ADĪB ṢĀBER, ŠARAF-AL-ODABĀʾ ŠEHĀB-AL-DĪN B. ESMĀʿĪL TERMEḎĪ, famous poet of the first half of the 6th/12th century. He began his career as a poet in his home town and later lived for a long period in Marv, Balḵ and Ḵᵛārazm, being chosen as the panegyrist (maddāḥ) of the Saljuqid Sultan Sanǰar (511-52/1117-57). Apart from the writing of poetry, he was also entrusted with other official duties at court. Sanǰar sent him on a mission to Atsez the Ḵᵛārazmšāh with the aim of ending the dispute between them. While Ṣāber was in Ḵᵛārazm, Atsez chose two men to make an assassination attempt on Sanǰar. Ṣāber became aware of the plot, wrote a description of the two assassins, and sent it to Marv concealed in an old woman’s sock. On receipt of his letter, Sanǰar ordered a search to be made and, when the two men were found, put them to death. When Atsez learnt what had happened, he had Ṣāber drowned in the Oxus (Jovaynī, II, p. 8). This must have occurred after 538/1143-44 and before 542/1147-48 (Ṣafā, Adabīyāt II, p. 644); writers of taḏkeras, such as Hedāyat (Maǰmaʿ al- foṣaḥāʾ II, pp. 821-22) and Dawlatšāh (p. 57), have incorrectly given the date of his death as 546/1151-52.

Apart from Sultan Sanǰar, Adīb Ṣāber panegyrized the Ḵᵛārazmšāh Atsez (521-51/1127-56) during the period of his stay in Ḵᵛārazm. His poetry is simple and fluent and this gave him a standing in his own day similar to that of Farroḵī Sīstānī in the Ghaznavid period. His delicate ḡazals and other lyrics acquired considerable fame in Persian poetry by reason of their clarity of diction, eloquence, and simplicity of language. Ṣāber stood out among his contemporaries to such a degree that Anwarī, in spite of his own prowess, regarded himself as of lower rank (Ṣafā, op. cit., p. 645), while ʿAwfī praised his excellence and his artistic achievement (p. 329). His dīvān has been printed twice (ed. ʿA. Qawīm, Tehran, 1334 Š./1955; ed. M. ʿA. Nāṣeḥ, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964).


See also ʿAwfī, Lobāb (Tehran), pp. 329-34.

Jovaynī, II, p. 8.

Haft eqlīm II, pp. 86-92.

Ṣafā, Adabīyāt II, pp. 643-50.

Ḵᵛwāndamīr, Ḥabīb al-sīar (Tehran), II, pp. 518-19.

Jāmī, Bahārestān, ed. O. M. von Schlecta-Wssehrd, Vienna, 1846, p. 90.

Brown, Lit. Hist. Persia II, pp. 333-35.

(Ḏ. Ṣafā)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 22, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 5, pp. 460-461

Cite this entry:

Ḏ. Ṣafā, “ADĪB ṢĀBER,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/5, pp. 460-461; an updated version is available online at (accessed on 8 February 2014).