The article investigates the social and cultural practices of Sira production and consumption in the later Middle Period. It probes into the place held by Sira regarding the veneration of the Prophet, especially in relation to Hadith. Its first part shows that in the Middle Period Sira was intended as a vast literary repository characterized by fluidity of format, diverse social fruition, and plurality of practices in transmission and consumption. It was a literary field characterized by narrative malleability and creativity, for which there was popular demand and scholarly dedication.
The life and work of the Šāfiʿī scholar and Hadith expert Ibn Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Dimašqī (d. 842/1438), in particular his Ǧāmiʿ al-āṯār fī l-siyar wa-mawlid al-muḫtār (The Compilation of Traditions on the Life and Birth of the Chosen One) occupies the second part of the article. Here, Ǧāmiʿ al-āṯār is taken as a written exemplification of the tight relationship between Sira, Hadith and devotion to the Prophet typical of the period, of 14th-15th century Damascus in particular.
Overall, the article argues that the intended meaning and use of a text as rich as Ǧāmiʿ al-āṯār can be fully grasped only when we put it in close conversation with the Hadith culture and veneration for the Prophet of the time. It suggests the existence of a pervasive “Sira culture” binding people in a relationship of meaning to their shared memories of the life of the Prophet. Such culture was nurtured by remembrance of the Prophet’s excellency and life milestones. It aimed at cultivating salvific feelings of love for the Prophet that would assure believers a secure place in the Afterlife.
In Anatolian archaeology, as it is the case in the neighbouring regions of the Near East and Aegean, the Bronze Age is considered in three consecutive stages, however, defined not in accordance with metallurgical achievements, but on changing modalities in social and economic structures. Before the beginning of the Early Bronze Age there were fully established farming communities across almost all of Anatolia, though subsisting mainly on family-level farming with no indication of complex social structuring. Likewise, during the final stages of the Late Chalcolithic there was a notable decrease in population, particularly in Central and Western Anatolia. In this respect, the south-eastern parts of Anatolia differ considerably from the rest of the peninsula, developing a complex socio-economic model in connection with the bordering regions of Syro-Mesopotamia. This pattern changed by incoming migration from the north, with subsequent dense population patterns in the eastern and western parts of the peninsula. Following the reorganization and consolidation of this system, the Early Bronze Age is characterized by urbanisation, institutionalized long-distance trade, intensification and revolutionized agricultural and weaving practices. The urban model that developed in Anatolia differs considerably from those of the Near East both in size and in organization. The Middle Bronze Age is marked by state formations, which by the Late Bronze Age developed into empires with their own foreign policies. Concerning the role of metals, copper and lead were used since the Neolithic and arsenic bronze by the Late Chalcolithic. The Bronze Age may be viewed as a time of mass production and development of complex technologies in casting, alloying and forming.
The key term of this volume is bronze: in its basic meaning it is an alloy of two metals, copper and tin, even if there are other combinations, such as arsenical bronze. In Mesopotamia, the area I will discuss here, every form of bronze shared a common characteristic, however. To make bronze it was necessary to bring together two metals with origins in separate and distant places. The sources changed over time, but in Mesopotamia itself bronze was never the product of elements found in the same location. The outcome was something special, a compound stronger and deemed to be more appealing than its separate components. My discussion here will not be about metallurgy or material culture, however, but about literate culture, which in the Mesopotamian Bronze Age, I argue, showed a similar amalgamation of elements from sources that were geographically distinct. We can see bronze as a metaphor for literate culture in Mesopotamia.
When it comes to science writing, narrative has attracted little attention. This paper attempts to fill this gap by presenting a brief pilot survey on narrative in the Aristotelian Corpus. My main concern here is to understand the workings of narrative in the process of knowledge creation. Aristotle, apart from his paradigmatic role in the history of knowledge, offers a broad and varied corpus. The paper proceeds in three steps: After a few introductory remarks on the concept of ‘narrative’, I will give a brief overview of narrative in Aristotle. Then, there follow a few examples for the main epistemic functions of narrative in Aristotle. After that, five epistemic grand narratives, actually ‘stories’, told by Aristotle, demonstrate that he has a method of narrative construction, that is, of epistemic storytelling, which has been very successful. I attempt to cast this method in a poetics-style list of rules. The paper shows that Aristotle skillfully uses different forms of narrative in order to produce knowledge.
