Abbas I (Persia)

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Shah Abbas
Shāh 'Abbās I and a page (1627; Louvre, Paris). The Persian verse in the middle right refers to merrymaking in spring: May life bring you everything you desire from three lips: the lip of your loved one, the lip (= the edge) of the brook and the lip of the cup.
Shah Abbas I and Wali Muhammed Khan (today in the Tschehel Sotun Palace, Isfahan)

Abbas I or Shāh ʿAbbās ( listen ? / I PersianAudio file / audio sample شاه عباس Shah Abbas , DMG Šāh 'Abbās [ ʃɑːh ˈæbbɑːs ], also listen to Abbas the Great ? / i : PersianAudio file / audio sample شاه عباس بزرگ, DMG Šāh 'Abbās-e Bozorg ; Azerbaijani Abbas Səfəvi ; * January 27, 1571 in Herat ; † 19th January 1629 in Māzandarān ) was a Persian ruler from the dynasty of the Safavids . He ruled as the Shah of Persia from 1587 to 1629 .


He came to power after overthrowing his father in a palace revolution . He was crowned in the Tschehel Sotun pavilion in Qazvin . Between 1590 and 1602 he carried out extensive political and economic reforms in the country. After the Uzbek prince ʿAbdallāh II died in the spring of 1598 , he succeeded in driving the Uzbeks out of Khorasan and taking Herat and Mashhad . In 1599 Abbas I reformed his army with the help of English advisers.

With his new army he was able to defeat the Ottomans in 1603 and wrest Azerbaijan with Tabriz and Southeast Anatolia from them. He also recaptured the western Persian territories and Iraq ( Mesopotamia ) including Baghdad , which Shah Tahmasp I had lost. In 1605 he expelled the Ottomans from Basra and southern Kurdistan . He defied parts of Afghanistan from the Indian rulers of the Mughal Empire .

When the Kurdish emir Emirhan Lepzerin (German: poor gold) had the castle of Dimdim on Lake Urmia rebuilt, Abbas I interpreted this as a threat to his power and began a campaign against the Kurds . The battle lasted from 1609 to 1610 before the castle finally fell. The Kurds were then deported to Khorasan and the Turkmen settled in their place.

In 1615 Abbas I put down a Georgian uprising in Tbilisi , killing more than 60,000 people and displacing another 100,000. An alliance between Ottomans and Tatars was also struck by his troops in 1618. In 1622 he finally conquered the island of Hormuz from the Portuguese with the help of six English warships . At that time he founded the city of Bandar Abbas .

Fearing that he would also be overthrown by a family member, he had his eldest son Safi Mirza killed and other family members locked up. When Abbas I died, his empire stretched from the Tigris to the Indus . His grandson Safi I was appointed as his successor . Nevertheless, the downfall of the dynasty began after that. Many of the conquered territories fell back to the Ottomans, who returned immediately after the ruler's death. The "holy places" (the tombs of the Shi'ites revered imams Ali and Hussein in Iraq ) were doing to the Ottomans lost.

Expansion of Isfahan into the new capital

In 1598 ʿAbbās moved his capital from Qazvin to Isfahan and designed it as the impressive capital of the empire. In December of the same year he started work on the Maydān-i Hārūn Wilāyat as the client. In 1602 he began construction work for the Maidān-i Naqsch-i Jahān and the surrounding buildings, thus laying the foundation stone for a new district. It emerged magnificent gardens , boulevards, mosques , caravanserais (one is now the "Hotel Abbasi"), public baths and madrasas. In 1611 he began the construction of the Masjid-i Shāh ("King's Mosque") at the southern end of the Maidān-i Naqsch-i Jahān, in the period between 1617 and 1624 the construction of the Palastlī Qāpū ( Persian عالی ‌قاپو, 'High Gate') on the west side and the Qaisariyya Bazar on the north side. The cosmopolitan city ​​made the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Jews , Christians and Zoroastrians possible .

Trade relations

Abbas I cultivated trade relations with Europe and established contacts with the European courts. This already had the advantage that he knew allies behind the Ottoman Empire . Abbas I exported silk and spices to Europe. With the help of a fleet of the East India Company he was able to drive the economic power of the Portuguese from the island of Hormuz , who had controlled sea ​​trade with India from the Persian Gulf since the days of Vasco da Gamas .

He received many envoys from the European rulers at his court and concluded trade agreements with a number of Western European powers. He also cultivated good trade relations with India and China: he exported cobalt to China for porcelain painting and received valuable porcelain in return.


Abbas had a new, cross-like pattern invented that should always be reminiscent of him. It was used in carpets and paintings and he had new palaces and mosques built in Isfahan, in whose paintings his pattern can be found. The art of its time is very filigree and was influenced due to trade with Western Europe, China, India and other surrounding cultures.

Abbas can often be recognized in pictures by the extraordinary length of his mustache and the extravagant way of wearing his turban (If Shah Abbas was angry, he is said to have worn a red turban and among his subjects it was assumed that he often disguised himself as Harun ar-Raschid mixed in with the population).

A carpet pattern, the Shah Abbas pattern, goes back to Abbas .


  • The Three Brothers , or Travels of Sir Anthony, Sir Robert Sherley, etc. , London, 1823
Secondary literature
  • Hakan Baykal: From Persian Empire to Iran, 3000 years of culture and history, Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-2035-3
  • Christopher de Bellaigue: In the rose garden of the martyrs. A portrait of Iran. From the English by Sigrid Langhaeuser, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006 (English original edition: London 2004), pp. 29–35
  • Stephen P. Blake: Fathpur Sikri and Isfahan. The founding and layout of capital cities in Mughal India and Safavid Iran , in: Amira K. Bennison and Alison L. Gascoigne (eds.): Cities in the pre-modern Islamic world. The impact of religion, state and society. London-New York, 2007, pp. 145-158.
  • David Mervyn Blow: Shah Abbas: The Ruthless King Who Became an Iranian Legend. IB Tauris, 2009, ISBN 1-84511-989-4
  • RM Savory: ABBĀS (I) . In: Ehsan Yarshater (Ed.): Encyclopædia Iranica , as of December 15, 1982, accessed on June 9, 2011 (English, including references)
  • CR Markham, General Sketch of the History of Persia . London, 1874.
  • Sholeh A. Quinn: Shah'Abbas. the King Who Refashioned Iran . Oneworld Publications, London, England 2015, ISBN 978-1-85168-425-0 .
  • Roger M. Savory: Abbas I . In: Encyclopædia Britannica , 1998.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Shah Abbas I and his Page. Louvre, accessed May 2, 2014 .
  2. Cf. Der Islam II - The Islamic empires after the fall of Constantinople , Fischer-Weltgeschichte, Frankfurt / M. 1971, p. 167, ISBN 3-436-01426-5
  3. Hakan Baykal, p. 121
  4. See Blake 152.
  5. See Blake 153.
  6. See Blake, p. 153 f.
  7. Hakan Baykal, p. 120
  8. ^ Peter Lamborn Wilson , Karl Schlamminger: Weaver of Tales. Persian Picture Rugs / Persian tapestries. Linked myths. Callwey, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-7667-0532-6 , pp. 79–139 ( The Kings ), here: pp. 88–90 ( Shah Abbas ) and 126 f.