLftS jjj^uuj 

jlcl jl CjlgS lib c^^ /xJLfiii 

jb lj cuaS o>J^ CjLJuUL tS' C>9 ^ 

Nizami calls Ferdowsi, sage (Hakim) and Daanaa (wise, the knowledgeable). He also 
mentions that since Ferdowsi was in his sixties, he did not expand upon the romantic 
nature of the story (since at that age romance did not suit him), where-as Nizami will 
expand upon it. Khusraw the Sassanid King and his Christian wife Shirin (note the 
monotheism of Shirin throughout the whole story as well as the fact that the historical 
Shirin was a Christian) have no relationship with Turkish folklore and culture. Nizami 
Ganjavi mentions: 

CjljuUUJ Olpj QJjjljuJ 9 9 - >-juUL> CjU_)L> 

uljLjujb ,Jpdl jJujjjLjjj ulj9 



Thus Nizami Ganjavi considers the story of Khusraw and Shirin to be the sweetest story 
he knows. If Nizami Ganjavi had derived any influence from Turkic civilization, he 
would have chosen one of his stories based on themes of that civilization. But as we see, 
this was not so and he considers the Iranian folkloric story of Khusraw and Shirin to be 
the most beloved story of his civilization. He chose a Sassanid based story and he has 
given us great detail about Iran's ancient culture. 



In his Eskandarnama, Nizami again mentions Ferdowsi: 



^jLftS cUjljJuuu <3bb < 3szj\ *S$5Lo 

CjlQ-juJ ^Ij9_juJ 9^ JuLjijU j± j± <l5 



We note again, Nizami uses the term "Daanaa" (Wise, knowledgeable) for Ferdowsi. 
And again he mentions Ferdowsi as the "great wise discourse-writer who decorated 
words like a new bride". 

CJLJUJ9I p\j> j± co* lJ^ <-S9>j«juc> Ol jl 

ijjjqjo LSub cLJl^juuuj iScpJdfc-juu 

U jj^j£. U9^> o^*-*^ ^S^J ^J-^ljl °& 

Julj cuAjuj >^9^ ulS cloU ul j± 

JuLo CULftSU ^S\^juuJS ^JOuUU 

uLljujU jl ^JuJljJuu <\J> jSb jS\ 

uljLjujb <3Juol j\j± ^jvJLftSu 

^9-u [ JjjjjAj. V-^j c ^ e Jl ^J-ft^J 

^9-u jjjj^jS ^9 jS CjLftS uLcx^ 

±j$ cjj OLjuJ9^ ^j jl .p^ 

^j^> CjljuuuLJuu IgJJ cu l9Jb> co* 

JuljJjS jsb£ cliLaJjj j± Q$ ^jvjoLbu 

389 



±j£ ojb 9_)u 1^ \j$S ^j.-^> 

As previously mentioned, according to Professor Chelkowsi: 
It seems that Nizami's favorite pastime was reading Firdawsi's monumental epic 
Shahnameh (The book of Kings). Firdawsi's treatment of Alexander in this great heroic 
poem was by no means negligible, but in Nizami's opinion it was not complete and he 
wanted to write a poetic supplement to it. After several years of research he gave up this 
idea and decided that the subject called for a new and independent work. He still, 
however, acknowledged his indebtedness to his great master, Firdawsi, and considered 
himself a respectful follower of that literary pioneer. He, therefore, chose for the book of 
Alexander one heroic epic verse known as Mutaqarib, which Firdawsi employed in his 
Shahnameh. (Chelkowski, P. "Nizami's Iskandarnameh:"in Colloquio sul poeta 
persiano Nizami e la leggenda iranica di Alessandro magno, Roma, 1977). 

In the Haft Paykar, again Nizami mentions Ferdowsi and praises him: 

CjLJuUlifcJ OJuljuJj ^JV^JuUUAjl ^Sj\S> 

^p ^jviid Ojjj J^J ulj OJuLo 
^j5 l5jj^> <^>\jS ulj ^jSj jjfc 

Translation: 

All chronicles of king of yore 

Were gathered in one book lore 

Already one of the keenest minds 

Had ordered its verse refined 

From that, some Ruby dust remained 

Shards from which others sometimes feigned 

Finally in the Layli o Majnoon, despite its Arabic origin (although the story has been 
mentioned since the time of Rudaki in Persian), Nizami Ganjavi again alludes to the 
Shahnameh: 

After paying homage to the son of Shirvanshah, 

"the relationship between Shirwanshah and his son, Manuchihr, is mentioned in chapter 
eight. Nizami advises the king's son to read Firdausi's Shahnama and to remember the 
pithy sayings of the wise. Nizami overtly refers to the didactic aspect of his poem. He 
promises the prince that in his poem there is a "treasure concealed in a casket." He 

390 



considers the poem as his daughter, a beautiful maiden, whom he presents to the royal 
family. He adds that even if the prince does not have any regard for her father, he might 
look with kindness on her brother, that is, on Nizami' s son. In this subtle way, Nizami not 
only entrusts his son to prince Manuchihr, he also draws the prince's attention to the 
poem's didactic nature". 

(Seyed-Gohrab, Ali Asghar, Layli and Majnun: Madness and Mystic Longing , Brill 
Studies in Middle Eastern literature, Jun 2003, pg 276). 

The only other work which Nizami Ganjavi does not mention Ferdowsi has ample 
enough stories about ancient Persian Kings, and uses Shahnameh imagery and also 
Nizami Ganjavi mentions the Persian poet Sanai in it. 

According to Peter Chelkowsi: 

He was looking for universal justice, and is trying to protect the poor and humble people 
and to put under scrutiny the excesses of the powerful of the world. The guidelines for 
people in the poem are accompanied by warnings of the transitory nature of life. 
Makhzan al-Asrar is an emulation of Sanai 's Hadikat al-Hakika, and Nizami 
acknowledges this but stresses his own superiority. The similarities between Sanai 's 
poem and Nizami 's are in the ethico-philosophical genre, but Nizami used a different 
metre and organised the whole poem in a different way. 
(Encyclopedia of Islam, "Nizami ", P. Chelkowski). 

Among the multitude of references and symbolism from the Shahnameh, one can 
mention the more famous characters and concepts of the Shahnameh. For example: 

Farr(*j*), 

For example on Farr, the eminent Professor Gheraldo Gnoli writes: 

"FARR(AH),X V AR3NAH, literally, "glory," according to the most likely etymology 
and the semantic function reconstructed from its occurrence in various contexts and 
phases of the Iranian languages. In all Iranian dialects the form had initial/-, except 
Avestan and Pahlavi, in which we find initial x v - (hu-): x v ar9nah- and xwarrah (cf. NPers. 
korra, below). 
(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Farr(ah)", Gherado Gnoli) 

Each of these names and concepts has a deeply rooted historical or philosophical 
meaning in Iranian civilization and are mentioned in Nezami's work: 

Simorgh (Mythical Iranian bird mentioned in A vesta), 

Rustam (The most famous Iranian Hero in Shahnameh) , 
Fariborz (The son of Rustam) 

Darafsh Kawiyaani (The flag of Kaveh, symbol of Iranian nation), 
Fereydun(legendary ancestor of Iranians), 
Anushirawan (Famous Sassanid King), 

Esfandyaar (Great legendary Hero of Avesta and Shahnameh, see also the section 
under Nezami's mother where we delved into a verse of Nezami), 

Zand/A vesta (Zoroastrian holy texts attributed to Zoroaster), 



391 



Zahak (Bivarasb the villian in Shahnameh), 
Zardosht(Prophet), 
Siyavash(Iranian Martyr), 

Sikandar( Alexander mentioned extensively in the Shahnameh), 
Siamak (The son of Kayumarth who was killed by Deamons/Divs) , 
Div ("Demons"), 

Bahram Gur (celebrated Sassanid King), 
Bahram Chubin (Celebrated Sassanid General), 

Afrasiyab (Famous villain in the Shahnameh of Turanian origin (an Iranian tribe), 
he is also mentioned in the A vesta), 

Zaal (the father of Rustam who was abandoned by Saam but saved by the Simorgh 
and later on reclaimed by Saam), 
Saam(the Father of Zaal), 

Shirin (Armenian/Christian princess according to later poets but also mentioned in 
the Shahnameh as a beloved of Khusraw and a historical figure in Sassanid court), 
Farhad (a legend both in the Shahnameh and in Iranian history from the Sassanid 
time who falls in love with Shirin), 
Kayanids (Royal Iranian dynasty), 
Parviz(victorious and another name of Khusraw), 

Nard (Backgammon whose history is given in the Shahnameh and is considered to 
be of Iranian origin), 
Magi (Zoroastrian Priest), 
Kisra/Khusraw (Sassanid Kings), 

Kayumarth(the Adam of Zoroastrianism and the first King in Shahnameh), 
Kay-Qubad (first Kayanid King), 

Kay-Khusraw(great mystic/hero/king of the Shahnameh), 
Kay-Kavus(father of Siyavash and a Kayanid King), 
Jamshid(great mythical King in the Shahnameh and Zoroastrian texts), 
Iraj (Father of Iranians in Shahnameh and one of the sons of Fereydun.), 
Giv(a famous hero in the Shahnameh), 
Gushtasp(famous hero and legendary ancestor of Rustam), 
Dehqan (Iranian), 

Darius/Dara (name of several Kayanid/Achaemenid kings), 
Bistun(the famous point in Kermanshah), 

Bahman (Zoroastrian and Shahnameh King and son of Esfandyar), 
Artang (the art work of Mani), Ardeshir Babakan (founder of Sassanids), 
Arash (famous Iranian Hero and archer who gave up life for Iran), 
Barbad (famous Sassanid musician), 
Nakisa (famous Sassanid musician), 

Kalila o Demna (famous stories brought by the Vizir of Anushirawan from India 
and expanded by Persian stories). 



Indeed, without the Shahnameh and its symbolism, one would simply not understand the 
poetry of Nizami Ganjavi. Neither would there have been a Nizami Ganjavi without 
previous Persian poets like Ferdowsi, Khaqani, Sanai, Asadi Tusi and etc. It is clear that 



392 



Nizami continued upon the traditions of Iranian civilization and culture. Besides his 
praise of the Shahnameh and Ferdowsi, an important note should be mentioned with 
regards to the general view of the Shahnameh at the time. The Shahnameh among 
religious orthodox Muslims, even of Iranian background, was sometimes belittled due to 
it being in praise of Iranian-Zoroastrian lore. 

