Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan

Bloomsbury Publishing
Free sample

I.B.Tauris in association with the Iran Heritage Foundation

The decline and fall of Safavid Iran is traditionally seen as the natural outcome of the unrelieved political stagnation and moral degeneration which characterised late Safavid Iran. "Persia in Crisis" challenges this view. In this ground-breaking new book, Rudi Matthee revisits traditional sources and introduces new ones to take a fresh look at Safavid Iran in the century preceding the fall of Isfahan in 1722, which brought down the dynasty and ushered in a long period of turbulence in Iranian history. Inherently vulnerable because of the country's physical environment, its tribal makeup and a small economic base, the Safavid state was fatally weakened over the course of the seventeenth century. Matthee views Safavid Iran as a network of precarious alliances subject to perpetual negotiation and the society they ruled as an uneasy balance between conflicting forces. In the later seventeenth century this delicate balance shifted from cohesion to fragmentation.
An increasingly detached, palace-bound shah; a weakening link between the capital and the outlying provinces; the regime's neglect of the military and its shortsighted monetary policies combined to exacerbate rather than redress existing problems, leaving the country with a ruler too feeble to hold factionalism and corruption in check and a military unable to defend its borders against outside attack by Ottomans and Afghans. The scene was set for the Crisis of 1722. This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of Iranian history and the period that led to two hundred years of decline and eclipse for Iran.
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About the author

Rudi Matthee is Professor of History at the University of Delaware. His previous publications include The Pursuit of Pleasure: Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900 and The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver, 1600-1730.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing
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Published on
Nov 30, 2011
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780857720948
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This Handbook is a current, comprehensive single-volume history of Iranian civilization. The authors, all leaders in their fields, emphasize the large-scale continuities of Iranian history while also describing the important patterns of transformation that have characterized Iran's past. Each of the chapters focuses on a specific epoch of Iranian history and surveys the general political, social, cultural, and economic issues of that era. The ancient period begins with chapters considering the anthropological evidence of the prehistoric era, through to the early settled civilizations of the Iranian plateau, and continuing to the rise of the ancient Persian empires. The medieval section first considers the Arab-Muslim conquest of the seventh century, and then moves on to discuss the growing Turkish influence filtering in from Central Asia beginning in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The last third of the book covers Iran in the modern era by considering the rise of the Safavid state and its accompanying policy of centralization, the introduction of Shi'ism, the problems of reform and modernization in the Qajar and Pahlavi periods, and the revolution of 1978-79 and its aftermath. The book is a collaborative exercise among scholars specializing in a variety of sub-fields, and across a number of disciplines, including history, art history, classics, literature, politics, and linguistics. Here, readers can find a reliable and accessible narrative that can serve as an authoritative guide to the field of Iranian studies.
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