Kai Kaus on the Purchase of Slaves


Kai Kaus ibn Iskandar, an eleventh-century ruler of provinces south of the Caspian Sea in what is today Iran, was the author of the Qabus nameh (The Book of Qabus), a history of his grandfather with extensive commentary, which includes a section On the Purchase of Slaves. It is a book that, along with Nizam al-Mulk's Siyasat nameh (Book of Government; or, Rules for Kings), is considered one of the classics of early medieval Persian literature. The book itself contains many sections divided into forty-four chapters, providing advice on love, politics, sports, and everyday matters. Like the Siyasat nameh, the Qabus nameh is part of the Persian genre known as “Mirrors for Princes”—books intended to serve as guides for young princes on how to conduct affairs of state as well as their private lives. (In English translation, the Qabus nameh has been given the title A Mirror for Princes). Kai Kaus dedicated the text to his son Gilanshah.

Kai Kaus was in a good position to...