Rembrandt's St Paul in prison

A Friend in Need… part II

In our first blog in this series we looked at how the powerful friends of the rebel Ibn Dabian b. Sa‘id got him out of trouble after The rebellion of ‘Abdallah b. al-Jarud. This time an imprisoned monk is finding…

Mahmud of Ghazni receiving a richly decorated robe of honor from the caliph al-Qadir in 1000. Miniature from the Rashid al-Din’s Jami‘ al-Tawarikh. Edinburgh University Library.

A friend in need… part I

Introduction The Emco team tries to understand the success of the early Islamic empire in its first four centuries. One of the keys to that understanding is to apprehend what possibilities existed for people living in the empire to counter…

“It belongs in a museum”… or does it?

“It belongs in a museum”… or does it?

By Cecilia Palombo and Birte Kristiansen Imagine you are a graduate student who just heard about some fascinating document kept in a private collection. Thanks to the right introduction, and after gently pulling some strings, you are welcome to study…

The continuum approach: Multiple legal solutions to run a diverse empire

The continuum approach: Multiple legal solutions to run a diverse empire

This essay first appeared as part of the Islamic Law Blog’s Roundtable on Islamic Legal History & Historiography By Petra Sijpesteijn Two developments in the field of Islamic history are making it possible for us to look at Islamic law…

inscription- caliph

My favourite medieval things, part III 

We continue our material objects blog with a third and final episode. So far, we have encountered a gravestone, a bone document, a cloak and a plaque with an inscription. All those objects showed multiple cultural influences creating layers of historical meaning. The objects discussed below similarly emphasise that divisions between cultures, or religious and social groups, are never clearcut. Ideas…

My Favourite Medieval Things, part II

My Favourite Medieval Things, part II

Here we continue our series on curious medieval objects that attracted our attention and that we enjoy using for teaching. This time inscriptions are central. Again if we look at these texts within their material context they offer ever richer…

My Favourite Medieval Things, part I

My Favourite Medieval Things, part I

A while ago one of our team members, Ed Hayes, asked us an interesting question concerning material culture from the medieval Middle East. In order to prepare a lecture for undergraduate students, he wanted us to come up with our…

Decorative

Working with Collections

Fragments of letters on paper, potsherds, shards of stone. Documents piled in stacks, heaps, dumps. Inserted into a story, cited, copied, forged. Words passed from mouth to mouth, then crafted as booklets, scrolls, rolls, books. Bits of words compressed into…

Religious extremism is not limited to Islam or to the present. 

Religious extremism is not limited to Islam or to the present. 

By Said Reza Huseini This blog from our Emco member Reza Huseini, also appeared on the Leiden Islam Blog  The latest wave of Islam-inspired violence in Europe, makes Islamic extremism seem like a seasonal flu without a cure. Certainly, extremism is a…

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