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Home / Brad Delong, Berkeley / Reading: Lisa Blades and Eric Chaney (2013): The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE

Reading: Lisa Blades and Eric Chaney (2013): The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE

Summary:
Lisa Blades and Eric Chaney (2013): The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE : "We document a divergence in the duration of rule for monarchs... ...in Western Europe and the Islamic world beginning in the medieval period. While leadership tenures in the two regions were similar in the 8th century, Christian kings became increasingly long lived compared to Muslim sultans. We argue that forms of executive constraint that emerged under feudal institutions in Western Europe were associated with increased political stability and find empirical support for this argument. While feudal institutions served as the basis for military recruitment by European monarchs, Muslim sultans relied on mamlukism—or the use

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Lisa Blades and Eric Chaney (2013): The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE <http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/chaney/files/feudalrevolutionfinal.pdf>: "We document a divergence in the duration of rule for monarchs...

...in Western Europe and the Islamic world beginning in the medieval period. While leadership tenures in the two regions were similar in the 8th century, Christian kings became increasingly long lived compared to Muslim sultans.

We argue that forms of executive constraint that emerged under feudal institutions in Western Europe were associated with increased political stability and find empirical support for this argument. While feudal institutions served as the basis for military recruitment by European monarchs, Muslim sultans relied on mamlukism—or the use of military slaves imported from non-Muslim lands. Dependence on mamluk armies limited the bargaining strength of local notables vis-a`-vis the sultan, hindering the development of a productively adversarial relationship between ruler and local elites.

We argue that Muslim societies’ reliance on mamluks, rather than local elites, as the basis for military leadership, may explain why the Glorious Revolution occurred in England, not Egypt.

Five Questions:

  1. Look at Figure 1. If you wanted to divide this data into epochs, what epochs would you choose--and what historical events/processes would you associate with the changes from one to another?
  2. Now look at Figure 2. Pause to curse the information architecture. If you wanted to divide this data into epochs, what epochs would you choose--and what historical events/processes would you associate with the changes from one to another?
  3. The key argument here is that of Crone (1999): "Because the fiscal and administrative machinery survived in the east, the Abbasids could simply buy the retainers they needed, and so they lost their power not to lords and vassals but to freedmen..." What fiscal and administrative machinery? East of the Euphrates Roman administration never reached. And the Sassanids look positively quasi-feudal?
  4. How do slave soldiers lead to short--rather than long--ruler tenures again? Why is it that weaker monarchs are overthrown less often?
  5. What is it that is supposed to have changed around the middle of the reign of Charlemagne?

Cursor and scholar harvard edu files chaney files feudalrevolutionfinal pdf

Scholar harvard edu files chaney files feudalrevolutionfinal pdf

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Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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