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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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Dionysius and al-Maʾmun

Dionysius and al-Maʾmun

(p.161) 7 Dionysius and al-Maʾmun
The Imam of the Christians

Philip Wood

Princeton University Press

This chapter investigates the political conditions of the civil war between al-Amin and al-Maʾmun, the so-called fourth fitna. It details how Al Maʾmun defeated his brother using troops from Khurasan in the east of the caliphate, noting that the war created further opportunities for easterners under the caliph's patronage. It also shows how Dionysius presented himself as a servant of the caliph and highlights the importance of his alliance to the Khurasanian general ʿAbd Allah ibn Tahir, whose influence enabled Dionysius to overcome his enemies within the church. The chapter considers Dionysius' representation of dhimma, the contract between Muslims as the conquerors and Christians as the conquered. It looks at the criticisms that Dionysius leveled against Muslim troops in Egypt, whom he accused of having transgressed Islamic norms of justice.

Keywords:   political conditions, al-Amin, al-Maʾmun, fourth fitna, caliphate, Dionysius, Islamic justice

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