By Jane Hathaway
This revisionist examine reevaluates the origins and starting place myths of the Faqaris and Qasimis, rival factions that divided Egyptian society through the 17th and eighteenth centuries, whilst Egypt used to be the biggest province within the Ottoman Empire. In solution to the long-lasting secret surrounding the factions’ origins, Jane Hathaway locations their emergence in the generalized hindrance that the Ottoman Empire—like a lot of the remainder of the world—suffered throughout the early smooth interval, whereas uncovering a symbiosis among Ottoman Egypt and Yemen that was once severe to their formation. furthermore, she scrutinizes the factions’ starting place myths, deconstructing their tropes and logos to bare their connections to a lot older renowned narratives. Drawing on parallels from a wide range of cultures, she demonstrates with extraordinary originality how rituals reminiscent of storytelling and public processions, in addition to deciding on shades and logos, might serve to enhance factional id.
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Extra info for A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen
Like the Yemeni Arabs, the Faqaris carried white banners and, if we are to believe al-Jabarti’s account, not only wore white clothing but preferred to eat white food with white utensils. 43 I believe that a connection existed and was bound up with the two factions’ alliances with the Sa˜d and Haram bedouin blocs, even though, as I point out in chapter 3, both groups may have originated in geographical Yemen and both seem to have been Yemeni, or southern Arab, populations. Fictive Genealogies Qays and Yemen do, however, exhibit a symptom of factional conflict that we do not find among the Byzantine factions: the practice of constructing genealogies linking the faction to a mythic ancestor.
The household of a grandee, the harem of his wife, or the barracks—the very place to which a new recruit would have been introduced on first arriving in Cairo—would have been the natural setting for such storytelling. Many famous cycles of tales are framed by the device of the storyteller spinning his or her yarns in a ruler’s court or in the house of some great lord. 53 Even the chronicles that relate the origin myths of the factions are rife with transitional phrases that hint at their oral lineage: from “And the narrator said” (Wa-qåla al-råwi) and “We shall speak of him later” (Lah¶ ma˜nå kilåm) to “Now look, my brother, at .
Two factions that cooperated with each other would neither lend themselves to an explanation centered on disruption and conflict, nor would they give rise to a society that was truly split in two. Likewise, a variety of volatile, short-lived factions on the model of the Mamluk sultanate would not find a satisfactory explication in a “brothers” myth. The motif itself, rooted in the most primal blood relationships—that between a father and his sons and that between brothers—bespeaks a division that is likewise primal and long-lasting, if not permanent.
A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen by Jane Hathaway