The Lost Archive : Traces of a Caliphate in a Cairo SynagogueView ebook from JSTOR. (Unlimited users) 2 available
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- Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World Ser. ; v. 63
- Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World Ser.
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- Frontmatter -- Contents -- Technical Note -- Introduction: Middle East History's Archive Problem -- I. Source Survival -- 1. The Geniza: Blind Spots and Cataclysms -- 2. The Storage Capacity of State Power -- 3. The Corpus: Its Shape and Coherence -- II. Chancery Practice -- 4. Paper: The Search for a Sustainable Support -- 5. Layout: Early Arabic Chancery Norms -- 6. Script: The Impact of the Abbasid East -- 7. Imperial Norms: The Abbasid Chancery -- 8. The Fatimid Petition-and- Response Procedure -- III. The Ecology of the Documents -- 9. Supply: A Proliferation of Decrees -- 10. Administrative Manuals and Nonmanuals -- 11. The Source: The Chancery -- 12. Copying, Storage, and Dissemination -- 13. The Probative Value of Documents: Archiving and Registration -- Appendix to Chapter 13: Fatimid ʿAlāʼim and Registration Marks -- IV. The Problem of Archives -- 14. The Rotulus as an Instrument of Performance -- 15. The Ontological Status of the Decree -- 16. Archives, Documents, and the Persistence of "Despotism" -- Notes -- Acknowledgments -- Bibliography -- Subject Index -- Index of Manuscripts with Shelfmarks -- Photo Credits and Permissions
- The lost archive of the Fatimid caliphate (909-1171) survived in an unexpected place: the storage room, or geniza, of a synagogue in Cairo, recycled as scrap paper and deposited there by medieval Jews. Marina Rustow tells the story of this extraordinary find, inviting us to reconsider the longstanding but mistaken consensus that before 1500 the dynasties of the Islamic Middle East produced few documents, and preserved even fewer. Beginning with government documents before the Fatimids and paper's westward spread across Asia, Rustow reveals a millennial tradition of state record keeping whose very continuities suggest the strength of Middle Eastern institutions, not their weakness. Tracing the complex routes by which Arabic documents made their way from Fatimid palace officials to Jewish scribes, the book provides a rare window onto a robust culture of documentation and archiving not only comparable to that of medieval Europe, but, in many cases, surpassing it. Above all, Rustow argues that the problem of archives in the medieval Middle East lies not with the region's administrative culture, but with our failure to understand preindustrial documentary ecology. Illustrated with stunning examples from the Cairo Geniza, this compelling book advances our understanding of documents as physical artifacts, showing how the records of the Fatimid caliphate, once recovered, deciphered, and studied, can help change our thinking about the medieval Islamicate world and about premodern polities more broadly.
- Local Note
- Fatimites -- History -- Sources.
- Cairo Genizah.
- Africa, North -- History -- 647-1517 -- Sources.
- Fātimides -- Histoire -- Sources.
- Génizah du Caire.
- Afrique du Nord -- Histoire -- 647-1517 -- Sources.
- RELIGION -- Islam -- History.
- Cairo Genizah. (OCoLC)fst00843931
- Fatimites. (OCoLC)fst00921954
- North Africa. (OCoLC)fst01239515
- Chronological Term
- Electronic books.
- History. (OCoLC)fst01411628
- Sources. (OCoLC)fst01423900
- Other Form:
- Print version: Rustow, Marina. Lost Archive : Traces of a Caliphate in a Cairo Synagogue. Princeton : Princeton University Press, ©2020 9780691156477
- 9780691189529 (electronic bk.)
- 9780691156477 (hardcover alkaline paper)