III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > B. The Middle East and North Africa, 500–1500 > 2. The Muslim Middle East and North Africa, c. 945–1500 > c. The Mongol Empire and Its Successors
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
c. The Mongol Empire and Its Successors
Mongol forces brought territories in Iraq and Anatolia under Hulegu's rule, but failed to hold on to Syria, where they suffered defeat by the Mamluks (See 1260).  1
c. 1260
The principality of Karaman in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains was founded by the Turkoman leader Karaman ibn Musa. It emerged as a formidable power in central Anatolia and a rival to the Ottomans until its annexation by them in 1468.  2
Menteshe Bey, a Turkoman leader, launched the conquest of Byzantine ports and lands in western Anatolia, establishing the principality of Menteshe in the area. It survived until its absorption by the Ottomans in 1390.  3
THE ILKHANID STATE AFTER HULEGU. Hulegu succeeded in creating an extensive Middle Eastern empire that included Iran, Iraq, and much of Anatolia. His descendants, who held the title of ilkhan (viceroy), ruled the empire as a unified state until 1335, after which it disintegrated into rival provincial regimes. The capital was set up initially at Maragha in Azerbaijan, but it was moved by Ilkhan Abaqa (1265–82) to Tabriz, and then by Oljeitu (1304–16) southeast to Sultaniyya.  4
The Ilkhanids relied on the existing Iranian bureaucracy to handle their administrative and financial affairs. Iranian Muslims served commonly as their chief ministers, the most famous of whom was Rashid al-Din (1247–1318). At least in the first three decades after Hulegu, their main aim was to extract as much revenue as possible from the population, which suffered enormous tax demands. During that period the Mongols were pagan or Buddhist in their religious inclinations, and freed their non-Muslim subjects from their previous social restrictions and tax burdens. The rule of Ghazan (1295–1304), who converted to Islam, marked an important shift in Ilkhanid policies, both fiscal and religious.  5
The Mongol period was of cataclysmic consequences for the region. In addition to the unparalleled massacre and destruction—described by Muslim chroniclers as a holocaust—the Mongol invasions caused lasting demographic and economic changes. Large numbers of Turks settled permanently in Iran, establishing a formidable Turkish presence in the country, especially in the northwestern region of Azerbaijan. The nomadic influx also turned extensive lands from agricultural to pastoral use and brought a long-term shift in the area's economic balance.  6
Death of Jalal al-Din Rumi, perhaps the greatest of the Persian mystical poets. Born in Balkh in 1207, he fled west from the advancing Mongol hordes and finally settled in Konya. His large collection of impassioned lyrical works (among them the celebrated Mathnavi) explores the spiritual paths to the identification of the human self with the divine being, blending mystical sentiment with amorous feelings. He became the patron saint of the Mevlevi Sufi order, whose ceremonies incorporated music and whirling dances in special dress (from which came their common description as “whirling dervishes”). The order spread from its headquarters in Konya to other cities, and won adherents among the Ottoman elite and the patronage of Ottoman sultans.  7
Death of Nasir al-Din Tusi, a prominent Shi’ite theologian famous for his work in astronomy. He was high in the counsels of Hulegu, who built for him an observatory in Maragha that produced important findings. Qutb al-Din Shirazi (d. 1131), another distinguished astronomer, collaborated with Tusi in his scientific research.  8
c. 1283
The principality of Germiyan was founded in western Anatolia, with its capital in Kutahya. It was one of the leading Turkoman principalities on the Byzantine frontier, and was annexed by the Ottomans in 1389–90.  9
Anti-Jewish riots in Iraq and Iran. The chief minister of the state, the Jewish scholar and physician Sa’d al-Dawla, was murdered along with his Jewish associates, and a widespread purge removed numerous Jewish officials who had entered the service of the Mongol administration. This marked the end of three decades of unusual opportunity and freedom enjoyed by the Jews during the non-Muslim phase of Ilkhanid rule.  10
Death of Sa’di, among the giants of Persian prose and lyric poetry. His Gulistan, a volume of practical wisdom and wit, ranks among the finest works of Persian classical literature.  11
The Ilkhanids introduced paper money in an attempt to deal with the bankruptcy of the treasury. The paper certificates, which followed Chinese models, brought all business to a standstill and had to be withdrawn.  12
Death of Safi al-Din al-Urmawi (b. 1216), an accomplished Baghdadi musician and author of an important treatise on musical theory (al-Adwar). His detailed analysis of melodic modes and scale intervals had a profound influence on later writers and on the musical systems of Iran and Turkey.  13
RULE OF THE ILKHAN GHAZAN. Breaking away from the pagan or Buddhist affiliations of his predecessors, Ghazan embraced Islam and instituted it as the religion of the state. Buddhist temples were destroyed and the traditional restrictions on Christians and Jews restored. The conversion of the Mongols contributed to their gradual assimilation into local society. With the aid of his able minister Rashid al-Din, Ghazan also attempted to correct the damage caused by decades of Mongol misgovernment and exploitation of the population. He instituted reforms to regulate taxation, improve security in the countryside, encourage recultivation, and correct disorder in the military and administration. It is not clear to what degree his program was actually implemented, although the new official orientation probably improved efficiency and the overall treatment of the population.  14
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.