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Der Islam

Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East

Ed. by Heidemann, Stefan / Hagen, Gottfried / Kaplony, Andreas / Matthee, Rudi

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.04

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.100

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Volume 95, Issue 1


The ʿAbbāsid Revolution in Marw: New Data

Étienne de la Vaissière
Published Online: 2018-03-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/islam-2018-0005


New data from Chinese, Bactrian and archaeological sources on the oasis of Marw are introduced in the long debate on the Persian or Arab nature of the ʿAbbāsid movement. These data provide us with a rough estimate of the maximum feeding power of the oasis of Marw. This feeding power is then taken into account to demonstrate that the Arab soldiers and their families settled there should have consumed between one-third and two-thirds of the food produced in the oasis. The ʿAbbāsid Revolution did not take place in an oasis with two widely divergent communities, a tiny community of powerful Arab warriors versus a vast majority of powerless Persian-speaking peasants, but of communities intermingled all over the oasis in quite equal numbers which had no choice but to cooperate during four generations before the Revolution. If the Revolutionary network before the Revolution seems to have been mainly Arab, the texts clearly describe an ʿAbbāsid army numerically dominated by Persians under Arab command. The existence of a partially mixed society does explain how an Arab network came to muster and to dominate a much more mixed military force, which gave way to a gradual Persian empowerment.

Keywords: ʿAbbāsid; Marw; Irrigation; Demography; Abu Muslim; Acculturation

About the article

Published Online: 2018-03-24

Published in Print: 2018-03-22

Citation Information: Der Islam, Volume 95, Issue 1, Pages 110–146, ISSN (Online) 1613-0928, ISSN (Print) 0021-1818, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/islam-2018-0005.

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