This chapter describes the life Strachan led for two years with the Bedouin in the Great Syrian Desert. The Anazzah controlled the Ottoman half of the desert and had become wealthy taxing the caravans of Silk Road traders. Strachan’s favoured treatment made this period almost idyllic for him. He mastered Arabic such that he was considered a ’true Bedouin’ and had sufficient income to indulge in the purchase of manuscripts in Arabic and Farsi. Emir Feyyād’s wish that he convert to Islam gave him access to Muslim scholars who helped him understand their religion and culture. The emir believed that he had converted, and when Strachan took the Muslim name ‘Mohammed Çelebi’, he gave him his widowed sister-in-law in marriage. This made him a member of the ruling family and conferred considerable status within the tribe but placed him in danger.
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