The Rise of a Capital: Al-Fusṭāṭ and Its Hinterland, 18/639-132/750


In The Rise of a Capital: Al-Fusṭāṭ and Its Hinterland, 18/639-132/750, Jelle Bruning maps al-Fusṭāṭ’s development from a garrison town founded by Muslim conquerors near modern Cairo (Egypt) in c. 640 C.E. into a bustling provincial capital a century later. Synthesising contemporary papyri, archaeology and narrative sources, this book argues that al-Fusṭāṭ’s position in Egypt changed with the different policies of the Rightly-Guided and Umayyad caliphs and their provincial representatives. Because these policies affected the town’s centrality in the administration as well as in commercial and legal networks throughout Egypt, from Alexandria in the north to Aswan in the south, The Rise of a Capital offers valuable new insights into Egypt’s society during the first century of Muslim rule.

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Jelle Bruning, Ph.D. (2014), Leiden University, is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at that university.
Transliteration, Dates, and Toponyms

 1 Studying al-Fusṭāṭ and Its Hinterland
 2 Al-Fusṭāṭ and Political Centrality: A Short Historical Overview

1 The Administrative Relationship between Alexandria and al-Fusṭāṭ
 1 The Establishment of Muslim Rule over Alexandria and the Foundation of al-Fusṭāṭ
 2 Connecting Alexandria to al-Fusṭāṭ 1: The Settlement of Muslim Notables
 3 Connecting Alexandria to al-Fusṭāṭ 2: The Creation of a Military Loyalty Network
 4 Strengthening al-Fusṭāṭ’s Control over Alexandria around 40/660: Gubernatorial Presence
 5 Concluding Remarks

2 The Commercial Development of Alexandria after the Foundation of al-Fusṭāṭ
 1 Al-Fusṭāṭ: Commercial Activity in the First/Seventh and Second/Eighth Centuries
 2 Alexandria in Domestic Trade: The Papyrological Evidence
 3 Alexandria and Interregional Trade
 4 Concluding Remarks

3 Changes in the Military Administration of Upper Egypt and Its Relationship with al-Fusṭāṭ
 1 The Thebaid: The Reach of Muslim Rule before 31/652 and the Establishment of the Southern Frontier near Aswan
 2 The Thebaid: Muslim Authority and the Southern Frontier
 3 Arcadia
 4 Concluding Remarks

4 Al-Fusṭāṭ and the Legal Administration of Upper Egypt
 1 Before 41/661: Separated Legal Practices
 2 Changes under the Sufyanids
 3 Changes after c. 80/700
 4 Concluding Remarks

General Conclusion: On the Development of al-Fusṭāṭ’s Relationship with Its Hinterland
 1 Circa 18/639–41/661: Al-Fusṭāṭ and the Muslims’ Conquest Polity
 2 Circa 41/661–80/700: Al-Fusṭāṭ and Sufyanid Legitimacy, A First Wave of Centralization
 3 Circa 80/700–132/750: Al-Fusṭāṭ and Marwanid Reforms, A Second and Stronger Wave of Centralization

Appendix: Overview of the Heads of the Civil and Military Administrations of Alexandria, and Governors in Alexandria
Index of References to Papyri and Inscriptions
General Index
Anyone interested in: Late Antique and early-Islamic history, especially the political, legal and economic history of Egypt; Arabic, Coptic and Greek papyrology; cities in the Islamicate world.
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