Shuṛta chiefs in baṣra in the Umayyad period: A prosopographical study

Michael Ebstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The article describes some of the functions and characteristics of the Shur{dot below}ta in the Umayyad era, through an analysis of the men who served as Shur{dot below}ta chiefs in Bas{dot below}ra during this period. The Shur{dot below}ta, as is shown in the article, was an important body which helped the Umayyad regime and its regional governors in Iraq and Bas{dot below}ra to consolidate the Umayyad governmental system. The Shur{dot below}ta offered the governor of Bas{dot below}ra personal protection and was at the same time a symbol of his authority and power. It was responsible for the maintenance of public order and security in Bas{dot below}ra and dealt with individuals who transgressed common religious norms. Another important duty performed by the Shur{dot below}ta in Bas{dot below}ra and nearby areas was to fight against different groups of khawārij as well as various other rebels and oppositional forces. In the article, attention is drawn to political and social issues such as the Ashrāf and their traits; intertribal conflicts; marital ties, etc. By discussing these different subjects, the article aims to reintroduce an often ignored method into the research field of early Islamic history - prosopography.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)103-147
Number of pages45
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Ashrāf
  • Bas{dot below}ra
  • Prosopography
  • Shur{dot below}ta
  • Tribes
  • Umayyads


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