Notes: Safavid Empire

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Key Focus:
1) The Ottoman (Sunni)-Safavid (Shi’ite) split in Dar al-Islam 2) Safavids’ use of religious extremism to inspire a following and forge an empire 3) Transition from heterodox ideology to orthodox theocracy under Shah Abbas I) The Safavid Rise to Power in Persia

3 empires dominated by presence of Islam
M2oguls in India, Ottoman Empire, and Safavids
a) Isma’il and the Messianic Ideology of the Qizilbash (warriors; “red heads” → their turbans) i) How did a 14 year-old establish a dynasty?
Led Turkish army to capture an Iranian city
it was already a vulnerable region
envisioned a utopian Islamic world
(1) Claim lineage from 13th century Sufi leader—Safi al-Din (2) Reincarnation of the “hidden” Twelfth Imam of Shi’a Islam (3) Claim of divinity as the “God-shah”
maybe reincarnation of Allah himself!!
ii) Sufi belief in the transmission of mystical powers
maybe a redeemer figure
iii) Qizilbash fanaticism
sometimes went into battle unarmed; believed Isma’il’s power could save em •the more extreme their behavior, the more they showed their loyalty to Isma’il b) The Safavid-Ottoman Conflict
oSafavid’s were intent on spreading their Qizibash religions i) Clash of Heterodoxy vs. Orthodoxy
(1) Safavids intent on spreading their Sufi/Shi’ite ideology Ottomans had control over Mecca
Safavid discouraged pilgrimage to Mecca to undermine Ottoman’s rule (2) Ottoman Selim the Grim’s claim as the “exterminator of idolators” referring to Safavid
made it his primary goal to eliminate Safavid
(3) Battle of Chaldiran (Kaldi-ran) 1514
slave armies were formidable; used firmarms
forced to retreated to center of their empire
ii) Geopolitical consequences
(1) Interruption of the Mediterranean—Middle Eastern commercial network iii) Changes in Safavid Policies
(1) Adoption of more conservative brand of “Imamite Sh’ia” II) Safavid Consolidation under Shah Abbas I (r.1588-1629)
a) Securing the Empire
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