THE ELEVENTH CENTURY MERCHANT HOUSE OF IBN 'AWKAL (A GENIZA STUDY) BY NORMAN A. STILLMAN (New York University) I. INTRODUCTION *) At the dawn of the eleventh century the Commercial Revolution was in full swing in the Islamic world. The Italian city-states were on the rise with Venice holding a predominant position amongst its fellow intermediaries in the East-West trade. A fast burgeoning international trade accompanied by the rise of maritime and pilgrim traffic, great freedom of movement and interpenetration, all helped set the stage for the Crusaders at the end of the century and thenceforth, European economic ascendancy over the East. Fatimid Egypt was in its heyday around the year i ooo, and its capital of Fustat-Cairo the nerve center of economic and commercial activity. Due to the generally tolerant attitude of the sectarian Fatimids towards their non-Muslim subjects in the civil service and an apparent lack of discriminatory tariffs prescribed by Islamic law for dhimmïs 1), both Muslims and non-Muslims shared in the prosperity of the period. The persecution of non-Muslims by the mad caliph al-Hakim (996-io2.i), which began with the persecution of the Christians in ioo7, and was followed by that of the Jews in
Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1973
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