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Medieval Empires and the Culture of CompetitionLiterary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts$
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Samuel England

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474425223

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425223.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Introduction: Courtly Gifts, Imperial Rewards

Introduction: Courtly Gifts, Imperial Rewards

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: Courtly Gifts, Imperial Rewards
Source:
Medieval Empires and the Culture of Competition
Author(s):

Samuel England

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425223.003.0001

The book begins by exploring how we conceive of literature in the broader context of medieval history. I argue for the centrality of political crisis in cultural developments throughout the late Middle Ages. From that historical and theoretical framework, I give an overview of medieval imperial culture and the court’s techniques of representing the empire through literature. Competition, as a spectacle and an organizing principle of artistic creation, allowed members of the court to establish and exploit the parameters of culture. Just as importantly, it provided the rituals with which empires affirmed their identity during conflict, whether internal or foreign. The book’s argument opens with the image of political upheaval in the late Middle Ages and the way medieval conflicts have haunted our modern notions of culture, religion, and history.

Keywords:   Multiculturalism, Buyid, Architecture, Crusades, ‘Abbasid, Praise Poetry

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