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Sassanids vs Arabs - History Forum ~ All Empires - Page 7
 

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Sassanids vs Arabs

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  Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sassanids vs Arabs
    Posted: 22-May-2009 at 12:29
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim

Well if you weren't wearing such expensive hats we wouldn't have been after your heads. Duh!


It is quite amusing how the accounts of the Arab conquest make such a big deal out of the contrast between the fancy clothing of the Persians and the austerity of the Arabs. The authors, pro-Arab, tend to dwell in detail on how exquisite the clothing of the Persians are, and unless one is aware of the authors' mentality it is easy to miss out on the sarcasm and read it as praise. F. ex. I recall an anecdote of a meeting between one of the Rashidun caliphs, IIRC it was Omar Big smile, and a Persian prince of sorts. Omar is very briefly described as simply clothed and is sleeping on the floor of a mosque when he is found by the Persian, whose grandeur is given a lot more attention. The point is of course to underline Omar's moral superiority, but reading it from a non-muslim POV it is not immediately obvious that the author isn't trying to ridicule Omar as an eccentric beggar-king.
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  Quote Nickmard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2009 at 12:36
Interesting... thank goodness for Pirouz Nahavandi, a true hero.

 

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  Quote JRScotia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 05:16
Fascinating thread. Even more hostile than the Scots/Welsh/Irish vs English ones.

I would be interested in seeing evidence that slaves were better treated by Muslims than by Christians though. Since slavery is by nature evil, I'm not sure a little less or a little more evil makes much difference but I'd be interested in knowing if there is evidence for this or if it's a form of cultural prejudice. (When you bring in the US South, I'm not sure you'll find a lot of examples of slaves being treated worse, but I could easily be wrong there having not made any kind of study of the subject)


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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 05:51
Google Mamluks.
 
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  Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 11:07
Slaves were treated differently by Muslims because slavery itself was not the same in the Islamic world as in Christendom. Muslims were heir to a tradition of slavery wherein slaves could be found in almost every walk of life,  in government positions and high up in the military, while others could be found doing backbreaking work on plantations or in mines. In Christendom slaves were purely a labor force for menial tasks, in a best case scenario they were servants in a wealthy household that treated them well.
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  Quote JRScotia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 22:10
So that would mean that a FEW slaves were somewhat better treated. But that's true in the wealthy households with servants in Christian countries, too.

Malmuks have nothing to do with the status or treatment of the majority of slaves unless you are telling me that all slaves were Malmuks, which even I am reasonably sure wasn't true. As a matter of fact regarding the Malmuks IF the Wikipedia is correct (always questionable I know) then they can't even be considered slaves: "While they were no longer actually slaves after training..." So they bought slaves to turn them into Malmuks but they did not remain slaves. (edit-And what I've read about Malmuks I'm not sure I'd consider that a good thng--what kind of human beings were they afterwards and were they in fact still human in any real sense? Reading about them made me queasy)

At any rate, I don't see that it mean that most slaves were in any way better treated. Were they any less subject to beating? to sexual abuse? to life threatening hard labor? to being sold away from their families? or having their families sold away? Did they in fact have any form of freedom? Did they have some kind of greater legal protections? Weren't abuses such as castration much more common in Muslim countries?

Otherwise, it looks to me like we're seeing some kind of cultural fiction, I'm afraid.

And let me mention that I'm neither Christian NOR Muslim (edit nor Jewish for that matter--no ox to gore in this fight). I just have a hard time believing that  one was better than the other until you show me some kind of legal difference.




Edited by JRScotia - 23-May-2009 at 22:32
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  Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 22:30
Well, of course being a slave sucked wherever you were. Just saying there was more diverse use of slaves in the Middle East, because the tradition of slavery was different.
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  Quote JRScotia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 22:35
Ok, well, I can see that as a possibility. And I really have no business in this conversation other than curiosity. It's not an area I've studied but the arguing got my attention.

