Table of Contents


    David O. Morgan

    (Mong. Chinggis), probably born in 1167 in northeastern Mongolia, d. 1227, founder of the Mongol empire, the most extensive land empire known to history. Čengīz’s achievement, though hardly positive from the point of view of Persia, was by no means wholly a military and a destructive one. In the 1250s, a relatively coherent Mongol kingdom, the Il-khanate, was set up under Čengīz’s grandson Hülegü.

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    Sara Khalili

    the first novel published in English by noted modernist writer Shahriar Mandanipour.


    Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak

    (sānsūr) in Persia; censorship has been exercised in most societies, including Persia, by the religious establishment, by the political authority, and by unofficial groups.


    Firuz Tawfiq, Daniel Balland

    (Pers. sar-šomārī). No census for the purpose of ascertaining the population and acquiring statistical data was taken in Persia until the present century.

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  • CENSUS i. In Iran

    Fīrūz Tawfīq

    No census for the purpose of ascertaining the popu­lation and acquiring statistical data was taken in Persia until the present century, but information about num­bers of persons or families was sometimes collected for the purpose of fixing tax dues or conscript quotas. 

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  • CENSUS ii. In Afghanistan

    Daniel Balland

    The first national census of Afghanistan was not conducted until 1979, but the idea of such a survey had already taken root during the reign of Šēr-ʿAlī Khan in the 19th century, due to new taxation regulations.

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    Multiple Authors

    This series of articles covers Central Asia. 

  • CENTRAL ASIA i. Geographical Survey


    The central expanse of the Asian continent, the land mass situated approximately between 55° and 115° E and 25° and 50° N, comprises two geographically distinct areas.

  • CENTRAL ASIA ii. Demography

    Richard H. Rowland

    The combined population of the Uzbek, Kirgiz, Tajik, and Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republics totals more than 30 million people, one tenth of the population of the Soviet Union.

  • CENTRAL ASIA iii. In Pre-Islamic Times

    Richard N. Frye

    The main evidence for the history of Central Asia before the coming of Islam comes from archeological excavations, while written sources con­tain little information.

  • CENTRAL ASIA iv. In the Islamic Period up to the Mongols

    C. E. Bosworth

    In early Islamic times Persians tended to identify all the lands to the northeast of Khorasan and lying beyond the Oxus with the region of Turan, which in the Šāh-nāma of Ferdowsī is regarded as the land allotted to Ferēdūn’s son Tūr.

  • CENTRAL ASIA v. In the Mongol and Timurid Periods

    Bertold Spuler

    At the death of Čengīz (Chinggis) Khan in 624/1227 the territory he had conquered was divided between his sons.

  • CENTRAL ASIA vi. In the 16th-18th Centuries

    Robert D. McChesney

    In the 16th-17th centuries Central Asia, includ­ing Transoxania, Greater Balḵ, and Ḵᵛārazm, witnessed a neo-Chingizid (Jochid) political revival, spearheaded by the ʿArabshahid/Shibanid (Shaibanid) lineage in Ḵᵛārazm and the Abulkhairid/Shibanid and Toqay-Timurid lines in Transoxania and Greater Balḵ. In the main, political life was shaped by the neo-Chingizid appanage system of state and its internal dynamic.

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  • CENTRAL ASIA vii. In the 18th-19th Centuries

    Yuri Bregel

    By the beginning of the 12th/18th century Central Asia was in a state of a deepening political and economic crisis.

  • CENTRAL ASIA viii. Relations with Persia in the 19th Century

    Abbas Amanat

    The question of Central Asia in the 13th/19th century, from the Persian point of view, was a promi­nent one not only because of Persian territorial claims over Marv, Ḵīva, Saraḵs, and other peripheral regions, but also because of the threat of the Turkmen frontier tribes of Tekka, Yomūt, and Gūklān to the security of Khorasan, Astarābād, and Māzandarān.

  • CENTRAL ASIA ix. In the 20th Century

    Edward Allworth

    Technology brought by the Russian military and the colonial administration from Europe included advanced arms and material, as well as railroad, telegraph/telephone, and printed com­munication.

  • CENTRAL ASIA x. Economy Before the Timurids

    Peter B. Golden

    Climate and geography have, of course, in large measure determined economic pursuits in pre-industrial times.

