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While the Italian cities and Spain entered into diplomatic relations with Persia at an early date, this was not true of France, despite an abortive attempt—the dispatch in 1626 of Louis Deshayes de Courmenin to the court of Shah ʿAbbās I. The early 17th century also witnessed the great missionary upsurge in France.This Article Has Images/Tables.
On the reign of Nāder Shah (1736-1747), accounts by missionaries, notably those by the Jesuit Père Louis Bazin, chief physician to Nāder Shah from 1746 until the latter’s assassination, form useful complements to the Persian sources.
France used Persia as a means of social, political, and religious self-criticism, and they were interested in Zoroastrianism as “the most ancient religion."
The new trends in Persian literature in the beginning of the 20th century are closely related to social and political changes which began in Persia under Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (1848-96), and brought about the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-11.
French collections, both public and private, contain hundreds of Persian works of art. Some of these reached France during the Middle Ages, notably after the Crusades, but most of the great collections containing Persian art were created during the second half of the 19th century.This Article Has Images/Tables.
Vincent Hachard and Bernard Hourcade
The genuine beginning of Persian studies in France began with the foundation in Istanbul and Smyrna (Izmir) of a “School of languages for the young” in 1669 to train translators of Ottoman Turkish for French consulates. After merger with the Collège Louis-le-Grand in Paris in 1763, the teaching of Persian was introduced.This Article Has Images/Tables.
The French contribution to pre-Islamic Iranian studies, both in philological studies and archaeology, has been considerable.
The history of French scholarship on modern Persia particularly in the field of social sciences was shaped by major external factors including the overall political relationship between the two countries and the radical changes which took place in the French university system and the organization of its scholarly missions to Persia in the latter half of this century.
The Institut français de recherche en Iran (IFRI) was established in its present form and under the above name in l983, although in Persia it is usually referred to as Anjoman-e īrān-šenāsī-e farānsa dar Īrān.