A hitherto neglected battle of the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes was fought out in two lyrical poems celebrating the feats of Louis XIV. Boileau’s ode on the successful siege of Namur in 1692 calls upon the spirit of Pindar to stage the city’s capture in such a sublime way that the poem looses sight of the sun king. Perrault responds a year later with a rhetorically regularized ode that deploys a Horatian model in order to reassert royal authority as a continual triumph of victory and peace. Thus, the ancien chooses the subversive Pindar while the moderne prefers the (ostensibly) more imperial Horace. When William III retakes Namur in 1695 another, now British, response to Boileau conjures up both ancient odists. First Congreve lets his sovereign drown in the triumphant battlecries of soldiers that he amplifies in his ‘Pindarick’ verse and then, by means of a Horatian recusatio, rejects all responsibility for this drowning.
There are various approaches to building a picture of the ‘spiritual’ entities in which indigenous Formosans believed in ‘Aboriginal Taiwan’. This article does so by studying what sources written in the seventeenth century tell us about them. One source was written by a Chinese observer, and others by two groups of Europeans: Dutch East India Company employees and Spanish missionaries. Thus, one methodological issue is that these authors looked at Formosan belief systems through the different lenses of their own religious experience and tried to fit the Formosan belief systems into their own ‘existing knowledge grids’. A related problem is that the authors’ usage of terms may differ and indeed does differ from modern usage in the anthropology of religion. Despite these methodological issues, the article argues that these sources indicate that different Formosan tribes believed in different spiritual entities and were therefore marked by their heterogeneity.
As the scholarly border between China and Southeast Asia has dissipated, so the vast region from the Yangtze River to Malaysia has been integrated into a whole. There was an inexorable expansion of copper-base expertise southward, reaching Lingnan and Yunnan by 1400-1200 bc, and Southeast Asia one or two centuries later, with ultimate origins in the Asian steppes via the Chinese Central Plains and Sichuan. As prospectors identified and exploited the Southeast Asian copper mines, a limited range of copper-base artefacts moved along established exchange routes, including socketed axes, bangles and spears. At first rare and used to advertise status in communities advantaged by a strategic location, with increased production and in situ casting within consumer settlements, bronzes were no longer associated with social elites. Only with different regional stimuli during the Iron Age, were bronzes again employed by societies characterized by social inequality.
The Bronze Age was a time of pivotal economic change when new long-distance trading networks became associated with a macro-regional division of labour and decentralised political complexity. These developments occurred against the background of a shifting mosaic of subsistence patterns, which included the east-west exchange of crops across Eurasia and (in some areas) greater use of secondary products. As Bronze Age economies became more specialised and diverse, it might be assumed that there was also an increased emphasis on the procurement and trade of fish and other marine resources. However, archaeological analyses of such resources are limited in contrast to land-based subsistence patterns and many questions remain. This essay aims to build a broad interpretive framework for analysing the role of marine resources in the Bronze Age. Our provisional results find that an increased emphasis on specialist systems of agropastoralism reduced the use of marine resources in many parts of Eurasia during this period. However, evidence from Japan and the eastern Mediterranean suggests that, at least in some regions, marine resources became commodities traded over long-distances by the late Bronze Age, though this requires further quantification. Island Southeast Asia displays a different pattern from other regions considered here in a greater continuity of marine resource use from the Neolithic into the historic era, perhaps due to a lower reliance on agropastoralism.
This paper considers the extent to which ancient Nubian cultures might be considered ‘Bronze Age’ during the Second Millennium bce and questions the application of the term ‘Bronze Age’ to Middle Nubian cultures in some scholarly discourse. Using evidence from Nubian cemeteries and settlements in the Nile Valley, it is argued that while the Kerma culture and ancient Kush might be seen to participate in Bronze Age networks, other contemporaneous Nubian cultures did not directly participate. The author stresses the important of defining terminologies and a deeper consideration of Eurocentric perspectives when studying ancient northeast African cultures.