Reconstructing Archival Practices in Abbasid Baghdad

in Journal of Abbasid Studies
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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).

Reconstructing Archival Practices in Abbasid Baghdad

in Journal of Abbasid Studies



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Qudāma b. JaʿfarKharāj63; transl. Heck Construction of Knowledge 87 with small modifications.


Ṣābiʾ Wuzarāʾ31 121 184 341.


Ṣābiʾ Wuzarāʾ163-164. For a more detailed description of this case see van Berkel Embezzlement. In some cases such a research in the records was extended by the dispatch of an official to the district in question in order to investigate the local situation; see Ṣābiʾ Wuzarāʾ 165; also Løkkegaard Taxation 151.


See also LøkkegaardTaxation162-163.


See for example van Berkel et al.Crisis and Continuity98-99.


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