Arabic Administration in Norman Sicily: The Royal Diwan by Jeremy Johns

By Jeremy Johns

Jeremy Johns' distinctive examine is the 1st accomplished account of the Arabic management of Norman Sicily. whereas it's often assumed that the Normans inherited their management from the Muslim governors of the island, Johns demonstrates that the Norman kings truly restructured their management to the version of Fatimid Egypt. Controversially, he means that their goal used to be no longer administrative potency, however the projection in their royal photo. This obtainable account of the Norman rulers unearths how they with regards to their opposite numbers within the Muslim Mediterranean.

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Qnün), or cadastral registers, used to levy the kharj. These were supposed to be compiled twice a year, in the spring and autumn, by cadastral agents, updating the previous cadastral registers for their localities. The qawnın were supposed to register all kharj-lands, and to list for each its name, surface area, crop in the coming fiscal year, position with regard to the Nile flood, and tax-status, which was determined by an assessment of such variables as the nature and estimated yield of the crop to be grown.

CHAPTER 1 ‘In the time of the Saracens …’ ‘Privileges … which, incidentally, have always been misinterpreted …’ On 7 July 1674, the port of Messina, in the north-eastern corner of Sicily, rebelled against Spanish rule. The leaders of the revolt were the wealthy burghers of the city, members of the senatorial class, families whose names were inscribed in the exclusive register of nobility kept in the city archives, oligarchs proud of their right to wear hats in the presence of the viceroy. Their cause was essentially reactionary: to protect their ancient privileges against the perceived liberalism of the Spanish viceroy.

One letter, written before 1020, provides some indication of the rate of the jizya under Kalbid rule. The writer complains about the ‘penalties’ (fioneshım) of four and one-third tarì per head imposed upon the Jews for several years, in addition to the ordinary jizya (mas) of thirteen tarì (‘quarter-dinars’): ‘a great burden of over seventeen tarì. They [the Jews] were sorry and preferred death to life. Most of them are poor and destitute. Through fear of the rulers, many went bankrupt, and unfortunately some fled overseas’.

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