Cities of Medieval Iran brings together studies in urban geography, archaeology, and history of medieval Iranian cities, spanning the Islamic period until ca. 1500, but also the pre-Islamic situation. The cities and their inhabitants take centre stage, they are not just the places where something else happened. Urban actors are given priority over external factors. The contributions take a long-term perspective and thus take the interaction between urban centres and their hinterland into account. Many contributions come from history or archaeology, but new disciplines are also methodologically integrated into the study of medieval cities, such as the arts of the book, lexicography, geomorphology, and digital instruments.
Contributors include Denise Aigle, Mehrdad Amanat, Jean Aubin, Richard W. Bulliet, Jamsheed K. Choksy, David Durand-Guédy, Etienne de La Vaissière, Majid Montazer Mahdi, Roy P. Mottahedeh, Jürgen Paul, Rocco Rante, Sarah Savant, Ali Shojai Esfahani, Donald Whitcomb and Daniel Zakrzewski.
Maqālīd al-ʿulūm (Keys to the Sciences) is a significant source on definitions of Arabic scientific terms in the post-classical period. Composed by an anonymous author, it contains over eighteen hundred definitions in the realm of twenty-one religious, literary, and rational sciences. The work was dedicated to the Muzaffarid Shāh Shujāʿ, who ruled over Shiraz and its neighbouring regions from 759/1358 to 786/1384. The present volume contains a critical edition of
Maqālīd al-ʿulūm based on its three extant manuscripts. In the introduction, the editors review previous scholarship on the text, present an overview of patronage at the court of Shāh Shujāʿ and identify some of the sources used by the author of the work. They suggest that the work in its structure mirrors Abū ʿAbdullāh Khwārazmī’s
Mafātīḥ al-ʿulūm, completed in 366/976.
Sea of Chronicles is an English translation of the ninth and tenth chapters of the historiographical work entitled
Muḥīṭ al-tavārīkh by Muḥammad Amīn b. Mīrzā Muḥammad Zamān Bukhārī. The work is a valuable source in particular for the study of the late seventeenth-century Central Asian political, cultural and religious history.
The ninth chapter offers accounts of the Timurid, Abulkhayrid/Shaybanid and the first four Ashatrkhanid khans. The tenth chapter which is the most original and important chapter of the work presents a detailed account of the life and time of the last great Ashatkhanid ruler, Subḥān Qulī Khān (r. 1682–1702), revealing historical information essential for the study of the period and region.
The history of Twelver Shīʿī Islam is a history of attempts to deal with the abrupt loss of the Imam. In
Encounters with the Hidden Imam in Early and Pre-Modern Twelver Shīʿī Islam, Omid Ghaemmaghami demonstrates that in the early years of what came to be known as the Greater Occultation, Shīʿī authorities maintained that all contact with the Imam had been sundered, forcing him to remain incommunicado until his (re)appearance. This position, however, proved untenable to maintain. Almost a century after the start of the Greater Occultation, prominent scholars began to concede the possibility that some Shīʿa can meet the Hidden Imam. Accounts of encounters with the Imam from the Greater Occultation soon began to appear, adumbrating their exponential growth in later centuries.
Thus Spake the Dervish explores the unfamiliar history of marginal Sufis, known as dervishes, in early modern and modern Central Asia over a period of 500 years. It draws on various sources (Persian chronicles and treatises, Turkic literature, Russian and French ethnography, the author’s fieldwork) to examine five successive cases, each of which corresponds to a time period, a specific socially marginal space, and a particular use of mystical language. Including an extensive selection of writings by dervishes, this book demonstrates the diversity and tenacity of Central Asian Sufism over a long period. Here translated into a Western language for the first time, the extracts from primary texts by marginal Sufis allow a rare insight into their world.
The original French edition of this book,
Ainsi parlait le dervice, was published by Editions du Cerf (Paris, France).
Esoteric Images: Decoding the Late Herat School of Painting Tawfiq Daʿadli decodes the pictorial language which flourished in the city of Herat, modern Afghanistan, under the rule of the last Timurid ruler, Sultan Husayn Bayqara (r.1469-1506). This study focuses on one illustrated manuscript of a poem entitled
Khamsa by the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, kept in the British Library under code Or.6810. Tawfiq Daʿadli decodes the paintings, reveals the syntax behind them and thus deciphers the message of the whole manuscript. The book combines scholarly efforts to interpret theological-political lessons embedded in one of the foremost Persian schools of art against the background of the court dynamic of an influential medieval power in its final years.
The Adventures of Shāh Esmāʿil recounts the dramatic formative years of the Safavid empire (1501–1722), as preserved in Iranian popular memory by coffeehouse storytellers and written down in manuscripts starting in the late seventeenth century. Beginning with the Safavids’ saintly ancestors in Ardabil, the story goes on to relate the conquests of Shāh Esmāʿil (r. 1501–1524) and his devoted Qezelbāsh followers as they battle Torkmāns, Uzbeks, Ottomans, and even Georgians and Ethiopians in their quest to establish a Twelver Shiʿi realm. Barry Wood’s translation brings out the verve and popular tone of the Persian text. A heady mixture of history and legend,
The Adventures of Shāh Esmāʿil sheds important light on the historical self-awareness of late Safavid Iran.
The Persianate World: Rethinking a Shared Sphere is among the first books to explore the pre-modern and early modern historical ties among such diverse regions as Anatolia, the Iranian plateau, Central Asia, Western Xinjiang, the Indian subcontinent, and southeast Asia, as well as the circumstances that reoriented these regions and helped break up the Persianate ecumene in modern times. Essays explore the modalities of Persianate culture, the defining features of the Persianate cosmopolis, religious practice and networks, the diffusion of literature across space, subaltern social groups, and the impact of technological advances on language. Taken together, the essays reflect the current scholarship in Persianate studies, and offer pathways for future research.
During its Qajar period (1210–1344/1795–1925), Iran witnessed some lively and significant philosophical discourse. Yet apart from studies devoted to individual figures such as Mullā Hādī Sabzawārī and Shaykh Aḥmad Aḥsāʾī, modern scholarship has paid little attention to the animated discussions and vibrant traditions of philosophy that continued in Iran during this period. The articles assembled in this book present an account of the life, works and philosophical challenges taken up by seven major philosophers of the Qajar period. As a collection, the articles convey the range and diversity of Qajar philosophical thinking. Besides indigenous thoughts, the book also deals with the reception of European philosophy in Iran at the time.
Tafsir as Mystical Experience, Todd Lawson shows how the Quran may be engaged with for meaning and understanding, the usual goal of mystical exegesis, and also how it may be engaged with through
tafsīr in a quest for spiritual or mystical experience. In this earliest of the Báb’s extended works, written before his public claim to be the return of the hidden Imam, the act of reading is shown to be something akin to holy communion in which the sacred text is both entrance upon and destination of the mystic quest. The Quran here is a door to an “abode of glory” and an abiding spiritual encounter with the divine through the prophet, his daughter Fāṭima and the twelve Imams of Ithna-ʿasharī Shiʿism who inhabit the letters, words, verses and suras of the Book.