Essay on the Safavid Era: A Modern Look at a Golden Time

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1814 Words
Date:  2023-02-20

The Safavid time frame (1501-1722) is frequently seen as the golden era in Iran's history, following the end of the Sasanian Empire a thousand years sooner. Newman's investigation expects to give another, and a cutting-edge diagram on the condition of-art of Safavid thinks about, mirroring the consequences of the broad research that have been accomplished since the Iranian upheaval. Given the most recent inside and out research and historiography, Safavid Iran demonstrates the phenomenal accomplishments of the Safavid time frame cultural, economic and political. Andrew Newman looks at architecture and art, religion, science and philosophy of the age and places them with regards to heartless statecraft and establishment building. The Safavid dynasty, which ruled from the late fifteenth to the eighteenth century, joins modern Iran with the medieval. The Safavids saw wide-going improvements in architecture, art, religion, philosophy, science, fighting and legislative issues.

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Be that as it may, how did this dynasty manage to create the longest enduring and most brilliant of Iran's Islamic-period eras? Andrew Newman offers a total re-assessment of the Safavid place in history as they directed these unprecedented advancements and the wondrous blooming of Iranian culture. All the while, he dismembers the Safavid story, from before the 1501 catch of Tabriz by Shah Ismail (1488-1524), the time when Shiism turned into the domain's set up confidence; on to the sixteenth and mid-seventeenth century commanded by Shah Abbas (1587-1629), whose patronage of art and architecture from his capital of Isfahan epitomized the Safavid soul; and coming full circle with the rule of Sultan Husayn (reg. 1694-1722). Based on the careful grant, Newman offers a necessary new translation of the ascent of the Safavids and their inevitable end in the eighteenth century. "Safavid Iran," with its crisp bits of knowledge and further research, is the authoritative single-volume deal with the subject.

Quantitatively, the book isn't excessively voluminous; around 130 pages of the story are supplemented with roughly a similar degree of pages containing notes and two appendices, the first giving a fundamental sequential review, the second a chronologically requested bibliography of versions, and when accessible, interpretations of key travelogues and chronicles. The book is flawlessly delivered, and it incorporates maps and illustrations. The maps are amazing yet the nature of the illustrations shifts, partly because of their size. This is reasonable. The writers' wide perusing and active participation at Iranian meetings have made the notes and bibliography a helpful manual for ongoing many years of research in Safavid society, religion, art, trade and politics. The Appendix of contemporary sources, both local chronicles and outside travellers, organized by date inside each rule, is additionally a helpful manual for further perusing.

The present volume is directed primarily to the Western-language audience, including the growing number of specialists in the various sub-disciplines of Safavid Studies and those in other branches of Middle Eastern Studies but also, and in particular, the non-specialist interested in Iran and the region generally. Hence any 'scientific' effort to reconcile the all-too-many efforts to transliterate Arabic x Preface and Acknowledgements and Persian words into English by recourse to a complicated system of diacritical marks is eschewed in favour of a somewhat idiosyncratic system of transliteration based loosely on that used in the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (IJMES). Dates also are generally given only in their 'ad' version, except for occasional dates of publication; where this makes for flagrant inaccuracy, two Christian years may be given as, for example, in ad 873-4, corresponding to the Hijri 260, the year of the disappearance of the twelfth Shii Imam. Moreover, while footnotes do refer to Persian and Arabic sources, care is also taken to refer to available translations of primary sources as well as secondary works by specialists available in English and other Western languages. The bibliographical convention of omitting names of publishers is followed throughout

It may seem like no editor worked on this book. There are so many repetitions, and someone would have told the author that describing and explaining is a much better choice than just composing a book of name dropping and listing events. The book can be read as a very first introduction to the topic. The author talks about the original sources, those texts were written at the period, and the artwork (architecture, miniature painting, ceramics, metalwork) - unfortunately without any illustrations, some pictures and drawings would have been quite helpful. The faddish emphasis on maintaining a strategic distance from basic terms that have for quite some time been as a rule utilize prompts less instead of greater or precision or clarity.

