Water for the Saints of Baghdad: The Hydrology of a Sacred Ottoman Geography

In: Journal of Early Modern History
View More View Less
  • 1 Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park, PAUSA
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Following the conquest of Baghdad in 1534, the Ottoman Empire pursued a wide range of policies to maintain the shrines of Muslim saints buried in the province, many of whom were revered by both the Sunni Ottomans and the Shiʿi Safavids. Ottoman endeavors entailed active management of the Tigris and Euphrates waters to provision inland shrines with water and guard those on the riverbanks from damaging floods. With a hydraulic infrastructure, the Ottomans appropriated the memories of the saints of Baghdad and reinforced their territorial claims to the province in the face of a rising Shiʿi power in Persia. The story highlights the political and religious dimensions of water control in a sacred geography as imperial conflicts within Islamdom and Christendom redrew the map of Eurasia.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 291 291 185
Full Text Views 20 20 13
PDF Views & Downloads 62 62 34