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Intellectual Networks in Timurid Iran
Sharaf al-Dīn ‘Alī Yazdī and the Islamicate Republic of Letters


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: April 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107689336

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About the Authors
  • By focusing on the works and intellectual network of the Timurid historian Sharaf al Dīn 'Alī Yazdī (d.1454), this book presents a holistic view of intellectual life in fifteenth century Iran. İlker Evrim Binbaş argues that the intellectuals in this period formed informal networks which transcended political and linguistic boundaries, and spanned an area from the western fringes of the Ottoman State to bustling late medieval metropolises such as Cairo, Shiraz, and Samarkand. The network included an Ottoman revolutionary, a Mamluk prophet, and a Timurid occultist, as well as physicians, astronomers, devotees of the secret sciences, and those political figures who believed that the network was a force to be taken seriously. Also discussing the formation of an early modern Islamicate republic of letters, this book offers fresh insights on the study of intellectual history beyond the limitations imposed by nationalist methodologies, established genres, and recognized literary traditions.

    • Proposes a new way of understanding intellectual networks in Islamic history
    • Moves the study of the occult sciences from the fringes of Islamic intellectual life to the mainstream
    • Presents the first biography of a late medieval intellectual who wrote in Persian
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    • Co-Winner, 2017 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize in Middle Eastern Studies

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… it is really two books - one on a smallish network of Muslim intellectuals with occult leanings, and the other on Persian historical writing under the Timurid dynasty - with Yazdi serving as the connecting link. Moreover, the author breaks so much new ground on both scores that he sometimes feels compelled to provide with minute, and even inconsequential, details that impede the flow of his argument. … it provides a window on a circle of über-sophisticated Muslim intellectuals in a part of the world that, sadly, is associated in contemporary minds with anything but intellectual activity.' Maria Subtelny, The Times Literary Supplement

    'The book is a splendid introduction to one of the key periods in Iranian history. Written with a smooth pen, it studies Yazdī's life with many original and profound analyses. We should be thankful to Binbaş who has painstakingly analyzed the life, the transregional network, and the works of Sharaf al-Dīn 'Alī Yazdī. I warmly recommend the book to everyone who is interested in the Timurid era.' Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Renaissance Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107689336
    • length: 364 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 155 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 19 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The making of a Timurid intellectual
    3. Informal intellectual networks in Timurid Iran
    4. The prophet of Cairo and the master of Isfahan
    5. The articulation of a princely political discourse
    6. Writing the past
    7. The king's two lineages: the evolution of a politico-theological idea
    8. Epilogue.

  • Author

    İlker Evrim Binbaş, Royal Holloway, University of London
    İlker Evrim Binbaş is a lecturer in Early Modern Asian Empires in the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London.


    • Co-Winner, 2017 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize in Middle Eastern Studies

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