JAHĀNGOŠĀ-YE NĀDERI, TĀRIḴ-E (or Tāriḵ-e nāderi), one of the most important chronicles of the reign of Nāder Shah Afšār (r. 1736-47) by his court secretary, Mirzā Moḥammad-Mahdi Khan Estrābādi/Astarābādi (q.v.). It closely follows the conventions of Safavid historiography in its depiction of Nāder’s life and ends during the chaotic period that ensued upon Nāder’s assassination in 1160/1747 (Lockhart, pp. 262-63). The work appeared in its finished form in the 1750s, some three decades after the Afghan invasion of Iran and a decade after Nāder’s death. It was based on Nāder’s official court chronicle as recorded by Astarābādī, who had served as his main official historiographer. This work, originally titled Tāriḵ-e nāderi, later became known as the Tāriḵ-e jahāngošā-ye nāderi, a title reminiscent of ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā Malek Jovayni’s history of the Mongol era, Tāriḵ-e jahāngošā, with which it does not have many obvious stylistic or structural parallels. Moreover, Astarābādī himself did not use this phrase to describe his own text.
Jahāngošā-ye nāderi is divided into two major parts. Its first section provides a general overview of the chaotic situation in Iran after the Afghan invasion in 1722, followed by a detailed account of Nāder’s life and career. The second part of the work is described in its introduction as a “ruz-nāmča-ye ẓafar” (diary of victory), perhaps alluding to the Ẓafar-nāmas of Šaraf-al-Din ʿAli Yazdi and Neẓām-al-Din Šāmi, both written about Timur. Astarā-bādi’s stylistic debt to these authors as well as to Safavid chroniclers is fairly clear, as reflected particularly in his florid language and stylized battle accounts. The Tāriḵ-e nāderi/Jahāngošā-ye nāderi displayed great structural similarity to the well-known Safavid chronicle, Eskandar Beg Monši’s Tāriḵ-e ʿālamārā-ye ʿabbāsi. Astarābādī mimicked Eskandar Beg’s annalistic division of his history in terms of Turko-Mongol years almost exactly, and, like Eskandar Beg, he offered detailed florid descriptions of spring immediately followed by accounts of courtly nowruz festivities.
In Astarābādi’s work, these accounts of spring became almost as important as the actual narrative of events themselves. The chronicle’s role as a decorative celebration of the ruler’s charisma and royal glory (farr) now began to overshadow its function as a record of his actual accomplishments. Descriptions of spring in this work do not merely evoke the natural process of change, but rather foreshadow and parallel the accounts of historical events that they precede.
The succession struggles that erupted in Persia after Nāder’s assassination created uncertainty for the author as to how to memorialize him. Some versions of Astarā-bādi’s work ended with a short passage explaining that the author’s goal was to record the events of Nāder’s life, not to discuss the chaos that had arisen after his death. A few copies of the text end with a brief tribute, dated 1171/1758, to Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Qājār (Ṣafā, V, pp. 1807-8; Tucker, 2006, p. 107). The lack of continuity in dynastic rule in the 18th century made the task of celebrating rulers through panegyric tributes more complicated for court chroniclers of the time.
The Tāriḵ-e nāderi served as a stylistic model for numerous Persian court histories through the early Qajar period. The continuing popularity of this work in Asia and the Middle East is evidenced by the numerous lithographic editions of it that began to appear in the mid-19th century. Its appearance, too, at a time when Europeans were becoming increasingly aware of Persia’s importance in world affairs, made it one of the first early modern Persian histories to be translated into a European language. A French translation of this work was made for the king of Denmark and published in 1770 by Sir William Jones, a British Orientalist who later achieved fame as a translator and scholar of Sanskrit and other Indian languages. Versions of the Jones translation then quickly appeared in German and English a few years later.
Mīrzā Mahdī Khan Estrābādi/Astarā-bādī, Tāriḵ-e Jahāngošā-ye nāderi, ed. Sayyed ʿAbd-Allāh Anwār, Tehran, 1962; ed. Adib Barumand as Tāriḵ-e Jahāngošā-ye nāderi: noska-ye ḵaṭṭi-e moṣawwar motaʿalleq ba 1171 H.Q, Tehran, 1991; tr. William Jones as Histoire de Nader Chah, connu sous le nom de Thahmas Kuli Khan, empereur de Perse, 2 vols., London, 1770; abr. tr. by William Jones as The History of the Life of Nadir Shah, King of Persia, London, 1773; tr. Thomas Heinrich Gaderbusch as Geschichte des Nadir Schah, Keysers von Persen, Greifswald, 1773 (based on the Fr. tr.). Laurence Lockhart, Nadir Shah: A Critical Study Based Mainly upon Contemporary Sources, London, 1938, pp. 292-96.
Aḥmad Monzawi, Fehrest-e nosḵahā-ye ḵaṭṭi-e fārsi, 6 vols., Tehran, 1969-74, VI, pp. 4309-14.
Ḏabiḥ-Allāh Ṣafā, Tāriḵ-e adabiyāt dar Irān, 5 vols. in 8. Tehran, 1954-92.
Charles A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, 2 vols., London, 1927-39, I, pp. 322-24.
Ernest Tucker, “Religion and Politics in the Era of Nādir Shāh: The Views of Six Contemporary Sources,” Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1992, pp. 130-85.
Idem, Nadir Shah’s Quest for Legitimacy in Post-Safavid Iran, Gainsville, Florida, 2006.
Originally Published: December 15, 2008
Last Updated: April 10, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. XIV, Fasc. 4, pp. 382-383
Ernest Tucker, “JAHĀNGOŠĀ-YE NĀDERI,” Encyclopædia Iranica, XIV/4, pp. 382-383, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jahangosa-ye-naderi (accessed on 30 December 2012).