Eight years ago, A. Morton (“The Letters of Rashid al-Din: Ilkhanid Fact or Timurid Fiction?,” in R. Amitai-Press & D. Morgan, eds., The Mongol Empire & Its Legacy, Leiden: Brill, 1999: 155-99) convincingly established that the famous letters attributed to Rashid al-Din are a forgery of post-Mongol times.  The author shows these documents inner contradictions for deducing that they were probably forged under Shahrukh.  According to Morton, these letters were written by the class of Tajik scribes in the Timurid period.  They reflect the latter’s frustrations in the conflicts that opposed them to the Turkic Emirs, and have no interest as far as the political and administrative history of the Ilkhanid period is concerned.  This thesis has been contested by A. Soudavar (“In Defence of Rashid od-Din and His Letters,” Studia Iranica 32/1 (2003): 77-120).  Z. V. Togan is in the same line as A. Soudavar, considering these letters a significant source for the social, cultural and geographical data that they display.  The author asserts that even if these letters have their origin in chancery textbooks, the factual elements that can be found in them can be used by historians.  The case study selected by the author is that of Anatolia under Mongol dominance.

Denise Aigle, EPHE, Paris
CER: I-3.1.B-183