Gonbad-e Qabus

An 11th-century Inscription

هذا القصر العالي – لامير شمس المعالي – الامير قابوس ابن وشمگير – امر به بنائه في حياته – سنه سبع و تسعين – و ثلثمائه قمريه و سنه خمس و سبعين و ثلثمائه شمسيه

This tall palace belongs to the prince Shams al-Maʿali. The amir Qabus b. Wushmgir ordered it built when he was alive, in 397 of the lunar calendar and the year 375 of the solar.

This close-up of the inscription shows the start of the phrase over the door:

An 11th-century Description

This passage is not about the tower itself, but rather about the man who built the tower: Qabus. It is from an 11th-century Persian historian named Biruni, who wrote in Arabic.

How wonderfully has he, whose name is to be exalted and extolled, combined with the glory of his noble extraction the graces of his generous character, with his valiant soul all laudable qualities, such as piety and righteousness, carefulness in defending and observing the rites of religion, justice and equity, humility and beneficence, firmness and determination, liberality and gentleness, the talent for ruling and governing, for managing and deciding, and other qualities, which no fancy could comprehend, and no human being enumerate!

Source, pp. 125-6.

An 11th-century Poem

This poem is reportedly from Qabus himself, written in Persian.

The things of this world from end to end are the goal of desire and greed,
And I set before this heart of mine the things which I most do need,
But a score of things I have chosen out of the world’s unnumbered throng,
That in quest of these I my soul may please and speed my life along.
Verse, and song, and minstrelsy, and wine full-flavoured and sweet,
Backgammon and chess, and the hunting ground, and the falcon and cheetah fleet,
Field and ball, and audience hall, and battle and banquet rare,
Horse and arms, and a generous hand, and praise of my Lord and prayer.

Source, pp. 127-8.

Another 11th-century Tomb

This is the tomb of one of the Bavandids, rulers of Tabaristan, constructed between 1016 and 1021. The Bavandids were likely imagining what the Sasanian tombs looked like in order to recreate the same style. Bavandid towers have inscriptions in both Arabic and Middle Persian. See this chapter for a discussion.