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6 - Persia: the breakdown of society

from Part III - The central Islamic lands in the Ottoman period

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2008

K. S. Ann Lambton
Affiliation:
University of London
P. M. Holt
Affiliation:
University of London
Ann K. S. Lambton
Affiliation:
University of London
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Summary

The seeds of the decline of the Safavid empire are already to be seen after the death of Shāh 'Abbās I, and when the Afghan invasion finally brought about its fall 1135/1722 period of disorder followed. Trade was interrupted and a general decline in civic and cultural life took place. This was not a new experience for Persia: earlier empires had disintegrated before the inroads of nomadic or semi-nomadic invaders. On this occasion, however, the invader did not succeed in establishing an empire as had, for example, the Seljuks, the Mongols and the Timurids.

Tahmāsp, the son of Shāh Sultān Husayn, the last Safavid ruler, who was besieged by the Afghans in Isfahān, sought the assistance severally of Peter the Great and the Ottoman sultan. The former captured Darband and Baku and concluded in 1723 a treaty with Tahmāsp, who ceded to Russia all the Persian possessions on the Caspian Sea on condition Peter expelled the Afghans and put him (Tahmāsp) on the Persian throne. In 1724, however, anticipating the disintegration of the Persian kingdom, the Russians and the Ottomans made an abortive treaty for the partition of Persia. In 1140/1727 the Ottomans forced Ashraf, who in 1137/1725 had succeeded Mahmūd, the first Afghan ruler of Persia, to cede to them those provinces which they had occupied in return for an agreement to acknowledge him as shah.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1977

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References

Greaves, R. L.Persia and the Defence of India, 1884–1892. London, 1959.Google Scholar
Kaye, J. W., in Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir John Malcolm, G.C.B. (London, 1856), ii.Google Scholar
Lambton, A. K. S., ‘Persian Political Societies 1906-11’, in St Antony's Papers, No. 16, Middle Eastern Affairs, No. 3 (London, 1963).Google Scholar
Lambton, A. K. S., ‘Quis custodiet custodes? Some reflections on the Persian theory of government’, in Studia Islamica, V (1956); VI (1956).Google Scholar

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