Collective. Safavid Persia: the history and politics of an Islamic society (1996)

Title:Safavid Persia: the history and politics of an Islamic society
Editor:Charles Melville
Series:Pembroke Persian Papers, vol. 4
Place:London-New York
Publisher:I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd Publishers in association with the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies University of Cambridge
Pages:XV, 426
ISBN:1860640230, 1860640869
File:PDF, 23.2 MB
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Collective. Safavid Persia: the history and politics of an Islamic society. Edited by Charles Melville; Series: Pembroke Persian Papers, vol. 4. London-New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd Publishers in association with the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies University of Cambridge, 1996, XV+426 p. ISBN 1860640869

The Safavids ruled Persia for nearly two and a half centuries, longer than any other dynasty since the pre Islamic period. The family was descended from the sufi Shaikh Safi al-Din of Ardabil (d. 1335), and thus enjoyed spiritual authority over its disciples among the Turkish Qizilbash tribes of eastern Anatolia and northwestern Persia, who brought the young lsma’il to power in 1501. Shah lsma’il proclaimed Twelver (Imami) Shi‘ism as the official faith of Persia, and a genealogy was forged to trace the dynasty back to the seventh Imam, Musa al-Kazim. There followed a slow process of adjustment, during which the orthodox Shi’i ‘ulama increased their authority both at the expense of the Safavid Shahs and of the Qizilbash sufis. Despite the interest of the Safavid period, which in many ways marked the emergence of modern lran, it has not received the scholarly attention it deserves, and many questions remain to be explored.

This book on Safavid Persia is divided into two sections, the first of which includes studies on the historiography and the religious politics of the period. Among the contributions to the second section are chapters on the silk industry, which brought European merchants into the country and at the same time exposed the Persian economy to the vagaries of world trade on the capital city of Esfahan, beautified by successive Shahs and on the Safvids’ reluctance to adopt firearms and artillery, which was one of the factors in the collapse of the dynasty when the Afghans invaded Persia in 1722.


Charles Melville. Foreword … vii

History and historiography

Sholeh A. Quinn. Historiography of Safavid prefaces … 1
A. H. Morton. The early years of Shah Ismaʻil in the Afżal al-tavārīkh and elsewhere … 27
Robert Hillenbrand. The iconography of the Shāh-nāma-yi Shāhī … 53
Maria Szuppe. Kinship ties between the Safavids and the Qizilbash amirs in late sixteenth-century Iran: a case study of the political career of members of the Sharaf al-Din Ogli Tekelu family … 79
Ehsan Echraqi. Le Dār al-Salṭana de Qazvin, deuxième capitale des Safavides … 105
Kathryn Babayan. Sufis, dervishes and mullas: the controversy over spiritual and temporal dominion in seventeenth-century Iran … 117
Jean Calmard. Shiʻi rituals and power II: the consolidation of Safavid Shiʻism: folklore and popular religion … 139
Charles Melville. Shah ʻAbbas and the pilgrimage to Mashhad … 191
R. D. McChesney. “Barrier of heterodoxy”?: rethinking the ties between Iran and Central Asia in the seventeenth century … 231

Society and commerce

John R. Perry. Persian during the Safavid period: sketch for an Etat de langue … 269
Iraj Afshar. Similar farmans from the reign of Shah Safi … 285
Edmund M. Herzig. The rise of the Julfa merchants in the late sixteenth century … 305
Willem Floor. The Dutch and the Persian silk trade … 323
Masashi Haneda. The character of the urbanisation of Isfahan in the later Safavid period … 369
Rudi Matthee. Unwalled cities and restless nomads: firearms and artillery in Safavid Iran … 389

General index … 417