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The search for long-term solutions: Khorasan and the agricultural imperative

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Chapter Summary

As raiding and plunder were mainstays of the nomadic economic outlook, and the ruler and his military elite frequently had to be reminded of the role agriculture played in maintaining the stability of the state. The large eastern Iranian province of Khorasan, with its rich agricultural potential and highly developed urban culture, afforded the best conditions for agricultural development. The agriculture of the urban oases of Khorasan, and of the Harirud valley in particular, had been intensive and highly specialized since earliest times. It included fruit and vegetable-growing, viticulture, and horticulture, practiced for the most part on relatively small, irrigated plots of land, often in walled orchard-gardens, usually referred to by the term bāgh. The later Timurids, particularly under Sulṭān-Ḥusain, represent one of the most successful cases of the management of hydroagriculture in the medieval history of greater Iran and Central Asia.

Keywords: agricultural production; hydroagriculture; irrigation channels; Khorasan; Sulṭān-Ḥusain; Timurids



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