Fatimid State Documents

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The Cairo Geniza preserved thousands of Arabic-script texts, among them documents from the Fatimid and Ayyubid government administration. This essay offers a brief overview of the state document corpus from the Geniza. It also surveys previous scholarship on the documents, attempting to push the material further in two ways: by reading it as evidence of Fatimid and Ayyubid strategies of rule, and by paying attention to its material clues and what they tell us about the production, storage, retrieval, and discard of state documents. The article concludes by suggesting areas for further research and offering an edition and translation of an official memorandum intended for palace officials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-277
Number of pages57
JournalJewish History
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


  • Arabic documents
  • Cairo Geniza
  • Chancery practice
  • Fatimid caliphate
  • Islamicate state administration


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