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Jordan in the Late Middle Ages
Transformation of the Mamluk Frontier

By Bethany Walker

Jordan in the Late Middle Ages
Hardback, 348 pages £57.00
Published: 2011
ISBN: 9780970819970
Format: 233mm x 155mm
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Subjects: Ancient Near East, Arabic and Islamic Studies, Middle East Documentation Center
Series: Chicago Studies on the Middle East

The decline of the Mamluk Sultanate from the late fourteenth century is an important component of the larger transformation of the late medieval Levant. In this centralized state, the Mamluks political culture has traditionally been defined by that of the imperial capital of Cairo. The political decline of the sultanate in Cairo has, then, come to define the many-faceted transformations of the entire region with the waning of the medieval era. The dynamics of change far from Cairo, in remote settlements on the imperial frontier, are, by contrast, relatively unknown.

This book explores the transformation of the Mamluk state from the perspective of the Jordanian frontier, considering the actions of local people in molding both the state and their own societies in the post-plague era. Through a critical analysis of a wide range of economic and legal documents of the late Mamluk and early Ottoman periods, as well as data on rural society generated by recent archaeological research, the work documents the complex, dialectical relationships that always existed between the Mamluk state and the tribal societies of Jordan, as well as the flexible strategies pursued by both to adapt to changing circumstances during the late medieval period. It is ultimately a provincial perspective on imperial decline, reform, and rebirth that sheds new light on the mechanisms of socio-political and economic change through the experiences of ordinary people living on the margins of empire.

The book is illustrated with more than two dozen photographs and 6 maps.

List of Illustrations


Chapter One: A Medieval "Global Moment"

Chapter Two: Mamluk Administration of Jordan

Chapter Three: Structure and Character of Jordanian Society

Chapter Four: Jordan's Economy at the Turn of the Fifteenth Century

Chapter Five: Ottoman Jordan and the Mamluk Legacy



Bethany Walker is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History at Missouri State University. She has published widely on Mamluk and Ottoman socio-economic history and material culture in primarily American and French journals. A historian and archaeologist, she directs two archaeological projects in Jordan and for the last twenty years has been doing fieldwork at sites throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Her edited work Reflections of Empire: Archaeological and Ethnographic Studies on the Pottery of the Ottoman Levant was published by the American Schools of Oriental Research in 2009.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 348 pages
 233mm x 155mm

BIC Code:
  HIS026000, HIS037010
 Middle East Documentation Center


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