I do some of that myself on other topics. Wink
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 06:12
Hello to you all
 
about slavery. Mamluks were always slaves and in many instants when the state didn't like one of their commanders they sold him. If he wanted freedom to get married and settle down a mamluk was given freedom but lost everything.
 
There were lots of legal guarantees for slaves, in the jurispudence, they weren't objects like in common law or civil law. If a slave wanted to buy his freedom his master was forced to accept his slaves wishes by law. A slave can appeal to a court of law if his master force him to labour beyond his power.
 
Slavery is a vile institution no doubt about that. Freeing a slave was always the first act (and in many cases, the only possible act) required from a person if he wanted absolution from sin. Despite all the guarantees not all slaves (especially those in the countryside) knew little of their status. Yet all in all, except in Iraq, slavery was never that much of an institution. Slaves were always a fraction of the total population. My family on my mother's side who own relatively large farms in different villages never owned slaves (slavery was abolished in 1960).
 
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  Quote JRScotia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2009 at 01:40
Interesting about the Mamluks. You might want to take a look at the Wikipedia article and provide citations correcting the misinformation.

One of the things I was interested in was whether there were legal guarantees, although I assume that would vary from country to country. Thanks for the information.

Originally posted by Al Jassas

Hello to you all
 
about slavery. Mamluks were always slaves and in many instants when the state didn't like one of their commanders they sold him. If he wanted freedom to get married and settle down a mamluk was given freedom but lost everything.
 
There were lots of legal guarantees for slaves, in the jurispudence, they weren't objects like in common law or civil law. If a slave wanted to buy his freedom his master was forced to accept his slaves wishes by law. A slave can appeal to a court of law if his master force him to labour beyond his power.
 
Slavery is a vile institution no doubt about that. Freeing a slave was always the first act (and in many cases, the only possible act) required from a person if he wanted absolution from sin. Despite all the guarantees not all slaves (especially those in the countryside) knew little of their status. Yet all in all, except in Iraq, slavery was never that much of an institution. Slaves were always a fraction of the total population. My family on my mother's side who own relatively large farms in different villages never owned slaves (slavery was abolished in 1960).
 
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  Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2009 at 08:55
How is slavery relevant to a thread called Sassanids vs Arabs? At least it should be a comparison between slavery among Arabs and the Sassanids then.
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  Quote Asawar Hazaraspa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2009 at 22:22
Originally posted by Reginmund



It is quite amusing how the accounts of the Arab conquest make such a big deal out of the contrast between the fancy clothing of the Persians and the austerity of the Arabs. The authors, pro-Arab, tend to dwell in detail on how exquisite the clothing of the Persians are, and unless one is aware of the authors' mentality it is easy to miss out on the sarcasm and read it as praise. F. ex. I recall an anecdote of a meeting between one of the Rashidun caliphs, IIRC it was Omar Big smile, and a Persian prince of sorts. Omar is very briefly described as simply clothed and is sleeping on the floor of a mosque when he is found by the Persian, whose grandeur is given a lot more attention. The point is of course to underline Omar's moral superiority, but reading it from a non-muslim POV it is not immediately obvious that the author isn't trying to ridicule Omar as an eccentric beggar-king.

The matter of exaggeration could be counted as one of the characteristics of the Arab reports of the early Arab conquests. The other important thing is not to completely neglect the potency and brilliant tactics of the Arab armies - always rememeberd with the false understimated image of Arab warriors as well as Arab nation of 7th century-. The Sasanian elite actually tended to wear fancy costumes, armours, etc...but it doesn't ever mean that for example their other rivals like Byzantines, Turks or Khazars in the region weren't practising such tradition, it quite reasonably covers Arab society of those centuries tehrefore an Arab warrior was not a good sample of a total poor-equipped barefoot warrior just like the Arab aristocracy of the time wasn't lacking luxurious aspects. The story of 'Hormozan' the commander of the resistance forces of city of Shushtar who later was taken prisoner by the Arabs as you said might contain some of such elaborations.

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