Singers and Soldiers: Slavery in Early Abbasid Society
Lecture by Matthew Gordon, Miami University
Given at the University of Cincinnati, on February 22, 2011
Abstract: Individuals of slave descent led significant households in Baghdad and Samarra, the capitals of the Abbasid caliphate, the second great empire of the Muslim world. Elite singers (qiyan), properly considered courtesans, and officers (quwwad), men of Turkish/Inner Asian descent serving as commanders of the Abbasid caliphate’s slave military, played prominent roles in society and politics. Both groups achieved significant social mobility and the established extensive, independent households.