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2. The Caliph

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Chapter Summary

Despite the universal consensus on al-Muqtadir as a failed caliph, two views, the private and the public one, remain divergent to this day. This chapter looks at how caliph al-Muqtadir and his times were seen by different types of sources over time, focusing on how information available to all authors is selected and used to form specific portrayals suited to their format and aims. It investigates recurrent traits in the image of al-Muqtadir, some of which have persisted into our own time, beginning with general evaluations of the period in later sources. The chapter highlights two main characteristics attached to al-Muqtadir: youth and prodigality. Another topic which is very prominent, in both historical and literary sources, is al-Muqtadir's female household. The Queen Mother Shaghab and her stewardesses play an important role not only in the caliph's youth but also later in his life and up to his death.

Keywords:al-Muqtadir; Caliph; prodigality; Shaghab; youth



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