Life and personality of S̲hāh Ismāʻīl I (1487-1524)
Previous scholarly studies of the founder of the Ṣafawid dynasty in Iran, S̲hāh Ismāʻīl I, have concentrated, to a large extent, on the political events of this turbulent period and have described in detail the military career of this still little-known ruler. These earlier works have used only a limited range of historical material, drawing information mostly from straightforward historical chronicles, the majority of which are heavily biased in favour of the Ṣafawids. The intention of this present work has been to analyse in detail the personality of S̲hāh Ismāʻīl I and to fit this highly enigmatic personality into his social and cultural background. Particular emphasis has been placed on the religious attitudes and policies of S̲hāh Ismāʻīl and a detailed account has been given of his imposition of Twelver S̲hiʻism on Iran. Chapters I and II discuss his early life, while chapters III and IV treat different facets of his personality and the intellectual life at court. Chapter V is devoted to the relationship of S̲hāh Ismāʻīl with the various members of his close family. Chapters VI and VII are concerned with religious matters. The final chapter discusses the leisure activities of S̲hāh Ismāʻīl. Throughout the thesis, extensive use has been made of primary sources, some of which have not been used before; as for those sources already discussed by other scholars, they have been studied again in this thesis to lay stress on certain aspects of S̲hāh Ismāʻīl's reign previously overlooked.