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Ahsan, Muhammad Manazir (1973) Social life under the Abbasids, 170-289/786-902. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis studies the social life of the Abbasids during the 3rd/9th century (170-289/786-902), the "Golden Age" of Abbasid Iraq. Though stigmatised by various political and administrative crises the downfall of the Barmakids, civil war between Aman and Ma'mun, Turkish ascendancy, Zanj rebellion, transfer of the capital from Baghdad to Samarra and again from Samarra to Baghdad etc., the general pattern of life remained laregely unchanged, notwithstanding a strain of refinement that runs throughout the cultural and social life of the century. The thesis has been divided into seven chapters, a resum4 whereof is given hereunder : Chapter I deals with the various types of sources used in the preparation of the present thesis. The sources portraying the social life contemporary, near contemporary, dhimmi, secondary etc., have been classified into several groups with an assessment of their comparative value and reliability. Chapter II examines the evolution of various forms and designs of head-gear, foot-wear and garments in common use in a historical perspective. The dress of the various social classes, the state functionaries, the dhimmis and the sufis has also been dealt with underlining the regional, ethnic and ceremonial differences effecting form and design. Chapter III discusses food habits and describes the various kinds of food prepared from meat, fish, bread, rice, vegetables, ans other ingredients e.g., spices, oil and fat, sweetening agents etc. There is a brief description of the trade in edibles and the regulation of food prices etc. The chapter also discusses the table and social manners of the period. Chapter IV investigates and discusses hunting, a popular pastime of the period. There is a description of the use of the predatory beasts and birds for this purpose, various weapons and devices employed in hunting and the economic aspects of hunting e.g., the prices of the hunting animals, annual hunting budgets of the caliphs and the attitude of the fiqh towards hunting. Chapter V surveys the popular indoor and outdoor games of the period, their organisation, rules and regulations, the sports popular among women and children and the attitude of the fiqh vis-a-vis these pastimes. Chapter VT deals with the festival and festivities observed during the period under study by the court and the people in general, both Muslims and non-Muslims. Chapter VII reviews the housing situation in Abbasid Iraq, the prices of the houses, the housing rent, and the cost of land, the interior and exterior structure and decoration of dwelling houses, and the basic amenities e.g., the water supply, sanitation, cooling and heating system. The public baths found in almost every city, their maintenance, supervision personnel and the role they played in the social life of the early Abbasid period have also been discussed.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:02

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