Unit 7: The Ottomans and the Safavids Two powerful Muslim empires emerged in the Middle East in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The Ottomans ruled Asia Minor, eastern Europe, northern Africa, and parts of the Middle East, while the Safavids built an empire that included present-day Afghanistan and Iran. Both, however, possessed a religious zeal for the expansion of Islam. The Ottomans emerged in the wake of Mongol defeat: they invaded the Balkans, captured Constantinople, and toppled Byzantium, forging a military state ruled by a sultanate and dominated by a warrior aristocracy. The Safavids also rose to power in the wake of the Mongol invasions. The Safavids were Shi’a Muslims who claimed leadership and established rule by a shah and his court. Both the Ottomans and the Safavids encouraged Islamic learning and cultural advancement while also bolstering trade.
In this unit, we will consider emergence of the Ottoman and Safavid empires. We will compare and contrast the two empires and study the reasons for their hegemony and decline.
Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 7 hours to complete.
☐ Introduction: 5 hours*
☐ Subunits 7.3 – 7.4: 2 hours
*This reading covers material in subsections 7.1 through 7.4.
Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
Compare and contrast the Ottoman and Safavid empires.
Reading: The University of Calgary: The Applied History Reaserch Group’s The Islamic World to 1600: Rise of the Great Islamic Empires: “Introduction,” “The Ottoman Empire,” “The Safavid Empire,” and “The Mughal Empire.” Link: The University of Calgary: The Applied History Reaserch Group’s The Islamic World to 1600: Rise of the Great Islamic Empires: “Introduction,” “The Ottoman Empire,” “The Safavid Empire,” “The Mughal Empire.”
Note: All websites are in HTML format.
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage, which details the rise of the great Islamic empires and addresses subsections 7.1 through 7.4. You can toggle between chapters by clicking on the various links on the left-hand side of the webpage.
Web Media: PBS’s Islam: Empire of Faith: “Ottomans” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.
Web Media: NPR: Mike Shuster’s: “The Middle East and the West: Rise of the Ottomans” Link: NPR: Mike Shuster’s “The Middle East and the West: Rise of the Ottomans” (Adobe Flash)
Also available in:
Instructions: Please listen to the 10-minute program, which explores the rise of the Ottoman Empire. Please click on the link above and, when the page loads, click on “Listen” to stream the program. This program addresses subsections 7.1 and 7.2.
7.1 Ottoman Conquests 7.1.1 Unification of Beyliks 7.1.2 Challenges from Timur 7.1.3 The Ottoman Sultanate 7.1.4 Fall of Constantinople 7.1.5 Conflicts with the Mamluks and Safavids 7.1.6 The Franco-Ottoman Alliance 7.1.7 Decline of the Ottomans and the Rise of Europe 7.2 Ottoman Society 7.2.1 Sultans 7.2.2 Janissaries 7.2.3 Religious Scholars 7.2.4 Importance of Islam 7.3 The Safavids - Reading: Wikipedia: “Safavid Dynasty” Link: Wikipedia: “Safavid Dynasty” (PDF)
7.3.1 Shi’a Islam 7.3.2 Expansion in Iran and Iraq 7.3.3 Conflicts with the Ottomans 7.4 Safavid State and Society 7.4.1 Shahs 7.4.2 Shi’ism 7.4.3 Trade with Asia and Europe 7.4.4 Persian Language