Qajar (Kadjar) Titles and Appellations


Unlike the European titles and appellations, the Persian case is a special case, in that titles of nobility, such as count, viscount, baron, duke, etc., were never assigned in Persia, under the Qajars (Kadjars), nor where they current before their time.(1) The same is true of many other dynasties in the Middle and Near East. In Persia, under the Qajars (Kadjars), honorific titles were bestowed by the ruler. (A representative list of such titles will be found at the end of this essay.) Most of these titles were not hereditary, but only for life, and were often reused and bestowed upon others, subsequently. (This is one of the sources of great confusion in Western scholarship on this period!) When a title does remain within the same family for generations, inheritance of the honorific title, even when prominent princes were involved, let alone commoners, was not automatic. The title had to be reassigned to the heir by the shah, and sometimes it was not given to the eldest son but rather to another son or descendant of the shah's own choosing.(2)

With regard to non-honorific hereditary titles such as the title of "Shahzadeh" ("Prince") and its feminine equivalent "Shahzadeh Khanoum" ("Princess") -- both by definition hereditary by virtue of birth -- the matter was different. These titles only devolved upon children of the Imperial family and then as a matter of course. Thus all children of Fathali Shah; all children of his crown prince Abbas Mirza; all children of Mohammad Shah, and so on, were titled, generally and generically, Prince or Princess. Thereafter, all male descendants of these children, in turn, would be titled "Shahzadeh" or Prince, and their children in turn titled "Shahzadeh" or "Shahzadeh Khanoum." The title "Shahzadeh" being passed down through the male line to the present. The title "Shahzadeh Khanoum" only being applicable to daughters of princes but not to daughters of princesses who married commoners. Thus today, we have "Shahzadehs" and "Shahzadeh Khanoums" still, but those titles are only appropriate if their fathers and grand-fathers and great-grand fathers were "Shahzadeh" all the way to the "Shah" from whom the right to bear this title derived by virtue of being an offspring of him.(3) No one else was or is entitled to the title "Shahzadeh" or "Prince" under the rules observed by the Qajars (Kadjars).

With regard to the Qajars (Kadjars), the question is further complicated by the fact that individuals who are members of the greater Qajar (Kadjar) family, in the male and female lines from the Qajar (Kadjar) shahs, and even beyond that to the other members of the greater Qajar tribe, who were not of the royal line, such as some of the Davallou-Qajars, Qovanlou Qajars and others, refer to themselves, and rightly so we might add, as "Qajar." In the popular mind, when someone says they are "Qajar," the inference is that they are of royal descent, and further, that they are princes or princesses. Sometimes this conflation has been allowed and even perpetuated by those individuals themselves, who on account of their wealth or prominence in society did not mind the additional accolade of "Prince" when they were traveling abroad or being introduced into this or that society as "Prince" such and such. This was even sometimes the case in Iran, after the Qajars' (Kadjars') demise in 1925, when prominent members of the greater Qajar (Kadjar) family and tribe allowed themselves to be referred to as "Prince" when it suited their standing in Iranian society. The matter, however, has no bearing on the legitimacy of the title. Such instances of misuse have occurred everywhere, and Persia and Iran is no exception to that. So long as the Qajars (Kadjars) were ruling in Persia, however, these abuses of titles could and did never occur. The Qajars (Kadjars) themselves accommodated the distinction between Qajars (Kadjars) of royal descent and non-royal Qajars as follows: Qajars (Kadjars) of royal descent were referred to as "ghaadjaar." Qajars of non-royal descent as "ghadjar."(4) The difference is in the spelling and intonation, and every member of the greater Qajar (Kadjar) family and the Qajar tribe was familiar with this distinction. Furthermore, when the descent was royal in the male line, those "ghaadjaars" were referred to as "shahzadeh" or prince.

