Arabic Administration in Norman Sicily: The Royal Diwan by Jeremy Johns

By Jeremy Johns

Jeremy Johns' particular research is the 1st complete account of the Arabic management of Norman Sicily. whereas it's as a rule assumed that the Normans inherited their management from the Muslim governors of the island, Johns demonstrates that the Norman kings truly restructured their management to the version of Fatimid Egypt. Controversially, he means that their purpose was once now not administrative potency, however the projection in their royal picture. This available account of the Norman rulers unearths how they relating to their opposite numbers within the Muslim Mediterranean.

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Chapter 1 ‘In the time of the Saracens …’ 23 the Muslim fiscal administration of Sicily was derived from, or made use of, the Byzantine fiscal institutions existing on the island at the time of the conquest remains problematic because so little is yet known of the administration of Byzantine Sicily. By the 6th century, when Belisarius annexed Sicily to the Eastern Empire, the golden days of the tithe or decuma, administered according to the Lex Hieronica, were long gone (if they had ever existed outside Cicero’s oratory) and centuries of latifundism had succeeded.

The qawnın were supposed to register all kharj-lands, and to list for each its name, surface area, crop in the coming fiscal year, position with regard to the Nile flood, and tax-status, which was determined by an assessment of such variables as the nature and estimated yield of the crop to be grown. 28 Although no records as complex and elaborate as the Egyptian qawnın survive from Norman Sicily, the daftir al-˛udüd, or registers of land-boundaries, compiled and maintained by the Norman dıwn, are broadly comparable and served, amongst other purposes, to collect the qnün or land-tax from the royal demesne.

The leaders of the revolt were the wealthy burghers of the city, members of the senatorial class, families whose names were inscribed in the exclusive register of nobility kept in the city archives, oligarchs proud of their right to wear hats in the presence of the viceroy. Their cause was essentially reactionary: to protect their ancient privileges against the perceived liberalism of the Spanish viceroy. They were encouraged and assisted by Louis XIV of France, who appointed the brother of his mistress to be governor of Sicily.

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