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Document Details :

Title: Merchant Families in the Gulf
Subtitle: A Mercantile and Cosmopolitan Dimension: the Written Evidence (11-13th Centuries AD)
Author(s): PIACENTINI, Valeria
Journal: ARAM Periodical
Volume: 11    Date: 1999-2000   
Pages: 145-159
DOI: 10.2143/ARAM.11.1.504456

Abstract :
The Great Merchant Families formed a positive political group which was to give the Gulf and its centres a definite mercantile imprint and maritime cosmopolitan dimension of its own. These merchants with their legendary riches – which concentrated capital, trade and land in their hands – were also learned figures, shrewd politicians and respected and reputed qadis. They had immense de facto power, and such power would enable them to rule for centuries over the life of the Gulf and the geographical regions revolving around this sea. These were families, real dynasties even, which were to survive the decline of one or the other urban centre and harbor following political changes, giving the Gulf and bordering shores a true cultural unity which was to last for centuries within the broader framework of 'their' mercantile order.

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