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Orders Of Payment, Orders Of Supply, Instructions For Payment, And Statements Of Credit In The Genizah And Other Collections At Cambridge University

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a brief sketch of four main types of short orders found in the Taylor-Schechter and other collections at Cambridge University: orders of payment, orders of supply of goods, instructions of payment and statements of credit, i.e., documents that confirm the entitlement to monies. Moreover, the fact that the majority of the orders were issued by Abū Zikrī suggest that they may have been his favourite method of 'credit and debit', but the existence of other orders, written by different people and of those written in Arabic characters suggest that it was a widespread and popular method of payment or of ordering goods, legally accepted and practically employed, allowing payees, probably for security reasons, not to carry cash on them. The most interesting conclusion is that cheques were not invented in the early modern period in Europe, but were clearly in use much earlier in the Middle East.

Keywords: Abū Zikrī; Cambridge University; instructions of payment; orders of payment; orders of supply; statements of credit



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