Melville, Charles (ed.). 2021. Safavid Persia in the Age of Empires (The Idea of Iran 10). Londn: I.B. Tauris.
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the establishment of the new Safavid regime in Iran. Along with reuniting the Persian lands under one rule, the Safavids initiated the radical transformation of the religious landscape by introducing Imami Shi’ism as the official state faith and in this as in other ways, laying the foundations of Iran’s modern identity.
In this book, leading scholars of Iranian history, culture and politics examine the meaning of the idea of Iran in the Safavid period by examining contemporary experiences of both insiders and outsiders, asking how modern scholarship defines the distinctive features of the age.
While sometimes viewed as a period of decline from the high points of classical Persian literature and the visual arts of preceding centuries, the chapters of this book demonstrate that the Safavid era was nevertheless a period of great literary and artistic activity in the realms of both secular and theological endeavour.
With the establishment of comparable polities across western, southern and central Asia at broadly the same time, the book explores some of the literary and political interactions with Iran’s Ottoman, Mughal and Uzbek neighbours. As the volume and frequency of European merchants and diplomats visiting Safavid Persia increased, especially in the seventeenth century, and as more Iranians recorded their own travel experiences to surrounding Muslim lands, the Safavid period is the first in which we can document and explore the contours of Iran’s place in an expanding world, and gain insights into how Iranians saw themselves and others saw them.
Table of contents
- Ali Anooshahr: “The body politic and the rise of the Safavids”
- Gregory Aldous: “The Qazvin period and the idea of the Safavids”
- Colin Mitchell: “Man of the Pen, Pillar of the State: Hatem Beg Ordubadi and the Safavid Empire”
- Rudi Matthee: “The Idea of Iran in the Safavid period. Dynastic pre-eminence and urban pride”
- Sussan Babaie: “Safavid town-planning in the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries: From Farahabad (Mazandaran) to Farahabad (Isfahan)”
- Willem Floor: “Commercial relations between Safavid Persia and Western Europe”
- Aurelie Salesse-Chabrier: “From absolute prince to despot: the political representations of Safavid Iran in seventeenth-century France”
- Maryam Ala Amjad: “The world is an oyster and Iran, the pearl. Representing Iran in Safavid Persian travel literature”
- Sunil Sharma: “Local and transregional places in the works of Safavid men of letters”
- Roy S. Fischel: “Shi’i rulers, Safavid alliance and the religio-political landscape of the Deccan”
- Florian Schwarz: “The Safavids and the Ozbeks”
- George Sanikidze: “Particularities of the Safavid policy towards Eastern Georgia”
- Benedek Péri: “O Mohebbi! You have lit your lamp with Khosrow’s burning passion. Persian poetry as perceived by sixteenth-century Ottoman authors”
- Frenec Csirkés: “Popular religiosity and vernacular Turkic: A Qizilbash catechism from Safavid Iran”
- Andrew J. Newman: “Safavids and Shi’ism in the age of Sectarianism”
- Sajjad Rizvi: “Practicing philosophy: Imagining Iran in the Safavid period”
- Daniel J. Sheffield: “Universal harmony (sulh-i kull) and political theology in Safavid Iran”
- Sheila R Canby: “Flora in Safavid paintings from Shah Tahmasp’s Shahnama“
- Negar Habibi: “From Khazana to audience. On the making of new art in the House of Shah Soleyman”