There are also many false claims to the title "Prince" in connection with the Qajars (Kadjars). This is in part due to the fact that many descendants today feel that they are entitled to that title by virtue of the importance of their family within the larger Qajar (Kadjar) family, or by virtue of the closeness of their family to either the Imperial family and/or to one or the other of the prominent princely families. Of these cases there are two distinct ones. The first is the case of families who were prominent under the Qajars (Kadjars), and by marriage may be connected to the Qajars (Kadjars), either to the ruling house or to other prominent families, but cannot lay claim legally to the title "Prince" on account of the fact that they have no connection to the Qajar (Kadjar) princely male line. The other case is that of families who are descended of Qajar (Kadjar) princesses and even queens. The reason that, nevertheless, these families do not have the title of "Shahzadeh" or "Prince" is the fact that their closeness is through female lines, and thus they are not entitled to that appellation. This has never been a problem with the genuine and solid families (assil in Farsi) in these categories, and they have never made an issue of this. Take the Aminis, for instance. Here is how Ambassador Iradj Amini describes his relation to the Qajars (Kadjars):

"My great-grand father was Mirza Ali Khan Amin-od-Dowleh who became the Prime Minister of Mozaffareddin Shah at the beginning of the latter's reign and embarked on many reforms. ... He celebrated the wedding of his son, Mirza Mohsen Khan (Amin-od-Dowleh II) with Mozaffareddin Shah's daughter, Ashraf (Fakhr-od-Dowleh). ... My paternal grandmother's mother (the mother of Princess Fakhr-od-Dowleh) was Hazrate Oliah, wife of Mozaffareddin Shah and sister of Abdol-Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma. The latter's other sister, Najm-ol-Saltaneh, was the mother of Dr. Mossadegh."

There has never been a claim on the part of this family to the title "Prince" even though they are descendants of the daughter of Mozaffar-ed-Din shah, and not just any daughter, but one of the most prominent of them!

Bayanis, Sepahbodis, Amirsoleymanis, and many many others are in the same categories, many much more closely connected to the ruling house by marriage and descent in the female lines than many a Qajar (Kadjar) princely family, and yet the title does not devolve upon them, just as it does not in the European contexts where titles are by male descent only also.

In four exceptional cases, the title "Prince," not "Shahzadeh" but simply "Prince," was bestowed by Qajar (Kadjar) rulers on commoners. One was the case of Malkam or Malkum Khan under Nasser-ed-Din Shah, who was referred to as Prince Malkam Khan. The other was Mirza Reza Khan Arfa-ed-Dowleh, father of General Hassan Arfa, who received the title Prince, Prince Arfa, on account of his loyalty and closeness to both Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah and Mohammad Ali Shah. Two more instances of the granting of the title of "Prince" for life were mentioned to us by Soltan Ali Mirza Kadjar: That of Prince Momtaz, granted to Momtaz-al-Saltaneh by Soltan Ahmad Shah. Prince Momtaz was ambassador of Persia to France during Soltan Ahmad Shah's reign. Lastly that of Prince Mofakham, granted to Mofakham-ed-Dowleh under Soltan Ahmad Shah also. These titles were not hereditary. These cases aside, under the Qajars (Kadjars), there were many prominent members of the court and prominent members of the Qajar clan who had titles that could be considered equivalent to titles of nobility in the European context on account of their blood relations with the royal line. Those blood relations were usually acknowledged by the ruler of the day with honorific titles that became hereditary in that family later on, with the caveat referred to earlier, that the decision of the transfer of the title was still the shah's and the shah's only.(5) Such is the case of the Amini family, descendants of Amin-ed-Dowleh, or the Moezzi or Farmanfarmaian families for instance. These cases aside, as mentioned above, there were local chieftains, tribal warlords and leaders, etc. who styled themselves Khan and Ilkhan, and sometimes even Shah. Some of those titles have been translated by Western sources as Prince, such as "Prince of the Bakhtiars" but this is not correct, and these leaders themselves, in Persia, would never lay claim to such a title because "Shahzadeh" would necessitate royal issue in Persia. (Cf. footnote 1.)

