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General Conclusion

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Chapter Summary

This concluding chapter of the book exploits the-mainly narrative-sources available for the caliphate of al-Muqtadir in order to explore the complex dynamics at play at his court and in the city of Baghdad. It tries to elucidate the characters, motives and actions of key figures and place them in their social and institutional context. The sources here show short-term policies which resulted in what they see as a tragedy but leave out long-term causes prior to al-Muqtadir's time such as the lack of maintenance of irrigation systems, and imperial overstretch which led to the absence of actual caliphal power in large parts of the empire and the consequent withholding of taxes by local elites. The chapter discusses the problem of how far we can regard the mechanisms and strategies of the court in the reign of al-Muqtadir as typical of the Abbasid, and indeed other, early Islamic courts.

Keywords:Abbasid court; al-Muqtadir; Baghdad; caliph



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