Persia in the Early Modern Period: “Chiefe of Empires”?

London Renaissance Seminar, 23 Oct 2010

Organiser: Dr Chloë Houston (University of Reading)
Venue: The Council Room, Main BuildingBirkbeck CollegeMalet StLondon WC1E 7HX

Chair: Dr Chloë Houston
1.30 pm Welcome
2-2.45 pm Abid Masood (University of Sussex) ‘Re-emergence of Persian Islamic Identity in Late-Elizabethan England’
2.45-3.30 pm Dr Jane Grogan (University College Dublin), '"Warres commodious": Tamburlaine's Persia'
3.30-4 pm Tea
4-4.45 pm Kate Arthur (University of Exeter) '"A foreign court lands here upon your shore": Models of kingship in Persian drama'

When European travellers began to visit Persia in the mid-sixteenth century, knowledge of the country came from the Bible, classical  histories, commentaries and drama, which described pre-Islamic Persia and in particular the 'glorious' Achaemenid empire of antiquity.  As travel to Persia increased, it became the subject of contemporary geographies, travel writings and plays, which portrayed Islamic Persia under the Safavid dynasty and ensured that Persia was well known to English audiences and readers by the mid-seventeenth century.   This seminar will discuss representations of Persia in the early modern period through travel literature, histories and drama, exploring the particular identity held by Persia in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European ideas about Islamic peoples.