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Mini-Dramas By The Water: On Irrigation Rights And Disputes In Fifteenth-Century Damascus

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Chapter Summary

Apart from discussions of matters of irrigation in legal works, medieval sources provide us with little information on the human dynamics and social interaction that are an integral part of irrigation systems. Some cases involving water were straightforward, whereas others were not. A laconic statement about a settlement (ṣulḥ ) that was reached in Muḥarram 886/March 1481, in the presence of the viceroy of Damascus and the chief qāḍīs, between one Kamāl al-Dīn and Shihāb al-Dīn al-Muḥawjib concerning water that was coercively (zulman) diverted from the al-Manshīya river canal, provides us with only a faint echo about such conflict. Fortunately, on other occasions of water disputes Ibn Tawq paints a more detailed picture that allows some idea about their nature. This chapter discusses such disputes.

Keywords: fifteenth century Damascus; Ibn Tawq; irrigation rights; mini dramas; water disputes



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