What makes a city an economic, political, and cultural center? In The Places Where Men Pray Together, Paul Wheatley draws on two decades of astonishingly wide-ranging research to demonstrate that Islamic cities are defined by function rather than form—by what they do rather than what they are. Focusing on the roles of cities during the first four centuries of Islamic expansion, Wheatley explores interconnected cultural, historical, economic, political, and religious factors to provide the clearest and most extensively documented portrait of early Islamic urban centers available to date. Building on the tenth-century geographer al-Maqdisi's writings on urban centers of the Islamic world, buttressed by extensive comparative material from roadbooks, topographies, histories, adab literatures, and gazetteers of the time, Wheatley identifies the main functions of different Islamic urban centers. Chapters on each of the thirteen centers that al-Maqdisi identified, ranging from the Atlantic to the Indus and from the Caspian to the Sudan, form the heart of this book. In each case Wheatley shows how specific agglomeration and accessibility factors combined to make every city functionally distinct as a creator of effective space. He also demonstrates that, far from revolutionizing every aspect of life in these cities, the adoption of Islam often affected the development of these cities less than previously existing local traditions. The Places Where Men Pray Together is a monumental work that will speak to scholars and readers across a broad variety of disciplines, from historians, anthropologists, and sociologists to religious historians, archaeologists, and geographers.
If humankind can be said to have a single greatest creation, it would be those places that represent the most eloquent expression of our species’s ingenuity, beliefs, and ideals: the city. In this authoritative and engagingly written account, the acclaimed urbanist and bestselling author examines the evolution of urban life over the millennia and, in doing so, attempts to answer the age-old question: What makes a city great? Despite their infinite variety, all cities essentially serve three purposes: spiritual, political, and economic. Kotkin follows the progression of the city from the early religious centers of Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and China to the imperial centers of the Classical era, through the rise of the Islamic city and the European commercial capitals, ending with today’s post-industrial suburban metropolis. Despite widespread optimistic claims that cities are “back in style,” Kotkin warns that whatever their form, cities can thrive only if they remain sacred, safe, and busy–and this is true for both the increasingly urbanized developing world and the often self-possessed “global cities” of the West and East Asia. Looking at cities in the twenty-first century, Kotkin discusses the effects of developments such as shifting demographics and emerging technologies. He also considers the effects of terrorism–how the religious and cultural struggles of the present pose the greatest challenge to the urban future. Truly global in scope, The City is a timely narrative that will place Kotkin in the company of Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, and other preeminent urban scholars.
This volume is an inter-disciplinary endeavour which brings together recent research on aspects of urban life and structure by architectural and textual historians and archaeologists, engendering exciting new perspectives on urban life in the pre-modern Islamic world. Its objective is to move beyond the long-standing debate on whether an ‘Islamic city’ existed in the pre-modern era and focus instead upon the ways in which religion may (or may not) have influenced the physical structure of cities and the daily lives of their inhabitants. It approaches this topic from three different but inter-related perspectives: the genesis of ‘Islamic cities’ in fact and fiction; the impact of Muslim rulers upon urban planning and development; and the degree to which a religious ethos affected the provision of public services. Chronologically and geographically wide-ranging, the volume examines thought-provoking case studies from seventh-century Syria to seventeenth-century Mughal India by established and new scholars in the field, in addition to chapters on urban sites in Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Central Asia. Cities in the Pre-Modern Islamic World will be of considerable interest to academics and students working on the archaeology, history and urbanism of the Middle East as well as those with more general interests in urban archaeology and urbanism.
Dem Interessenspektrum des Jubilars entsprechend enthalt diese Festschrift 24 Beitrage zu Aspekten des Alltagslebens und der materiellen Kultur der arabisch-islamischen Welt von der altarabischen Zeit bis in die Gegenwart, mehrheitlich kombiniert mit philologischen Fragestellungen. In den Bereich der Geschichte der materiellen Kultur, die die Rolle der Sachguter im menschlichen Alltag, deren Gebrauch, Perzeption, Bewertung und Konnotation im jeweiligen Kontext untersucht, gehoren Aufsatze etwa zur Nahrungskultur, zu Einzelaspekten wie Bad, Schleier, Schrift und Schreibwerkzeug, Fest der Nilschwelle, Skorpion, Mullabfuhr, aber auch zur gelebten religiosen Praxis, zum "Sitz im Leben" einer Torinschrift oder zu materiellen Aspekten der Sprech- und Erzahltradition. In den Bereich der Mentalitatsgeschichte, die nach den Vorstellungen fragt, die Fuhlen und Handeln des Menschen in einer bestimmten Epoche pragen, fallen Artikel etwa zu den Themen Zeit und Trauer. Ein Verzeichnis der Schriften von Heinz Grotzfeld und ein Index zu den Beitragen erganzen den Band.
