Economic and Cultural Renaissance at Kartid Herat, 1251 to 1381

by Shivan Mahendrarajah

Economic and Cultural Renaissance at Kartid Herat, 1251 to 1381

by Shivan Mahendrarajah | on 7 December, 2022

The lecture expands on a theme from A History of Herat, from Chingiz Khan to Tamerlane, on Herat’s renaissance under the Kartid kings, an Iranian dynasty installed by the Mongols. Herat was ruined by Mongols in 1222; however, thirty years later, Chingiz Khan’s successors chose to revitalize the Herat Quarter of Khurasan. Reasons for revitalization include acquisition of taxes, agricultural produce, crafted goods, and conscripts for the Mongol empire.

Urban and economic developments were encouraged by the Mongols, but also circumscribed by them. By 1300 Kartids were breaking with the Mongols. Herat’s citadel was erected, and the city was fortified. A network of fortifications controlled by Kartid loyalists allowed for economic and cultural exchanges with India and Transoxiana. Bazaars and caravansarays were constructed. Social-religious life was rejuvenated through patronage of seminaries, mosques, and Sufi hospices; and appointments such as shaykh al-Islamqadi al-qudatqadimuhtasib, sadr, and sadr al-sharia.

About the speaker:

Shivan Mahendrarajah is a Research Fellow with the School of History, University of St. Andrews, Scotland. He was educated at Columbia University, and earned a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and Islamic History at the University of Cambridge. Shivan is the author of peer-reviewed articles on Islamic history, Sufism, Wahhabism, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongols, and Tamerlane; on counterinsurgency theory and practice; and on al-Qaʿida and the Taliban movements of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Shivan has two monographs in print: The Sufi Saint of Jam: History, Religion, and Politics of a Sunni Shrine in Shiʿi Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2021); and A History of Herat: From Chingiz Khan to Tamerlane (Edinburgh University Press, 2022).

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