Al-Ma’mun by Michael Cooperson

By Michael Cooperson

Аль-Мамун (786—833) — багдадский халиф из династии Аббасидов.Сын Харуна аль-Рашида. Мать Мамуна была персидского происхождения. После смерти отца халифом стал его брат Аль-Амин, а Мамун стал губернатором Хорасана. В ходе вспыхнувшей гражданской войны, Мамун в 813 г. захватил Багдад и воцарился. Привлек к управлению государством ученых и основал в Багдаде Дом Мудрости (Бейт аль-хикма), созданную в подражание старинной персидской академии Джундишапура.В 827 г. по его повелению (и при его финансировании) были проведены градусные измерения дуги меридиана в долине Синджар, осуществлён перевод труда Птолемея на арабский язык («Альмагест»); в 829 г. в Багдаде основана астрономическая обсерватория.

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Many of the poems credited to him were supposedly spoken in the course of his relationships with one or another concubine. Several play on the conceit that the woman, though a slave, has enslaved the caliph. For example: What harm will it do to speak a word? Will you suffer if you greet me? I do suffer, though I am king, When you so cruelly treat me (Ma’mun, 99–100). Such verses need not be taken as evidence for al-Ma’mun’s state of mind. Indeed, the fact that this poem was preserved suggests that it was composed not in the heat of passion but rather as an exercise.

Studiously ignoring the ideological challenge to his own authority, al-Amin decided to treat al-Ma’mun as a rebellious subordinate. He reappointed Ali ibn Isa, the former governor of Khurasan, and sent him to reclaim the province. 050 25/02/2005 10:27 AM Page 50 50 AL-MA’MUN treatment of the locals during his term, and his reappointment could only rally the opposition. And, apart from questions of numerical superiority, the Baghdad regime was confident that the Sons of the Revolution could defeat any collection of Turks and Iranians from the frontier.

In Abbasid-period society, public displays of wealth were thought to invite trouble. Indoors, however, one was expected to put on a show to honor one’s guests and patrons – that is, the men of standing who had contributed to one’s prosperity. 050 25/02/2005 10:25 AM Page 22 22 AL-MA’MUN extravagance, which he justified as a display of loyalty to the caliph. A visitor who needed money to pay a debt or purchase property had only to mention the matter in Ja’far’s presence. When the guest returned home, he would find that the debt had been paid or the property purchased on his behalf (sometimes with the caliph’s money).

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