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The history of courtesans and slave girls in the medieval Arab world transcends traditional boundaries of study and opens up new fields of sociological and cultural enquiry. In the process it offers a remarkably rich source of historical and cultural information on medieval Islam. 'The Slave Girls of Baghdad' explores the origins, education and art of the 'qiyan' - indentured girls and women who entertained and entranced the caliphs and aristocrats who worked the labyinths of power throughout the Abbasid Empire. In a detailed analysis of Islamic law, historical sources and poetry, F. Matthew Caswell examines the qiyans' unique place in the society of ninth-century Baghdad, providing an insightful and comprehensive cultural overview of an elusive and little understood institution. This important history will be essential reading for all those concerned with the history of slavery and its morality, culture and importance in the early Islamic era.