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The City in Arabic LiteratureClassical and Modern Perspectives$
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Nizar F. Hermes and Gretchen Head

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474406529

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474406529.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Local Historians and their Cities: the Urban Topography of al-Azdī’s Mosul and al-Sahmī’s Jurjan

Local Historians and their Cities: the Urban Topography of al-Azdī’s Mosul and al-Sahmī’s Jurjan

Chapter:
(p.19) 2 Local Historians and their Cities: the Urban Topography of al-Azdī’s Mosul and al-Sahmī’s Jurjan
Source:
(p.iii) The City in Arabic Literature
Author(s):

Harry Munt

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474406529.003.0002

 From the third/ninth century onwards, the writing of local histories in Arabic flourished across the Islamic world. A great number of these works dealt with the history of individual cities and this chapter examines how they depicted those cities. Did they tend to portray cities as topographical landscapes or as social communities? If the former, what aspects of urban topography were they most interested in? If the latter, were the communities presented as cohesive or diverse? This chapter addresses these questions by comparing two works: Abū Zakariyya’ al-Azdī’s (d. 334/946) history of Mosul and Ḥamza al-Sahmī’s (d. 427/1035-36) history of Jurjan. It seeks to demonstrate that local historians thought very carefully about how to invest cities and their topographies with socially relevant meanings.

Keywords:    al-Azdī, Mosul, al-Sahmī, Jurjan, Arabic history-writing, local histories, topography, cities

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