Usually, posts are published on Sundays. This is an exception because today (when this is published) is my birthday. And I thought this enough to change the rule for once (and it’s more of a guideline anyway). In this post, we return to one person who has fascinated me for a while now and who has been featured here before: the Damascene book collector ʿAbd al-Salām al-Shaṭṭī. However, this time we are not just interested in his connections to Ibn Ṭūlūn manuscripts but rather in how he engaged with manuscripts for the sake of archival practices.Continue reading
One earlier post has outlined several obstacles in assessing Ibn Ṭūlūn’s book collection in contrast to the books he himself authored. Together with Melis Emre, a master student of Konrad Hirschler, I revisit this question here, complicating the differentiation between books Ibn Ṭūlūn owned and arguably read, and those he endowed. In short, he did not only buy books for himself but also to re-endow them in the ʿUmariyya madrasa, thereby reconstituting certain histocrical corpora.Continue reading
This second installment revisits a piece I originally wrote in 2015 about narrative construction in Arabic chronicles from 15th- to 17th-century Damascus. It takes a micro-perspective to explore the construction of narratives focused on one series of events or ‘story’. As in the first instance, the PDF is attached at the end.Continue reading
An argument that one might still find frequently about premodern Arabic historiographical and biographical writing, despite all recent findings to the contrary, is that they are derivative and repeat much of what other authors have said before. This argument has, in fact, been made towards a larger segment of premodern Arabic literature and has been rebuked in a number of other fields, as well. In this post, I will argue that one aspect might actually be understood better by comparison with current social media practice.Continue reading
At the very start of doing this blog, I provided two posts on certain thematic clusters within Ibn Tulun’s oeuvre: one on plants and one on animals. There, I mentioned a first cluster in which he heavily relies on Prophetic traditions, food and food consumption. It is time to take a look at this cluster.