This is an important book which will greatly aid readers in their knowledge of Central Asia, one of the crucial regions in the contemporary world. It contains papers reflecting the interdisciplinary quality of recent research carried out in many academic institutions dealing with the region. In this volume, which undertakes the supreme challenge of understanding this vast area of Eurasia, acknowledged experts offer their findings on such important topics as history, archaeology, sociology, anthropology, language, literature, religion, philosophy, civil society and human rights, political science, economics and the environment. This collection undoubtedly constitutes a key gateway to study of the region through the advanced, accurate and scholarly information required by contemporary academia.
The five daily prayers (ṣalāt) that constitute the second pillar of Islam deeply pervade the everyday life of observant Muslims. Until now, however, no general study has analyzed the rules governing ṣalāt, the historical dimensions of its practice, and the rich variety of ways that it has been interpreted within the Islamic tradition. Marion Holmes Katz's richly textured book offers a broad historical survey of the rules, values, and interpretations relating to ṣalāt. This innovative study on the subject examines the different ways in which prayer has been understood in Islamic law, Sufi mysticism, and Islamic philosophy. Katz's book also goes beyond the spiritual realm to analyze the political dimensions of prayer, including scholars' concerns about the righteousness and piety of rulers. The last chapter raises significant issues around gender roles, including the question of women's participating in and leading public worship. Katz persuasively describes ṣalāt as both an egalitarian practice and one that can lead to extraordinary religious experience and spiritual distinction. This book will resonate with students of Islamic history and comparative religion.
First published in 1970, The Cambridge History of Islam is a most comprehensive and ambitious collaborative survey of Islamic history and civilization. On publication it was welcomed as a work useful both for reference and reading, for the general reader, student and specialist alike. It has now been reprinted, with corrections, and for ease of handling the original two hardcover volumes have each been divided into two separate paperbacks.
Cities, Texts and Social Networks examines the experiences of urban life from late antiquity through the close of the fifteenth century, in regions ranging from late Imperial Rome to Muslim Syria, Iraq and al-Andalus, England, the territories of medieval Francia, Flanders, the Low Countries, Italy and Germany. Together, the volume's contributors move beyond attempts to define 'the city' in purely legal, economic or religious terms. Instead, they focus on modes of organisation, representation and identity formation that shaped the ways urban spaces were called into being, used and perceived. Their interdisciplinary analyses place narrative and archival sources in communication with topography, the built environment and evidence of sensory stimuli in order to capture sights, sounds, physical proximities and power structures. Paying close attention to the delineation of public and private spaces, and secular and sacred precincts, each chapter explores the workings of power and urban discourse and their effects on the making of meaning. The volume as a whole engages theoretical discussions of urban space - its production, consumption, memory and meaning - which too frequently misrepresent the evidence of the Middle Ages. It argues that the construction and use of medieval urban spaces could foster the emergence of medieval 'public spheres' that were fundamental components and by-products of pre-modern urban life. The resulting collection contributes to longstanding debates among historians while tackling fundamental questions regarding medieval society and the ways it is understood today. Many of these questions will resonate with scholars of postcolonial or 'non-Western' cultures whose sources and cities have been similarly marginalized in discussions of urban space and experience. And because these essays reflect a considerable geographical, temporal and methodological scope, they model approaches to the study of urban history that will interest a wide range of readers.
This new volume in the GCI's Readings in Conservation series brings together a selection of seminal writings on the conservation of historic cities. This book, the eighth in the Getty Conservation Institute’s Readings in Conservation series, fills a significant gap in the published literature on urban conservation. This topic is distinct from both heritage conservation and urban planning despite the recent growth of urbanism worldwide, no single volume has presented a comprehensive selection of these important writings until now. This anthology, profusely illustrated throughout, is organized into eight parts, covering such subjects as geographic diversity, reactions to the transformation of traditional cities, reading the historic city, the search for contextual continuities, the search for values, and the challenges of sustainability. With more than sixty-five texts, ranging from early polemics by Victor Hugo and John Ruskin to a generous selection of recent scholarship, this book thoroughly addresses regions around the globe. Each reading is introduced by short prefatory remarks explaining the rationale for its selection and the principal matters covered. The book will serve as an easy reference for administrators, professionals, teachers, and students faced with the day-to-day challenges confronting the historic city under siege by rampant development.
The retreat of the Byzantine army from Syria in around 650 CE, in advance of the approaching Arab armies, is one that has resounded emphatically in the works of both Islamic and Christian writers, and created an enduring motif: that of the Islamic-Byzantine frontier. For centuries, Byzantine and Islamic scholars have evocatively sketched a contested border: the annual raids between the two, the line of fortified fortresses defending Islamic lands, the no-man's land in between and the birth of jihad. In their early representations of a Muslim-Christian encounter, accounts of the Islamic-Byzantine frontier are charged with significance for a future 'clash of civilizations' that often envisions a polarised world. A. Asa Eger examines the two aspects of this frontier: its physical and ideological ones. By highlighting the archaeological study of the real and material frontier, as well as acknowledging its ideological military and religious implications, he offers a more complex vision of this dividing line than has been traditionally disseminated. With analysis grounded in archaeological evidence as well the relevant historical texts, Eger brings together a nuanced exploration of this vital element of medieval history.