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Biographies, autobiographies et pouvoir sultanien de Soliman le Magnifique à Abdülhamid II
This article aims to examine how three types of Ottoman writings are embedded in a sultanic administrative culture who helped, in the last century of the Empire, the emergence of a new practice (the autobiography by the State) which was appropriated by scholars and writers. The first one is a sort of biographical collections inherited from the medieval kind of biography in the Middle East. The second is the product of administrative registers whose function was to make a census of the Individuals and list the allowances which had to come back to the office to which they belonged. The third concerns the petitions sent by the employees to the Palace or to the Sublime Door. According to the hypothesis explored in this article, these three kinds of writings contributed with different modalities but converged purpose, to the moulding of a bibliographic culture for the Service of the State: the first one allowed the assertion of the Legitimacy of the sultanic power by the glorification of the men who served it, the second participated in the strengthening of the administration by the census of the resources of the Empire, the third offered frame of a dialogue between the power and its instruments, favorable to the emergence, within the State, of a self-narrative.
Keywords: autobiography – self-narrative – administrative registers – Ottoman sultan – high dignitaries.
- Olivier Bouquet
Une waqfiyya sultanienne du Yémen. L’acte de fondation de la madrasa al-Ašrafiyya de Taʿizz (803/1400)
While the study of the waqf acts was one of the major ways of renewing the historical study of the Mamlūk Empire or the Ottoman Empire in the last thirty years, not enough attention has been paid to the Yemeni waqf, although their traces were abundantly preserved .
This article aims at presenting the waqfiyya of the madrasa al-ašrafiyya al-kubrā of Taʿizz, whose construction was ordered by the Rasūlid Sulṭān al-Ašraf Ismāʿīl.
The text on which we based our work is a manuscript copied in 1940 from an older one.
This copy is part of a collection of waqf acts, untitled al-Waqfiyya al-Ġassāniyya which is preserved today in the Administrative Bureau of Taʿizz waqf-s.
This collection of 174 folios written on ordinary paper, includes twenty baṣīra-s (waqfiyya), mainly acts of pious foundations, like madrasa-s, ribāṭ-s, sabīl-s (public fountain) and Mosques. The most ancient of these waqf-s goes back to the era of al-Malik Al Muẓẓafar Yūsuf, the second rasūlid sovereign and the newest to the year 1003/1595.
The Waqfiyya al-Ašrafiyya, occupies in itself the first twenty folios of the collection. It stipulates that the buildings depicted are a mosque, a madrasa and a ḫānqāh. The document provides us with a list of the revenues of these institutions, which are agricultural lands, shops, destined to assure the maintenance, the administration, the scholarship and the wages of both the teachers and the workers.
The fact that the Waqfiyya comes from a ruling sovereign, makes it an official act more than a charitable one. The primary goal of this waqf is, with no doubt, to establish an instrument of power. This latest point will be the main topic of our work:
– The Sultan’s whishes to bring close the ṣūfī šayḫ and šāfiʿī scholars, who constitute the great majority of Lower Yemen scholars, by attributing high wages to the teachers and their assistants but also to the ṣūfī šayḫ-s.
– The support attributed to the diffusion of their school of law (šāfiʿī maḏhab) and Sufism in competing with Zaydī maḏhab that dominate Upper Yemen.
– Planning to create an elite capable of holding religious and administrative position.
Keywords: baṣīra – ḫānqāh – madrasa – Rasūlid – Taʿizz – al-Waqfiyya al-Ġassāniyya –waqf – Yemen.
- Saïd M’hamed
Des « sultans-secrétaires » ? Pratique de l’archive et savoirs encyclopédiques dans l’État rasūlide (VIIe-IXe / XIIIe-XVe siècles)
The Rasūlid Sultanate of Yemen (626-858/1229-1454) offers a new but rather singular evidence in the debate on state archives in the Medieval Arabic Lands. The existence of several books of administrative documents voluntarily preserved, constituting an extremely rich set of “Rasulid archives” is here put into perspective with the works written by the rulers themselves. All these archives and royal books aim apparently to replace Yemen, its territory, its products and its people in the horizon of universal knowledge. This paper deals particularly with two distinct types of administrative knowledge: how to describe the Yemeni land and how to identify the men who served the Sultanate? In these two fields, a distinct sultanic language is gradually forged, by borrowing heavily to dominant forms of the astronomical science and the biographical writing.
