The winner of the 21st World Book Award of the Islamic Republic of Iran said: “I have penned three books on the history of Safavid; one of them entitled ‘The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver’ was published written some 14 years ago.”
“The other book is written about drugs in Iran which hasn’t been translated yet. My other book ‘Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan’ will be released in one or two months by Namak Publications. The book is about the last period of the Safavid history and it is, in fact, a study and analysis about the fall of the dynasty,” he added.
Safavid Dynasty did not Fall Due to Moral Degeneration
The researcher then talked about the sources, he used for his book saying: “As a historian, I used all the sources and evidences. Comparing them, I evaluated different aspects of the Safavid Dynasty. Accordingly I learned that the house didn’t fall due to moral degeneration and several other factors were included as well.”
Unfortunately Iran fails to hold a complete archive on the Safavid history, since the Afghans destroyed most of the sources during their famous attack. Another reason can be chaos, the kings used to change the capital constantly which can indeed lead to lack of sources, he noted.
Safavid History Should be Found in Manuscripts
The professor of history at the University of Delaware added: “In order to study the era, we should study manuscripts most of which have been released and available at London and Paris libraries. Accordingly I didn’t have to travel to Iran , however following the Islamic Revolution visa problems existed as well. But, I will travel to Iran whenever I get a chance since I can purchase the latest books.”
Talking about the Iranian prize he said: “I believe that the Book of the Year Award is a significant invention which shows that the Islamic Republic of Iran, besides politics, cares for historical researches and literature. The participation of the foreigners is also a positive point.”
He finally said that Iran is an interesting country. Its civilization dates back to thousands years ago. The Iranians are kind and accommodating, they hold special capacities in creating fine works.
Rudi Matthee serves as the John and Dorothy Munroe Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Delaware, where he teaches Middle Eastern history, with a research focus on early modern Iran and the Persian Gulf. He has also published numerous articles on aspects of Safavid and Qajar Iran.