A Companion to Medieval Ethiopia and Eritrea introduces readers to current research on major topics in the history and cultures of the Ethiopian-Eritrean region from the seventh century to the mid-sixteenth, with insights into foundational late-antique developments where appropriate. Multiconfessional in scope, it includes in its purview both the Christian kingdom and the Islamic and local-religious societies that have attracted increasing attention in recent decades, tracing their internal features, interrelations, and imbrication in broader networks stretching from Egypt and Yemen to Europe and India. Utilizing diverse source types and methodologies, its fifteen essays offer an up-to-date overview of the subject for students and nonspecialists, and are rich in material for researchers.
The Fatimids (10th - 12th centuries C.E) are known to have been the first Shiite caliphal dynasty and to have founded Cairo, the city that became their capital in 973 when they left Tunisia for Egypt. During their reign, the Fatimids built an effective war fleet that inflicted several defeats on Christian navies. This is the first study on the Fatimid naval force and, more generally, on the role of the sea for the Fatimids whose territories touched both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The documentation presented in this study demonstrates how, in the course of two centuries, this Ismaeli dynasty set up a maritime policy and developed a communication strategy in which their control of the sea helped legitimize their universalist claims against competing powers.
Les Fatimides (10e -12e s. ap. J.-C) sont connus pour avoir été la première dynastie califale chiite et pour avoir fondé Le Caire qui devint leur capitale à partir de 973 lorsque la dynastie quitta la Tunisie actuelle pour s’installer en Egypte et prendre possession d’un empire qui s’étendait de l’Algérie orientale jusqu’à la Syrie en passant par la Sicile et certains territoires de la péninsule arabique. Durant leur règne, ils disposèrent d’une flotte de guerre efficace qui infligea plusieurs défaites aux marines chrétiennes. Au-delà de la chronologie des batailles navales, aucune étude n’existait sur le rôle de cette force navale et plus généralement sur le rôle de la mer pour les Fatimides dont les territoires touchaient à la fois la Méditerranée et la mer Rouge. La documentation met pourtant en évidence que sur durant plus de deux siècles, les Fatimides mirent en place une politique maritime qui dépassait largement les considérations militaires. Ils développèrent ainsi une stratégie de communication dans laquelle la mer jouait un rôle majeur pour à la fois légitimer les prétentions universalistes de cette dynastie ismaélienne face à des pouvoirs concurrents et pour lui permettre de survivre.
Maria R. Grasso’s monograph on the twelfth-century illustrated vita of Saint Amand, Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale MS 500, presents new information regarding its contents. The author’s discovery and analysis of a second almost complete set of preliminary drawings beneath another set of the same drawings demonstrates that important alterations were made prior to the execution of the cycle. Grasso’s discussion includes the probable reason for the change: the isolation of the terminating folio depicting the soul of Amand. This important devotional image is the focus of detailed analysis since the soul of Amand rests in the lap of a male figure she convincingly identifies as Christ, an extremely unusual placement for the soul of a saint, demonstrating the creativity of the artists.
Mamluk Cairo, a Crossroads for Embassies offers an up-to-date insight into the diplomacy and diplomatics of the Mamluk sultanate with Muslim and non-Muslim powers. This rich volume covers the whole chronological span of the sultanate as well as the various areas of the diplomatic relations established by (or with) the Mamluk sultanate. Twenty-six essays are divided in geographical sections that broadly respect the political division of the world as the Mamluk chancery perceived it. In addition, two introductory essays provide the present stage of research in the fields of, respectively, diplomatics and diplomacy. With contributions by Frédéric Bauden, Lotfi Ben Miled, Michele Bernardini, Bárbara Boloix Gallardo, Anne F. Broadbridge, Mounira Chapoutot-Remadi, Stephan Conermann, Nicholas Coureas, Malika Dekkiche, Rémi Dewière, Kristof D’hulster, Marie Favereau, Gladys Frantz-Murphy, Yehoshua Frenkel, Hend Gilli-Elewy, Ludvik Kalus, Anna Kollatz, Julien Loiseau, Maria Filomena Lopes de Barros, John L. Meloy, Pierre Moukarzel, Lucian Reinfandt, Alessandro Rizzo, Éric Vallet, Valentina Vezzoli and Patrick Wing.
