Ismail I (Shah)

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Shah Ismail I, founder of the Safavid dynasty; Portrait from Europe, 17th century

Ismail I. ( Persian شاه اسماعیل[ esmɔːˈiːl ]; with full name Shāh Ismā'il Abu'l-Mozaffar bin Sheikh Haydar bin Sheikh Dschunayd Safawī , Azerbaijani Şah İsmayıl ; July 17, 1487 in Ardabil - May 23, 1524 near Tabriz ) was the founder of the Safavid dynasty of Iran and thus Shah of Persia from 1501 to 1524.

Live and act

I. Ismail was the leader of Ardabil originating Shiite Safaviyya -Ordens and a descendant of the founder and namesake of the Order, Safi ad-Din Ardabilis . Reports on Ismail's ethnic origin can be found in Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Persian and other Iranian ancestors, so that the literature largely assumes a mixed origin. Double verses with Persian commentaries in the central Iranian language Tati go back to the ancestors of the Safavids Safi ad-Din Ardabili , which was widespread in Iranian Azerbaijan before the Azerbaijani language , which is assigned to the Turkic languages .

When Ismail was one year old, he lost his father, Haydar Safawi . His mother Halime Begum was the daughter of the Turkmen leader of the Aq Qoyunlu Uzun Hasan and the king's daughter from the Trapezunt Empire , Despina. His grandmother was also an Aq Qoyunlu. There was a coalition between this dynasty and Ismail's family, but it broke up during Haydar's lifetime.

Ismail and his brothers Ali Mirza and Ibrahim were imprisoned in the fortress of Istachr in Fars in 1489 during the unrest over the succession of the Aq Qoyunlu . Ismail stayed there for four and a half years. Ismail then fled to Ardabil and from there to Gilan . He hid in Lāhijān for almost five years until 1499 . During this time he kept in contact with the Turkmen tribes of the Kizilbasch and moved against the Aq Qoyunlu in 1499. He defeated the Aq Qoyunlu under their ruler Alwand Bey in Sharur in Shirvan and thus avenged the deaths of his father and grandfather.

Fresco showing the battle between Ismail I and the Uzbeks under Mohammed Scheibani. Tschehel Sotun Palace . Isfahan , Iran.

Ismail thus conquered Azerbaijan and Tabriz , which he made the capital of his emerging Persian empire in 1501. With his coronation in 1501 he renewed the traditional title of Shâhinshâh-i Irân ( King of the Kings of Iran), which can be compared with the western term of the emperor . In 1503 Ismail conquered Iraq , in 1508 Fars and in 1510 Khorasan and Herat , where he defeated the Uzbeks under Mohammed Scheibani near Merw . After the defeat in the Battle of Tschaldiran in 1514 against the Ottomans , who were led by Selim I and had superior artillery , he lost northern Iraq and eastern Anatolia in 1516 , but was able to conquer Georgia in 1517 . Thereupon Ismail tried to enter into an alliance against the Ottomans with some European states. In 1516 he received an embassy from King Ludwig II of Hungary and later also from Charles V from the Holy Roman Empire . In a letter to Charles V, Ismail is surprised that the Europeans were at war with one another instead of allying against the Ottomans.

The formation of the empire proceeding from him took place under the sign of Shiite Islam . Ismail I founded the Safavid dynasty, which lasted until 1722. After his death in 1524 internal turmoil broke out in the country, which lasted until 1587.

António Tenreiro , who was sent to Shah Ismail by the Portuguese viceroy of India in 1524 as a member of an embassy , describes his pathological cruelty towards people and animals: He learned that after the conquest of Isfahan , he personally killed prisoners with the sword, theirs Hands and feet were tied together. He reports that he saw piles of bones and ashes burned there from a massacre of 5,000 people. He goes on to describe how Shah Ismail organized hunts in which animals were encircled in masses, of which he himself killed as many as he could with his own hands and had the rest of his soldiers slaughtered over several days.

When he died in 1524, he was buried in the family mausoleum near Ardabil. He left four sons and five daughters. He was succeeded by his son Tahmasp I.


Shah Ismail I wrote under the pseudonym Chatāʾī ( Arabic خطائي"The flawed") mystical-religious poems in Persian and Turkish ( Aseri ). His provocative poems in Azeri, with which he specifically tried to recruit Turkmen nomads, are particularly interesting - at that time Ismail I was only 14 years old. His divan , the first handwritten version from 1541, and the "Dahnāme", the "Ten (Love) Letters", have survived. His poetry has special, also religious significance for the Alevis in Turkey .


Web links

Commons : Ismail I.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

References and comments

  1. Roger M. Savory. ESMĀʿĪL I ṢAFAWĪ . In: Encyclopaedia Iranica. Volume VIII, 1998. ISBN 978-1-56859-058-5
  2. Petra Sayas: The Religious Development of the Safavids from Sheikh Safi to Shah Ismail , p. 17
  3. Gronke: Schlaglichter , p. 165
  4. Dr. Faruk Sümer : Safevi Devleti'nin Kurulusu ve Gelismesinde Anadolu Turklerin Rolü , p. 1
  5. Ibrahim Arslanoglu: Sah Ismail Hatayi ve Anadolu Hatayileri , p. 3
  6. ^ V. Togan: Sur l'Origine des Safavides , pp. 345–57
  7. Several sources on the Kurdish origin of Shah Ismail and a family tree of Safi al-Din (Seyh Safi): Safavid dynasty in the English language Wikipedia
  8. Walther Hinz. Iran's rise to nation-state in the 15th century . De Gruyter, 2013. ISBN 3111098168
  9. Richard Tapper. Frontier Nomads of Iran: A Political and Social History of the Shahsevan. Cambridge University Press, September 1997, ISBN 978-0521583367
  10. Vladimir Minorsky. "The Poetry of Shah Ismail I." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 10, Issue 04, 2.1942
  11. Andrew J. Newman. Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire (Library of Middle East History). IB Tauris, 2008. ISBN 978-1845118303
  12. EBN BAZZAZ Encyclopædia Iranica
  13. Ehsan Yarshater. AZERBAIJAN vii. The Iranian Language of Azerbaijan. In: Encyclopaedia Iranica, Volume III, Fasc. 3. Iron brown. 1989. ISBN 978-0-7100-9121-5
  14. ^ Muzaffar Husain Syed. Concise History of Islam. Vij Books India, 2011. ISBN 9381411093