Iran and the World in the Safavid Age

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Author: Willem Floor
Edited by: Willem Floor, Edmund Herzig

Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd
Series: International Library of Iranian Studies
ISBN: 9781850439301
Publication Date: 30 Jun 2011
Number of Pages: 672

Product Deascription

The Safavid era is of special significance in the history of Iran. Under the Safavids — between the sixteenth and the mid-eighteenth century — Iran was transformed and a state emerged which was the forerunner of the Iran of today in several important ways. The age is known for its wealth of contributions to Persian culture and to the arts of the Islamic world, its robust military encounters with its Ottoman and Mughal neighbours and growing contacts with Western Europe. But little is known about the social, cultural, commercial and diplomatic relations of the Safavids with the rest of the world. Iran and the World in the Safavid Age presents the most recent research into Safavid Iran's foreign relations. It challenges the long-held notion that, with the adoption of Shiism, Iranians retreated into relative isolation, suggesting rather that they engaged with the world in unprecedented and exciting ways. With contributions from the leading authorities in the field, Iran and the World in the Safavid Age explores Iran’s relations with other countries and cultures. Examining how Iran was itself perceived as well as how it viewed the outside world this ground-breaking book sheds new light on the history of Iran's relations with the world beyond its borders and expands our understanding of this pivotal period.

Safavid Dynasty

The Safavids were one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history. This Shi'i dynasty was of mixed ancestry (Kurdish and Azerbaijani, with intermarriages with Georgian and Pontic Greekdignitaries) and ruled Iran from 1501 to 1722.

The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the Safaviyya Sufi order, which was established in the city of Ardabil in the Azerbaijan region. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over all of Greater Iran and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region, thus becoming the first native dynasty since the Sassanid Empire to establish a unified Iranian state.

Despite their demise in 1736, the legacy that they left behind was the revival of Persia as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy based upon “checks and balances”, their architectural innovations and their patronage for fine arts. The Safavids have also left their mark down to the present era by spreading Shi'a Islam in major parts of the Caucasus and West Asia.

About the Author

Edmund Herzig is a Senior Lecturer in Persian Studies at the University of Manchester. He specialises in the history of Iran during the Safavid and contemporary periods, as well as the Caucasus and Central Asia. He is currently co-editing The Cambridge History of Inner Asia: The Modern Age.

 Willem Floor is an independent scholar specialising in the history of Iran in the Safavid and modern ages. His recent publications include 'The Persian Textile Industry in Historical Perspective, 1500-1925', 'A Fiscal History of Iran in the Safavid and Qajar Periods, 1500-1925' and 'Safavid Government Institutions'.

*Links for Further Reading:

1- Incredible Isfahan:

2- Shah 'Abbas: The Remaking of Iran: 

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