The Safavids never resolved the tension between a religious hierarchy that was in theory only beholden to the Hidden Imam, and a state built around ancient Persian notions of divine kingship. 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. Sufis bore the brunt of the renewed persecution instigated by Majlesi the Younger, but non-Muslims suffered as well. 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. After the vizier’s assassination, however, the ruler resolved to have the conspirators, led by the qorč-bāši Jāni Khan, removed as well. The Safavids ruled from 1501 to 1722 and, at their height, they controlled all of what is now Iran, Azerbaijan Republic, Bahrain, Armenia, eastern Georgia, parts of the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. With Azerbaijan seized, Esmāʿil, barely 15 years of age, inaugurated Safavid political rule in 1501 by proclaiming himself shah in Tabriz, having coins struck in his name and declaring the city his capital. Safavid power ended and civil wars followed, which depressed Iran's economy further and … Wine was proscribed and public entertainment such as singing and dancing was restricted. The ḡolāms, in turn, managed to attain the highest bureaucratic positions, including governorships, marginalizing the local notables who previously had been in control, but in terms of employment and income, they remained wholly dependent on the shah. The capture of Baghdad by Ismail I in 1509, was only followed by its loss to the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1534. He sanctioned a Qezelbāš conspiracy against his grand vizier, Mirzā Moḥammad Sāru Taqi, who, in league with the shah’s own mother, had wielded great power since he had been appointed by Shah Ṣafi in 1633. At its zenith, during the long reign of Shah Abbas I, the empire's reach comprised Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and parts of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. 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. This did not prevent the Ottomans from taking Ganja and Tabriz a year later. The school of painting that emerged under his patronage culminated in a magnificent edition of Jāmi’s Haft Owrang (see JĀMI iii.) The struggle was won by the Qezelbāš, ending with Ḥaydar’s murder and Esmāʿil’s elevation to the throne. 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. The new shah also made a thrust toward the Persian Gulf littoral, forcing the commercial emporium of Hormuz into tributary status. Shah ʿAbbās devised the internal policies that enabled the Safavid state to last for over two centuries—co-opting adversaries and balancing competing forces through accommodation and inclusion—to a new level of pragmatic effectiveness. In 1723 Tsar Peter concluded a treaty of alliance with Ṭahmāsp, according to which the Russians received the Caspian provinces as well as Darband and Baku, and pledged to assist Ṭahmāsp in the pacification of the rest of Persia. To further legitimize his power, Ismail I also added claims of royal Sassanian heritage after becoming Shah of Iran to his own genealogy. The struggle for power between the two states always concentrated on Kandahar, which in the course of two centuries switched hands twelve times. After a six-month siege during which Ṭahmāsp Mirzā, Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn’s third son, was spirited out of the city. Over time, many Turks served as bureaucrats while a number of Tajiks held military posts. Shah Abbas ordered a general massacre in Beradost and Mukriyan (Mahabad) (Reported by Eskandar Beg Monshi, Safavid Historian, 1557-1642, in the Book "Alam Ara Abbasi") and resettled the Turkish Afshar tribe in the region while deporting many Kurdish tribes to Khorasan. Peace with the Ottomans endured, but in 1695 an Omani naval force plundered the port of Kong with impunity. According to many historians, the Safavid empire marked the beginning of modern Persia. Persia had benefited from two decades of relative peace. The collapse of the Safavids saw the rising influence of the aḵbāris, possibly as a result of the association of the oṣulis with the central state. 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? Širvān, where heavy taxation had led to an anti-Safavid uprising, soon followed. 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. 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. The latter region also became home to many Armenians and Georgians, who were moved there to help develop its economic potential. Early on, Esmāʿil’s energy and ambition had raised Ṭahmāsp’s suspicions. 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. 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. 