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By Jane Hathaway

This revisionist research reevaluates the origins and beginning myths of the Faqaris and Qasimis, rival factions that divided Egyptian society in the course of the 17th and eighteenth centuries, while Egypt used to be the biggest province within the Ottoman Empire. In resolution to the iconic secret surrounding the factions’ origins, Jane Hathaway areas their emergence in the generalized obstacle that the Ottoman Empire—like a lot of the remainder of the world—suffered throughout the early glossy 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 logos to bare their connections to a lot older renowned narratives. Drawing on parallels from a big selection of cultures, she demonstrates with notable originality how rituals akin to storytelling and public processions, in addition to making a choice on colours and symbols, may well serve to augment factional id.

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

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1382–99), the first of the Circassian sultans who would dominate the sultanate until its demise. 47 This genealogy, then, takes the traditional Qaysi Arab genealogy and grafts it onto the tradition of Circassian descent from the Arabs. In so doing, Ridvan Bey’s genealogist transforms the latter tradition, which depends on an equally pervasive genealogical tradition that many populations of the Caucasus region descended from the family of the last ruler of the Yemeni Arab kingdom of Ghassan (on this, see chapter 10).

Given Bilateral Factionalism in Ottoman Egypt 35 the extraordinary weight attached to genealogy within tribal societies in general and within pre-Islamic and early-Islamic Arabian society in particular, it may perhaps seem natural that the distinction between Qays and Yemen would be predicated on descent. 45 Ultimately, these two Arab ancestors could be traced back to Ishmael, son of the biblical and Qur˘anic patriarch Abraham, thence to Shem, one of the three sons of Noah, thence to Adam, the first man.

6 Notwithstanding, each of the above-mentioned households and subhouseholds belonged to either the Faqari or Qasimi faction. The Qazda¶lıs were offshoots of the Faqaris; meanwhile, both Çerkes Mehmed Bey and Ismail Bey b. ˜Ivaz were Qasimis. 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.

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