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Die Renaissance der Städte in Nordsyrien und Nordmesopotamien

Städtische Entwicklung und wirtschaftliche Bedingungen in ar-Raqqa und Ḥ̣arrān von der Zeit der beduinischen Vorherrschaft bis zu den Seldschuken

Stefan Heidemann

The period between 950 and 1150 A.D. is regarded as "turning point in the history of the Islamic Culture" from the Early Islamic to the Late Medieval civilization. What led to the urban decline in between and the later recovery? Ḥ̣arrān and al-Raqqa serve as paradigma for the development in Northern Syria and Northern Mesopotamia.
The collapse of the ʿAbbasid state left the region cornered between Buyids, Fatimids and Byzantines to the nomadic tribes not acquainted with urban culture. After 1086 A.D., measures undertaken by the Seljuqs in order to safeguard their hegemony led to a renaissance of cities inspite of permanent power struggles and the crusades. They based their rule on fortified places. The financing of the army led to the distribution of land as fiefs ( iqtaʿ) and subsequently to a dislodgement of nomads and a recultivation of former agricultural land. Cash money for the treasury was generated by skimming long distance trade; this in turn required public security on the roads. An analysis of the monetary circulation according to archaeological and literal evidence serves as measure for the economic recovery. A corpus of the coin production in al-Raqqa, ḥarrān and al-Ruha'/Edessa supplements the textual sources.
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Das Aleppiner Kalifat (A.D. 1261)

Vom Ende des Kalifates in Bagdad über Aleppo zu den Restaurationen in Kairo

Stefan Heidemann

The end of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad during the Mongol wars of the 13th century was one of the decisive events of Islamic history. Das Aleppiner Kalifat (A.D. 1261) deals with the fate of the institution from the Mongol sack of Baghdad through the short-lived Aleppine caliphate to its restoration, in Mamluk Cairo.
The often parallel developments and motivations of the historical figures are analyzed step-by-step. The author explores the relations between the events, revealing the contingent character of the restoration. The key for the new interpretation is the Aleppine caliphate. Emphasis is given to the changing patterns of legitimization and of representation of political power.
An extensive political chronography and a detailed numismatic corpus for all major towns in the regions (Egypt, Syria, Northern Mesopotamia, Iraq) and period concerned (1257-1262) serve as reference.
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Stefan Heidemann, Jean-François de Lapérouse and Vicki Parry

A pair of almost life-sized polychrome stucco sculptures attributed to the Seljuq period in Iran was closely examined prior to the reinstallation of the Islamic galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011. Iconographical analysis of their crowns and other accoutrements suggests that they represent a pair of royal figures that were once part of a larger decorative program dated to 1050–1150. Given the itinerant nature of the Seljuq court, it is proposed that this stucco decoration was created for a temporary reception structure, or kūshk, probably in western Iran. While scientific analyses have indicated that much if not all of the polychromy is modern, technical examination of the plaster used to create these figures and related examples in other collections is ongoing.