By al-Ṭabarī, Clifford Edmund Bosworth
This quantity of al-Tabari’s heritage covers approximately 1 / 4 of a century, and after overlaying the very short caliphate of al-Hadi, concentrates on that of Harun al-Rashid. in the course of those years, the caliphate used to be in a kingdom of stability with its exterior foes; the good enemy, Christian Byzantium, was once appeared with admire via the Muslims, and the 2 nice powers of the close to East handled one another basically as equals, whereas the Caucasian and crucial Asian frontiers have been held opposed to strain from the Turkish peoples of internal Eurasia. the most stresses have been inner, together with Shi’ite risings on behalf of the excluded apartment of ’Ali, and revolts through the unconventional equalitarian Kharijites; yet none of those used to be critical adequate to impact the elemental balance of the caliphate. Harun al-Rashid’s caliphate has bought within the West, lower than the impact of a deceptive photo from the Arabian Nights, a sparkling photo as a golden age of Islamic tradition and letters stemming from the Caliph’s patronage of the exponents of those arts and sciences. In gentle of the image of the Caliph which emerges from al-Tabari’s pages, notwithstanding, this snapshot looks surprisingly exaggerated. Al-Rashid himself doesn't express any extraordinary indicators of administrative competence, army management or highbrow pursuits past these which conference demanded of a ruler. for a lot of his reign, he left the company of presidency to the able viziers of the Barmakid family--the account of whose awesome fall from strength varieties the most dramatic gains of al-Tabari’s narratives here--and his selection to divide the Islamic empire after his demise among his sons used to be to guide for this reason to a disastrous civil battle. however, al-Tabari’s tale is stuffed with fascinating sidelights at the lives of these serious about the courtroom circle of the time and at the motivations which impelled medieval Muslims to hunt precarious careers there.
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Extra info for The History of al-Ṭabarī, Vol. 30: The ’Abbasid Caliphate in Equilibrium: The Caliphates of Musa al-Hadi and Harun al-Rashid A.D. 785-809/A.H. 169-193
9. Tabari, III, 653-4 (below, 181-82). 10. Kennedy, 124-6. 11. Tabari, III, 734-5 (below, 298). Page xxi historians such as Hisham Ibn al-Kalbi and Waqidi, and on reports from noted adibs and philologists like Ishaq al-Mawsili and al-Mufaddal al-Dabbi, as well as on information from fawns who are quite obscure to us. The interval of only a century or less between the events in question and Tabari's writing his history meant that he was able to draw on a great fund of family tradition preserved by the direct descendants of the protagonists in these events, such as al-Hadi's own great-grandson Harun b.
Caliphs. His extravagant gifts to poets, singers, popular preachers, ascetics, and so forth, were merely what was expected of a ruler, and one should always recall that somewhere in the caliphal lands someonewhether a fellah in the Nile valley, a merchant in Baghdad, or an artisan in Nishapurwas paying for all such manifestations of royal conspicuous consumption. 8 In the early years of his caliphate he was content to leave much of the burden of administration to the Barmakis, and then subsequently to mawlas like al-Fadl b.
See Tabari, III, 461, 536, 547. , 562). 30. Sanders). Khalid seeking their advice over this matter. v. Mal al-bay`a (Kennedy). Zotenberg, IV, 446-7; K. Bouvat, Les Barmécides d'après les historiens arabes et persans, 44-5; Nabia Abbott, Two queens of Baghdad, 72-9; Moscati, Le califat d'al-Hadi, 5-6. (Sourdel). h and adopted in the Cairo text, VIII, 188, for the text's fa-qultu. Ibn al-Athir, VI, 89. Ishaq al-Hashimi also cited as a rawi in Tabari, III, 598 (below, 86). Lassher, The topogra- phy of Baghdad in the early Middle Ages, 75, 80, 188; idem, The shaping of `Abbasid rule, 240-1.