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The Formation of the Civilian Elite in the Syrian Province: The Case of Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Hamah

Hirschler, Konrad (2008) 'The Formation of the Civilian Elite in the Syrian Province: The Case of Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Hamah.' Mamlūk Studies Review, 12 (2). pp. 95-132.

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Abstract

The urban renaissance in northern Syria from the sixth/twelfth century onwards increased significantly the demand for scholars in order to staff newly arising civilian posts. This demand was in Hama initially satisfied with outside scholars, particularly those coming from the eastern lands. The decisive reason for the appointment of these scholars was their cosmopolitan background, i.e. a trans-regional reputation of scholarship and/or close links with the respective ruling dynasty. It took several decades until the grand Shafi'i families developed from the late sixth/twelfth century onwards that centred their activities on Hama. This local elite was increasingly able to monopolise the town’s important posts during considerable parts of the seventh/thirteenth and eighth/fourteenth centuries. Descent from the Banu al-Mughayzil, al-Bahrani, Wasil, and al-Barizi remained throughout this period a crucial asset in order to secure one’s career. It was only in the middle of the eigth/fourteenth century that the civilian elite of Hama became less localised: more outside scholars took positions in the town and the local families either lost in influence or adopted an increasingly cosmopolitan profile (Banu al-Barizi). Some families, such as the Banu Qarnas and Banu Rawaha, on the contrary, chose already during the period of a localised elite a cosmopolitan outlook. Although originiating from Hama they were active in many urban centres of the Syrian lands.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
Depositing User: Konrad Hirschler
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2009 14:56
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6096

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