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The Management Of The City

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Chapter Summary

This study limits itself to the Mediterranean Arab cities, which are the best known, and whose characteristics are sufficiently homogeneous for generalizations to be made about them-which would not be the case, if one tackled the &t;Islamic&t; domain whose extent and variety make any overall description somewhat difficult. In most cities the activity of the muhtasib focused on the supervision of those whose professions involved the provision of food, and of the appropriate markets for this in the city centre; the picturesque accompaniment of a cortege comprising bearers of scales and executioners; the immediate and inventive punishments inflicted stimulated lively interest in chroniclers. On highly distinct levels, and with highly diverse responsibilities, authorities did in fact intervene in the management of the city, however much it may have lacked its own proper status. Major Arab cities were thus not as totally lacking in administration as has often been suggested.

Keywords: City; Islamic; management; Mediterranean Arab cities; muhtasib



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