The 'Serfs' of Islamic Society under the 'Abbāsid Regime
LIKE most of the countries of the Middle East in the ;\fiddle Ages, 'Iraq was a slave-holding society both preceding and during the 'Abbasid epoch.
The most usual means of obtaining slaves were the wars of conquest and the slave-trade. In pre-'Abba.sid times the flow of slaves into Arab countries was kept going mainly through wars, but when with the coming into power of the 'Abbasids the wars of conquest came to a stardstill. except for frontier raids against the Byzantines, the slave trade was the mos[ important means for the supply of slaves. All wealthy persons (including the Caliphs), their relatives, high offici a Is. the land lords, and the members of the bourgeoisie• owned slaves. The existence of slave markets, Stlq al-nakhkhiisin,l in Basrah, Sriq alRaqlq3 in Sarnarra, Dar al-Raqtq• and Shari Diir al-Raqiq' in Baghdad, the hub of the 'Abbasid Caliphate demonstrates in some degree the regular demand for and supply of slaves in Iraqi society.