During the Festival of Sacrifice, Fatimid rulers publicly sacrificed a camel. Maribel Fierro discusses the political and religious significance of this ritual, and traces later versions under other dynasties. She argues a visual re-imagination even appears on the mantle of the Norman king of Sicily.
When the first Muslims came to Yemen, they came across thousands of ancient inscriptions, written centuries before by South Arabia’s pre-Islamic rulers. Medieval Muslims came to re-interpret these inscriptions to fit their own worldviews, from ancient warnings to memories of heroic deeds.
The borders created by the colonial powers in the Middle East were not only lines drawn on a map, but also a physical and juridical reality. In this blog, Mattia Serra discusses the local consequences of the imposition of the Palestine-Lebanon border in the Mandates period.
Peter Webb discusses the shortcomings of studying printed editions of Arabic sources, and introduces a new Leiden initiative designed to help overcome the pitfalls: Mouse&Manuscript, a free online suite of lessons covering the essentials of how to read Middle Eastern manuscripts.
Like in any other metropole of the early modern world, city fires formed an imminent danger in Ottoman Istanbul. The diplomatic representatives of the Netherlands reported dozens of these fire incidents from their Dutch Palace in the Galata district, not only as spectators but also as victims.