IMMIGRATION OF THE IRANIAN SCHOLARS AND THE TRANSFER OF IRANIAN INTELLECTUAL TRADITIONS TO THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE FROM THE EARLY TIMURID PERIOD TO THE LATE SAFAVID PERIOD
This article attempts to examine the cultural relationships of Iran and the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 17th centuries. It deals with the causes of the immigration of a large number of Iranian scholars and explores the transmission of intellectual traditions between the two regions as well as the influence of this transmission. Brief biographies of some one hundred immigrants are included, particularly the scholars who were either famous for or wrote at least one treatise on the rational sciences.
The article is divided into two parts: The Timurid Period and the Safavid Period. In the first part, the intellectual activities during the reign of Timur and his successors -Shahrokh and Ulugh Beg - are described. During this period cultural activities flourished with the establishment of several madrasas in Herat , Samarqand and Shiraz under the patronage of Timurid rulers. The Ottoman Empire was growing, but from the reign of Shahrokh until the end of the Timurid Period, political and religious considerations were not serious conflicts between Iran and the Ottomans. Rather, a vast cultural relationship had developed between the two neighbours.
However after the death of Ulugh Beg (1449), socio-economic unrest, the lack of patronage, and the collapse of a stable government in Iran caused scholars to seek refuge elsewhere. The Ottoman Court , especially after the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II (The Conqueror) who had good relations with Iranian scholars, was an appealing haven. During this period, and also after the defeat of Uzun Hasan by Mehmed II (1473), some scholars from Khurasan and Transoxiana immigrated to the Ottoman Empire , and obtained positions as advisors to the Ottoman Sultans, judges, and teachers in madrasas.
The second part of the article is concerned with the rise of the Safavids and one of the most important cultural changes in Iran , namely the conversion of the state religion from Sunnite to Shiism. The proclamation of Shiism as the official religion by Shah Ismail unified Iran ; however, his insistance on the people's conversion caused many famous Sunni scholars to immigrate. Due to the past amicable relations between Iranian and Ottoman scholars, the Sultan's patronage, and the state religion of the Ottoman Empire which was Sunni, the vast majority of these Iranian immigrants fled to the Ottoman land. Immigration due to religious conversion continued until the second half of the Safavid Period.
During the first half of the Safavid Period, the Sunni immigrations caused a significant decline in the scientific endeavours in Iran since Shiite scholars had still needed to establish cultural and educational centers. On the other hand, this immigration had a considerable impact on the cultural and scientific activities in the Ottoman Empire ; scholars from Herat and Samarqand thus played a significant role in the development of mathematics and physics in the Ottoman Empire .