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

By Jane Hathaway

This revisionist research reevaluates the origins and beginning myths of the Faqaris and Qasimis, rival factions that divided Egyptian society through the 17th and eighteenth centuries, while Egypt was once the biggest province within the Ottoman Empire. In solution to the iconic secret surrounding the factions’ origins, Jane Hathaway areas their emergence in the generalized quandary that the Ottoman Empire—like a lot of the remainder of the world—suffered through the early sleek interval, whereas uncovering a symbiosis among Ottoman Egypt and Yemen that was once serious to their formation. furthermore, she scrutinizes the factions’ starting place 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 amazing originality how rituals corresponding to storytelling and public processions, in addition to making a choice on shades and symbols, might serve to augment 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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This emerging division between northern and southern Arabs was exacerbated by the tribal migrations that resulted from the civil wars triggered by the apostasy of bedouin tribes on the Prophet’s death, and by the early Muslim conquests. The early Muslim armies included large numbers of both Qaysi and Yemeni tribesmen, and both groups were appointed to high offices in the early caliphal administrations. As a result, the garrison towns that the early caliphs established throughout their expanding empire came to include a bewildering mixture of northern and southern Arabs; by this point, in consequence, the literal geographical significance of the “northern” and “southern” labels had become virtually meaningless.

Fictive Genealogies Qays and Yemen do, however, exhibit a symptom of factional conflict that we do not find among the Byzantine factions: the practice of constructing genealogies linking the faction to a mythic ancestor. Given Bilateral Factionalism in Ottoman Egypt 35 the extraordinary weight attached to genealogy within tribal societies in general and within pre-Islamic and early-Islamic Arabian society in particular, it may perhaps seem natural that the distinction between Qays and Yemen would be predicated on descent.

All these ingredients together formed the collective memory of the military-administrative class, and it was through the agency of this collective memory that traditions of the factions and their origins were transmitted down through the generations. Structure and Sources of this Book In sum, this book is an attempt to understand how the Faqari and Qasimi factions worked within the political culture of Ottoman Egypt. By this, I do not mean a retelling or even an analysis of the political events in which the factions participated during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; these have already been laid out by Holt and others, including the present author.

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