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8. Culture, Education and the Court

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Chapter Summary

The topics of culture and learning in the classical Islamic world have intrigued many modern scholars. Few studies, however, focus on the time which preceded the advent of madrasas as the standard educational institution. The caliphate of al-Muqtadir is often described as the golden age of Arabic culture; it therefore provides plenty of examples of lives which, in retrospect, can be seen as caught between an effervescent cultural debate and the struggle to make a living, between the munificence of patrons and the dwindling financial and political prosperity of Baghdad. This chapter looks at the cultural and scholarly environment surrounding the court of al-Muqtadir, and identifies elements of continuity and change which may have had repercussions in a broader context. It focuses on scholars who worked at court or made living in connection to it.

Keywords:al-Muqtadir court; Arabic culture; Baghdad; caliph; education; patronage; scholars



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