Kanz al-fawāʾid fī tanwīʿ al-mawāʾid, a fourteenth-century cookbook, is unique for its variety and comprehensive coverage of contemporary Egyptian cuisine. It includes, in addition to instructions for the cook, a treasure trove of 830 recipes of dishes, digestives, refreshing beverages, and more.
It is the only surviving cookbook from a period when Cairo was a flourishing metropolis and a cultural haven for people of diverse ethnicities and nationalities. Now available for the first time in English, it has been meticulously translated and supplemented with a comprehensive introduction, glossary, and 117 color illustrations to initiate readers into the world of the
Kanz al-fawāʾid. The twenty-two modern adaptations of
Kanz recipes will inspire further experimentations. It is a valuable resource for scholars of medieval material culture, and for all lovers of good food and cookbooks.
The Epic of Sumanguru Kante contains the Bamana text and English translation of griot Abdoulaye Sako’s oral narrative of the life of Sumanguru, recorded in 1997 in Koulikoro (Mali), together with explanatory notes, a scholarly introduction, and sections on the Bamana language and musical accompaniment. Sumanguru is a familiar figure within Manding epic oral traditions about ancient Mali. But while these narratives generally focus on Sunjata Keita, Sako’s oral poem is rare in according Sumanguru the central role. In so doing he includes hitherto undocumented episodes relating to Sumanguru’s life and role as the ruler of Soso, the little known state said to have flourished in the western Sudan between the fall of ancient Ghana and rise of ancient Mali.
This book examines the relationship between medieval European mythologies of the non-Western world and the initial Portuguese and Spanish voyages of expansion and exploration to Africa, Asia and the Americas. From encounters with the Mongols and successor states, to the European contacts with Ethiopia, India and the Americas, as well as the concomitant Jewish notion of the Ten Lost Tribes, the volume views the Western search for distant, crusading allies through the lens of stories such as the apostolate of Saint Thomas and the stories surrounding the supposed priest-king Prester John. In doing so, Knobler weaves a broad history of early modern Iberian imperial expansion within the context of a history of cosmologies and mythologies.
Urban Autonomy in Medieval Islam Fukuzo Amabe offers the first in-depth study on autonomous cities in medieval Islam stretching from Aleppo and Damascus to Cordoba, Toledo and Valencia through Tunis during the late tenth to early twelfth centuries. Each city is treated separately to cull facts to prove its autonomy at least for a certain period. The Middle East was the first region to develop cities and then empires in ancient times. Furthermore, the Islamic world was the first to transform ancient political or farmer cities to economic and industrial ones consisting of notables and plebeians, followed by China, then parts of Western Europe.
The first part of this work includes all the known works of the twelfth-century Andalusi author Ibn Quzmān, most of which are zajal poems composed in the colloquial dialect of Andalus. They have been edited in a Romanized transliteration, and are accompanied by a facing-page English prose translation, along with notes and commentaries intended to elucidate matters relevant to each poem. In the second part of the work, sixteen chapters are devoted to analyzing specific poems from a literary perspective, in order to delve into their meaning and, thereby, explain the poet’s literary goals.
Saladin, the Almohads and the Banū Ghāniya,
Amar Baadj gives us the first comprehensive, modern study of a fascinating but little-known episode in the history of the medieval Mediterranean. This is the story of the long struggle between the Almohad caliphs of the Maghrib, the Banū Ghāniya of Majorca, and the Ayyubids for dominance of North Africa.
The author makes use of important textual sources that have been ignored as well as new archaeological evidence to challenge some of the basic assumptions about the events in question. He also successfully places these events in their wider temporal and geographical context for the first time.