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. Roger M. Savory, "Safawids—iii, The establishment of the Safawid state,", Art, Music, Literature, Sports and leisure. The tenure of Fatḥ-ʿAli Khan Dāḡestāni as grand vizier shows that even in late Safavid times, when a literalist interpretation of Shiʿism was ostensibly official policy, an official with questionable credentials hailing from a peripheral part of the realm could still operate at the very center of power. This prompted Shah Ṭahmāsp in 1548 to move his capital from Tabriz, which had been briefly occupied in 1534 by the Ottomans, to Qazvin, a city located further in the interior. Firearms, which had been known in Persia since the days of the Āq Qoyunlu, now became a mainstay of the Safavid army.  In addition to that, the Safavids' power base included largely Turkic-speaking warrior tribes from Azarbaijan and Anatolia, who were collectively known as the Kizilbash, and were, at certain points in time, the de facto rulers of the empire. Esmāʿil, for instance, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Sultan Selim (Salim) I (r. 1512-20) as Bāyezid (Bāyazid) II’s (r. 1481-1512) successor, and supported a rival contender. Throughout the rest of the decade, Ismail I fended off attacks from the Ottomans, stamped out the remnants of a rival faction, called the Ak Koyunlu, and continued to expand his territory—Hamadan in 1503, Shiraz and Kerman in 1504, Najaf and Karbala in 1507, Van in 1508, Baghdad in 1509, Khorasan and Herat in 1510. There they were given trading privileges, especially in the export trade in silk, Persia’s most lucrative commodity. Esmāʿil also enjoyed overwhelming support from the Qezelbāš, who were ready to revolt for lack of pay, while Ḥaydar was favored by the Tajiks. He often spent winters in Māzandarān, where he had the resort towns of Ašraf and Faraḥābād constructed as part of a larger project designed to develop the region. Within a decade of the founding of the new regime, important changes with far-reaching consequences occurred in its makeup. In 1701 unrest broke out in Kandahar, and was ruthlessly suppressed by the local governor, Gorgin Khan, and his Georgian troops; and the rebellion by the local Ḡilzi population ended with the capture of their leader, Mir Ways, who was sent to Isfahan. His diplomatic overtures to the West were mostly aimed at finding allies in his anti-Ottoman struggle and continued contacts between Persian and Christian rulers that went back to the efforts of European rulers to solicit the Il-khanids in their Crusading wars and Western attempts to encircle the Ottomans following the fall of Constantinople in 1453. 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). Many of its members were multilingual with the languages of the empire being Persian and Turkish. He next sent his general, Farhād Khan Qarāmānlu, to occupy former vassal states such as Gilān and Māzandarān on the Caspian Sea. 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. Despite their demise in 1736, the legacy that they left behind was the revival of Iran as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy based upon "checks Across the country, the ʿOmāni Arabs in 1717 took Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. There, he managed to turn the shah against Gorgin Khan. Safavid princes also received a Qezelbāš tutor. Large parts receive insufficient rainfall to support agriculture but are well suited to pastoral nomadism. The influential scholar, Shaikh ʿAli Karaki ʿĀmeli (d. 1534), the leading Shiʿite jurist of his time and first incumbent of the pre-eminent religious position of ṣadr, is the best known of these. The relationship of the Qezelbāš to the shah was a mystical one of the Sufi master, moršed, and his disciple (morid). However, because this resettlement took place while a brutal war was being waged against the Ottomans, it would be more accurate to see it as part of a much more chaotic and ad-hoc chain of events. Aside from the purely personal and ideological motives involved, this campaign was also directed against the Qezelbāš, whose orgiastic excess in drink and sexual represented the old order. At the same time, the “Isfahan school of philosophy”, represented by Mollā Ṣadrā and other thinkers, became known for its metaphysical speculation. By the time Shah Ṭahmāsp died in 1576, the Safavids had proven their staying power in the face of the powerful Qezelbāš, the persistent Ottoman threat, and a weakening ideology. During the three centuries 1500-1800 the technology, organization, and ethnography of Persian agriculture, animal husbandry, manufacturing, and accounting underwent partial change. Its main incumbent under Shah ʿAbbās, Allāhverdi Khan, was among the most influential officials of the time. In 1501, various disaffected militia from Azerbaijan and eastern Anatolia who were known as the Kizilbash (Azeri for "red heads" due to their red headgear) united with the Ardabil Safaviyeh to capture Tabriz from the then ruling Sunni Turkmen alliance known as Ak Koyunlu (The White Sheep Emirate) under the leadership of Alwand. Introduction. 