This study focuses on the applicability of different categories to structure the historiographic field of pre-modern Iran. Should modern research classify chronicles solely on the basis of the dynasty in whose members' name they were written? Based on chronicles written between 1501 and 1578 at the courts of Herat and Qazvin, this study shows how the history of the Islamicate World down to the Safavid rulers was told. The external form of chronicles is the subject of this study: volume, structure, and style, which show significant differences between the individual texts. While the chronicles from Herat tell history in great detail as a coherent narrative in wordy style, the texts from Qazvin present a scant summary in episodic form and straightforward language. Apart from the dedication, the presumed Safavid chronicles do not have all too much in common. Thus, an analysis of the external forms of these narratives shows the rather limited influence of the family of patrons on large parts of the historiographical texts written under their rule. In return, it illustrates the influence of concrete contexts and long-term structures on the writing of history in pre-modern Iran and thus provides new perspectives for historiographical research.