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Chapter 8 The Muslim Empires

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1 Chapter 8 The Muslim Empires
Section 2 The Rule of the Safavids

2 Rise of the Safavid Dynasty
16th Century – the Safavids took control of the area extending from Persia into central Asia. They were Shiite Muslims.

3 Rise of the Safavid Dynasty
Shah Ismail founded the Safavid dynasty. Descendant of Safi al-Din, who led the Turkish ethnic groups in Azerbaijan, near the Caspian Sea, in the early 14th century.

4 Shah Ismail

5 Rise of the Safavid Dynasty
1501 – Ismail seized much of Iran & Iraq. Called himself the shah (king) of a new Persian state. He sent Shiite preachers into Anatolia to convert Turks in the Ottoman Empire. Massacred Sunni Muslims when he conquered Baghdad in 1508.

6 Rise of the Safavid Dynasty
Ottoman ruler Selim I won a major battle against them near Tabriz. Within a few years, Ismail regained control of Tabriz. Safavids tried to use the Shiite faith as a unifying force. The shah & sultan claimed to be the spiritual leader of Islam.

7 Rise of the Safavid Dynasty
Ottomans attacked in 1580s conquering Azerbaijan & controlling the Caspian Sea. Abbas, the Safavid shah, signed a peace treaty & lost a lot of territory. The Safavid capital moved east from Tabriz to Isfahan.

8 Glory and Decline Safavids reached their high point under Shah Abbas ( ). Created a system similar to the Ottoman’s & strengthened his army with the latest weapons.

9 Glory and Decline Early 17th century, with the help of European allies, Abbas moved against the Ottomans to regain territories. Had little success, but in 1612 a peace treaty returned Azerbaijan to their control. The dynasty lost strength after Abba’s death (1629).

10 Glory and Decline The pressure to conform to traditional religious beliefs, or religious orthodoxy, increased and curbed the empire’s intellectual freedom. Persian women were now forced into seclusion and forced to adapt the veil.

11 Persian Veil

12 Glory and Decline Afghan people seized the capital of Isfahan in the early 18th century. Safavid rulers retreated to their earlier homeland, Azerbaijan. Turks seized territories and Persia sank into a long period of political and social anarchy.

13 Political Structures Mixed society of Turks & Persians.
Turks were nomadic peoples. Persians were farmers and townspeople.

14 Political Structures Pyramid-shaped political system.
Shah Bureaucracy Landed classes Common People

15 Political Structures Shiism was the state religion.
Shahs were surprisingly available to their subjects, even eating meals with them. Most shahs controlled 2 things: Power of the landed aristocracy Bringing many lands under their control

16 Political Structures Appointment to the bureaucracy was by merit, not birth. Shahs were active in trade & manufacturing. Large, affluent middle class also participated in trade. Most goods traveled by horse or camel. The Safavid Empire was not as prosperous as the Ottoman or Mogul.


18 Safavid Culture Knowledge of science, medicine, and math under the Safavids equaled that of other societies. Arts blossomed under Shah Abbas. Isfahan was a grandiose planned city. Silk & carpet weaving based on new techniques flourished.

19 Persian Carpet

20 Safavid Culture Riza-i-Abbasi was the most famous artist of the period. Painted simple subjects. Soft colors and flowing movements were dominant features of the period.





25 Next: The Grandeur of the Moguls
End of Section 2 Next: The Grandeur of the Moguls

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