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The Jew who Ruled Persia: The Story of Sa’ad ad-Dawla

Hosted By: Institute of Jewish Experience

Sa’ad ad-Dawla was a Persian Jew from the city of Abhar. Being a master in recovering delayed taxes, he was able to rise in the ranks of the Mongol Ilkhanate that ruled all of Persia and Iraq. He had personal interactions with Ilkhan Arğun, where he demonstrated a strong compunction against corruption, a facility with languages, knowledge about minute matters throughout the lands, and the ability to cure the Ilkhan of disease. The led to Arğun appointing him as the Grand Vizier of the Ilkhanate in 1289, the most powerful position in the country below the Ilkhan himself. Despite the offense that many Muslims took to having a Jew in such a position of power, the Buddhist Arğun defended him and gave him a long leash to improve the Ilkhanate.

Learn more about him in the recording below.

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