Keywords: Yemen – archives – administrative knowledge – geography – biographical writing.
- Éric Vallet ( : 050853155)
Sufis and Soldiers in Mamluk Cairo. Parading the Aesthetics of Agency
This paper addresses the theme of Sufi public parading, focusing on a case study of the Wafā’iyya order. Correcting earlier academic characterizations of Sufism as a passive vehicle to be manipulated in the interests of religious or military elites, the agency of Sufi actors is recovered. The peculiar nature of Sufi parading is explored in light of its apparent mimicking of military parades, and an argument is made on aesthetic criteria that identifies it as an independent display of power.
Keywords: Sufism – Wafā’iyya – šāḏiliyya – processions – ritual – politics.
- Richard McGregor ( : 085585610)
Mu’ayyad Šayḫ and the Landscape of Power
Two magnificent monuments adorn al-Darb al-Aḥmar Street today, both built by al-Sulṭān al-Mu’ayyad Šayḫ. But their present monumentality is just a portion of their original physical entity, when they were founded. The article discusses the original borders of the two structures by information recruited from waqfiyya of al-Mu’ayyad Šayḫ and demonstrates how these two edifices were used by the architects of al Mu’ayyad to control over fifteenth century al-Qāhira’s beating heart, al-Darb al-Aḥmar Street.
Keywords: al-Sulṭān al-Mu’ayyad Šayḫ – mosque of al-Mu’ayyad Šayḫ – bīmāristān al- Mu’ayyad Šayḫ – ḥammām al-Mu’ayyad – waqfiyyat al-Mu’ayyad – al-Darb al-Aḥmar street – Bāb Zuwayla – fifteenth century al-Qāhira.
- Nairy Hampikian
Valentine Denizeau, Sylvie Denoix
Le sultan promoteur. Aménagement urbain dans Le Caire du VIIIe/XIVe siècle
Country management being a royal privilege, Mamluk sultans didn’t miss their kingly duty: they fit out their capital and its surroundings. In Cairo particularly, the challenge was quite demanding, as the capital was found on the edges of a lively river, providing each year its uncertain summer flood, but also shifting from one bank to the other at the current’s discretion. In Cairo as in the countryside, the feeder river had to be regulated and controlled to assure safety to its inhabitants as well as to supply them with fresh water all year long. Those two requirements, water supply and security, couldn’t be without a dynamic politics of water management. Regarding the Nile and Cairo, it consisted in digging channels, building and maintaining dykes, dams, levees and aqueducts; an everyday task demanding tremendous and continuous efforts.
As the river bed was shifting more and more westward during medieval times, eroding banks and transporting and depositing its loads along the edges, new banks were progressively created in Cairo. First undetermined swampy unwelcoming lands, they soon became suitable for a human utilization first, then for settlement and urbanization. This is how, at the beginning of the 8th/14th century, a significant piece of “new land” appears along the channel of Cairo (ḫalīǧ). Immediately considerate as a major opportunity for developing Cairo, this land, once dried, stabilized and secured, is leased in long lasting rents by the sultan al-Nāṣir Muḥammad. The story of the process of the sultan’s investment on that urban operation, retraced thanks to his waqf deed, is an excellent source of information about the Mamluk power’s involvement in urban promotion.
Keywords: mamluk Cairo – al-Nāṣir Muḥammad b. Qalāwūn – urban management – ḫalīǧ.
The Life and Times of the Mamluk Turba. Processual Subversion of Inceptual Intent
Many of the Mamluk turba-s of Cairo’s cemeteries survived because of a process of subversion of the original intention of their founders whereby new meanings and functions were endowed by the users of these funerary complexes, particularly the religious figures living and/or buried there and their followers. This study will investigate the reasons behind the construction of the turba-s of the cemeteries of Cairo, for the choice of the particular formula they followed, and also for the choice of site and location. It will then follow their post-inception history and discuss the reasons for the mutations and subversions they underwent. In doing so, it will argue for a re-assessment of this later history and for its validation as an integral part of the identity of the turba and in some cases, as a decisive factor in its survival.
