Reading Nineteenth-Century Persian Histories from the Caucasus
This essay examines six Persian-language historical works that were produced in the Caucasus during the nineteenth century. These works have conventionally gone unnoticed due to the language of composition and the predominant approach to the region as a Russian imperial province. Interestingly, these texts bear the mark of the Afsharid period, and demonstrate a marked interest in the figure of Nader Shah. They demonstrate that the Safavid collapse and the subsequent developments of the eighteenth century had an important impact on conceptions of political legitimacy in the Caucasus. They also suggest that the birth of new local Persianate historiographical traditions in the region should not only be viewed through the lens of Russian imperial modernity and instead be better situated in their local and historical context.
Keywords: Shirvan • Dagestan • Historiography • Caucasus • Azerbaijan • Nader Shah • Karabagh