Trajectories of State Formation across Fifteenth-Century Islamic West-Asia

Eurasian Parallels, Connections and Divergences


The concept, practice, institution and appearance of ‘the state’ have been hotly debated ever since the emergence of history as a discipline within modern scholarship. The field of medieval Islamic history, however, has remained aloof from most of these debates. Rather it tends to take for granted the particularity of dynastic trajectories within slow-changing bureaucratic contexts. Trajectories of State Formation promotes a more critical and connected understanding of state formation in the late medieval Sultanates of Cairo and of the Timurid, Turkmen and Ottoman dynasties. Projecting seven case studies onto a broad canvas of European and West-Asian research, this volume presents a trans-dynastic reconstruction, interpretation and illustration of statist trajectories across fifteenth-century Islamic West-Asia.

The contributors are: Georg Christ, Kristof D’hulster, Jan Dumolyn, Albrecht Fuess, Dimitri J. Kastritsis, Beatrice Forbes Manz, John L. Meloy, Jo Van Steenbergen, and Patrick Wing.
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Jo Van Steenbergen is Professor of Islamic history (UGent, Belgium). He has published extensively on late medieval Syro-Egyptian socio-political and cultural history, including Order Out of Chaos (Brill, 2006) and Caliphate and Kingship in a Fifteenth-Century Literary History (Brill, 2016).
 List of Figures, Tables and Maps
 List on Contributors

 Introduction: State Formation in the Fifteenth Century and the Western Eurasian Canvas: Problems and Opportunities
Jo Van Steenbergen


 Part 1: Whither the Fifteenth Century?

 1 From Temür to Selim: Trajectories of Turko-Mongol State Formation in Islamic West-Asia’s Long Fifteenth Century
Jo Van Steenbergen

 2 Studying Rulers and States across Fifteenth Century Western Eurasia
Jan Dumolyn and Jo Van Steenbergen

 Part 2: From Cairo to Constantinople: The Construction of West-Asian Centers of Power

 3 The Road to the Citadel as a Chain of Opportunity: Mamluks’ Careers between Contingency and Institutionalization
Kristof D’hulster

 4 The Syro-Egyptian Sultanate in Transformation, 1496–1498: Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad b. Qaytbay and the Reformation of mamlūk Institutions and Symbols of State Power
Albrecht Fuess

 5 Tales of Viziers and Wine: Interpreting Early Ottoman Narratives of State Centralization
Dimitri Kastritsis

 Part 3: From Khwaf to Alexandria: The Accommodation of West-Asian Peripheries of Power

 6 Iranian Elites under the Timurids
Beatrice F. Manz

 7 The Judges of Mecca and Mamluk Hegemony
John L. Meloy

 8 The Syrian Commercial Elite and Mamluk State-Building in the Fifteenth Century
Patrick Wing

 9 Settling Accounts with the Sultan: Cortesia, Zemechia and Venetian Fiscality in Fifteenth Century Alexandria
Georg Christ

All interested in medieval history, state formation studies and Islamic history (including Mamluk, Ottoman, Timurid and Turkmen histories). Keywords: West-Asia, state, Sultanate, Mamluks, Ottomans, Timurids, Qaraqoyunlu, Aqqoyunlu, Turkmen, Turks, Turko-Mongols, 15th century, entanglement, centre, periphery.