The system of iqṭā', the allotment of the resources of the state, income from land and elsewhere, to individuals to provide them with the means of serving the state, above all in military service, stands out from the pages of the chronicles as the dominant administrative institution of the Mamlūk period; the iqṭā' was the life-blood of the Mamlūk amīrs and the whole military apparatus of the state. All the vast amount of administrative work connected with the iqṭā' system, the assigning and control of, and accounting for, grants, was carried out by the Dīwān al-Jaysh, the Army Bureau. We see some of this work ‘through a glass darkly’ in the chronicles, and we have some very schematic accounts in the scribal handbooks that are available from the period. The operations of such ‘technical’ departments of state were not described by the writers of the handbooks with anything like the same detail as the operations of the Chancery (Dīwān al-Inshā'), because, despite a long tradition of discussion and comparison of their rival merits, which was one of the stock literary themes, the departments of financial and accounting functions were generally considered of lower standing and worth less attention than the Chancery, the bureau in which polite learning and literary talent were at a premium. Hence, examples of the prestigious productions of the Dīwān al-Inshā', treaties, foreign correspondence, diplomas, and decrees, were copied and preserved for their literary interest, in addition to, and sometimes before, their historical interest, and as models for aspiring ‘mandarins’ of the Chancery. There is a smaller, much smaller, amount of Chancery material that has survived in its original form in a few scattered collections of documents.