Power, Politics and Religion in Timurid Iran

Product Description

The book, Power, Politics, and Religion in Timurid Iran shows that In the medieval Middle East, the challenge was particularly great since there were few legal entities which provided society with a formal structure or regulated relationships among its separate parts; Furthermore, its inhabitants included not only urban and agricultural populations but also large numbers of mountain peoples and nomads, some of whom inhabited regions almost inaccessible to government forces. Despite all this, governments did gain and hold power in the Middle East and society remained remarkably cohesive and resilient through numerous dynastic changes. Despite the fragility of central rule, the medieval Middle East was the locus of a stable and self-replicating society, which was based on personal ties rather than formal structures.

While studies on individual communities can provide invaluable insight into social history, they do not fit together well to produce a composite picture of the dynamics of society as a whole. The literature of the medieval period divides society into classes and types of people and separates out the history of each. Each genre of historical compilation preserves a different type of information, and thus provides a selected and homogenized picture of the people with which it deals; together the sources serve to emphasize the peculiarities of each group and the differences between them. The picture thus presented of separate and distinct groups is misleading. Neither occupational nor kinship groups were mutually exclusive.

This book is an examination of how the system worked: both how government retained control over society, and how society maintained its cohesion through periods of central rule and of internal disorder. It is also a portrait of a particular place, time and dynasty: the place is Iran, the time the first half of the fifteenth century, and the dynasty is the Timurids, founded by the Turco- Mongolian conqueror Temur, or Tamerlane (r. 1370–1405). Timurid rule depended on the superiority of nomad armies, but, like all other rulers, the Timurids required some form of consent from the population. The relationship of government to society in the medieval Middle East is a
slippery question. Here, as elsewhere, the ruler was the lynchpin of government, despite his inability to monopolize coercive force.

Additional Information


Beatrice Manz


Cambridge university press






Manz, Beatrice; Power, Politics and Religion in Timurid Iran, Cambridge University Press, 2007, 336 p.