A failed alliance and expanding horizons : relations between the Austrian Habsburgs and the Safavid Persians in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
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Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, both Austria and Persia were each repeatedly at war with the Ottoman Turks. Diplomats travelled between the two countries in an attempt to forge an alliance against their common enemy. Although the alliance never materialized the relationship broadened to cover other concerns. Despite cultural differences, both countries tried to work together and approached each-other as equals. Contact between the countries exposed both cultures to wider influences. Their changing relationship illustrates the priorities of both parties. This thesis, for the first time, uses primary sources to view the evolution of the relationship over the two century reign of the Safavid dynasty. It charts the course of their diplomatic relationship, examines the turning point in this relationship, and explores why the alliance both sides wanted never materialized. By examining Austria's diplomatic initiatives to the east this thesis helps correct the historiographical imbalance in central European history of concentration on only European affairs, and shows that their understanding of the east was more nuanced than is often credited.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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