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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: March 2020

3 - Armies, Lords and Subjects in Medieval Iran

from Part I - Beyond Warfare: Armies, Tribes and Lords


This chapter treats topics such as military recruitment, the provisioning of armies, and taxation problems. The well-known outbursts of military violence during the Mongol invasions of the 13th century or the campaigns of Timur (1370-1405) are not described again; the focus is rather on common forms of violent behaviour by the military but also the tax administration. One of the most evident forms of everyday violence was related to the billeting of troops and other military personnel in private homes, and a substantial section of the chapter is devoted to this practice. The coming of the Türkmen pastoralists to Iran in the 11th century changed the picture: whereas billeting seems to have become less important because of the different social profile of the army, other forms of violence became much more prominent. A last important source of violent behaviour are local powerholders who often practiced a kind of violent lordship.