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Abbas I°

ABBAS I°

ABBAS I ° (reigned 1588–1629), regarded as the mightiest king of the Safavid period (1501–1736). In 1598 he transferred his capital from Kazvin to *Isfahan, which he transformed into one of the most magnificent cities in the world by constructing monumental mosques and beautiful avenues and squares. He is mentioned as a great builder of roads and carvanserais, a renowned conqueror, an able organizer of the army, and an austere punisher of his opponents. He was famed for his cruel punishment of disloyal officers and, as a fanatical Muslim, was responsible for the assassination of several Jewish rabbis and for the forced conversion of many Jews in Isfahan and in other cities of Iran. His persecutions of the Jews of Iran are recorded in the Chronicle of Babai ben Lutf of Kashan, according to which there were three waves of forced conversion to Islam between 1613 and 1629, but many of the Jews returned to Judaism afterwards.

bibliography:

N. Falsafi, Zendegani-ye Shah Abbas Avval, 5 vols. (1955–62); A. Netzer, "Redifot u-Shemadot be-Toledot Yehudei Iran ba-Me'ah ha-17," in: Peʿamim 6 (1980), 32–56; V.B. Moreen, Iranian Jewry's Hour of Peril and Heroism (1987); H. Levy, Comprehensive History of the Jews of Iran (1999), 302 ff.

[Amnon Netzer (2nd ed.)]

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