By Jane Hathaway
This revisionist learn reevaluates the origins and origin myths of the Faqaris and Qasimis, rival factions that divided Egyptian society in the course of the 17th and eighteenth centuries, whilst Egypt was once the biggest province within the Ottoman Empire. In resolution to the iconic secret surrounding the factions’ origins, Jane Hathaway locations their emergence in the generalized situation that the Ottoman Empire—like a lot of the remainder of the world—suffered through the early glossy interval, whereas uncovering a symbiosis among Ottoman Egypt and Yemen that was once severe to their formation. moreover, she scrutinizes the factions’ beginning myths, deconstructing their tropes and logos to bare their connections to a lot older renowned narratives. Drawing on parallels from a wide range of cultures, she demonstrates with impressive originality how rituals corresponding to storytelling and public processions, in addition to deciding upon shades and symbols, may serve to augment factional id.
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Extra info for A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen
The grandees] told [Sudun] that Sultan Selim had come to his mansion, and he quickly came out; the servants carried him until he was standing before the sultan. When [Selim] saw him, he rose and greeted him, and granted him security for himself, his property, and his sons. He then asked for his sons, and they were brought in irons. The sultan ordered that their chains be broken, and gave them security for their persons. Then he asked to see a demonstration of the chivalric exercises [fur¶siyya] that the emirs had told him about.
And no wonder: Yemen was symbiotically linked to Egypt both throughout its brief tenure as an Ottoman province and after the Ottoman expulsion from Yemen in the 1620s and 1630s. Subsequent chapters proceed more or less in accordance with the motifs introduced by the three principal origin myths. ’ My study next turns to the origin myth involving Sultan Selim’s visit to the Mamluk emir Sudun. Chapter 7 examines the figure of Selim himself in the origin myth while chapter 8 lingers on the symbolic possibilities of the mulberry tree under which Sudun supposedly chained his two sons.
I also chose to search far beyond the borders of Egypt, and even beyond the spatial and temporal borders of the Ottoman Empire, for analogs to the symbols and patterns that I encountered in Egypt’s factionalism. Factions in Byzantine Constantinople, medieval Florence, and Safavid Iran; mulberry trees in East Asian folk tradition; Verdian and Wagnerian operas; even the Virgin Mary as portrayed on votive candles in my native San Antonio find their way into this book. The goal of these varied references is to make Egypt’s factions and their accoutrements potentially comprehensible to a wide audience, but at the same time to stress that these factions need not be studied or understood solely within an Egyptian context.