In the next section, we point to the fact that Nizami Ganjavi is criticized by his friend for 
reviving the stories of Zoroastrians. As Professor Julia Meysami has pointed out: 
"The Haft Paykar blends historical and legendary materials concerning the pre-Islamic 
Iranian past with the Islamic beliefs of esoteric symbolism. Over a century earlier, 
Firdawsi had in his Shahnama ('Book of Kings'; c 1010) chronicled the history of Iranian 
monarchy from its mythical beginnings to the defeat of the Sassanians by the Muslim 
Arabs in 637, incorporating materials drawn from popular legend and saga as well as 
panegyrics in which he presented the poem's dedicatee, Mahmud of Ghazna (r. 997- 
1030), as embodying both Iranian and Islamic kingship. But Mahmud received the work 
coolly; and both historians and panegyrists of this and early Seljuk period speak 
slightingly of the 'false' and fabulous history represented by the Shahnama. Nizami both 
recuperates and reworks Firdawsi' s treatment of the Iranian past to create a different sort 
of poem, one that reflects the concern of his age." 
(Haft Paykar by Julia Meysami pg XXIII). 

Indeed Ferdowsi was not buried in a Muslim cemetery on the account of being a Shi'i 
(Rafidhi), composing Zoroastrian stories and praising Zoroastrians. The Muslim Imam 
according to the popular folklore refused to say prayer on his dead body before his burial 
when he passed away. Some Sunni and even Shi'i (despite Ferdowsi being Shi'i) 
authorities considered his book which was based on the Irano-Zoroastrian culture as the 
false stories of Zoroastrians, without use and something to be avoided. 

±j$x> tOSjZ u\^jjS jjiuuljLjuJ sS^joX ciS J-J^ o^' °^ Ij <*S^*JS±j9 <v_s\jljuj 9 QS2±jjJ uLoJLc jl lSjLjuuu I&ASLj 

sS^^fc 708 JLjj _p v_soJjIS ^> JuUL:>, <3+jjj -s5jju 9 _u9 gujfc O9JU jCjljujI oI^jI oI^jI 9I LSl^j.jj^b j\jS Cjuo\Lo 

I kLksS OjU <Jjl j± 

ul^ifcjo jb*jo o^oQ >juoj LS\ 
ul GJul£> j j-bdl j-bdl 

cLob <1jS fjjj ^9j qS ^U 
\J\j pJLjuJj CjuJO v-SvJ^S Juu> 

Jb*jo £9^ 0^9_£jj 9 <*-jSz} 
gIj^jljujI J^l 9 o\jjS ^S 

GuloJLuuuo jj 9J v.sOlcp* _)Uu> 

Despite the fact that there is no doubt today that Ferdowsi was a Muslim, he was 
chastised severely for revival of Zoroastrian/Iranian/Sassanid stories which today forms 
the major pillar of the Iranian identity. With this regard, Nizami Ganjavi advises others 
to read the Shahnameh, has praised the Shahnameh, has praised Ferdowsi and has 
considered himself a successor of Ferdowsi. Thus the deep connection between Nizami 
Ganjavi 's culture/work and the Shahnameh/Ferdowsi again puts Nizami Ganjavi squarely 



393 



in the Iranian cultural world and not in the Turco-Oghuz cultural world. Indeed one feels 
Ferdowsi had people like Nizami in mind when he stated: 

±y> U ±j&> jJul <^> jib 9I jl 



Cultural Content of the works of Nizami Ganjavi 

Although the cultural content of Nizami Ganjavi's work is well known to its readers in 
the original Persian, it is sufficient to briefly review them to show again that they are part 
of the Iranian cultural world. Besides his Ghazals and other form of poetry which are all 
in Persian, Nizami Ganjavi is mainly known for his five epics. Indeed one of the 
arguments for those who try to appropriate Nizami Ganjavi to Turkish civilization is that 
the Persian language was a custom of the day. Although there is absolutely nothing to 
connect Nizami Ganjavi directly to Turkish civilization with the exception of the fact that 
some proponents of such theory misinterpret some verses in order to show that Nizami 
Ganjavi's father, whom Nizami was orphaned from, "might have been possibly Turkic". 

This is indeed a very weak argument and we have already shown that Nizami Ganjavi's 
ancestors from both sides were most likely Iranian. They also forget that none of the story 
of Nizami Ganjavi's stories had anything to do with Turkish culture/civilization. They are 
part of the Iranian culture and civilization came about through Iranian civilization/culture 
(Nizami being influenced greatly by previous Persian poets) and thus Nizami Ganjavi not 
only wrote in Persian, but also popularized Persian culture. He coined many new Persian 
phrases which again show his fundamental contribution to the Iranian civilization. Thus 
the case of Nizami Ganjavi cannot be compared to say someone like Einstein who is of 
Jewish background but wrote his scientific papers in English or German. Nizami Ganjavi 
is alive through his poetry, which is alive through the Persian language. 

He explicitly mentions that what is left from humans is Sokhan (discourses/words) and 
all these discourses are in Persian and tied with Persian literature and mythology. In other 
words, Nizami Ganjavi would not exist without the Persian language. A scientific paper 
can be translated to any language, but poetry is tied and dependent on the language. 
Actually if there was no Einstein, another person would have eventually discovered 
relativity. But the poetry of Nizami Ganjavi was not just any poetry, it was Persian epic 
poetry in the sense that the stories and themes expounded upon by Nizami Ganjavi were 
from Iranian civilization. And poetry from a seminal poet will not be repeated again. No 
one would say that the theory of relatively comes from English civilization. It is a 
scientific theory, which can be explained in any language. But the stories of Nizami 
Ganjavi are directly from Iranian civilization, Persian folklore and based upon the 
predecessors of Nizami who were also Iranians (Ferdowsi, Sanai, Gorgani, Khaqani and 
Asadi Tusi) and part of the Iranian civilization. 



394 



The first work of Nizami Ganjavi is a moral/ethical work called the Makhzan al-Asrar 
(Treasury of Secrets) and it was inspired by another great Persian poet: Sanai. 
The poems in Makhzan al-Asrar (The Treasury of Secrets) (570/ 1 174-5) are mystic- 
didactic and an artistic imitation of Sana'i's Hadiqat al-Haqiqa (=Garden of Truth) 
(Gohrab, Layli and Majnun: Love, Madness and Mystic Longing). 

According to Professor Chelkowsi: 

To Nizami, truth was the very essence of poetry. On this principle, he attacks the court 
poets who sell their integrity and talents for earthly returns. The Islamic law served as the 
loom on which the philosophy of his Makhzan al-Asrar was woven in intricate patterns. 
He was looking for universal justice, and is trying to protect the poor and humble people 
and to put under scrutiny the excesses of the powerful of the world. The guidelines for 
people in the poem are accompanied by warnings of the transitory nature of life. 
Makhzan al-Asrar is an emulation of Sanai' s Hadikat al-Hakika, and Nizami 
acknowledges this but stresses his own superiority. The similarities between Sanai' s 
poem and Nizami 's are in the ethico-philosophical genre, but Nizami used a different 
metre and organised the whole poem in a different way. 
(Nizami Ganjavi in Encyclopedia of Islam) 

Thus Nizami Ganjavi' s first work is a continuation of the Persian tradition established by 
his predecessors. Indeed a culture/civilization does not produce Nizami Ganjavi or Sanai 
or etc. overnight. Nizami Ganjavi builds upon the stories of the civilization he belongs to, 
is inspired by the poetic forms of previous Persian poets and offers his own genius for the 
next generation to build upon. 

The next great epic poem of Nizami Ganjavi was Khusraw o Shirin. This, according to 
many, alongside the Haft Paykar, is Nizami Ganjavi' s greatest masterpiece. Nizami 
Ganjavi considers the story of Khusraw and Shirin as the sweetest story that existed in 
the world and according to him, no story is sweeter than this story: 

CjljuUUJ OLpJ QJjjljuJ 9 $j-iuJu> CjU_)l> 
CjljuUUJ OLLajuI^ ,Jp*JI jjuJjj^juJ Olj9 

Indeed, Nizami Ganjavi chose the story himself (unlike Layli o Majnoon where the poet 
complains of the stories foreignness) (Rypka: 'When the Iraqi Saljuq Toghril II 
requested a love epic from the poet without specifying the subject further, Nizami picked 
on the story of lovers Khusraw o Shirin, a theme set in his own region and based on at 
least partly historical facts, through an aura of legend already surrounded if'). By 
choosing this Iranian story from his own Iranian culture and civilization, Nizami Ganjavi 
clearly shows that he is a part of the Iranian civilization and hundreds of Stalins can't 
change the course of history (a lie will eventually vanish, even if it takes one thousand 
years or more). The story is a well known part of Sassanid folklore. Shirin was a 
Christian princess (some sources mention her as Armenian and others Aramean) who in 
the Khusraw o Shirin of Nizami also has Christian virtues (No intercourse before 
marriage, monotheism and etc). Nizami Ganjavi, as mentioned already, alludes to the 



395 



Shahnameh and Ferdowsi in this work. One of his friends chastises him for reviving 
Zoroastrianism by writing Khusraw o Shirin. The critique tells Nizami Ganjavi: 

His friend tells Nizami: 

Speak of the unity of God, which thou are well known for, 

Why have you renewed the customs of the magians, 

The people who appreciate words would consider your heart to be dead, 

Although those that read the Zoroastrian texts would consider it alive 

Nezami answer the critique, by reading some of the poem and his friend was intoxicated 
by the beauty of the poem. The fact that the story is a Persian-Zoroastrian story is well 
known and again falls within the realm of the Iranian civilization and culture. The story 
might have upset some very orthodox Muslim (although Nizami like Ferdowsi was a 
Muslim but he also appreciated his pre-Islamic Iranian heritage), but Nizami persevered 
just like Ferdowsi. 

Nizami also praises Zoroastrian sense of justice and virtue and abhors the lack of 
justice/virtue in his own time: 

Jjjj^jjj <^>\jB Juu j 

<3jLuu ^Lxil ul 9 J_)lC ul b*S 

<Sj\j <JSj uLuj ,jjI jl ^JjjB b co* 

pj$i UUC> JUuJ ^jOLjuJ^jJ 1 jjUuI j ulg_> 

Pj-vJ \jJ ^jOLoJLuuuo <jjj bu CO 

CjljujI p\j jjS 9I Lo puJ LoJLuUUO 
GjljujI ^oljO ^jO LoJLuUUO <-S>p <Jjl >S 

ju 9_juj cuLuulSI^^-juj jj ^jvjoUoj 
3I3I Juol £ub \j Juu £>x> Q$ 

He writes 

"Look at the politics/governance of the past, 
And the justice that did not even escape the beloved son of King. 
Nowadays, if they spill the blood of hundred poor people, 
no justice will be met. 

