Consorts of The Caliphs (Library of Arabic Literature)

The accounts of women who have made headlines on the world’s largest court
Consorts of the Caliphs is a seventh/thirteenth-century compilation of anecdotes about thirty-eight women who were consorts to those in power, most of them concubines of the early Abbasid caliphs and wives of latter-day caliphs and sultans. 

This tiny volume is among the few texts that survive written by the renowned Baghdadi expert Ibn al-Sa’i, who chronicled the political and academic elites of his city during the latter days of the Abbasid Dynasty and in the years that followed the catastrophic Mongol invasion in 656/1258.

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In this piece, Ibn al-Sa’i is keen to establish a link with the powerful wives of his day and the legendary fans of the so-called golden period of Baghdad. From the earlier period, we see Harun al-Rashid longing for his gorgeous Ghadir, his slave.

Ghadir as well as the artistic talents of such literary stars such as Arib and Fadl who were able to outdo the male singers and poets of the time. In the era that was more in line with Ibn al-Sa?i’s times, we have women like Banafsha who financed law schools with bridges and provided pilgrims with food to Mecca slave women who had funerals led by caliphs, and noble Saljuq princesses hailing from Afghanistan.

Based on the author’s personal sources, his intimate knowledge and the most well-known literary sources These unique Biographical sketchbooks bring the lovely style that characterized the Baghdad court to life, especially in the personal stories and poems of cultural heroines who would otherwise be lost to the history of the time.

A version in English only.

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Product details

  • ASIN : B06XYPM13F
  • Publisher :NYU Press. Reprint bilingual edition (
  • Publication date : September 5, 2017
  • Language : English
  • File size :3043 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Typesetting enhancement:Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Not Enabled
  • Print length : 215 pages
  • Page numbers Source ISBN :1479866792
  • Lending : Not Enabled

Ibn al-Sa’i(d. 674 H/1276 AD) 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 although little of it has survived.

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