Keywords: Cairo – Mamluk – al-Qarafa – cemetery – turba – hermeneutics – sacred architecture.
- May Al-Ibrashy
Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh
The City’s Edge. Rethinking Sources and Methods for the Study of Urban Peripheries
This essay considers the question of the boundary between the cities in the early Ottoman period (16th-17th century), in the regions conquered from the Mamluk Empire. In this period of tremendous urban growth, the edge of the city was transformed through the creation of new suburbs. This essay considers the resources available to understand the movement of the urban edge, including the study of architectural remains, juridical literature that legislates the limits of the city, as well as narrative sources produced by urban dwellers. These sources each produce different kinds of knowledge about the city, making some aspects of urban transformation better understood than others. This essay addresses the specific kinds of information that can be gleaned from these sources, and it considers how scholars have used such sources in the past and to what effect. Moreover, based on a study of Aleppo, this essay suggests that an original contribution to urban history can be made through a careful utilization of the biographies of saints, a rich resource not often considered for the study of space.
Keywords: Aleppo – Cairo – saints – ḥanafī law – the Islamic City – ramparts.
- Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh ( : 103468870)
L’exercice du pouvoir sur les communautés oasiennes de Gafsa (Tunisie) aux XVIIe, XVIIIe et XIXe siècles. Pratiques et représentations
During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the Gafsa region, South-West of the Ottoman Regency of Tunis, seemed to know a new era in the relations between the oasis communities and the central government. Various mechanisms were used by the Turkish military-political class to ensure the allegiance of local populations. The ratio of military force was maintained for the center through the permanent presence of a garrison of Turkish asker the Casbah of Gafsa, periodic stays of “Winter Mehalla” in Dār al-Bey, in the city center, and the makhzenisation of the neighboring tribes (Hamama). The establishment of a political and administrative system favored the recovery of some local notables. The collection of taxes by the central government was considered as the necessary price to guarantee public order, security and justice. The legitimization of power was reinforced by the instrumentalization of religion in its various forms. Perceptions of power by the local communities indicate changes in the degree of acceptance. Images, sometimes contradictory, of the power of “al-Turk” especially in the 17th century indicate that the population was torn between the fear of abuse and the expectation of a body that would guarantee security. In the 19th century, new concepts in the local discourse show a change in the perception of the state as a concrete component of the everyday life of the people. The exercise of power can be better understood when studied in terms of convergence of interests and interrelationships.
Keywords: Gafsa – Tunisia – Tunis (regency of) – Maghreb – oasis – exercise of power – political/religious.
- Mustapha Tlili
Bethany J. Walker
The Agricultural Dimension of Imperial-Peasant Relations in Mamluk Jordan
Far from the urban centers of military and political power, the Mamluk state maintained an unpredictable relationship with local peoples and attempted to exercise power over them in a way that could best be described as “managerial”. In many ways land was the key to the ever-changing power relations within the Mamluk elite and with local society. The complexities of these relationships are illustrated well in the case of the Transjordan, which comprised the eastern frontier.
This paper is concerned with two related phenomena. The first is the centrality of land in Mamluk policies in the Transjordan and the regime’s relations with local peoples. The second addresses the “decline” of the Mamluk state from the perspective of developments in the local agricultural regime, changing relations between producers and the state, and migrations of populations in Jordan, which were driven, in part, by regional political conflict and economic necessity. Adopting an Annaliste perspective on imbedded cycles of change, the rural sphere is interrogated as the locus of contestation and collaboration between ruler and ruled and provides a backdrop for assessing the transformations of the final century of Mamluk rule.
Keywords: mamluk – village life – iqṭāʿāt – agriculture – climate change – drought – Jordan – rural administration.
- Bethany J. Walker ( : 127265848)