What happened to the justice and virtue of those Sassanid Kings? 
The World became so warm (full of justice/prosperous) from the fire -worshippers, 
That thou should be ashamed of this Islam. 
We are Muslims and they Zoroastrians. 
But if they are Zoroastrians, then what is a Muslim? 
Oh Nezami go back to telling myth/stories 

396 



Since Bird of Advice has a bitter song" 

In other words, Nizami Ganjavi is saying that the Zoroastrians had followed the true 
ideals of Islam. These are strong words, even in the modern Islamic Republic of Iran, let 
alone 800 years ago. Once again we sense the feeling and appreciation that Nizami 
Ganjavi had for his pre-Islamic Iranian heritage. For example, Barbad is a famous 
musician of the Sassanid era and the stuff of legends. Nizami Ganjavi has done a great 
service by mentioning the thirty airs composed by Barbad. 

According to the late Tafazzoli: 

Barbad was a poet-musician of panegyric as well as elegy. He used to compose verses 
and sing them to his own accompaniment on various occasions, e.g., in the great Iranian 
festivals, especially Nowruz and Mehragan, at state banquets, etc. He also versified 
victories and current events. He is related to have composed, at the request of the 
workmen, a melody called Bagh-e-Nakhjiran "garden of the game" on the occasion of the 
completion of the great gardens at Qasr-e Shirin. Nezami (Khosrow o Shirin, pp. 190-94) 
mentions the name of the thirty airs composed by Barbad for each day of the month. 
(Tafazzoli, Ahmad. "Barbad"in Encyclopedia Iranica). 

Here is a sample of that portion: 

(iS$ s* j£ \suolhJ yjjjuuJ $ $juu4> uLuu/h j± Xfjb ijzd \s^juj) 

Cjljuuuo J-Jj 0§2r. JujU Juol j± 

jLuJ j± $$J \j 9I Q$ OLljuJ^ _L^> j 

ijjj^j Ocp>r O-^ l^-*^ Olju ^^OCfcJ ^jvj j 

ui»9^ i^sjuljuuu <& 9 <3^b J^ ^s^S 
-^9! :>U q& J9I- 

iSAj\j ^9! ±\j Q& jl ±[j$Z> 

<3jjLuul9 i^szjS jjjuuJ lS^U jjb j 

- 9I5 guS p$±- 

^uljujI^j ^5^^ \j 9IS guS 9^> 

guS /x& 9 9IS pJb 0+°J ^-SJuLuoSl^jj 

— c lJL>9_»jJ £tlo jo$-uj- 

o\j ^5\Jl>Ljj 0§2* cu>9_*jj guS j 

ol \j £uS _L^ ^_5vjL>9_juj ^^vjo^p j 

Juj^^jO O^j^Ljj pjV^y- 

kS^SLjuJ JJj\^jX> CO ^JJiS [JjJuJ 

kS±£ jLuj ^jouuujJJlb Cju^J 9^> 
\SSj5 jb _p l^slb jl CjljJxjj 

~^sSjj$\ 9 L _50uJ99U p> i Q fr> 9 ^/O^juUUuJ- 

jLuj <3^j ^J^^l 9 t_S^-*j^99li 9^ 
3I3 1 jl <jjj99U 0$2* *Sj$j\ <3Jl_*Jj 

397 



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j$jS\ ijuuubfcjo j$jj>jJ ^jJjS 9^ 

~JJ±JUJ J$ j-*- JUU ' J&^^j-*-*^ - 

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<Sjj jl 9 ^09^ jl guS J-ft9 <3^Lii£ 

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<3^b jb ii> 09^ <\j jjl»9 -H uj ^sv-p-juu 

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-ub> <juUUolj /x^Jj^j^- 

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cuLoj lS^>S Ia9 ub> JJjjo\j j 

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j9j9-J jli «-SJl^juulS O^j j^ 93* 

j9j ul CjJ9^ ^jvjLjuuuuuu <3j9j9j cu 

-CI mS iVi n OuLjuUUU - 

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<3JuJJ jjjoS ^^jljJj jJ6AJJ>jS ul jl 

^^S 01 -^ JSJ tj9 ^U U^-)^ 9^ 

398 



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~U^ j 9tH ,jJ Ot~ < puLjuULd> 9 v — IlJuJl **!~ 

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j9ju0 j_)U Ol /XjuJj Ju OUu> 

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JuJuljuuu CU ^jjj ^- , - M u u9-^ u-!.P 
JuJuu ^9 u^S cb <jjuo^juuu i_?£>j 

jljuuj O-^p jl Ojjib ^\j^> 

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^jJbLjuJ cb /)Ju^uuc^j £u5 <jjJuJ> ciS 

/>±j£ CjljujIj \j <JJ>UuJ ^Sj-! **-> 

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\j Olpj> ^O^^ jJ ClS ,jjUU ^jjI I^X) 

\j OlS 9 Uj^ /)Juuj Cjucxaj ,^9 



These provide invaluable data on ancient Iranian music. Thus Nezami's poetry is 
invaluable for the study of the history of Persian/Iranian music. 

According to Peter Chelkowsi: 

Khusraw wa Shirin is the second poem of Nizami's Khamsa and the first of his romantic 

epics. Its protagonists are Khusraw II (590-628), the last great Sasanid monarch, known 

399 



as Parwiz [q.v.], the Victorious, and his mistress Shirin. Their love was recorded by many 
subsequent Islamic writers, and Firdawsi devoted more than 4,000 couplets to Khusraw 
IPs reign in his Shah-nama. It was Nizami, however, who gave the story a real structural 
unity. Infusing it with his own profound experience of love and expanding it with his 
thoughts on religion, philosophy, and government, he created a romance of great 
dramatic intensity. The story has a constant forward drive with exposition, challenge, 
mystery, crisis, climax, resolution, and finally, catastrophe. The action increases in 
complexity as the protagonists face mounting complications. Khusraw and Shirin are not 
able to meet for a long time, despite their untiring efforts and the help of their confidant. 
Then, after they do meet, they are forced apart by the political marriage of Khusraw and 
Maryam. When Khusraw promises Shirin to Farhad as a prize for completing a feat of 
daring and endurance, the story nearly comes to a premature conclusion. 

After the death of Maryam and the murder-suicide of Farhad, it seems that all obstacles 
are removed and the lovers will be united. But Nizami introduces an affair between 
Khusraw and a girl from Isfahan that further complicates and delays his union with 
Shirin. Finally, on the lovers' wedding night, Nizami creates a bizarre episode, a 
humorous entr'acte that gives the reader or listener a chance to take a deep breath before 
the epic's tragic climax. Khusraw gets drunk and Shirin replaces her presence in the 
nuptial chamber with that of a knotty, wizened old crone. Through these dramatic 
devices, Nizami makes a powerful commentary on human behaviour. 

Nizami 's deep understanding of women is strongly expressed in Khusraw wa Shirin . 
Shirin is the central character and there is no question that she is a poetic tribute to 
Nizami' s wife Afak. She is well educated, independent, fearless, resourceful, 
imaginative, erotic and humorous. Her loyalty knows no bounds. That she is a queen 
rather than a commoner, as is the case in Firdawsi 's Shah-nama, gives the story a stately 
quality. Her association with Armenia is, perhaps, a reflection of its geographical 
proximity to Gandja, and she is, like the Byzantine Maryam, a Christian; Nizami was a 
pious Muslim, but he tolerated and respected other religions. 

Shirin' s sense of justice is so great that she forswears Khusraw' s love until he should 
regain his throne, thus fulfilling his responsibility to his people. Even after they are 
married, she continues to exert a strong influence on Khusraw, educating him as always 
through example and love; as a result, the country flourished, justice was observed and 
strengthened, and science, religion and philosophy thrived. 

The tension between the strength of Shirin and the weakness of Khusraw is enhanced 
dramatically by Nizami' s tight control of plot and setting, and in his development of the 
towering figure of Farhad. Episodes of meeting and of missing, of searching and of 
waiting, are richly entwined with scenes of the barren desert and of luxurious court life; 
asceticism vies with sensuality. 

Nizami' s use of allegories, parables and words with double meaning raised the Persian 
language to a new height. The poem is written in the light, flowing, graceful hazadj 



400 



musaddas maksur metre, deliberately imitating that used by Gurgani in Vis u Ramin. 
There are about 6,500 couplets. 
(Encyclopedia of Islam, "Nizami Ganjavi"). 

Professor. Dick Davis also mentions this point about Vis o Ramin: 

The poem (Vis o Ramin) had an immense influence on Nezami, who takes the bases for 
most of his plots from Ferdowsi but the basis for his rhetoric from Gorgani. This is 
especially noticeable in his Khusraw o Shirin, which imitates a major scene (that of the 
lovers arguing in the snow) from Vis o Ramin, as well as being in the same meter (hazaj) 
as Gorgani's poem. Nezami's concern with astrology also has a precedent in an elaborate 
astrological description of the night sky in Vis o Ramin. Given Nezami's own paramount 
influence on the romance tradition, Gorgani can be said to have initiated much of the 
distinctive rhetoric and poetic atmosphere of this tradition, with the exception of its Sufi 
preoccupations, which are quite absent from his poem. 
(Encyclopedia Iranica, "Vis o Ramin") 

Thus Nizami Ganjavi is greatly influenced by the Shahnameh and Vis u Ramin. The story 
of Khusraw and Shirin is part of the Iranian-Zoroastrian lore and is not related to the 
Turkic-Oghuz civilization. Nizami Ganjavi also does not mention any Turkic sources for 
this work. Thus this story like that of Makhzan al-Asrar is part and parcel of Iranian 
civilization and from there, it has influenced many neighboring people. The story of 
Khusraw o Shirin and Farhad today is probably the most prevalent amongst Kurds. 

