The Safavid concept of kingship, combining territorial control with religious legitimacy, would endure, … Hindu Indians were forced out of Isfahan, and the rules of ritual purity against ḏemmis (q.v.) The country was repeatedly raided on its frontiers—Kerman by Baluchi tribesmen in 1698, Khorasan by Afghans in 1717, constantly in Mesopotamia by peninsula Arabs. Ottoman troops posed a continual threat to the rich province of Azerbaijan. 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. 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. Intermarriage between the dynasty and members of the religious establishment increased the effective subordination of the clergy to the state. As an empire, the Safavids succeeded in placing the nomadic people groups of the region und… Persia’s difficult terrain, a lack of navigable rivers, and the general absence of wheeled carriage traffic made transporting heavy guns difficult. Yet it is also true that the Safavids made many original contributions and their legacy survives in various ways. In 1585, the Ottomans once again briefly seized Tabriz, massacring segments of its population. After subsequent campaigns, the Safavids recaptured Baghdad, in 1623, but lost it again to Murad IV in 1638. Together they marched on Qazvin, forcing the shah to abdicate. Tabriz was taken but the Ottoman army refused to follow the Safavids into the Persian highlands and by winter, retreated from Tabriz. 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. They also engaged in rituals such as cannibalism (Aubin, “L’avènement,” p. 45) and wild drinking sessions (Matthee, The Pursuit, chaps. 1 and 2). 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. Georgia, where Shah Ṭahmāsp engaged in a number of campaigns in the 1540s and 1550s, was never properly subjugated. As Persians of Kurdish ancestry and of a non-tribal background, the Safavids did not fit this pattern, though the state they set up with the assistance of Turkmen tribal forces of eastern Anatolia closely resembled this division in its makeup. ), in 1512, the Uzbeks regained Transoxania and briefly occupied Herat and Mashad. Even though Safavids were not the first Shi'a rulers in Iran, they played a crucial role in making Shi'ism the official religion in Iran. War then loomed between Russia and the Ottomans, who had meanwhile invaded and captured Georgia and Kermānšāh, their hands free because of the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718), which had ended their war against Austria-Hungary and Venice. Due to his fear of assassination, Shah Abbas either put to death or blinded any member of his family who aroused his suspicion. C… To take advantage of the commercial and artisanal skills of his Armenian subjects, he resettled a large number of them from the town of Jolfā (Julfa) on the Aras River, in the border area with the Ottoman Empire, to a suburb of his new capital, which was named New Jolfā. The Ottomans pushed further and on August 23, 1514, managed to engage the Safavids in the Battle of Chaldiran west of Tabriz. With Shah Ṭahmāsp, divine pretensions gave way to a growing focus on the shah’s function as the representative of the Hidden Imam. They outlawed it at the turn of the century. Turning his attention to the Uzbeks, the new ruler recaptured Mashad and Herat. Centrally located major provinces such as Qazvin, Kāšān, Isfahan, Yazd, and part of Kermān were thus converted to crown land, as were the silk-producing regions of Gilān and Māzandarān, following Farhād Khan’s demise. It became more identifiably Shi'a in its orientation around the year 1400. The origins of the corps of ḡolāms, “slave soldiers” serving as royal retainers, also date back to this period, though at this stage most ḡolāms still consisted of non-Qezelbāš tribal elements and urban dwellers. The princes had Turcoman, Persian, Kurdish, and even Armenian, Indian, Afghan, or Georgian mothers. Later, he conquered territories as far as east as Delhi, but did not fortify his Persian base and eventually, he exhausted his army's strength. Road security lapsed, with local governors reportedly aiding and abetting highway brigands, and caravans suffering attack close to the gates of Isfahan. Another change that reflectd the diminishing influence of the Qezelbāš and an increasing central control was a greater emphasis on the administration of the crown lands (ḵāṣṣa). Divan 4. pl. Homāyun next seized the city for himself. The Russo-Ottoman accord that the two concluded in 1724 divided much of northwestern Persia between them. The Uzbeks staged incursions into Khorasan in 1578, and in the same year a new round of Safavid-Ottoman warfare erupted that would continue until 1590, causing severe economic disruption in Persia’s northwestern regions, already devastated by severe drought and famine. Despite the Safavid dynasty's Sufi origins, most Sunni or Shi'a Sufi groups were prohibited by the Nimatullahi order. In 1668, Ṣafi II had himself re-crowned as Shah Solaymān, as he considered his first coronation as inauspicious. In addition to fighting its perennial enemies, the