English, Department of


Date of this Version



Renaissance Quarterly 69 (2016): 80–115


Copyright 2016 Renaissance Society of America.


This article revisits Anthony Sherley’s Relation of his travels into Persia (1613), reading the text within the larger context of early modern Eurasia. It highlights the ways in which at least one European traveler sought and found not alterity, but commensurable structures, social roles, political ideologies, and personal motivations in the Islamic polities to the east and emphasized these connections to his European readers. Furthermore, in making the case that Sherley’s narrative is informed by local actors in Safavid Persia, it maintains that a certain level of Eastern knowledge is present within Western texts from this period and awaits scholarly excavation.