ABARQOBĀḎ, an ancient town of lower Iraq between Baṣra and Vāseṭ, to the east of the Tigris, in the region adjacent to Ahvāz, known in pre-Islamic and early Islamic times as Mēšūn (Mid. Pers. form) or Maysān/Mayšān (Syriac and Arabic forms). The correct form of the town name is given by Dīnavarī (al-Aḵbār al-ṭewāl, pp. 68, 124). Other geographers (such as Yaʿqūbī, Boldān, p. 322; idem, tr. Wiet, p. 166; and Yāqūt, I, p.90; idem [Beirut], I, pp. 72-73) mistakenly write Abazqobāḏ or even Izqobāḏ and Izadqobāḏ. The first component must in fact be abar, found as a prefix in some Persian toponyms (e.g., Abar-šahr, i.e., Nīšāpūr); the second is the name of the Sasanian king Kavād/Qobāḏ (488/531), who allegedly founded the place. A further error in the geographers is that certain of them place Abarqobāḏ to the east of its real location in the district of Arraǰān (see Schwarz, Iran, p.112, n. 13). In the historical accounts of the Arab conquest, Abarqobāḏ is mentioned with the town of al-Maḏār, the main town of Maysān. In 14/634, ʿOtba b. Ḡazvān Māzenī sent troops against it after the seizure of Obolla, and Moḡīra b. Šoʿba defeated there a Persian noble named al-F.y.l.kān (?). In 83/702 Abarqobāḏ was the scene of a clash between the rebel Ebn al-Ašʿas and the forces of Ḥaǰǰāǰ (see Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ al-boldān, Cairo, 1959, p. 338; Ṭabarī, I, p. 2386; idem, II, p.1123; Yāqūt, loc. cit.). The Arab geographers subsequently named Abarqobāḏ as one of the tassūǰ, or subdistricts, of al-Maḏār, following the pattern of Sasanian administration in Iraq. Abarqobāḏ also appears occasionally as a mint center; we possess dirhams from 83/702 and ?96/714-15 (see G. D. Miles, “Abarqubādh, a New Umayyad Mint,” ANS Museum Notes 4, 1950, pp. 115-20; and J. Walker Catalogue of Muhammadan Coins in the British Museum: II, Arabo-Byzantine and Post-Reform Umaiyad Coins, London, 1956, pp. lxx, 106).


See also Streck, Babylonien nach dem arabischen Geographen, Leiden, 1900-01, I, pp. 15, 19. Markwart, Ērānšahr, pp. 41-42.

(C. E. Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 13, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, p. 64

Cite this entry:

C.E. Bosworth, “Abarqobad,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/1, p. 64; available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abarqobad (accessed on 10 January 2014).