Putting the Caliph in His Place: Power, Authority, and the Late Abbasid Caliphate
Eric J. Hanne

About the Author:
Eric J. Hanne received his doctorate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, specializing in medieval Islamic history. A sociopolitical historian by training, Dr. Hanne is especially interested in the manifestation of power and authority in medieval Islamic society. He has published several articles on eleventh- and twelfth-century Islamic history, using both material (coinage) and textual evidence to analyze the events of that era. Currently an Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Hanne is now working on a study of the Mazyadid dynasty of Hilla during the medieval period as well as a numismatic study of eleventh- and twelfth-century Islamic coinage from the central Islamic lands.

Modern scholars have often viewed the Abbasid caliphs of the eleventh and twelfth centuries as pale imitations of their eighth- and ninth-century ancestors. Following the rise of the Buyid amirate in the tenth century, scholars have turned their attention away from the Abbasids—viewing them as inconsequential puppets controlled by stronger powers—and focused their studies on the development of the Buyid and Saljuq dynasties. After the Buyid deposition of the Abbasid caliph, al-Mustakfi, in the mid-tenth century, the Caliphate is said to have been relegated to puppet status, vainly clinging to its past glory until its destruction at the hands of the Mongols in 1258. To many, the Abbasids had either been forced to give up or had freely given away their ability to administer and defend the central Islamic lands. All that was left to them was the prestige of their institution, however vaguely defined. For this reason, there has been little if any modern research on the Abbasids caliphs of this period.

By combining an analysis of the textual evidence and material evidence (i.e., coinage), this work highlights the porous nature of the medieval Islamic political arena—an arena in which figures rose and fell, not based upon their traditional roles in society, but rather on their ability to gain and maintain a solid base of support for their agendas.

ISBN 0-8386-4113-x

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