There is one more exception, and a prominent one at that. That is the Agha Khan family. The honorific title Agha Khan was bestowed by Fathali Shah upon the ancestor of the present day Agha Khan. Later on, the Agha Khan used this title and his actual blood ties to the Qajars (Kadjars), to claim the right to the title "Prince" with the British crown. Thus the Agha Khan princes today.(6)

Finally, the matter of the translation of the titles of Qajar (Kadjar) princes and princesses into their English equivalent: Imperial Highness, Royal Highness and Highness. These distinctions in appellation when used in connection with Qajar (Kadjar) princes and princesses -- with the exception of that of Royal Highness as explained below -- are simply ones of closeness to the present or last (as in the case of Qajars (Kadjars) today on account of the exile of the Imperial family and the loss of the throne) ruling house. All the children of the last shah are properly styled Imperial Highnesses. Their children, other than those of the Crown Prince or Heir Presumptive, should be styled Highnesses; their children in turn, Prince or Princess (with due adjustments for male descent vs. female descent). Here, further special provisions are also made for the current situation of the split between the holder of the title Head of Imperial House and the holder of the title Heir Presumptive in the Qajar (Kadjar) Imperial family, which is a distinction that has evolved as a result of the exile of the Imperial family since Soltan Ahmad Shah and will be explained further below.(7)

With the Qajars (Kadjars) only two appellations or styles would be appropriate, H.I.H. and H.H. According to Soltan Ali Mirza, Head of the Imperial Kadjar House, H.R.H. would not be appropriate at all, since the Qajar (Kadjar) rulers were emperors ("shahanshahs") and never simply kings, even though generically they were referred to as "shah" or "king." This would apply to the Imperial family and their descendants therefore, and as there were no other hereditary titles of "Prince" other than those of the descendants of shahs, the appellation H.R.H. would not be appropriate in any case what so ever.

That said, during Nasser-ed-Din Shah's reign, the question of titles and appellations was regulated as follows: From Nasser-ed-Din Shah forward, all the sons of the shahs were styled H.I.H. (in Farsi: "Hazrat-e Aghdas-e Vaalaa"). All the daughters of shahs were styled H.I.H. (In Farsi: "Hazrat-e Ellieh Aalieh"). All the male grand-children in the male line were styled H.H. (In Farsi: Hazrat-e Vaalaa); all the female grandchildren in the male line styled H.H. (In Farsi: Hazrat-e Ellieh). All other princes or princesses from princely families would simply be referred to as "Shahzadeh" or "Shahzadeh Khanoum" and in English or French simply and only as Prince or Princess. Of course, in European realms, the proper address to a prince or princess has always been "Your Highness" and thus in this sense the appellation or style remains, but there is no equivalent appellation for that in Persia during the Qajars (Kadjars). As to the titles of the Imperial family, the Emperor (Shahanshah) would be referred to as A'laa Hazrat; the Empress as Oliaa Hazrat, and the Crown Prince as Vaalaa Hazrat and also as Hazrat-e Aghdass-e Vaalaa (by definition!).

Regarding the distinction of Head of Imperial House and Crown Prince or Heir Presumptive, as the case may be, that distinction did not occur until after the death of Mohammad Hassan Mirza, who was acknowledged as shah in exile by the Imperial family. After his death the question was raised as to who the appropriate "heir" was. The term Crown Prince would not be appropriate here anymore, but rather the term "Pretender" or "Heir Presumptive," and it is here also that the split between Head of Imperial Family and Heir Presumptive occurred, with three individuals claiming precedence: Soltan Hamid Mirza, son of Mohammad Hassan Mirza, Fereydoun Mirza, son of Soltan Ahmad Shah, and Soltan Mahmoud Mirza, brother of Soltan Ahmad Shah. The matter was resolved as follows:

