Reviews

C. P. Mitchell offers a short but well-documented look at early Safavid diplomacy.  He corroborates Jean Aubin’s thesis that the turning point in Isma‘il i’s reign was not his defeat at Chaldiran, but the year 1508, when he dismissed his early followers or rather tribal and political (if not even spiritual) masters, the “ahl-i ikhtisas”, replacing them in civilian and also partly in military affairs by Persian-speaking urbanites.  Mitchell shows that in early Safavid international contacts, the divide also is in 1508, with the rise of Najm-i Thani to power: diplomatic missions became more numerous and henceforth were led by Persian professionals.  Mitchell also shows that this policy was instrumental in the way Khurasan and in particular the city of Herat was treated when the Safavids conquered the region in 1510:  Instead of “brutalising” the city, the Safavid command made sure that the now “unemployed” Timurid-trained bureaucrats entered the Safavid administration.

Jürgen Paul, Martin Luther University, Halle
CER: I-3.4.B-275