Consorts of The Caliph (Library of Arabic Literature)

CaliphConsorts of the Caliphs is a seventh/thirteenth-century compilation of anecdotes about thirty-eight women who were, as the title suggests, consorts to those in power, most of them concubines of the early Abbasid caliphs and wives of latter-day caliphs and sultans. The slim, but informative volume is among the few texts that survive of Ibn Al-Sa’i (d. 674 in the year 676). Ibn al-Sa’i was a prolific Baghdadi scholar who wrote about the political and academic elites of his city and whose work spanned the end in the Abbasid dynasty, as well as the period after the devastating Mongol invasion in 656/1258.

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Caliph – In this book, Ibn al-Sa’i is keen to create a bridge between the dazzling wives of his day and the famous lovers of the golden period of Baghdad. For instance, in the earlier period, we see Harun al-Rashid pleading for his beautiful slave, Ghadir and the talent of such literary and musical famous figures as ‘Arib and Fadl who surpassed the male singers and poets of the day. From a time that was that were closer to the time of Ibn al Sa’i’s own –

when Abbasid authority tried to assert its authority and Baghdad was again a significant place of academic and religious activities–we find women like Banafsha who financed law schools with bridges and supplied pilgrims to Mecca slave women who were buried by caliphs, and noble Saljuq princesses hailing from Afghanistan.

Caliph – The author’s own sources, his intimate knowledge and the most well-known literary sources The unique biographical sketches, although presented periodically, bring the belletristic society that was the Baghdad court to life, especially in the personal stories and poems of the heroines of culture that would otherwise go unnoticed by the past.

A bilingual Arabic-English edition.

Product details

  • ASIN: B01FOFB08Q
  • Publisher: NYU Press
  • Publication date: May 15, 2015
  • Language: English
  • File size :2284 KB
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • enhanced typesetting
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Print length: 299 pages
  • Lending: Not Enabled

Ibn al-Sa’i(d. 674/1276) was a historian, law librarian and prolific writer from Baghdad. His extensive scholarly output comprised works on hadith, literary commentary and histories of the caliphs and biographical books but not much has been preserved.

Shawkat M. Toorawais Professor of Arabic literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at Yale University, where he is a professor of classical Arabic and The Arabic humanities, as well as literatures from all over the world.

Marina Warner is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy. Her most recent work, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, as in the 2013 Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

Julia Bray became the Abdulaziz Saud AlBabtain Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford and a fellow of St. John’s College in 2012, having previously taught at the universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Paris 8-Vincennes–Saint-Denis. 

She writes about Medieval to Early Modern Arabic writing, literature and social history. She written for the New Cambridge History of Islam(2010) as well as for essay collections on Arabic Literary Biography 1350-1850 (2009) and also to cross-cultural studies like approaches for byzantine family Byzantine Family (2013) and edited Writing and Representation in Medieval Islam (2006). 

Caliph – Together with Wen-chin Ouyang, she edits the monograph series Edinburgh Studies in Classical Arabic Literature. Along with Helen Blatherwick, she is working on a special issue of The Journal of Cultural History on the evolution of the expression of feelings in Arabic. This text is a reference to this book in the hardcover edition.

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