ONṢOR AL-MAʿĀLI, KAY KĀVUS b. Eskandar b. Qābus, penultimate prince of the Ziyarid dynasty of Tabaristan (Ṭabarestān) and Gilān, in origin Daylamite, which ruled in the 10th-11th centuries. He was the grandson of the ruler and littérateur Qābus b. Vošmgir (q.v.). According to Ebn Esfandiār, tr. pp. 235-36, he came to the throne in 441/1049-50, when his petty principality (or at least the Caspian coastal parts of it) had become a vassal state of the Great Saljuqs. Almost nothing is known of his life except what he tells us in his Mirror of Princes, the Andarz-nāma (q.v.), better known as the Qābus-nāma, named after his famous grandfather and addressed to his son Gilānšāh. Apparently he made the Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in his youth and spent much of his early years away from the Caspian region, in eastern Transcaucasia in the service of the Shaddadid amir Abu’l-Asvār Šāvor I b. Fażl of Dvin and Ganja (r. 1022-67) in holy war (ḡazw) against the Christian powers of the region, and in Ghazna at the court of his maternal cousin the Ghaznavid Sultan Mawdud b. Masʿud I (r. 1041-48), only returning home when he succeeded to his father Eskandar’s heritage (see Qābus-nāma, ed. Levy, pp. 24-25, 84, 135-37, tr. pp. 35-37, 120-121, 230-31, 234-35). Of his later life in his principality, nothing is known; according to Ebn Esfandiār, Tāriḵ-e Ṭabarestān, ed. ʿAbbās Eqbāl, Tehran 1320/1941, II, p. 18, abridged Eng. tr. E.G. Browne, Leiden-London 1905, p. 236, he died in 462/1069-70.


Abd al-ʿAziz Badawi, Baḥṯ dar bāra-ye Qābus-nāma, Tehran, 1956, pp. 59-81.

C, E. Bosworth “On the Chronology of Ziyārids in Gurgān and Ṭabarestān,” in Der Islam, 40, 1964, p. 30.

Idem, The New Islamic Dynasties, Edinburgh, 1996, pp. 166-67 no. 81.

Qābus-nāma, ed. R. Levy, GMS, London 1951, loc. cit., tr. idem, A Mirror for Princes, the Qābus Nāma, London 1951, loc. cit., ed. Gh.-H. Yusofi, Tehran 1345/1966.

Safa, Adabiyāt II, pp. 898-99.

(C. Edmund Bosworth)

Originally Published: July 20, 2002

Last Updated: September 20, 2015

Cite this entry:

C. Edmund Bosworth, “ONṢOR AL-MAʿĀLI,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/onsor-al-maali (accessed on 20 September 2016).