The story of Layli and Majnoon, although originally of Arabic origin, was well known to 
Persian poets and Persian versions of the story would have existed(it was as mentioned 
king of stories by Nizami through the mouth the Shirvanshah). For example Rudaki, one 
of the earliest Persian poets: 

(See Zanjani for this verse from Rudaki) 

According to Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, who has written a detailed study of Layli o 
Majnoon: 

Compared to Nizami' s other romances, the textual organization of Layli and Majnun is 
not very complicated. Prior to Nizami' s era, the legend of Majnun circulated in anecdotal 
forms. It was Nizami who threaded the scattered pearls of anecdotes about Majnun' s love 
and made a solid narrative of it. Nizami Persianises the legend by adding certain Persian 
elements to it. Persian romances are almost always about royal personages, and people 
from other social ranks are simple and shadowy characters in the plot. As in a Persian 
romance, the narrator in Layil and Majnun portrays the lovers as royal personalities; he 
civilizes the plot of this Bedouin legend to suit the taste and temperament of his Persian 
reader. Unlike the Arabic sources in which Majnun meets Layli in the desert amongst the 
camels, in Nizami' s poem, he meets Layli at school. Nizami integrates many anecdotes 
and several details of the Arabic legend into his romance. 

401 



(Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Madness and Mystic Longing, 56). 



If Nizami's reference to the dihqan as a source is taken at face value, that is, that a dihqan 
really reported the story to him, it indicates the popularity of the legend of Majnun in the 
Iranian world. Several references to the legend can be found in Persian literary works 
before Nizami. A.H. Zarrinkub does not exclude the possibility of a Persian source, yet 
he rightly maintains that the authority behind the source cannot be identified. 
(Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Madness and Mystic Longing, pg 57). 

When Shirwanshah Abul-Muzaffar Akhsitan commissioned Nizami to versify Majnun' s 
tragic love story, the poet found himself in a quandary. The writer of love-stories about 
the pompous and powerful pre-Islamic Iranian kings such as Khusrau Parwiz II is 
suddenly ordered to write a romance about a distraught and naked Arab boy. Nizami 
skillfully uses the sad nature of the legend to whet the reader's curiosity about how he 
will narrate this tragic but simple romance. Grief, as M.J. Toolan notes, is perhaps the 
most "powerful trigger," and strangeness, an element which attracts the reader to know 
the unknown. The poet refers frequently to the Arab traditions and way of life to remind 
us of the story's foreign origin. Moreover, he promises the reader that despite the thin 
plot of the story, he will bring his poem to a dramatic perfection so that "unpierced 
pearls" will flow from the reader's eyes (5:64-5). With his profound knowledge of the 
human psyche, Nizami knows how to draw emotional effect by reshaping this strange and 
shallow story. Nizami was at first reluctant to versify this tale. It was his fourteen-years- 
old son Muhammad, who encouraged his father to undertake the task: 
When you composed Khusrau and Shirin, 
You cheered the hearts of the people. 

You have to compose Layli and Majnun so that the precious pearl has a pair. 
This book is better to be written, 
A young peacock is better to have a mate. (. . .) 

Wherever love -tales are to be read, this tale will serve as salt for them. (11. 43-5, 71) 
Although Majnun was to some extent a popular figure before Nizami's time, his 
popularity increased dramatically after the appearance of Nizami's romance. By 
collecting information from both secular and mystical sources about Majnun, Nizami 
portrayed such a vivid picture of this legendary lover that all subsequent poets were 
inspired by him, many of them imitated him and wrote their own versions of the 
romance. As we shall see in the following chapters, the poet uses various characteristics 
deriving from 'Udhrite love poetry and weaves them into his own Persian culture. In 
other words, Nizami Persianises the poem by adding several techniques borrowed from 
the Persian epic tradition, such as the portrayal of characters, the relationship between 
characters, description of time and setting, etc. 
(Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Madness and Mystic Longing, 77-78). 

Thus although the story was originally of Arabic origin, it was relatively known prior to 
Nizami Ganjavi. But it was really Nizami Ganjavi who popularized it tremendously and 
the story became the most famous romance of the Islamic world. It should be noted that 
Nizami Ganjavi did not choose the story himself (like he did with the Persian/Iranian- 



402 



origin Khusraw o Shirin and Haft Paykar) and was aware of the stories foreign origin. 
This is another important factor that shows Nizami Ganjavi is part and parcel of the 
Iranian civilization. 

The fourth or last great work of Nizami Ganjavi is Haft Paykar. The recent Encyclopedia 
Iranica entries on Eskardanama and Haft Paykar argue for the Haft Paykar to be Nizami 
Ganjavi's last work. This author is also convinced by the arguments given in that article. 
Anyhow, it is considered Nizami Ganjavi's greatest work by many authorities. It is a 
story about the life of the Sassanid emperor Bahram Gur (Bahram V) and it is again 
based upon Iranian history. This great King is greatly admired in Persian literature and 
was already popular prior to Nizami Ganjavi. But Nizami Ganjavi brought the romantic 
side of Bahram Gur (and Persian epic romance) to great new heights by describing seven 
princesses who were married to Bahram, the central figure of the story. 

According to Professor Chelkowsi: 

Haft Paykar is the fourth and the most intricate poem of Nizami's Khamsa . It is a 
bedazzling exploration of the pleasures of love. At the same time, it can be interpreted as 
mystical. The seven stories told by the seven princesses can be interpreted as the seven 
stations of human life, or the seven aspects of human destiny, or the seven stages of the 
mystic way. In fact, the title of the story can be translated as the "Seven Portraits", the 
"Seven Effigies", as well as the "Seven Princesses". The poem is also known as the Haft 
Gunbad or "Seven Domes". 

In Islamic cosmology, the earth was placed in the centre of the seven planets: the Moon, 
Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These were considered agents of 
God, and in their motion influenced beings and events on earth. Nizami firmly believed 
as well that the unity of the world could be perceived through arithmetical, geometrical, 
and musical relations. Numbers were the key to the one interconnected universe; for 
through numbers multiplicity becomes unity and discordance, harmony. Hence Nizami 
used seven, the number that has always been pre-eminent among the people of the East, 
as the major motif of Haft Paykar, for in Islam, seven is considered as the first perfect 
number. 

In Haft Paykar, the phantasmagoric movement of its hero, Bahram Gur, as he visits each 
princess, covers a symbolic path between black, or the hidden majesty of the Divine, and 
white, or purity and unity. The princesses and their pavilions are manifestations of 
specific planets, specific climes, colours, and days. The pavilions are domed, representing 
the structure of the heavens. Nizami illustrates the harmony of the universe, the affinity 
of the sacred and the profane, and the concordance of ancient and Islamic Iran. 
(Nizami Ganjavi in Encyclopedia of Islam, Chelkowski). 

Again what is important with regard to Nizami Ganjavi's culture and civilization is the 
concordance of ancient Iran and Islamic Iran. Furthermore, Nizami Ganjavi himself 
chose this story voluntarily unlike the story of Layli o Majnoon (Rypka comments on the 
Bahram Nameh: It is dedicated to the Aq-Sunqurid Ala 'al-Din Korp Arsalan, the Prince 
of Maragheh, who had commissioned it without specifying a theme). The fact that Nizami 
Ganjavi chose these two stories voluntarily (Haft Paykar and Khusraw and Shirin) shows 



403 



that he considered himself part of the Iranian civilization, the civilization which he also 
made his contributions into. 

Finally, the Eskandarnama is traditionally considered to be Nizami' s last work (although 
again we believe based on the recent Encyclopedia Iranica entries, the Haft Paykar was 
his last work). 

According to the Encyclopedia of Islam (Iskandar-Nama): 

In the Shahnama, Firdawsi already makes Iskandar an exemplary figure, whom the 
companionship of Aristotle helps to rise still higher, by the path of wisdom and 
moderation, in the direction of abstinence and contempt for this world. And Firdwasi laid 
stress on the defeat of Dara (the Darius of the Greeks) as something desired by "the 
rotation of the Heavens". 

At the time of Nizami, however, Islam is from then onwards well established in Iran, and 
it is the prophetic and ecumenical aspect of his destiny that the poet makes evident in his 
hero. As a learned Iranian poet, Nizami, who demonstrates his eclecticism in the 
information he gives (he says, "I have taken from everything just what suited me and I 
have borrowed from recent histories, Christian, Pahlavi and Jewish ... and of them I have 
made a whole"), locates the story of his hero principally in Iran. He makes him the 
image of the Iranian "knight", peace-loving and moderate, courteous and always ready 
for any noble action. Like all Nizami's heroes, he conquers the passions of the flesh, and 
devotes his attention to his undertakings and his friendships. These features appear in the 
account, which follows ancient tradition, of his conduct towards the women of the family 
of Darius, in his brotherly attitude on the death of that ruler, in his behaviour towards 
queen Nushaba (the Kaydaf of Firdawsi, the Kandake of the pseudo-Callisthenes) whom 
he defends against the Russians. (Abel, A.; Ed(s). "Iskandar Nama." Encyclopaedia of 
Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. 
Heinrichs. Brill, 2007.) 



We have already quoted Professor Peter Chelkowski and the relation of this story with 
regards to Iranian civilization and culture. Professor Peter Chelkowsi, who is an authority 
on the Eskandarnama of Nizami: 

Robert Hartle opens his article entitled "The image of Alexander the Great in 
Seventeenth Century France" with a statement: 'When Alexander the Great had 
conquered Persia he began to adopt Persian ways; it should be no surprise that when he 
conquered seventeenth century France he began to act like a Frenchman' 

Alexander was glorified by the Muslims as a divine agent, a prophet-king and the blessed 
conqueror of the lands that were to become the stronghold of Islam. To some Muslims, 
Islam was a realization of Alexander's "koine"- a commonwealth where people could 
live in harmony and in peace of heart and mind. In this atmosphere attempts were made 
to make out Alexander not only a Muslim but a Persian as well. 



404 



The great Muslim historian Tabari (9 th /10 th century A.D.) [we note: also of Iranian origin] 
gives several accounts of Alexander based on various sources. In his presentation of the 
Persian origin of Alexander, he describes Darius the Third as an oppressive ruler [we 
note: Alexander actually praises Darius before Darius dies and asks for advice from 
Darius]. Tabari' s description of Alexander's refusal to pay tribute to Darius, the war of 
Alexander with Darius and the death of Darius, reappear in Nizami's account. 
Similarities between Tabari and Nizami are also to be found in the description of 
Alexander's treatment of knowledge, science, philosophy, and Alexander's journeys to 
India, China, Tibet and the "Land of Darkness". 

