The Slave Girls of Baghdad
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The Slave Girls of Baghdad : The Qiyan in the Early Abbasid Era

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Description

The history of courtesans and slave girls in the medieval Arab world transcends traditional boundaries of study and opens up new fields of sociological and cultural enquiry. In the process it offers a remarkably rich source of historical and cultural information on medieval Islam. 'The Slave Girls of Baghdad' explores the origins, education and art of the 'qiyan' - indentured girls and women who entertained and entranced the caliphs and aristocrats who worked the labyinths of power throughout the Abbasid Empire. In a detailed analysis of Islamic law, historical sources and poetry, F. Matthew Caswell examines the qiyans' unique place in the society of ninth-century Baghdad, providing an insightful and comprehensive cultural overview of an elusive and little understood institution. This important history will be essential reading for all those concerned with the history of slavery and its morality, culture and importance in the early Islamic era.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 38.1mm | 572g
  • Tauris Academic Studies
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 184885577X
  • 9781848855779
  • 2,161,005

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION
THE SOCIAL SCENE
IMA' SHAWA`IR AND QIYAN
FOUR SLAVE WOMEN POETS
OTHER JAWRI POETS
AL-IMA' AL-SHAWA`IR AS EULOGISTS
AL-IMA' AL-SHAWA`IR AS MOURNERS
AL-IMA' AL-SHAWA`IR AS SATIRISTS AND LAMPOONISTS
QIYAN AND HARA'IR
AMATORY POETRY
SINGING
THE SINGING SLAVE GIRLS
DECLINE AND FALL
EPILOGUE
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Review quote

'The merits of Caswell's study are several. He has taken the poetry of the women singers seriously, providing copious examples in accessible, often elegant translation. If, as he describes it, this material was not always 'high art' on a par with the best work of the great medieval poets, at the very least it casts invaluable light on early Abbasid culture. Caswell has done the field a service in bringing this material to light.' - Matthew Gordon, Miami University; 'The Slave Girls of Baghdad offers a rich picture of Baghdad in its early flourishing days, not dominated by sectarian violence and destruction, through a thorough, critical and often entertaining presentation of the world of the Arab geisha-like 'Slave Girls' - a somewhat understudied aspect of a great civilization. The book is both scholarly and popular: it will be fruitfully read by students of Arabic and specialists in Arab or Islamic cultural history, though it could also easily be read by non-specialists.' - Geert Jan van Gelder, FBA. Laudian Professor of Arabic, University of Oxford
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About F. Matthew Caswell

F. Matthew Caswell has a doctorate in Classical Arabic from the University of Oxford, and has had a long career as a barrister. He is a member of Wadham College, Oxford and the author of several plays and a collection of short stories.
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