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Power, Patronage, and Memory in Early IslamPerspectives on Umayyad Elites$
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Alain George and Andrew Marsham

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498931

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190498931.001.0001

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Caliphs and Conquerors

Caliphs and Conquerors

Images of the Marwanids and Their Agents in Narratives of the Conquest of Iberia

(p.301) 10. Caliphs and Conquerors
Power, Patronage, and Memory in Early Islam

Nicola Clarke

Oxford University Press

Most medieval Arabic accounts of the early eighth-century conquests in Iberia and Central Asia give speaking roles to two Marwānid caliphs, the brothers al-Walīd I (r. 705–715) and Sulaymān (r. 715–717). This essay examines prevailing literary presentations of these two caliphs, who feature variously as hindrance or help to the commanders of the conquest armies: al-Walīd tends to appear as a restorer of justice, who ensures that a Berber mawlā (client) gets his fair share of conquest loot, while Sulaymān is generally portrayed as a grasping bully who clashes with his late brother's frontier commanders. In particular, the essay looks at the role of tribal politics and patronage in the caliphs’ interaction with the protagonists of the conquest narratives, and the ways in which the Iberian narratives seek to reinforce Umayyad claims to the peninsula they ruled between 756 and 1031.

Keywords:   Chapter, historiography, conquest narratives, al-Andalus, Iberia, Transoxania, eighth century

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