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By Li Guo

This ebook is the 1st accomplished examine of the Arabic records exposed in Quseir, higher Egypt, through the Eighties. the loads of paper fragments make clear actions and operations of a relatives transport company at the purple Sea shore within the 13th century. half One is an introductory essay on ancient and cultural context of those files. the 3 chapters care for, respectively, the "Sheikh’s house," the place the files have been stumbled on, the pink Sea trade as mirrored within the exchange actions round the residence, and points of pop culture as printed in the course of the texts. half includes a serious variation of eighty-four Arabic texts, the vast majority of that have by no means been released ahead of, with translation and observation.

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Additional resources for Commerce, Culture, and Community in a Red Sea Port in the Thirteenth Century: The Arabic Documents from Quseir (Islamic History and Civilization) (No. 52)

Sample text

The “ sheikh’s house” 21 Some escorts’ names appear more often than others, indicating some kind of routine engagements. A certain Khalìfa ibn al-Óàwì, for example, is linked to several deliveries (RN 1015a*, 1056a*). On the other hand, one single document could, occasionally, cover multiple shipments escorted by different individuals. Such is the case with RN 1015a*, where two shipments, one “accompanied by Salàl al-Kaljì” and the other “by Khalìfa,” are claimed. ” In other cases, such as RN 1017a*, the letter carrier was the same as the porter of the shipment, this time none other than a man with the nickname “Old Porter” (al-˙ammàl al-'ajùz).

Attempts to identify these individuals through literary sources, especially biographical dictionaries, have failed to yield any results, probably because they were only provincial merchants and perhaps petty government functionaries. Our sole source, scattered information afforded by the paper fragments found in the “Sheikh’s house,” indicates that Shaykh Abù Mufarrij was the owner of an apparently prosperous transit warehouse (ßà˙ib al-shùna) in the Red Sea port of Quseir. The fact that he is addressed on several occasions with the formal honorific titles of al-mawlà al-wàlid al-muwaffaq al-shaykh al-ajall, “the master, the father, the successful, and the most exalted shaykh” (RN 1026a*), and al-shaykh al-ajall, “the most noble shaykh” (RN 1064a*), implies the respect he enjoyed in his community.

To be delivered by (literally “by the hand of ”) so-and-so,” al-musayyar ßu˙ba . , “to be delivered, in the company of so-and-so,” and the like. 16 At times, the shipment might be escorted by the sender himself, as the above-mentioned cases show, but more often it would be “accompanied” (ßu˙ba) by professional porters, known as ˙ammàl, or by young apprentices, known as ßaby,17 or, for the most part, slave boys, known as ghulàm. , RN 1008*), or deputies of officials, known as mawlà. One shipping note (RN 968b*), for example, mentions Abù Sulaymàn, “the deputy (mawlà)” of an unidentified “Judge Jamàl al-Dìn,” as the escort of the cargo.

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