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MIRKHOND (1433-1498)

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 575 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MIRKHOND (1433-1498). Mohammed bin Khawandshah bin Mahmud, commonly called Mirkhwand or Mirkhawand, more familiar to Europeans under the name of Mirkhond, was born in 1433, the son of a very pious and learned man who, although belonging to an old Bokhara family of Sayyids, or direct descendants of the Prophet, lived and died in Balkh. From his early youth he applied himself to historical studies and literature in general. In Herat, where he spent the greater part of his life, he gained the favour of that famous patron of letters, Mir `Alishir (1440-1501), who served his old schoolfellow, the reigning sultan Husain (who as the last of the Timurides in Persia ascended the throne of Herat in 1468), first as keeper of the seal, afterwards as governor of Jurjan.. At the request of Mir `Alishir, himself a distinguished statesman and writer, Mirkhond began about 1474, in the quiet convent of Khilasiyah, which his patron had founded in Herat as a house of retreat for literary men of merit, his great work on universal history, Rau;at-ussafa fi sirat-ulanbid walmuluk walkhulafa or Garden of Purity on the Biography of Prophets, Kings and Caliphs. He made no attempt at a critical examination of historical traditions, and wrote in a flowery and often bombastic style, but in spite of this drawback, Mirkhond's Rau;at remains one of the most marvellous achievements in literature. It comprises seven large volumes and a geographical appendix; but the seventh volume, the history of the sultan Husain (1438—1505), together with a short account of some later events down to 1523, cannot have been written by Mirkhond himself, who died in 1498. He may have compiled the preface, but the main portion of this volume is probably the work of his grandson, the historian Khwandamir (1475—1534), to whom also a part of the appendix must be ascribed. For accounts of Mirkhond's life see De Sacy's " Notice sur Mirkhond " in his Mimoires sur diverses antiquites de la Perse (Paris, 1793); Jourdain's " Notice de 1'histoire universelle de Mirkhond " in the Notices et extraits, vol. ix. (Paris, 1812); Elliot, History of India, iv. 127 seq. ; Morley, Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1854), p. 30 seq.; Rieu, Cat. of Persian MSS. of the Brit. Mus. (vol. i. London, 1879), p. 87 seq. Besides the lithographed editions of the whole work in folio (Bombay, 1853, and Teheran, 1852—1856) and a Turkish version (Constantinople, 1842), the following portions of Mirkhond's history have been published by European Orientalists: Early Kings of Persia, by D. Shea (London, 1832) (Oriental Translation Fund) ; L'Histoire de la dynastie des Sassanides, by S. de Sacy (in the above-mentioned Memoires) ; Histoire des Sassanides (texte Persan), by Jaubert (Paris, 1843); Historia priorum regum Persarum, Persian and Latin, by Jenish (Vienna, 1782) ; 161irchondi historia Taheridarum, Persian and Latin, by Mitscherlik (Gottingen, 1814, 2nd ed., Berlin, '8'9); Historia Samanidarum, Persian and Latin, by Wilken (Gottingen, '8o8); Histoire des Samanides, translated by Defremery (Paris, 1845); Historia Ghaznevidarum, Persian and Latin, by Wilken (Berlin, 1832) ; Geschichte der Sultane aus dem Geschlechte Bujeh, Persian and German, by Wilken (Berlin, '835); followed by Erdmann's Erlauterung and Erganzung (Kazan, '836); Historia Seldschuckidarum, ed. Vullers (Giessen, 1837); and a German trans. by the same; Histoire des Sultans du Kharezm, in Persian, by Defremery (Paris, 1842) ; History of the Atabeks of Syria and Persia, in Persian, by W. Morley (London, '848); Historia Ghuridarum, Persian and Latin, by Mitscherlik (Frankfort, '818); Histoire des Sultans Ghurides, trans. into French by Defremery (Paris, 1844) ; Vie de Djenghiz-Khan, in Persian, by Jaubert (Paris, 1841) (see also extracts from the same 5th vol. in French trans. by Langles in vol. vi. of Notices et extraits, Paris, 1799, p. 192 seq.), and by Hammer in Sur les origins russes, St Petersburg, 1825, p. 52 seq.) ; " Timur's Expedition against Tuktamish Khan," Persian and French, by Charmoy, in Memoires de l'acad. impel.. de St Petersbourg (1836), pp. 270—321 and 441—471. (H. E.)
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