Abstract Prof. Maaike van Berkel
Maaike van Berkel (Department of History, Radboud University Nijmegen)
Abstract: Political Communication or How to Reach the Unreachable
The caliphal court was the ultimate key to power. Anyone seeking to communicate a political message at the highest level, influence decision making processes or ask for a favour had to gain access to the court in some way or another, through petitions, letters, gifts and intermediaries. However, evidently the caliphal court was also relatively inaccessible, especially for those socially and geographically far removed from the centre of power. At the same time the court and its administrators, were also very keen on communicating political messages and gaining influence throughout the empire. By studying the rich narratives describing the reign of the Abbasid caliph al-Muqtadir (295-320/908-932) and analysing a few case studies this paper will interpret the wide variety of devices and tactics employed by both centre and (social and geographical) periphery to make political wishes and views heard.