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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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Kingship and Governance: Concepts and Terminology

Kingship and Governance: Concepts and Terminology

(p.95) 3 Kingship and Governance: Concepts and Terminology
Counsel for Kings: Wisdom and Politics in Tenth-Century Iran

L. Marlow

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter reads Naṣīḥat al-mulūk as a product of the distinctive political-social milieu of the Oxus regions in the first half of the tenth century. Concentrating on the themes of kingship and governance, it provides translations of passages from the mirror, and discusses them in conjunction with cultural and intellectual discourses prevalent in Pseudo-Māwardī’s environment. The chapter presents Pseudo-Māwardī’s portrayal of an ordered cosmos that reflected the wisdom of its Creator, and identifies principles, such as welfare or well-being (ṣalāḥ, maṣlaḥa) and the optimal (al-aṣlaḥ), that recur in Pseudo-Māwardī’s presentation of this order. It also treats Pseudo-Māwardī’s discussions of concepts and practices associated with social relationships, such as khidma (‘service’) and iḥsān (‘kindness’, ‘beneficence’). The chapter situates Pseudo-Māwardī’s treatment of kingship and governance in the context of a decentralised polity dependent on co-operation and maintained through ties of loyalty and obligation. It finds Pseudo-Māwardī’s use of titles, such as malik (‘king’), consistent with practices in the Samanid domains in the first half of the tenth century.

Keywords:   kingship, governance, khidma, iḥsān, maṣlaḥa, al-aṣlaḥ, titles

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