Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran


The Safavid dynasty represented the pinnacle of Iran's power and influence in its early modern history. The evidence of this - the creation of a nation state, military expansion and success, economic dynamism, and the exquisite art and architecture of the period - is well-known. What is less understood is the extent to which the Safavid success depended on an elite originating from outside Iran: the slaves of Caucasian descent and the Armenian merchants of Isfahan. This book describes how these elites, following their conversion to Islam, helped to transform Isfahan's urban, artistic and social landscape.


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Kathryn Babayan is Assistant Professor of Iranian History and Culture at the University of Michigan.

Sussan Babaie is Assistant Professor of Islamic Art History at the University of Michigan.

Ina Baghdiantz-McCabe is Assistant Professor of Armenian History at Tufts University.

Massumeh Farhad is Associate Curator of Islamic Art, Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

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