The Safavids ruled Persia for nearly two and a half centuries, longer than any other dynasty since the pre-Islamic period. this book on Safavid Persia is divided into two sections, the first of which includes studies on the historiography and the religious politics of the period. Among the contributions to the second section are chapters on the silk industry, which brought European merchants into the country and at the same time exposed the Persian economy to the vagaries of world trade on the capital city of Esfahan, beautified by successive Shahs and on the Safvids' reluctance to adopt firearms and artillery, which was one of the factors in the collapse of the dynasty when the Afghans invaded Persia in 1722.
The historiography of Safavid prefaces; the early years of Shah Ismail in the "Afzal al-tavarikh" and elsewhere; the iconography of the "Shah-nama-yi Shahi"; kinship ties between the Safavids and the Qizillbash Amirs in late 16th-century Iran - a case study of the political career of members of the Sharaf al-Din Ogli Tekelu family; le "Dar al-Saltana" de Qazvin, deuxieme capitale des safavides; sufis, dervishes and mullas - the controversy over spiritual and temporal dominion in 17th-century Iran; Shii rituals and Power II - the consolidation of Safavid Shiism - folklore and popular religion; Shah Abbas and pilgimage to Mashhad; "barrier of heterodoxy"? - rethinking the ties between Iran and Persian during the Safavid period - sketch for an "Etat de Langue"; similar farmans from the reign of Shah Safi; the rise of the Julfa merchants in the late 16th century; the Dutch and the Persian silk trade; the character of the urbanization of Isfahan in the later Safavid period; unwalled cities and restless nomads - firearms and artillery in Safavid Iran.