Making books as an archival practice

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.

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Into Ibn Ṭūlūn’s Endowed Library (Part 2)

Co-authored by Melis Emre

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.

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The Umayyad Mosque: A Review of sorts

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.

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Of what a biographer approves: The case of Akmal al-Din Ibn Muflih

This short post revolves around a short biography of Akmal al-Din Ibn Muflih, a somewhat elusive figure of early Ottoman Damascus. He was Ibn Tulun’s most visible student; that is, his handwriting is found in many of his teacher’s autographs. Yet, little substantial information can be found on him in the biographical literature. In this and several future posts, we will see that even the most basic facts of his career become uncertain once biographical accounts are compared. But first, this post introduces a rather late description which concentrates rather on Ibn Muflih’s contributions to the Arabic manuscript tradition.

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