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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2020

Landowners in Lower Iraq during the 8th Century: Types and Interplays

Noëmie Lucas

Abstract

This paper aims to identify types of landowners in Lower Iraq, where land was a social, political and economic issue, especially during the 8th century. The focus on landholders determines the characterisation of the imperial as well as regional Lower Iraqi elite. It takes into consideration Jewish and Christian landowners (for example, ecclesiastical landed elites in the Nestorian community), Persian landowners (for example, the dahāqīn who settled in the region before the Islamic conquest) and the landed Islamic elites (who are related to the conquering group). With this typology, I shed light not only on the diversity of landed elites in Lower Iraq but also on the subgroup of Islamic landowners. Defining landowner groups is a prerequisite to the study of the interplay between local and imperial elites over the course of the 8th century. This period is regarded as that of the rise of Islamic elites. Researchers agree these elites were no longer specifically bound to military functions, a development with consequences for other landed groups. Subsequent interplays took place in the context of inter- and intra-group relationships. This paper seeks to offer a typology of these interactions in order to understand the relationships and power ratios at stake.

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