Authority and Control in the Countryside

From Antiquity to Islam in the Mediterranean and Near East (6th-10th Century)


Authority and Control in the Countryside looks at the economic, religious, political and cultural instruments that local and regional powers in the late antique to early medieval Mediterranean and Near East used to manage their rural hinterlands. Measures of direct control – land ownership, judicial systems, garrisons and fortifications, religious and administrative appointments, taxes and regulation – and indirect control – monuments and landmarks, cultural styles and artistic models, intellectual and religious influence, and economic and bureaucratic standard-setting – are examined to reconstruct the various means by which authority was asserted over the countryside. Unified by its thematic and spatial focus, this book offers an array of interdisciplinary approaches, allowing for important comparisons across a wide but connected geographical area in the transition from the Sasanian and Roman to the Islamic period.

Contributors: Arezou Azad and Hugh Kennedy, Sobhi Bouderbala, Michele Campopiano, Alain Delattre, Jessica Ehinger, Simon Ford, James Howard-Johnston, Elif Keser-Kayaalp, Marie Legendre, Javier Martínez Jiménez, Harry Munt, Annliese Nef and Vivien Prigent, Marion Rivoal and Marie-Odile Rousset, Gesa Schenke, Petra Sijpesteijn, Peter Verkinderen, Luke Yarbrough, Khaled Younes.
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Alain Delattre, Ph.D. (2004), is Professor of Greek language and papyrology at the Université libre de Bruxelles and teaches Coptic papyrology at the École pratique des hautes études in Paris. He has published on Greek and Coptic papyri and inscriptions. Marie Legendre, Ph.D. (2013), is Lecturer in Islamic history at the University of Edinburgh. Her work focuses on early Islamic social and economic history, particularly administration and fiscal practice, non-Muslims under Muslim rule and multilingualism. Petra Sijpesteijn is professor of Arabic at Leiden University. She is currently PI of the ERC project Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim Rule in the Early Islamic Empire (600-1000).
" ... les actes de ce colloque apportent des données concernant des aspects très divers du contrôle des arrière-pays ruraux dépendant de centres urbains (mais aussi, dans un cas, d’un monastère) allant de Tolède à Balkh, et concernant l’anté-islam et les deux siècles qui suivent la conquête, avec tout de même une majorité de communications concernant l’Égypte et la Syrie." Pierre Guichard, Université Lumière – Lyon II, in Arabica 67 (2020): 637-643

"The abiding merit of this volume is the attention it devotes to that most central of questions for any historian of the Middle East—that is, agrarian production and wealth and its connection to the maintenance of human settlement and culture." Matthew S. Gordon, in Journal of Near Eastern Studies 80/2 (2021)
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Notes on Contributors
Notes on Transliteration, Names and Dates

IntroductionPetra M. Sijpesteijn, Marie Legendre and Alain Delattre

Part 1 A Question of Sources

1 New Governors Identified in Arabic PapyriKhaled Younes
2 “I’ll Not Accept Aid from a mushrik Rural Space, Persuasive Authority, and Religious Difference in Three Prophetic ḥadīthsLuke Yarbrough

Part 2 Territoriality

3 The Rural Hinterland of the Visigothic Capitals of Toledo and Reccopolis, between the Years 400–800 CEJavier Martínez Jiménez
4 Authority and Control in the Interior of Asia Minor, Seventh–Ninth CenturiesJames Howard-Johnston
5 Church Building in the Ṭur ʿAbdin in the First Centuries of the Islamic RuleElif Keser-Kayaalp
6 Les aménagements agricoles dans les Marges arides de Syrie du Nord (5e–10e siècles) Des témoins des modalités d’ appropriation et d’ exploitation des campagnesMarion Rivoal and Marie-Odile Rousset
7 The Ghāzī Movement Performative Religious Identity on the Byzantine-Islamic FrontierJessica L. Ehinger
8 The Coming of Islam to BalkhArezou Azad and Hugh Kennedy

Part 3 Land Use and Resources

9 Contrôle et exploitation des campagnes en Sicile Le rôle du grand domaine et son évolution du VIe siècle au XIe siècleAnnliese Nef and Vivien Prigent
10 Murtabaʿ al-jund et manzil al-qabāʾil Pénétration militaire et installation tribale dans la campagne égyptienne au premier siècle de l’ IslamSobhi Bouderbala
11 Landowners, Caliphs and State Policy over Landholdings in the Egyptian Countryside Theory and PracticeMarie Legendre
12 Monastic Control over Agriculture and Farming New Evidence from the Egyptian Monastery of Apa Apollo at Bawit Concerning the Payment of APARCHEGesa Schenke
13 Caliphal Estates and Properties around Medina in the Umayyad PeriodHarry Munt
14 Land Tenure, Land Tax and Social Conflictuality in Iraq from the Late Sasanian to the Early Islamic Period (Fifth to Ninth Centuries CE)Michele Campopiano
15 Land Reclamation and Irrigation Programs in Early Islamic Southern Mesopotamia Self-Enrichment vs. State ControlPeter Verkinderen

Part 4 Local Rule and Networks

16 Checkpoints, sauf-conduits et contrôle de la population en Égypte au début du VIIIe siècleAlain Delattre
17 Policing, Punishing and Prisons in the Early Islamic Egyptian Countryside (640–850 CE)Petra M. Sijpesteijn

All interested in the history of the late antique and medieval Mediterranean and Near East. Students and scholars of economic, social, political and cultural history, archaeology, papyrology, numismatics, philology, religious studies from the Iberian Peninsula and the Balkan to Arabia and Central Asia in the Roman, Sasanian and Islamic period.
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