Persian Letters from the "second Iran". Edition and analysis of an insha'-work from Anatolia (mid 13th century) (MS Marʿashī 11136, fol. 1-92)
The project deals with an important new source for the history of Anatolia in the 13th century. It is the earliest inshāʾ-work ("compilation of letters") made in the Rum-Seljuk sultanate. The author is unknown, but he was almost certainly a secretary in the Rum Seljuk chancellery in Konya. He began his work shortly before the crushing defeat by the Mongols in 1243 and continued it thereafter. The work fills 92 sheets and contains 167 documents in Persian. Most of them are letters written during the reign of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kay-Khusraw II (r.
1237-1246) and his sons. Some are official correspondence, others are private (although in many cases sent by princely authors). During this period, the once powerful Saljuq sultans, who had subjugated most of Anatolia, brutally became vassals of the non-Muslim Mongols. The work was bound together with other sequences of letters in the early 14th century, during the heyday of the Ilkhanate (i.e., the Mongol state that ruled Iran and Anatolia in the second half of the 13th century/early 14th century). The manuscript was never published (except for 2 documents), nor studied. It was kept in private hands before reaching the Ayatollah Marʿashī Library in Qom (Iran) in the last decades of the 20th century. In 2020, I presented it for the first time. The project will result in a book and a research article. The book will include a critical edition of the entire text, a summary of all the documents (modeled on the standard Turan and Sevim editions for similar manuscripts), and a detailed commentary on political history, cultural history, and manuscript studies. Indeed, this source can greatly enhance our understanding of the political and administrative history of Anatolia during the crucial period when power shifted from Konya to the Ordu (the camp of the Mongol ruler). The documents provide an invaluable perspective on events described in chronicles no earlier than a generation later. They can also serve to analyze writing norms, especially by comparing them to similar works produced in Iran and Anatolia. Finally, the complex history of the manuscript over at least seven decades will be discussed in order to understand the function of such a work within the broader genre of compilations, which remains under-researched. Overall, the project will lead to a better understanding of the shock of the Mongol conquest, but also of the integration of Anatolia into the Persian world.