  • CENTRAL ASIA xi. Economy from the Timurids until the 18th Century

    Robert D. McChesney

    The economy of Central Asia after the fall of Central Asia to the descendants of Čengīz Khan and during their rule was centered on agriculture, but with important contributions from pastoralism, especially the breeding and export of horses.

  • CENTRAL ASIA xii. Economy in the 19th-20th Centuries

    Ian Matley

    When the Russians arrived in Central Asia in the 1860s they found a predominantly agrarian economy. The main grain crops were wheat, barley, and sorghum.

  • CENTRAL ASIA xiii. Iranian Languages

    Ivan M. Steblin-Kamenskij

    Central Asia was the ancient homeland of the Iranians and therefore also of the Iranian languages.

  • CENTRAL ASIA xiv. Turkish-Iranian Language Contacts

    Gerhard Doerfer

    Three Turkish languages came together in Central Asia, the territory covered by the modern Turkmen, Uzbek, Kazakh, Kirghiz, and Tajik SSRs, excluding Chinese Turkestan: 1. the Uighur or Eastern Turks, 2. the Oghuz, speaking Khorasani Turkish, 3. and the Kipchaks

  • CENTRAL ASIA xv. Modern Literature

    Keith Hitchins

    Central Asian literatures in the twentieth century have developed under diverse influences. Beside classical and modern Persian literature and the poetic traditions and folklore of the Central Asian peoples themselves, Rus­sian thought and letters have been predominant.

  • CENTRAL ASIA xvi. Music

    Walter Feldman

    In modern times Central Asia as a musicological unit can be defined as the area extending from Afghanistan north of the Hindu Kush, all of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan in the west, Kirgizia and Chinese Turkestan in the east, and Kazakhstan in the north.


    Gernot L. Windfuhr

    designation of a number of Iranian dialects spoken in the center of Persia, roughly between Hamadān, Isfahan, Yazd, and Tehran, that is, the area of ancient Media Major, which constitute the core of the western Iranian dialects.

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    Mark J. Gasiorowski

    When the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was established in September 1947, its predecessors had been operating in Persia for a number of years.


    Joseph A. Kechichian

    (CENTO), a mutual defense and economic cooperation pact among Persia, Turkey, and Pakistan, with the participation of the United Kingdom and the United States as associate members.


    Mahmoud Omidsalar

    lamps. Various kinds of lamps were used in Persia before the introduction of electric light. The simplest and cheapest was the čerāḡ-e mūšī “mouse lamp,” so called probably because of its small size and poor light.


    Roger M. Savory

    b. Shaikh Šarīf, a descendant of Shaikh Zāhed Gīlānī, the celebrated moršed (spiritual director) of Shaikh Ṣafī-al-Dīn, the eponymous founder of the Safavid order (Ṣafawīya); hence Čerāḡ Khan was also known as Pīrzāda.


    Denis M. MacEoin

    (d. after 1281/1864-65), a leading govern­ment official during the early reign of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah.


    Sharif Husain Qasemi

    (b. at Avadh, ca. 675/1276-77; d. at Delhi, 18 Ramażān 757/14 September 1356), the title of Shaikh Naṣīr-al-Dīn Maḥmūd, the last of the five great early saints of the Indian Češtī order (see češtīya).


    J. R. Perry

    (“lamp of guidance”), a monolingual Persian dictionary by the Indo-Muslim poet and scholar Serāj-al-Din ʿAli Khan Ārzu.


    Mahmoud Omidsalar

    (also čerāḡān, čerāḡbānī, čerāḡbārān), the decoration of buildings and open spaces with lights during festivals and on occasions like weddings, coronations, royal birthdays, circumcision ceremonies, and so on.


    Elham Gheytanchi

    (I turn off the lights, Tehran, 2001), the first and most acclaimed novel by Zoya Pirzad (Zoyā Pirzād, b. Abadan, 1952), and the second to be penned by an Iranian-Armenian writer, after Ālice Ārezumāniān’s Hama az yek (All from one,Tehran, 1963).


    Pierre Oberling

    or ČORŪM, a small tribal confederacy (īl) inhabiting the dehestān of Čerām, in the Kūhgīlūya region, in southwestern Persia.


    Multiple Authors

    Ceramics in Persia from the Neolithic period to the 19th century.

  • CERAMICS i. The Neolithic Period through the Bronze Age in Northeastern and North-central Persia

    Robert H. Dyson

    The ceramic tradition of northeastern Persia devel­oped in parallel but distinct sequences in the Gorgān lowlands and the Dāmḡān highlands, including the parts of the Atrak region adjacent to both. 

