[Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍl Allāh]
(b Hamadan, ?1247; d Tabriz, July 18, 1318).
Persian bureaucrat, historian and patron. Physician to the Ilkhanid ruler Abaqa (reg 1265–82), vizier to Ghazan (reg 1295–1304) and Uljaytu (reg 1304–16), and author of administrative reforms aimed at promoting a centralized tax-based government, Rashid al-Din probably played a major role in the transformation of Ilkhanid government from a nomadic Central Asian regime into a sedentary Islamic polity. He attained great power and wealth, possessing extensive agricultural and economic interests across the Ilkhanid dominions, and his varied intellectual interests reflected the cosmopolitan nature of Ilkhanid society. He contributed to the flowering of Persian historical writing, and his greatest work, the Jāmi‛ al-tawārīkh (‘Compendium of histories’, or ‘World history’), is the first universal history with sections on the Mongols, Chinese, Franks, Jews, Indians and the Islamic dynasties. He also wrote books on Islamic theology and practical science including agriculture, mineralogy, civil and naval architecture, and translated works on Mongol and Chinese medicine, pharmacology and government....