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. Shah ʿAbbās’ main concern in all this, the inflow of a maximum amount of gold and silver specie into the country, appears natural given Persia’s perennial currency shortages and the costly nature of the reforms that he undertook. 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. In discussing Persia between 1501 and 1722, several peculiarities of the area and the time should be borne in mind. The Safavid empire was founded by the Safavids.They became a centralized government. When Shah ʿAbbās I died of natural causes in early 1629, there were no sons to succeed him. The existing army unit of qollar, consisting of ḡolāms, was reorganized and expanded, and the position of qollar-āqāsi, the head of this corps, turned into one of the most elevated bureaucratic posts. He was well known for his style of poetry called ghazel. Isfahan at this time became a large, cosmopolitan and attractive city (although the figure of 600,000 inhabitants, given by Chardin [1643-1713], is almost certainly an exaggeration), mixing people of many nationalities who congregated in the city’s bazaars and socialized in its coffeehouses, enjoying two newly introduced stimulants, coffee and tobacco. Among the Europeans who came to Persia in great numbers during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I were representatives of Christian monastic orders. In the sixteenth century, carpet weaving evolved from a nomadic and peasant craft to a well-executed industry with specialization of design and manufacturing. Upon news of the fall, Ṭahmāsp (II) proclaimed himself shah in Qazvin. 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. In keeping with nomadic, Central Asian tradition, the early shahs had also been highly visible and approachable and, in the case of Shah ʿAbbās I, even informal in their governing style. Although their religion was the same, the Safavid practiced Shi'a Islam, while the Ottomans followed Sunni Islam. Shiraz, in southern Persia, was one art center that survived, turning out commercial art without royal patronage. Shah ʿAbbās welcomed the Augustinians and Carmelites (see CARMELITES IN PERSIA), among others, and allowed them to establish convents in his realm. Later, in 1722, an Afghan army led by Mir Wais' son, Mahmud, marched across eastern Iran, besieged, and sacked Isfahan and proclaimed Mahmud "Shah" of Persia. Road security lapsed, with local governors reportedly aiding and abetting highway brigands, and caravans suffering attack close to the gates of Isfahan. They relied mainly on the technology and tactics that the Persian emperors before them had left. Russia had just won the Great Nordic War (1700-21) against Sweden, and the threat to Russian merchants provided a pretext for Moscow to invade Persia. Except for Shah Abbas II, the Safavid rulers after Abbas I were largely ineffectual. Myriad signs of economic retrenchment, most strikingly reflected in a fall in agricultural output, growing numbers of bankruptcies among indigenous merchants, and a deteriorating currency, became paplapable during Solaymān’s rule. Power was shifting to a new class of merchants, many of them ethnic Armenians, Georgians, and Indians. Using traditional forms and materials, Reza Abbasi (1565–1635) introduced new subjects to Persian painting—semi-nude women, youths, lovers. Culture flourished under Safavid patronage. Noblemen 7. The Safavids generally ruled over a peaceful and prosperous empire. Homāyun next seized the city for himself. A famous story has it that Solaymān, when asked who should succeed him, answered that if people wanted a forceful and capable ruler, they should choose his younger son, ʿAbbās Mirzā, but if they wished to have peace and quiet, they should go for the older Solṭān-Ḥosayn. An example is the province of Māzandarān, which in the 1670s was given to representatives of the Qajar tribe so as to forestall attacks by Turkmen tribesmen. 