Timurids and Turcomans

Ali Anooshahr

in The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732159
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Timurids and Turcomans

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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The infighting and turmoil following the demise of Timur was exploited by a lone bearer of the Safavid dynasty, Isma'il, who rather than having a military/nomadic background hailed from a religious one. His reign marked a departure from the hitherto predominant militarized polity, with the incorporation of Shi'a as the state religion, thus providing his followers with a much stable trait to identify with, rather than personal charisma, which resulted in the misfortune of the Timurids. During Timur's reign, the hereditary land-grant (Iqta) system, allotted to the amirs (commander), led to enhanced exploitation of the people, thereby projecting the failure of elite Islam. It led to the rise of an alternative, Sufi'ism, as an inherent protest mechanism. Social protest movements were complemented with the context of an emerging Ottoman Anatolia, with strong affiliation with the Sufi/Shi'a orders. Timur's excesses on the artists–exporting them to his homeland–proved a major source of decisive discontent.

Keywords: Timurid; Safavid; Isma'il; state religion; Iqta; amir; social protest movement; Anatolia

Article.  6745 words. 

Subjects: History ; Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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