Ottomans and Uzbeks, as the seventeenth century progressed, Iran had to contend with the rise of two more neighbors. Shah Ṭahmāsp was succeeded by his son, Esmāʿil II, who had established his reputation by defeating the Ottomans in 1549. The head of the tribal guard, the qurči-bāši (q.v. Safavid Literature. Located in the central Middle East, the kingdom occupied a fundamental geographic location and had substantial effect in … The Safavid Empire, based in Persia , ruled over much of southwestern Asia from 1501 to 1736. A divine inspiration that promised him victory against his enemies if he followed šariʿa injunctions prompted him to cleanse the town of all blameworthy activities that cause good governance to founder. As the spiritual heir of Sheikh Zahed, Safi Al-Din transformed the inherited Zahediyeh Sufi Order into the Safaviyeh Order. In spite of all this, however, the general population of Iran remained mostly Sunni until the Safavid period. Safavid Persia had a succession of capitals: for the capital was where the shah and his entourage happened to be. In 1548, the Safavids managed to penetrate deeply into Anatolia, where the Qezelbāš created much local resentment by their cruel conduct. 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. By preserving ties to their ancestral homeland, they also facilitated Safavid control over these territories. The latter region also became home to many Armenians and Georgians, who were moved there to help develop its economic potential. This was known as the House of Osman and this house was advised by the Divan. The Ottomans, however, were able to push them back. Hence the first appointments of Tajik officials to key positions traditionally reserved for Turks, including military ones. Abbas I also supported direct trade with Europe, particularly England and The Netherlands, which sought Iranian carpets, silk, and textiles. He was declared Shah of Iran in 1502. In 1619 the shah decreed the export of silk a crown monopoly, thus enhancing the income the royal treasury derived from Persia’s most profitable export product. Its governorship went to a leader of the Ḏu’l-Qadr who would rule the area for the next 100 years. The oṣulis accepted the authority of a (living) interpreter (mojtahed, see EJTEHĀD), and reserved a place for rational interpretation. Religious law and customary law existed side by side. In terms of military matters, Solaymān’s reign was uneventful, mostly because the shah was scrupulous in observing the Treaty of Qaṣr-e Širin. Until the 20th century, all of Persia’s ruling dynasties had their origins in tribal ambitions. In later years, ʿAbbās recaptured Kandahar, consolidated his access to the Persian Gulf coast by driving the Portuguese out of Hormuz, regained parts of Kurdistan, and seized important portions of Mesopotamia, including Baghdad. Click here for the annotated bibliography for this article. Tājlu Ḵānom, one of Shah Esmāʿil’s wives and the mother of Shah Ṭahmāsp, had been as powerful as the shah himself in the latter part of his reign, and the same is true for Pari Ḵān Ḵānom. Ḵodā-banda’s weak rule spawned several Qezelbāš revolts, the most important of which occurred in Khorasan. One of the battle’s other lasting effects was the Safavid loss of much of eastern Anatolia and Syria’s incorporation into the Ottoman realm, resulting in the establishment of a border that, though fluctuating over time, would continue to mark off Persian territory from Ottoman-controlled land. Ties were forged and cemented through institutions such as reciprocal gift-giving, the šāhsevan (Turk., lit. 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. In 1696 it took six months to mobilize 12,000 soldiers. The staff of the Sultan including bookkeepers etc. The absence of primogeniture—the right of the eldest son to succeed—in the latter tradition turned every succession into a long struggle for power and thus created much instability (though in Safavid Persia, the older Persian principle of the son succeeding the father usually prevailed). He was allied with Mirzā Salmān, who had survived the fall of Mahd-e ʿOlyā by siding with the Qezelbāš, but who overstepped his boundaries with his military pretensions. It is true that the shah did little to prevent the loss of Balḵ (1516-17) and Kandahar (Qandahār [1522]), and that henceforth he took to hunting, wine-drinking, and spending time in the company of young boys, preferring these activities over the management of state affairs. