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“Rich in Goods and Abounding in Wealth:” The Ilkhanid and Post-Ilkhanid Ruling Elite and the Politics of Commercial Life at Tabriz, 1250–1400

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a general overview of literature on the role of Tabriz in the political economy of the Ilkhanate and its successor states in the 13th and 14th centuries in the framework of relationships between three loci of political and economic interests: the Mongol-Persian ruling elite, merchants representing regional and long-distance trade networks, and the local conditions and interests of the city and people of Tabriz. The Ilkhanid political elite created conditions for Tabriz, to flourish economically, while also serving the interests of foreign merchants and encouraging wider trade contacts through partnerships and alliances. The prosperity of the city, and the vibrant commercial life in its markets, is attested by accounts of foreign travellers from the late Ilkhanid period. Tabriz was a center for political action among princes and amirs, as well as a pivot connecting political and economic life between pastoral and agrarian communities, from China to Europe.

Keywords: China; Europe; political economy; post-Ilkhanid ruling elite; Tabriz



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