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
One, if not the, major publication on the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus was published by the French Institute (Ifpo) in 2018: Le waqf de la mosquée des Omeyyades de Damas. Le manuscrit ottoman d’un inventaire mamelouk établi en 816/1413. It is a study and edition of a 1518 document on the mosque’s endowment which, in turn, had been established in 1413. This book is massive at 741 pages and the result of the collaboration of three eminent experts in the field: Mathieu Eychenne, Astrid Meier, and Élodie Vigouroux. But because the book is in French, it might not have received all the attention it deserves. Let’s change that.Continue reading
Over the last three weeks or so, I was without a working a computer. And even now that a new one has arrived I am struggling to get into some sort of routine with backup passwords and other obstacles. That being said, my access to sources and literature is somewhat hampered at the moment. Therefore, I have revisited some of my own writings from the 2010’s. This post contains a summary as well as some notes on my book chapter “News and Rumor – local sources of knowledge about the world”. A PDF is attached at the end.Continue reading
A while back, a book chapter of mine was published in the volume The Mamluk-Ottoman Transition. Continuity and Change in Egypt and Bilād al-Shām in the Sixteenth Century, edited by Stephan Conermann and Gül Şen. In this I investigated architectural policies of the Ottoman sultan Selim immediately following his occupation of Damascus.
I still stand by most of the points I made in this publication. But I was unhappy that the illustrations into which I had put so much work were printed rather small. Thus, this post brings them back and, on their basis, retells the story of how the Ottomans not only conquered but won over Damascus.
The criminal underworld of medieval Damascus is certainly not my field of expertise. But as for the contemporary audience of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s chronicle Mufākahat al-Khillān, these stories also draw the attention of current readers. This short post relates one such instance from Damascus at the end of the Mamluk period.Continue reading