A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in by Jane Hathaway

By Jane Hathaway

This revisionist learn reevaluates the origins and beginning myths of the Faqaris and Qasimis, rival factions that divided Egyptian society through the 17th and eighteenth centuries, whilst Egypt used to be the most important province within the Ottoman Empire. In solution to the long-lasting secret surrounding the factions’ origins, Jane Hathaway locations their emergence in the generalized main issue that the Ottoman Empire—like a lot of the remainder of the world—suffered throughout the early glossy interval, whereas uncovering a symbiosis among Ottoman Egypt and Yemen that was once serious to their formation. additionally, 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 big selection of cultures, she demonstrates with outstanding originality how rituals akin to storytelling and public processions, in addition to picking colours and symbols, may well serve to enhance factional identification.

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Extra resources for A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen

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49 Nonetheless, the Faqaris’ link to the Yemeni Sa˜d bedouin indicates that the Qaysi-Yemeni genealogical dichotomy played a by no means negligible part in the contrasting identities forged by the Qasimis and Faqaris. The Qaysi-Yemeni conflict was arguably the touchstone of bilateral factionalism in Muslim societies generally. Even if they enjoyed no direct lineal connection to Arab tribes themselves, competing political and social groups within these societies retained the tribal divisions as part of their collective memory and sought legitimacy by fabricating historical links to these tribes.

E. 30 Of more profound consequence among the Arabs themselves was the pervasive and still inadequately understood enmity between northern, or Qaysi, and southern, or Yemeni, Arabs. Ultimately, this division is rooted in geography. Qaysi Arabs were those living in the region extending from the northernmost borders of Yemen to the deserts of what are now Jordan, southern Syria, and southwestern Iraq. Yemeni Arabs, as the name implies, inhabited Yemen and, more generally, the southern regions of the Arabian peninsula.

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.

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