Book of Victory


Ẓafarnāmah (Book of victory) by Sharaf al-Din ʿAli Yazdi (circa 1390–1454) is a biographical work dealing with the life of the central Asian conqueror Timur (reigned 1370–1405). Completed in around 1424, Yazdi’s work is based in part on an earlier work, also entitled Ẓafarnāmah, by Nizam al-Din ʿAli Shami (who completed his work in 1404). A poet and scholar, Yazdi wrote works on numerology, astrolabes, and a variety of other topics, and he was renowned for his knowledge of ʿūlūm-i gharība (the esoteric sciences). He was summoned to the provincial capital of Shiraz around 1419 by Timur’s grandson, Ibrahim Sultan (1394‒1435), and asked to compile and codify the records related to the life of Timur. The present copy of the Ẓafarnāmah is the first volume of a two-volume edition, published under the aegis of the Asiatic Society at the Baptist Mission Press in Calcutta in 1887. The editor, Maulawi Muhammad Ilahdad, was a professor in the Arabic department at the Calcutta Madrasah. Ilahdad notes that the decision to publish this work in two volumes was made in order to avoid a bulky single volume. The first volume of this edition covers the events of Timur’s life to 1397 and the conclusion of Timur’s five-year campaign in the west that resulted in the conquest of Kurdistan, Southern Persia, and Georgia, and in the fall of Baghdad.

Last updated: January 10, 2018