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The Cambridge History of Iran - VI


Auteur :
Éditeur : Cambridge University Press Date & Lieu : 1986, Cambridge
Préface : Pages : 1066
Traduction : ISBN : 0 521 20094 6
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 145x225mm
Code FIKP : Liv. En.Thème : Histoire

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The Cambridge History of Iran - VI


The Cambridge History of Iran - VI

Peter Jackson

Cambridge University Press


The period of Iranian history from the death of the last important Il-Khan, Abu Sa'id, in 1335 down to the mid 18th century has scarcely received adequate notice from western historians. Since this volume was first conceived, the void has been filled partially by two works in English, The Aqquyunlu by J. E. Woods (1976) and R. M. Savory's Iran under the Safavids (1980). But there is as yet no authoritative monograph on Timur or the Timurids (with the qualified exception of Barthold's work on Ulugh Beg and on the court of Husain Balqara); and the standard work on the Qara Quyunlu is in Turkish. It is not the least merit of Professor Roemer's first four chapters, therefore, to make the pre-Safavid era as a whole accessible and intelligible to the Western reader.

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PREFACE

The period of Iranian history from the death of the last important Il-Khan, Abu Sa'id, in 1335 down to the mid 18th century has scarcely received adequate notice from western historians. Since this volume was first conceived, the void has been filled partially by two works in English, The Aqquyunlu by J. E. Woods (1976) and R. M. Savory's Iran under the Safavids (1980). But there is as yet no authoritative monograph on Timur or the Timurids (with the qualified exception of Barthold's work on Ulugh Beg and on the court of Husain Balqara); and the standard work on the Qara Quyunlu is in Turkish. It is not the least merit of Professor Roemer's first four chapters, therefore, to make the pre-Safavid era as a whole accessible and intelligible to the Western reader.

The relative neglect from which late medieval and early modern Iran has suffered is all the more remarkable when it is borne in mind that this period witnessed the first emergence of Iran as a "national" state enjoying a recognisable continuity with the present day. To a large extent this was of course fortuitous rather than a matter of conscious policy on the part of the Safavid rulers. The defeat at Chaldiran ensured that the Safavids would not extend their power into Anatolia, just as the simultaneous rise of the Uzbeks and of the Mughal empire curtailed attempts to enter into the Timurid political legacy in the east. Yet the fact remains that under the Safavid dynasty, which contrived to last longer than any of its predecessors since the Islamic conquest, Iran came to constitute a single political entity roughly within its present-day boundaries. The part played in this process by the adoption of Shl'a Islam as the state religion; the reshaping of the Persian monarchic ideal; the need to resolve the conflicts inherent in Iranian society, as for instance between tribal and non-tribal elements — all these are problems which merit detailed investigation.

The period has other fascinations for Western Europe. If diplomatic contact between Iran and the West had begun under the Tl-Khans, it had nevertheless been short lived. Not until the late 15 th century, in the time of the Aq Quyunlu, did such exchanges become a regular phenomenon, fortified under both Uzun Hasan and his Safavid heirs by the common hostility of the parties concerned towards the Ottoman empire. These contacts, and the growing attractiveness of Iran also to Western merchants in search of manufactures and raw materials, endow the Safavid period especially with a wealth of European travellers' reports which are among our principal sources for the country's political, economic and social history.

This volume was first planned in 1961, when Laurence Lockhart was appointed editor, and invitations to most of the contributors had been sent out by the end of 1963. Several chapters were as yet unfinished or awaited translation into English at the time of Lockhart's death in 1976. Professor J. A. Boyle, who had produced the fifth volume in this series, then took over the editorship of volume 6, but had been able to do very little when he in turn died two years later. It has fallen to me, as editor since the autumn of 1979, to receive the chapters still outstanding, to edit and prepare the entire manuscript for the press. Some of the contributors - Professor Savory, Dr Hillenbrand and Mr Gray - have revised their chapters within the last few years;  and we are indebted to Professor Schimmel and Professor Yarshater for adding, at somewhat short notice, two valuable chapters to the literature section of the volume. The remaining chapters were drafted earlier, and consequently the most recent research has not been taken into account. For this, of course, the authors themselves are not to blame. It should also be mentioned that the maps and genealogical tables were drafted by me and not by the authors of the chapters within which they are located.