However, it was not Tabari directly, but Ferdowsi who was Nizami's source of 
inspiration and material in composing Iskandarnameh. Nizami constantly alludes to the 
Shahnameh in his writing, especially in the prologue to the Iskandarnameh. It seems that 
he was always fascinated by the work of Firdawsi and made it a goal of his life to write 
an heroic epic of the same stature. And so, for his last masnavi Nizami chose as a theme 
the story of Alexander, which is recounted in Firdawsi' s Shahnameh. Even without the 
Psuedo-Callisthenes model, Firdawsi had been able to look for the continuity of Iranian 
spirit from prehistoric times and was able to consider Alexander as a great hero in the 
history of Persian civilization. Persia was the only country which had preserved not only 
her language after the Arab-Muslim invasion but also many aspects of her national 
identity and character. 

In fact, although Alexander conquered Iran, he was soon conquered by Persian customs 
and ways of life. In many aspects he was so overwhelmed by Persian civilization that he 
became more Persian than the Persians. He tried to make a blend of the Greek and 
Persian civilizations - even genetically, when he sponsored mass marriages between his 
troops and Persian women. He himself married Roxane [Rowshanak] the daughter of 
Sogdian [we note: Sogdians are another Iranian people] prince — not the daughter of 
Darius the Third, as both Firdawsi and Nizami believed. 

Like Alexander, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and other people who overran the Iranian plateau 
also came under the spell of Persian culture. Foreign invaders remained to become 
contributors and patrons of Persian art and culture. To give one example, some of 
Nizami's benefactors were of Turkic stock. 

As previously mentioned, it seems that Nizami's favorite pastime was reading Firdawsi' s 
monumental epic Shahnameh (The book of Kings). Firdawsi' s treatment of Alexander in 
this great heroic poem was by no means negligible, but in Nizami's opinion it was not 
complete and he wanted to write a poetic supplement to it. After several years of research 
he gave up this idea and decided that the subject called for a new and independent work. 
He still, however, acknowledged his indebtedness to his great master, Firdawsi, and 
considered himself a respectful follower of that literary pioneer. He, therefore, chose for 
the book of Alexander one heroic epic verse known as Mutaqarib, which Firdawsi 
employed in his Shahnameh. (Chelkowski, P. "Nizami's Iskandarnameh: "in Colloquio 
sul poeta persiano Nizami e la leggenda iranica di Alessandro magno, Roma, 1977). 



405 



Thus the themes of Nizami 's story are Iranian and have to do with the Iranian culture and 
civilization. There is no trace of Turkic folklore and civilization or sources in Nizami 
Ganjavi's work. Indeed, he chose the Sassanid stories of Haft Paykar and Khusraw o 
Shirin voluntarily, which shows his attachment to the Iranian civilization. The main 
influences on Nezami were foremost Ferdowsi, then Gorgani, Asadi Tusi, Sanai Tusi and 
Khaqani (see appendix). 



Nizami Ganjavi's attachment to Iran 

Nizami praises Iran and considers the kings that ruled around his era to be Kings of Iran 
and the Persian lands. Thus this very important fact again shows the Muslims of the area 
were at that time mainly Iranians These praises for the land of Iran and the rulers as the 
Kings of Persia are direct. What is interesting is that at least three different and rival 
dynasties are praised as rulers of Iran/Persia and their land is considered as part of 
Persia/Iran. This shows that despite the fact that there was not a unifying force through 
these lands (the Seljuqs ruling nominally), there was a unifying cultural force which was 
that of the Irano-Islamic civilization. 



In the Haft Paykar, Nizami Ganjavi, when addressing the Ahmadili ruler (known as 
Atabakan-e-Maragheh in later history where Maragheh is a city in the Iranian province of 
East Azarbaijan), he praises the land of Iran as the best land in the World: 



Oljjl 9 CjljuuI fJJ /xJLc QjQJb 
JljJuU CH^J ^ uljjl <£ U9^> 

jjjb uIj^jo ^ Cju\Js ulj 



The World's a body, Iran its heart 
No shame to him who says such a word 
Iran, the world's most precious heart, 
Excels the body, there is no doubt 
Among the realms the kings posses 
The best domain goes to the best 
(Translation by Professor Julia Meysami). 

Note the similarity with that of the Avestan concept where the land of Iran was the center 
of the seven lands and the one blessed by Ahura Mazda. 

In the Khusraw o Shirin, Nizami Ganjavi, when addressing the ruler Shams al-Din 
Muhammad Ildigoz (the dynasty being later known as the Atabakan-e- Azerbaijan and 
ruling parts of Arran and Azerbaijan and extending further in Western Persia as its 
height), mentions: 

406 



Ju^S />b Jucx^jo \j ^jl>L^ 9^ 

<jajuli> CLljuoS OJjJ >0u^> l5^^ 

0L0 Jul b Ij v>^ £>J l3^ 

oLuu ubsbr Ij /x<*ic ^SJLo ^jSj 



In that day that they bestowed mercy upon all, 

Two great ones were given the name Muhammad, 

One who 's pure essence was the seal of prophecy, 

The other who is the Kingdom 's Seal, in his own days 

One whose house/zodiac is moon of the Arabs 

The other who is the everlasting Shah of Realm of Persians 



In praising the rulers of Shirwan (who sometimes extended their rule beyond Shirwan), 
Nizami again mentions: 

0\jj\ j\jj^jjj <£ Q^r 0\$juJJ 

This book is better to be written 

A young peacock is better to have a mate 

Specially for a king like the Shah of Shirwan 

Not only Shirwan, but the Shahriyar (Prince, Ruler) of all Iran 

Nizami Ganjavi calls upon the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH &HP): 

<*_jljuU JjAjljuJ 3 OJul J9j &^jj 

ij5 Ojb uLp-> 9 <-Sljl>J ^SJLo 
u^ °jbl jl H U ulpj> 9^>^ 

Do not stay in Arabia, come to Persia 
Here are the light steeds of night and day 



Conclusion 



Stalin, as noted, claimed that: "Nizami must not be surrendered to Iranian/Persian 
literature " and Nizami Ganjavi according to the USSR was: li a victim of Persian 

407 



oppression of minorities" . As ridiculous as these claims sound, they were taken as 
official USSR policy by some of its researchers. The ultimate aim was not only to detach 
Nizami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization, but even to claim that Ferdowsi did not belong 
to Persian literature either, but belonged to Tajik literature (See the section of the book of 
Kolarz on Tajikistan). Note the term "Tajiki" for the Persian language is a 20 th century 
invention and the speakers have always called it Farsi/Parsi/Parsi-Dari/Dari (Persian). 
The term Tajiki for the Persian language was created in order to further de-Iranify the 
cultural heritage of the Iranian civilization and fragment it. 

A Tajik friend from the Internet, who was educated in the USSR era but was in the eighth 
grade when the USSR started breaking up, told me: 

When I was in school, up until the seventh grade, all the teachers that I had for Persian 
Literature taught us that Nezamee Ganjavee was anAzeri Turk, who had just happened 
to write in Persian. We were taught that he is the national poet of Azerbaijan . This was 
even written in our textbooks, which were published during Soviet Era. However, from 
the very beginning I was told by my mother that he is not a Turk, and that it is a lie. This 
is widely known in the academic circles in Tajikistan, but, especially during Soviet times 
it was politically incorrect to say that he is not a Turk. When I came to eighth grade to 
another school, I had a different literature teacher, who always told us that Nezamee is 
not a Turk. 

And he recalled at the start of that school year: 

/ remember when I just started school, they told us in Lit. class in Tajikistan: 
Nezamee Ganjavee is an Azerbaijani (Turk) poet, but he wrote some things (that's funny 
how they said some things) in Persian. However, a few years later, since we were 
independent, we could say that he was not a Turk. 

Indeed currently, Nizami Ganjavi is not detached from Iranian civilization in Tajikistan 
anymore, although the USSR had planned otherwise. He is considered a part and parcel 
of Iranian civilization. Modern nation and countries that have been affected by Iranian 
civilization (and are part of the Iranian world) are not only Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, 
and Kurdish people, but also the people of the Republic of Azerbaijan who also share in 
this same heritage. Of course later Turkmens had influence on the culture of Republic of 
Azerbaijan, but the ratio of these two factors (pre-Turkmen elements and Iranians 
elements) is something for scholars to study. But at the time of Nizami Ganjavi the ethno 
genesis of the Azerbaijanis was not started and the term was not used as designation for 
Turkic-speaking people. Thus the only reason to attach him to Turkic civilization were 
verses (some even falsified but rampant over the Internet) that allegedly claimed his 
father (who he was orphaned from early and was raised by his Kurdish maternal uncle) to 
be of a Turkic origin. We showed that there is no proof of this and all indicators are that 
Nizami Ganjavi was of Iranian background from both sides. In the end, even if some 
want to endlessly argue that his father might have been "Turkic" or even forge verses 
towards that end, it will bear no fruit, since culture, which poetry is its eloquent and 

408 



highest point, is a key to a poet's heritage/identity and the assignment of a poet to a 
particular civilization. We believe that the answer to question we asked in the beginning 
is clear. Nizami Ganjavi is part of the Iranian civilization. From ethnic background, to 
cultural orientation, to cultural legacy, myth, folklore and language, Nizami Ganjavi is an 
eternal and inseparable part of Iranian civilization. The Nozhat al-Majales (24 poets from 
Ganja alone) shows the peak of Persian civilization in Arran and Sherwan and is a 
complete mirror of the Iranian culture of the region at that time before its Turkifcation. 
Of course, it will take time for the modern republic of Azerbaijan to put away bias and 
study its history without any ideological leaning and accept the fact that Persian heritage 
is also part of the heritage of the people there. The current approach has been to sideline 
Persian heritage or to makeup claims that one or two important figures were forced! to 
create masterpieces. 

