Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia

Daniel Zakrzewski

Daniel Zakrzewski

Daniel Zakrzewski

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

Personal Project:

Making Tabriz the primary royal city of Islamic Iran Urban society, nomadic rule and Persianate political culture from the late Saljuq until the early Safawid period.

The project analyzes one of the most critical eras of Iranian history in Islamic times with a particular focus on the city of Tabriz. It covers the period stretching from the late twelfth century, right before the Mongol conquests, until the early sixteenth century when Iran began to turn into an officially and predominantly Shiite country under then newly established Safawid rule. It combines a social micro-history approach to questions of urban society and politics with a discussion of broader intellectual trends, especially with regard to the tradition of kingship as a major component of Persianate political culture. Of particular interest are the conditions under and forms in which the business of politics was conducted in Tabriz as well as among leaders of the urban population and representatives of the numerous dynastic formations that rivaled for and succeeded each other in control of the city. The rule of the Mongol Ilkhans is of particular importance to the project as it was under this dynasty that the name Iran reentered the Persian language as a territorial-political designation, while the convert Ghazan, in particular, closely connected their empire to the city of Tabriz. By including the pre-Mongol and post-Mongol periods into the analysis, the project seeks to uncover long-term mechanisms that contributed to the city gaining and retaining a special status within the tradition of Iranian kingship; among the most crucial ones is the continuous relevance of royal grazing grounds in the urban hinterland. Sources consulted are mostly Persian and Arabic and feature a wide range of literary genres from local pilgrimage guides and endowment deeds to court historiography, hagiographical works or various sorts of biographical dictionaries.




Magister Artium in Islamic Studies, History, Political Science at MLU Halle-Wittenberg


Research associate at the Collaborative Research Center 586 “Difference and Integration– Interaction between Nomadic and Settled Forms of Life in the Civilizations of the Old World”, Project Nomadic Rule in a Sedentary Context: States, cities, hinterland in Iran from the coming of the Turks to the Mongols and Timurids (11th–15th centuries)

Winter term 2010/11

Lecturer in Persian at the Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Middle East, FSU Jena

Winter term 2012/13

Lecturer in Persian and Cultural Anthropology of Iran at the Section for Iranian Studies, Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Marburg

Since 2010

PhD-project in Islamic Studies. Making Tabriz the Primary Royal City of Islamic Iran: Urban Society, Nomadic Rule and Persianate Political Culture from the late 12th until the early 16th Century. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Paul, MLU Halle-Wittenberg

Research Interests

History of Tabriz between the late Saljuq and early Safavid periods (12th–16th centuries), including political, economic, social, cultural and religious aspects; Historical geography and cartography, especially of Azerbaijan and adjoining regions; Medieval and early modern historiography in Arabic and Persian; Sufism; Islamic reformist theology and Algerian nationalism; Theoretical and methodological questions, in particular with regard to urban history, global history and relations between the spheres of religion and politics.

Selected Publications

with Christoph Werner and Hans-Thomas Tillschneider
Die Kuǧuǧī-Stiftungen in Tabrīz (Edition, Übersetzung, Kommentar). Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Ǧalāyiriden, Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2013.

«Mit Gott und Frankreich». Bestimmungen Algeriens in Schriften des Reformtheologen Ibn Bādīs zur Zeit der Volksfrontregierung (1936–1938), Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 2012.

“Terms of politics and pastoral nomadism in two works of fifteenth-century Persian historical writing”, Eurasian Studies IX (2011), pp. 159–85 (Special Issue: Nomads in the Political Field).

“Review Article – Bulliet, Richard, W., Cotton, Climate and Camels in Early Islamic Iran: A Moment in World History, New York: Columbia University Press, 2010”, Nomadic Peoples 15,1 (2011), pp. 146–8 (Special Issue Nomads in the Political Field).


"Tabrizer Windungen auf Ibn ʿArabīs poetischem Pfad in die Persophonie: Sufis und Dichter vor Ort und die Kuǧuǧīs in Damaskus, 13. und 14 Jahrhundert" 32. Deutscher Orientalistentag, Section Iranian Studies, Münster, from 23 to 27 September 2013.

"Men of Islam Turning Ilkhans into Kings of Iran: The Cases of Quṭb al-Dīn Shīrāzī, Qāḍī Bayḍāwī and ʿAbd Allah Ṣayrafī", Annual conference of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Association of Israel, panel From Chinggis Khan to Ghazan: continuity and change under the Mongols in the lands of Islam, Tel Aviv 6 June 2013.