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The Safavids and the Mughals. HIST 1004 1/16/13. Janissaries. Traditional Ottoman army based on Turkic cavalry Janissary Corps focused on infantry and use of gunpowder weapons Depending on talents, boys enlisted in the Janissaries became infantry, palace guards, or administrators

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  • Traditional Ottoman army based

on Turkic cavalry

  • Janissary Corps focused on infantry

and use of gunpowder weapons

  • Depending on talents, boys

enlisted in the Janissaries became

infantry, palace guards, or


  • Improvements in gunpowder

technologies increased the size

and influence of the Janissaries

(well over 50,000 strong at peak).

ogier ghiselin de busbecq s turkish letters
OgierGhiselin de Busbecq’sTurkish Letters
  • Flemish nobleman, employed by the Hapsburg dynasty.
  • 1555-1561: Sent to Istanbul on

diplomatic mission for Ferdinand I,

archduke of Austria, king of Hungary

and Bohemia, and Holy Roman


  • 1589: publishes his notes on life at

the Ottoman court

  • What does de Busbecq see as the

strength of the Ottoman Empire?

  • What does he see as its weakness?
constantinople and the sublime port
Constantinople and the Sublime Port
  • Move from tribal affiliations and personal loyalties to an abstract state.
  • Ottoman Sultan

as austere figure.

  • Cannot even

speak in his


  • Reflected in the

splendor of palace


the new world and ottoman decline
The New World and Ottoman Decline
  • Land-based empire, not interested in competing in maritime trade.
  • Flood of New World silver causes massive inflation.
    • 1580 1 Gold Coin =

60 Silver Coins

    • 1590 1 Gold Coin =

120 Silver Coins

    • 1640 1 Gold Coin =

250 Silver Coins

  • Price of wheat increases


the safavid empire 1502 1722
The Safavid Empire (1502-1722)
  • Shaykh Safi al-Din

Ardabili (1252-1334)

    • Founder of a Sufi Order

in Ardabil (near


    • Late 15th century,

association with

Qizilbash (“red heads”)

the safavid empire 1502 17221
The Safavid Empire (1502-1722)
  • Shah Isma’il (r. 1502-1524)
    • Leads Qizilbash in conquest

of Iran

    • Begins forcible conversion

of Iran to Shi’ism

  • Battle of Chaldiran (1514)
imami shi ism
  • Sunnism vs. Shi’ism
  • Begins as political debate, who should lead the Muslim community after Muhammad (d. 632)
  • `Ali, Fatima, and the


  • 680: Battle of

Karbala and the

martyrdom of Husayn

the twelfth imam
The Twelfth Imam
  • Ismailis, Zaydis, and Imamis or Seveners, Fivers, and Twelvers
  • The Hidden Imam and Ayatollahs
  • Minor Occultation


  • Major Occultation


shah abbas i r 1587 1629
Shah Abbas I (r. 1587-1629)
  • Transforms Isfahan as new capital.
  • “Anyone who has seen Isfahan has seen half the world.”
    • “Anyone who says that has only seen half of Isfahan.”
  • Often a point of comparison with Istanbul as sites

of royal performance.

  • Image of Safavid

“party kings”

  • Shi’ite piety meets

Persian kingship

jean chardin 1643 1713
Jean Chardin (1643-1713)
  • Protestant French jeweler

and traveler

  • 1664-1670 – travels with

merchants to SafavidEmpire

  • 1671-1680 – travels through

Ottoman, Safavid, and

Mughal Empires

  • 1681 – moves to London to

escape persecution

  • Publishes his travel memoirs
  • How does Chardin view the


ottomans safavids and inflation
Ottomans, Safavids, and Inflation
  • Flood of New World silver causes wide spread inflation
  • Can’t hire soldiers or purchase improved gunpowder weapons.
  • Ottomans a land-based empire, never tried to keep up with maritime trade.
  • Safavids location prevented them from engaging in new trade.
  • Focused primarily on silk and carpets.
  • 1722: Safavids overthrown by Pashtun marauders.
mughal empire 1526 1761
Mughal Empire (1526-1761)
  • Challenge of ruling Hindu

population as outsiders.

  • Babur (1483-1530):

descendent of both Genghis

Khan and Timur.

  • Pushed out of Central Asia

by rivals.

  • Heads south into India.
akbar and the hindus
Akbar and the Hindus
  • Mansabdars: officials holding

land revenues

  • 70% Muslims born outside of


  • 15% Hindus, mostly Rajputs

(northern warrior class)

  • Akbar marries a Rajput, signals

unification and social harmony,

guarantees all future emperors

are mix of Muslim and Hindu.

akbar and the divine faith
Akbar and the “Divine Faith”
  • Mixture of Muslim, Hindu,

Zoroastrian, Sikh, and Christian


  • Strong Sufi influence
  • Oversaw debates of religious

scholars representing different

faiths, almost as a sport.

  • Allahu Akbar: “God is great”

or “God is Akbar”?

mughals and european merchants
Mughals and European Merchants
  • Booming economy based on


  • Used European merchants.
  • Did not develop merchant

fleet themselves.

sir thomas roe 1581 1644
Sir Thomas Roe (1581-1644)
  • English diplomat
  • Member of Parliament (1614-1644)
  • Ambassador to Mughal Court (1615-1618)
  • Seek protection for British factories in Surat.
  • Close friend and

drinking companion of

Jahangir (r. 1605-


  • How does Roe see

the Mughal court?

fall of the safavids and fall of the mughals
Fall of the Safavids and Fall of the Mughals
  • Destabilization after collapse of


  • 1739: Nadir Shah, warlord who

seized power in Iran and Afghanistan,

raids Mughal territory.

  • Carries off “peacock throne” and

Koh-iNur diamond, symbols of

Mughal kingship.

  • Continued raids from Afghanistan

and European expansion

encourages various regions to

break off.