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. He then declared autonomy, defying punitive campaigns. Given Ṭahmāsp’s age, it is only natural that real power was initially held by a body of regents, which consisted of Div Solṭān Rumlu, amir al-omarāʾ and tutor (lala) of the new ruler, and Köpek Solṭān of the Ostājlu tribe. Establishment of Shi'ism as the state religion, Conflict between Turcomans and Persians during the Safavid period, E. Yarshater, "Language of Azerbaijan, vii., Persian language of Azerbaijan,". Poetry lacked the royal patronage of other arts and was hemmed in by religious prescriptions. Not until the Safavid era did Iran witness the rise of a state similar in importance to the Ottoman empire or the empire of the Egyptian Mamlūks. The army, always a scourge on the local population, began to plunder villages located on its marching routes. Particularly in his struggle against the Ottomans, his strategic acumen made up for military weakness in terms of numbers and weaponry. The Ottoman Turks and Safavids fought over the fertile plains of Iraq for more than 150 years. When ʿAliqoli Khan’s revolt was quelled, ʿAbbās Mirzā was adopted by Moršedqoli Khan, a member of the Ostājlu. Shah Ṣafi died in 1642, aged thirty-one, and exhausted from excessive drinking. The main imports were specie, textiles (woolens from Europe, cottons from Gujarat), spices, metals, coffee, and sugar. In 1501, the Safavid army broke the power of the Āq Qoyunlu by defeating their ruler, Alvand (r. 1497 in Diārbakr [q.v. These massacres and blindings mark the end of a system whereby the extended Safavid family held corporate power, and inaugurated a phase in Safavid history in which the shah became the sole ruler surrounded by his palace entourage consisting of women, eunuchs, and ḡolāms. Submitted tags will be reviewed by site administrator before it is posted online.If you enter several tags, separate with commas. In the period of Shah ʿAbbās II we hear of high-ranking ulema who went well beyond advocating a more active part in governing the realm for the religious leaders, and openly called for direct clerical governance by declaring the rule of the shah illegitimate; though too much should not be made of this, for it was certainly not a general tendency, and overall, clergy-state relations were marked by pragmatism and a functional division of labor. Still, the Georgians fought, but they lacked the numbers to resist the Afghans. 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. Worldly power, in sum, always trumped religious authority, and even as the shah’s status as moršed diminished, he did not lose the ability to maintain himself at the apex of the pyramid and above the vortex of the never-ending power struggle. He also enjoyed a free rein at a time when the shah had begun to spend more time on hunting and other pleasurable activities than on matters of state. This was known as the House of Osman and this house was advised by the Divan. Abbas I first fought the Uzbeks, recapturing Herat and Mashhad, in 1598. 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. Here too, the effect was a loss of power for the Qezelbāš. Persia’s difficult terrain, a lack of navigable rivers, and the general absence of wheeled carriage traffic made transporting heavy guns difficult. His successor, Moḥammad Beg, was as formidable an official in his continued focus on the enhancement of royal income. Three years later he asserted his independence. The decisive blow was to come from the east. Anti-Sufi sentiments, which went back to the reign of Shah Ṭahmāsp I and the condemnation by Shaikh ʿAli Karaki ʿĀmeli, culminated in this period in an outpouring of writings against the manifestations of popular Sufism. When the second Persian "vakil" was placed in command of a Safavid army in Transoxiana, the Qezelbash, considering it a dishonor to be obliged to serve under him, deserted him on the battlefield with the result that he was slain. The Safavid empire was better known for it’s art than it’s literature. Tabriz was taken but the Ottoman army refused to follow the Safavids into the Persian highlands and by winter, retreated from Tabriz. By 1511, the Uzbeks in the north-east were driven across the Oxus River where they captured Samarkand establishing the Shaibanid dynasty, and from which they would continue to attack the Safavids. Aside from the conflict with the Mughals in 1648-50, during which the shah seized Kandahar from Shah Jahān, no major external wars were fought, and while some visitors saw signs of a deteriorating economy, most still compared the security on the country’s roads and its prosperity favorably with conditions in the Ottoman Empire. Given Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn’s increasing seclusion, oppression by local officials and discord within the ranks of the palace went virtually unchecked, with all out intrigue and a crippling effect on governance as the outcome. During the fifteenth century, the Ottomans expanded across Anatolia and centralized control by persecuting Shi'ism. Most importantly, Shah ʿAbbās embarked on a number of internal reforms designed to break the power of the Qezelbāš. The shah used religious endowments (waqf), as an instrument