All these political attempts at detachment of Nizami Ganjavi from Iranian civilization 
will not bear fruit (in the long term of course, since once in a while there is a super power 
like USSR which has many resources), since the works of Nizami Ganjavi are part and 
parcel of Iranian civilization and history cannot be changed. Nizami Ganjavi wrote 
exclusively in Persian, about ancient Persia and followed the paths of other Persian poets. 
He expanded, decorated and versified Persian folklore and contributed to Iranian 
civilization. A poet that draws from the culture of the language is different than a scientist 
who uses a language as part of a scientific purpose. He is indeed even different than poets 
that use a particular language to express various ideas. Since Nizami Ganjavi delved 
deeply into the heart of folklore of Iranian civilization, myths, history and from there he 
created some of the greatest masterpieces in Persian literature. The poet lives through the 
language and Nizami Ganjavi as a phenomenon of Persian literature would not exist 
without the Persian language, Shahnameh and myths/folklore. In the case of Nizami 
Ganjavi, he not only lives through the language, but his work and themes are based upon 
Iranian civilization and previous Persian poets. He even advises others to read the 
Shahnama and is proud of this monumental work of Iranian civilization, which is one of 
its ultimate monuments and an indicator of its identity. The culture that Nizami Ganjavi 
belongs to is the same culture that Ferdowsi belongs to, Nizami Ganjavi was a successor 
of Ferdowsi as he himself has claimed. So it is important for future Iranians and Persian 
speakers (Afghans, Tajiks, Bukharians/Samarqandis, Iranians..) to keep the Persian 
language alive and read the Shahnameh, Vis o Ramin, Garshaspnama, Panj Ganj , 
Mathnawi, Diwan-e-Hafez and other wonderful blessings bestowed upon the Persian 
language and Iranian civilization. They should strive to understand these jewels better. 

Specially, the two grand works of Nozhat al-Majales and Safina-ye Tabriz which even 
contain Iranian dialects of the region will pave the way for better understanding of some 
of the poetic symbols common at the time. There are indeed many hidden treasures of 
culture and subtleties built in Persian literature and Iranians should be thankful to God for 
this blessing and delve into them. No amount of TV. programs, cinema, video games, 
modern music and art can really take the place of these jewels in this author's opinion. 



^JLJUJ 



jLgj uLx> I-^Ij 9^ 0I9J 

409 



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Appendix A: Modern scholastic sources 



Mainstream modern scholastic sources have mentioned Nezami Ganjavi as a Persian 
poet. This is a reference to his cultural heritage and/or his Iranian background (Persian 
being reference for Iranian in general). These include major Encyclopedias such 
Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden), Encyclopedia Iranica and Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Here we list some other English languages sources that we have encountered and found 
among the many covering various topics in art, literature, Persian literature, history, novel 
and fictions, science and etc. The range of dates cover mainly 2009-1989, however we 
have included even some sources from the 19 th century. In the 19 th century we have not 
found any usage of the anachronistic terms for Nezami 's designation and as shown in this 
article, this was made in the 20 th century and mainly by the USSR nation building 
concept. In the long term, it is our belief that Nezami Ganjavi has not been introduced to 
the world in the fashion he deserves and obviously, the first step in introducing him is to 
propagate the Persian language, because the most striking part of Nezami' s poetry is his 
usage of this language. That is while the themes of Nezami Ganjavi are deeply rooted in 
the Quran, Shahnameh, Iranian history and Islamic mystics, what makes them unique is 
how presents the words that convey these concepts. 



1) 

John R. Haule, "Divine madness: archetypes of romantic love", Shambhala, 1990. Pg 301: "The Persian 
poet, Nizami, collected most of the lovers' legends into a single poem, which mainly follows the life of 
Majnun and observes how love transforms" 

2) 

Bill Beckley, David Shapiro, "Uncontrollable Beauty: Toward a New Aesthetics", Allworth 
Communications, Inc., 2002. Excerpt from pg 132: "... and in the epic poems of the twelfth-century 
Persian poet Nizami and in the fifteen century ..." 

3) 

415 



Rudolf Gelpke, "The Story of Layla and Majnun", Translated by Rudolf Gelpke, Omega Publications, 
1997. Excerpt from pg xi: "somewhere in the western half of the Arabic peninsula, about 500 years before 
AD 1 188 (584 H), the year in which the Persian poet Nizami wrote his poem" 

4) 

Frank Tallis, "Love sick: love as a mental illness", Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005. Pg 90:". .are the 
precursors of one of the most influential love stories ever written - the story of Layla and Majnun by the 
twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami." 

5) 

V. I. Braginskii, "The comparative study of traditional Asian literatures: from reflective traditionalism to 
neo-traditionalism", Routledge, 2001. Excerpt from Pg 119: "In the 12th century ideas very similar to 
those expounded above were graphically expressed in the works of the great Persian poet Nizami, 
especially in a chapter entitled the "Advantage of Strung Speech over Scattered Speech" in his mathnawi 
the "Depository of Mysteries" (Makhzan al-Asrar)" 

6) 

Gholam-Reza Sabri-Tabrizi, "Iran: A Child's Story, a Man's Experience ", International Publishers Co, 
1990. Excerpt from 197: "Nizami School was called after a great Persian poet — Nizami Ganjavi. Nizami 
Ganjavi (his real name was Ilyas ibn-Yusuf), ..." 

7) 

Giilru Necipoglu, Julia Bailey, "Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World", 
BRILL, 2005. Pg 99: "Trying to emulate another great Persian poet, Nizami,Hatifi attempted to write a 
Khamsa (Quintent) but only produced four works ..." 

8) 

Giusto Traina, "428 AD: An Ordinary Year at the End of the Roman Empire", Princeton University Press 
(May 31, 2009) pg 118:"... in the poem Haft Paikar ("The Seven Beauties") by the Persian poet Nezami, 
who lived from 1141 to 1209 in the Caucasian ..." 

9) 

Svatopluk Soucek, "A history of inner Asia ",Cambridge University Press, 2000 . pg 134: "..based on the 

number five, translatable as "Quintet") is a cycle of five 

lyrico-epic poems modeled on the work of the Persian poet Nizami (1 141-1203). . ." 

10) 

Barbara Brend, "Perspectives on Persian painting: illustrations to Amir Khusrau's Khamsah", Routledge, 

2003. Back cover: "..composed between 1298 and 1302, follows the main lines of that of the Persian poet 

Nizami.." 

11) 

Nagendra Kr Singh, Nagendra Kumar Singh, "International Encyclopedia of Islamic Dynasties", Anmol 
Publications PVT. LTD., 2000. Pg 894: "in the fashion of the famous Persian poet Nizami [qv], with his 
Khamsa, two well-known poets can be mentioned here" 

12) 

Julie Scott Meisami, Paul Starkeym, "Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature", Taylor & Francis, 1998. Pg 
69: "In Arabic literature there has been no artistic elaboration of the story comparable to that undertaken by 
the Persian poet Nizami " 

13) 

Philippe de Montebello , "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide Revised Edition (Hardcover)", 
Metropolitan Museum of Art; 2 edition (2000) page 338: "... hunter in the romantic epic Haft Paykar by 



416 



the twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami. This miniature exemplifies the classic style of Persian painting, 



14) 

Maria Rosa Menocal, "Shards of love: exile and the origins of the lyric", Duke University Press, 1994. Pg 
143: ""In London he began reading the medieval Persian poet Nizami, author of a renowned version of a 
story already famous in Arabic." 



15) Amina Okada,"Indian miniatures of the Mughal court", H.N. Abrams, 1992. pg 226: "Nizami: An 
anthology of five poems by the Persian poet Nizami (1 140-1202)." 



16) Juvaynl, Ala al-Dln Ata Malik, 1226-1283 (1997). Genghis Khan: The History of the World- 
Conqueror [Tarlkh-i jahangusha]. tr. John Andrew Boyle. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Pg 345- 
346: "Their story forms the subject of an epic by the Persian poet Nizami" 
17) 

Francesca Orsini, "Love in South Asia" Cambridge University Press, 2006. Pg 1 16: "The poet's model was 
clear from the start, namely the great Persian poet Nizami ..." 

18) 

Bernard Lewis, "Music of a distant drum", Princeton University Press, 2001. Pg 9: "The Persians went a 
step further, creating authentic epic tradition comparables with those of Greece, Rome and the Vikings. 
This too, became in time, a form of Persian national self definition. The most famous of Persian epic poets, 
Firdawsi (940-1020) has been translated several times. An extract from the story of Farhad and Shirin, as 
told by the twelfth century Persian poet Nizami, exmpelified another form of narrative" 

19) 

Bernard Lewis, "Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquirty", Oxford University Press 
US, 1992. Pg 96-97: "In one picture, illustrating a manuscript of the book of Alexander by the Persian poet 
Nizami, and painted in Qazvin towards the end of the sixteenth century, Alexandar (Iskandar) is seen 
fighting the blacks" 

20) 

Howard R. Turner, "Science in medieval Islam", University of Texas Press, 1997. 

pg 1 12:'Tn a celebrated romantic saga Khusraw and Shirin, written by the twelfth-century Persian poet 

Nizami and based on a pre-Islamic legend, Khusrau, princely ruler of Sassanian empire, must endure many 

trials before finally winning the hands of his love, the Armenian princess Shirin" 

21) 

Gunilla Lindberg-Wada, "Studying transcultural literary history", W. de Gruyter, 2006. Pg 237:"It was the 
Persian poet Nizami (1 188) who achieved the major shift in both 
language and genre" 

22) 

S. Wise Bauer, "The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance", Peace Hill 
Press, 2003. pg 138: "This beautifully illustrated collection of tale is based on the epic by the twelfth- 
century Persian poet Nizami" 

23) 

Anjaan Chakravery, "Indian Miniature Painting", Roli Books Private Limited, 2006. Pg 142: "The 
poetical manuscripts, some of which were prepared for the emperor's personal delectation, comprise of 
Gulistan (Rose Garden) of Sadi, Khamsa (The Five Poems) of Persian poet Nizami, Baharistan (The 
Garden of Spring) by Jami and Divans (Collected Poems) of Hafiz and Anvari. 

