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1Muhanna Al LawatiStudent ID: 1004943895NMC373 Summary of:Chapter Four to Abbas Amanat’sModern IranInstructor: Dr NejatieDue: Jan 27th, 2020Word Count: 2020
2Succeeding the collapse of the Safavid Dynasty, the first half of the nineteenth centurywitnessed a new era of rulership over the Iranian territories. The Qajar Dynasty, while seeking togain legitimacy over their rule in Iran, inherited a religiously and politically fragmented kingdomwith external threats from opposing and neighbouring empires, namely, the British and theRussians. The Qajar Dynasty was, however, able to effectively maintain Iranian sovereignty inpart, because of its advantageous geographical realties that aided in resisting foreign invasionand pressures and as such, Iranians endured and thrived in an ever-expanding world which wassuccumbing to the forces of European colonial rule. Yet, although regarded as somewhat ofIran’s darkest period, the Qajar age witnessed a revival in the literary, artistic and religiousscholastic fields.Fath Ali Shah, the second ruler of the Qajar Iran following Agha Mohammad Khan, wasconfronted with a multitude of domestic upheavals throughout his reign. Quelling localrebellions, tolerating disloyal chiefs, and facing political opponents of his rule, were recurringconcerns throughout Ali Shah’s reign but most notably, his younger brother had assumedsignificant support from Qajar chiefs and as a result, Ali Shah executed his grand vizier, HajiIbrahim Kalantar, under the pretext of treason. Replacements for such figures arrived fromFarahan, which had previously remained subservient under the Safavids and the Zands whilemaintaining a culture of statecraft and high literacy rates, most notably, in the form of AmirKabir. Nonetheless, Fath Ali Shah ensured a contrasting artistic portrayal of himself as a leaderto that of Agha Mohammed Khans through the portrayal of his “majestic dignity and sexualpotency” coming across as a more “effeminate” and “colorful king of kings”, aimed to convey asense of “continuity and control” as well as legitimacy over the Iranian territories to hisEuropean counterparts but also to the inhabitants of the land. Furthermore, efforts to demonstrate
3historical continuity were evident through the employment of ancient artistic techniques used bythe ancient Achaemenid and Sassanian empire such as “stone sculptures in rock reliefs, largescale paintings, epic poetry and dynastic histories.”“A semi-autonomous system of princely governments under the umbrella of the centralstate” was created in an effort to reclaim imperial authority and remove princely rivalry. Tabriz, agateway to the Caucuses and often considered Iran’s most important region, was now under thegovernorship of Ali Shah’s most celebrated son, Abbas Mirza. As a “hub of diplomacy and theheadquarters for conducting military operations” during the two Russo-Persian wars, it sharedsimilarities with the Fars provinces which were assigned to Hosain Ali Mirza, Abbas Mirza’s

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