Every effort has been made to achieve a high degree of standardisation throughout the volume. I have adhered, on the whole, to the system of transliteration followed in volume 4 and to the practice adopted there of using italics only for the first appearance of technical terms, and roman characters thereafter, within each chapter. A major difficulty has arisen from the fact that, even in the period covered by this volume, Arabic names and terms are by no means totally eclipsed by Persian ones, and that it is necessary to employ different transcriptions (Arabic th, dh, d, and w for Persian /, £, % and v). The results may occasionally seem startling, as when the convention is applied to the titles of books written by the same author but in different languages; or in the case of the Islamic months and of religious and philosophical terminology, which have been given in their Arabic form (thus qādī rather than qāžī, except where part of a proper name, as in Qazi Burhan al-Din). The ligature used in previous volumes, indicating that the roman letters concerned represent a single consonant in the Arabo-Persian alphabet, has been discarded. Diacritical marks are also omit ted, for example, in the names of dynasties where these are anglicised (thus Safaviyya, but Safavids) and in such titles as shah unless an integral part of a proper name (thus Jahān Shāh, Shāh Jahān; but Shah 'Abbās). For Turkish and Mongol words and names I have slightly modified the system of transcription found in volume 5; and in any case those dynasties which held extensive sway over Iranian territory, as did the later Qarā Quyūnlū and Āq Quyūnlū rulers, have been treated as if they were Persian. It is hoped that the adoption of these admittedly complex principles will have proved more vexatious to the editor than to the reader.

It remains to thank those who contributed to the completion of this volume. Hubert Darke, the Editorial Secretary for the Cambridge History of Iran, has been of considerable assistance with the bibliography, plates and figures. I have benefited also from the help of Iain White, who sub-edited the manuscript. My colleagues and friends at Keele have had to live with me while I wrestled with editorial tasks; I should like finally to thank them for their patience and good humour. The Publishers and the Editorial Board of The Cambridge History of Iran are grateful for a generous donation from The Yarshater Fund, Columbia University.

Peter Jackson
Keele, April 1985



CHAPTER I

The Jalayirids, Muzaffarids and Sarbadārs

The Last Chingizids


The end of the Il-Khanid empire resulted in Persia, if not in the creation of a vacuum, at any rate in a dilution of power, which worked in favour of various forces contending for authority in the state. The rivals involved in the struggles which now began fall into three categories. The most obvious of these were princes from several lines of the dynasty of Chingiz Khan, who looked to a restoration of centralised Mongol rule. They set about their task partly on their own initiative and partly as mere figureheads put up by legitimist groupings in the background. A second group was the representatives of local dynasties or highly placed families, who had served the Īl-Khāns as generals or senior servants of the state, and also the leaders of powerful tribal associations. And there were, finally, other groups for whom what mattered was not dynastic or aristocratic considerations but religious adherence to Shī'ī or extremist movements.

The power struggles that went on within or between these groups lasted for half a century. Though one or other of the rivals might for a time contrive to establish a certain measure of political and economic stability in his area of effective control, none had any lasting success, and there was no question of their unifying the country alone and unaided. Whatever the hardships Persia suffered as a result of divisions and chaotic conditions, even greater sacrifices were demanded of the people when, at the beginning of the eighties of the 8th/14th century, reunification was finally achieved: imposed, in fact, from outside by the conqueror Tīmūr. Pressing forward from Central Asia, he soon swept aside the contending parties or merely allowed them to fade into insignificance.

It is typical of Persia that in spite of the troubles of the decades between the end of the Il-Khanid empire and the appearance on the scene of Tīmūr, Persian culture was not submerged, as one might have expected, but achieved, in its intellectual life, for example in the sphere of poetry, a distinction hardly equalled in any other period. The flowering of poetry which reached its highest point in the unique figure of .....

 




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