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The Role of Dreams in the Political Affairs of the Safavid Dynasty

From: Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies
Volume 6, Number 2, Spring 2013
pp. 177-198 | 10.1353/isl.2013.0012



This article explores a new window into Safavid political history – Safavid dream narratives. In that era, dreams were told to justify the kings’ deeds and to legitimise their hegemony. These dreams, the symbols in the dreams, and the way they were interwoven into the political affairs of the time reflect the widely held beliefs of the people in dreams and dream interpretation. Moreover, dream narratives divulge how political and religious goals could be pursued and achieved through dream-telling and dream interpretation. This article examines why, and in which periods, dreams were appropriated by Safavid kings as legitimising instruments. The author will analyse influential dream narratives from a wide range of Safavid texts and determine the different categories of dreams that were related.

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