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Counsel for Kings: Wisdom and Politics in Tenth-Century IranVolume I: The Nasihat al-muluk of Pseudo-Mawardi: Contexts and Themes$
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L. Marlow

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748696901

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696901.001.0001

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An Early Samanid View of History: The Dating of Naṣīḥat al-mulūk

An Early Samanid View of History: The Dating of Naṣīḥat al-mulūk

(p.25) 1 An Early Samanid View of History: The Dating of Naṣīḥat al-mulūk
Counsel for Kings: Wisdom and Politics in Tenth-Century Iran

L. Marlow

Edinburgh University Press

By drawing on internal and external evidence, this chapter situates the mirror Naṣīḥat al-mulūk in an early tenth-century context. Providing an account of the Samanid polity in the late ninth and early tenth centuries, the chapter concentrates on the generation of amirs who dominated Samanid politics in the later ninth and early tenth centuries, namely the Amirs Naṣr I b. Aḥmad, Ismāʿīl b. Aḥmad and Isḥāq b. Aḥmad, all of them sons of Aḥmad I b. Asad. The chapter argues for the shaping force of this generation on the political outlook of Pseudo-Māwardī, whose historically sequenced depiction of exemplary rulers it presents. Among Pseudo-Māwardī’s principal reference points are literary texts, such as ʿAhd Ardashīr (‘Testament of Ardashīr’) and the pseudo-Aristotelian correspondence known as Risāla ilā l-Iskandar (‘[Aristotle’s] Epistle to Alexander’). Acknowledging the possibility of a later reworking, the chapter concludes with the proposal that Naṣīḥat al-mulūk was written during the reign of Naṣr II b. Aḥmad (r. 301-31/914-43).

Keywords:   Samanids, Ismāʿīl b. Aḥmad, Isḥāq b. Aḥmad, exemplary rulers

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