A Barmecide Feast: the Downfall of the Barmakids in Popular Imagination

Remke Kruk

in Living Islamic History

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780748637386
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653218 | DOI:
A Barmecide Feast: the Downfall of the Barmakids in Popular Imagination

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses the fall of the Barmakids as a recurring narrative in the popular imagination. It examines, from a comparative perspective, the sira sha،biyya from other parts of the literary tradition. The chapter also looks at a set of narratives of the Barmakids’ fall, with the purpose of isolating the similarities and differences they exhibit. Among the narratives it examines are: Sirat al-amira Dhat al-Himma (or Sirat al-Mujahidin); al-Ihtiraz min maka،id al-niswan; and Thousand and One Nights. All of these narratives highlight the interplay of power relations between the caliph Harun al-Rashid, and the Barmakids. The chapter also places emphasis on the fickle nature of power and the elaborate intrigue that so often accompanies politics.

Keywords: Barmakids; fall; sira sha،biyya; Sirat al-Mujahidin; power relations; Harun al-Rashid; politics

Chapter.  6739 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.