Late medieval foundations of cultural trends in the early modern Middle East. Persianate literary tradition in the eastern parts of the larger Islamic world; Arabic tradition in west. Greek heritage important to both.
Timurid fluorescence: Iranian court culture through the 14th and 15th centuries, court patronage of arts, literature, history.
From later 15th century onwards: consolidation of the Ottoman, Mughal, and Safavid empires.
Population rise, increased pace of urbanization. Growth of commercial activity and trade networks lead to economic and cultural vivacity of cities.
Creation of imperial capital cities through major projects: Istanbul, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra, Isfahan
Courtly and urban ceremonial, patronage of arts, monumental architecture central to self-representation, legitimization and perpetuation of early modern polities in Middle East and elsewhere.
Formation of separate imperial and regional identities in the three realms, alongside parallels and connections.
Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal empires rule over multi-ethnic, multi-religious societies: encounters between diverse cultural and religious practices.
Former institutional and legal frameworks that developed in the middle east through the medieval era continued to shape social interaction and cultural production. Waqf (pious and charitable foundations) as an example. Patronage networks created and sustained through charitable foundations.
New cultural forms&practices: Coffeehouses: popularity of a new kind of social space, and reactions; new literary forms; rise of literacy levels (print culture limited to non-Muslim communities); geographic literature; revival of antiquity in Ottoman architecture.