Documents a meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Islamic leader Sultan Malik al-Kamil to illuminate the saint's lesser-known efforts as a peacemaker, describing their discussions on behalf of ending the Crusades.
the saint and the sultan
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In September, 1219, as the armies of the Fifth Crusade besieged the Egyptian city of Damietta, Francis of Assisi went to Egypt to preach to Sultan al-Malik al-Kâmil. Although we in fact know very little about this event, this has not prevented artists and writers from the thirteenth century to the twentieth, unencumbered by mere facts, from portraying Francis alternatively as a new apostle preaching to the infidels, a scholastic theologian proving the truth of Christianity, a champion of the crusading ideal, a naive and quixotic wanderer, a crazed religious fanatic, or a medieval Gandhi preaching peace, love, and understanding. Al-Kâmil, on the other hand, is variously presented as an enlightened pagan monarch hungry for evangelical teaching, a cruel oriental despot, or a worldly libertine. Saint Francis and the Sultan takes a detailed look at these richly varied artistic responses to this brief but highly symbolic meeting. Throwing into relief the changing fears and hopes that Muslim-Christian encounters have inspired in European artists and writers in the centuries since, it gives a uniquely broad but precise vision of the evolution of Western attitudes towards Islam and the Arab world over the last eight hundred years.
Fighting the Ottoman invaders in Constantinople in 1453, Emperor Constantine XI was killed, his body never found. Legend has it that he escaped in a Genoese ship, cheating certain death at the hands of the Turks and earning himself the title of Immortal Emperor. Five centuries after his disappearance, three mysterious men contact a young professor living in Istanbul. Members of a secret sect, they have guarded the Immortal Emperor's will for generations. They tell him that he is the next Byzantine emperor and that in order to take possession of his fortune he must carry out his ancestor's last wishes. The professor embarks on a dangerous journey, taking him to the heart of a mystery of epic historical significance. The Sultan of Byzantium is a symbiosis of story and history and a homage to Byzantine civilisation.
This two-volume work, published in 1837, gives a lively and observant account of life in the declining Ottoman empire.
The colonial encounter between France and Morocco in the late nineteenth century took place not only in the political realm but also in the realm of medicine. Because the body politic and the physical body are intimately linked, French efforts to colonize Morocco took place in and through the body. Starting from this original premise, Medicine and the Saints traces a history of colonial embodiment in Morocco through a series of medical encounters between the Islamic sultanate of Morocco and the Republic of France from 1877 to 1956. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources in both French and Arabic, Ellen Amster investigates the positivist ambitions of French colonial doctors, sociologists, philologists, and historians; the social history of the encounters and transformations occasioned by French medical interventions; and the ways in which Moroccan nationalists ultimately appropriated a French model of modernity to invent the independent nation-state. Each chapter of the book addresses a different problem in the history of medicine: international espionage and a doctor's murder; disease and revolt in Moroccan cities; a battle for authority between doctors and Muslim midwives; and the search for national identity in the welfare state. This research reveals how Moroccans ingested and digested French science and used it to create a nationalist movement and Islamist politics, and to understand disease and health. In the colonial encounter, the Muslim body became a seat of subjectivity, the place from which individuals contested and redefined the political.
Daniel Horan, O.F.M., popular author of Dating God and other books on Franciscan themes—and expert on the spirituality of Thomas Merton—masterfully presents the untold story of how the most popular saint in Christian history inspired the most popular spiritual writer of the twentieth century, and how together they can inspire a new generation of Christians. Millions of Christians and non-Christians look to Thomas Merton for spiritual wisdom and guidance, but to whom did Merton look? In The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton, Franciscan friar and author Daniel Horan shows how, both before and after he became a Trappist monk, Merton’s life was shaped by his love for St. Francis and for the Franciscan spiritual and intellectual tradition. Given recent renewed interest in St. Francis, this timely resource is both informative and practical, revealing a previously hidden side of Merton that will inspire a new generation of Christians to live richer, deeper, and more justice-minded lives of faith.
This two-volume English translation of part of a longer travel narrative by the Ottoman aristocrat Evilya Çelebi (1611-c.1680) was translated by the Austrian scholar Joseph von Hammer (1774-1856) and published in 1834 by the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, set up to make 'Eastern' texts more widely available in English. Çelebi was highly educated, had served the Ottoman court both as a diplomat and as a soldier, and as he says, had in his travels 'seen the countries of eighteen monarchs and heard 147 different languages'. His lifetime encompassed the highest point of Ottoman expansion into Europe, and his indefatigable curiosity about everything he saw makes this work a fascinating assemblage of topics varying from the fountains of Istanbul to a journey to Georgia. Volume 2 includes Çelebi's eye-witness account of the siege and conquest of Canea (Khania) in Crete in 1645.
Ever since the terrorist incident of September 11th a general understanding seems to have arisen among people that the challenges posed by Islam have now acquired human and global dimensions. Popular Movements and Democratization in the Islamic World contains case studies of people’s movements in diverse areas and periods, and it seeks to develop a comparative view of Islam and democracy that goes beyond the usual stereotype of Islam being incompatible with democracy. Unravelling the complexities that have arisen between Islam and democracy is the principal task of Islamic scholars, and this book will undoubtedly prove a starting point for all such endeavours. While primarily intended for students and scholars, this timely and important text will prove of interest even to general readers with interests in Islamic studies.