In 1930, upon Soltan Ahmad Shah's death, Soltan Ahmad Shah's son, Prince Fereydoun Mirza declares himself Head of the Imperial Kadjar House and remains so until 1975. Upon his death in 1975, Prince Mohammad Hassan Mirza's son, Prince Soltan Hamid Mirza succeeds him as Head of the Imperial Kadjar House and Heir Presumptive, uniting the two titles in his person. Upon his death in 1988, Prince Soltan Mahmoud Mirza, brother of Soltan Ahmad Shah, becomes Head of the Imperial Kadjar House, but the title of Heir Presumptive devolves upon Soltan Hamid Mirza's son, Prince Mohammad Hassan Mirza II. (This is where the split between the holder of the title Head of Imperial Kadjar House and Heir Presumptive occurs in the Qajar (Kadjar) Imperial House again.) In turn, upon Soltan Mahmoud Mirza's death, Prince Soltan Mahmoud Mirza's nephew, Prince Soltan Ali Mirza Kadjar, son of Prince Soltan Abdol Madjid Mirza, becomes the Head of the Imperial Kadjar House of Persia, while the title Heir Presumptive remains with Prince Soltan Hamid Mirza's son, Prince Mohammad Hassan Mirza II. Today Prince Mohammad Hassan Mirza II remains Heir Presumptive (though he has not claimed that title to date), and Prince Soltan Ali Mirza Kadjar remains the present Head of the Imperial Kadjar House.

The above discussion dealt with the proper claim to titles and appellations of one kind or another under Qajar (Kadjar) rule.(8) Titles and appellations established under the Qajars (Kadjars) continued to a certain extent under their successors, the Pahlavis. The Pahlavis used many of the established appellations and titles in reference to the person of the shah and in reference to the person of the empress as well as those established by the Qajars (Kadjars) in reference to children of the Imperial couple, while abolishing all other titles and appellations current under the Qajars (Kadjars) for everyone else. The Pahlavis also added new titles and appellations of their own with regard to members of the Imperial family that did not exist before their time such as "Shahbaanou" ("Consort of the Shah" used exclusively and only for Shahbaanou Farah) or "Vaalaa gowhar" in reference to nephews and nieces of the shah.

Below are some of the titles that were used in Qajar times and their meanings, as well as some who survived Qajar times into the Pahlavi era.


The Qajars (Kadjars) adopted and adapted many of the appellations and titles current in their time in the Islamic world. However, today many of the appellations and titles the Qajars (Kadjars) used in their time have come to be uniquely and exclusively associated with them. (* Asterisk denotes terms not exclusive to Qajars (Kadjars).)

Shaah* = Persian for "King."

Malekeh* = Persian for "Queen." Used as title and name by Malekeh Jahaan, (lit. "World Queen"), wife of Mohammad Ali Shah, mother of Soltan Ahmad Shah, and grandmother of Soltan Ali Mirza Kadjar, the current head of the Imperial Kadjar House.

Soltaan* (pl. Salatin) = Persian spelling/pronunciation of Arabic for king. In its Arabic spelling, "Sultaan," adopted by the Ottomans as the exclusive title of their kings. In the case of Soltan Ahmad Shah and other members of the Imperial Household it is part of their name; e.g., Soltan Hamid Mirza, Soltan Mahmoud Mirza, etc. ... Today, in its Arabic spelling, adopted by Arab and Asian Emirs as part of their titles; e.g., Sultan Qabus, the Sultan of Brunei, etc. ...

Padeshah* = same as "shah"; king.

Shahanshah* = Lit. Shah of Shahs, i.e. Emperor. Title claimed by Qajar (Kadjar) rulers as they were still indeed rulers over several local shahs and as they saw themselves as successors to the Safavid Empire.

Mahd-e-Oliaa' = "Queen Mother." Title associated with some Qajar (Kadjar) queens, especially Fath Ali Shah's mother and Nasser-ed-Din Shah's mother. Lit. Mahd = hearth or cradle; Olia' = most high; thus = "most high hearth or cradle" or "most high life giving place" (i.e., place from whence one is born) and thus more elegantly translated as "Sublime Cradle." Hence the title bearer is the mother of the next Shah.

Malekeh Jahaan = " World Queen," title shared by Nasser-ed-Din Shah's mother and Mohammad 'Ali Shah's wife. In actuality, and as a coincidence, Jahaan Khanoum was Kamran Mirza's daughter's name, and when she became queen she naturally was called Queen Jahaan. However, Queen Jahaan also can be interpreted as Malekeh-ye Jahaan or "Queen of the World."

