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An Umayyad Legacy for the Early Islamic City: Fusṭāṭ and the Experience of Egypt

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Chapter Summary

The Umayyad legacy in urbanism is an undoubtedly important contribution. It is clear that development of the Islamic city was built upon the urban traditions that the first Muslims encountered in the conquered lands, the Byzantine urbs (the much altered Hellenistic/Roman polis) and Sasanian shahr. This chapter examines the city of Fustat, by looking both backward and forward: on the one hand, toward archaeological origins in Arabia, and on the other, toward the equally arcane medieval literary topographies. The question of literary topography as a method to describe urbanization at Fustat was initiated by Casanova and Guest, among others. The present discussion depends upon the reassessment provided by Kubiak, a long-standing collaborator of Scanlon. His monograph was undertaken to complement the archaeological information (as noted above) but stands as a thoughtful compilation and synthesis on the structure of Fustat based on extant documentary evidence in later literature.

Keywords: Fustat; Islamic city; Umayyad legacy



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