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  • CERAMICS ii. The Neolithic Period in Northwestern Persia

    Mary M. Voigt

    The initial occupation of Persian Azerbaijan by farming groups took place in the second half of the 7th millennium B.C.E. The best known site of this period is Hajji Firuz (Ḥājī Fīrūz) Tepe, located in the Ošnū-­Soldūz valley and approximately contemporary with Hasanlu X (ca. 6000-5000 B.C.E.). 

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  • CERAMICS iii. The Neolithic Period in Central and Western Persia

    Peder Mortensen

    Present knowledge is based primarily on evidence from three excavated sites and from surveys carried out southwest of Harsīn, on the Māhī­dašt plain, and in the Holaylān valley.

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  • CERAMICS iv. The Chalcolithic Period in the Zagros Highlands

    Elizabeth F. Henrickson

    The Zagros Chalcolithic may be divided into Early, Middle, and Late subperiods. Within each several distinctive regional assemblages are known in varying arche­ological detail. 

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  • CERAMICS v. The Chalcolithic Period in Southern Persia

    Thomas W. Beale

    The most fully excavated corpus of ceramics from the Chalcolithic of southern Persia comes from Tal-i Iblis and Tepe Yahya. Ex­tensive surface collections by Sir Mark Aurel Stein in Baluchistan and more recently have provided important supplementary material.

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  • CERAMICS vi. Uruk, Proto-Elamite, and Early Bronze Age in Southern Persia

    William M. Sumner

    Lapui common ware consists of a red paste tempered with rather coarse black grit. It is not as well fired as the fine ware, and frequently the sherds reveal an unoxidized gray core. 

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  • CERAMICS vii. The Bronze Age in Northwestern, Western, and Southwestern Persia

    Robert C. Henrickson

    During the 3rd millennium BCE there were two major ceramic traditions in northwestern Persia, shifting ceramic traditions in central western Persia, and polychrome ware  in northern Susiana.

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  • CERAMICS viii. The Early Bronze Age in Southwestern and Southern Persia

    Elizabeth Carter

    The ceramic repertoire of the 2nd millennium B.C.E. in Ḵūzestān is dominated by plain buff-ware forms, the development of which can be traced through approximately 1,000 years, with four major sub­divisions. The most common and long-lived forms are illustrated in this article.

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  • CERAMICS ix. The Bronze Age in Northeastern Persia

    Serge Cleuziou

    Archeologists have traditionally linked the ap­pearance of burnished gray wares at Tepe Hissar (Ḥeṣār) and Tureng (Tūrang) Tepe in Gorgān during the second half of the 4th millennium b.c., and their possible diffusion westward in the first half of the 2nd millennium.

  • CERAMICS x. The Iron Age

    Robert C. Henrickson

    The pottery of Iron Age Persia presents a vast array of problems, not least the huge area and long span of time that must be taken into consideration.

  • CERAMICS xi. The Achaemenid Period

    Remy Boucharlat and Ernie Haerinck

    Although information on architecture and sculpture at major Achaemenid sites in Persia is plentiful, knowl­edge of the pottery of this period is almost totally lacking.

  • CERAMICS xii. The Parthian and Sasanian Periods

    Remy Boucharlat and Ernie Haerinck

    the distribution pattern of pottery characterized by a wide range of different techniques and styles was quite complex, probably owing to diverse environments that have traditionally been reflected in major differences in the material culture of Persia.

  • CERAMICS xiii. The Early Islamic Period, 7th-11th Centuries

    David Whitehouse

    Early Islamic pottery has been found in two main regions of Persia: Ḵūzestān and the Persian Gulf and the Persian plateau, including Khorasan. Study of all Islamic pottery of the first four hundred years has been dominated by the finds from Sāmarrā in Meso­potamia.

  • CERAMICS xiv. The Islamic Period, 11th-15th centuries

    Ernst J. Grube

    A large variety of pottery types from different parts of the country has been attributed to this general period, notably incised and slip-carved earthenwares, which have been published under a variety of labels, as proper attributions have so far been impossible.

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  • CERAMICS xv. The Islamic Period, 16th-19th centuries

    Yolande Crowe

    Although several European travelers to Persia in the 17th century reported active potteries at some cities, there are no detailed records that would assist in attributing specific pieces surviving from the rule of the Safavid dynasty (1501­-1732) to any one of them.

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