The text is the second part, probably half, of a decree issued by Shah Tahmasp concerning the taxing of the merchants of Saveh. The inscription starts with a warning that if an edict outlined in the missing first half of the inscription is not obeyed, the offenders (mentioning merchants and those who oppose the decree) will be treated with various royal punishments. It then stipulates that the taxes and dues of the merchants of Saveh have previously been included in the assessment of the asnaf (guilds), and as a licence fee they have paid 100 Tabrizi dinars per kharvar (ass-load). It is ordered that from the beginning of the Year of the Dog the merchants are to be removed from the assessment of the guilds and treated like other merchants. 450 dinars are to be taken from them and included in the assessment of the kingdom (or possibly province). The decree proper ends with a curse directed at anyone altering its provisions, a common feature in such administrative decrees. This "benificent order" is said to be due to the solicitude of Haidar Beg and the exertions of Akhi Savaji. At the end there is the date.
It appears that at Saveh the tujjar (long distance merchants) had become taxed with the guilds rather than separately as was normal. This decree ensures that their taxes should now be collected under a different heading. That the decree is regarded as benificent indicates that the basis of charging the 450 dinars is not the same as the preceding 100 dinars per kharvar.
Haidar Beg is possible to identify as a close companion of Shah Tahmasp through his description as "companion of the Royal assembly and member of the circle of the elect". He is mentioned in the chronicles as Haidar Beg Anis, and was the son of Tahmasp's commader of artillery, Ustad Shaikhi Tupchi. His fall from grace in 1557-8, shortly after this decree, is mentioned by Qadi Ahmad Qummi (Khusalat al-Tavarikh, ed. Ihsan Ishraqi, Teheran, 1980-84, i, p.388). It is probable that Akhi Savaji was a leading merchant of Saveh.
Decrees such as this were issued at the court and were in some cases transcribed in major cities onto stone panels. Such panels were then erected in the Friday mosque; examples of similar panels survive in the mosques of Isfahan, Yazd and Lahijan. The Friday mosque of Saveh still survives, a little outside the present town, but was allowed to be come very run-down in the earlier years of this century. A restoration project was underway in the 1970s. Sometimes the decrees were left verbatim, sometimes slightly summarised and sometimes, as here, with items or names of local relevance added. Similar panels are described in Fragner, Bert: Repertorium Persischer Herrscherurkunden. Publizierte Originalurkunden (bis 1848), Freiburg 1980 and in Schimkoreit, Renate: Regesten publizierte safawidischer Herrscherurkunden, Berlin, 1982.
We are grateful to Dr A. H. Morton for his help in preparing this entry.