The Safavid World  book cover
1st Edition

The Safavid World

Edited By

Rudi Matthee

ISBN 9781138944060
Published July 22, 2021 by Routledge
766 Pages 76 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Safavid World brings together thirty chapters on many aspects of the complex Safavid state, 1501–1722. With the latest insights and arguments, some offer overviews of the period or topic at hand, and others present new interpretations of old questions based on newly found sources.

In addition to political history and religious life, the chapters in this volume cover economic conditions, commercial links and activities, social relations, and artistic expressions. They do so in ways that stretch both the temporal and geographical perimeters of the subject, and contributors also examine Safavid Iran with an eye to both its Mongol and Timurid antecedents and its long afterlife following the fall of the dynasty. Unlike traditional scholarship which tended to view the country as unique, sui generis, and barely affected by the outside world, The Safavid World situates Iran in a wider, regional or global context.

Examining the Safavids from their foundations in the fourteenth century to their relations with the rest of the world in the eighteenth century, this study is essential reading for undergraduates, postgraduates, and scholars of the Safavid world and the history and culture of Iran and the Middle East.

Table of Contents


Rudi Matthee

Part 1: Foundations

1. The emergence of the Safavids as a mystical order and their subsequent rise to power in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

Ayşe Baltacıoğlu-Brammer

2. Who really were the Kizilbash? a rethinking of the Kizilbash movement in light of new sources and research

Ayfer Karakaya-Stump

3. The rise of the Safavids as a political dynasty: the revolution of Shāh Esmā‘il, founder of the Safavid state

Riza Yildirim

Part 2: History and Historiography

4. Custodial politics and princely governance in sixteenth-century Safavid Iran

Colin Mitchell

5. Beyond charismatic authority: the crafting of a sovereign’s image in the public sphere

Hani Khafipour

6. Against all odds: the Safavids and the Georgians

Hirotake Maeda

7. Safavid Iran from Shāh Safi to Shāh Soltān Hoseyn: stability and stasis

Rudi Matthee

8. Safavid historiography: the place of the Safavids in Iranian history

Sholeh A. Quinn

9. Continuing a legacy in times of change: courtly historiography in the sixteenth-century Safavid world

Tilmann Trausch

Part 3: Safavid Society

10. The Safavid court and government

Willem Floor

11. The Safavid army: continuity and change

Willem Floor

12. The Safavid economy

Willem Floor

13. Trade in Safavid Iran

Willem Floor

14. Coinage and the monetary system

Alexander V. Akopyan

15. The status of women in Safavid society

Nozhat Ahmadi

Part 4: Religious Life

16. Sufi habitus and shari‘a practitioners in late Safavid Iran

Rula Jurdi Abisaab

17. Sufism in the Safavid period

Ata Anzali

18. Vaqf in the Safavid period

Nozhat Ahmadi

19. ‘In the rifts of history’: Iranian Jews in the Safavid era

Vera B. Moreen

Part 5: Science, Art and Architecture

20. The occult sciences in Safavid Iran and Safavid occult scientists abroad

Matthew Melvin-Koushki

21. The mathematical sciences and medicine in Safavid Iran

Sonja Brentjes

22. Not all of the poets went to India: literary culture in Iran under Safavid rule

Paul Losensky

23. Deluxe manuscript production in the Safavid period

Marianna Shreve Simpson

24. The Safavid ceramics industry

Lisa Golombek

25. Safavid architecture

Sussan Babaie

Part 6: Safavid Iran and the World

26. Safavid relations with Muslim neighbors

Ernest Tucker

27. The Kurdish frontier under the Safavids

Akihiko Yamaguchi

28. Safavid Iran in the South Asian political imagination

Azfar Moin

29. Diplomatic relations between Safavid Iran and Europe

Giorgio Rota

30. Portrait of a traveler in Safavid Iran: the frontispieces of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier’s Six voyages (1678-1726)

Elio Brancaforte







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Rudi Matthee is the John and Dorothy Munroe Distinguished Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of Delaware. He works on the political and socioeconomic history of early modern Iran. He is the author of four prize-winning scholarly books and the co-editor of another five volumes.