Women of Substance in the Fatimid Courts

Delia Cortese and Simonetta Calderini

in Women and the Fatimids in the World of Islam

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780748617326
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671366 | DOI:
Women of Substance in the Fatimid Courts

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There was evidence of women as noticeable recipients of wealth and riches during the Egyptian phase of the Fatimid dynasty. Women and male relatives of the early imam-caliphs were fully dependent upon the allowances that the imams bestowed on them. In Egypt, however, while the male relatives of the imam-caliph continued to remain fully dependant on these allowances, the royal women were able to acquire much wealth through a diversified system of salaries, allocations and gifts, as well as revenues and land grants. This chapter explores female wealth and patronage at the Fatimid court in Cairo, with references to Zirid and Sulayhid royal women. It discusses the affluence of Fatimid royal ladies within the context of international rivalry and exchanges between the courts of the time. It also examines how wealth and riches were acquired and how they were lost through confiscation, women's wealth management and spending strategies, women as patrons of architecture, and architectural patronage under the caliphate of al-'Aziz.

Keywords: Fatimid dynasty; women; riches; wealth; confiscation; courts; patronage; architecture; al-'Aziz; Egypt

Chapter.  18580 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Islam

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