A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in by Jane Hathaway

By Jane Hathaway

This revisionist examine reevaluates the origins and beginning myths of the Faqaris and Qasimis, rival factions that divided Egyptian society throughout the 17th and eighteenth centuries, whilst Egypt used to be the most important province within the Ottoman Empire. In resolution to the long-lasting secret surrounding the factions’ origins, Jane Hathaway areas their emergence in the generalized problem that the Ottoman Empire—like a lot of the remainder of the world—suffered throughout the early sleek interval, whereas uncovering a symbiosis among Ottoman Egypt and Yemen that was once serious to their formation. moreover, she scrutinizes the factions’ beginning myths, deconstructing their tropes and emblems to bare their connections to a lot older renowned narratives. Drawing on parallels from a wide range of cultures, she demonstrates with notable originality how rituals akin to storytelling and public processions, in addition to deciding upon shades and logos, may possibly serve to enhance factional identification.

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Extra resources for A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen

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2 (2b) Anonymous, Kitåb al-durra al-munƒåna f¥ waq奘 [sic] al-Kinåna (The Book of the Precious Pearl: Events in Egypt [land of the Kinana tribe]): The people of Egypt, beys, aghas, and the seven regiments, were two factions (farqatayn): White Flag from the Yemeni Tubba˜ and Red Flag from Kulayb brother of al-Zir, Sa˜d and Haram, Faqari and Qasimi. . The Faqaris had numbers and generosity, and the Qasimis had property and stinginess. 3 24 A Tale of Two Factions (2c) Ahmed Kâhya ˜Azeban al-Damurdashi, Al-durra al-muƒåna f¥ akhbår al-Kinåna (The Protected Pearl: History of Egypt [land of the Kinåna tribe]) (c.

54 And in the same sense that the story of George Washington and the cherry tree serves a certain acculturative purpose at a certain stage of a child’s education and in the space of the classroom, so these heroic tales served a similar purpose for new recruits in the space where they learned the ropes of Egypt’s military-administrative culture. There were other times and spaces for the mundane realities of collecting one’s salary, paying bribes, bidding for tax farms, and forming business partnerships—as there are for the mundane realities of paying taxes and taking out a mortgage.

The fact that the Bilateral Factionalism in Ottoman Egypt 39 Faqaris and Qasimis carried these emblems did not, however, mean that they identified or sympathized with the Ottoman Empire and the Mamluk sultanate, respectively. By the early eighteenth century, if not before, these standards had lost their original political meanings—and thus their symbolic force—and served solely to identify the two factions and to distinguish one from the other. Notwithstanding the diminution of the standards’ symbolic force in Ottoman Egypt, the very fact that they were visible markers of the two factions’ competition distinguishes this bilateral factional conflict from the multilateral rivalries of the Mamluk sultanate.

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