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Ian Straughn

Islamic Archaeology

Archaeology and Religion

Islamic Landscapes

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

Posted at Feb 21/2007 12:55PM:
Elly: Ibn Khaldûn is a 14th century North African scholar and historian (b. 1332, d. 1406). His book, the Muqaddimah is the introduction to his larger book History (Kitâb al-'Ibar). This book establishes a universal history, chronicling the patterns of change in the sociopolitical world. He can be considered the first philosopher of history, with his all encompassing yet detailed historiography. Khaldûn sees a cyclical tendency in the changes to societies - he establishes two poles, extremes between which groups shifted. At one pole is civilization, urban life, the city, the world of the state; at the other pole is the desert, the world of the Bedouin. Groups at these two poles are constantly connected and interact; groups shift from one extreme to the other -- there is an unending cycle of societies from pole to pole. Desert people conquer a city, are assimilated, lose their group solidarity ('asabîyah) that is so essential to their society, gain some royal authority (mulouk), lose the ability to make prophecies, becoming the opposite extreme. The shift can also occur in the other direction. Central to the pole of the desert is the concept of 'asabîyah and as part of that group cohesion the idea of tribal humanism, a belief in the authority and validity of the individual and all the individuals in a group that give the group is worth and honor.

Posted at Mar 06/2007 01:50PM:
ian: Nicely done! royal authory = mulk
In essence he gave a philosophical and sociological understnading to the relationship between settled and nomadic lifestyles, between what Donner calls the zone of the state and the zone of the tribe.