A'laa Hazrat* = "Your Most High Majesty" in reference to the king/emperor. Appellation of Persian/Iranian kings/emperors, especially in Qajar and Pahlavi times. Hazrat, when used in the Shi'a context as an appellation placed in front of the name of the person, is meant as a term of respect and even more. It is often translated as "Holiness" or "Saintliness" such as when used to refer to Hazrat-e 'Ali or Hazrat-e Mohammad (His Holiness 'Ali; His Holiness [the Prophet of Islam] Mohammed); also as "Ya Hazrat-e Mowlana" as a term of reverence for Mevlevi Sufis, followers in Turkey, for Mowlana Jalal-ed-Din Rumi.

Oliaa' Hazrat* = Lit. "Your Most High Majesty" in reference to the Queen. The title "Hazrat-e Oliaa" first belonged to Hazrat-e Olia, daughter of Firouz Mirza Nosrat-ed-Dowleh I, sister of Abdol Hossein Mirza Farman Farma and wife of Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah. The title came to mean "queen" in Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah's time. The title devolved to Mohammad Ali Shah's wife Malekeh Jahan and with her changed to "Oliaa' Hazrat." From that time on this was the official appellation of the queen of Persian rulers and the Pahlavis adopted that title for their queens as well. The title was last held by Queen Farah Pahlavi.

Khaan*= Leader (usually tribal leader).

Khaaghaan = Title of Mongolian/Chinese origin refering to the Emperor, used in the Qajar context for Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar and Fath Ali Shah, but more generically, as a title of all Qajar emperors.

Shaahzaadeh = Prince (lit. "born of a king" i.e., "of kingly birth or parentage").(9)

Shaazdeh = familiar form of Shaahzaadeh = Prince. Colloquial term used exclusively in reference to Qajar (Kadjar) princes

Baanou*: Lady.

Khaanoum: Title of Mongolian origin meaning "Lady." If after the given names of a Qajar (Kadjar) Imperial princess, and princesses generally, it means "princess" in the same way "Mirza" means "prince" after the given name of a Qajar (Kadjar) prince.

Mirzaa*= Persian term, short for "Amirzadeh" lit. "born of a prince" i.e., "son of a prince." Though used before the Qajars (Kadjars) by earlier Iranian and Mughal dynasties as a title, the term has come to be associated almost exclusively with the meaning of "Qajar Prince." However, the term means "prince" only if it occurs after the first name of the individual; i.e., Abbas Mirza, Kamran Mirza ..., but not Mirza Aghassi, Mirza Ali Khan, Mirza Reza, etc..., in which case it refers to something akin to "secretary," or learned man, i.e., a job title.

Naayeb-saltaneh (Nayeb-al-Saltaneh)= lit. "Viceroy;" or "Regent." Used in this meaning mostly in the case of Abbas Mirza Nayeb-Saltaneh, Fath Ali Shah's son and Crown Prince. Also used for Kamran Mirza Nayeb-Saltaneh, Nasser-ed-Din Shah's son. The title Nayeb-Saltaneh and the title Valiahd were separated from the time of Nasser-ed-Din Shah. Before, the two titles were, by definition, borne by the same person.

Valiahd* = Crown Prince

Hazrat-e Ellieh = "Your Highness." Appellation of Qajar (Kadjar) princesses.

Hazrat-e Ellieh Aalieh = feminine form of Hazrat-e Aghdass-e Vaalaa (below), used for Imperial Princesses.

Hazrat-e Vaalaa = "Your Highness." Appellation of all Qajar (Kadjar) princes.

Hazrat-e Aghdass = Same as above, but also used more generally for prominent Qajar (Kadjar) princes.

Hazrat-e Aghdass-e Vaalaa = Same as above, only with more emphasis and used only for Imperial Princes.

Vaala' Hazrat* = Same as above, but in Qajar (Kadjar) terminology only used for the Valiahd.

Hazrat-e Ashraf = Title of Qajar (Kadjar) Prime Ministers.

