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6. The Chamberlains

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Chapter Summary

The seclusion of the Abbasid caliphs opened the door to the influence of chamberlains, who met a distinct need, the need of the absolutely isolated caliph for information and human contact. This chapter investigates the role and position of the chamberlains. It focuses on their role in the palace by analysing first their capacity as guardians of the doors and gates of Dār al-Khilāfa; second their role in court ceremonial; and third, their role as political actors. The chapter concentrates on the career of Naṣr al-Qushūrī, chamberlain of al-Muqtadir for the long period stretching from 296/908 until his own death in 316/928. The location of the chamberlain's residence inside the palace complex underscores a physical proximity that was necessary given the chamberlain's main duties: regulating access, providing security and organizing ceremonial.

Keywords:Abbasid caliphs; al-Muqtadir; chamberlains; Dār al-Khilāfa; Naṣr al-Qushūrī; political actors



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