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This paper looks at the array of counsellors and advisors jostling for power and influence at the court of the ՙAbbāsid caliph al-Muqtadir (r. 295/908-320/932). Both historical and adab sources often describe such conflicts in detail through reported conversations and (first- or second-hand)...
Chroniclers report the occurrence, during the last years of the Fāṭimid dynasty, of two episodes of harem women's hair cutting at the caliphal palace in Cairo. By contextualising such unusual episodes, this study identifies multiple layers in the meanings and uses of hair cutting. It argues that...
This article addresses the complex relationship among the Banū Jahīr, a family of viziers, and their ՙAbbāsid and Saljūq employers during the latter half of the fifth/eleventh century. Fakhr al-Dawla b. Jahīr and his son ՙAmīd al-Dawla worked for both the ՙAbbāsid and Saljūq administrations...
Mirrors for princes have often been dismissed as rambling collections of timeless aphorisms and vapid didactic tales, impervious to their own historical context, and hence of little use to a historian. Partly as a reaction to this, attempts have been made to endow them with significance by...
Advice had to be given carefully to the Emperor in Byzantium. This article looks at two addresses delivered to Alexios I Komnenos in the latter part of the 11th Century by Theophylact of Ohrid and John the Oxite. Both were senior clerics who sought to counsel the Emperor to abandon risky...
In the fourteenth century, a mounting crisis was faced by the Byzantine Empire. This study considers the reactions during the reign of Andronicus II of two courtiers, Theodore Palaeologus and Theodore Metochites, who can be argued to be key figures in late medieval political thought. Central to...
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