Hazrat-e Ajal = Your Excellency.

Qebleh-ye Aalam = composite term; "Qebleh" = Persian for direction of prayer for Muslims (i.e., the direction of Mecca on the compass); "Aalam" = Universe; thus "Direction of Orientation of the Universe," or, more elegantly put "Pivot of the Universe," the title of Prof. Abbas Amanat's book on Nasser-ed-Din Shah. This title is specifically associated with Nasser-ed-Din Shah, but is found in courtly address used for many other qajar shahs as well..

Saaheb-Gheraan = Lit. "Holder of the Conjunction." (or more elgantly "Lord of the Conjunction"). The etymology of this term is obscure. As a term, it refers to the celestial conjunction of planets, which, in Persian court astrology, are considered auspicious. Very losely the expression would be similar to saying in English "born under a lucky star." The appellation predates the Qajars and is found in Mughal titles as well. In the Persian Qajar context it came to mean basically "Auspicious Ruler" or "Ruler Whose Rule was Blessed by the Stars (Heavens)," similar to the Latin phrase "Annuit Coeptis," the motto adopted for the Great Seal of the United States of America. The title is most associated with Nasser-ed-Din Shah Qajar, and is often confused with the similar title "Saaheb-Gharneyn," "Holder of two Centuries" (i.e., "two centuries old"); Title of both Fath' Ali Shah and Nasser-ed-Din Shah. Of course, these kings were not two centuries old, i.e. they were not two hundred years old. The discrepancy has to do with the fact that in old Farsi, qarn or gharn ("century" in English) referred to not one hundred years but thirty years! Thus the above named kings, upon reaching sixty years of age were entitled to this appellation. It indicates advanced age, and presumably, the wisdom that goes with it! Gharneyn or qarneyn is the dual plural of qarn; it means "two qarns (centuries)". However, there is also another interpretation for this term. Gharn could also refer to forty eight lunar years. Thus a ruler who passes that mark in terms of length of rulership is titled "Saaheb Gharneyn," or having achieved rulership for more than one "century" and thus entitled to the appellation of ruling over two "centuries." This is the interpretation was suggested by Malekeh Jahan to her grand-son Soltan Ali Mirza Kadjar.

Ataabak = Term of Turkic origin, used among Turkomans. Honorific title of the Prime Minister of the Qajars (Kadjars).

Ataabak-e Azam = Same as above. The suffix "Azam" means "supreme," (lat. primus), thus Prime Minister, e.g. Amin-e-Soltan, Atabak-e Azam, Mohammad Ali Shah's prime minister, whose assassination leads the Shah down the road to opposition with the constitutional assembly, the Majles.

Sadr-e Azam = Same as above.

Aagha Khaan = Honorific title bestowed by Fath Ali Shah on his son-in-law Hassan Ali Shah (ca.1800-1881), the leader of the Ismailis of Iran. Agha Khan means "dear sir," and is thus both a term of endearment and an honorific title. (See also section on Qajars and Agha Khans in these pages.)

Baabaa Khaan = Term of endearment used by Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar (Kadjar) for his nephew and crown prince Fath Ali Mirza, later Fath Ali Shah Qajar (Kadjar).

Zell-e Soltaan = Honorific appellation, lit. "Soltan's Shadow," specific to Nasser-ed-Din Shah's eldest son, Mass'ud Mirza Zell-e Soltan (Zill-i Sultan), brother of Mozaffar-ed-din Shah, who, according to the law of succession decreed by Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar (Kadjar), could not be crown prince because his mother was not a Qajar (Kadjar) princess.

Nosrat-ed-Dowleh: Hereditary man's title "Victory of the Government."

Ezzat-ed-Dowleh or Ezzat-es-Saltaneh: Woman's title "Glory of the Crown." Princess Ezzat-Dowleh was Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah's daughter, wife of Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza Farman Farma and mother of Firouz Mirza "Nosrat-Dowleh."

Fakhr-ed-Dowleh = Woman's title "Pride of the Crown." Princess Fakhr-ed-Dowleh was Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah's daughter and wife of Amin-ed-Dowleh II, of whom the Amini family are descendants.

