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

The Rise and Fall of the Early ʿAbbāsid Political and Military Elite

From the book Volume 1 Transregional and Regional Elites – Connecting the Early Islamic Empire

  • Hugh Kennedy


This paper explores the composition and role of the military and political elite of the early ʿAbbāsid caliphate (750 -809) whose support enabled the caliphs to maintain sovereignty over their far-flung domains. It considers the importance of different groups, including members of the ʿAbbāsid family, military commanders from Khurāsān and members of powerful and wealthy families like the Muhallabīs and the Shaybāni tribal chiefs. The paper concludes with a discussion of the reasons for the disappearance and effective extinction of this elite in the years after the great civil war that followed Hārūn al-Rashīd’s death in 809.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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