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The Imam of the ChristiansThe World of Dionysius of Tel-Mahre, c. 750-850$
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Philip Wood

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691212791

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691212791.001.0001

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Lay Elites under Arab Rule

Lay Elites under Arab Rule

(p.41) 1 Lay Elites under Arab Rule
The Imam of the Christians

Philip Wood

Princeton University Press

This chapter makes the case that the seventh century did not see the immediate disappearance of the landowning elite in the Levant. It discusses how the melting away of the Roman state created opportunities for the aristocracy to enrich itself. It also refers to the tax structures of the new state that forced the aristocrats to find new avenues to power and influence, such as state administration or church hierarchy. The chapter uses letters and saints' lives to chart how many aristocracies benefited from the collapse of the Roman and Sasanian empires before the caliphs started to reassert their authority and demand higher taxes in the eighth century. It describes how non-Muslim, landed aristocrats persisted in many areas and Muslim patrons who protected the elites' interests.

Keywords:   landowning elite, Levant, Roman state, aristocracy, state administration, church hierarchy, Muslim patrons

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