The Civilian Elite of Cairo in the Later Middle Ages

The Civilian Elite of Cairo in the Later Middle Ages

Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 500
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Civilian Elite of Cairo in the Later Middle Ages
    Book Description:

    This pioneer study presents a quantitative analysis of the civilian elite in Mamluk Cairo. Using information about 4,631 individuals drawn from two fifteenth-century biographical dictionaries, Carl Petry explores the geographic origins of the civilian elite (the 'ulama') and the distribution of their residences and places of work in Cairo.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5641-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Chart
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. List of Lists in Appendix II
    (pp. x-x)
  5. List of Regional Maps
    (pp. xi-xi)
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  7. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xv-xv)
  8. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xvi-xviii)
  9. Note on Methodology and Transliteration
    (pp. xix-xx)
  10. Preface
    (pp. xxi-2)
  11. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    The imperial state centered in Cairo during the later Middle Ages was, in the eyes of its own chroniclers, based on a threefold social division: a ruling military caste, the Mamluks; a civilian administrative elite, the majority of whom were designated ‘ulama’ or ʺthose learned in the lawʺ; and the masses upon whose labor and obedience the ruling class depended. A scholar interested in the structure of traditional Muslim societies, the roles of their notables, and the effectiveness of their bureaucracies is fortunate in the case of Mamluk Egypt during the period because of the survival of a voluminous biographical...

  12. CHAPTER I The Fifteenth Century in the History of Cairo
    (pp. 15-36)

    During the ninth Hijrī/fifteenth Christian century, Cairo displayed an imposing façade to foreign visitors such as Ibn Khaldūn. Over the almost five centuries of its evolution, unmarred by the pillage of foreign invaders,¹ Cairo had developed into a major cultural center of the Islamic world—a development that only such a prolonged state of security could have fostered. Before all else, however, fifteenth-century Cairo was the seat of the Burjī-Circassian sultans. The complexities and shortcomings of their rule cast a shadow over almost every aspect of life in the capital. Since the civilian elite were financially dependent upon and politically...

  13. CHAPTER II Geographic Origins of the Civilian Elite
    (pp. 37-127)

    Medieval historians of the Near East allude repeatedly in their works to highly mobile classes of soldiers, administrators, merchants, scholars, and religious ascetics who established themselves in urban centers far from their birthplaces, often leaving even their homelands behind. The famous accounts of great travelers such as Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Baṭṭūṭa suggest how extensive such travel could be. But any analysis of the specific nature of travel and causes for migration from one distinct region or culture zone to another during the Middle Ages poses unique problems because of the lack of archival sources such as census lists, alien...

  14. CHAPTER III Residence Patterns of the Civilian Elite
    (pp. 128-199)

    The existence of numerous religio-academic institutions flourishing in Cairo during the central and later Middle Ages has been recognized by scholars familiar with Egyptian narrative sources for many years. Few inquiries, however, have been made into the specific nature of these institutions or their interrelationship as part of an academic system. One exception, the august mosque of al-Azhar, has received detailed study by both Egyptian and western scholars, but as an isolated case rather than in the context of a larger institutional network.¹ This chapter examines one dimension of this system: the distribution of the civilian elite in Cairo as...

  15. CHAPTER IV Occupational Patterns of the Civilian Elite
    (pp. 200-311)

    Twenty-one major occupations of the civilian elite, together with their variants, from among the hundreds of occupations mentioned in the biographical sources will be discussed here. The objectives are to classify the occupations according to categories, and to form an impression of the civilian elite as a social class in the context of their professional endeavors.

    The first objective implies that a categorization of these occupations is justified by the configurations of data yielded by the biographies. In fact, distinctions between occupations, with no evidence of crossover between fields, rarely occurred. There are exceptions to every generalization discussed below. But...

  16. CHAPTER V A Tripartite Elite: Conclusions and Hypotheses
    (pp. 312-326)

    The preceding study has explored the nature of the element that linked ruler and ruled within the greater urban society of Mamluk Egypt. Specifically, the inquiry examined the civilian elite of Cairo from two perspectives: its ethno-geographic composition and its professional organization. A picture emerged of a learned class with common values deriving from the religious consensus and uniform training of its members, but of a class nevertheless internally differentiated by its various degrees of cosmopolitanism and its occupational diversity.

    The members of the civilian elite derived from no single class or restricted stratum of the populace. Social mobility remained...

  17. Appendix I. A Survey of Major Institutions
    (pp. 327-342)
  18. Appendix II. Positions Held by Individuals Engaged in the Twenty-One Occupations of the Major Group, and by Ṣūfīs and Copts
    (pp. 343-389)
  19. Appendix III. Glossary of Occupational Terms
    (pp. 390-402)
  20. Notes
    (pp. 403-435)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 436-448)
  22. Index
    (pp. 449-475)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 476-476)