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Durand-Guédy, David

David Durand-Guédy. An Emblematic Family of Seljuq Iran: The Khujandīs of Iṣfahān

Compte-rendu réalisé par Jürgen Paul
Référence(s) :

David Durand-Guédy. « An Emblematic Family of Seljuq Iran: The Khujandīs of Iṣfahān », in : C. Lange and S. Mecit, eds., The Seljuqs. Politics, society and culture. Edinburgh, Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2011, p. 182-202.

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1This article is a comparatively direct enlargement of the monograph on Iṣfahān quoted above. The basic assumption is that the Seljuqs – as all pre-modern rulers – did not have the means to control the provinces directly. Imperial rule therefore was founded on an implicit contract with local power-holders; this in turn was based on common interest. “I [the sultan] recognize your role in the city by appointing you to the riyāsa, thereby making you my main interlocutor; in exchange for which you recognize my authority and you will ensure that the taxes are raised” (191).

2The article is a case study of this relationship. It traces the history of the Ḫujandī family from the mid-11th century to the 1230s, over no less than eight generations. The Ḫujandīs started in Iṣfahān as newcomers, they were transferred into that city from Transoxiana as heads of the Šāfiʻī community. It was in the early 12th century, when the Iṣfahānī notables (and many commoners) fought the Ismāʻīlīs in what amounted to a regional civil war, that the Ḫujandīs “naturalised” themselves. They held important positions in the urban government, above all the position of raʼīs, for generations. Whereas they were Muslim scholars at the outset, the later representatives were not fully accepted as such. Therefore, within the aʻyān, they stand for a group which has received very little attention until now: hereditary leaders who did not base their influence on positions (or achievements) in a Muslim religious or juridical context. As such local leaders, the Ḫujandīs were important and reliable enough to hold Iṣfahān and the entire region within the Seljuqid domains during and after the dynastic wars which began with Malikšāh’s death in 1092. Sultan Masʻūd (1134-52) did not even have to come to Iṣfahān regularly (see “Where did the Saljūqs live?”) – the contractual relationship with the local leaders was enough.

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Référence électronique

Jürgen Paul. Durand-Guédy, David, « David Durand-Guédy. An Emblematic Family of Seljuq Iran: The Khujandīs of Iṣfahān », Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 34-35-36 | 2016, document 5, mis en ligne le 30 décembre 2016, consulté le 22 février 2018. URL :

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