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Queens, Eunuchs and Concubines in Islamic History, 661–1257

Taef El-Azhari

Hardback (Forthcoming)

The first comprehensive study of sexual politics in Medieval Islam

  • Studies the military-political power of eunuchs and their relations with women under the Fatimid dynasty, and the appearance of first queen in Islamic history
  • Investigates the power of the Turkmen women in the politics and how and why they introduced the unique post of atabeg
  • Examines the role of the first Sunni queen in Islam, Dayfa Khatun the Ayyubid in Aleppo, and how she paved the way for another queen, Shajar al-Durr in Egypt
  • Considers the impact of the Mongol invasion on the Muslim world, and the coming of queen Abish to power in Shiraz, aided by Mongol power

Based on original and previously unexamined sources, this book provides a critical and systematic analysis of the role of queens, eunuchs and concubines in medieval Islamic history. Spanning over 600 years, it explores gender and sexual politics and power from the time of the Prophet Muhammad through the Umayyad and Abbasid periods to the Mamluks in the 15th century. Geographically its coverage extends from Iran and Central Asia to North Africa and Spain.

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1. The Umayyad Empire and the Establishment of a Royal Court, 661–750

2. Princesses, Concubines and Qahramanat under the Abbasids: Gender and Politics, 749–1055

3. The Kingdom of Eunuchs under the Abbasids

4. Fatimid Royal Women and Royal Concubines in Politics: the Rise of the First Queens of Islam

5. The Fatimid Eunuchs and Their Sphere

6. The Seljuqs from Syria to Iran: the Age of Khatuns and Atabegs

7. The Ayyubids: Their Two Queens and Their Powerful Castrated Atabegs  

Appendix 1: the Abbasid Caliphs from 749 to the Coming of the Seljuqs in 1055

Appendix 2: the Fatimid Caliphs, North Africa and Egypt

Appendix 3: Dynasties





About the Author

Taef El-Azhari is Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern History at the University of Helwan, Egypt. He received his doctorate in Middle Eastern history from the University of Manchester. His interests, both in research and teaching, focus principally on Turkmen-Kurdish social-political history and the Crusades. His most recent books include 'Zengi and the Muslim Response to the Crusades' and 'The Saljuqs of Syria during the Crusades'.

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