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This communication provides an expanded description of the contents of a Yemeni codex from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, ms Glaser 37. It discusses the dating of the codex and some of the unique texts preserved in it.

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In: Shii Studies Review

Abstract

Studies of Zaydi Yemen tend to underline the divisions, rather than connections, between sayyids, descendants of the Prophet, and tribal groups in the political sphere. This paper answers the question what value family connections to tribes had for ambitious sayyids in early modern Yemen who wanted to become Zaydi imams. To this end, the article examines a section of Imam Yaḥyā Sharaf al-Dīn’s (d. 965/1558) unpublished biography, containing the genealogy of his second wife, Tāj al-Bahāʾ bint al-shaykh Sharaf al-Dīn. The paper argues that the imam and his circle valued the connections that the marriage to a daughter of a shaykh brought to the imamate, and that it is due to its symbolic value for the legitimacy of the imamate that her genealogy was included in the biography.

Open Access
In: Medieval Encounters

Abstract

This article reconstructs the history of a Zaydi sayyid clan, the Āl Shams al-Dīn, their rise to prominence prior to the Ottoman conquest of Yemen and their continued success in maintaining their status at the top of Yemeni socio-political hierarchies over four centuries. The article explains the reasons for the success of the family as resilient local rulers and argues that the ability of the lords of Kawkabān to build alliances with the Ottomans was a necessary step for them to keep their special status in the next state formed in Yemen—the Qasimid imamate. Their alliance with the Ottomans is placed in a broader context for comparison. Through the analysis of the position of the family in early modern Yemen continuities between three successive political regimes are demonstrated.

Open Access
In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient