In today’s intellectual climate, decline has become a contested notion with regard to the history of Middle Eastern states, even while we still legitimately talk about Dutch, British, and now, American decline. In the case of the Iranian dynasty of the Safavids, the notion of decline preceding their abrupt fall in 1722 is impossible to deny, circumvent, or ignore. To gain a better perspective on the causes of this fall, this lecture compares conditions in the Safavid realm with those in two adjacent states—the Ottomans and the Mughals. The conclusion examines the historiographical lessons of Safavid decline, and what today’s rulers and citizens of the region might learn from this example.
Simultaneous Arabic Interpretation will be provided.
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