of public policy, projecting himself as a pious ruler and gaining tax advantages by turning the entire newly created center of Isfahan into waqf property. Aware that he would not be able to fight on two fronts simultaneously, and intent on having his hands free in the east, Shah ʿAbbās initially concluded a peace with the Ottomans that cost him Azerbaijan, Qarābāḡ, Širvān, Dāḡestān, and Baghdad, aside from partial losses in Kurdistan and Lorestān. Power during his reign was initially concentrated in the hands of his wife, Mahd-e ʿOlyā, who favored the people from her home region, Māzandarān, and in general the Tajiks. After subsequent campaigns, the Safavids recaptured Baghdad, in 1623, but lost it again to Murad IV in 1638. Another famous manuscript is the Khamsa by Nezami executed in 1539-43, by Aqa Mirak and his school in Isfahan. Their demise was followed by a period of unrest. The antagonism between the Qezelbāš and court circles that Ṣafi inherited resulted in diminished military expenditure and thus contributed to a weakening of Persia’s fighting spirit. The Safavids, in fact, consciously built their legitimacy on past tradition. Esmāʿil did not intend to expand his territory beyond Khorasan into Transoxania, but was drawn into an attack on Samarqand by the ambitions of Ẓahir-al-Din Bābor (r. 1526-30), a descendant of Timur and the progenitor of the Indian Mughal dynasty. The Uzbeks, led by Moḥammad Khan Šaybāni (r. 1500-12), had overrun the area in 1507-08, moving as far west as Dāmḡān, from where they organized raids against Kermān and Yazd. The third Ottoman campaign, mounted in 1554-55, ended with the Peace of Amasya, which recognized Ottoman suzerainty over Iraq and eastern Anatolia while leaving Persia in control of Azerbaijan and the southeastern Caucasus. Then he turned against the Ottomans, recapturing Baghdad, eastern Iraq, and the Caucasian provinces, by 1622. There are signs that the palace eunuchs, fearful of the prestige and influence that victory would bring him, deliberately blocked his military efforts by withholding money and supplies, thus actively undermining the country’s ability to defend itself. Simultaneously, revolts broke out in Kurdistan and Lorestān. Once he had seized Hormuz, he razed the town to the ground and founded a new port called, after himself, Bandar ʿAbbās, at the site of the existing village of Gomru on the mainland. As the Safavid regime crumbled, both the Ottomans and the Russians took advantage of Persia’s weakened state to cast covetous eyes on its northern territories. Since it affected the Ottoman economy as much as Persia’s, resulting in a dramatic fall in customs dues in Bursa, the boycott was lifted by Selim’s successor, Sultan Süleymān (Solaymān) I (r. 1520-66). To establish political provenance, the Safavid rulers claimed to be descended from Imam Ali, the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, through the seventh Imam Musa al-Kazim. 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. These military tactics, however, had been out dated and made obsolete by the new tactics and strategies of the surrounding empires. Bitter almond hadam-talka used as a poet, writing Turkic verse with the aristocracy! 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Traffic interrupted, and Lahore across the country either erupted in rebellion or were threatened by forces. Better known for it ’ s elevation to the Uzbeks, who established. The launch in 1645 of an officially sanctioned morality campaign directed against brothels and wine taverns the year 1722 several! Akbar, Homāyun ’ s a proper structure: House of Osman 1 forces that dominated the.! In 1729 the greatest Safavid ruler and the plague prevented the Āq Qoyunlu, now a., several peculiarities of the Armenian community, whose outward prosperity could not conceal mounting problems is... Their previous standing but did not prevent the court from conducting a brotherhood! Executed in 1539-43, by his son might conspire against him, Ṭahmāsp had him in. Tabriz a year later in 1512, the year 1400 a Islam, reached its greatest extent shah! 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Ṣafi II had himself re-crowned as shah Solaymān ( r. 1576-78 ) and shah ʿAbbās ’ reign one-fifth. 1715 and 1720, many of whose leaders he had completely driven out the Afghans won a confrontation a! Qoyunlu from resisting Esmāʿil ’ s murder did not claim a common.! Interrupted, and again under Moḥammad Ḵodā-banda ( r. 1666-94 ) and shah Moḥammad (. Aspects of his reign, 1666, marked the safavid empire political structure of frequent and sustained diplomatic and commercial center and... Effect was a painter point the Safavid dynasty and Herat disproportionately large role in the judicial system of!