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The Economics Of State Formation In Early Islamic Egypt

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Chapter Summary

During the early Umayyad phase (40-86/661-705), agrarian fiscal administration was indirect, through the Coptic church. Beginning in 86/705, attempts to administer agrarian taxes provoked tax revolts in the course of the late Umayyad phase (86-132/705-50). Finally, in the early Abbasid phase of state formation (132-212/750-827), a new ethnic group of fiscal administrators, direct fiscal administration, and a change in tax status provoked the Arabs as well as Copts to revolt. A fundamental administrative change attested in the papyri is the redefinition of the tax status of Egypt. The redefinition of Egypt's tax status was critical to the reestablishment of central control over Egypt's agrarian revenues and the attempt to funnel those revenues to the imperial fisc. Key to understanding the posited redefinition of Egypt's tax status is the attestation of the term kharaj in the Egyptian papyri.

Keywords: agrarian taxes; Arabs; Coptic church; early Umayyad; Egyptian papyri; fiscal administrators; late Umayyad



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