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Polymaths of IslamPower and Networks of Knowledge in Central Asia$
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James Pickett

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750243

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750243.001.0001

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Patricians of Bukhara

Patricians of Bukhara

Turkic Nobility, Persianate Pedagogy, and Islamic Society

(p.98) Chapter 4 Patricians of Bukhara
Polymaths of Islam

James Pickett

Cornell University Press

This chapter identifies who created, recreated, and maintained the Persian cosmopolis. Islamic scholars were not the only patricians of Bukhara, and they cannot be understood outside of the larger ecosystem. They shared their elite status with merchants, competed for spiritual and cultural leadership with street preachers, and were reliant on a Turkic military elite for their wellbeing. No formal barriers existed between these categories, and non-scholarly patricians frequently invested their resources to educate themselves and become ulama. Even though there were many ways to wield influence in Bukhara (as in all societies), only the scholarly elite and the Turkic nobility were explicitly valorized as such, albeit by fundamentally distinct justifications. Merchants and preachers might also be considered patricians, but they lacked a formal place in the cosmopolis and were rhetorically subordinated to the twin pillars of the patriciate: Turkic nobility and the ulama.

Keywords:   Persian cosmopolis, Islamic scholars, Bukhara, Turkic military elite, ulama, Turkic nobility, street preachers, merchants, patricians

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