Editors: Franz, Kurt; Holzwarth, Wolfgang

Nomad Military Power in Iran and Adjacent Areas in the Islamic Period

17.0 x 24.0 cm, 396 p., 12 illustrations color, 5 illustrations b/w, hardback
98,00 €

ISBN: 9783895009204
Table of Contents

Short Description

The papers in this anthology shed light on the political and military role and importance of nomadic groups in Iran and adjacent areas, using historical case studies that cover the tenth to nineteenth centuries. Some offer detailed historical snapshots, while others span several centuries. They have in common a concern to explore the relationships and balance of power between settled people and nomadic groups in changing circumstances.


In Central Asia, the Iranian highlands and the Near East, the impact of nomadic groups on the course of history was more felt than in other parts of the world. The Mongol Empire, which extended from Baghdad to the China Sea, is but one example of the successful military and political enterprises of nomad conquerors. This nomad power over the long period from the expansion of Islam to European colonial intervention, which includes the rise and fall of several Turko-Mongol empires, is the subject of this anthology.
The research focus is directed primarily to the conditions in which nomad power developed in the context of interrelated nomadic and sedentary ways of life. These interrelationships have been an essential aspect of the Collaborative Research Centre “Difference and Integration” (SFB 586) project from which this volume emerges. As Iran and the adjacent areas have historically been characterized by a complex geo-spatial environment of mobile and sedentary groups and political associations, they are especially suited to enquiry in this context.
Questions are particularly asked as to the circumstances, development patterns and effects of political and military alliances between nomadic and sedentary leaders or groups. Could nomad military power be enlisted in the strategies of sedentary rulers? What objectives did nomad allies pursue in these circumstances and with what, partly unexpected, results?
The volume also investigates the transformations that took place in states that emerged from nomad conquests. What political and military roles did rulers of ‘post-nomadic’ sedentary states assign to the descendants of nomad conquerors? What roles did these groups claim for themselves? And did nomadic traditions linger on in these states?
As well as the history of events and structures, contemporary conceptual approaches to nomad power and the visual representation of nomadic warfare in Persian miniature painting are also examined.
The anthology thus sheds light on an important aspect of the history of Iran and neighbouring countries that has so far not been examined systematically. It will be of interest to specialists in Islamic history, particularly in Iran and Central Asia, and to any historian looking for a transregional perspective on mediaeval and early modern military history.

Biographical Note

Wolfgang Holzwarth, born in 1952, is a senior scholar in Social Anthropology and Iranian Studies based at the Oriental Institute of the University of Halle and associated with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle. He has been a research associate of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Chair of Iranian Studies, University of Bamberg, and a lecturer at the School of Central Asian Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin. His publications focus on the history, society and culture of Central Asia and northern South Asia from the early modern period. He is currently researching the history and culture of southern Tajikistan since the late nineteenth century.

Kurt Franz, born in 1966, teaches Islamic Studies and works on the political and social history and the history of science of the Islamic Near East from 600 to 1600. His particular interest is in popular insurgency movements, slavery, nomadism and the spatial aspects of historical processes. Following studies in Islam and Arabic, sociology, political science and history in Göttingen, he received his PhD from Hamburg University. He was a member of the Collaborative Research Centre 586, Halle University, and has held a Research Associate position at the Orient-Institut Beirut and a visiting professorship in Hamburg. Since 2015, he has been Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Tübingen and has been concentrating on the historical geography and cartography of the Islamic lands in the field of Digital Humanities.


19th century, c 1800 to c 1899 (65) || Anthropology (78) || Asia (18) || Central Asia (51) || Comparative politics (7) || History (804) || History of other lands (3) || History: specific events & topics (287) || Islam (49) || Middle East (361) || Naher Osten (12) || Nomaden (15) || Political science & theory (21) || Politics & government (67) || Social & cultural anthropology (76) || Social & cultural history (48) || Sociology & anthropology (107)