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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2020
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Book description

Persian served as one of the primary languages of historical writing over the period of the early modern Islamic empires of the Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals. Historians writing under these empires read and cited each other's work, some moving from one empire to another, writing under different rival dynasties at various points in time. Emphasising the importance of looking beyond the confines of political boundaries in studying this phenomenon, Sholeh A. Quinn employs a variety of historiographical approaches to draw attention to the importance of placing these histories not only within their historical context, but also historiographical context. This comparative study of Persian historiography from the 16th-17th centuries presents in-depth case analyses alongside a wide array of primary sources written under the Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals to illustrate that Persian historiography during this era was part of an extensive universe of literary-historical writing.


‘Sholeh Quinn has written a must-read book for anyone considering the historiographical connections within the early modern Persianate world and the texts circulating across the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires. She delineates a rich tradition of shared accounts about the benefits of history, bibliographies, dream narratives, and genealogies.’

Rula Jurdi Abisaab - McGill University

‘In this indispensable book, Sholeh Quinn teaches us to read a tradition of history writing central to our knowledge of early modern Persianate Asia. She illuminates common features, borrowings, innovations, and methods linking these texts. Persian Historiography across Empires redefines our vision of empires and dynasties and opens new pathways through history itself.’

Mana Kia - Columbia University

‘A superb study of the 16th and 17th century histories produced across the Ottoman, Safavid, Shaybanid and Mughal realms. Quinn deftly shows the period’s chroniclers, writing in Persian, the region’s lingua franca, navigating between the Timurid ‘historiographical inheritance’, each other’s contributions and local politico-cultural discourses. After Historical Writing, another stunning contribution!’

Andrew J Newman - University of Edinburgh

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