Finished Islamic Trust Studies International Workshop “Chancelleries, Correspondence, and Diplomacy in the Iranian Plateau” (Apr. 13)


Category: Workshop

Research Group: A01 Islamic EconomyB01 State Systems

The International Workshop “Chancelleries, Correspondence, and Diplomacy in the Iranian Plateau” will be jointly organized by Islamic Trust Studies Groups B01“The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems (Principal Investigator: KONDO Nobuaki)” and A01 “Mobility and Universality in the Islamic Economy (Principal Investigator: NAGAOKA Shinsuke)”.

Date & Time: Saturday, April 13, 2024, 14:00~17:00 (JST)

14:00~14:10 Introduction  Nobuaki Kondo (ILCAA)
Colin Mitchell (Dalhousie University)
“Belletristic Presentations of Princely Governance during the 1469-70 Timurid Succession Crisis”
Peter Good (JSPS Fellow/ ILCAA)
“Stability by Contract?: The East India Company in Persia 1600-1747”



Belletristic Presentations of Princely Governance during the 1469-70 Timurid Succession Crisis
Colin Mitchell

Largely stepping into the vacuum left by Timur and his descendants in Azarbaijan and central Iran, the Aq Qoyunlu developed a semblance of a Perso-Islamic court culture while at the same time maintaining structures, institutions, titles, and rankings associated with Turkish tribal politics (pace J. Woods). The chancellery is very much emblematic of this hybridism, and this paper seeks to examine the Aq Qoyunlu production of letters in the tradition of insha (epistolography) to better understand how this particular state understood the appointment and mandate of royal family members (i.e. princes) for positions of governance. Nowhere is this better seen than during the aftermath of Uzun Hasan’s defeat of the Timurid ruler, Abu Said at the Battle of Qarabagh in 1469. Curiously, Uzun Hasan made a conscious decision to not appoint one of his sons as the governor of the newly conquered city of Herat, but rather nominated Yadgar Muhammad Mirza. Yadgar Muhammad Mirza was one of many competing descendants of Timur who were making claims to the Timurid throne, and Uzun Hasan openly used him as a proxy. Uzun Hasan sent supplies, men, and guidance to this young Timurid prince in his civil conflict with his cousin, Sultan Husain Baiqara. These events of 1469-70 – Yadgar’s invasion of Khurasan, the displacement of Sultan-Husain Baiqara from Herat, the successful counterattack by the Timurids – are detailed and discussed in a number of letters produced by the chancellery of Uzun Hasan. While the style, tone, and rhetoric are consistent with medieval Perso-Islamic conceptions of monarchical theory and sovereignty, there is no disputing the Turkic predilection for tanistry and succession politics. This paper will examine and analyze these letters in the hopes of better understanding how such literary-administrative texts can shed light on how contemporaries articulated these tensions which exist in the Perso and Turco-Islamic worlds regarding succession practices among competing princes.

Stability by Contract?: The East India Company in Persia 1600-1747
Peter Good

The English East India Company’s presence in Persia represents one of the longest non-colonial or imperial relationships of a European state with an Indian Ocean Empire. The Company’s ability to maintain its position as both a trading and diplomatic presence in the Safavid Empire was due to mutually recognised benefits. These included joint military campaigns against the Portuguese (1622), Gulf Piracy, or Arab and Afghan rebels along the littoral of the Persian Gulf. This paper will explore the different and changing methods used and deployed by both parties in order to maintain this valuable cooperation. The Company and the Safavid State enshrined their relationship in an evolving written document, the farmān. However, the farmān alone was rarely sufficient to fully answer all eventualities faced by either party, renegotiations were therefore required to better reflect changing circumstances. These negotiations were often carried out by non-European intermediaries, involving exchanges of gifts, invitations to social events and promises of mutual assistance. This paper will explore how the Anglo-Persian relationship was maintained outside of the formal confines of the written farmān. It will focus on the role of informal contacts, non-European intermediaries and the deployment of formal endorsements by court and local officials. By exploring these often bilateral exchanges, it is possible to better understand how the Company’s business was interwoven with the local and state policies of the Safavid Empire and its successors. Understanding the balance of power and management of the Anglo-Persian relations has an important impact upon the way we understand the agency of non-European states and peoples in their commercial and diplomatic exchanges. This helps us to understand the multi-valent nature of these interactions, rather than relying solely on Eurocentric views.


Language: English

Venue:  Room 401, 4th floor, Research bldg. No. 2, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University (No. 34 on the campus map) (registered participants may also access the workshop online by Zoom), Open to public/Admission free, Pre-registration is required.

Pre-registration: please use this form for in-person participation. 
                                     please use this form for online participation. 

Co-organizer: Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A), “The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems” (Principal Investigator: KONDO Nobuaki (ILCAA); 20H05827)/Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A),“Mobility and Universality of Islamic Economy” (Principal Investigator: Shinsuke Nagaoka (Kyoto University), 20H05824)

Contact: MORITA Madoka (mmorita[at]

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