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Bankers and Politics: The Network of Shi‘i Moneychangers in 8-9 Century

The article argues that apart from exchanging currencies, some of these moneychangers acted as financial agents for the imams, collecting funds from their following, receiving donations on their behalf, and with the collected money regulating the internal affairs of the Kufan Shi‘i community.

The article studies the network of moneychangers in the Shi‘i community of Kufa during the eighth-ninth centuries. It argues that apart from exchanging currencies, some of these moneychangers acted as financial agents for the imams, collecting funds from their following, receiving donations on their behalf, and with the collected money regulating the internal affairs of the Kufan Shi‘i community. By looking at the history of the Shi‘i community and, still broader, of the region as a whole, the article seeks to explain why the group of moneychangers became important among the Kufan Shi‘is, especially during Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq’s time and later, while being virtually insignificant at earlier periods. The article combines a quantitative study of biographical dictionaries with evidence found in literary accounts.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Bankers and Politics: The Network of Shi‘i Moneychangers in Eighth-Ninth Century Kufa and their Role in the Shi‘i Community

Author: Mushegh Asatryan

Published in: Journal of Persianate Studies, Volume 7, Issue 1, pages 1 – 21 Publication Year: 2014

 Language: English

Length: 21 pages

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