Table of Contents
During the First World War, France, unlike England, Russia, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire, had no direct strategic interests in Persia.
The motives for Franco-Persian administrative and military contacts between the French Revolution of 1789 and the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, their implementation and their impact on Persia will be examined here.
Persians saw the French Revolution as sedition (fetna), corruption (fesād), a general disturbance by the populace (balwā-ye ʿāmm), insurrection (šūreš), the great revolution (enqelāb-e ʿaẓīm), and the great revolution (enqelāb-e kabīr).
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.