A considerable number of medieval non-Isma'ili literary works, as well as documentary, epigraphic, artistic and archaeological sources, shed light on most aspects relating to the history of the Fatimid dynasty and of the societies in those areas under Fatimid rule or influence. Shi'i and especially Isma'ili writers focus on the figure of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and his first wife Khadija. This book examines references to women so as to re-inscribe their role in the social history of the Fatimid era. It also pays tribute to past and present landmark studies on women in the Islamic world and on gender and Islam. Having established the place of women in Isma'ili and Fatimid genealogical history, the book explores their status and influence within the courts in their roles as mothers, courtesans, wives and daughters, as well as workers and servants. It also scrutinises the finances of court women of substance against broader economic and legal contexts. Finally, the book evaluates aspects of the daily life of non-court women.
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