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History of Iran: From the Sasanians to the Safavids



The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (History)
St. George
Maria E. Subtelny

This course studies the political, religious, and cultural history of greater Iran from Late Antiquity through the Islamic period to the early modern era. Following an overview of the history of the Sasanian empire, the course traces the progress of the Muslim Arab conquests of Iran in the 7th century and surveys the rise of regional Iranian dynasties that contributed to the formation of a new Perso-Islamic cultural identity. From the 11th–15th centuries Iran was dominated politically by Turkic and Turko-Mongolian dynasties, the most significant of which—the Ghaznavids, Seljuqs, Ilkhanids, and Timurids—are examined, including their patronage of Persianate literature and art. Particular attention is devoted to the Safavid polity established in the early 16th century, which represented a watershed in the political and cultural history of Iran due to its adoption of Shi’ism as the state religion.