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Title: Studies in the social history of the Umayyad Period as revealed in the Kitab al-Aghani
Author: Akel, Nabih
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1960
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This is a study of some of the aspects of the social life of the Umayyad period. Its general subject is the life of pleasure and amusement and its main characters are those whose conduct and deeds were not in complete harmony with the strict teachings of Islam. Kitab al-Aghani provided most of the material for this study. The introduction deals with the life, cultural background and works of al-Isbahani. The material and sources of the Aghani are discussed in a separate section in this introduction. Chapter I is concerned with the origin of Arabian music, the general position of music and musicians in the Umayyad period, the factors that helped music to flourish, the social status of some of the musicians, and the houses of public entertainment and the slave-girls who worked in them. Chapter II deals with matters relating to wine-drinking and, in it, an examination is made of some of the wine-poetry of the period in order to draw a picture of the scene and etiquette at wine-parties. In Chapter III khunth, homosexuality and prostitution are discussed, and an attempt is made to indicate the factors that were responsible for the appearance of mukhannathun, pederasts and prostitutes in society. Chapter IV describes the attitude of the pious and the authorities to-wards the life of pleasure and amusement. The contrast that existed between the spiritual and ethical foundations of pre-Islamic Arab life and the teachings of Islam is demonstrated in this chapter in the motives that inspired the opposition of the nobles on the one hand, and the pious on the other. Chapter V is devoted to the study of the attitude of each Umayyad Caliph towards pleasure and amusement, the life at his Court and the Umayyad Court-etiquette generally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral