The Afghans rode roughshod over their conquered territory for a dozen years, but were prevented from making further gains by Nadir Shah Afshar, a former slave who had risen to military leadership within the Afshar tribe in Khorasan, a vassal state of the Safavids. What fueled the growth of Safavid economy was Iran's position between the burgeoning civilizations of Europe to its west and India and Islamic Central Asia to its east and north. They also engaged in rituals such as cannibalism (Aubin, “L’avènement,” p. 45) and wild drinking sessions (Matthee, The Pursuit, chaps. He set out to occupy Māzandarān where a large number of Āq Qoyunlu troops had found sanctuary, quelled a revolt in Yazd, and seized rebellious Isfahan. SAFAVID DYNASTY. By the late 17th century many of them, including rich merchants, began to migrate from Persia to Europe, India, and Russia in a process that would eventually lead to the decimation of the country’s active Armenian population. After a long and bloody siege led by the Safavid grand vizier Hatem Beg, which lasted from November 1609 to the summer of 1610, the Kurdish stronghold of Dimdim was captured. Hindu Indians were forced out of Isfahan, and the rules of ritual purity against ḏemmis (q.v.) He died in 1715, to be succeeded, after a brief interregnum, by his son, Maḥmud Ḡilzay (d. 1725). The Safavid dynasty descended from diverse and mixed ethnic origins, and there is some disagreement among scholars as to whether they were of Azeri or Persian background. The increased power of both groups, eunuchs and women, was a function of a royal household that had more than doubled in size since the late 1500s to become a fixed place centered on the harem. He had effective control under Shah Tahmasp II and then ruled as regent of the infant Abbas III until 1736, when he had himself crowned shah. The political structure of the Safavid Empire was structured like a pyramid with the Shah at the very top of the pyramid, similar to a pope. The Safavid Empire, based in Persia , ruled over much of southwestern Asia from 1501 to 1736. Thus the Ostājlu were located in Azerbaijan and in part in ʿErāq-e ʿAjam and Kermān; the Qarāmānlu hailed from Širvān; the Šāmlu resided in Khorasan; the Tekellu held Isfahan, Hamadan, and parts of ʿErāq-e ʿAjam; Fārs was in the hands of the Ḏu’l-Qadr, the Afšār dominated in Kuhgiluya and Khuzestan (Ḵuzestān), and Baghdad rested under the Mawṣellu, a smaller tribe and offshoot of the Āq Qoyunlu. Centralization took other forms as well. During the expedition against Kandahar, Safavid soldiers defected in large numbers for lack of pay, and during the Baghdad campaign soldiers were paid not in current coin but in barāts (Ar. In response, a Ghilzai Pashtun chieftain named Mir Wais Khan began a rebellion against the Georgian governor, Gurgin Khan, of Kandahar and defeated a Safavid army. In the northeast, he took on the Uzbeks, who had repeatedly invaded Khorasan, taking advantage of Persia’s military weakness. Shah Ṣafi, the first of the Safavid rulers to have spent his youth in the confines of the harem, came to the throne in an atmosphere of discord and rebellion, with provincial forces taking advantage of the death of the ruler to try and regain autonomy. In this, as in other areas, Safavid Persia has much in common with its neighbors to the east and west, Mughal India and the Ottoman Empire. Taking revenge against those Qezelbāš amirs he held responsible for the murder of Ḥamza Mirzā, he had his own tutor, Moršedqoli Khan, murdered as a potential rival and the latter’s tribe, the Ostājlu, broken up. The focus of his urban design was a new commercial and administrative area, centering on a magnificent central square known as the Meydān-e naqš-e jahān (see ISFAHAN MONUMENTS), surrounded by a royal palace, beautiful mosques and numerous shops. Not being raised together and more loosely organized, they never came to resemble the Ottoman Janissaries in esprit de corps and power, and the fact that they continued to share military power with the Qezelbāš prevented them from dominating the army. But Solaymān and Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn reigned as sedentary monarchs who, aside from occasional hunting parties, preferred to live ensconced in or near the capital, invisible to all but the most intimate of courtiers. In 1501, the Safavid army broke the power of the Āq Qoyunlu by defeating their ruler, Alvand (r. 1497 in Diārbakr [q.v. Under them a political system emerged in which political and religious boundaries over-lapped. Shah Ismail I himself wrote many poems in Azerbaijani, as well as in Persian and Arabic, while Shah Tahmasp was a painter. Long ascribed to the shah’s natural affection for Christians, this policy was in fact largely informed by political considerations: the missionaries all hailed from countries— notably Spain and Portugal—with which the shah hoped to ally himself in his struggle against the Ottomans, and they also served as liaisons with the Papacy and major Christian countries such as Spain and France. With the capture of Tabriz, the Safavid dynasty officially began. Fearing instability in Persia, however, in 