Abbasid

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Related to Abbasid Empire: Ottoman Empire, Umayyad Empire

Abbasid

(əbă`sĭd, ă`bəsĭd) or

Abbaside

(–sīd, –sĭd), Arab family descended from AbbasAbbas
, d. 653, uncle of Muhammad the Prophet and of Ali the caliph. A wealthy merchant of Mecca, he was at first opposed to the religious movement initiated by his nephew Muhammad.
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, the uncle of Muhammad. The Abbasids held the caliphate from 749 to 1258, but they were recognized neither in Spain nor (after 787) W of Egypt. Under the UmayyadUmayyad
, the first Islamic dynasty (661–750). Their reign witnessed the return to leadership roles of the pre-Islamic Arab elite, and the rejuvenation of tribal loyalties. The Banu Ummaya constituted the higher stratum of the pre-Islamic Meccan elite.
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 caliphs the Abbasids lived quietly until they became involved in numerous disputes, beginning early in the 8th cent. The family then joined with the Shiite faction in opposing the Umayyads, and in 747 the gifted Abu MuslimAbu Muslim
, c.728–755, Persian leader of the Abbasid revolution. By political and religious agitation he raised (747) the black banners of the Abbasids against the ruling Umayyad family.
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 united most of the empire in revolt against the Umayyads. The head of the Abbasid family became caliph as Abu al-Abbas as-SaffahAbu al-Abbas as-Saffah
, d. 754, 1st Abbasid caliph (749–54). Raised to the caliphate by the armed might of Abu Muslim, he took the reign name as-Saffah [shedder of blood]. Most of the Umayyad family was exterminated, and the reign was one of massacre and force.
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 late in 749. The last Umayyad caliph, Marwan II, was defeated and killed and the Umayyad family nearly exterminated; one surviving member fled to Spain, where the Umayyads came to rule. Under the second Abbasid caliph, called al-Mansur (see Mansur, al-Mansur, al-
[Arab.,=the victorious], d. 775, 2d Abbasid caliph (754–75) and founder of the city of Baghdad. His name was in full Abu Jafar abd-Allah al-Mansur. He was brother and successor of Abu al-Abbas.
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, d. 775), the capital was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, and Persian influence grew strong in the empire. The early years of Abbasid rule were brilliant, rising to true splendor under Harun ar-RashidHarun ar-Rashid
[Arab.,=Aaron the Upright], c.764–809, 5th and most famous Abbasid caliph (786–809). He succeeded his brother Musa al-Hadi, fourth caliph, a year after the death of his father, Mahdi, the third caliph.
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, the fifth caliph, and to intellectual brilliance under his son al-Mamun (see Mamun, al-Mamun, al-
(Abu al-Abbas Abd Allah al-Mamun) , 786–833, 7th Abbasid caliph (813–33); son of Harun ar-Rashid. He succeeded his brother al-Amin after a bitter civil war, but was unable to enter Baghdad until 819.
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), the seventh caliph. After less than a hundred years of rule, however, the slow decline of the Abbasids began. Long periods of disorder were marked by assassinations, depositions, control by Turkish soldiers, and other disturbances, and from the beginning of their reign there were rival caliphs (see caliphatecaliphate
, the rulership of Islam; caliph , the spiritual head and temporal ruler of the Islamic state. In principle, Islam is theocratic: when Muhammad died, a caliph [Arab.,=successor] was chosen to rule in his place.
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). In 836 the capital was transferred to Samarra, remaining there until 892. Under the later Abbasids, the power of the caliphate became chiefly spiritual. Many independent kingdoms sprang up, and the empire split into autonomous units. The Seljuk Turks came to hold the real power at Baghdad. The conquests of Jenghiz Khan further lowered the prestige of the Abbasids, and in 1258 his grandson Hulagu Khan sacked Baghdad and overthrew the Abbasid caliphate. The 37th caliph died in the disaster, but a member of the family escaped to Cairo, where he was recognized as caliph (see MamluksMamluk
or Mameluke
[Arab.,=slaves], a warrior caste dominant in Egypt and influential in the Middle East for over 700 years. Islamic rulers created this warrior caste by collecting non-Muslim slave boys and training them as cavalry soldiers especially loyal to their
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). The Cairo line of the Abbasid caliphate, completely subordinated to the Mamluks, survived until after the Ottoman conquest (1517) of Egypt.

Bibliography

See M. A. Shaban, The Abbāsid Revolution (1970); H. Kennedy, The Early Abbasid Caliphate (1981).

References in periodicals archive ?
To allied empires they sent delegations of scholars who were directed to bring home manuscripts as gifts; and to enemy empires they sent officers with orders to capture manuscript collections as valuable booty, as in wars between Byzantine and Abbasid empires. (20) Scholars too were booty--kidnapped or conquered and thereafter choosing or forced to serve new masters.
And their rapacious activities forms one of the causes of the down fall of Abbasid Empire. Like them the Talban also rant for nothing less than their own brand of Sharia.
When Byzantine forces attacked the Abbasid empire, the first response of the caliph's forces and angry Sunnis was to intensify their persecution of Shiites.
Botticini and Eckstein note that "almost all the Jews in Mesopotamia and Persia--nearly 75 percent of world Jewry--left agriculture and moved to the cities and towns of the newly established Abbasid Empire to engage in myriad skilled occupations." There, they manufactured and traded wares, changed and lent money, and worked as physicians.
The Fatimids founded the city known in Arabic as "Al-Qahira," or Cairo in English, and ruled until 1171 when Saladin restored Egypt to the Abbasid Empire. Like his predecessors, he relocated the seat of government, on the Muqattam hills, situated to the east of Fustat and Al-Qahira where he built the Citadel, one of the most striking monuments in today's Cairo.
The topics include slavery in private households toward the end of the third millennium BC, domestic female slaves during the Old Babylonian period, slaves and slave labor in the third/ninth century 'Abbasid Empire, and the status of the dependents of Babylonian temple households.
She gave the example of Haroun al-Rashid, the third caliph or head of state of the Islamic Abbasid Empire, is rumored to have had some 2,000 concubines.
While the 'Abbasid Empire is normally considered a positive era for Christians under Islam, this was not the case in Egypt.
Much like the Turkic warrior castes that swept down from Central Asia from the tenth century on, first to defend the Abbasid Empire as mercenaries but eventually amassing power and spawning a dynasty, so may the supreme leadership become as irrelevant as the caliph.
Bennison for The Great Caliphs: The Golden Age of the Abbasid Empire (I.B.