Rashid ad-Din

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rashid ad-Din


(Rashid al-Din Fadlullah; called al-Tabib, “physician”). Born 1247 in Hamadan; died July 18, 1318, in Tabriz. Persian scholar, encyclopedist, historian, and statesman.

Rashid ad-Din came to prominence in the Hulaguid state during the rule of Abaqa Khan (1265–82). From 1298 to 1317 he was vizier to the Mongol Il-Khans Ghazan Khan, Oljeitu, and Abu Said. He virtually controlled state policy and initiated reforms that were carried out by Ghazan Khan. Rashid ad-Din opposed the centrifugal aims of the Mongol and Turkic nomadic elite. His taxation policy, based on a strictly fixed feudal income tax, was aimed at reviving the country’s economy. He became a large-scale landowner during his vizierate. The intrigues of his opponents, who falsely accused him of poisoning Oljeitu, resulted in Rashid ad-Din’s execution.

An important historian, Rashid ad-Din is also the author of works on medicine, botany, and agricultural and building technology, an encyclopedia of the natural sciences, and treatises on Muslim (Sunnite) theology. His Collection of Histories (Jami-at-Tawarikh, in Persian, completed 1310–11) is a major source for the political and socioeconomic history of the lands composing the Hulaguid state in the 13th and early 14th centuries. The section devoted to world history, on which many scholars collaborated, covers the history of the Muslim states until the Mongol conquest, as well as the history of the ancient Judahites and the peoples of Western Europe, India, China, and other lands. In his works, Rashid ad-Din maintained that universal history should include the history of all peoples then known, not only the Muslims, as was the practice among Arab and Persian Muslim historians. He also asserted that the history of all peoples should be based on primary sources and historical traditions and should exclude religious and political prejudices. Rashid ad-Din’s correspondence with his sons, who were provincial governors, and with officials and religious leaders, is a valuable source for Persia’s socioeconomic history.


Sbornik letopisei: Istoriia mongolov. Translated from Persian and with notes by I. N. Berezin. In Trudy Vostochnogo otdeleniia russkogo ar-kheologicheskogo ob-va, parts 5,7,13, 15. St. Petersburg, 1858–88.
Sbornik letopisei, vol. 1, books 1–2; vols. 2–3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946–60.
Dzhami at-tavarikh, vol. 3. Baku, 1957. (Persian text with Russian translation.)
Perepiska. Moscow, 1971. (Persian text with Russian translation.)
Storey, C. A. Persidskaia literatura: Biobibliograficheskii obzor, vol. 1. Moscow, 1972. (Lists editions and translations.)


Bartol’d, V. V. “Turkestan v epokhu mongol’skogo nashestviia.” Soch., vol. 1. Moscow, 1963. Pages 92–96.
Petrushevskii, I. P. “Rashid ad-Din i ego istoricheskii trud.” In Rashid ad-Din: Sb. letopisei, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1952.
Falina, A. I. Rashid ad-Din—vrach i eslestvoispytatel’. Pis’mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. Isloriko-filologicheskie issledovaniia: Ezhegodnik 1971. Moscow, 1974.
Rashid-al-Din Fadhlallah Hamadani wazir. Tehran-Tabriz, ah. 1348 (A.D. 1969).
Petrushevsky, Y. Rashid al-din in Persian Historiography of the Middle Ages. Moscow, 1967. (XXVII International Congress of Orientalists.)
Petrushevsky, Y. “Rashid al-Din’s Conception of State.” In the collection Rashid al-Din: Commemoration Volume. Central Asiatic Journal, 1970, vol. 14, nos. 1–3.
Proceedings of the Colloquium on Rashid-al-Din Fadlallah: Teheran-Tabriz, 11–16 Aban 1348(2–7 November 1969). Tehran, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.