ĀṮĀR-E ʿAJAM, a study by Sayyed Mīrzā Moḥammad-Naṣīr Forṣat-al-dawla Šīrāzī, 1271-1339/1854-1920 (q.v.) of the geographical features and historical monuments of Fārs (Storey, I/1, p. 353, I/2, p. 1295) with notices on various rulers, scholars, poets, mystics, artists, and other notables of Fārs, as well as information on the history of the religious sects there. In an incidental way it provides data on the other provinces of Iran and on neighboring countries. While it refers to both the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods, its chief value is for the 13th/19th century.

Forṣat Šīrāzī came from a well-educated Shirazi family and trained himself in various fields of knowledge, even learning some English. He held posts in the Fārs provincial government, including the directorships of public education and welfare (rīāsat-e maʿāref o fawāʾed-e ʿāmma) and of the judiciary (rīāsat-e ʿadlīya). For several years, Forṣat traveled through Fārs, gathering data; he mapped geographical features, sketched and described reliefs, buildings, and other monuments, recording their locations precisely and collecting local information about them. It was originally at the urging of a British official that Forṣat set out to describe and sketch some of the province’s ancient ruins, at the same time surveying some estates and measuring some hill elevations. He eventually sent his material with a Parsi named Mānekǰī (Manekji Limji Hataria? See Anǰoman-e Zartoštīān) to give to the official; but Manekji died, and the text, sketches, and maps were lost. In 1310/1892 Ḥosayn-qolī Khan Neẓām-al-salṭana was appointed governor of Fārs; he asked Forṣat to redo the work, and he gladly set about his research again, which this time resulted in a more complete work, the Āṯār-e ʿaǰam (compl. 1313/1896). The text was first published in Bombay, 1314/1896 (reproduced by ʿA. Dehbāšī, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983), with a preface by Mīrzā Abu’l-Ḥasan Eṣṭahbānātī and Shaikh Mofīd. A lithographed edition was published in Bombay (1353-54/1934-35) from a copy made by the calligrapher Mīrzā Moḥammad Nāhīd Šīrāzī.

An interesting section of the book describes the author’s journey in 1303/1885 from Shiraz to the Shiʿite shrines in Iraq, Karbalā, Naǰaf, and Ḵāẓemayn. Proceeding overland to Bushire (Būšehr), by steamer to Baṣra, and by boat to Baghdad, he observed and prepared drawings of historical ruins all along his route. Thus e.g., he made a detailed account of the Ayvān-e Kesrā near Baghdad and described the monuments in the Kermānšāhān region (Bīsotūn, Ṭāq-e Bostān), Hamadān, Azerbaijan, etc. The book concludes with a detailed description of Shiraz in his own time, its historical buildings and institutions, notable people, and a list of rulers and governors throughout the Islamic period from Moḥammad b. Yūsof Ṯaqafī down to Rokn-al-dawla Moḥammad Taqī Mīrzā, son of Moḥammad Shah.

Search terms:

 آثار عجم  atar e ajam ataar e ajam


(M. Dabīrsīaqī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 17, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 8, pp. 905-906