Mamluk History through Architecture: Monuments, Culture and Politics in Medieval Egypt and Syria (Library of Middle East History #21) (Hardcover)
The most enduring testament to the Mamluk Sultanate is its architecture. Not only do Mamluk buildings embody one of the most outstanding medieval architectural traditions, Mamluk architecture is actually a key to the social history of the period. Analysing Mamluk constructions as a form of communication and documentation as well as a cultural index, "Mamluk History Through Architecture" shows how the buildings mirror the complex - and historically unique - military, political, social and financial structures of Mamluk society. With this original and authoritative study, Nasser Rabbat offers an innovative approach to the history of the Mamluks - through readings of the spectacular architecture of the period. Drawing on examples from throughout both Egypt and Syria, from the Citadel and Al-Azhar Mosque of Cairo to the Mausoleum of al-Zahir Baybars in Damascus, Rabbat demonstrates how Mamluk architecture served to reinforce visually the spirit of the counter-Crusade, when the Muslim world rebounded from the setbacks of the First Crusade. Both holistically and in case studies, Rabbat demonstrates how history is inscribed into and reflected by a culture's artefacts.
This is a groundbreaking work in the study of architecture and social history in the Middle East and beyond.