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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 2: 400-1400$
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Sarah Foot and Chase F. Robinson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199236428

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199236428.001.0001

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The Abbasid and Byzantine Courts

The Abbasid and Byzantine Courts

(p.517) Chapter 25 The Abbasid and Byzantine Courts
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Nadia Maria El Cheikh

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how research into court culture is an essential part of the growth in historical anthropology. The main historiographical developments have focused first, on the ritual and symbolic aspects of rulership; and second, on the personal and domestic world. Any historical investigation of the court faces the problem of definition because courts were so diverse and also because any ruler's court could be different depending on the occasion. This may explain why it is that court studies are almost nonexistent for various periods of Islamic history. This is the same for the Byzantine court as well as the Abbasid society: the Byzantines, like the Abbasids, did not isolate the court as a social and cultural phenomenon worthy of literary attention; rather, court culture was a fact of life which those who lived in it did not feel the need to articulate.

Keywords:   historical anthropology, rulership, domestic world, Islamic history, Byzantine court, Abbasid society, court culture

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