Soon after their successful revolution in 750 AD, the Abbasids supplanted the Umayyad dynasty, built the new city of Baghdad, Iraq which became the capital of the Islamic Empire. The civilization that the Abbasids helped to create carried forth the torch of knowledge lit by ancient Greece, Rome, Byzantium, and Persia. Adding many of their own unique contributions, the Abbasid dynasty left an indelible mark on the history of humankind.
This current selection of'Abbasid Studies presents a colourful mosaic of new research into classical Arabic texts that sheds light on significant historical, political, cultural and religious aspects of the 'Abbasid era and provides insight into how the fundamentals of philology are shaped. Wonderful vistas of ancient dreams open up while 'Abbasid armies clatter and collide; images are conjured of murderous caliphs, foreign looking litterateurs and talking objects. We see a lively self portrait of a scholar struggling with the presentation of his own image and a Persian courtier on exploratory missions around the globe obtaining eyewitness testimony of the wonders of the world. We learn of magic pools, all-seeing mirrors, the kidnapping of a lute-playing shepherd; a Baghdadi party-pooper at an Isfahani social gathering monopolising all participants with an amazing speech until the narrator drunkenly passes out on the floor, and much more.
'Abbasid Studies IV is the latest contribution to the new series of The Occasional Papers of the School of'Abbasid Studies. The contributors to this book are David Bennett, Amikam Elad, Antonella Ghersetti, Joseph Lowry, Letizia Osti, Ignacio Sanchez, Emily Selove, John Turner, Johan Weststeijn, and Travis Zadeh.
Monique Bernards specializes in the intellectual and social history of the early and classical periods of Islam and, more specifically, in the history of the development of Arabic grammatical theories and their espousers. She was previously involved in the publication of the Encyclopedia of the Qur'an as an assistant general editor and she is currently Secretary of the School of 'Abbasid Studies.
1. A Mosaic of 'Abbasid Studies(Monique Bernards) 2. Of Mummies, Poets, and Water Nymphs: Tracing the Codicological Limits of Ibn Khurradadhbih's Geography(Travis Zadeh) 3. Who Invited the Microcosm?(Emily Selove) 4. Tyrant Dreamers Face Abrahamite Interpreters: A Recurring Motif in al-Tabari's History(Johan Weststeijn) 5. The Rhetoric of Gifts, Or When Objects Talk(Antonella Ghersetti) 6. A Grammarian's Life in His Own Voice: Autobiographical Fragments in Arabic Biographical Literature(Letizia Osti) 7. A Preliminary Study of al-Shafi'i's Ibtal al-Istihsan: Appearance, Reality, and Legal Interpretation(Joseph E. Lowry) 8. Abu Ishaq al-Nazzam: The Ultimate Constituents of Nature Are Simple Properties and Ruh(David Bennett) 9. The Enigmatic Reign of al-Wathiq(John P. Turner) 10. Ibn Qutayba and the Ahl Khurasan: The Shu'ubiyya Revisited(Ignacio Sanchez) 11. Al-Ma'mun's Military Units and Their Commanders up to the End of the Siege of Baghdad(Amikam Elad)