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Iliyats

Iliyats (U or dl, "tribe"), a collective term applied in Persia to all nomad and pastoral peoples irrespective of their nationality, and in contradistinction to the settled agricultural and urban populations. Hence there are Aryan Iliyats (Kurds, Luri, Baluches), Turki Iliyats (Turkomans), and Semitic Iliyats (Arabs). But all alike are distinguished by their warlike spirit, conservative habits, and national, or at least tribal, sentiment. Since the decay of the old Iranian (Persian) elements, the Iliyats form the backbone of the State, and the chief source whence the government draws its levies. For over 1,000 years they have dwelt in the land, keeping mainly aloof from the sedentary Persian inhabitants, preserving their nomad usages, tribal genealogies, and national speech, although most of them now understand the Persian language. The Iliyats are, in fact, the dominant people, the reigning dynasty being members of the Kajar (Turkoman) tribe. In recent years some have abandoned the pastoral life and now reside in the large towns or the agricultural villages. Hence the two-fold division - Shahrnishin "town dwellers," and Sahrd-nishln, "country dwellers."

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