Following the Mongol invasion of the Middle East (ca. 1250), large numbers of nomadic Central Asian peoples moved into Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Anatolia. These demographic changes engendered a new social order in which conquered, sedentary populations were ruled by nomadic overlords. In the states that arose in the Mongol wake, political authority and state organization were derived initially from nomadic traditions and customs yet rapidly became amalgamated with Islamic legitimizing principles. At the same time, Islamic and pseudo-Islamic popular religious organizations, particularly militant, messianic movements began to spread throughout the region. The century between the decline of the Mongol Il-Khanids and the assertion of Ottoman control from the west and Safavid control from Iran was thus one of great experimentation and innovation in political thought and intense political, military, and religious rivalry. The history of the Aqquyunlu confederation (1378-1508) lies squarely within these geographic, chronological, and social parameters. When it was originally published in 1976," THE AQQUYUNLU" was the first study of a region and period until then frequently dismissed as "apolitical" and culturally barren. Long unavailable, it is still the primary English-language work on the subject. It traces the Aqquyunlu rise from clan, through civil war, consolidation, and decline, drawing upon a wide range of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish sources. The new edition recasts a number of chapters, updates references, and incorporates recent research to reflect the ongoing work of a senior scholar.
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John Woods is professor of history at the University of Chicago
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