Women and Slaves

Authored by: Manuela Marín

The Routledge Handbook Of Muslim Iberia

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138649149
eBook ISBN: 9781315625959
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315625959-11

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Abstract

Reconstructing the history of women and slaves in al-Andalus is not an easy task, as both occupied a secondary position in society and seldom attracted the interest of Andalusi authors, whose works are nearly the only source at the disposal of contemporary historians. In this chapter, emphasis is placed on the many factors conditioning women’s lives, religion being only one, and not the most decisive, in shaping their individual vital projects and their place in society. The main points examined in this context are the differences among women according to their ethnic origins, personal status, social and economic position and religious adscription. Muslim women’s economic rights, which accorded them the free management of their properties, are examined, as well as other questions such as education, religious practices, family life, presence in public spaces, marriage alliances and their political and social meaning, and the kind of political power exercised by women in their capacity as members of the ruling families. Women slaves and the constraints of their personal status, as well as the areas of agency allowed to them are the subject of the final part of this chapter.

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