24) 

417 



David James Smith, "Hinduism and Modernity", Wiley-Blackwell, 2003. Pg 56: "One of the most splendid 
commissions was the classical 'Quintent' of the twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami. The last part of this 
text, the Iskandar Nama, is the Persian version of the deeds of Alexander the Great" 

25) Guida Myrl Jackson-Laufer, Guida M. Jackson. "Encyclopedia of literary epics", ABC-CLIO, 1996. 
Pg 269:"Persian poet Nizami composed five epics at the end of the twelfth century; one was based on ill- 
starred lovers, Layli and her cousin Qays. Qays, distressed that he cannot marry his cousin, goes mad and 
becomes known as Majnun" 

26) 

Maria Sutenly, "Visionary Rose: Methaphorical Application of Horticultural Practice in Persian Culture" in 

Michel Conan and W. John Kress, "Botanical progress, horticultural information and cultural changes", 

Dumbarton Oaks, 2007. Pg 12: "In a highly evocative tale he relates in the Makhzan al-Asrar ("Treasury 

of Secrets"), the twelfth-century Persian poet, Nizami whose oeuvre is an acknowleged repository of 

Iranian myths and legends, illustrates the way in which the rose was perceived in the Medieval Persian 

imagination" 

27) 

Orhan Pamuk, "My name is Red" translated by Erdag M. Goknar, Vintage International, 2002. Pg 415: "c. 
1141-1209: The Persian poet Nizami lived. He wrote the romantic epic the Quintet, comprised of the 
following stories, all of which have inspired miniaturist" 

28) 

Percy Brown, "Indian Paintings", Read Books, 2007. Pg 49: "The adaptability of these Hindu craftsman 
may be realised by the fact that their royal patron commissioned them to illustrate the works of the Persian 
poet, Nizami, and other literary productions, normally foreign to theis genius", 

29) 

Walter G. Andrews, Mehmet Kalpakli, "The age of the beloved", Duke University Presspg 59:"This was to 
be the fourth in a series of five mesnevi poems (a hamse or "pentad") intended to match the famed 
thirteenth-century hamse of the Persian poet Nizami of Ganja" 

30) 

Encyclopedia Americana, Glorier incorporated. Pg 421 : "..a place named for his Armenian Christian 
bride, his love for whom was immortalized by the 12th century Persian poet Nizami in Khosrow and 
Shirin", Glorier, 1998, v.28. 

3D 

John R. Haule, "The ecstaties of St. Francis: The way of LadyPoverty", SteinerBooks, 2004. pg 66: "The 

Persian poet Nizami collected them into an episodic novel-length poem right around the time of Francis.." 

32) 

Gene Santoro, "Dancing in your head", Oxford University Press, 1995. Pg 62: "At the same time, he 

started to the read The Lay la and Majun, by the Persian poet Nizami". 

33) 

David Christian, Craig Benjamin, Macquarie University. Ancient History Documentary Research Centre, 
Australasian Society for Inner Asian Studies. Conference, David Christian, Craig Benjamin, Macquarie 
University. Ancient History Documentary Research Centre. "Worlds of the silk roads: ancient and modern 
: proceedings from the Second Conference of the Australasian Society for Inner Asian Studies (A.S.I.A.S.), 
Macquarie University, September 21-22, 1996", Brepols, 1998. Pg 258: "Formly and thematically he was 
influenced by the pentalogies, especially that of the Persian poet Nizami (12th century),.." 



34) 

418 



Francis Lenormant, "Chaldean Magic Its Origin and Development", Pg 159:"Later in the period of the 
Sassanian dynasty, the Persian poet Nizami, author of the Haft-Paykar, describers this style as prevailing in 
the place of the seven plants built by Bahram Gour or Varahan V." 

35) 

Lloyd. V. J. Ridgeon, "'Aziz Nasafi", Routledge, 1998. pg 159: "By the twelfth and thirteen century, 
himma had become a technical of the Sufis. For example, the great Persian poet Nizami (b. 1 140) refers to 
himma in his Makhzan al-Asrar (1 166) when he describes how Mahmud Ghazna (969-1030) fell sick while 
besieging an Indian city" 

36) 

Gerhard Endress, Carole Hillenbrand, "Islam a historical Introduction", 2nd edition, Edinburgh University 

Press, pg 2002. Pg 178:"Death of the Persian poet Nizami of Ganja, important author of romantic verse 

epics." 

37) 

Mesrovb Jacob Seth, "Armenians in India, from the earliest times to the present day", Asian Educational 
Service, 1992. pg 178: "In the preface to the Lahore edition of Sarmad's quatrains, it is stated that Sarmad 
was born in Ganja, an important Armenian ciy in the Karabakh district, south of the Caucasus. The famous 
Persian poet Nizami, was also born in that city" 

38) 

Ernst Robest Curtis, Williard Ropes Trask, "European literature and Latin Middle Ages" translated by 
Williard Ropes Trask and Peter Godman, 7th edition, Princeton University Press, 1990. Pg 347: "Goethe 
confuses the name with that of the Persian poet Nizami — in pious resignation puts it into the hands of God 
himself ('Master of Love,' 'Beloved')" 

39) 

Slezkine, Yuri. "The Soviet Union as a Communal Apartment."in Stalinism: New Directions. Ed. Sheila 
Fitzpatrick, Routledge, New York, 2000. pages 335: "The Azerbaijani delegate insisted that the Persian 
poet Nizami was actually a classic of Azerbaijani literature because he was a "Turk from Giandzha" and 
that Mirza Fath Ali Akhundov was not a gentry writer, as some proletarian critics had charged, but a "great 
philosopher-playwright" whose "characters [were] as colorful, diverse and realistic as the characters of 
Griboedov, Gogol' and Ostrovskii." 

40) 

Armando Maggi, "The Resurrection of the Body", University of Chicago Press, 2009. pg 187: "Pasolini 
here blends two mythic sources: The Greek Orpheus and Alexandar the Great depicted as a prophetic figure 
in The Book of Alexandar the Great by the twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami of Ganja" 

41) 

Edmund Herzig, Russian and CIS Programme (Royal Institute of International Affairs), Former Soviet 
South Project, "Iran and the former Soviet South", Royal Institute of International Affairs, Russian and CIS 
Programme, 1995. Pg 50: "It is not hard to understand why Iranians ridicule claims such as Azerbaijan's to 
the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, or Uzbekistan's to the great Ibn Sina" 

42) 

Sheila Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, Hood Museum of Art, Asia Society, "Images of Paradise in Iaslamic 

Art", Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 1991. Pg 36: "and flying through the firmament are found 

in manuscripts of several poetic texts, including the popular Khamsa (Five Poems) of the Persian poet 

Nizami" 

43) 

D.A. Spelling, "Politics, Gender and Islamic Past: The legacy of ' Aisha bint Abi Bakr", Columbia 
University, Press, 1996. Pg 215:"The Persian poet Nizami (d. 606/ 1 209) named one of his female 
characters Fitna in his work the Khamsa." 

419 



44) 

Diane Woklstein, "The first love stories: from Isis and Osiris to Tristan and Iseult 

",HarperCollinsPublishers, 1991. Pg 266:"In the twelfth century C.E., Shirvanshah Akhsetan, a a Caucasian 
ruler, commissioned the elegant Persian poet Nizami to write a Persian romance based on Arabic folk 
legends, dating back .." 

45) 

Jean Bottero, Andre Finet, Bertrand Lafont, Antonia Nevill, "Everyday life in ancient Mesopatima", JHU 
Press, 2001. Pg 159: "This was a romantic epic written by the Persian poet Nizami (twelfth century), 
recounting the loves of the Sassanid King Khosroes II Parviz (590-628) and the Christian woman Shirin..'' 

46) 

Geoffrey Wigoder, "Dictionary of Jewish biography", Simon & Schuster, 1991. Pg 40: "From 1867 he 
attended the University of Budapest, receiving his doctorate for a thesis on the 12th- century Persian poet, 
Nizami." 

47) 

Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Ollive Mabbott, Eleanor D. Kewer, Maureen Cobb Mabbott, "Tales and 
Sketches: 1831-1842", University of Illinois Press, 2000. Pg 636: "Retelling a traditional Arabian love 
story from the version by the twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami" 

48) 

Luisa Passerini, "Europe in Love, Love in Europe: Imagination and Politics in Britian", I.B.Tauris, 1999. 
Pg 22: "and Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi between the end of '900 and the beginning of the first century of our 
millennium, in the work of the Persian poet Nizami, author of the 1 188 tale Lay la and Majnun" 

49) 

Mian Mohammad Sharif, "A history of Muslim philosophy: with short accounts of other disciplines and the 
modern renaissance in Muslim lands", Low Price Pub, Vol 1. , 1999. Pg 22:"His version of the Khusrau wa 
Shirin of the Persian poet Nizami is more than a mere translation" 

50) 

Emily. A. Haddad, "Orientalist poetics: the Islamic Middle East in nineteenth-century English and French 
poetry", Ashgate, 2002. Pg 193:"Goethe's models are, Gautier asserts, Eastern ones in both form and 
content; Goethe follows the example of the Persian poet Nizami rather than Shakespeare" 

51) 

John Renard, "101 Question and Answers on Islam", Paulist Press, 2005. pg 1 12: "A story told long ago 

by the Persian Poet Nezami (d. 1209) in his splendid mystical epic, Seven Portraits, offers a solution" 

52) 

Sharon Kinoshita, "Medieval boundaries: rethinking difference in Old French literature", University of 
Pennsylvania Press, 2006. Pg 255: "Compare Khamsa by the twelfth- century Persian poet Nizami, in 
which a ten-year-old boy and girl who meet at Quranic school "embark on a chaste romance lasting the rest 
of their lives'". 

53) 

Rudolf Steiner, Catherine E. Creeger, "An outline of Estoric Sciences", SteinerBooks, 1997. Pg 316:"A 
story attributed to the Persian poet Nizami (1 141-1203), and adopted by Goethe for inclusion in his West- 
ostlicher Divan", Quranic school "embark on a chaste romance lasting the rest of their lives'". 

54) 

Daniel Joseph Boorstin, "The Creators", Random House, 1992. Pg 196: "The Persian poet Nizami (c.H40- 
c.1202) depicted an ancient competition at the court of Alexander the Great. One spring day while 
Alexander was entertaining.." 

420 



55) 

Anne Varichon, Toula Ballas, "Colors what they mean and how to make them", Abrams, 2007. Pg 183:"At 
the end of the twelfth century Persian poet Nizami (c. 1 140-1209) wrote The Seven Beauties, which 
describes the tales told to the Sassanian ruler" 

56) 

Tony Abboud, "Al-Kindi; the Father of Arab Philosophy", The Rosen Publishing Group, 2006 . pg 26: 
"This sixteenth-century illustration from the Khamsa (Five Poems) by Persian poet Nizami portrays Caliph 
al-Mamun being groomed by a barber and other" 

57) 

Meyer Waxman, "History of Jewish Literature Part 4", Kessinger Publishing, 2003. pg 567: "At the age of 
twenty, he was awarded the doctor's degree by the University of Leipzig for his dissertation on the Persian 
poet, Nizami." 

58) 

Stephen Farthing, Geoff Dyer, "1001 paintings you must see before you die", Universe, 2007. Pg 232: 
"AThe painting once illustrated a copy of the Khamsa (Five Poems), by the twelfth century Persian poet 
Nizami, which included popular narrative poems.." 

