Select anyone document from the primary source packet for chapters 9 to 11.
In a one to two page (double spaced, 12 point font) paper you will contextualize the primary source and use it to make an argument about the society it from from. Below is a possible outline
Paragraph 1: Introduction and Thesis
Paragraph 2: Contextualize your primary source using you textbook and notes.
Paragraphs 3 to 5: Develop an argument as to what the source tell us about the society that created it. Look for evidence of values, beliefs, or political and economic structures.
BELOW IS THE DOCUMENT IVE CHOSEN TO DO MY PRIMARY SOURCE ON .
DOCUMENT 1 is an excerpt from the Nizámu’l Mulk’s Treatise on the Art of Government, in which he explains the type of men with which the Caliph should surround himself. After moving the capital to Baghdad, the Abbasids took on many Persian traditions and institutions, including the use of viziers. These were hereditary, powerful, and often very effective administrative officials within the Caliphate.
The Nizámu’l Mulk, On the Courtiers and Familiars of Kings
No king can be without worthy courtiers with whom he may be at his ease and behave without restraint. For the constant society of dignitaries, of princes, and of generals, by emboldening them, detracts from the dignity and majesty of the sovereign. Speaking generally, the king should not make a familiar of anyone whom he has appointed to office, for the reason that the freedom which he enjoys on the king’s carpet may lead him to practice extortion and so do harm to the king’s subjects. The governor of a province should forever stand in awe of the king, while the courtier must be ever at his ease, so that the king may derive pleasure from him and the king might find relaxation through him. They should have a fixed time for one another; and it should be after the king has held audience and the great officers have all departed.
There are certain advantages in having a courtier. One of these is that he is a friend to the king; another, this, that seeing he is in the king’s company day and night, he acts as his bodyguard; another, that should any danger appear (which Heaven forfend!) he sacrifices his own body and makes it a shield to ward off the peril; still a fourth is that the king may hold conversation on a thousand topics with his courtiers in a way impossible with officers and functionaries of the king. Fifthly, courtiers, like spies, bring the king information about his vassals. Sixthly, they converse in the freest manner of all things, good or ill, being drunk or sober; and in that there is great benefit.
The courtier should be essentially honorable and of excellent character, of cheerful disposition and irreproachable in respect of his religion, discreet and a clean liver. He should be able to tell a story and repeat a narrative either humorous or grave, and he should remember news. He should also be consistently a carrier of pleasant tidings and the announcer of felicitous happenings. He should also have acquaintance of backgammon and chess, and if he can play a musical instrument and can handle a weapon, it is all the better.
The courtier also must ever be in agreement with the king. Whatever he hears the king say, he must cry “Bravo!” or “Excellent!” and let him never play the pedagogue, saying “Do this,” or “Don’t do that,” or “Why did you do that?” or “This is a thing one should not do.” Such conduct will prove disagreeable to the king and may lead to dislike. . . .
On the other hand, whenever the question is one appertaining to kingship, or campaigning, or raiding, or administration, or supplies, or gifts, or war and peace, or the army, or the king’s subjects, and the like matters, then such question had better be decided with the aid of the vizier and the great experts in these faculties, and the elders of experience, in order that affairs may follow their proper course.
CREDIT from The Nizámu’l Mulk, Treatise on the Art of Government, translated by Reuben Levy, M.A., 1929 as posted on the Internet Medieval Sourcebook, (c) Paul Halsall. Reprinted with permission.
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