Reconstructing Archival Practices in Abbasid Baghdad

In: Journal of Abbasid Studies
Maaike van Berkel University of Amsterdam Netherlands

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The Abbasid administration relied extensively on the use of written documents. The central administrative apparatus in Baghdad, with its numerous specialised bureaus, seems to have been one of the main producers of documents and it must have possessed some of the largest archives of its era. However, only few documents issued by and written for the central administration have survived in their original form. Through an analysis of references found in narrative sources, this article seeks to provide a reconstruction of the functioning of the archives of the central administration in Baghdad during the caliphate of al-Muqtadir (r. 295/908-320/932).

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