By Michael Chamberlain
Michael Chamberlain makes a speciality of medieval Damascus to strengthen a brand new method of the connection among the society and tradition of the center East. the writer argues that historians have lengthy imposed eu strictures onto societies to which they have been alien. Western suggestions of valid order have been beside the point to medieval Muslim society the place social development was once established upon the creation of data and non secular patronage, and it was once the family, instead of the nation company or company, that held political and social strength. A parallel is drawn among the discovered elite and the soldiers of Damascus who, via comparable ideas, got prestige and gear and handed them on of their families. via reading fabric from the Latin West, Sung China and the Sinicized empires of internal Asia, the writer addresses the character of political strength within the interval.
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Extra info for Knowledge and Social Practice in Medieval Damascus, 1190-1350
Rulers in general did not penetrate the cities they dominated through intrusive state agencies, but by fitting themselves into existing social and cultural practices and turning them to political use. The formal state agencies of the high medieval Middle East were rudimentary compared to those of the Ottoman empire or Sung China, to take just two examples, and the agencies that existed preserved few documents (with the exception of land registries) over long periods. Even regions such as Egypt whose secretarial traditions stretched unbroken from Antiquity did not have a powerful or intrusive bureaucracy compared to states in other times and places.
Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1967-84). S. Atiya, The Arabic Manuscripts of Mount Sinai (Baltimore, 1955); Atiya, "An Unpublished XlVth Century Fatwa on the Status of Foreigners in Mamluk Egypt and Syria," in Paul Kahle Festschrift, Studien zur Geschichte undKultur des Nahen undFernen Ostens (Leiden, 1953), 5568; H. M. M. , Documents from Islamic Chanceries (Oxford, 1965), 9-38, 207-16; N. Risciani, Documenti efirmani (Jerusalem, 1931). On one occasion part of the Jewish community of Damascus produced a document, supposedly drawn up by the Prophet, releasing them from paying the tax imposed on nonMuslims (Jizya).
Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State (London, 1980); Brunner, Land und Herrschaft', P. Duus, Feudalism in Japan, 2nd edn. Unity of the medieval Eurasian world 31 Rulers in both the high medieval Latin West and the Middle East balanced land-holding horse-warrior lineages with manpower recruited with cash and dependent on rulers. But the relative proportions of these two groups in terms of power and control over revenue were reversed. 13 Decisive military power and the social status that went with it were held by warriors in urban garrisons replenished frequently by fresh troops recruited with cash, not by a territorially dispersed aristocracy.