The Rasūlid chronicles of the reign of al-Manṣūr Nūr al-Dīn ʿUmar b. ʿAlī b. Rasūl depict its first ruler as steadily consolidating the political foundation of the sultanate. Most of these reports clearly portray the dominance of the sultan in Yemen during this period. But a few reveal the limitations of his power in a more complex political landscape, such as an aborted military campaign against a local tribe, an insurrection by a Zaydi sharīf, and the sultan’s assassination by his own military. These specific narratives of opposition to the sultan, however, progressively change over the course of their production from the late 13th century until the first half of the 15th century, as the strength of the sultanate initially peaks and then slowly declines. As a result, the ambiguity of al-Manṣūr ʿUmar’s authority in these narratives is largely reduced, and the historical memory of the sovereignty of the emergent Rasūlid sultanate solidifies in increasingly ideological ways.
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