Thursday, 12 December 2019

Arwyn of Leicester, Order of the Laurel, 2019


Let Greatness of Glory be his Principality, and Splendor, and Greatness of Retinue, and Valour and Boldness, and Courage, and Favour with the Gryphon, the bestower of Victory, to the people of Avacal. So long as flowers spread their perfume and daylight shines, with Sincere Love and Ancient Friendship, do We, Ivar the Black and Asney Grimolfrsdottir, who lean upon the Couch of Command in Our Kingdom of the Gryphon, highly advanced in Dominion, Noble in Courage and Justice, send praise.

As the maxim says “An equitable Ruler is the personification of Good in the World[1]”, and so do We find Our Princely minds wishing to make known what cannot remain hidden, being the esteem in which we hold Our loyal subject Arwyn of Leicester also known as Amira al- 'Aliyya. This Arwyn is a woman of Great Worth, beloved by her family and by our cousin the Shah, who considers her to be a fidalgo[2] of high rank. As she has great knowledge of saffron, golpar, shevid[3] and all the spices, and has been governing the accounts of her household, and made her knowledge available to all, do We elevate her in rank, advance her in prestige, and make her a member of Our most noble Order of the Laurel. With her do We then make the following contract:

1st We make her a woman of the pen[4] and grant her the right and title to sit in the royal palace[5] and name her moqarrab ab-hazrat sharbat-khana[6], over-seer of spices and desserts to Our court.

2nd It is granted that she shall pay no manner of Customes or tolles any kind of waye when buying or selling the commodity of spice.

3rd Free libertie, safe conduct and licence to come or sende her factors in trade throughout Our countrey, and to act as our Embassador and agent in the buying and selling of spice with Our cousins in other countreys.

4th That her Camel men, Carauans and Shipps will have safe harbour on Our roads, coasts and rivers, and that any who infringe upon them shall be brought to Us for judgement.

We expect all to fulfill these obligations[7] and be bound by Our stipulations, except a stipulation that makes unlawful what is lawful[8]. Fulfil this, Our agreement, for an agreement is obligatory.[9]

This is the intention granted by Ivar and Asney, who reside on the Couch of Justice and Splendidness , may Their dynasty last till the end of the world, and Their reign be prolonged till the consummation of ages! Done at the celebration of Yule, in the Barony of Borealis, on the 16th day of Azar[10] in the yeare 1398, reckoned in the Society as the 7th Day of December in the yeare 54.

Wording by Maister Colyne Stewart of Ealdormere, based upon contracts between: ‘Abd al-‘Ali Khan, ruler of Gilan and England (14 April 1563); Shah Tahmasp and England (29 June 1566);  Shah ‘Abbas I and King James I of England (1615; modified in July 1697); the Treaty of Peace and the Frontiers (17 May 1639); and a letter from Shah Sulayman to Charles II (1677-78).

Dandamayev, Muhammad A. et al. “Contracts”. Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition accessed September 29, 2019

Ferrer, José Cutillas, “SPAIN: RELATIONS WITH PERSIA IN THE 16TH AND 17TH CENTURIES,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2018, available at September 29, 2019

Ferrier, R. W. “The Terms and Conditions under which English Trade Was Transacted with Ṣafavid Persia”. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Vol. 49, No. 1, In Honour of Ann K. S. Lambton (1986), pp. 48-66 (23 pages) accessed  September 30 2019

Hanway, Jonas. An Historical Account of the British Trade Over the Caspian Sea: With a Journal of Travels from London Through Russia Into Persia; and Back Through Russia, Germany and Holland. To which are Added, the Revolutions of Persia During the Present Century, with the Particular History of the Great Usurper Nadir Kouli in four volumes. Volume one. London: 1753.

 “Iran, 1400–1600 A.D.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2002)  accessed September 29, 2019

Marcinkowski, M. Ismail. “Dastural-Moluk”, Encyclopedia Iranica. Accessed October 1, 2019

ibid. “Tadherat al-Moluk”, Encyclopedia Iranica. Accessed September 30, 2019

Matthee,  Rudolph P. The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver, 1600-1730.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. accessed September 29, 2019

Minorsky, V. Tadhkirat Al-Muluk: A Manual of  Safavid Administration  (circa 1137/1725). Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons LTD. 1943. Online at Accessed September 30, 2019

Mustafa, Grand Vizier.  “Treaty of Peace and Frontiers: The Ottoman Empire and Persia (17 May 1639)”. Pars Times: Greater Iran and Beyond,  Accessed October 1, 2019

Ranjbar, M.A. and Sehhat Manesh, R., 2016. “New Routes to Iran’s International Trade in the Safavid Era”. Ancient Asia, 7, p.8. DOI: accessed September 30, 2019

Savory, Roger M. “COURTS AND COURTIERS vi. In the Safavid period”
Encyclopedia Iranica.
accessed September 29, 2019

Shafaat, Ahmad, Dr. “Islamic Rules Governing Financial Dealings, “1988.  Islamic Perspectives, Accessed October 1, 2019

With Thanks To
Carroll-Clark, Susan. Private correspondence, Facebook Messenger, September 24 through October 1, 2019.

Leo-Roca, Carlos. SOAS Library, University of London.

[1] The original maxim is “An equitable Sultan is the shadow of God on earth”. (Mustafa.)
[2] Someone who was of a high rank could be known as a fidalgo. (Savory.)
[3] Spices native to Persia.
[4] The Safavid administration was split between the “men of the sword” and the “men of the pen”. (Savory.)
[5] It was a great honour to be allowed to sit in the Shah’s court. (Savory.)
[6] A moqarrab ab-hazrat was a manager in charge of a royal workshop responsible for expenditures. Moqarrab meant “confidant” and “hazrat” is an honorific. The sharbat-khana was the workshop that included spices, sugar and tobacco. (Savery. Minorsky. Marcinkowski.)
[7] The koranic verse 5:1 stipulates that agreements must be adhered to. (Dandemayay.)
[8] This is attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. (Dandemayay.)
[9] Several koranic verses teach that contracts must be honoured, including "O Believers: Honor your contracts" (5:1,) as well as "And fulfill every commitment. Surely every commitment will be asked about (on the day of judgment)" (17:34). (Mustafa. Shafaat.)
[10] Azar is the ninth month of the official calendar of Iran. It begins in November, ending in December, and lasts thirty days.

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