Portrayals of the Later Abbasid Caliphate: A Reappraisal of the Buyid-Era Caliphs in Arabic Chronicles, 334/945-447/1055

in Journal of Abbasid Studies
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Like other decline narratives, the alleged decadence of the Abbasid caliphate after its loss of military power in the mid-fourth/tenth century has been seen historically as an index of the “decline” of Islamic civilization generally, and remnants of these images still remain. However, a contextual examination of the key Buyid-era sources, namely Arabic chronicles, reveals little consciousness that the caliphate had lost its meaning. Chroniclers such as Miskawayh (d. 421/1030) provide a Buyid-centric narrative, but sources closer to the caliphate indicate that the power and authority of the caliphate had been re-shaped rather than fatally undermined. A broader conception of power is necessary to understand the transformed position of the caliphs, taking into account “soft” cultural and diplomatic power rather than military force alone, as caliphs continued to lead by managing the religious and legal-judicial spheres.

Portrayals of the Later Abbasid Caliphate: A Reappraisal of the Buyid-Era Caliphs in Arabic Chronicles, 334/945-447/1055

in Journal of Abbasid Studies

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References

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3

DonohueBuwayhid Dynasty5.

4

MakdisiIbn ʿAqil70-71.

6

See for example ArnoldCaliphate76-77.

7

MargoliouthLectures on Arabic Historians147.

14

BusseChalif und Grosskönig24.

17

BusseChalif und Grosskönig26.

25

Ibid.96.

26

Ibid.111.

27

Ibid.188-189. There is even poetry relating to the incident: Jawda al-Quḍāt Āl Abī l-Shawārib 34-35.

33

BusseChalif und Grosskönig146.

35

Ibid.307.

36

Ibid.308.

37

Ibid.327.

38

HachmeierBriefe174 177.

39

Hilāl al-SābiʾRusūm dār al-khilāfa13.

40

Ibid.87.

41

Ibid.80-84.

44

Ibid.399; Rūdhrāwarī Dhayl tarājib al-umamiii 81. ʿAḍud al-Dawla was chief amir from 367/978 to 372/983.

50

Ibid.34.

51

Ibid.75-76.

52

Ibid.62-63.

56

LederIbn al-Gauzi1-5.

57

Ibid.32-33.

58

Ibid.3740-42.

60

MottahedehLoyalty and Leadership184.

69

Ibid.183.

70

DonohueBuwayhid Dynasty109.

76

Ibid.74-77.

77

Ibid.171.

85

Ibid.348; Rūdhrāwarī Dhayl tarājib al-umamiii 201.

86

Ibid.278-280. This attempt undertaken earlier by al-Kawkabī as well may also have had sectarian implications.

89

Ibid.281.

90

Ibid.218.

93

Ibid.170.

94

Hilāl al-SābiʾRusūm dār al-khilāfa30.

98

Ibid.289.

99

DonohueThe Buwayhid Dynasty108.

100

Le StrangeBaghdad243.

102

Le StrangeBaghdad154.

103

Ibid.194.

106

Le StrangeBaghdad164.

107

Ibid.162.

108

HachmeierBriefe128-129.

113

Ḥulwal-Sharīf al-Raḍī22-23; Ibn al-Jawzī Munṭazamxiv 268.

115

Ḥulwal-Sharīf al-Raḍī113.

116

Ibid.118; Thaʿālibī Yatīmat al-dahriii 136; Abū Isḥāq al-Sābiʾ Rasāʼil 73.

118

Ibid.78.

122

Ibid. 369; Ḥulwal-Sharīf al-Raḍī151-152.

123

Ḥulwal-Sharīf al-Raḍī152-153.

127

Ibid.120.

128

TorViolent Order295-296.

130

DonohueBuwayhid Dynasty308.

133

Ibid.235.

138

Ibid.305.

139

Ibid.237.

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