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The Muslim Empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals (New Approaches to Asian History) Paperback – 24 Dec 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (24 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521691427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521691420
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'In sum, this is a vivid, learned, yet approachable comparative study of three remarkable Muslim empires at the height of their power and prestige, positioned carefully in their historical context. Scholars of the Islamic world used to believe that it reached its apogee in the early centuries after the Arab conquests, during the period of the early Abbasid caliphate. Dale's book provides ample grounds for suspecting that things may not be quite that simple.' David Morgan, The Times Literary Supplement

'Professor Dale deploys an impressive range of contemporary and modern sources in taking us through the intertwined history of the three empires.' Asian Affairs

Book Description

Between 1453 and 1526 Muslims founded three major states in the Mediterranean, Iran and South Asia: respectively the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires. This book is the first comparative study of the politics, religion, and culture of these three empires between 1300 and 1923.

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Format: Paperback
Stephen Dale has written a largely narrative history that outlines and compares the rise and fall of the empires created by three Muslim dynasties: the Turkish Ottomans, Iranian Safavids, and Indian Mughals. At their height these ruled a vast area from the Balkans to Bengal, including parts of northern Africa and Central Asia, controlling substantial populations and much of the trade between Asia and Europe.

After an introductory chapter on the Islamic world before these states were formed, which shows their debt to their predecessors, Dale covers their history in the period from the 15th to the early 20th century. Within this, each empire rose, expanded, had a golden age and then declined. The Safavids were the shortest lived, being overthrown in the 17th century; the Mughals lost most of their power in the 18th century but lingered until the mid 19th; the Ottomans undertook reforms and lasted into the 20th century.

Dale shows that the three dynasties had much in common. As well as being Muslim, all had Turkic, partly military origins, efficient armies and, at least at the start, expansionist policies. All three were also strongly influenced by Persian language and culture. As well as summarising their political history and economy, he also discusses their art, architecture, and literature of the area. His book is well written in clear and accessible language, supported by a good number of illustrations and maps and a bibliography for further study.

There were differences between the three: both the Ottomans and the Mughals ruled substantial non-Muslim populations, and although the Safavid population was more homogeneous, they were much poorer and weaker than the other two. Each also empire faced its own internal and external problems, which Dale discusses.
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