Between 1453 and 1526 Muslims founded three major states in the Mediterranean, Iran and South Asia: respectively the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires. By the early seventeenth century their descendants controlled territories that encompassed much of the Muslim world, stretching from the Balkans and North Africa to the Bay of Bengal and including a combined population of between 130 and 160 million people. This book is the first comparative study of the politics, religion, and culture of these three empires between 1300 and 1923. At the heart of the analysis is Islam, and how it impacted on the political and military structures, the economy, language, literature and religious traditions of these great empires. This original and sophisticated study provides an antidote to the modern view of Muslim societies by illustrating the complexity, humanity and vitality of these empires, empires that cannot be reduced simply to religious doctrine.
Stephen F. Dale is a Professor in the Department of History at Ohio State University. His previous publications include Indian Merchants and Eurasian Trade 1600-1750 (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and The Garden of the Eight Paradises: Babur and the Culture of Empire in Central Asia, Afghanistan and India 1483-1530 (2004).
Introduction; 1. India, Iran and Anatolia, 10th-16th centuries; 2. The rise of Muslim empires; 3. The legitimacy of monarchs and the institutions of empires; 4. The economies in c.1600; 5. Imperial cultures; 6. Golden ages: profane and sacred empires; 7. Imperial culture in the golden age; 8. Quests for a phoenix.