Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity PDF

Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity ❮PDF / Epub❯ ☄ Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity Author Patricia Crone – Slave soldiers are a distinctively Muslim phenomenon Though virtually unknown in the non Muslim world they have been a constant and pervasive feature of the Muslim Middle East from the ninth century A Slave soldiers are a distinctively Muslim phenomenon Though Horses: The ePUB ☆ virtually unknown in the non Muslim world they have been a constant and pervasive feature of the Muslim Middle East from the ninth century AD into modern times Why did Muslim rulers choose to place military and political power in the hands of imported slaves It is this uestion which Dr Crone seeks to answer Concentrating on Slaves on PDF or the period from the rise of the Umayyads to the dissolution of the 'Abbasid empire roughly AD she documents the conseuences of the fusion between religion and politics in Islam which she sees as an essential forging characteristic of the Muslim social structure and state Primarily addressed to specialists and advanced students of Arabic and Islamic history the book will also appeal to comparative on Horses: The ePUB ☆ historians and social anthropologists.

3 thoughts on “Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity

  1. Mir Mir says:

    The stated purpose of Patricia Crone's Slaves on Horses is to explain “how and why slave soldiers came to be a central feature of the Muslim polity” She states that this occurred when the two formerly separate characteristics of “servile status and alien origin” became fused in the mamluks This shift created a large population with the combined traits of “cultural disocciation and personal and political dependence” which factors combined to make the mamluks extraordinarily obedient to their masters only through whom were they able to possess any public existence within the Islamic polity Once instituted the servility of the mamluk military force made it desirable than the employment of free native soldiery; this the practice spread and became indispensable She goes on to say that “the conceptual framework in which the explanation is set is that of Hagarism” a concept which she proceeds to explain only obliuely through footnoted references to her own previous work on the subject Crone begins her book with an overview of Islamic source material and the religious and historical traditions from which it arises Before proceeding further with her thesis she provides a contextualization in the form of a general history and analysis in the chapters “The Nature of the Arab Conuest” and “The Evolution of the Conuest Society” In this section she compares the medieval Islamic politics and society with various cultures of Europe and Asia including China India Greece Rome Byzantium and others A key aspect of the background against which she sets the rise of Mamluk power is the fundamental hostility between nomadic tribes and settled groups which she sees as profoundly influential in regards to the developmental of the Islamic religious and political cultures Unfortunately Crone fails to prove this argument Like many of her assertions it fails even to develop into a true argument but rather is tossed like a flaccid corpse onto the table where it lies undissected at the center of the operating theater Perhaps because the material in uestion is so familiar to her Crone does not trouble herself to justify her position to her readers but appears to expect them not only to swallow her assertions whole but even to refrain from digesting them afterward Unfortunately despite her expertise in this field Crone hardly seems to be presenting incontestable facts or undisputed theories Her premise of initially tribal and subseuently religious hostility to settled culture to take a prominent example is far from being the sine ua non historiographic base position which she seems to take it for; excellent work by scholars such as Jean Luc Krawczyk's essay on “The Relationship Between Pastoral Nomadism and Agriculture” suggests that this issue reuires a far nuanced treatment than Crone accords it and that the historical situation itself was considerably fluid than she implies Her presentation of this premise as a given also lends her larger argument a tone on inevitability which she fails to demonstrate in her explanation of the evolution of the Mamluks' role in the Islamic polity On another note the comparisons with which Crone illustrates her first chapters are numerous but fail to make up from by uantity what they lose by their uninformed and over simplistic character The over generalization apparent in the introduction is alas no fluke Rather it is a recurrent pattern lamentably evident throughout Crone's apparently compulsive need to draw every conceivable parallel between Islamic and other civilizations leads her to display her embarrassing ignorance of the historiography readily available to any competent historian Her remarks on non Islamic societies are particularly facile but her analysis of the political situation within the Islamic polity is prone to oversimplification as well The myriad problems already discussed are compounded by sloppy editing In the first paragraph of chapter two for instance I strongly suspect that the author intended the sentence to contain the important word “not” Other typographic errors while less confusing to nothing to improve the reader's faith in the book's reliability The most useful portion of this book is the substantial appendix which although not always entirely clear contains information on specialized terminology and significant individuals of the various regions discussed This is designed to help the non specialist in making his way through the political entanglements of the period but also contains bibliographic material which may be useful to specialists The endnotes although marked as is the entire work by the author's biases also provide useful bibliographic material Both endnotes and appendices are well written and to the point although non Arabicists may be daunted by the profusion of transliterated terms In short while I can hardly recommend this book on its own merit it should not be by any means consigned to the circular file It does contain useful information which may benefit some researchers and also provides a point of departure for further arguments of which I am sure there will be many

  2. AskHistorians AskHistorians says:

    First a warning this book is not an easy read but it is vital for understanding the problems associated with studying the early Islamic period Crone demonstrates the problems of Islamic historiography and how what evidence we have can and can't be utilized to explain Early Islamic history through to the early 'Abbasid period

  3. Kumail Akbar Kumail Akbar says:

    “The religious tradition of Islam is thus a monument to the destruction rather than the preservation of the past It is in the Sira of the Prophet that this destruction is most thorough but it affects the entire account of the religious evolution of Islam This sentence has stuck with me ever since Crone is a must read even if her ideas are dated

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