Tadj al-Dowleh: (pronounced Tadj ed-Dowleh) Woman's title "Crown of the Government" (Name of Fath Ali Shah's favorite of favorites, Tavous Khanom Tadj al-Dowleh, in honor of whom the Takht-e Tavous, the famous Peacock Throne of the Qajars, is named.)

Tadj-al-Saltaneh: (pronounced Tadj-e Saltaneh) Woman's title "Crown of the Crown" (Name of Nasser-ed-Din Shah's daughter.)

Farman Farma: Hereditary man's title "Commander of Commanders," lit. "He who gives commands." Especially, but not exclusively, associated with Prince Abdol Hossein Farman Farma and his descendants.

...-dowleh = (suffix) Honorific titles, usually non-hereditary, granted by Qajar (Kadjar) shahs. The term literally means "of the government" (government="dowlat" in Persian), but figuratively refers to the shah who is the bestower of this title. Therefore titles ending with this term refer to official positions within the court or the government, though not always. Examples: Ala'-ed-dowleh, Eyn-ed-dowleh, Vossough-Dowleh, Arfa'-ed-dowleh, etc. ... Many of these titles will become the bases for last names in twentieth century Iran, when Reza Shah Pahlavi decreed last names to be mandatory to modernize the country along Turkish and European lines. Thus: Vossough, Arfa, etc. ...

...-saltaneh = (suffix) Honorific titles, usually non-hereditary, granted by Qajar (Kadjar) shahs. The term literally means "of the monarchy" (monarchy="saltanat" in Persian), but figuratively refers to the shah who is the bestower of this title. Therefore titles ending with this term refer to official positions within the court or the government, though not always. Examples: Ghavam-saltaneh, etc. ...

...-soltaan = (suffix) Honorific titles, usually non-hereditary, granted by Qajar (Kadjar) shahs. The term literally means "monarch," and thus refers specifically to the shah who is the bestower of this title. Thus: Yamin-es-soltan, Amin-os-soltan, etc. ...

...-molk = (suffix) Honorific titles, usually non-hereditary, granted by Qajar (Kadjar) shahs. The term literally means "realm," and thus refers to the country and its glory, but figuratively again refers to the shah who is the bestower of this title. Thus: Hakimol-molk, Azadol-molk, etc. ...

...-mamaalek = (suffix) pl. of "molk." Same as above. Example: Mostowfi-al-Mamalek

Malek ... = (name) "Ruler" or "Prince" Example: Malek-Mansour. Here "Malek" is not a title, but part of the name of the person. It is chosen to match phonetically with the remainder of the name. Soltan Mansour does not match in Persian.

Soltan ... = (name) "Ruler" Example: Soltan Ahmad Shah, Soltan Madjid Mirza, Soltan Hamid Mirza. Here "Soltan" is not a title, but part of the name of the person. It is chosen to match phonetically with the remainder of the name. Malek Ahmad or Malek Hamid does not match in Persian. Malek Madjid would match, but no Qajar prince has been named Malek Madjid Mirza.

Sardaar-e ... = lit. "Leader or Holder of heads;" Military title usually accompanied by the area over which this individual had jurisdiction; e.g., Sardar-e Jang; Sardar-e Sepah; etc. ...

Sardaar-e Azam = lit. "Chief or Greatest among Leaders." Military title, equivalent to "Commander in Chief."

Sepah-Salaar = lit. "Leader of the Military." Military title, equivalent to "Commander in Chief."

Amoghli = "Cousin." Shortened form of "Amou Oghli or Gholi" lit. "uncle's son " in Turkic. Masculine term of Turkic/Turkoman origin. Term of endearment among Qajar (Kadjar) princes and princesses, in reference to other princes.

Amghezi = "Cousin." Shortened form of "Amou Ghezi" lit. "uncle's daughter " in Turkic. Feminine term of Turkic/Turkoman origin. Term of endearment among Qajar (Kadjar) princes and princesses, in reference to other princesses.