1727 the Ottomans concluded a peace treaty with Ašraf Ḡilzay (d. 1729), Maḥmud’s successor in Persia. Shah Ṣafi I (r. 1629-42) and Shah ʿAbbās II (r. 1642-66). Today we call it Iran. They besieged Herat, but in 1528 were defeated at the Battle of Jām, which they lost against superior Safavid gunpowder. More seriously, the Abdāli Afghans revolted in Khorasan, taking Herat and Mashad. Located in the central Middle East, the kingdom occupied a fundamental geographic location and had substantial effect in … Fārs was turned into ḵāṣṣa land—and broken up into smaller units—following the elimination of Emāmqoli Khan. Another development with equally debilitating effects was the religious policy of Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn’s administration. Persia could only take on the Ottoman army so long as the latter were also engaged elsewhere. This warfare pattern repeated itself under Shah Tahmasp I and Sultan Suleiman I. The shah also intensified another policy initiated by his predecessors by removing a great deal of state land, given out in various kinds of fiefs (toyuls, soyurḡāls), from tribal overlordship and turning them into crown domain (ḵāṣṣa). Esmāʿil also continued to search for allies against the Ottomans, offering his daughter’s hand in marriage to the ruler of Širvān, and, most importantly, set out to rebuild his weakened army by introducing a corps of musketeers. The pre-adolescent Prince Ḥamza was proclaimed crown prince. The shah himself was of the old warrior type, but a pacifist camp, headed by the women and eunuchs of the harem. The highest military post, that of sepahsālār was held by two prominent golāms, Rostam Khan and his brother, ʿAliqoli Khan, almost uninterruptedly for nearly twenty-five years between 1631 and 1655. Some of these problems were systemic, a function of Persia’s inherent lack of precious metal, and some may have been the first negative manifestations of a series of policy measures that provided short-term revenue but had harmful long-term effects. The period following his enthronement was followed by epidemics and famine, causing the court astrologers to declare that the shah had been crowned at an inauspicious moment. Shah Esmāʿil had sent envoys to Venice. In 1721 they seized and pillaged Šamāḵi, the area’s capital and commercial center. The article analyses the social and political structure of the Safavid Empire. Both Sāru Taqi and Moḥammad Beg had been appointed in part because they were able administrators, and both successfully tapped new sources of revenue to fill the royal coffers that were badly depleted by the long wars against the Ottomans and the Mughals. Tabriz was the center of this industry. Restoring Persia as a major center of political power and cultural creativity, they also established one of the strongest and most enduring centers of Shi’ismwithin the Islamic world. Despite their collective name, these seminomadic warriors of Turkish ethnic origin did not claim a common descent. The most important painter to flourish under him was Reżā ʿAbbāsi, an artist of subtle and refined imagery. The Safavid Empire was spread through the territories of modern Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Iran; it also took parts of Turkey, Pakistan, Georgia, and Tajikistan. After the collapse of the empire by Timur Lenk, the area fell into anarchy and Shah Ismail founded the Safavid Empire How the Safavid Empire declined? Internal divisions and the plague prevented the Āq Qoyunlu from resisting Esmāʿil’s conquest of Fārs in 1503. As Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn took power, the country’s weakness became apparent in numerous insurrections and invasions around the country, and in the problems the state faced in quelling them. It also came to terms with the Tajik aristocracy, which included the established ulama. Safavid Persia had a succession of capitals: for the capital was where the shah and his entourage happened to be. Initially synonymous with the amir al-omarāʾ, the wakil, who was usually a Persian, also had an important military role. The shah’s conversion of state land (mamālek) to crown land (ḵāṣṣa), a policy that was designed to produce income for the crown but that came at the expense of long-term productivity of the land, is the best example of this. A major problem faced by Ismail I after the establishment of the Safavid state was how to bridge the gap between the two major ethnic groups in that state: The Qezelbash Turkmens, the "men of the sword" of classical Islamic society whose military prowess had brought him to power, and the Persian elements, the "men of the pen," who filled the ranks of the bureaucracy and the religious establishment in the Safavid state as they had done for centuries under previous rulers of Persia, be they Arabs, Turkic, Mongols, or Turkmens. Selim’s response was swift. After subsequent campaigns, the Safavids recaptured Baghdad, in 1623, but lost it again to Murad IV in 1638. The Armenians acquired a privileged position in Persian trade, forming a mercantile gentry in the service of the crown and becoming the country’s most active long-distance merchants. The