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By Jane Hathaway

This revisionist research reevaluates the origins and origin myths of the Faqaris and Qasimis, rival factions that divided Egyptian society through the 17th and eighteenth centuries, whilst Egypt was once the most important province within the Ottoman Empire. In solution to the long-lasting secret surrounding the factions’ origins, Jane Hathaway locations their emergence in the generalized problem that the Ottoman Empire—like a lot of the remainder of the world—suffered in the course of the early smooth interval, whereas uncovering a symbiosis among Ottoman Egypt and Yemen that used to be serious to their formation. furthermore, she scrutinizes the factions’ starting place myths, deconstructing their tropes and emblems to bare their connections to a lot older well known narratives. Drawing on parallels from a wide range of cultures, she demonstrates with amazing originality how rituals comparable to storytelling and public processions, in addition to settling on shades and logos, may perhaps serve to enhance factional id.

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Additional resources for A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen

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Clearly, the Faqari and Qasimi factions transcended these individual households. Moreover, while the process of household formation in Ottoman Egypt resembled the formation of factions under the Mamluk sultanate, the emergence of the Faqari and Qasimi factions, to the extent it can be ascertained, was far more complex and mysterious—in a word, mythic. The terminology employed in contemporary sources for the Faqaris and Qasimis, as opposed to that employed for single households and for the factions of the Mamluk sultanate, sheds light on the varying perceptions of these groups.

By repeating these stories and occasionally 14 A Tale of Two Factions adding details from the lore of their home cultures, such as magic swords and larger than life heroes, the recruits themselves contributed to the origin myths, making them a living, evolving, and reciprocal tradition. Recruits also told stories about their higher-ups, past and present: the narrator of Ahmed Kâhya ˜Azeban al-Damurdashi’s chronicle justifies the work’s existence by explaining that members of his regiment had asked him to recount the deeds of Cairo’s grandees and regimental officers (see chapter two).

4 Two households of the early eighteenth century, founded by the rival beys Çerkes Mehmed and Ismail b. ˜Ivaz, are memorialized in Arabic Bilateral Factionalism in Ottoman Egypt 27 chronicles by the names of illustrious predecessors: Çerkes Mehmed’s household is designated the “Shanabiyya,” after his patron, Ibrahim Bey Abu Shanab; Ismail Bey’s household, meanwhile, is called “Shawariba,” after his father’s patron’s patron’s father, Ridvan Bey Abu’l-Shawarib. ”)5 In all these cases, the name of the founding father endured over several generations.

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