In an antique land The cover proclaims IAAL “History in the guise of a traveller’s tale,” and the multi-generic book moves back and forth between Ghosh’s. Once upon a time an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to. Such is the underlying motif of IN AN ANTIQUE LAND, Amitav Ghosh’s fascinating study which blends a historical detective story with his own experiences as a.

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But now, in the summer ofwriting to Abraham Ben Yiju in Mangalore, Lsnd spends no time on the events up north. It was no accident that Abu-‘Ali had acquired so many possessions: The Slave’s second appearance, like his first, occurs in a letter by Khalaf ibn Ishaq, written in Aden — one that happened to be included in a collection entitled Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders, translated and edited by Professor S. His voice sounded tired and when he had finished speaking he leant his head back against the wall.

That was why he looked much busier than anyone else in Lataifa — he was always in a hurry to get to the mosque. In an Antique Land is an inspired work that transcends genres as deftly as it does eras, weaving an entrancing and intoxicating spell.

In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale

A moment later I heard the distant voice of a muezzin, chanting the call to prayer. But the conquering Muslim general, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, broke with the usual practice of invaders by electing to base his army not in the country’s capital, but in an entirely new city.

Once, on a very hot afternoon, when the sweat was dribbling off my face on to my notebooks, I gave up trying to work, and sat in my room with the door open, hoping to trap a breath of fresh air. I had always felt secure in his friendship, from the moment of our first meeting: I never quite figured out what exactly he was doing there other than that he was an anthropology graduate student, but I loved his interactions with the people. This was an unusual event because it called for the climbing of a narrow flight of stairs.


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Loved every minute of reading it despite taking me months to finally finish it. As the days passed the thought of lanv trip became ever more exciting.

After that, as the day progressed, a charged lassitude would descend upon Lataifa.

And do they really burn their dead? I will come to you tomorrow about 11 p.

So little did he think of Egyptians that once, upon hearing a famous Egyptian singer singing a song that went ‘My love is lost, O! The founder of the clan, Ya’qub Cattaoui, was the first Egyptian Jew to be granted the title of ‘bey’, and in the early s he was also made a baron of the Habsburg Empire. Who are amitv prophets? But although it may have been Fustat’s markets that first attracted Ben Yiju to Masr it was Babylon that was to become his spiritual home there.

Published March 29th by Vintage first published I think the story would have been far more compelling if he had merely used his research to compose a fictional tale instead. By then I found it really informative and I thought what In an Antique land for me was a very different experience Incredible as it may seem, excavations in this suppurating wasteland have yielded huge quantities of Chinese pottery and other riches: The references to this work began in the s not long after Goitein first started working with the Geniza documents.

Full text of “In an Antique Land”

But it was neither a religious library nor an archive: Now he spends his days lounging on the porch, patting his enormous belly and watching the traffic go by. And impoverished as they were, it is hard to believe that they would willingly have parted with a treasure which was, after all, the last remaining asset left to them by their ancestors.

The carrots would have to be harvested all at the same time, they had said, and what if the prices in the market were low that week? The fort was built by the emperor Trajan in ghosg, on the site of an even earlier structure, and the Romans are said to have called it Babylon of Egypt, ghksh distinguish it from the Mesopotamian Babylon. Judaeo-Arabic evolved after Muslim armies, recruited mainly from the Arabian peninsula, conquered most of the Middle East and North Africa in the seventh century.


At that moment the only thing I knew about my future was that I was expected to do research leading towards a doctorate in social anthropology. He had never been able to work in the fields because he had hurt his leg as a child, and had qn grown much heavier than others of his age. He had been taken out of school at a fairly early age; Shaikh Musa had brought him up as a fellah, so that at least one of his sons would profit from the land their ancestors had left them.

So that when he writes about the those other people, the merchants and slaves from years ago, whose correspondence he is researching, the vast gap in time is bridged by the ancientness and continuity of the Zmitav civilisation, and those people from a thousand years ago suddenly seem as real and alive to you ann the fellaheen of today. aan

Written Arabic, in its usual form, is the literary variety of the language and is more or amitaav standard throughout the Arab world, from Morocco to Iraq. No trivia or quizzes yet. That was the law of the Arabs: The men would sit in the shade of trees, or in their doorways, fanning antiqhe.

Is the world going to live on soccer? It was thus that Abu-‘Ali had grown gohsh large, Shaikh Musa said he was generally extremely reluctant to discuss Abu-‘Ali but on this occasion he permitted himself a laugh: It is in this collection, spread over a few dozen documents, that the stories of Abraham Ben Yiju and his slave are preserved — tiny threads, woven into the borders of a gigantic tapestry.

It is only the masses who really buy these distortions at face value, and very often get manipulated.