- For the leader of the Ilkhanate in the late 1200s, grandson of Hulagu, see Arghun.
Arghun Agha, also Arghun Aqa or Arghun the Elder (d. 1278) was a Mongol noble of the Oirat clan in the 13th century. He was a governor in the Mongol-controlled area of Persia from 1243 to 1255, before the Ilkhanate was created by Hulagu. Arghun Agha was in control of the four districts of eastern and central Persia, as decreed by the great khan Möngke Khan.
When he was young, his father sold his son Arghun to Ilugei of the Jalayir, tutor of Ogedei Khan. During his years with the Ogedeyid family, he gained reputation among the members of the Royal blood because he was well educated. Arghun started his career as court official during the reign of the Qaghan Ogedei. Later on, the latter's consort, Toregene Khatun, appointed him civil governor in Transoxiana in c.1242. Ascelin of Lombardia might have met him while he was at the court of Baiju in c.1247. In 1259-61 he directed punitive operations against rebels in Georgia, and then was sent to Khorasan to fight the Golden Horde. He is described as faithful servant of the Qaghan in Persian sources while the Georgian and Armenian sources say he was cruel and violent overseer. However, one Georgian chronicle mentions he was a friend of equity, trustful in his language, a deep thinker, and profound in counsel. It also says Arghun conducted the empire-wide census in Russia, Arctic, Alania, Pontic steppe, Georgia, Armenia, and Anatolia.
Arghun had many political enemies at the headquarters, so he had to often visit the ordo (palace) of the Qaghan in Mongolia to prove his loyalty. Although, Möngke appointed him to his former position after his accession in 1252, the Emperor summoned Arghun to answer a charge of treason. The Armenian noble, Sempad Orpelian, justified Arghun completely and charged his enemy a Khorazmi lieutenant with being the real offender. Arghun was released and they returned together.
Arghun made a census in Persia in accordance with the decree of Mongke in 1254.
- Grousset, p. 376
- H.H.Howrth-HOM, Mongols in Persia, vol.III. p.68
- H.H.Howorth, HOM, Mongols in Persia, vol.III. p.65
- Amitai-Preiss, Mongols and Mamluks: the Mamluk-Īlkhānid War, 1260-1281
- Rene Grousset, The Empire of the Steppes
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