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Newly Discovered Arabic Documents From Early Abbasid Khurasan

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Chapter Summary

The early Arabic documentary material from the eastern extremities of the Islamic world has now been dramatically increased by a newly discovered corpus of Arabic documents. These emanate from what appears to have been a private archive of a family resident in north-eastern Afghanistan in the early Abbasid period. They consist of thirty-two administrative and legal documents datable from 138/755 to 160/777. The majority (twenty-three documents) are official quittances for the receipt of taxes. The others include a document relating to a cadastral survey, documents relating to the emancipation of slaves and documents recording the renunciation of debts. The latest documents of the Bactrian corpus are datable to the first two centuries of Islam and mention many of the personal and place names that appear in the Arabic documents. Both collections are of immeasurable historical importance in that they provide first hand evidence of everyday life in early Islamic Khurasan.

Keywords: administrative documents; Arabic Documents; Bactrian corpus; early Islamic Khurasan; legal documents; north-eastern Afghanistan



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