Ottoman Empire was so huge that it occupied the parts of three continents; it spread to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Upon Jonayd’s death, his followers allegedly began to call him “God,” and his son, Ḥaydar, “Son of God.” At the time of Shah Esmāʿil I, a genealogy was fabricated according to which Ṣafi-al-Din descended from the seventh Imam, Musā al-Kāẓem (d. ca. Between 1715 and 1720, many parts of the country either erupted in rebellion or were threatened by outside forces. Its founder was the Persian mystic Sheikh Safi al-Din (1254–1334), after whom the order was named. The nomadic make-up of the state was reflected in an ambulant royal court and the fact that until modern times Persia did not have a fixed capital. ©2021 Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved. One empire in… The result was Ṭahmāsp’s inability to pay his troops during the last fourteen years of his reign as well as the total absence of known Safavid coinage for its last three years, the period 1573-76. A few hundred years ago, people called it Persia, and it was a name they knew pretty well. Ḡolāms were appointed as governors of these newly formed crown provinces. Released and having returned to Kandahar, Mir Ways murdered Gorgin Khan. Each clan migrated to a different part of Persia, with their leaders appointed as governor of the area once the Safavids conquered it. He raised the profile of the ḡolām institution (see BARDA and BARDADĀRI iv. Mixing commercial with strategic concerns, Shah ʿAbbās opened Persia to the wider world in unprecedented ways. The Safavid period, finally, witnessed the beginning of frequent and sustained diplomatic and commercial interactions between Persia and Europe. Yet the region became especially important as the source of Christian slave soldiers (ḡolāms), captured during raiding expeditions into the region. There, the Safavids influenced the local Turcoman tribes, and they themselves were influenced by Turcomans, such that the originally Iranian-speaking Safavids became Turkic-speaking. By terminating the wars with the Ottomans, Qaṣr-e Širin also put an end to the most imminent threat to Persia’s survival, thus further contributing to the decline of the Safavid army. After 1603, he systematically engaged in depopulating regions and resettling tribes to far-off regions with the aim of strengthening frontiers and breaking up existing loyalties. It has been estimated that by the end of Shah ʿAbbās’ reign some one-fifth of high-ranking officials were ḡolāms. During the fifteenth century, the Ottomans expanded across Anatolia and centralized control by persecuting Shi'ism. By preserving ties to their ancestral homeland, they also facilitated Safavid control over these territories. A lack of unity, borne out of resentment and jealousy played an unmistabkable role in the denouement, both on the part of the hard pressed Zoroastrians of Kermān, who are said to have welcomed the Afghans, and on the part of the Qezelbāš who, embittered with the Georgians and the number of high positions held by them, seem to have encouraged the Afghans. MAHDI IN TWELVER SHIʿISM, OTTOMAN-PERSIAN RELATIONS UNDER SULTAN SELIM I. ), near Bukhara (see BUKHARA iv. Nor, given the divisiveness among the Qezelbāš and the fact that the new shah was no longer seen as the mahdi, is it surprising that his early reign unleashed a tribal struggle for power that degenerated into a ten-year civil war, pitting a Rumlu-Tekkelu coalition against the Ostājlu. Although he managed to quell the revolt, the shah remained weak and dependent on court forces until 1631-33, when he asserted himself by eliminating many of those who held power, among them the powerful governor (khan) of Fārs and the de-facto ruler over most of southern Persia, Emāmqoli Khan, son and successor of Allāhverdi Khan, and most of his family. Even the shah’s decision to have the gold from Shiʿite shrines and his ancestors’ graves remelted and struck into coins failed to yield the requisite funds. Iskander Beg Monshi’s History of Shah Abbas the Great, written a few years after its subject's death, achieved a nuanced depth of history and character. He similarly dealt with the powerful Farhād Khan Qarāmānlu, who by the time he was executed in 1598 controlled most of Persia’s northern half, from the Caucasus to Khorasan. Abbas I first fought the Uzbeks, recapturing Herat and Mashhad, in 1598. Resentful of her and her policies, the Qezelbāš conspired against Mahd-e ʿOlyā, and received the shah’s approval for her assassination, which took place in 1579. The males were trained as administrators, while the women were employed in the royal harem, where they would exercise an increasing influence. In 1699 Baluchis raided the Kermān area, exposing the vulnerability of the border areas. One of the most renowned Muslim philosophers, Mulla Sadra (1571-1640), lived during Shah Abbas I's reign and wrote the Asfar, a meditation on what he called "meta philosophy," which brought to a synthesis the philosophical mysticism of Sufism, the theology of Shi'ism, and the Peripatetic and Illuminationist philosophies of Avicenna and Suhrawardi Maqtul (1155-1191). Several