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Army Economics: An Early Papyrus Letter Related to 'Aā’Payments

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Chapter Summary

Armies are complex social and economic machines, serving ends far beyond the limited goals of winning wars. Soldiers march on their stomachs, as Napoleon famously observed; they rarely fight for idealism or ideology alone, and this was clearly true also in the early Muslim armies. The papyrus letter presented in this chapter allows us a rare first-hand glimpse of this in practice. The Muslim army has left us a surprisingly meager paper trail, at least in the papyri that have come to light so far. The dearth of documents is doubtlessly partially because the Muslim garrisons in Egypt were located and organized in other placesthan the main finding places of most papyri from the Islamic period . The papyrus is missing its beginning, as well as an unknown number of words where the left part has been torn off.

Keywords: Egypt; Islamic period; Muslim armies; papyrus letter



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