A Persian at the French Court of Louis XIV. The controversial embassy of Moḥ ammad-Reżā Beg in 1715 Moḥ ammad-Reżā Beg Persia Safavid dynasty French-Persian relations

Journal title STORIA URBANA
Author/s Michele Brunelli
Publishing Year 2016 Issue 2016/151 Language Italian
Pages 57 P. 5-61 File size 528 KB
DOI 10.3280/SU2016-151001
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In 1714 the Shāh appointed Moḥ ammad-Reżā Beg, a high-ranking offi cial of the Safavid Court, to go on a diplomatic mission to Versailles: the goal was to strengthen the relationship between Persia and France. In March, of the same year, Moḥ ammad left his hometown Erīvān; after a series of misfortunes, he landed on Marseilles shores in October. From there, he began a long journey across France to get to Paris, in order to be introduced at the Court of King Louis XIV. Along the way Moḥammad gave prove of his hot-tempered and extravagant character, and showed his abundant faults as well as a few virtues. He left behind just a faint memory of the Persian fashion and habits to the French aristocracy and bourgeoisie, always eager of entertainments. Moḥammad brought the novelty of orientalism, but it was not enough: because of the poorness of his political commitment, he was harshly criticized not only by the people of his own time, but also by the commentators of the following century. Reżā Beg’s travel, however, represents an important testimony: to begin with, it was the fi rst offi cial Persian embassy to France; then, through sources such as archives and documents, it is possible to assess the fi rst impact "the stranger" made on the French people, both in big cities and small villages: as Moḥammad’s parade moved up to the north, many had the chance to get close to this controversial character’s way of life, his manners and deeds

Keywords: Moḥ ammad-Reza Beg Persia Safavidi Relazioni franco-persiane

Michele Brunelli, Un persiano nella Francia del Re Sole. La controversa ambasciata di Mo?ammad-Reza BEG del 1715� in "STORIA URBANA " 151/2016, pp 5-61, DOI: 10.3280/SU2016-151001