Violence and the prince: the case of the Aghlabid <i>Amīr</i> Ibrāhīm II (261–89/875–902)

Annliese Nef

in Public Violence in Islamic Societies

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780748637317
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653164 | DOI:
Violence and the prince: the case of the Aghlabid Amīr Ibrāhīm II (261–89/875–902)

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The issue of public violence and its function is integral in defining the rules which govern politics and which describe a political regime because it is linked to tyranny and the definition of the common good. In contrast to the essentialist concepts which would lead to seeing the Muslim world as inherently violent, this chapter aims to make a timely contribution pegged on the effort of collective reflection. This chapter focuses on the case of Ibrāhīm II, one of the last Aghbalid amīrs before the accession of the Fātimids. His case allows the outlining of the concepts developed by the chronicles on the violence of the prince, which is one of the facets of public violence. ironically, because Ibrāhīm II is a borderline case, his figure serves better than any other to understand public violence in the late 3rd/9th-century Ifrīgiya and the limits which could not be overstepped in this respect. Moreover, the amīr's biography allows the tracing of the developments of the concepts which were pegged on violence as exercised by political power. The first section of this chapter takes a retrospective look at the biography of the amīr. His biography shows many noteworthy features, particularly in regard to his relationship with violence. The second section examines the different historiographical trends that have emerged during 4th/10th to 10th/14th centuries and that have sought to analyse the case. The chapter ends by proposing a new interpretation of the elements these analyses put forward. In this chapter, narratives covering the period from 4th/10th to 8th/14th centuries are used.

Keywords: public violence; Ibrāhīm II; Aghbalid amīrs; political power; historiographical trends; Muslim world

Chapter.  9933 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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