Acknowledgment: We are most grateful to Prince Soltan Ali Mirza Kadjar, Head of the Imperial Kadjar House, for his comments and corrections on some of these questions, enabling us thus to present a more accurate picture on the question of titles and appellations under the Qajars (Kadjars).

(1) To be perfectly clear, titles such as Amir or Khan or even Shah (other than as an appellation and title of the reigning monarch) existed at the local, tribal and regional levels at the time of the Qajars (Kadjars) and also before them under the Safavids and beyond. The reference here is to the absence of such titles of nobility being granted by the king (or rather emperor, to be precise) to any nobles. Local chieftains and tribal leaders bore titles of Amir and Khan, and those titles could be translated in English as Lord or Duke. A better translation would be the French term "Seigneur."

(2) Such as was the case with the ancestor of the Moezzi family, Moezz-ed-Dowleh, whose title, upon his death, was bestowed by Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah, upon his tenth son and not his first and oldest son.

(3)There are quite a few of these families in the greater Qajar (Kadjar) family, some of which, but not all yet, are listed on these pages under the Shajarehnameh or Genealogy Project.

(4) For an English speaking audience the distinction between these two spellings and pronunciations might be difficult. "Ghaadjaar" is pronounced with a long "a" as in the English word "jar" (glass vessel). The "a" in "ghadjar" is a short "a" and is pronounced like the "a" in "apple." That distinction means volumes to a trained and educated Persian ear!

(5) In the popular mind and in some books on the subject, there is the myth that Prince Farmanfarma, Abdol Hossein Mirza, was so powerful that he bestowed the title of Salar Lashkar on his son without royal assent. Being that Abdol Hossein Mirza was one of the most prominent princes of his time, both son-in-law and brother-in-law of Mozaffar-ed-Din shah to boot, the last thing such a prince would do would be to break this protocol and the first thing he would understand would be that such a title without royal assent would be null and void under the Qajars (Kadjars). Besides, being who he was, Abdol Hossein Mirza was in no need for fake titles for his sons. He could deservedly receive them from his father-in-law and brother-in-law, as he in fact did! For a clarification on this matter see, Manoucher and Roxane Farmanfarmaian, Blood and Oil, Random House, New York, 1997, p. 41 "Salar Lashkar had obtained his title from my father," but also the footnote on the same page: "Titles in Persia were awarded by the Shah. Some were hereditary, though even those passed from father to son had to be confirmed by the Shah." (Ibid.)

(6) For a fuller discussion of the links between the Agha Khans and the Qajars (Kadjars) please click here.

(7) Technically really since the death of Mohammad Hassan Mirza in 1943, who proclaimed himself shah and was accepted as such by the Imperial family in exile.

(8) What we have not addressed is of course the prejudice and grudge that is held against Qajar (Kadjar) princely families, and the attempt to deny many of them the title "Prince" under the Pahlavis and still today, based on such notions as: "How could there be so many princely families?" or "How could they deserve this title if they do not act accordingly?" or "Fathali Shah had too many children anyhow!" or "Now that they have been overthrown, their titles should disappear as well" and the like. These questions do not deserve consideration, but are mentioned here to generate awareness that questions regarding titles held by Qajar (Kadjar) princes and their descendants are sometimes motivated by less than genuine concerns.

(9) Only since 2000 has the title shahzadeh been used by the Heir Presumptive to the Pahlavi throne, Reza Pahlavi. Before this usage, in the popular mind, the term referred always to Qajars (Kadjars). The Pahlavis tended to shun that title for this very reason. Reza Pahlavi was Crown Prince until the death of his father, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1980. Thereupon, Reza Pahlavi declared himself shah as Reza Shah II. Last year, however, the title was changed back to the very modest "Prince" with the resulting question whether this implied an abdication of the title and thus claim of kingship, or simply an adjustment of titles in a turbulent time. Of course, crown princes, kings and emperors, while reigning or while in exile are always princes as well, and thus there is no conflict or confusion in titles when referring to themselves as such at any time!



Back to Table of Contents