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The Remuneration of a Court Companion in Theory and Practice: A Case Study

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This study follows the financial adventures of Abū Bakr al-Ṣūlī (d. 335/947) as he served at the court of three Abbasid caliphs in various capacities over thirty-eight years. In his Kitāb al-Awrāq, chronicles covering this period, al-Ṣūlī frequently refers to payments he himself or his colleagues had received as regular salaries, occasional presents, or inheritances, and he describes in some detail the physical appearance of material gifts and the circumstances in which they were given. Al-Ṣūlī wrote the last part of his chronicles at the end of his life, residing in Basra, living in reduced circumstances after he had left the court. Especially in the part of the book which records the reign of al-Rāḍī (r. 322/934-329/940), al-Ṣūlī recollects his prosperity as court companion at the time and contrasts it with his present worries. Based on the information provided by al-Ṣūlī, different components of a courtier’s income and the sources they are extracted from are identified and discussed in the broader context of the financial dynamics at the Abbasid court, disclosing a complicated network of affiliations, loyalties and patronage defied by an ever increasing financial crisis for the central power in Baghdad.

Affiliations: 1: Università degli Studi di MilanoItalyletizia.osti@unimi.it

10.1163/22142371-12340007
/content/journals/10.1163/22142371-12340007
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/content/journals/10.1163/22142371-12340007
2014-10-01
2018-06-18

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