This first full-length study of women and the Fatimids is a groundbreaking work investigating an unexplored area in the field of Islamic and medieval studies. The authors have unearthed a wealth of references to women, thus re-inscribing their role in the history of one of the most fascinating Islamic dynasties, the only one to be named after a woman. At last some light is thrown on the erstwhile silent and shadowy figures of women under the Fatimids which gives them a presence in the history of women in medieval and pre-modern dynasties. Basing their research on a variety of sources from historical works to chronicles, official correspondence, documentary sources and archaeological findings, the authors have provided a richly informative analysis of the status and influence of women in this period. Their contribution is explored first within the context of Isma'ili and Fatimid genealogical history, and then within the courts in their roles as mothers, courtesans, wives and daughters, and as workers and servants. Throughout the book comparison is drawn with the status and roles of women in earlier, contemporary and subsequent Islamic as well as non-Islamic courts.
Delia Cortese is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Middlesex University. Author of Arabic Ismaili Manuscripts (I. B. Tauris, 2002), Ismaili and Other Arabic Manuscripts (I. B. Tauris, 2000) and (with Simonetta Calderini) Mauritania (Clio Press, 1992). Simonetta Calderini is Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Roehampton University, London, and is the author of several articles and chapters on medieval Ismaili and Islamic studies. She recently contributed to the volume by Petr Fiala, et al, Religious and political authority in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (CDK 2004) and to J. D. McAuliffe (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Qur'an (2003).
List of Illustrations, Preface; Acknowledgements; Note on the Text; Abbreviations; Introduction; Chapter 1: Working the Propaganda Spindle; Chapter 2: Family Ties: Women and Genealogy in Fatimid Dynastic History; Chapter 3: Inside the Palace Walls: Life at Court; Chapter 4: Battleaxes and Formidable Aunties; Chapter 5: Women of Substance at the Fatimid Court; Chapter 6: Outside the Palace Walls: The Daily Life; Appendix 1: The Fatimid Imam-Caliphs and their Mothers; Appendix 2: Glossary; Bibliography; Index.