Beatrice Forbes Manz uses the history of Iran under the Timurid ruler Shahrukh (1409-1447) to analyse the relationship between government and society in the medieval Middle East. She provides a rich portrait of Iranian society over an exceptionally broad spectrum - the dynasty and its servitors, city elite and provincial rulers, and the religious classes, both ulama' and Sufi. The work addresses two issues central to pre-modern Middle Eastern history: how a government without the monopoly of force controlled a heterogeneous society, and how a society with diffuse power structures remained stable over long periods. Written for an audience of students as well as scholars, this book provides a broad analysis of political dynamics in late medieval Iran and challenges much received wisdom about civil and military power, the relationship of government to society, and the interaction of religious figures with the ruling class.

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