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'newworldencyclopedia_org-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_2',167,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'newworldencyclopedia_org-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_3',167,'0','1']));eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'newworldencyclopedia_org-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_4',167,'0','2'])); Poetry stagnated under the Safavids; the great medieval ghazal form languished in over-the-top lyricism. Submitted tags will be reviewed by site administrator before it is posted online.If you enter several tags, separate with commas. Military weakness at this point vitiated central control for it forced the state to reverse the policy of bringing land under the authority of the crown by realigning it as state land administered by tribal forces. Originating as it did in a frontier region rife with primordial beliefs mixing cabbalistic and millenarian elements, their belief system had long borne little relation to orthodox Twelver Shiʿism. The failure of his assassins to capitalize on his murder must be seen as symbol of the definitive failure of the Qezelbāš to dominate the political scene. A unified currency system was also adopted for the entire realm, ending a monetary division between the eastern and western halfs of the country. The Safavids generally ruled over a peaceful and prosperous empire. 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. The Safavids were poorly armed, while the Ottomans had muskets and artillery. This clearly differentiated Iran from the Ottomans, who were Sunnis. Invariably, though, customary law (ʿorf), prevailed over the šariʿa (shari’a), especially in criminal cases, and most people are said to have favored government courts over religious courts. In the 1590s, the shah transferred his capital from Qazvin to Isfahan (see CAPITAL CITIES ii.). Bans on the export of specie put inflationary pressure on the monetary system, encouraging moneychangers and merchants to hide the good coins for export and pass on the bad ones. First, he bargained for peace with the Ottomans in 1590, giving away territory in the north-west. In 1558 Ṭahmāsp retook the city from Akbar, Homāyun’s successor. Shah Ṣafi I (r. 1629-42) and Shah ʿAbbās II (r. 1642-66). 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 ulema, convinced of the need for a monarch as the patrimonial head of the body-politic, overwhelmingly acquiesced in the status quo, whereby the secular state wielded ultimate power, served the state in a variety of bureaucratic offices, and paid no more than lip service to the normative notions of Twelver Shiʿism, including the illegitimacy of the secular state. The Divan was also further subdivided and this is how the central government functioned. Thus the outbreak of the Ottoman-Venetian war of 1570-73, and the eruption of rebellions in Anatolia in the same period, made the flow of money between the Ottoman Empire and Persia dry up. A religious scholar with Sufi leanings and a prolific writer, Bahāʾ-al-Din wrote the anthology Kaškul, a number of religious treatises, and poetry. Following Esmāʿil’s death, the Qezelbāš elders selected Moḥammad Ḵodā-banda, a man of refined tastes but weak character, and suffering from poor eyesight, as his successor. Three years later he asserted his independence. Main Idea: ◦In the first years of the 16thcentury, the Safavids founded a dynasty that conquered what is now IRAN. After Shah Ṭahmāsp I, Shah ʿAbbās was the first Safavid ruler to patronize the arts in a sustained manner. To send this chapter to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Shah Esmāʿil II (r. 1576-78) and Shah Moḥammad Ḵodā-banda (r. 1578-87, d. 1595 or 1596). They formed the military elite of the fledgling state and provided the praetorian guard, the qurči cavalry, for the shah himself. Only in the 1530s did the Shah emerge victorious from the internal struggle, determined to consolidate his power by curtailing the unruly Qezelbāš. The decisive blow was to come from the east. Culture flourished under Safavid patronage. The Sunni scholars, called Ulama (from alim, knowledge), were either killed or exiled. Persia had benefited from two decades of relative peace. It was under Ḥaydar’s son, Esmāʿil, that the Safavids evolved from a messianic movement to a political dynasty led by a shah rather than a shaikh. Outstanding religious figures in the early 17th century include Bahāʾ-al-Din ʿĀmeli (1547-1622), known as Shaikh Bahāʾi, who had come to Persia from Lebanon as a child and who, under Shah ʿAbbās, was appointed šayḵ al-Eslām of Isfahan. Whereas Shah Esmāʿil had been the representative of a primordial semi-pagan world in which orgiastic ritual involving drinking and sexual practices awkwardly mixed with an appeal to Islamic legitimization, Shah Ṭahmāsp inaugurated a phase of growing attention to outward religious behavior. The males were trained as administrators, while the women were employed in the royal harem, where they would exercise an increasing influence. History of Iran: Safavid Empire 1502 - 1736 By: Shapour Ghasemi After the disastrous invasion of Mongols, in the 1200s, migrated Turks and Mongolian tribes adopted the Persian customs and even language.In the 1300s, the Ilkhanids, a dynasty founded by the "Genghis Khan's" grandson, Holagu Khan, had been an influential factor in Persia. Many of its members were bi- or multilingual, with Azeri Turkish and Persian being the linguae francae of the dynasty. In the year 1722, Afghan invaders, of the Sunni branch of Islam, reached the Safavid capital, Isfahan. 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