Friday, April 25, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Rihla (Journey 43): The Cloisters, Manhattan, NY, USA – Crusaders, The True Cross and Free Frenchmen
It is that time of year when Easter ceremonies around the world in the Christian faith remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, events that were to shape and continue to shape the history of the Levant and Near East, the Holy Land. I thought it apt therefore for this rihla, this journey, to recall an encounter with a 13th century crusading knight (or at least his effigy).
Friday, April 11, 2014
The 13th century traveller and businessman Ibn al-Mujãwir (Abu Bakr b.Muhammad b.Mas’ud b.’Ali b.Ahmed Ibn al-Mujãwir al-Baghdadi al-Nisaburi) from Khursan province (a Persian province in what now would be an area covering the intersection of NE Iran, southern Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and western Afghanistan) quoted the stanza above when writing about his visit to Qalhãt, Oman in 626 AH or 1229 CE (the year the Papacy formally established the Inquisition).
Even today when you travel on bitumen roads through the harsh landscape of the south-eastern corner of Oman you wonder at the logistical effort it would have taken in the 10-16th centuries to herd thousands of Arabian horses across Oman, through the al-Heggar mountains, for marshalling and transport to Iran and India.