The publisher and the author anyway need to lauded for providing in abundant transliteration statements from the first Arabic writings; generally, structure the Geniza reports. For a work of such an extension, some minor slips are maybe unavoidable: there are a couple of clear errors e.g. pages 207 and 208. In the transliterations, one finds to a great extent some absent or lost macrons and dots, just as periodic irregularities in legitimate names (which show up for the most part among small letters, yet at times in capital letters just as the name Tughtekin in page 93 for instance is spelt Tughtakin somewhere else throughout). There are additionally a couple of terms and expressions like "lamman and lamma, yuduru and yaduru in page 256, ihtudama and ihtadama or uhtudima in page 264 and so forth." This book is apparently composed for the individuals who definitely know Safavid history. It presumes of the reader that they have information of the complexities of the Shiite convention, and the different ethnic gatherings that made up Iran from 1500 - 1730. On the off chance that you don't, really awful, because it won't clarify them. Also, the creator has unusual word decisions, which ends up exasperating (he generally considers the legislature the "Safavid Project" for example, similar to it was a science examination, and he utilizes "discourse" in for all intents and purposes each section, as though discussing a well-disposed discussion, when in actuality he is talking about fierce clash).

Significant methodological inquiry the author raises relates to the supposed geniza wonder of the pre-modern Islamic Near East (in page 198 to 199) in light of late revelations and investigations of other Arabic records outside the Cairo Geniza, for example, the Quseir archives from the Red Sea trade courses. Margarirti clarifies that for the present examination, the Cairo Genza archives are of urgent significance as essential sources simply because of the conditions and settings wherein they were arranged. The Geniza archives most often referred to thus are the ones from the conspicuous Jewish shippers working in Aden, Cairo, and India who were straightforwardly engaged with the Indian Ocean trade; the madmuns the ben Yijus, and the al-Lebdis. In such manner, this book is sensible in its appraisal and wary about finishing up over-hurriedly the presence of a widespread, practically all-inclusive geniza arrangement of documentation before more preparation here has been led. As an understudy of medieval archives, I can't concur more. In archaeological terms, the Queir messages not the slightest bit could be ordered as a geniza). The book is excellent on tribal alliances and marriage politics and contains abridged rundowns of arts historical research, helpful for a portion of the structures still to be found in Iran. Iran's remote relations, particularly with the Uzbeks of Central Asia, get rather quick work.

This book is overloaded in the information of little consequence. It spends far too much time, possibly the majority of each chapter, merely discussing the marriage alliances of the upper class, at the expense of meaningful information about military campaigns, policy decisions, economics, efforts to convert the populace to Shi'ism, or the general society's lives. In the introduction, it mentions topics that other books on the Safavid Empire focus on too heavily, such as the shadow government in the harem and the emergence of religious fundamentalism. I thought this meant it would discuss all those topics, but not obsessively. Instead, it spends little time focusing on any of those topics even though they are all important to the empire's history. Furthermore, the terminology in the text is unnecessary. He refers to people of Persian ethnicity as "Tajiks," even though this is a pejorative word that they would never use for themselves and then a separate Persophone nation called Tajikistan exists in the present, which could potentially confuse the reader. The empire is referred to as a "project" rather than a state just because it engaged in wars of conquest and often saw its borders change. In short, this is not the best use of money.

The author appraises the extraordinary growth in the enduring Islamic period of the Safavid before 1501 in history. During the apprehension of Tabriz by Ismail Shah, it led to the blooming realm of the Safavid with the establishment of faith in Shii' sm considered as haram. The Shah Abbas architecture and art patronage domination in the sixteenth century and early seventeenth (1587-1629) embraced the capital of Isfahan with the Safavid spirit. Extending to the highest point of maturity in Sultan Husayn (1694-1722). The author does not spend much focus on such traditional topics as war and diplomacy, being more interested in social and economic events. Each chapter covers a particular period, discussing first the political developments, then backtracking, successively, religious, economic, and artistic trends. (The author confuses the reader, as previous events sometimes are described after later ones.) The story is a rich one, and even a passing familiarity with events elsewhere in Eurasia at this time makes it an illuminating one. What is interesting is how the author portrays the Archaemian empire stretching from modern-day Libya in the West to Central Asia to the West, how it featured administrative bureaucracy by the use of political marriages and grants of land to crucial administrative and military figures and the employment of non-Persian in the administration. It portrays how the future is moderately related to the present as wealth creates and collapses the dynasty.

The author clearly describes economic chaos and weak leadership at the centre of the regime and the suggestion that at the end of Safavid dynasty was the unavoidable result of a progressively dysfunctional society's ability to suffer from external and internal challenges. How the writer portrays the West as being negative seems to me as a weakness of the book, the author goes ahead to describe his intention to challenge the individual aspects mutually conflicting the real story behind Safavid's fall. These are intended to highlight how the west interests were intertwined heterogeneously supporting the Shah. These are meant to underline how from the very first diverse mutually and potentially contradictory interests and issues that were entangled with each other and with the treasures of the Safavid. So, the book is a great contribution to scholarly literature except for the a few errors and corrections noted above.


Newman, A. J. (2006). Safavid Iran: rebirth of a Persian empire. IB Tauris.

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