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11 The Written and the Spoken Word. Baybars and the Caliphal Investiture Ceremonies in Cairo

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Chapter Summary

Baybars restored the Abbasid Caliphate by establishing two survivors of the massacre of the reigning family in Cairo. Baybars quickly ordered the governors of all the cities through which the "kinsman of the Prophet" would pass on his way to Cairo that he was to be treated with the greatest respect and should be escorted by the chamberlains of Damascus. The first to swear allegiance to a new caliph were those of high rank, in what was termed the bayʿat al-khāṣṣa, followed by the common people, in the bayʿat al-ʿāmma. The investiture of Cairo's first Abbasid caliph conformed to this model. It was then Baybars' turn to swear allegiance to the Commander of the Believers. The restoration of the Abbasid Caliphate in Cairo was indisputably intended to confer an Islamic legitimacy upon a ruler who was, at least initially, liable to be seen as illegitimate.

Keywords: Abbasid Caliphate; allegiance; Baybars; Cairo; Damascus; investiture; Islamic legitimacy; Prophet



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