Nizam al-Mulk: Book of Government; or, Rules for Kings

(1091)

Nizam al-Mulk’s Book of Government; or, Rules for Kings (Siyasat nameh) is a treatise on kingship and a model for governance, written in 1091 in response to a request by the Seljuk ruler Malik-Shah that his ministers produce books on government and its administration in the face of various troubles facing the nation. Nizam al-Mulk, wazir (vizier) to the Seljuk sultans, incorporated traditional Persian and Islamic modes of thought into his treatise, which became a classic of the genre known as the “Mirrors for Princes”—so called because the intent was that rulers should look into these books and see reflected in them the way in which to rule. Nizam al-Mulk’s Book of Government, addressing politics and religion and the dangers facing the nation in some fifty chapters and giving practical and ethical advice for the conduct of the ruler, was given official sanction and established distinctly Persian forms of government and administration that endured for centuries. The excerpts...

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A Seljuk sultan (Yale University Art Gallery)

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