Founder Of A Persian Dynasty

Shah_Ismail_IAppearances can be so deceiving.  I’ve been holding onto the image depicted above, not quite sure how to write about it.  Finally, it has come to me.  Three months ago I received an emailed copy of this 16th Century portrait of Shah Ismail I (1487-1524), founder of the Persian Safavid Dynasty.  The striking portrait is on display at the Ulfizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.  It is a fascinating work of art, worthy of prolonged study and deep contemplation.  More on that below.

In his email to me, author and distinguished historian Andrew Bostom, M.D. included the Shah’s depiction with an excellent column he published on April 9, 2015.  Ismail I’s portrait is also included in Dr. Bostom’s book, Iran’s Final Solution For Israel: The Legacy of Shi’ite Islamic Jew Hatred In Iran.  You can read my review of that excellent, sobering book by clicking here.

But, now lets’ examine Ismail, as the 16th century artist painted him in life.

Notice the Shah’s extraordinarily handsome features.  He had thick red hair and a full red beard.  His nose was aquiline with finely shaped nostrils.  The eyes were large, projecting foresight, strength and yet great sensitivity – revealing superior intellect and perceptive abilities much deeper than those found in ordinary men.  His jawline was firm, the chin strong and prominent.  The immense turban atop his head was befitting a man of such noble presence and power.  He was by all appearances a heroic man – to be admired, loved and revered by all his subjects.

The portrait depicts the Shah’s entire persona as nothing less than one of absolute, unequivocal dignity and nobility.  Had he lived in today’s world, with that physical appearance he could easily have been a movie star – or perhaps an idolized head of state.

So, what did contemporary eyewitnesses write about Ismail and his reign?  How did this noble fellow conduct his business as the Muslim leader of his great empire?

Dr. Bostom’s research gives us two such accounts, as follows:

…The Portuguese traveler Tome Pires observed (between 1512-1515), “Sheikh Ismail…never spares the life of any Jew,…

…while another contemporaneous European travelogue noted Ismail I, “bore hatred against the Jews and ordered their eyes to be gouged out if they happened to be found in his vicinity.”

About John L. Work

John Lloyd Work has taken the detective thriller genre and woven an occasional political thread throughout his books, morphing what was once considered an arena reserved for pure fiction into believable, terrifying, futuristic, true-to-life “faction”. He traveled the uniformed patrolman’s path, answering brutal domestic violence calls, high speed chases, homicides, suicides, armed robberies, breaking up bar fights, and the accompanying sporadic unpredictable moments of terror - which eventually come to all police officers, sometimes when least expected. He gradually absorbed the hard fact that the greatest danger a cop faces comes in the form of day-to-day encounters with emotionally disturbed, highly intoxicated people. Those experiences can wear a cop down, grinding on his own emotions and psyche. Prolonged exposure to the worst of people and people at their worst can soon make him believe that the world is a sewer. That police officer’s reality is a common thread throughout Work’s crime fiction books. Following his graduation from high school, Work studied music and became a professional performer, conductor and teacher. Life made a sudden, unexpected turn when, one afternoon in 1976, his cousin, who eventually became the Chief of the Ontario, California, Police Department, talked him into riding along during a patrol shift. The musician was hooked into becoming a police officer. After working for two years as a reserve officer in Southern California and in Boulder, Colorado, he joined the Longmont, Colorado Police Department. Work served there for seven years, investigating crimes as a patrolman, detective and patrol sergeant. In 1989 he joined the Adams County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office, where he soon learned that locking a criminal up inside a jail or prison does not put him out of business. As a sheriff’s detective he investigated hundreds of crimes, including eleven contract murder conspiracies which originated “inside the walls”. While serving on the Adams County North Metro Gang Task Force and as a member of the Colorado Security Threat Intelligence Network Group (STING), Work designed a seminar on how a criminal’s mind formulates his victim selection strategy. Over a period of six years he taught that class in sheriff’s academies and colleges throughout Colorado. He saw the world of crime both inside the walls and out on the streets. His final experiences in the criminal law field were with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, where for nearly two years he investigated felonies from the defense side of the Courtroom. Twenty-two years of observing human nature at its worst, combined with watching some profound changes in America’s culture and political institutions, provided plenty of material for his first three books. A self-published author, he just finished writing his tenth thriller.
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