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van Berkel, Maaike

Maaike van Berkel

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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Edited by Maaike van Berkel and Jeroen Duindam

Prince, Pen, and Sword offers a synoptic interpretation of rulers and elites in Eurasia from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. Four core chapters zoom in on the tensions and connections at court, on the nexus between rulers and religious authority, on the status, function, and self-perceptions of military and administrative elites respectively. Two additional concise chapters provide a focused analysis of the construction of specific dynasties (the Golden Horde and the Habsburgs) and narratives of kingship found in fiction throughout Eurasia. The contributors and editors, authorities in their fields, systematically bring together specialised literature on numerous Eurasian kingdoms and empires. This book is a careful and thought-provoking experiment in the global, comparative and connected history of rulers and elites.