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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the content discussed in the subsequent chapters of the book. With the almost total absence of court studies for various periods of Islamic history, the author endeavours in this project to provide a polyphonic reading of the Abbasid court at a specific historical moment, hoping that it serves as an example of the functioning of the Abbasid caliphate and also as a case study for further comparative work on medieval courts. Through a detailed and systematic examination of the working of the Abbasid institutions, as well as the court and its domestic world during the early part of the fourth/tenth century, the author uncovers the formal and informal politics of the ruling family and the various power groups surrounding it. The genesis of this project was a panel on al-Muqtadir organized by Hugh Kennedy at the School of Abbasid Studies meeting in Leuven.

Keywords:Abbasid caliphate; Abbasid court; al-Muqtadir; Hugh Kennedy; Islamic history; Leuven



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