Consorts of the Caliphs: Women and the Court of Baghdad (Library of Arabic Literature #2) (Hardcover)

Consorts of the Caliphs: Women and the Court of Baghdad (Library of Arabic Literature #2) By Ibn Al-Sāʿī, Shawkat M. Toorawa (Editor), Marina Warner (Foreword by) Cover Image

Consorts of the Caliphs: Women and the Court of Baghdad (Library of Arabic Literature #2) (Hardcover)

By Ibn Al-Sāʿī, Shawkat M. Toorawa (Editor), Marina Warner (Foreword by)

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This is book number 2 in the Library of Arabic Literature series.

Consorts 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. This slim but illuminating volume is one of the few surviving texts by Ibn al-Sa'i (d. 674/1276). Ibn al-Sa'i was a prolific Baghdadi scholar who chronicled the academic and political elites of his city, and whose career straddled the final years of the Abbasid dynasty and the period following the cataclysmic Mongol invasion of 656/1258.

In this work, Ibn al-Sa'i is keen to forge a connection between the munificent wives of his time and the storied lovers of the so-called golden age of Baghdad. Thus, from the earlier period, we find Harun al-Rashid pining for his brother's beautiful slave, Ghadir, and the artistry of such musical and literary celebrities as 'Arib and Fadl, who bested the male poets and singers of their day. From times closer to Ibn al-Sa'i's own--when Abbasid authority was trying to reassert itself and Baghdad was again a major center of intellectual and religious activity--we meet women such as Banafsha, who endowed law colleges, had bridges built, and provisioned pilgrims bound for Mecca; slave women whose funeral services were led by caliphs; and noble Saljuq princesses from Afghanistan.
Informed by the author's own sources, his insider knowledge, and well-known literary materials, these singular biographical sketches, though delivered episodically, bring the belletristic culture of the Baghdad court to life, particularly in the personal narratives and poetry of culture heroines otherwise lost to history.

A bilingual Arabic-English edition.
Ibn al-Sa'i (Author) Ibn al-Sāʿī (d. 674/1276) was a historian, law librarian, and prolific author from Baghdad. His considerable scholarly output included treatises on hadith, literary commentaries, histories of the caliphs, and biographical collections, though little has survived. Shawkat M. Toorawa (Editor) Shawkat M. Toorawa is Professor of Arabic literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at Yale University, where he teaches classical Arabic, the Arabic humanities, and literatures of the world. Marina Warner (Foreword by) 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 book, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, as well as the 2013 Sheikh Zayed Book Award.
Product Details ISBN: 9781479850983
ISBN-10: 1479850985
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication Date: May 15th, 2015
Pages: 272
Language: English
Series: Library of Arabic Literature