Military Pay and the Economy of the Early Islamic State

Hugh Nigel Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the system of military payment in the early Islamic state (c.650-900 AD) and its effect on the economy. It is argued that early Islamic armies were paid in cash salaries, rather than land grants or kind. This meant that a massive amount of coinage was put into circulation and spent by the soldiers in the markets of the developing towns of the Middle East. The system of military payment played an important part in creating the urban, cash based market economy of the early Islamic world which contrasts so sharply with the land and kind based economies of the contemporary Byzantine empire and Latin West.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-169
Number of pages15
JournalHistorical Research
Issue number188
Publication statusPublished - May 2002


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