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Arabic-speaking Ambassadors in the Byzantine Empire (from the Ninth to Eleventh centuries)

Abstract : Arab-speaking ambassadors were numerous in the Byzantine Empire between the 9th and 11th centuries. Generally, members of the ruling elite, they could be raʾīs of the ṯuġūr, such as the famous ʿAbd al-Bāqī al-Aḏanī, known from Arabic and Greek sources. Signifcantly, the terms šaiḫ and amīr can be associated with other offcial emissaries. The choice of an ambassador by Muslim sovereigns was based on a feeling of confdence. This explains why these sovereigns often sent members of their close entourage and political circle, but linguistic skills were also important. Moreover, the presence of such envoys within the Empire raises many other questions, such as the ways in which they were received. The advantageous arrangements for their offcial voyages and reception (suggested by Greek normative texts such as the De cerimoniis) are confrmed by narrative texts, notably those in Arabic. As far as we can know it from the sources, they were cordially welcomed in Constantinople and hosted by the basileis. Nevertheless, political and military contexts could have an infuence on their stay in the Empire. A last aspect that their presence implies deals with its intellectual and cultural impact. Indeed, Arab-speaking ambassadors were important cultural brokers between courts, thanks to their intellectual profle as well as the offcial gifts they bore
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http://hal.univ-nantes.fr/hal-03285713
Contributor : Nicolas Drocourt <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 3:58:33 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 3:32:24 AM

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Nicolas Drocourt. Arabic-speaking Ambassadors in the Byzantine Empire (from the Ninth to Eleventh centuries). Zachary Chitwood; Johannes Pahlitzsch. Ambassadors, Artists, Theologians. Byzantine Relations with the Near East from the Ninth to the Thirteen Centuries, Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum, pp.57-69, 2019, 978-3795434366. ⟨hal-03285713⟩

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