59) 

Mohan Lan Nigam, Anupama Bhatnagar, "Romance of Hyderabad culture", Deva Publications, 1997. Pg 

64: "He calls himself the disciple of the famous Persian poet, Nizami" 

60) 

John William Seyller, "Workshop and patron in Mughal India: the Freer Ramayana and other illustrated 
manuscripts of Abd al-Rahim", Artibus Asiae Publishers, 1999. Pg 344: Khamsa Quintet, a collection of 
five epic romance written by the Persian Poet Nizami (1 141-1209)" 

61) 

Jennifer Doane Upton, Charles Upton, "Dark way to Paradise: Dante's Inferno in light of the Spiritual 
Path", Sophia Perennis, 2005. Pg 15: The great Persian poet Nizami, writing of the lovers Layla and 
Majnun, tells of how Majnun finds a piece of paper with his name and Layla's written on it" 

62) 

George Stephen Nestory , "Young Ukraine: the Brotherhood Saints Cyril and Methodius in Kiev", 
University of Ottawa Press, 1991. Pg 74: "In his spare time he wrote learned treatises on the Georgian poet 
Rustaveli, the Persian poet Nizami, and the relation of the Georgian language to .." 

63) 

Petra de Bruijin, Abdulhak Hamit, "The two worlds of E§ber: Western orientated verse drama and Ottoman 
Turkish poetry by 'Abdulhakk Hamid (Tarhan)", Research School CNWS, 1997. Pg 279: "the metre used 
by the Persian poet Nizami for his romantic mesnevi Leyla ve Mecnun and which was adopted by, amongst 
others, the Ottoman Turkish poet" 

64) 

Edward Morgan Forster, Jeffrey M. Heath, "The creator as critic and other writings by E.M. Forster", 
Dundurn Press, 2008. Pg 276: "While preparing this broadcast I've been looking at his edition of a 
sixteenth-century manuscript of the Persian poet Nizami, and reminding myself of what.." 

65) 

Joseph T. Shipley, "Encyclopedia of Literature Vol. 1", READ BOOKS, 2007. Pg 504: "A love romance 
on a theme fro Paykar (1660) and Sikandar Nama (1673), adaptations of two of the famous romances of the 
Persian poet Nizami (ca. 1 141-1203); 



421 



66) 

Paul Pearsall, "The Beethoven Factor: The New Positive Psychology of Hardiness, Happiness, Healing, 

and Hope", Hampton Roads Pub. Co., 2003. Pg 219: "The paper had a statement by the Persian poet 

Nizami, and it can serve as reminder to all of us about the importance of an optimistic explanatory style 

and" 

67) 

Kevin Alan Brooks, "The Jews of Khazaria", Jason Aronson, 1999. Pg 253: "The Persian poet Nizami 
(circa 1 141-1203) described in one of his poems how the Cumans worshipped their ancestors and 
predecessors by kneeling down before.." 

68) 

Marie-Luise von Franz, "Individuation in fairy tales", Shambala, 1990. Pg 82: "Here the role of the 
storytelling person is represented by an anima figure. In a famous twelfth -century story by the Persian poet 
Nizami entitled, "The Seven Stories of the Seven Princess," against every night a princess tells the King a 
beautiful fairy tale". 

69) 

David Comfort, "The First Pet History of the World", Simon & Schuster, 1994. Pg 38: "..A PARABLE 

BY PERSIAN POET NIZAMI.." 

70) 

Tetsuo Nishio, Kokuritsu Minzokugaku Hakubutsuka, "Cultural change in the Arab world", National 
Museum of Ethnology, 2001. Pg 148: "it seems that these "randomly strung pearls" of the tale of Majnun 
were not restrung by a deliberate writer's hand (as the Persian poet Nizami would do.." 

71) 

Sadiq Naqvi, "The Iranian Afaquies Contribution to the Qutb Shahi and Adil Shahi Kingdoms", A.A. 
Hussain Book Shop, 2003. Pg 109:" He started writing a Khamsa in the style of the famous Persian poet 
Nizami. But he could write only four volumes. He believed that his works were better" 

72) 

Nathan Light, "Slippery paths: the performance and canonization of Turkic literature and Uyghur muqam 
song in Islam and modernity", Indiana University, 1998. Pg 227:"and even suggested that Naval do a 
nazira ('version') of the tradition of composing a Khamsa (Five Epics) begun by the Persian poet Nizami, 
and reworked by Amir Khusrau and Jami himself 

73) 

Julian Baldick, "Imaginary Muslims: the Uwaysi Sufis of Central Asia", Imaginary Muslims: the Uwaysi 
Sufis of Central Asia. Pg 27: "and has included the celebrated Persian poet Nizami" 

74) 

John Reeve, Karen Armstrong, Everett Fox, Colin F. Baker, F. E. Peters, British Library, "Sacred: books of 
the three faiths : Judaism, Christianity, Islam", British Library, 2007. Pg 161: "the poems of the celebrated 
Persian poet, Nizami. According to tradition, the face of the Prophet Muhammad has been whitened out" 

75) 

John Renard, "Responses to 101 questions on Islam", Paulists Press, 1998. Pg 1 12: "A story told long ago 

by the Persian poet Nizami.." 

76) 

Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovskii, John Vrieze, Stichting De Nieuwe Kerk, "Earthly beauty, heavenly art: art 
of Islam",De Nieuwe Kerk, 1999. Pg 135: ""A story told long ago by the Persian poet Nizami.." 

77) 

422 



Wiebke Walther, "Women in Islam", M. Wiener Pub., 1993. Pg 44: "Also in his Haft Paykar, the hero of a 
celebrated romance by the Persian poet Nizami, and of many other romances by Turkish imitators.." 

78) 

Wilhelm Geiger, "Civilization of the Eastern Irnians in Ancient Times: With an Introduction on the Avesta 
Religion", BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009. Pg 229:"Later, in the period of the Sassanian dynasty, the Persian 
poet Nizami describes this style as prevailing in the ' Palace of the Seven Planets ' built by.." 

79) 

Sir Richard F. Burton (translator), "Arabian Nights, in 16 Volumes: Vol. V", Cosimo, Inc., 2008. Pg 
254:"Much of the above is taken from the Sikandar-nameh (Alexander Book) of the great Persian poet, 
Nizami, who flourished AH 515 — 597, between the days of 

80) 

Caitlin Matthews, Olwyn Whelan, "The Barefoot Book of Princesses", Barefoot Books, 2004. Pg 64: "The 
Mountain Princess The story comes from the work of the twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami, one from a 
series of delightful stories about seven" 

81) 

Barbara Brend, "The Emperor Akbar's Khamsa of Nizami", British Library, 1995. "a five -part work in 
verse by the twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami; its stories are among the most famous in Persian 
literature" 

82) 

Wilhem Baum, "Shirin: Christian, Queen, Myth of Love; a Women of late antiquity", Gorgias Press LLC, 
2004. Pg 88: "Among the Persian poets whom Goethe was interested were Firdausi, Nizami and Hafis" 
(note this book uses anachronistic term as well) 

83) 

R. Gelpke, "The story of the seven princesses", Cassirer, 1976. Pg 2: "Haft Paykar (the seven images) by 
the Persian poet Nizami (1 141-1202) is a precious jewel of oriental narrative art, to be compared only with 
the most beautiful stories out of Thousand and one nights" 

84) 

Francis Jacques Sypher, Sarah L. Prakken, Bessie Graham, Jack Alden Clarke, Hester Rosalyn Jacoby 
Hoffman, "The Reader's Adviser: A Layman's Guide to Literature", Bowker, 1977, v.2 edition 12. Pg 638: 
"a lyric poet with encyclopedic erudition, whose long poem "Iskender-name" continued the tradition of the 
Alexander romance of the Persian poet Nizami.." 

85) 

Classical Arabic poetry: 162 poems from Imrulkais to Ma'arri , "Classical Arabic poetry: 162 poems from 
Imrulkais to Ma'arri", KPI, 1985. "Five hundred years later, the subject was taken up by the Persian poet 
Nizami and formed into an epic running to over 4000 distichs" 

86) 

Herbert Mason, "A legend of Alexander ; and, The merchant and the parrot: dramatic poems", University 
of Notre Dame Press, 1986. Pg 3: "their mythical encounter to the twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami, 
whose celebrated Khamsa includes among its "five epics"" 

87) 

Janardan Prasad Singh, "Sir William Jones, his mind and art", S. Chand, 1982. Pg 217: "Of the longest 
allegory in the collection, The Seven Fountains'. Jones said in his Preface that it was written in imitation 
of the Persian poet Nizami." 

88) 

423 



Henry George Raverty, "Selections from Pushto Poetry", al-Biruni, 1978. Pg 29: "and his mistress Layla 
are the subject of one of the most celebrated mystic poems of the Persian poet Nizami, and famous 
throughout the East" 

89) 

Joseph Reese Strayer, "Dictionary of the Middle Ages", v.5 , Scribner, 1985. Pg 418:"This famous 
composition by the Persian poet Nizami also had a strong influence on.." 

90) 

Kolarz, Walter. "Russia and her Colonies", London: George Philip. 1952. Pg 245: "The attempt to 'annex' 
an important part of Persian literature and to transform it into 'Azerbaidzhani literature' can be best 
exemplified by the way in which the memory of the great Persian poet Nizami (1 141-1203) is exploited in 
the Soviet Union." 

91) 

Claude Cahen, "Pre-Ottoman Turkey: a general survey of the material and spiritual culture and history c. 
1071-1330", Sidgwick & Jackson, 1968. Pg 252: ". . .of the great Persian poet Nizami of Ganja (a town in 
the extreme north-west of Iran), and it is possible that he was acquainted with another poet,.." 

92) 

Pepe Escobar, "Red Zone Blues", Nimble Books LLC, 2007. Pg 94: "And Eurasia is the would be nothing 
but echoing the great 12th Century Persian poet Nezami, who in the famous Haft Paykar("The Seven 
Portratins") wrote that "The world is the body and Iran is its heart" 

93) 

Felix J. Oinas, "Heroic Epic and Saga: An Introduction and Handbook to the World's Great Folk Epics", 
Indiana University Press, 1978. Pg 324: "His model was the work of the great Iranian poet Nizami (1 152- 
1205?). The following generations of Ottoman poets cont