An Anonymous Compilation of Financial Record Exemplars from the Il-Khanid Period: "Risâla al-Sahibiyya"
Osman G. Özgüdenli
Keywords: Ilkhanate, Iran, Risâla al-Sahibiyya, Historical Writing
Persian historical writing exhibited significant advancement in the Il-Khanid period (1256-1353). Besides political history, works in other genres, such as literary composition, expository prose and financial recordkeeping, also shared in this development. Bearing witness to this growth, the contents of a compilation of exemplars will here be introduced, along with a presentation of a selected portion of its contents. Bound with an anonymous work of expository prose and a collection of model letters and compositions deriving from A.D. 14th century/H. 8th century, the compilation was placed between Safavid specimens of literary compositions and the second portion of the "Sa'adat-nama" by Falak 'Ala-yi Tabrizi. The name of the compilation is inscribed on leaf eleven of the manuscript as "Risala al-Sahibiyya." Due to missing leaves at the beginning and the end of this work, the name of the compiler remains unknown. To my knowledge, this compilation, which forms part of the manuscript registered as no. 3697 and preserved in the National Library (Kitabhana-yi Milli-yi Malik) at Tehran, is unique. The front and back matter of the manuscript is incomplete. Most of the eight individual works making up the manuscript are missing their opening and concluding portions; in fact, some of them consist in only one or two pages. Occupying leaves 10-72 of the manuscript, the sixth work-itself a compilation in five parts-is titled "Risala al-Sahibiyya.." An excerpt from the text of this compilation, published at the end of this article and accompanied by my translation, represents the last three sections of part five. The textual contents include model document forms for diplomas (berat), identification records (yafte), transaction records (harid u furuş), rental contracts (icara-nama), manumission papers (azad-nama), records of sales, divorce settlements (talak-nama) and debt discharge certificates (bari-nama). These records serve to throw light on the financial side of Il-Khanid cultural history.