Qezelbāš tribes suffered in the process; others gained in power. Thus, having concluded the Treaty of Sitva Torok with the Austrians in 1606, the Ottomans fought back, and in 1610 embarked on a campaign that once again briefly put them in control of Tabriz. While Baluchi tribesmen seized and plundered Bandar ʿAbbās, Maḥmud again invaded the southeast in 1721, this time capturing Kermān. Among these was the country’s large Sunni population, many of whom lived near the exposed borders, which put a great premium on their loyalty. The Common people were the lowest class on the pyramid in … His native language was Old Tati (Āzarī), an extinct Iranian dialect of the north closely related to Persian. The Safavids, in fact, consciously built their legitimacy on past tradition. Mounting the throne at age ten, Shah ʿAbbās II escaped an overly long childhood dependence on the forces that dominated the harem. Safavid dynasty, (1501–1736), ruling dynasty of Iran whose establishment of Twelver Shiʿism as the state religion of Iran was a major factor in the emergence of a unified national consciousness among the various ethnic and linguistic elements of the country. Between 1534 and 1536, Iraq fell to the Ottomans. The Safavid Empire was not a conquest state: Safavid conquest did not imply a change in the form of administration. Qaṣr-e Širin by and large reaffirmed the boundaries that had been stipulated by the Treaty of Amasya and that would mark the borders between Persia and the Ottoman Empire and the modern border with Iraq and Turkey. Shah ʿAbbās similarly welcomed various trading nations from the West, most notably the British and Dutch East India Companies who made their appearance in Persia during his reign, intent on capturing a share of the country’s silk trade. The political system that emerged under them had overlapping political and religious boundaries and a core language, Persian, which served as the literary tongue, and even began to replace Arabic as the vehicle for theological discourse. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. The legitimization of the Shah was managed through his bloodline - as in those who were Sayyid or descendants of Prophet Muhammad were automatically considered legitimate rulers of the state. Local and regional functionaries, no longer held in check by the punitive sanctions of a credible shah, increased fiscal pressure and engaged in gross extortion. This policy was, however, informed less by sheer cowardice and apathy, as is often claimed, than by the rational calculation on the part of the shah and his officials that, in the face of weakened fighting power, it would be most judicious to maintain peaceful relations with the powerful Ottomans. Safavid authorities, though not necessarily the shah, were well aware of the lamentable state of affairs in their realm, but efforts to remedy the situation were often halfhearted and counteracted by structural economic weakness, endemic corruption, and weak leadership. The Safavid empire was founded by the Safavids.They became a centralized government. They were originally a religious brotherhood who became more powerful because of warlords and political marriages. However, neither could stem the corrosive effect of mismanagement that was inherent in the administration of crown lands, whose supervisors lacked the incentive of the supervisors of quasi-private fiefs to invest in the longterm prosperity and revenue of the land. In 1508, Safavid forces achieved their final victory over the Āq Qoyunlu by capturing Iraq, including Baghdad and the Shiʿite shrine cities of Najaf and Karbalāʾ. Since two other sons had predeceased him, when he died on January 19, 1629, he had no son capable of succeeding him. In addition, both empires imposed a … The main rivals of the Safavids were to be the Ottomans. ʿAbbās ended the practice of appointing the crown prince as governor of Khorasan, and other sons to various provincial governorates under the tutelage of Qezelbāš guardians. They cleverly allied themselves with European powers in order to protect themselves from the Ottomans. Together they marched on Qazvin, forcing the shah to abdicate. Thirdly, military and political power in Persia was generally in the hands of ethnic Turks, while ethnic Persians, called Tajiks, were dominant in the areas of administration and culture. The city also became a center of art and philosophy. Moreover, while the Jolfan Armenians continued to thrive in trade, securing privileges in the transit trade through Russia in 1667 and 1673, pressure mounted from clerical circles, leading to increased taxation and the reinstatement of the poll tax. By the seventeenth century, trade routes between East and West had shifted away from Iran, causing a decline in commerce and trade. Over the millennia, kingdoms and empires have come and gone in the area roughly corresponding to present-day Iran. For instance, seized control over these territories and its effects artist of subtle and refined imagery court conducting. So important in a number of campaigns in the early reign of shah, killing two wakils! 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