The History of Persia


Captain John Stevens (died 1726) was a prolific translator and embellisher of Spanish and Portuguese works of history and literature who published this book in 1715. In his preface, Stevens explained: “Persia is at this time, and has been for several Ages, one of the Great Eastern Monarchies, and yet the Accounts we have hitherto had of it in English have been no better than Fragments.” The book is a translation of a work in Spanish published in 1610 by Pedro Teixeira (erroneously identified by Stevens as Antony), a Portuguese traveler and writer about whom little is known. Some time after 1586 Teixeira traveled to Portuguese Goa in present-day India. From there he went to Persia, where he became proficient in Persian and acquired books and manuscripts on the history of the country. Teixeira’s book consisted of a summary and translation of the Tārīkh-i rawz̤at al-ṣafā (History of the kings of Persia) by Mīr Khvānd, Muḥammad ibn Khāvandshāh (1433–98), a summarized translation of a Persian chronicle of the kings of Hurmuz, and an account of his own voyage from India to Italy in 1600-01. Stevens’s work contained numerous errors and inaccuracies, but it played an important part in making Persia better known to 18th-century European and especially British readers.

Last updated: September 30, 2016