By Sussan Babaie, Kathryn Babayan, Ina Baghdiantz-McCabe, Massumeh Farhad
The Safavid dynasty represented the head of Iran’s energy and effect in its early glossy heritage. The proof of this – the construction of a kingdom nation, army growth and luck, financial dynamism, and the beautiful artwork and structure of the interval – is famous. what's much less understood is the level to which the Safavid good fortune relied on an elite originating from outdoor Iran: the slaves of Caucasian descent and the Armenian retailers of Isfahan. This e-book describes how those elites, following their conversion to Islam, helped to remodel Isfahan’s city, inventive and social panorama.
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Extra info for Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran
Master and slave each had a moral obligation toward the other. The path of submission to Islam prescribed good deeds and a showering of grace in return. According to Tusi, The master must have firmly established in his servants’ hearts [the conviction] that there is no manner or means for them to leave him, in any way or for any cause whatsoever. 9 There was a practical side to this religious act, for as the Saljuq Vizier Nizam al-Mulk (d. 11 Unlike his biological son, the slave is assumed not to rebel, and the king is to treat him justly.
Nizam al-Mulk situates the practice in medieval Islam with the Persian dynasty of the Samanids ruling in Transoxiana. This is the system which was still in force in the time of the Samanids. Pages were given gradual advancement in rank according to their length of service, their skill and their general merit. Thus after a page was bought, for one year he was commanded to serve on foot as [a rider’s] stirrup…and 30 S L AV E S O F T H E S H A H this page was not allowed during the first year to ride a horse in private or in public…When he had done one year’s service, then they gave him a small Turkish horse, with a saddle covered in untanned leather, and plain bridle…After serving for a year with a horse and whip, in his third year he was given a belt to gird on his waist.
As already mentioned, the Safavids had adopted the practice of holding as hostages young princes of regional ruling families with whom they had a tributary relationship. 56 Royal T H E S A FAV I D H O U S E H O L D R E C O N F I G U R E D 37 Georgian slaves of the household now ensured order in Isfahan, which carried judicial authority. 57 The granting of pre-Islamic Persian names from the Shahnama to the personal slaves of the Safavid household is consistent with the Safavid intent to bolster their legitimacy as patrimonial monarchs evoking ancient Iranian glory.